Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday January 19 Ag News

Emissions Reporting for Cattle Operations
(from Nebraska Cattlemen)

This is an update on our progress related to CERCLA and EPCRA reporting requirements for cattle producers. To recap, in April 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court determined that EPA did not have the authority to exempt agriculture from these reporting requirements, thus vacating an exemption that was on the books for 10 years.

The D.C. Circuit is expected to issue the mandate (make it official) on CERCLA reporting (air emissions) on Monday, Jan. 22.  This could take a few days before it is issued on paper, but once it's official the reporting period will be triggered.  Please hold off on reporting until you hear from NC or NCBA that the D.C. Circuit has issued the mandate.

NC is working with other state affiliates on both compliance with the mandate as well as a congressional fix.  Please know that NC and NCBA are doing all that we can to prevent this mandate from going forward.
Compliance Materials

When the court issues the mandate (the order that will officially vacate the exemption), NCBA will post compliance documents on its webpage. While this could happen as early as next Monday, Jan. 22nd, nothing will be official until the court actually issues the mandate on paper, which could take additional days. Upon the court issuing the mandate, NCBA will provide members with step-by-step instructions to complete the reporting process, in addition to a one-page form that may be used by producers to complete the written report requirement.

Additionally, you can access the EPA's EPCRA guidance and CERCLA compliance information by going to
PR Campaign

On Tuesday, NCBA kicked off a Public Relations campaign to highlight the absurdity of the reporting requirement. To officially kick off the campaign, NCBA released a video to show the contrast between a true Superfund site and a cattle operation.

Additionally, NCBA has joined with other livestock associations to create a website dedicated to our grassroots campaign -

Smith Selected to Serve on Congressional Delegation to NAFTA Negotiations

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) announced today he has been selected to serve on the congressional delegation traveling to NAFTA negotiations in Montreal next week, where he will meet with negotiators, government officials, and business leaders to stress the importance of the trade agreement.

“NAFTA is vital to Nebraska agriculture, and I have been focused throughout the negotiations on making the case to do no harm to the ag economy,” Smith said.  “I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on this congressional delegation and bring Nebraska’s voice to the table in the next round of NAFTA talks.  As negotiations move forward, I will continue to lead on this crucial issue and work to strengthen the market access ag producers have achieved under NAFTA.” 

Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade.

Nebraska Corn Board celebrates 40th anniversary in 2018

The Nebraska Corn Board is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018. Throughout its 40-year history, the state’s corn checkoff has remained committed to its mission of promoting the value of corn by creating opportunities.

Instated in 1978 as part of the Corn Resources Act, the Nebraska corn checkoff was the first corn checkoff to be approved in the nation. The effort to pass the bill was led by Nebraska farmers – most notably members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

Although this is a milestone year for the checkoff, the Board is not taking this as an opportunity to reflect on past accomplishments.

“We’ve achieved a lot throughout the corn checkoff’s 40-year history in Nebraska, but we’re not dwelling on past successes,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We’re more focused on the next 40. How do we build upon our successes with ag trade? What is the next ethanol? What’s new in research and biotechnology? How do we better engage with consumers who don’t understand where their food comes from? These are the questions we’re actively working to answer.”

To kick off its 40th year, the Nebraska Corn Board is releasing a special edition of its CornsTalk newsletter, which highlights significant accomplishments, and looks to the future in areas like research, news uses, biofuels, policy, education and consumer engagement. The 16-page publication will first be released as an insert included in the February edition of the Nebraska Farmer magazine and will then be distributed to weekly and daily newspapers in the state. A redesigned website will also be released in 2018.

“Nebraska’s corn industry is a key economic driver for the state,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Over the last four decades, Nebraska has been a national leader in many sectors in agricultural production, and much of that can be attributed to our state’s farmers and the value-added corn industries that the corn checkoff has supported.”

Over 60 farmer-directors have served on the nine-member board since the Nebraska Corn Board’s inception in 1978. Board members represent eight districts across the state and one director serves as an at-large member.

Colfax County Farm Service Agency Reminds Producers to Signup for the 2018 Farm Program

Farmers and ranchers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program may enroll for the 2018 crop year. Failure to enroll will result in no program benefits being earned for crop year 2018, noted Bruce Coffey County Executive Director of the Colfax County FSA office.

Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year.

The producers on a farm that are not enrolled for the 2018 enrollment period will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2018 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in previous years must still enroll during the 2018 enrollment period.

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, soybeans, and wheat. For more details regarding these programs, go to

Coffey encouraged producers to call (402) 352-5200 to schedule an appointment and to update their records in the county office. For more information, producers are encouraged to visit their local FSA office. To find a local FSA office, visit

NRD's Educate Hundreds at Conference on State Sustainability

The NRDs are proud to announce Governor Pete Ricketts will be kicking off the Natural Resources Districts 2018 Legislative Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska on Tuesday, January 23rd at 8:45 am. The NRDs protect people’s lives, property and future by helping conserve the state’s natural resources and soils, preserve the water below the ground and protect our rivers, fight potential flooding, and much more. Media is invited to attend the conference to learn how the NRDs are working to create a sustainable future.

Speakers will present information Tuesday, January 23rd starting at 9:00 am and also Wednesday, January 24th from 8:30 am – Noon (Wednesday is when most presentations are scheduled). An agenda is attached.

A few important topics that affect all Nebraskans include:

    Learn about Lincoln Premium Poultry and Costco’s innovative project that will push forth environmental stewardship and best practices being implemented across the project spectrum at the Costco Poultry facility being built in Fremont. (Wed. Jan. 24, 2018, 10:20 am – 11:05 am, Room: Regents C)

    In Nebraska, thousands of miles of riparian forest have been removed, increasing damage to soil and water resources threatening communities with declining air and water quality. Find out what Nebraskans can do about this and how to increase our air quality. (Wed. Jan 24, 2018, 9:20 am – 10:05 am, Room: Regents DE)

    A variety of groups are in the process of getting the public more involved in their operations including the Nebraska Corn Growers. They have a new focus on stewardship and will answer why they believe it is the key to reaching their goals long-term. (Wed., Jan. 24, 2018, 11:10 am – 11:55 am, Room: Regents F)

Several Nebraska senators are confirmed they’ll be attending the conference. It’s being held at Embassy Suites-Lincoln at 1040 P St, Lincoln, NE. You can find parking in the parking garage at the corner of Q St. and 11th St in downtown Lincoln.

Assistance Available to Agricultural Producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program

Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.

While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018, to be considered for this funding period.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like nutrient and pest management, cover crops and tree plantings– all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of these benefits of CSP include:
·       Improved cattle gains per acre;
·       Increased crop yields;
·       Decreased inputs;
·       Wildlife population improvements; and
·       Better resilience to weather extremes.

NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

NCC Hosts “Classic On The Road” Meetings

Albion Country Club, Albion, Nebraska
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Free Beef Supper & Opportunities for Cattlemen
6 pm Social Hour - 7 pm Beef Supper

The Classic On The Road meetings are for you and your family to come and enjoy a fun night with area farmers and ranchers. Plus, enjoy a FREE beef supper.

There will be displays from Purina Mills, Merck Animal Health, Alligare, Multimin 90, Platte Valley Auto, Aurora Cooperative, and Modern Woodmen Financial.

These Cornerstone sponsors will have several drawings and promotional items to be given out at this meeting.

The Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic will be handing out the 2018 Classic Beef and Horse Catalogs. You will want to come pick up your copy of the Classic Catalog.

They are bringing the Classic Catalogs to you! Below is the complete schedule of all meetings....
Monday, January 22nd, Burwell 883 Grand Event Centre
Tuesday, January 23rd- Albion Country Club
Wednesday, January 24 - Fairfield Opera House
Thursday, January 25th - SoKol Hall, Wilber
Monday, January 29th - Ne Salt Grain, Gothenburg

Call Ronette Heinrich at 308-627-6385, to make your reservation for this fun event for you and your family! When you make your reservation, indicate the location you are attending.

Prescribed burn workshop ignites efforts to equip land stewards with tools for success

Pheasants Forever, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and Lower Elkhorn NRD will host a basic prescribed burn workshop on Tuesday, January 30. The workshop will be held at the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Generally, individual landowners interested in prescribed fire lack necessary training or resources to achieve their goals independently. “It takes the time and coordination of many people working together to successfully and safely complete a prescribed burn” according to wildlife biologist Scott Schmidt.  For this reason, Pheasants Forever, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and other conservation partners led an effort to educate, empower, and align land stewards who share a common goal: to increase the health of the land as Mother Nature intended, with fire. Workshops equip participants with a basic understanding of how to use prescribed fire safely and effectively. Topics such as fire behavior, prescribed burning techniques, writing burn plans, equipment use, and smoke management are presented by experienced natural resource managers and wildlife biologists.

Prescribed burn associations provide “next step” opportunities to gain experience with hands-on involvement. Dan Kathol, president of the Lower Elkhorn Prescribed Burn Association, meets with members to ensure that prep work and burn plans are complete before the spring burn season. Kathol said, “We will need to combine as many burns into a single day in order to get as many burns done on a day when the weather is conducive.” In 2017, the burn association had a record 27 burns totaling 2,260 acres in northeast Nebraska.

While landowners often seek their assistance, prescribed burn associations are not a work-for-hire operation. Like any other volunteer group, success depends on members who are willing to lend their time and resources to accomplish mutually beneficial goals for everyone involved. It’s a neighbor-helping-neighbor model. Burn association members must attend a basic burn workshop and participate in at least 1-2 burns each year. A small favor to ask, considering the benefit of having access to an 81-member network and a mobile prescribed burn trailer, complete with about $28,000 worth of burn equipment.

To attend the prescribed burn workshop in Norfolk, visit the events page at or call Ashley at 308-850-8395. A $10 registration fee covers the classroom training, workshop materials, and lunch. Please register by January 24, 2018.

Since 2008, a total of 118 workshops have increased prescribed fire knowledge among 2,791 attendees thanks to the collaboration of Pheasants Forever, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Environmental Trust, and other conservation partners throughout the state.

Iowa DNR to Roll Out Manure Filing Process at Pork Congress

It's been more than a year since the Iowa DNR partnered with groups to develop a better way for farmers to file annual manure management plan updates.

The Iowa DNR introduces the project at Pork Congress, Jan. 24 and 25, in Des Moines. Attend an educational seminar at noon on Jan. 25 or stop by the DNR's booth, number 1511, to learn more.

Called the eMMP, the online application will go live early in March when DNR sends letters to livestock and poultry producers who must file annual updates to their MMPs.

Farmers and consultants can save time, effort and mileage by filing the required plans from their home, office or smart phone--instead of driving to each county office where manure will be applied. If everyone uses it, DNR estimates the online solution will save driving at least 178,000 miles per year.

Participating farmers and consultants will receive emailed reminders 60 days before the plans are due. Then they can file and pay fees for multiple plans at one time.

The eMMP frees up county staff from signing each of the 7,000-plus plans, signing corrections to those plans and storing the paper forms. Instead, counties will receive an email when plans are completed. Filing online will reduce the number of file cabinets needed to store paper records in county and DNR offices.

"It took a group effort and was sometimes challenging to meet the needs of producers, their consultants, 99 counties and the folks at DNR who process these plans," said Ted Petersen, DNR coordinator of the project. "Not everyone got exactly what they wanted, but the final product will benefit everyone."

The process is relatively simple: producers must use their secure DNR-issued PIN number to log in to a State of Iowa account, fill out the annual MMP short form online, and choose one of several options to pay annual compliance fees.

The public will continue to have access to information about the status of individual plans, statewide or county-by-county. Producers who prefer paper forms will still have that option.

For more information, see While visiting the DNR's eMMP web page, subscribe to AFO eNews, a newsletter for livestock and poultry animal feeding operations, and sign up for a Feb. 28 in-depth "how-to" webinar, "Save Time and Money--File your MMP Online."

Manure management plans are required of confinement site (totally roofed) facilities with more than 500 animal units or 1,250 finishing hogs. Farmers use the MMP to plan the amount of manure that can be land applied based on nitrogen and phosphorus needs of the upcoming crop.

Every four years, producers are required to test soils for nutrient levels and update their complete MMPs. Three out of four years, they can file a simplified annual MMP short form. Starting in March, they can file the annual short form electronically.

USDA Announces Proposed Rule to Modernize Swine Inspection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced its continued effort to modernize inspection systems through science-based approaches to food safety. USDA is proposing to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), while also requiring additional pathogen sampling for all swine slaughter establishments.

The proposed rule also allows innovation and flexibility to establishments that are slaughtering market hogs. Market hogs are uniform, healthy, young animals that can be slaughtered and processed in this modernized system more efficiently and effectively with enhanced process control.

For market hog establishments that opt into NSIS, the proposed rule would increase the number of offline USDA inspection tasks, while continuing 100% FSIS carcass-by-carcass inspection. These offline inspection tasks place inspectors in areas of the production process where they can perform critical tasks that have direct impact on food safety.

“FSIS is excited to continue modernizing inspection practices, while allowing opportunities for industry to innovate and streamline food production,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “There is no single technology or process to address the problem of foodborne illness, but when we focus our inspections on food safety-related tasks, we better protect American families.”

In this proposal, USDA would also amend the regulations that apply to all establishments that slaughter swine. The new requirements would ensure that establishments implement measures to control enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. Specifically, all swine slaughter establishments would be required to implement appropriate measures to prevent contamination throughout the entire production process in their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs), or other prerequisite programs. The new requirements would ensure that both USDA and the establishment have the documentation they need to verify the effectiveness of these measures on an ongoing basis.

There will be a 60-day period for comment once the rule is published in the Federal Register.

To view the proposed rule and information on how to comment on the rule, visit the FSIS website at

NPPC Supports New Pork Inspection Model

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a new pork processing inspection rule, a decision strongly supported by the National Pork Producers Council. As a result, the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) HACCP Inspection Model (HIMP) will be expanded from five current pilot locations to full-scale implementation.

“We support the USDA’s decision to advance HIMP as it introduces new pork production efficiencies while encouraging the deployment of new food safety technologies in packing plants,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Illinois. “The pilot program yielded very positive results; expanding the program is another step forward in the industry’s ongoing focus on continuous improvement of food safety and cost efficiency.”

The new inspection model, subject to a 60-day comment period, assigns increased inspection responsibility to plant operators, allowing the USDA to dedicate its resources to general oversight of food safety standards and the overall inspection process. Plants can choose to adopt the HIMP model or continue operating under the current inspection system.

Maschhoff added, “The U.S. pork industry is the most competitive in the world because we have built a reputation for quality, affordability and food safety. We applaud the USDA for taking this step to strengthen our competitive position.”

Perdue Outlines USDA Services in the Event of a Government Shutdown

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today outlined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) services available in the event of a government shutdown.

“USDA is committed to safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide – and should the government shut down, we will continue to do just that," said Secretary Perdue. “I am proud of each USDA employee for everything they do to benefit the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our services. It is their mission each day to fulfill our USDA motto, 'Do right and feed everyone.'”

While you may click HERE to view USDA’s lapse in funding plans, background information on USDA services available in the event of a government shutdown are below:

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – FSIS will continue work to:
-    Ensure meat, poultry, and egg products are safe and prevent the movement or sale in commerce of any meat or poultry products which are adulterated;
-    Inspect before and after slaughter those birds and animals intended for use as food for humans and inspect the further processing of meat and poultry products;
-    Apply foreign governments’ inspection requirements and procedures to verify that products exported from the United States are safe;
-    Conduct emergency operations in connection with the voluntary recall of meat or poultry products determined to be adulterated or misbranded;
-    Conduct epidemiological investigations based on reports of food-borne health hazards and disease outbreaks;
-    Monitor allied industries to prevent uninspected, misbranded, or adulterated meat, poultry and egg products from illegally entering channels of commerce;
-    Provide pathological, microbiological, chemical, and other scientific examination of meat, poultry and egg products for disease, infection, contamination, or other types of adulteration;
-    Conduct a microbiological monitoring and surveillance program;

Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – APHIS will ensure:
-    Imported products do not bring pests and diseases into the U.S.;
-    In the case of a pest or disease outbreak, the appropriate emergency personnel would come back to work immediately;
-    Overseas staff that provide for national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property, are excepted;
-    Personnel from the APHIS Emergency Management, Safety and Security Division will respond as necessary to provide technical assistance and conduct investigations for excepted and exempt activities;
-    Animal Care will have staff on call to address issues related to licensed or registered facilities (such as immediate needs related to the care or treatment of animals; capture or containment of dangerous animals, or the required confiscation of animals);
-    Biotechnology Regulatory Services will monitor the compliance call line for incidents related to genetically engineered organisms. If an incident needs follow up, the correct regulatory and investigative personnel will be called in to work;
-    Security staff will be available on a case-by-case basis to respond to security incidents and to coordinate facility access;
-    Foreign animal disease (FAD) diagnosticians and incident command system (ICS) teams will be available on a case-by-case basis to respond to FAD investigations and FAD emergencies;
-    Laboratory personnel will be available to run tests on samples associated with foreign animal disease investigations, and, at the beginning of the period, to close out pending lab tests;
-    Staffing at National Wildlife Research Center and its associated field stations to care for the animals being studied.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – FNS will ensure:
-    Ongoing activities include essential Federal functions to maintain the core programs of the nutrition safety net, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Child Nutrition Programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC);
-        All of these programs will continue to serve eligible people through USDA’s partners (State agencies and other grantees) utilizing legally available Federal resources previously provided to them or their own resources.  All have funding available to operate through the month of February, and many have funds to continue operations through March, without additional appropriation.
-    Disaster feeding operations under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and the Stafford Act would remain available based on the exception to fund functions critical to health and safety;
-    The smaller discretionary programs should utilize funds already allocated and made available for operation of programs. Food already purchased for delivery to the Food Distribution programs; The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), USDA foods for Child Nutrition Programs, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), will continue to be delivered to program operators.

Rural Development (RD):

In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – RD will:
-    Continue its fiduciary responsibilities in accounting for and processing customers’ funds, such as loan escrow accounts, in an accurate and timely manner;
-    Ensure those individuals who hold single family housing loans from RD are able to make their monthly payments and will be held accountable to monthly mortgage payment deadlines;
-    Ensure organizations holding USDA Rural Development loans will still be able to make their payments and will be held accountable for making on-time loan payments;
-    Ensure Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands offices will continue to be open during a federal funding lapse to assist in continued disaster recovery efforts;
-        Staff at these offices will be able to conduct inspections of existing projects, and they will also be available to provide technical assistance to USDA customers.

Risk Management Agency (RMA):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – RMA will ensure:
-    Crop insurance companies will continue to deliver and service the federal crop insurance program during a government shutdown; 
-    Approved Insurance Providers (AIPS) will stay open and agents and loss adjustors will be fully available;
-    Indemnity payments will continue to be made.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – the USFS will continue work in:
-    Emergency and Defense Preparedness;
-    Fire Suppression including fire fighters and all necessary equipment costs to protect life and property, Law Enforcement personnel and all necessary equipment costs to protect life and property, and emergency and natural disasters response or preparation (e.g., floods and avalanche control);
-    Protection of Federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property and investments owned by the United States when the suspension of such activities would cause an imminent threat to human life and property. This includes nurseries, insectaries, tree seed labs, and the minimum level of staffing to administer permits and contracts needed for protection of National Forest System lands;
-    All contracts in support of cyber security, land-based radio communications, and infrastructure operations to support key positions and essential personnel;
-    Protection of Research studies where lack of continuation measurements or maintenance would destroy or endanger validity of research findings;
-    Job Corps operations unless directed otherwise by Department of Labor.

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – the following services will remain available through AMS:
-    Commodity Procurement;
-    Grading and Inspection;
-    Cotton Classing;
-    Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Program (PACA);
-    Research and Promotion Board Oversight;
-    FGIS: Inspection and Weighing Services (user fee funded activities);
-    Farm-Bill Funded Activities.

Economic Research Service (ERS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – ERS will:
-    Ensure coordination of data calls;
-    Maintain agency Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) systems;
-    Ensure all systems remain online and functional;
-    Require COOP team staff for both readiness activities such as maintaining operable communications as well as implementation or activation activities, and to ensure adequate communication with the USDA OpsCenter.

National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – NRCS will continue their work in:
-    Puerto Rico and Virgin Island Activities;
-    Emergency Watershed Protection;
-    Dam monitoring.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – ARS will:
-    Continue performing duties related to preserving and protecting ARS facilities, animals and critical research infrastructure.

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – FAS will:
-    Support NAFTA negotiations;
-    Engage on issues pending in the World Trade Organization;
-    Operate the Commodity Credit Corporation-funded Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102);
-    Maintain international offices at U.S. embassies around the world.

Farm Service Agency (FSA):

In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – FSA will ensure:
-    All FSA local service centers and farm loan programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands remain active.

Office of the Chief Economist (OCE):

In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – OCE will continue Supporting:
-    The ongoing NAFTA negotiations;
-    The China negotiations in Geneva;
-    The OECD.

USDA Announces a Near-Record Year for Farm Loans - Infusing Rural Communities with Stronger Businesses and Sounder Agricultural Economies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced another year of high activity in its farm loan programs. Hard-working farm families across the country accessed nearly $6 billion in new credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders in 2017. At year end, FSA was assisting more than 120,000 family farmers with loans totaling just over $25 billion.

“FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain commercial credit, to help them get started, gain access to land and grow their operations. Family farmers across America also come to us for credit when they face challenges to stay in business. We’re proud to support rural prosperity by providing credit to those who need it most.”

FSA provides a variety of loan assistance, including direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans, operating loans and even direct Microloans up to $50,000 and EZ Guarantees up to $100,000 with streamlined application processes.

More than 25,000 direct and guaranteed FSA loans went to beginning or underserved farmers and ranchers. Over 4,200 beginning farmers received direct farm ownership loans from FSA to make their first land purchase. And of the approximately 6,500 Microloans made in the last fiscal year, three-quarters (almost 4,900) went to beginning farmers, 1,000 went to women and 400 to veterans.

FSA’s direct farm loans are unique in that the agency provides technical assistance in addition to credit. Consistent with efforts to continually improve technical assistance, today FSA announced the publication of two booklets that will serve as important informational tools and resources for existing and prospective farm loan borrowers.

Your FSA Farm Loan Compass booklet was recently developed specifically for farmers and ranchers who have an existing farm loan with FSA. It provides detailed guidance outlining borrower responsibilities and the servicing options that FSA offers. It also addresses common questions borrowers may have as they navigate through loan program requirements and the financial concepts involved.

Originally published in 2012, Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans was designed for new loan customers. It provides information about the various types of farm loans available and guides new borrowers through the application process. The revised version addresses program changes and includes new loan offerings, like the popular Microloan program that was rolled out after the publication of the original Guide.

“Your FSA Farm Loan Compass” and “Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans” are available on the FSA website at Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to download and share them with others in their community who may require assistance in understanding FSA’s loans and servicing processes. For additional information about FSA farm loans, please contact your loan officer or other FSA staff at your local office. To find your local FSA office, visit


National Pork Producers Council Deputy Director of Science and Technology Dr. Dan Kovich this week participated in a briefing for staff of the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions on reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act. ADUFA provides user fees to supplement the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous and robust review of animal drugs by providing additional resources for timely reviews of new animal drug applications. The law must be reauthorized every five years. Kovich told staffers that more timely reviews ensure that pork producers and their veterinarians have expedited access to new and innovative products for pigs, which help ensure public and animal health.

Icy Rivers Slow Grain Shipments

Ice is clogging major US waterways, slowing the flow of crops out of the agricultural heartland and lowering prices for farmers. Bouts of frigid temperatures in the Midwest froze portions of the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers in recent weeks. That's prompted some grain and soybean shippers to lower prices offered as they contend with reduced capacity, while others facilities have closed altogether. Farmers delivering to a grain facility in Naples, Ill., will receive 13 cents less per bushel of soybeans, according Mike Steenhoek of the Soy Transportation Coalition, while others are forced to hold onto their crops until the rivers thaw. The USDA says that grain barge tonnage on those rivers in the first two weeks of January fell 63% from the previous year.

ADM Has Made Takeover Approach to Bunge

Archer Daniels Midland Co. has made a takeover approach to Bunge Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter, setting up a possible bidding war after Glencore PLC earlier made an overture to the agricultural powerhouse.

Details of the ADM approach are unclear and it's possible neither company would succeed in buying Bunge, which had a market value of about $9.8 billion as of Friday afternoon. ADM's valuation was $22.6 billion.

Mining conglomerate Glencore approached White Plains, N.Y.-based Bunge, which ranks among the world's largest traders and processors of crops like soybeans and corn, The Wall Street Journal reported in May. The two companies have a standstill arrangement that temporarily prevents Glencore from making a hostile bid for Bunge. It's unclear whether the expression of interest from ADM negates the standstill, which expires in coming weeks, and enables Glencore to make another move now.

Glencore has been widely expected to re-engage with Bunge once the standstill expires though it's unclear what its intentions are at present.

ADM and Bunge represent the "A" and "B" in the so-called ABCDs, the global commodity-trading companies that dominate the world-wide flow of basic foodstuffs. Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. and Louis Dreyfus Commodities, headquartered in the Netherlands, are the other two.

A deal with Bunge would represent a strategic shift for Chicago-based ADM, which competes with Bunge in the business of buying, selling and processing crops. While ADM maintains one of the world's largest agricultural trading networks, the company in recent years has prioritized investing in food ingredients and flavorings, which executives tout as more profitable and more stable than the sometimes-volatile grain industry.

A combination between ADM and Bunge would likely face stiff regulatory hurdles, given the companies' competing grain facilities, shipping terminals and processing plants.

Glencore's agricultural division has a smaller presence than ADM's and Bunge's in key crop-exporting bread baskets like the U.S. and Brazil, so a Glencore deal could face fewer such hurdles.

A deal could fortify the companies at a time when agricultural traders are struggling. A string of bumper crops in North America, South America and Eastern Europe have swelled stockpiles and pushed down agricultural commodity prices.

Ample supplies mean fewer and smaller price swings, making it harder for grain companies to make profitable trades. Low prices have also left farmers reluctant to sell crops to grain companies, with many instead choosing to stash away crops on their own farms and wait for prices to improve. And food companies that buy raw or semi-processed grain from commodity firms are placing fewer long-term orders, since prices are expected to remain low.

Bunge shares have given back their sharp gain after the Journal reported on Glencore's approach, as a result of poor earnings.

Bunge traces its roots to a Dutch firm founded in 1818. Its controlling families, the Bunges and Borns, moved the company to South America and eventually the U.S. The company went public in 2001 and rode a commodity boom that ran from 2007 to 2013.

ADM's history dates back to 1902, when Daniels Linseed Co. was founded in Minneapolis to process linseed oil. The company later changed its name to Archer Daniels Midland before listing shares on the New York Stock Exchange in 1924, later expanding into grain trading and crop processing in Europe and South America. The company runs about 500 crop-buying facilities and 250 processing plants around the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment