Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday January 29 Ag News

LENRD Board to release the approved applications for new irrigated acres
Landowners within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, had an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres for 2018.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “After much debate last fall, the board voted to take applications for standard variances district-wide.  Applications for nearly 24,000 new irrigated acres were received during the sign-up period, which was open between November 15th and December 15, 2017.”

The board voted at their January meeting to approve up to 2,390 new acres in the Hydrologically Connected or 10/50 Area, and to approve up to 2,530 new acres in the Non-Hydrologically Connected or Non 10/50 Area under the district’s standard variance process.

Bruckner continued, “Staff will now go through the process of contacting the landowners with both approved and non-approved acres.”  After the landowners have been properly notified, the approved list will be available to the public, sometime in February.

In other business, the Board approved an amendment to the LENRD Rules and Regulations for the Management of Groundwater, which will add a new Rule 18 – Transfers of Water Uses.  The addition of this rule will allow the district to consider requests for the transfer of certified acres within the district.  Bruckner said, “Numerous factors will be weighed when evaluating each request, but it will provide both landowners and the district with an additional tool for the management of water resources in the district.”

The board also brought discussion of the Drought Management Plan to a vote at their January meeting and approved adoption of the Drought Management Plan into the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Plan.  Approval of this Plan will merely provide the district with a mechanism to define and categorize drought conditions within the district, and outlines some general response mechanisms that could be utilized in response to each designation.  At the suggestion of the board, the Plan will also integrate real time monitoring well data and a November 1st date for the establishment of any subsequent groundwater controls (for irrigation purposes for the following growing season) as components of the plan.  Most importantly, future effort will be required to develop implementation mechanisms that could be employed by the district to effectively protect groundwater supplies for all groundwater users, during a prolonged period of drought.  LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “This is a working document that will be utilized, if and when a drought situation occurs.  It gives the district a place to start.”

In other action, the board approved the amended Recreation Area Rules and Regulations.  One of the amendments kept the current policy in place which does not allow alcohol at the Recreation Areas owned by the LENRD, which includes Maskenthine Lake, near Stanton; Maple Creek Recreation Area, near Leigh; and the Willow Creek State Recreation Area, near Pierce.

The district is inviting the public to attend the Bazile Groundwater Management Area Winter Open House & Informational Meeting in Osmond on Wednesday, February 7th.  The Open House is from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Various topics of the day will include the role of the NRDs, health and drinking water, best management practices, as well as soil fertility and cover crop programs.  Contact the LENRD for more information.

The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, February 22nd at 7:30 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Smith Advocates for Ag Economy at NAFTA Negotiations in Montreal

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after returning from the latest round of NAFTA negotiations in Montreal, where he served on the congressional delegation meeting with negotiators, government officials, and business leaders.

“I’m encouraged after our meetings in Montreal about the progress being made on NAFTA,” Smith said.  “Our delegation had productive discussions with senior government officials from both Canada and Mexico, including Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Mexico’s Undersecretary for Trade, as well as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Canadian American Business Council, Farmers for Free Trade, the U.S. Chamber, and the U.S. Consul General to Montreal.

“Overall, there is optimism about the path forward and bipartisan support for sustaining and modernizing the agreement.  In our meetings, I not only focused on the importance of NAFTA to U.S. agriculture but also to the numerous manufacturing and service jobs required to support ag.  The successes achieved under this agreement make it clear it is in our country’s best economic interest to maintain these trade ties with our neighbors.

“We know we can’t take anything for granted until we get these negotiations across the finish line.  I will keep sharing the priorities of Nebraska producers and manufacturers as this process continues forward.”

Tissue Sampling Data Reveals Trends in Nebraska Corn Health

Farmers in Nebraska who conducted on-farm tissue sampling with WinField United to evaluate crop health last season were better-equipped to make informed fertilization decisions. Tissue sampling is just part of the program, which also includes soil testing, predictive analysis, product recommendations and expertise to help guide production practices for high-yielding crops.

Corn in Nebraska Saw Fewer Nutrient Deficiencies in 2017

Nebraska farmers submitted over 950 corn tissue samples for evaluation by WinField United in 2017, which is far fewer samples taken than in the previous year. Based on sampling data, corn across the state was less likely to be deficient in several key nutrients compared to the previous year. Nitrogen, sulfur, magnesium and manganese trended in the right direction in 2017 versus the previous year. However, the majority of corn samples were still lacking these nutrients that contribute to yield potential. It’s also notable that a greater percentage of samples were deficient in zinc and/or potassium compared to 2016.

Real-Time Data Guides Inputs

Nutrient availability is dynamic and changes based on environmental conditions and management practices. In-season tissue sampling helped farmers adjust fertilizer plans to meet changing plant nutrition needs as plants developed.

For Nebraska growers, availability of key nutrients at these specific growth stages is critical for a healthy corn crop:
  ·    V5–V8: zinc and boron
 ·    V9–V13: nitrogen, potassium, sulfur and zinc
 ·    V14–VT: nitrogen, potassium, sulfur and magnesium

Comparison of 2016 and 2017 nutrient trends indicates that farmers should tissue sample and reevaluate fertilization plans annually and throughout the growing season. While trends can be recognized across the state, each field and season are different so plants should be tested to ensure proper fertilization. Factors that can affect nutrient availability to plants include soil type and pH, crop rotation and planting population.

Tissue sampling can provide valuable, specific and timely insights so farmers can meet individual field yield goals. Work with your local WinField United retailer to evaluate crop health and develop fertility programs specific for your acres.

For complete information about the WinField® United plant nutrition and performance solutions, visit

Conference to Highlight Latest Agricultural Technologies 

Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator

The annual Nebraska Agricultural Technologies Association (NeATA) conference will be Feb. 7-8 in Kearney at the Younes Conference Center, 416 West Talmadge Road.

The first day of the conference will be a symposium on utilizing management zones within production agriculture. The speakers, from both private industry and universities, will discuss management zone data collection, creation of zones, evaluation and economics of management zones. The symposium will wrap-up with round-table discussions of management zones in rainfed fields and irrigated fields. A social hour will follow at 5 p.m.

Day two feature speakers include Josh McGrath, University of Kentucky soil management extension specialist, and Matt Davison, University of Nebraska associate athletic director and voice for Nebraska football and basketball. Attendees will also be able to choose from 16 break-out offerings, covering such topics as nutrient and water management, data management and collection, precision agriculture economics, and future concepts.

The conference is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 8.

The registration fee is $200 per person for both days or $125 for one day only. Students may register for $75 per person. There is no registration deadline.

The Nebraska Agricultural Technologies Association is a membership network that provides a venue for members to share agricultural research experiences and knowledge related to current and emerging technologies in agriculture. Membership is not required to attend the conference.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit

Nebraska Cover Crop Conference Feb. 15 for Corn, Soybean Growers 

Keith Glewen - NE Extension Educator

Cover crops offer many benefits, such as improved soil heath and reduced erosion. The challenges lie in the details, including what cover crops to use and how to use them.

The Nebraska Cover Crop Conference will address cover crops for corn/soybean rotations Thursday, February 15 at the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead. The program will be from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Preregister by Feb. 10 to ensure resource materials are available and for meal planning purposes.

“The conference is designed to provide soybean and corn growers who don’t have livestock with information to effectively use cover crops in their operation,” said Keith Glewen, Nebraska extension educator and conference coordinator.

Topics and presenters include:
-    The Banker Won’t like Wheat, but Your Soil Will — Here's Why!, Nathan Mueller, Nebraska extension educator;
-    Will Cover Crops Be a New Home for Insects?, Justin McMechan, Nebraska extension crop protection and cropping systems specialist;
-    Cover Crops for Ephemeral Gully Control, Dan Gillespie, Nebraska NRCS no-till specialist;
-    How Cover Crops Work on My Farm, Bill Nielsen, Minden;
-    Why I Encourage My Customers to Use Cover Crops, Lee Briese, independent crop consultant and recipient of the 2016 International Certified Crop Advisor of the Year Award, Edgely, ND;
-    Why I Use Cover Crops on My Farm, Kelly Tobin, corn/soybean grower, New Castle, Iowa;
-    Cover Crops for Corn and Soybean Producers, Keith Berns, Green Cover Seeds, Bladen; and a
-    Farmer Panel with growers, landowners, and consultants.

Preregister by February 9 by calling 402-624-8030 or emailing  Information is online at:

The conference is sponsored by Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff in partnership with the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District and USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

For more information on cover crop management throughout the season, check the articles and newsfeed at

Growers Statewide to Share On-Farm Research Results 

Laura Thompson - NE Extension Educator

Farm operators and agronomists from across the state are invited to attend the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network research results update meeting at a location near them.  Producers will obtain valuable crop production-related information from over 80 on-farm research projects conducted on Nebraska farms by Nebraska farmers in partnership with University of Nebraska faculty. These research projects cover products, practices, and new technologies that impact farm productivity and profitability.

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a statewide, on-farm research program that addresses critical farmer production, profitability and natural resources questions. Growers take an active role in the on-farm research project sponsored by Nebraska Extension in partnership with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, and the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

These February programs will provide an opportunity to hear growers who conducted on-farm research share their results from the 2017 growing season. Field length replicated treatment comparisons were completed in growers’ fields, using their equipment.

Feb. 19 — near Mead, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CT
Feb. 20 — Norfolk, Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CT
Feb. 21 — Grand Island, Hall County Extemsion Office, College Park Campus, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CT
Feb. 27 — Grant, Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center, 12 noon - 4:30 p.m. MT
Feb. 28 — Alliance, Knight Museum Sandhills Center, 908 Yellowstone Ave., 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. MT

Research projects to be discussed will include:  cover crops, variable rate seeding, planting populations, multi-hybrid planting, starter fertilizer, fungicide applications, alternate crop rotations, multi-hybrid planting uses, seed treatments, and sidedress nitrogen management technologies including drone and sensor based management, variable-rate nitrogen management.  Certified Crop Advisor Credits are applied for and pending upon approval.

These programs are free and include lunch, but preregistration is requested for meal planning purposes.  To preregister call (402) 624-8030 or e-mail Registration check-in begins 30 minutes before the program start time at each site.

To learn more about the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network and how to participate, visit


For the month of January 2018, topsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 28 short, 66 adequate, and 2 surplus, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 30 short, 64 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 7 poor, 44 fair, 40 good, and 8 excellent.

The next monthly report (for February) will be issued February 26, 2018. Weekly reports will begin April 2nd for the 2018 season.

2018 Iowa Pork Regional Conferences announced

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is inviting the state's pig farmers to attend one of the Iowa Pork Regional Conferences being held in February.  IPPA, along with the Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach swine specialists. will host the meetings at four Iowa locations Feb. 19-22.  All sessions are hosted from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Conference dates and locations are as follows:
 ● Monday, Feb. 19 - Nashua, Borlaug Learning Center
● Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Carroll, Carroll County Extension Office
● Wednesday, Feb. 21 - Le Mars, Plymouth Co. Extension Office
● Thursday, Feb. 22 - Washington, Washington Co. Extension Office

The following presentations will be delivered at each location:

Environmental Regulations: What's New
Eldon McAfee - Brick Gentry Law Firm
McAfee grew up on a dairy farm and has over 25 years of experience practicing law. He will discuss practical aspects of compliance with Iowa DNR regulations as well as other environmental compliance and protection. Eldon will discuss updates on the EPA's notice to livestock farms for reporting air emissions as well as current legislation in the statehouse.

Swine Market Outlook
Dr. Lee Schulz, Extension livestock economist - Iowa State University Department of Economics
Exports, domestic demand, expansion, new packing plants, input costs and a multitude of other factors can impact livestock producers' bottom line. Dr. Schulz will dive into these issues and current projections, review forecasts for input costs and market hog value in 2018 and discuss what profit opportunity may be in store for producers and how you can manage your risk going into another year.

Vaccines and Antibiotic Changes in the New Regulatory Environment
Dr. Chris Rademacher, Extension swine veterinarian - Iowa State University
The first year of the new FDA antibiotic usage guidance 209, 213 and VFD has been completed. What have we learned about using medications in the feed with VFDs? What has this meant to how producers are now using antibiotics and vaccines moving forward? What about non-antibiotic alternatives? How can producers truly use antibiotics in the most judicious means possible? What are some keys to using vaccines in the water? What are some of the newer vaccine technologies being used today with more restrictions on antibiotics? These are just a few of the topics that will be covered during Dr. Rademacher's presentation.

More Tools for your Toolbox
ISU Extension Swine Specialists
Are you prepared for the Common Swine Industry Audit? Do you have questions about managing ventilation in your barns? Perhaps you are interested in collaborating in an applied research trial. The Iowa State University Extension swine specialists are here to help. Their mission is to promote and enable efficient pork production through disseminating decision-impacting information to producers. They will discuss some of the tools they can put in your toolbox.

Free PQA Plus® producer certification training sessions will be held prior to each conference. Training will be hosted from 9:30 a.m. to noon at each location.

"Iowa Pork strives to deliver timely and impactful information in our education sessions that will provide a return on producers' Pork Checkoff investment," said IPPA Producer Education Director Drew Mogler. "This year's conference will provide valuable take-home messages for anyone involved in the day-to-day activities of the Iowa pork industry."

The regional conferences are free for those who pre-register or $5 at the door. To pre-register for the conference and/or certification training, contact IPPA's Carla Vanderheiden at (800) 372-7675 or or Drew Mogler at

Annual Report Shows How NCGA Lays the Groundwork for Success

The National Corn Growers Association's annual report for the 2017 fiscal year is now available online.  Themed "Groundwork," the 2017 report spotlights efforts made by NCGA throughout the year to reach long-term, strategic goals to improve the future of the industry by increasing demand. A printed copy of the report, which also features current financial information, will also be sent to all active members.

Click here to view the full report....

"It could be applying fertilizer to ensure a healthy crop. Or applying crop protection products to reduce pressure from weeds and insects that steal a crop's potential. Perhaps it's adding a cover crop. Whatever practices you use on your farm, you understand the importance of laying groundwork- taking care of the little things that give you an opportunity for a successful harvest," said NCGA Chairman Wesley Spurlock, a grower from Texas, in a joint letter to readers co-authored by NCGA CEO Chris Novak. 

"Laying the groundwork is just as important for the National Corn Growers Association as it is on your farm. Whether it is building out the infrastructure to carry higher blends of ethanol, working to ensure continued access to international markets or fighting to protect your access to viable risk management tools, we know the importance of laying a solid foundation."

The report also includes perspective from grower leaders, information about the activities of NCGA's action teams and committees and updates on its major image programs. This document provides a comprehensive resource for anyone looking to delve further into what NCGA does on behalf of our nation's farmers.

 Dairy Groups Support USDA Proposal Allowing More Milk Options in Schools

Putting low-fat flavored milk back into schools will bolster the nutrition intake of America’s children, according to comments submitted today to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the nation’s leading dairy organizations.

In joint comments, both the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) praised a proposed USDA rule for the positive effect it will have on the widely recognized problem of declining school milk consumption. In 2012, USDA eliminated low-fat flavored milk as an option in the school meal and a la carte programs, which resulted in students consuming 288 million fewer half-pints of milk from 2012-2015.

“Removing low-fat flavored milk causes schools to fail the test of how best to provide optimal nutrition for students,” said Dr. Beth Briczinski, Vice President of Dairy Foods and Nutrition for NMPF. “Fortunately, USDA recognizes the need to be more flexible in providing schools a range of milk options to enhance the dietary intake of the nine essential nutrients milk offers.”

Milk is the No. 1 source of three out of four nutrients of public health concern because they are under consumed: potassium, vitamin D and calcium. The dairy groups called the troubling trend “a threat to public health and to the nutritional intakes of all Americans, notably children and adolescents.”

“We appreciate USDA’s commitment to reverse declining school milk consumption by providing students with access to a variety of milk options, including the flavored milks they enjoy,” said Cary Frye, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for IDFA.

In Summer 2017, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced USDA would reinstate low-fat flavored milk as an option allowed by the department. According to the interim rule published on the Federal Register site in November, school districts can solicit bids for low-fat flavored milk in the spring before the 2018-19 school year, giving milk processors time to formulate and produce a low-fat flavored milk that meets the specifications of a school district. It now allows schools to offer low-fat flavored milk during the next school year without requiring schools to demonstrate either a reduction in student milk consumption or an increase in school milk waste.

This interim rule, the comments noted, is consistent with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which does not suggest that flavored milk should be fat-free or that there is any reason to avoid low-fat flavored milk. In fact, the DGA “acknowledges the potentially positive role of moderate amounts of sweeteners in making foods like milk and yogurt more palatable.” Low-fat flavored milk offers the same nutritional benefits as white milk, but with a taste more children prefer. And with recent formulation changes, flavored milk is now available with significantly lower levels of calories and added sugar.

The two groups told USDA that its interim rule also aligns with the recent re-examination of fat – and dairy fat specifically – in the American diet. As more scientific studies find that advice to reduce fat intake was misguided, they also appear to show that full-fat dairy foods play either a neutral or beneficial role regarding the risk of several chronic diseases.

While the two dairy groups acknowledged that the interim rule does not compel schools to offer more milk options, both hope the option to do so will attract more students to school meal programs and increase the average daily consumption of the drink.

Mary Kay Thatcher to join Syngenta Federal Government Relations

Mary Kay Thatcher will join Syngenta in mid-February 2018 as senior lead of Federal Government Relations, based in Washington, D.C. In this role, Thatcher will support the company’s strategic federal government relations activities including outreach and advocacy.

“Mary Kay’s experience in delivering policy results to America’s producers and consumers demonstrates her unmatched capacity for successful coalition building, strategic insight and political savvy,” said Laura Peterson, head of Federal Government Relations, Syngenta. “She will contribute to our sustainable agriculture policy expertise. As one of the foremost experts on farm policy in the United States, with an exceptional background in legislative and administrative issues – from digital technology to the Farm Bill – Mary Kay will help us better serve farmers across the country.”

Thatcher, a 31-year veteran of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), said of her appointment, “I have spent my career advocating in the association and government worlds. I am excited to work in an industry capacity at Syngenta, a strong competitor with great people, a focused strategy, and superior products and services. I admire the guiding principles of The Good Growth Plan – it is truly a model approach for agriculture.”

In her role at AFBF, Thatcher primarily lobbied for farm programs, crop insurance, conservation and credit issues. She is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable farm policy experts in the U.S.

Prior to joining AFBF in 1982, Thatcher served as a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade to Sen. Roger Jepsen of Iowa. Also, she served in President George H. W. Bush’s Administration as director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the Farm Credit Administration.

Thatcher is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned degrees in animal science and agricultural economics. As a fifth generation Iowa farmer, Thatcher has owned and operated her farm in Iowa for the past 23 years, producing corn, soybeans and livestock.

CWT Assists with 4.4 million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 25 requests for Export Assistance from cooperatives have contracts to sell 4.365 million pounds (1,982 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from January through April 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 9.714 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 729,730 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 10 countries on three continents. These sales are the equivalent of 106.075 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

USDA Announces National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Board of Directors Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of three members to serve on the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Board of Directors. The appointed producers and marketing expert who will serve three-year terms are:
    Jeremy Geske, Producer, New Prague, Minn.
    Brenda J. Reau, Producer, Petersburg, Mich.
    Steve W. Lewis, Expert in Marketing, Artesia, N.M.

“The Sheep Center was established to improve the competitiveness of the U.S. sheep industry and these appointees bring experience that will serve this agricultural sector well,” said Perdue.

The board is composed of seven voting members and two non-voting members. Voting members of the board include four members who are active producers of sheep in the United States, two members that have expertise in finance and management, and one member that has expertise in lamb, wool, or lamb product marketing. Non-voting members of the board include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretaries for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Research, Education, and Economics. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight of the center.

Additional information can be found on the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Website at

USDA Announces Lamb Board Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of five members to serve on the American Lamb Board. The members appointed to serve three-year terms are:
    Sally J. Scholle, Producer, Littlestown, Pa.
    David Quam, Producer, San Angelo, Texas
    Peter J. Camino, Feeder, Buffalo, Wyo.
    Elizabeth A.W. Dressler, First Handler, Parker, Colo.
    Greg Deakin, Seedstock Producer, Cuba, Ill.

“These appointees represent a cross section of the lamb industry with great experience in the industry and I know they will help us better meet the needs of our American farmers, ranchers, and producers,” said Perdue.

The American Lamb Board is composed of 13 members including six U.S. producers, three feeders, three first handlers, and one seedstock producer. The board is authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. Since 1966, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 industry-funded research and promotion boards. They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity for participating stakeholders.

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