Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday January 5 Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen Engaged in 2018 Legislative Session

The second session of the 105th Nebraska Legislature convened Wednesday in Lincoln.  On the mostly ceremonial first day, the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court swore in newly appointed Senator Theresa Thibodeau (District 6 - Omaha) as she replaced Senator Joni Craighead who resigned in the fall.  Senator Robert Hilkemann (District 4 - Omaha) defeated Senator Steve Halloran (District 33 - Hastings) for the Chair of the Committee on Committees in a 25-24 vote.  The Committee on Committees appoints senators to the Unicameral's fourteen standing committees (Senator Craighead was previously chair of the committee).  

The Governor will give his "State of the State" address on January 10th.  Speaker Scheer also announced bill hearings will begin on January 16th as they plan to get moving quickly through the 60-day session.  Bills alive and out of committee from last year can be put on the daily agenda at the Speaker's discretion.

Bill introduction began Wednesday with 126 bills introduced.  As a refresher, Senators can introduce bills in the first 10 days of the session-Day 10 is January 18th.  NC's Laura Field and Jessie Herrmann review each bill that is introduced and identify those of interest to NC using current policy to guide them.  They will sort bills by category to the six committees, and send links and lists of the bills to Board members. The NC Legislative committee will meet Jan. 24 to evaluate the bills and recommend positions to the Board..


University of Nebraska-Lincoln crop production and pest management specialists have scheduled a series of crop production clinics across the state in January to provide the latest research-based information and recommendations for 2018.

Topics will include soil fertility; soil water and irrigation; insect, disease and weed management; cropping systems; and agribusiness management and marketing. The complete agendas are available at

The clinics will be the primary venue for commercial and noncommercial pesticide applicators to renew their licenses in the following categories: ag plant and demonstration/research. The crop production clinics also will serve as a venue for private pesticide applicators to renew their licenses. Representatives from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will be present to verify attendance.

A maximum of six Certified Crop Advisor credits will be available per day in these areas: crop production (two), nutrient management (one), integrated pest management (six), water management (one) and professional development (two).      

Pesticide applicator recertification training will be available in these categories: commercial/noncommercial in ag plant, and demonstration/research; and private applicator. Anyone attending the pesticide applicator license recertification sessions will also meet the requirements for dicamba applicator training. Dicamba is now a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) in Nebraska and additional training is required for its purchase and use.

Online registration is required for the clinics to provide meals and materials. Register at The cost for registration is $80, which includes the 2018 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska, the 2018 crop production clinic proceedings with further information on the topics being discussed, a meal and refreshments.

Check-in each day is from 8 to 8:30 a.m., with sessions from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2018 Crop Production Clinic Locations:
    Jan. 10, Gering: Gering Civic Center, 1050 M St.
    Jan. 11, North Platte: Sandhills Convention Center, 2102 S. Jeffers St.
    Jan. 15-16, Norfolk: Lifelong Learning Center, NECC 601 E. Benjamin Ave.
    Jan. 18, Lincoln: Embassy Suites, 1040 P St.

Nebraska Crop Management Conference
    Jan. 24-25, Kearney: Younes Conference Center, 416 W. Talmadge Road

Pesticide applicator recertification will also be available either day of the Nebraska Crop Management Conference for the same cost as attending one of the clinics. In addition, the conference will offer 27 unique sessions over two days featuring up-to-date information for successful croppy system management. The cost of registration for both days is $150. For more information, visit

For more information about the clinics or the conference, contact Chris Proctor, weed management extension educator and clinic coordinator at 402-472-5441 or


Eight Nebraska Extension offices across the state will offer workshops in February providing livestock and crop farmers with information on how to turn manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment.

“The workshops will help livestock producers put to use the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality regulations and increase the economic value of manure,” said Leslie Johnson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Animal Manure Management coordinator. Participants who attend the day-long event will receive NDEQ Land Application Training Certification.

Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified, and farms must complete an approved training every five years. Re-certification will be held during the first two hours of the day-long land application training. Farm personnel responsible for land application of manure are encouraged to attend for either the initial or re-certification portion of the training.

The morning portion of the workshops will consist of a two-hour program including updates on changing regulations and other manure management topics, such as protecting herd health with biosecurity. Any farm staff responsible for implementing the farm’s nutrient plan are encouraged to attend.

 Dates, times and locations:
    WEST POINT: Feb. 13, 9 a.m., Nielsen Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave.
    LEXINGTON: Feb. 15,  9 a.m., Extension office, 1002 Plum Creek Parkway
    OGALLALA: Feb. 16, 9 a.m., Extension office, 511 N. Spruce St.
    SCOTTSBLUFF: Feb. 21, 9 a.m., Extension center, 4502 Ave. I
    AINSWORTH: Feb. 22, 9 a.m., Courthouse meeting room, 148 W 4th St.
    WILBER: Feb. 23, 9 a.m., Extension office, 306 W. Third
    COLUMBUS: Feb. 26, 9 a.m., Pinnacle Bank, 210 East 23rd St.
    NELIGH: Feb. 28, 9 a.m., Courthouse meeting room, 501 M St.

Pre-registration is required for all workshops. A $60 fee per operation (includes one representative) will be charged for the workshops plus a $15 fee for each additional participant to cover local costs including lunch.

The re-certification portion of the workshop is $30 for each participant.

The workshops are sponsored by the Nebraska Extension Animal Manure Management Team, which is dedicated to helping livestock and crop producers better utilize manure resources for agronomic and environmental benefits.

For additional information on the workshops and other resources for managing manure nutrients, visit or contact Johnson at 402-584-3818 or


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Late fall was rainy and now, snow comes and goes.  Plus, it’s always windy.  How does all this weather affect the feed quality of your corn stalks or winter pasture?

               Here in the Great Plains, rain is usually a good thing.  Even during winter it can aid survival of winter wheat and alfalfa.  And snow can provide an insulating layer to protect from the coldest nights.

               But rain, as well as melting snow, also reduces the feed value of corn stalks as well as winter pastures.  And lately many fields have had some pretty significant moisture on those stalks and pastures.

               Moisture reduces corn stalk quality several ways.  Most easily noticed is how fast stalks get soiled or trampled into the ground when fields are muddy. 

               Less noticeable are nutritional changes.  Rain soaks into dry corn stalk residue or winter grass and leaches out some of the soluble nutrients.  Most serious is the loss of sugars and other energy-dense nutrients, which lowers the TDN or energy value of these already low energy forages.  These same nutrients also disappear if stalks begin to mold or rot in the field or especially so in the bale.  And as mold or spoilage occur, palatability and intake also decline.

               Wind also is a problem.  You’ve seen fencelines filled with corn husks blown off of nearby fields.  These husks are the most nutritious part of the corn stalk so the best feed sometimes just blows away.

               There is little you can do to prevent these losses.  What you can do, though, is begin to supplement a little earlier than usual.  Since weathering reduces TDN more than it reduces protein, consider the energy value of your supplements as well as protein content.

               Weathered corn stalks and pasture still are economical feeds.  Just supplement them accordingly.

American Ethanol to sponsor the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon

American Ethanol will be the platinum sponsor of the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon, which will take place on May 6, 2018. This is the first year the group has contributed to the event with funding coming from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Green Plains Inc. With runners and spectators participating in the event from across the country, the three organizations understood the outreach and educational potential to reach consumers who are seeing increased choices at the pumps.

“The same logic and strategies runners use to condition their bodies to prepare for marathons can also be applied to motorists’ choices at the gas pumps,” said David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Runners and motorists are looking for high quality products to help fuel their bodies and engines. Both groups care about things like maximized performance and breathing clean air.”

As part of the partnership between American Ethanol and the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon, representatives from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Green Plains Inc. will have an opportunity to engage with attendees regarding the different choices available at the pump. With the event drawing a diverse group of runners plus spectators, the ethanol industry is excited about potential discussions.

“The ethanol industry is always looking for ways to reach out to consumers to explain the benefits of using home-grown American Ethanol,” said Todd Sneller, executive director of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We’re excited about this event because people usually attend from all over the country. We look forward to cheering on these runners while providing them with information they can take home with them and use the next time they are filling their tanks.”

May is typically designated as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska, and the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon is one of the signature events that will help kickoff the month-long campaign.

The 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon is capped at 13,500 runners with registration opening Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 3:00 a.m. The race begins on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s downtown campus in Lincoln. The event is organized by the Lincoln Track Club. To register, or for more information, visit

Acreage Management Improved through Small Farms Conference

The third annual Iowa Small Farms Conference will be held Feb. 10 in Ames, Iowa. Speakers will highlight topics that include farm finances, hops production, gardening, wildlife habitat, beekeeping and much more.

an acreage with barn and bales of hay“This conference offers a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics,” said Christa Hartsook, small farms program coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “It’s our goal that attendees gain valuable insight on enterprise options and acreage management.”

The conference will begin with a keynote presentation on farm finances from Craig Chase, program manager for the Local Foods Program with ISU Extension and Outreach, and Paul Dietmann, senior lending officer with Compeer Financial.

Three breakout sessions will follow, allowing attendees to select topics that meet their individual needs and interests. Breakout sessions run for one hour and are taught by ISU Extension and Outreach specialists.

“This year we are featuring hands-on sessions to end the day so attendees can practice apple grafting, installing drip irrigation systems and set up a live bee hive,” said Hartsook.

Breakout Session 1

    Interested in Hops Production in Iowa? – Diana Cochran, assistant professor and extension fruit specialist
    Fearless Farm Finances 2.0 – Chase and Dietmann
    Raising High Quality Vegetable Transplants – Ajay Nair, associate professor and extension vegetable production specialist

Breakout Session 2

    Wildlife Habitat Improvement – Adam Janke, assistant professor and extension wildlife specialist
    Tapping Trees for Maple Sugaring – Jesse Randall, assistant professor and extension forester
    Mushroom Production – Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca, plant pathology diagnostician with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic

Breakout Session 3

    Learn how to Graft Apple Trees – Patrick O’Malley, extension commercial horticulture specialist
    Installing Drip Irrigation Systems – Joe Hannan, extension commercial horticulture specialist
    Beginning Beekeeping – Randall Cass, extension entomologist

The Iowa Small Farms Conference will be held in the Scheman Building, Iowa State University, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Early registration is available for $50 until Feb. 2, with registration moving to $75 after that date. For more information and to register, visit

Nov. Ethanol, DDG, Biodiesel Exports Down From '16

U.S. exports of goods and services totaled $200.2 billion in November, up $4.4 billion from October, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Friday, Jan. 5. Imports totaled $250.7 billion, up $6.0 billion from October, resulting in a higher trade deficit of $50.5 billion for the month. USDA later provided more details for exports of ethanol, biodiesel, and distillers grains.

USDA said that U.S. exports of ethanol totaled 107.2 million gallons in November, down 17% from a year ago. Surprisingly, Brazil was the top destination in November, accounting for 26% of exports, followed by Canada and India. U.S. ethanol exports were up 13% in the first 11 months of 2017 from a year ago.

U.S. exports of biodiesel totaled a mere 5,411.7 metric tons in November, down 73% from a year ago and perhaps balancing out October's 91% gain. Once again, Canada was the top destination for U.S. biodiesel exports in November, taking 53% of the total, followed by Peru in second and the Netherlands as a distant third. Even with November's lower exports, the year-to-date total in 2017 is still up 8% from a year ago.

U.S. exports of distillers grains totaled 875,302 metric tons in November, down 11% from a year ago. Mexico was the top export destination again in November, accounting for 16% of the total and followed by Vietnam and three other Asian nations. In the first 11 months of 2017, exports of U.S. distillers grains were down 3% from a year ago. So far, China remains disinterested, listed as the 18th largest export destination in November.

CWT Helps Members Secure 7.2 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter Exports in December

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) helped member cooperatives secure 45 contracts to sell 6.06 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 1.10 million pounds of butter to customers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product will be shipped in the months between December 2017 and March 2018.

These transactions bring the 2017 total of CWT-assisted product sales contracts to 73.38 million pounds of cheese and 5.91 million pounds of butter. The product is going to customers in 21 countries in five regions, and will move overseas the equivalent of over 810 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Helping CWT member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share through the Export Assistance program in the long-term expands the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively impacts all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

 Court Action in January May Trigger Air Emissions Reporting Requirement

National Milk Producers Federation continues to advise dairy farmers not to file ammonia-related air emissions reports until an appeals court issues a mandate that triggers a reporting requirement – an action that could be taken later this month.

At issue is the extent to which livestock operations will have to report manure-related emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) regulation, and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). In 2008, EPA provided a broad exemption of all livestock operations from reporting requirements. However, last April, a federal appeals court ended EPA’s exemption for reporting of livestock air emissions under CERCLA/EPCRA, following legal challenges made by activist groups.

EPA sought and was granted additional time from the court to delay the effective compliance date so that the agency could develop materials to help farmers understand their obligations. In late October, the EPA filed a motion requesting that the stay remain in place until January 2018. The D.C. Court of Appeals should issue its mandate by Jan. 22, which may trigger reporting for many dairy producers.

EPA estimates that a single dairy cow emits 0.07 pounds of ammonia per day. Given that the ammonia threshold is 100 pounds per day, NMPF estimates that it will take approximately 1,428 cows to trigger reporting to the National Response Center. EPA has said that no one is obligated to use the 0.07 emission factor, and instead says farmers “may establish estimated quantities of releases by relying on: past release data, engineering estimates, your knowledge of the facility's operations and release history, or your best professional judgment.”

Once the mandate is issued, if a farm has more than 1,428 cows, operators should consider reporting to the National Response Center via email within 24 hours of understanding the reporting obligation. Dairy operators must identify the reportable release as an “initial continuous release notification,” then submit an initial written notification to the EPA Regional Office within 30 days, and one year later submit an additional follow-up written notification to the EPA Regional Office.

For farms with fewer than 1,428 cows, NMPF suggests calculating emissions on paper, signing and dating it in front of a notary, and keeping it on file to defend against activists who may try to initiate litigation against livestock operations. NMPF staff are prepared to assist dairy operators with compliance efforts if the emissions reporting requirement is implemented in the coming weeks.  Contact Clay Detlefsen for more information.

Further, farm owners and operators in compliance with their Animal Feeding Operation Air Compliance Agreement are not expected to report air releases of hazardous substances from animal wastes under CERCLA and EPCRA. Per that agreement, participants must report air releases of hazardous substances equal to or exceeding the hazardous substances’ reportable quantities under CERCLA only when EPA completes the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study.

NMPF continues to work with other animal agriculture organizations, EPA and members of Congress to find a long-term solution that will preclude the need to file air emission reports stemming from the natural decomposition of manure.

Groups Request Investigation Surrounding JBS Plant Delisting

In their complaint filed this week with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, R-CALF USA and its Ohio affiliate, Buckeye Quality Beef Association, request an investigation into the events surround the delisting of the JBS-owned beef packing in Souderton, Pa., last fall.

The complaint states that beginning Oct. 25, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) temporarily delisted the JBS-owned Souderton, Pa., beef packing plants due to purported rat sightings. JBS is one of only two major cow and fed cattle buyers in the Northeast, with Cargill owning the other in Wyalusing, Pa.

However, when JBS withdrew from the market, Cargill no longer had any meaningful competition and cow prices began to fall, allegedly causing substantial harm to Northeast cattle farmers and ranchers. The complaint states that while cattle prices were falling in Pennsylvania, they were on the rise in the rest of the United States.

The groups compared this recent episode of market failure to that identified in 2010 in the Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico region where it was reported that for 18 weeks of the year the region had only one cattle buyer and for 4 weeks there were none.

"The two identified incidents of market failure provide persuasive evidence that the United States' beef packing industry has now achieved a level of marketplace concentration that allows them to destroy competition, either individually or in concert, within several cattle marketing regions in the United States," the groups wrote.

The complaint alleges that Cargill enjoyed a windfall and also likely violated antitrust laws or engaged in unfair or deceptive practices by scooping up cattle at prices it knew or should have known were manipulated below fair market value because there was no meaningful competition.

Cargill's role in the Northeast's market failure incident is one of eleven specific issues the groups want investigated.

While a complaint of this nature involving meatpacker conduct in the marketplace would typically be filed with the USDA, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said that agency is now a toothless tiger.

"Secretary Perdue unilaterally disarmed his agency when he threw out the so-called GIPSA rules that would have afforded him the tools to enforce anticompetitive conduct in the marketplace," said Bullard.

"As it stands today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee may well be the last governmental body that can help us restore and preserve a competitive marketplace for U.S. farmers and ranchers," he added.

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