Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wednesday December 27 Ag News

What Farmers and Ranchers Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

The new Tax Reform package offers a number of important changes for those in agriculture and Nebraska Farm Bureau has been very involved in making sure farmers and ranchers benefit from Congress’s first major tax reform package in more than 30 years. It is truly a “win” for Nebraska farm and ranch families, Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau said, when President Trump signed the bill Dec. 22.

Nebraska Farm Bureau staff, Jay Rempe, senior economist and Jordan Dux, director of national affairs, conducted an analysis of the Tax Reform package and provides 10 important things farmers and ranchers need to know about the new tax package. It’s important to keep in mind that Nebraska Farm Bureau has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. As with anything, farmers and ranchers should consult a tax professional in order to fully examine how these new changes affect their individual operations.

    Lower Rates for Pass-Through Businesses, Individuals, and Corporations - The new law continues seven tax brackets for individuals and all pass-through business income (sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations) but expands them and lowers tax rates which are indexed for inflation. The law also doubles the standard deduction. Unfortunately, the new pass-through rates and brackets do expire on December 31, 2025. Pass-throughs will be able to deduct 20 percent of their business income, which includes payments from cooperatives, commodity wages, and farmland rental income.

The following limitations will apply:
-    The deduction is limited for partnerships and S-corporations to 50 percent of W-2 wages paid to employees OR the sum of 25 percent of W-2 wages paid plus 2.5 percent of depreciable business property.
-    The W-2 limitation does not apply to taxpayers when taxable income does not exceed $315,000/$157,000 joint/individual and would be completely phased out when income reaches $415,000/$207,000 joint/individual.
-    The deduction is not available to some service businesses, for example, veterinarians with taxable income over $150,000. The deduction for service businesses starts to phase out at $50,000 of income.

C-Corporation Businesses: The law sets the corporate tax rate at a flat 21 percent instead of the current 15 percent, 25 percent, 34 percent, and 35 percent brackets.

Implications for 2017: Depending on your individual circumstances, farmers and ranchers may want to consider deferring income to next year as the lower rates take effect for the 2018 tax year.

    The Ability to Make Capital Investments Has Improved - The new law permanently increases the amount of expenditures than can be deducted using Sect. 179 small business expensing from $500,000 to $1 million and increases the expenditure level at which the deduction begins to phase out from $2 million to $2.5 million indexed for inflation.

Immediate Expensing (bonus depreciation): Farmers and ranchers generally use bonus depreciation when expenditures exceed the Sect. 179 small business deduction limits. All farm structures qualify for the bonus depreciation deduction. The bill allows businesses to fully and immediately write off business investments through 2022 and expands the deduction to include used as well as new purchases. After 2022, the percentage deduction reduces by 20 percent each year until bonus depreciation is eliminated beginning in 2027.

Depreciation of Farm Machinery: The bills shorten the depreciation period for farm equipment and machinery from seven to five years.

Implications for 2017: Farmers and ranchers might consider making some year-end purchases of new or used equipment. The new law's effective date for the expanded bonus depreciation rules start for property purchased on or after September 28, 2017.

    Farmers and Ranchers Can Still Fully Deduct Their Property Taxes - If you normally expense your property taxes on agricultural land and other business property on a Schedule C, E, or F, you will continue to be able to fully deduct them. The new law does limit an individual's ability to deduct their local property taxes and state income taxes at a combined $10,000, for those who itemize deductions.

    While Not Eliminated, the Estate Tax Exemption is Doubled - The new law doubles the estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11 million and indexes the exemption for inflation. Unfortunately, the increased exemption expires on December 31, 2025. The bill does not change current stepped-up basis rules.

    Cash Accounting Expanded - The law expands the number of farm corporations and farm partnerships with a corporate partner that will be able to utilize cash accounting.

    1031 Exchanges are Continued for Real Property - The new law continues like-kind exchanges for buildings and land, however it would end for equipment and livestock.

    Most Farms and Ranches Can Continue to Deduct Business Interest - The new law continues the interest deduction for businesses with less than $25 million of gross receipts indexed for inflation. Carryover rules are available to apply the excess interest expense to future years.

    Obamacare Mandate is Repealed and Health Care Deduction is Maintained - The bill's repeals of the individual mandate by removing the penalty for individuals who do not purchase health insurance. The new law also maintains the deduction for medical expenses for those who itemize deductions.

9.    New Limits on Net Operating Losses (NOL) - The new law allows NOL to be carried forward indefinitely instead of current law 20 years but limits NOL to 80 percent of income. NOL can be carried back for two years instead of the five years as currently allowed for farms and ranches.

Implications for 2017: This should be discussed with your accountant.

    Section 199 is Eliminated, but a Fix was Included. The new law allows farmers to receive a 20 percent deduction on all payments from a farmer cooperative. The deduction cannot exceed the taxpayer's taxable income for the year. The cooperative will then receive a 20 percent deduction on gross income less payments to patrons, limited to the greater of 50 percent of wages, or 25 percent of wages plus 2.5 percent of the cooperative's investment in property.

Carstensens Inducted into Iowa Cattlemen's Association Hall of Fame

Kevin and Terri Carstensen celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in November, and were inducted in to the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame in December.

The couple, who raised cattle in Sac County, have served in a variety of leadership roles throughout the years, even earning themselves the title of “First Couple” when he was president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and she was chair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council at the same time.

As a board member, and later, president, of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA), Kevin has long worked to improve the regulations and rules that impact cattle producers in Iowa. “ICA is our voice, so to speak, because they can be there 24-7 during the legislative process. I think that’s huge,” he says. “A lot of people say, ‘They can’t do us any good.’ Well, I don’t know where we’d be if we didn’t have a voice and lobbying.”

Kevin’s dedication to the ICA began in the 1980s when Maynard Jayne, ICA lobbyist, challenged him to become involved. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has nearly 10,000 members across the state of Iowa, and works to grow the Iowa beef business through leadership and education for producers. ICA also represents cattle producers at the state and national level on issues that impact cattlemen. According to Kevin, Jayne helped him realize the importance of the political process and the role that ICA plays in it. Since that time, he’s also realized how the work of politicians in Des Moines or Washington, DC, impacts cattle producers in Iowa. “There’s probably a hundred different ways policy has affected what I do on my farm,” he says, “but one of the biggest happened about 15 years ago, when EPA’s Clean Water Act came into play.”

Throughout his tenure, Kevin has served as ICA membership vice chair and chair, ICA Political Action Committee chair, and district director. He has also been involved with ICA’s Finance Committee, and currently serves as the treasurer for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation. Kevin served as the ICA Northwest Iowa Regional Vice President for four years and president of the association for two years. He was also on two CEO selection committees.

Kevin’s impact on the cattle industry was not limited to Iowa. He served as chair of the Private Lands and Environmental Management Committee for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the feedlot representative for the Environmental Stewardship Awards Program. He has testified before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of cattlemen and was involved in the dust rules review of the Clean Air Act. The couple has also led EPA representatives on a tour of their farm.

Work with environmental committees and policies impacted the way the Carstensens managed their own farm over the years, as well. They raise crops with conservation in mind, using minimum tillage, grid soil sampling, terraces, buffer strips and grassed waterways. Over the years, they have continuously improved their feedlot operation with environmental quality in mind, as well. Six rows of tress in windbreaks surround the farm, and an Iowa State University manure management research and demonstration project helped maximize the nutrients available from the feedlot.

While Kevin was busy leading Iowa’s cattle industry in its political advocacy efforts, Terri led another important organization in the Iowa beef industry: the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC).

IBIC is the Beef Checkoff Program in Iowa. Funded by the $1 per head national checkoff and 50 cent per head Iowa state checkoff, the beef checkoff works to increase demand for beef through education, promotion and research. Advertising, public relations efforts, educational programs and new product development are important ways the checkoff works for the Iowa beef industry.

Last year, Iowa cattle producers voted to reinstate the Iowa State Beef Checkoff, adding the 50 cents to the $1 per head national checkoff, which had been in place for 30 years. Terri firmly believes in the importance of the beef checkoff, and says that the additional funds from the state checkoff offers “tremendous opportunities for the checkoff to reach more consumers with the message.”

The checkoff, Terri says, is vital to Iowa’s beef producers like her and Kevin. “It’s another level of our business. We can’t do everything - and I know that people have heard that many, many times - but it’s true. We can’t be doing all of the promoting and all of the education and all of the research ourselves, so this is another arm of our business. And when you look at the value we receive for our $1.50, it’s phenomenal.”

From advertising campaigns, like the re-launch of the iconic “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign to work with retailers and dieticians to feature the health benefits of beef, the checkoff is reaching consumers in new and innovative ways. While advertising of the past primarily took place on television, more recent beef ads are appearing online, as part of smartphone apps, or on social media. “We need to tell the millennials our story and help them realize the benefits of beef in the diet,” Terri says.

Terri served 14 years on the board of directors for the Iowa Beef Industry Council, fulfilling the roles of treasurer, vice chair and chair during her tenure. She has also been active with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation’s Youth Beef Team.

Nationally, Terri is also a recognized leader. She was NCBA Federation Director for the state of Iowa and was elected Region III Federation Director, representing Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. She was a federation committee member of the NCBA Joint Budget Committee, and served as vice chair and chair of the “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” national advertising campaign. She has also served on the NCBA Nominating Committee, which selects national leadership; two years on the operating committee, which determines how national checkoff dollars are allocated; and was chair of the Consumer Information Committee, which oversees 5 subcommittees. She also took part in the 3 member committee that selected sites for NCBA annual conventions.

Much of Terri’s work at the local, state and national level has focused on increasing the demand for beef in the US and abroad. Terri represented Iowa in trade missions with the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) and United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Mexico and Costa Rica. Kevin also participated in trade missions to Japan and South Korea.

Trade missions like the ones the Carstensens took part in help build relationships, understanding and trust with foreign customers of US beef, and expand beef’s position in the global marketplace. International markets added $277.31 to the value of a fed steer in 2017, significantly helping Iowa cattle producers’ bottoms lines. “If we didn’t have our global markets,” Terri says, “we’d be back to the BSE years and that was devastating to cattle producers.”

Closer to home, the Carstensens have raised three children on the farm. Distie and her husband live in London with their two sons. Daughter Charise and her husband live in Des Moines with their 17 month old daughter. They are expecting a son in the spring. Carstensens’ son, Durel, and his wife have three young sons, and live in Minnesota.

Although Kevin and Terri’s children did not return to the farm, they are very passionate about agriculture and their roots in rural Iowa. Their career paths have led to opportunities for other young Iowans to partner with the Carstensens in their farming operation. Kevin and Terri have worked with three nearby young farmers as partners to help them gain a foothold in the farming business.

More than 40 years of life on the farm combined with leadership positions in our country’s most influential beef organizations has taught the Carstensens many lessons over the years – lessons they’re eager to share with younger producers. Kevin summed up that advice in an article he wrote for the Iowa Cattleman magazine in 2006, and says the advice is still applicable today:
•    Set your goals high
•    Absorb as much knowledge as possible
•    Turn negatives into positives
•    Be yourself
•    Strengthen your faith
•    Take pride in being a cattleman
•    Seize opportunity whenever possible
•    Call a spade a spade
•    Be passionate and honest in everything you do
•    Think and do outside the box
•    Love your country and embrace freedom

He adds one more piece of advice for today, though: Be careful how you manage risk.
And when you make money, put a little away for a rainy day.

Kevin and Terri weathered the storm of the 1980s, and recognize that many of today’s younger producers haven’t experienced that type of economic climate before. So, they caution farmers to be careful with their finances, and involve both spouses in the financial decisions on the farm. Terri has always managed the book work for the farm, but recognizes that many farm wives work off the farm, and it may be harder to stay involved.

The Carstensens’ partnership at home and on the farm is symbolic of the partnership between the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association today. Just as Kevin and Terri have worked together to maintain their farm over the years, Iowa beef industry organizations work together to protect and grow Iowa’s beef business.

Both Kevin and Terri are still active in the state, local, and national cattle industry organizations. Although they have given a lifetime of service to the beef industry, they show few signs of slowing down now. As Kevin says, “We need to spread our passion for the cattle industry.  We need to involve the young people in our communities.  We need to stand up for what‘s right and we need to love our families, friends, God and this country to ensure this livelihood for years to come.”


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today highlighted some of the top ag issues in Iowa in 2017.

“While the challenging economic conditions on the farm continued in 2017, I was extremely encouraged to continue to see farmers experimenting and investing in water quality efforts on their farm. We continue to see Iowans on the farm and in our communities taking on the challenge of improving water quality. It is encouraging to see growth by farmers in both infield practices, such as cover crops and no-till, but also edge of field practices, like wetlands and bioreactors, as we work to address this important issue,” said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

“In many cases Iowa farmers saw surprisingly good yields this year, but with that strong supply we continue to see low prices. That highlights again how important it is we continue to build demand for our ag products, both domestically and internationally.  As strong livestock industry, expanding use of renewable fuels and promoting international trade are all vitally important,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

Weather Challenges, Surprising Yields

In general, Iowa farmers had pretty good yields despite some weather challenges. Parts of the state were in abnormally dry or drought conditions for significant parts of the growing season, with south central and southeast Iowa being the hardest hit areas.

Despite the weather challenges, Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.54 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Production report. This would be second largest Iowa crop on record, only beaten by last year’s record of 2.74 billion bushels. The statewide average yield is expected to be 197 bushels per acre.

Soybean production is forecast at 557 million bushels for Iowa, which would be the second largest crop on record. The statewide yield forecast is 56 bushels per acre.

Low crop prices over the past few years has made it a challenging time on the farm economically as in many cases current prices are below the cost of production for farmers.  Average statewide corn prices continued to fall and the statewide average for November was $2.9985, which is down from $3.008 last November.  Statewide average soybean prices for November were $9.0412, which is down from $9.25 last year.

While still a challenging year economically for Iowa livestock farmers, they have seen some better prices and lower feed costs.  Cattle prices were at $109 per hundred weight in October, up from $101 per hundred weight last year.   Hog prices were at $47.30 in October, up from $41.70 last year.

Iowa egg production in October 2017 was 1.33 billion eggs, up 4 percent from last month, and up 3 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during October 2017 was 55.5 million, up 3 percent from last year.  Egg prices have recovered some from last year and were at $.68 per dozen in October, up from just $.21 per dozen last year.

There were also 12.1 million turkeys raised in Iowa in 2017.  Iowa currently ranks 7th in US turkey production. Tyson Foods in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty process 15.5 million turkeys annually. Subway and Jimmy John’s both serve Iowa turkey, but you can also find it in your grocery store via Jimmy Dean and private label sliced turkey.

Milk production in Iowa during October 2017 totaled 437 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous October. Iowa was home to 219,000 milk cows in October, which is 4,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,995 pounds, up 40 pounds from last October. The October all milk price of $17.90 per cwt is 10 cents higher than September and $1.20 higher than October 2016.

Iowa also continues to see growth in new areas as well, including 242 goat dairies and approximately 60 aquaculture producers.

The farm economy remains challenged by the low prices, but land prices have stabilized and increased by 2 percent over the past year according to Iowa State University’s annual land value survey.

In addition, exports remain strong and critically important to the state’s agriculture industry.  Iowa leads the nation in exports of pork ($1.98 billion), corn ($1.39 billion) and feed grain ($1.50 billion) and second in soybean exports ($2.51 billion) and is second in the nation for overall value of agricultural exports. To help continue to grow exports, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey participated in trade mission to China and Kosovo and Deputy Secretary Naig participated in a trade mission to Mexico.

Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is continuing to expand efforts to work with all Iowans to make water quality improvements.

The Department announced an innovative new program aimed at increasing acres of cover crops in the state. Iowa farmers who plant cover crops this fall (2017) may be eligible for a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance in 2018. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) worked with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), who oversees the federal crop insurance program, to establish this three year demonstration project.

The Department also had more than 2,600 farmers signed up to try cover crops, no-till/strip-till or nitrification inhibitors on more than 270,000 acres in 98 counties.  The state will provide nearly $4.8 million in cost share funds to match the $8.7 million investment by Iowa farmers.  This record participation in the program includes more than 1000 first-time participants.

Iowa farmers planted more than 353,000 acres of cover crops with financial assistance from state and federal conservation programs in the fall of 2016 – nearly 18 percent more than the previous year. Based on statewide surveys and aerial imagery completed by conservation groups this spring, it is estimated Iowa farmers planted at least 600,000 cover crop acres last fall.

There are also currently 56 existing demonstration projects located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices through the initiative. More than 220 organizations are participating in these projects.  These partners will provide $32.3 million dollars to go with over $21.7 million in state funding going to these projects.

More information about the initiative can be found at

Animal Health Emergency Preparations Continue

The Department continues efforts to update response plans for potential animal disease emergency. As part of that effort, the Department hosted a tabletop exercise designed to help test response capabilities and review the Department’s updated Foot-and-Mouth Disease Response Plan that was completed this spring.  More than 60 federal, state and local agency, academic and industry professionals participated in the exercise.

The Department also announced that Dr. Judith LaBounty has been hired as the new Emergency Management Veterinarian for Iowa. The Department received an additional $100,000 from the Iowa Legislature to support preparations for a foreign animal disease outbreak and a portion of that funding is being used for this position.  In this role, Dr. LaBounty will support the Departments efforts to ensure emergency response plans are up to date, organize disease response exercises and work with industry partners. A portion of her time will also be dedicated to working in the field as a district veterinarian.

Drift Watch

In 2017 the Department partnered with the non-profit company FieldWatch™, Inc., to improve the online registry tools available to promote communication between producers of pesticide-sensitive (i.e. specialty) crops, beekeepers and pesticide applicators. The new registry offers two online platforms that provide state of the art mapping features.  DriftWatch® is a registry site for use by producers of commercial crops sensitive to pesticides and includes the online capacity to map boundaries around production fields.  BeeCheck® is a registry site for beekeepers that designates one-mile radius boundaries around apiaries.

Sensitive crop producers with apiaries may enter hive locations using either the DriftWatch® or BeeCheck® registries.  Pesticide applicators can also register in a separate FieldWatch registry for detailed crop and beehive site location data in their spray areas.  More information for farmers and beekeepers interested in registering sensitive sites can be found at

Pork Demand Remains Steady As Signs Point to Strong Fourth Quarter

Pig farmers and food production companies alike are wrapping up a successful 2017 that continues to show steady consumer demand for pork. The summer grilling season ended strongly, and signs point to a solid year-end opportunity for ham.

According to Nielsen Perishables Group data for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 28, total sausage and rib volumes were up from the same time last year 3.3 percent and 2.6 percent respectively, while sales were up in those categories 4.1 percent and 3.2 percent.

"Summer is always an ideal time for cooking pork outdoors," said Patrick Fleming, National Pork Board director of market intelligence. "Whether it was brats on the grill or a few racks of ribs on the smoker, consumers made room for pork on their picnic plate in 2017."

That momentum carried over into fall, as overall retail spending on pork by U.S. consumers was up by more than 3 percent in dollar sales during the month of October.

The Nielsen data shows that consumer spending for ham was up a slight 1 percent for the 13-week period ending Oct. 28. Fleming acknowledges this demonstrates strong consumer demand for a pork cut that normally shines at year end due to the holidays.

"It's encouraging to see that more consumers are spending more on ham as we head into the holiday season," said Fleming. "We are already hearing anecdotally that some key retailers saw more hams leave the cold case heading into Thanksgiving. The volume of hams currently in storage should create favorable price points for consumers through yearend and into 2018."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service, frozen ham inventories at the end of October were up 2.1 percent, compared to this time last year. With both strong summer and fall sales performance, pork producers are encouraged by signs that point to a strong finish to the year.

Expanding U.S. Commodity Markets Top Priority for AMS

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service announced it has facilitated in the export of more than $3.8 billion of American produced agricultural products in Fiscal Year 2017 through its Export Verification, grading and classing programs.

In a major victory for U.S. beef producers, AMS export certification programs were a key component in the reopening of the market for U.S. beef exports to China for the first time in 13 years. Since mid-June, U.S. beef exports to the world's most populous nation have already totaled more than 3.4 million pounds valued at $17.2 million.

"American agricultural companies compete worldwide, and I am incredibly proud of the role that the Agricultural Marketing Service plays to support the jobs these businesses create across the country," said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. "Every day they provide the agriculture industry valuable services with the integrity and customer focus Secretary Perdue expects of all USDA staff to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country."

A new infographic highlights AMS accomplishments in 2017 in support of American farmers, ranchers and businesses.

Other agricultural products inspected or certified by AMS for export last year include 145.3 million metric tons of U.S. grains and 1.6 billion shell eggs. AMS issued over 44,000 export certificates for American dairy farmers, producers and exporters contributing to the $5.3 billion in milk and dairy exports from the United States in 2017. The Pre-Export Check program issued over 13,000 certificates for 583 million pounds of U.S. almonds, worth $1.7 billion, destined for sale in the European Union.

Domestically, AMS staff graded or inspected 20.9 billion pounds of beef, 75.1 million pounds of lamb, 27.5 million pounds of veal/calf, 7.5 billion pounds of poultry, 44.4 billion shell eggs, 1 billion pounds of butter, 12.5 billion pounds of processed fruit and vegetable products, and 52 billion pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. The AMS Cotton Program is on course to classify samples from over 20 million bales by the end of the current season in June 2018.

AMS supported USDA's National School Lunch Program with purchases of over 1.6 billion pounds of food, including fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. Agency staff also inspected over 223 million servings of military combat rations to help ensure the quality of meals prepared for American troops.

In 2017, the agency initiated nearly $1 million in new public/private cooperative research agreements and workshops aimed at improving transportation infrastructure for agricultural exporters. This work will enable transportation planners, providers, and customers at the federal, state, and local levels to improve shipping infrastructure for U.S. exports from rural America to international markets.

Farmers Urge Congress to Extend Lapsed Tax Credits for Biodiesel, Renewable Energy

A recently introduced bill would continue several expired tax provisions important to farmers and ranchers.  Offered by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Tax Extenders Act of 2017 (S. 2256) would extend several tax credits for biodiesel, renewable energy and for short line railroads.  Most of the credits expired in 2016.

In a recent letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to pass legislation extending these key provisions, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 55 other organizations explained that these expired provisions impact sectors vital to the U.S. economy and support tens of thousands of jobs nationwide.

“Acting to extend these expired tax provisions will allow businesses and individuals to make important planning decisions. Allowing these provisions to remain lapsed creates confusion in the marketplace, and effectively increases taxes on entities that create jobs and economic growth,” the groups wrote.

House and Senate tax writing committees are expected to work on tax extenders in January.

The Tax Extenders Act of 2017 would continue the following Farm Bureau-supported tax provisions, most of which expired in 2016, for 2017 and 2018:
-    The $1.01-per-gallon income tax credit for cellulosic biofuel
-    The $1.00-per-gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits for biodiesel and blending biodiesel
-     The 10-cents-per-gallon Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit
-     The $1.00-per-gallon biodiesel excise tax credit that can be taken against fuel taxes
-    The 30-percent investment tax credit for installing alternative vehicle refueling property
-    The 2.3 cents-per-kilowatt hour Production Tax Credit for energy from closed-loop biomass and the 1.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour credit for closed-loop biomass
-    The option of taking an investment tax credit in lieu of Production Tax Credit (Currently, it’s 24 percent for 2017, 18 percent for 2018, 12 percent for 2019 and expires in 2020.)
-    The investment tax credit for installation costs of facilities that produce electricity from wind (Currently, it’s 24 percent for 2017, 18 percent for 2018, 12 percent for 2019 and expires in 2020.)
-    The Distributed Wind Investment Tax Credit for electricity production facilities
-    The 50-percent Railroad Track Maintenance Credit for short line railroads

EPA Proposes Grain Sorghum Oil Pathway

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register today on the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with biofuels that are produced from grain sorghum oil extracted at dry-mill ethanol plants.

EPA is seeking comment for 30 days on its proposed assessment that using distillers sorghum oil as a feedstock results in no significant agricultural sector GHG emissions. Through EPA analysis, biodiesel produced from distillers sorghum meets the lifecycle GHG emissions reduction threshold of 50 percent required for advanced biofuels, and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

“After almost four years of work by National Sorghum Producers industry partners and staff, we are excited to see this proposed rule in the Federal Register, putting us one step closer to sorghum oil filling biodiesel production needs,” said John Duff, NSP Strategic Business Director. “This is significant positive news for sorghum producers and ethanol plants in the Sorghum Belt as it provides more opportunities and better returns producing ethanol from sorghum.”

The proposed rule is a result of a petition filed by NSP and extensive work with the EPA providing data and analysis during the rule making process. A pathway approval will allow the production of biodiesel and heating oil from distillers sorghum oil, and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil.

“This news is much anticipated, and we sincerely appreciate the help of our renewable energy partners, ethanol plants and producer leaders,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “We are also grateful for all the congressional leaders who signed a supporting letter and Senator Jerry Moran, Congressman Roger Marshall and Congressman Jodey Arrington who made calls to the EPA supporting the pathway, as well.”

Farm Bill Payment Calculator Available for 2018 Estimates

A calculator to help producers estimate the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments they may receive in 2018 is available online.

Visit or search for "NDSU farm bill" on Google.

The payments are for the 2017 crop year, but the final determination and issuance of payments are not made until the last three months of 2018.

Producers face a challenging profit environment for 2018, and any source of revenue will be important in projecting cash flow, according to Andy Swenson, NDSU Extension farm and family resource management specialist.

"With current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) price projections, base acres of canola, corn, wheat, barley, sunflower and flax should generate payments if enrolled in the PLC program," Swenson says. "Amounts will vary from farm to farm, but a typical situation in North Dakota would be around $40 per base acre of canola and flax, $30 per acre for the wheat base and $20 per base acre of barley and sunflower."

The PLC safety net is triggered by low prices. Payments will be reduced or eliminated if prices rise, but this loss of revenue could be offset by greater income from the market if producers grow those crops.

The ARC program is more complicated and difficult to project because it is a safety net triggered by the combination of price and yield, Swenson says.

Current USDA price projections indicate that if actual 2017 county yields are the same as the county benchmark yield, wheat and flax base acres would generate a maximum ARC payment, and the corn, barley and oats base would generate about half of a maximum payment.

The maximum possible ARC payment for the 2017 crop year will vary by crop and by county in North Dakota but would range from about $20 to $35 per wheat base acre and between $15 and $25 per flax base acre.

Using the USDA's current price projections and average county yields in 2017, the sunflower base enrolled in the ARC program will generate a slight payment and soybeans are right on the edge. The soybean base would generate an ARC payment if the county yield is one bushel or more below the county average yield.

For more information about ARC-CO and PLC payments, visit

The Cowboy Channel Announces Launch on DIRECTV®

The Cowboy Channel, the first 24-hour television network totally dedicated to western sports and the western lifestyle, announced the launch on DIRECTV channel 603 beginning December 27th, 2017.  With this announcement, The Cowboy Channel is now distributed by all major MSOs including DISH channel 232, AT&T U-Verse channel 566, Suddenlink channel 365, Verizon FIOS channel 246, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Comcast, Mediacom, and many other rural cable systems. In addition, The Cowboy Channel can also be streamed via Sling TV’s Heartland Extra package.

Headquartered in the Fort Worth Stockyards, The Cowboy Channel features content focused on rodeo, bull riding, roping, reining, barrel racing, and other western sports anchor, along with western fashion, music, and movies. The lineup also features a wide variety of “live” coverage from major western events showcasing the world’s toughest and most talented cowboys, cowgirls, and bull riders.

“We are extremely pleased with the traction that The Cowboy Channel is getting both with distributors and viewers less than 6 months after launch” stated Patrick Gottsch, Founder & President of TCC.  “Research showed a demand and void for a channel devoted to western sports.  The Cowboy Channel fits perfectly with RFD-TV, and this 2nd channel gives us the opportunity to really expand content for all that encompasses the western lifestyle.”

-     "Western Sports Round-Up" – News, interviews, and features focused on western sports in this daily, one-hour “live” broadcast. Hosted by Steve Kenyon & Amy Wilson.
-    RFD-TV's The AMERICAN – Live coverage of the world’s richest one-day rodeo from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
-    Cowboy Christmas – A daily three-hour broadcast live from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for ten days each December featuring news and interviews recapping the competition.
-    "Debbe Dunning’s Dude Ranch Round-Up" – Travel and experience a different dude ranch each week with the former Tool Time girl, Debbe Dunning, from “Home Improvement.
-    John Wayne Theatre – Classic westerns starring “The Duke” and hosted by the Wayne family.
-    Rodeo Tonight – Live coverage from around the U.S. and Canada and many of the rodeos taking place each weekend throughout the summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment