Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday December 13 Ag News

NeCGA Grassroots Leadership Summit

Every other year the Nebraska Corn Growers Association offers a Grassroots Leadership event for members. These events are a chance for members to come together and learn more about what grassroots mean and how they can be involved in the process. In 2018 the Grassroots Leadership Summit will take place on January 11th and 12th in York, NE. This two-day event is open to all members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association at no cost. Others interested in attending should contact Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at or by calling (402) 438-6459.

The evening of the 11th will start off with a social hour at Chances R, followed by supper and a message from our keynote speaker. We are excited to host Randy Krotz, CEO of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. We will start again bright and early on the 12th at the Holthus Event Center in York. Steve Uram from the National Corn Growers Association will start us off with his presentation on grassroots and what that means at a national level. In the afternoon, we are excited to have a number of Nebraska Ag media join us for mock interviews. The group will go over a predetermined topic, along with talking points, before splitting up to interview with the different media. This is a great opportunity to practice your interviewing skills in a very low pressure environment, it doesn’t have to be scary! For the full agenda please click on the link below.

Interested in attending? RSVP to Morgan Wrich at OR by calling (402) 438-6459. NeCGA has a limited number of hotels reserved for the evening of January 11th. If you would like a hotel room, please let Morgan know by December 28th.

Can you only attend the evening of the 11th or on the 12th? No problem! Please let Morgan know by January 3rd for an accurate food count.

2017-18 La Nina and Winter Outlook

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has officially declared a La Nina Advisory, as of Nov. 9.

"This means that La Nina conditions are observed and expected to continue," said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.

NOAA observes La Nina conditions using sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, Edwards explained. "For La Nina, ocean temperatures are cooler than average near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which can alter jet streams and storm tracks," she said.

Historically, La Nina has brought colder than average temperatures in winter for South Dakota. "There are varying strengths of La Nina, from weak to strong. Overall the colder temperatures are fairly consistent in any La Nina winter," Edwards said. "What is more variable is snowfall."

In weak La Nina events, there has historically been above average snowfall in the Northern Plains states. In strong La Nina events, this is not usually the case.

For our winter season ahead, Edwards said a weak La Nina is expected. "Thus the climate outlook shows an increased chance of above average precipitation," she explained.

This potential increase is snowfall is more likely to occur in mid- to late winter, or around January and February of 2018.

Despite the very dry November, there was recently a large pattern shift in early December, which is now starting to look more like a typical La Nina pattern.

ASA Introduces New Class of DuPont Young Leaders

The 34th class of American Soybean Association (ASA) DuPont Young leaders recently began their leadership journey at DuPont Pioneer headquarters in Johnston, Iowa.

The Johnston training session was the first phase of a program designed to identify new and aspiring leaders within the agriculture community and provide them with opportunities to enhance their skills and network with other growers. Representatives from 19 states and Canada participated in the program.

“The Young Leader Program has had a tremendous impact on not only ASA but all of agriculture. We are very thankful for DuPont making this program possible,” said ASA President and Roseville, Illinois farmer Ron Moore. “The Young Leader program provides training in key leadership areas and allows participants to form lasting relationships with growers from across the country. This strengthens our industry and allows us to work collaboratively in our local, state and national organizations.”

The 2018 Young Leaders are: James Wray (AR); Jonathan Snow (DE); Rick Dickerson (DE); Joshua Plunk (IL); Chris Steele (IN); Chris Gaesser & Shannon Lizakowski (IA); Kevin & Kim Kohls (KS); Jared & Kimy Nash (KS); Clay & Lindsey Wells (KY); Caleb Frey (LA); Walter & Kristen Grezaffi (LS); Brian & Michelle Washburn (MI); Scott & Polly Wilson (MI); Adam Guetter (MN); James Locke (MS); Tyler Clay (MS); Dane Diehl & Erica Wagenknecht (MO); Kevin & Heather Kucera (NE); Scott Langemeier (NE); Philip Sloop (NC); Logan Ferry (ND); Justin Cowman (OH); Kevin & Brianna Deinert (SD); Jordan & Samantha Scott (SD); Charlie Roberts (TN); AJ Teal (TN) Pat Mullooly (WI); Tanner Johnson (TN); and Ann & Jeff Vermeersch (Ontario, Canada).

“It was a privilege to meet this year’s class of DuPont Young Leaders and talk with them about the challenges and opportunities facing American agriculture,” said Bart Baudler, Commercial Unit Lead – North & West. “We look forward to watching them continue to develop their leadership skills throughout the remaining parts of the program.”

This year’s class of Young Leaders will complete their training Feb. 25 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, California, with training held in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

Lindsay Corporation Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend

Lindsay Corporation, a leading provider of irrigation systems and infrastructure products, announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.30 per share, payable February 28, 2018, to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 14, 2018.

Lindsay manufactures and markets irrigation equipment primarily used in agricultural markets which increase or stabilize crop production while conserving water, energy, and labor.

The company also manufactures and markets infrastructure and road safety products under the Lindsay Transportation Solutions trade name. At October 9, 2017 Lindsay had approximately 10.7 million shares outstanding, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Briggs & Stratton Acquires Spreader and Sprayer Line

Briggs & Stratton Corporation announced that it has acquired the assets of Ground Logic, Inc. of Lincoln, Neb., a designer and manufacturer of premium stand-on commercial spreaders and spreader/sprayers for fertilizer and pesticide-herbicide lawn applications on mid- to large-sized residential and commercial properties.

"This acquisition supports Briggs & Stratton's strategy to 'fill out the trailer' of the commercial lawn and turf professional, with highly-regarded products that are built to stand up to the toughest working demands," says Harold L. Redman, Senior Vice President and Group President - Turf & Consumer Products, Briggs & Stratton. "We will be able to use our industry-leading global distribution network to accelerate growth and are eager to add these products to our portfolio of outdoor power equipment to help commercial business owners get the job done."

Briggs & Stratton financed the transaction from cash on hand. It expects that the acquisition will not have a material effect on fiscal 2018 earnings or cash flows.

Briggs & Stratton Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., is focused on providing power to get work done and make people's lives better. Briggs & Stratton is the world's largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment, and is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of power generation, pressure washer, lawn and garden, turf care and job site products through its Briggs & Stratton, Simplicity, Snapper, Ferris, Vanguard, Allmand, Billy Goat, Murray, Branco and Victa brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents.

 Farmer-owned cooperative CHS elects directors; 2017 officer slate elected

CHS owners have elected farmers from Illinois and Minnesota, and re-elected five other farmers to serve three-year terms as directors of the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and global energy, grains and foods company. The owners also elected a Washington farmer to serve a one-year term on the cooperative's board of directors.

The elections took place during the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting held Dec. 8, in Minneapolis. CHS Directors must be full-time farmers or ranchers to be eligible for election to the 17-member board.

Newly elected Director Scott Cordes of Wanamingo, Minn., succeeds Curt Eischens of Minneota, Minn., who had served on the board since 1990. With his brother and nephew, Cordes operates a 1,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He received his bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota and previously served as the president of CHS Hedging.

Newly elected Director Tracy Jones of Kirkland, Ill., succeeds Greg Kruger of Eleva, Wis., who had served on the board since 2008. Jones, who operates a corn, soybean and wheat farm, and also finishes 1,400 head of feedlot cattle annually, has been chairman of the CHS Elburn board of directors since 2011.

Newly elected Director Russ Kehl of Quincy, Wash., fills the final year of a three-year term previously held by David Bielenberg, who resigned in June 2017. Kehl raises potatoes, dry beans and other crops on a 12,000-acre farm. A director for CHS Connell Grain since 2004, Kehl also operates a dry bean processing facility and cow-calf operation.

Re-elected were C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.; Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D.; Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont.; Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., and Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa.

Following the annual meeting, the CHS Board re-elected Schurr to a one-year term as chairman. Other directors selected as officers for 2018 were:
    C.J. Blew, first vice chairman
    David Johnsrud, Starbuck, Minn., secretary-treasurer
    Jon Erickson, second vice chairman
    Steve Riegel, Ford, Kan., assistant secretary-treasurer

EIA: US Ethanol Stocks, Production Down

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a weekly report Wednesday, Dec. 13, showing decreases for U.S. ethanol inventories and plant production while blending demand increased in during the week-ended Dec. 8.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stockpiles declined by 100,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.4%, to a 22.4 million bbl, moving off a better-than-four-month high posted a week prior, with a year-over-year supply overhang at 3.3 million bbl or 17.3%.

Domestic plant production declined 19,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.7%, to 1.089 million bpd last week, up 49,000 bpd, or 4.7%, year over year. For the four weeks ended last week, ethanol production averaged 1.084 million bpd, 62,000 bpd or 6.1% higher than a year ago.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, increased by 31,000 bpd, or 3.5%, to 916,000 bpd last week, while up 22,000 bpd, or 2.5%, year over year. For the four-week period ended Dec. 8, blending demand averaged 911,000 bpd, up 14,000 bpd, or 1.6%, versus a year ago.

House Agriculture Committee Launches Farm Bill Landing Page

Ahead of the 2018 Farm Bill, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) today announced the launch of a new online resource which can be accessed through the committee’s current website, This landing page is designed to provide updates and information related to the 2018 Farm Bill. Following its launch, Chairman Conaway offered the below remarks:

“I’m committed to completing a farm bill on time. We’ve spent the past three years preparing—holding 113 hearings and six listening sessions around the country. We recognize what’s at stake. We’re working on getting the policy right and will use this site as a resource as we advance the next farm bill.”

U.S. Grains Council Statement On USTR Action At WTO Ministerial

A statement from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Sleight:

"The U.S. Grains Council appreciates the efforts of the leadership of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) during this week's World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference to defend U.S. agricultural and food interests against attempts to weaken rules on domestic support for agriculture.

"In particular, the efforts to provide loopholes on domestic price support programs associated with public stockholding programs for food security purposes pose significant trade distortions. Without resolving the trade-distorting impacts of these policies, it is impossible to support addressing reforms in overall domestic supports.

"The Council strongly supports trade liberalization to help global agriculture collectively address challenges of food security and eradication of poverty by 2050. We can only accomplish those goals if we have an international trade forum to establish disciplines on market access, trade distorting policies and non-tariff barriers.

"The Council encourages all members of the WTO to use the results of the Ministerial this week to reflect on how we can collectively approach these issues in a new way that will bridge the existing differences.

“We only have 22 chances between now and 2050 to produce bountiful harvests in a safe and sustainable manner and meet the imperative of global food security. Establishing the right trade architecture now is critical to our mutual success."

Lighthizer Defends U.S. Agriculture at WTO Ministerial

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) thanks U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for his efforts to defend U.S. agriculture against attempts to weaken the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on domestic support in agriculture. The Buenos Aires Ministerial would be a failure if the trade liberalizing mission of the WTO were to take a massive step backwards through a permanent exemption for market price supports for certain major agriculture producers.
India and other countries have attempted to create a permanent loophole for certain types of price support programs associated with state-run stockpiling programs. These types of price supports can be highly trade distorting, violating both WTO rules and the spirit of trade liberalization that the organization is meant to embody.

Worse, by holding the entire trade negotiating system hostage to demands to weaken commitments on agriculture, these countries are undermining the WTO and exacerbating the institutional challenges it faces.

Domestic support negotiations are a non-starter for U.S. agriculture without market access liberalization. For example, India’s bound tariff rate on wheat is 100 percent, giving it more than enough policy space to restrict all wheat imports. U.S. tariffs are much lower in virtually all products.

To be clear, USW does not object to holding public stocks for food security, which is critical for all countries. Public stockholding has always been included in the Agreement on Agriculture’s “Green Box” of non-trade distorting support, but with the recognition that administered prices (i.e. price supports) should be properly notified considering their potential to distort trade. There is no such restriction on purchases for public stocks using market prices.

U.S. farmers are firmly committed to open markets and continuing productive negotiations at the WTO and other forums to improve the global trading system. Giving in to misguided attempts to weaken the system while holding hostage all other negotiations is a recipe for failure far greater than the lack of a ministerial declaration in Buenos Aires. U.S. agriculture needs a strong, vibrant WTO, but WTO rules needs to be strengthened, not weakened. If the only outcome in agriculture at the Buenos Aires ministerial were to be the creation of a massive, permanent loophole for the most trade distorting programs, the ministerial would be a failure.

Last week, U.S. Wheat Associates and 13 other agriculture organizations sent a letter to USTR in advance of the ministerial.

Registration Now Open for 2018 World Meat Congress

For the first time in more than 20 years, the world’s premier gathering of red meat industry leaders is coming to the United States. Hosted by the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the 22nd World Meat Congress will be held in Dallas, Texas, May 30-June 1, 2018.

The World Meat Congress is a biennial event, with the 2018 theme being “Trusting in Trade.” USMEF CEO Emeritus Philip Seng notes that the conference presents an opportunity to highlight the essential role international trade plays in the growth and viability of the global red meat industry.

“The IMS is composed of representatives of about 30 countries, sharing information about how the industry can work together to be more trade-progressive,” Seng said. “At the World Meat Congress, we expect to discuss and debate critical, timely issues related to globalization and economics, as well as the evolving priorities of our customers and how the red meat industry can better meet the needs of the consumer of tomorrow.”

While World Meat Congress participants compete intensely for global market share, Seng explains that there are many areas in which they share common interests.

“This is an opportunity to draw from the world’s foremost experts on topics such as health and nutrition, production technologies, animal care and sustainability – issues that demand our full attention if the red meat industry is going to continue to expand and thrive,” Seng said.

IMS President Guillaume Roué said the 2018 World Meat Congress will appeal to a broad range of participants whose professional interests are impacted by trade policy, as open meat trade is crucial to improving livelihoods and food security, and for meeting sustainable development goals.

“From industry to government to meat science and academia, the World Meat Congress is a one-of-a-kind event and the benefits of attending are substantial,” said Roué, who is also president of INAPORC, France’s interprofessional pork industry organization. “We are excited to co-host this year’s conference with USMEF and anxious to bring the event to the United States at a time when the world is especially interested in the U.S. approach to agricultural trade.”

Registration, lodging and other details are available from the World Meat Congress website. Participants who register by March 14 will qualify for the Early Bird rate. Guest speakers and a more detailed meeting agenda will be available soon.

Registration now open for 2018 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit

Registration is now open for the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2018 Stakeholders Summit, themed Protect Your Roots. The event, now in its 17th year, will be held May 3-4 at the Renaissance Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va. Discounted early registration fees and a special hotel rate are available through April 1 (pending availability).

“After record-breaking Summit attendance in Kansas City this year, we are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2018 event,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Our hotel block has filled early for the past several years, so I encourage you to make arrangements today to secure your spot at the table to be part of the critical conversations we’ll have at the 2018 Summit.”

The Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference attended by a diverse group of decision makers, including representatives from farms, ranches, food processors, restaurants, grocery stores, legislatures, universities and government agencies.

The 2018 Summit will inspire attendees representing all facets of animal agriculture to be proud of their past and current roles in the industry and challenge them to be forward-thinking about how we can continue to grow into the future. Even if communication is not part of their job description, Summit attendees will leave with new perspectives on key issues and ready to engage with influencers to secure the future of animal agriculture.

If you have an idea for a presentation or panel discussion that fits the 2018 Summit theme and will provide unique and thought-provoking ideas for attendees, you are encouraged to submit your application by Friday, December 15.

Be sure to check the Summit website for the most up-to-date Summit information. You can also follow the hashtags #AAA18 and #ProtectYourRoots for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact or call (703) 562-5160.

Get involved:
Show your support for the Alliance’s outreach efforts by becoming an official Summit sponsor today! For a complete listing of the 2017 Summit sponsors or to see the 2018 sponsorship opportunities, please visit For more information, contact Allyson Jones-Brimmer at

Thank you to our 2018 Summit sponsors: Watt Global Media, Farm Journal Media, Meatingplace, American Feed Industry Association, Council for Biotechnology Information, Farm Credit Council, United Egg Producers, Cobb-Vantress Inc., National Biodiesel Board, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Protect the Harvest and National Pork Board.

The Alliance also thanks the following members for their continued support of Summit and other Alliance programs: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Merck Animal Health, Charleston|Orwig, Diamond V, Zoetis, Alltech, Inc., Aviagen Group, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health, Cargill, Cattle Empire, LLC, Genus PLC - PIC/ABS, Hendrix Genetics, Hy-Line North America LLC, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, Potash Corp., Provimi North America, Inc., Seaboard Foods LLC, Smithfield Hog Production and Iowa Soybean Board.

Fertilizer Prices Still Mixed

Average retail prices for most fertilizers continued to move higher, while the price for two fertilizers moved lower during the first week of December 2017, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

As has been the case for two weeks in a row, six of the eight major fertilizer prices were higher compared to the previous month. Also, like last week, none of the six were up a noteworthy amount.

DAP had an average price of $438/ton, MAP $471/ton, potash $343, urea $344/ton, 10-34-0 $404/ton and anhydrous $424/ton.

The two remaining fertilizers were lower in price compared to a month earlier, but once again, neither was down a sizeable amount. UAN28 had an average price of $215/ton while 10-34-0 was at $251/ton.

On a price-per-pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

Four fertilizer prices are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, urea is 3% more expensive, MAP is 6% higher and potash is now 8% more expensive.

The remaining four fertilizers are lower compared to a year prior. Both UAN28 and UAN32 are 2% lower while both anhydrous and 10-34-0 are 9% less expensive.

U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Up in November

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in November 2017, were up 9% compared to the same month last year.

Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 10% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 11%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 3%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were down 22%. Combine sales were up 41% for the month.

For the eleven months in 2017, a total of 203,208 tractors were sold which compares to 194,037 sold thru November 2016 representing a 5% increase for the year.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 8% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were even. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 8%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 3%.  Sales of combines for the year total 3,638 an increase of 5% from 2016.

A Year of Accomplishments for Ag

Zippy Duvall, AFBF President

As 2017 ends, Farm Bureau can reflect on a year of action on behalf of farmers and ranchers.

Most recently, both the House and Senate passed Farm Bureau-supported tax reform plans, with lower income tax rates and continued provisions to help farmers balance out fluctuations in revenue and expenses. Plus, both bills double the estate tax exemption and continue stepped-up basis, which sets the value of inherited assets at the time of transfer, reducing the taxable gain. It’s great to see action on the long-sought goal of tax reform that rewards hard work and takes the volatility of farm and ranch income into account.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced it would review the Waters of the U.S. rule that the previous administration put out in 2015. Farm Bureau waged an all-out campaign to ditch the WOTUS rule because it gave federal regulators too much control over farming and ranching on thousands of acres—far beyond what is needed to protect water. Now, we are encouraging the EPA to rescind the 2015 WOTUS rule and ensure new regulations are limited to what is necessary and appropriate under the law. The administration is also reviewing other regulations for potential reforms, and Farm Bureau has weighed in with recommendations.

The administration also announced it would reduce the size of two federal monuments, the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase – Escalante monuments, that had been enlarged by the Obama administration. The Antiquities Act requires the president to reserve the smallest area necessary to protect land of historic or scientific interest. However, too often the law has been abused to prevent farmers and ranchers from using the land for grazing or water resources. The current administration’s action corrects the previous one’s abuse of power and returns some common sense to natural resource management.

As 2018 nears, we set our sights on enacting a new farm bill that maintains reliable risk management programs, on continuing to defend our trade agreements and work to reach new ones, and on finally addressing the ag labor shortage that threatens our ability to grow and harvest U.S.-grown food.

I hope you are proud of everything you have accomplished on your farms and in your communities this year, and I wish everyone a merry Christmas!

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