Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday January 23 Ag News

Dicamba Training Hefty Office Jan 30th
Jacob Gubbels, Hefty Seed - West Point

New requirements call for Dicamba specific training for applicators and operators in 2018. If you plan to buy or apply dicamba, join us Tuesday, January 30th from 10am to noon at the West Point office for this important training. We’ll have a few pieces of advice for you including what you need to do so your neighbors aren’t affected AND so you get the weed control you are looking for. See you Tuesday from 10-noon for Dicamba Required Training at the Hefty Seed office south of West Point on Hwy 275.

Four Finalists Named in Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet

Chris Niemann of Dwight, Erin Norman of Crawford, Jason Perdue of York, and Brady Revels of Omaha advanced to the final round of the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Discussion Meet to be held at the next NEFB Annual Convention, Dec. 2-4, 2018.

Eleanor Aufdenkamp of North Platte was named first alternate and Luke Norman of Crawford is the second alternate.

Rather than debating, contestants work to develop a solution to a problem being discussed, building on each other’s contributions. Competitors in the annual contest must be prepared to speak on any number of agriculture-related topics; the selected question is announced a short time prior to the contest round. Finalists received the top scores of contestants after competing in three rounds of the discussion meet at the YF&R Conference, Jan. 19-20.

Niemann is a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn, soybeans, and raises beef cattle on his family farm in Butler County where he serves on his county Farm Bureau board. He and his wife, Ashely, have a son, 3-year-old Colton, who they hope will become the fifth generation to farm in their family.

Erin Norman is a Dawes County Farm Bureau board member and she serves on the YF&R Committee. Norman is a teacher at Chadron State College and is a registered dietician. She is currently working towards earning a PhD in public health. She lives on the family ranch with her husband, Luke, and their four children, Ada (7), Ben (5), Claire (3), and Axel (1).

Perdue is a York County Farm Bureau member who works for a family owned Ag Retail company that distributes crop protection products. He also serves as the York County Farm Bureau president and serves on the YF&R Committee. Perdue raises corn and soybeans, has a small cattle herd, and is a contract poultry farmer. He and his wife, Karah, have four children Annah (8), Lane (7), Bennett (4), and Jase (2).

Revels is a Douglas County Farm Bureau board member and serves on the YF&R Committee. He grew up on a family farm in Florida, but relocated to Nebraska when his job as a sales representative for an animal health company moved him to Omaha. He helps coach several area FFA judging teams and volunteers with the Nebraska State Dairy Contest. His wife, Katie, is a chiropractor.

Aufdenkamp is a Lincoln County Farm Bureau member and a graduate of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. She is currently studying Agriculture Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her goals include becoming a high school ag teacher and FFA advisor. Aufdenkamp is heavily involved in her Collegiate Farm Bureau, livestock judging team, Collegiate Cattlemen, and NCTA Women in Ag.

Luke Norman is a member of the Dawes County Farm Bureau board. He runs a cow/calf ranch in Western Nebraska, is a feed salesman, and recently expanded the family business by selling registered Angus bulls. He ranches with his wife, Erin, and their four children, Ada (7), Ben (5), Claire (3), and Axel (1).

Finalists received a $50 prize and a chance to compete for $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in New Orleans, La. in January 2019. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to compete in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet. For more information, visit www.nefb.org/yfr.

Individual Classes of Farm Beginnings Program Starts This Saturday

Gary Lesoing, Nebraska Extension Educator, Nemaha County

This year we are making individual sessions of the Farm Beginnings program available to the public if they are interested.  Classes are being held on different Saturdays at the Douglas County Extension office on 8015 West Center Rd. in Omaha. 

We have a class scheduled this Saturday and have two speakers making presentations.  The program will be held from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Travis Dunekacke of  T D Niche Pork near Elk Creek, NE in Johnson County Nebraska and Paul Rohrbaugh of Pawnee Pride Meats, near Steinauer, NE is Pawnee County will discuss their marketing plans for the local food they are producing on their farms. 

If you are interested in attending this program, the cost is $25 a session, payable with a check or cash at the door.  To register contact John Porter, Extension Educator in Urban Ag from Douglas County at (402) 444-7804 or Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator in Nemaha County (402) 274-4755.

Future classes in Farm Beginnings in Douglas County this spring:
January 27, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Building Your Business Plan
• Farm Planning and Marketing - Paul Rohrbaugh, Natural Grass-fed Beef, Pasture Poultry and Egg Producer
• Travis Dunekacke – Niche Pork Producer and Marketer

February 3, 2018 – 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. Marketing and Farm Planning & Farm Leases
• CSA Organic Vegetable Farm - Evrett Lundquist & Ruth Chantry (Common Good Farms)

February 9-10, 2018 - Healthy Farms Conference – Lincoln, NE

February 24, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Farming in Small Spaces
• Urban farming or space is limiting – John Porter – Extension Educator,UNL
• Farm Leases & other legal matters – Amy Swoboda – Legal Aid of Nebraska

March 3, 2018 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Financial Management
• Ralph Tate

March 17, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Farm Loan Opportunities and Crop Insurance
• Farm Loan Programs & Resources for Beginning Farmers – Karla Bahm from NE Department of Ag; NAP Crop Insurance, FSA Loans & Microloans, USDA Farm Service Agency Representatives - Wes Finkner or Gina Essink

March 24, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Marketing and Finances
• Organic Crops and Direct Market Poultry and Beef – Dave & Deb Welsch, West Blue Farms 
• Enterprise Budgets for Entrepreneurs - Rex Nelson, Extension Educator-UNL

April 7, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Food Safety & Farmer’s Responsibility, Farming on an Acreage & SARE Resources
• Connie Fisk, Northwest Regional Extension Associate
• Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator Nemaha County & SARE State Coordinator

April 21, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – What Have We Learned?
• Farm Beginnings® Graduate Presentations

April 28, 2018 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
• Presentations of Farm and Business Plans by Farm Beginnings® Participants

Here is the link to the remainder of the Farm Beginning Sessions: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/nemaha/GarysPDFs/Farm%20Beginnings%20Brochure%202018%20Revised.pdf

Iowa Corn Praises Legislature’s Passage of Substantial State Water Quality Funding

Iowa House lawmakers passed legislation today, increasing state dollars to improve Iowa’s water quality, mirroring a bill passed by the Iowa Senate during the 2017 legislative session. The bill, Senate File 512, now awaits Governor Reynolds's signature. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) sees this step as key in supporting the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This strategy calls for a nutrient reduction in Iowa’s waterways through a practical and technology-based approach involving farmers and both urban and rural Iowa communities.

"Long-term, consistent water quality funding was a top policy priority for corn growers this session," said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “This is encouraging news for farmers who continue to look for ways to step up our conservation efforts to better water quality for all Iowans. We commend the legislature's actions to appropriate funds to this important topic."

Passage of this legislation will provide nearly $300 million for water quality efforts in Iowa over the course of the next 12 years. These state dollars will be matched by federal, private, farmer and landowner investments being made for conservation projects happening across the state.

“Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge and making continuous improvements in preserving the water, soil, air and habitat on our farms. We are committed to making long-term, dedicated and significant investments to continuously improve water quality. This funding will be a catalyst for the efforts already underway,” said Recker. “We are working with conservation experts, scientists and in collaborative public and private partnerships to adopt new practices and technologies in improving our water.”

He went on to say that the number of farmers who sign up for voluntary cost sharing programs often outstrips the amount of tax dollars currently available and a stable funding stream for water quality is critical as it encourages continued collaboration between urban and rural partners across the state.

For more information on how Iowa Corn is leading the way on water quality, go to  www.iowacorn.org/water.

 Passage of SF512 proves need for watershed approach, says Iowa Soybean Association

Funding for water quality approved today by the Iowa Legislature is a step forward in advancing Iowa’s nutrient reduction goals.

But Senate File 512 represents a timid response to a vital need for establishing widespread, sustained and measurable progress on an issue important to farmers and all Iowans, says the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

“It’s nibbling around the edges of what’s truly needed,” remarked ISA CEO Kirk Leeds. “While some additional funding continues to point us in the right direction, it doesn’t get us too much further down the road in achieving the kind of results we all know are attainable and necessary.

“We’ll take the governor at her word,” Leeds added, “that the legislature’s action today ignites a much more constructive and reality-based conversation and approach for achieving goals established in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Leeds’ reference was to comments delivered by Gov. Kim Reynolds in her Condition of the State address earlier this month. Iowa’s 43rd chief executive pledged that passage of any new funding would “ignite the conversation” about ways to scale up water quality practices.

The bill’s passage makes that conversation more important than ever. It would reallocate tax money currently going to Iowa's state budget while dipping into the state’s existing infrastructure fund. Annual approval of more than $20 million in funding could be challenging during years when the state budget is pressured. And it only references the importance of planning and partnerships rather than developing the blueprint for fully implementing the nutrient reduction strategy.

“We look forward to picking up where this legislation leaves off,” said Roger Wolf, director of ISA’s Environmental Programs & Services. “The legislation puts some fuel in the tank but doesn’t provide the horsepower needed to ramp up the pace and scale of practices proven to have a positive and measurable impact on water quality.”

Wolf said the ISA, in partnership with other rural, urban, agriculture and environmental stakeholders, has been actively engaged in funding and conducting in-field research on thousands of acres involving hundreds of farmers.

Knowledge gained from nearly two decades of work and investment underscores the association’s continued call for a “watershed approach” to tackling the bipartisan goal of improving water and soil quality.

“Increased funding is just one piece of a much larger effort,” Wolf said. “Watershed planning and implementation follow a simple philosophy: plan the work, work the plan.

“In addition to state funding, real and long-term improvements in water quality will require the shared involvement of rural and urban stakeholders. It will also demand identifying and unleashing new and impactful sources of financing above and beyond what the state can provide.”

The ISA and soybean farmers will continue to press the merits of the watershed approach to the governor and lawmakers.

“There’s no shortcut to success on an issue this complex,” Leeds added. “And there’s no victory in trying to fund this work year-over-year from a declining general fund.

“For those truly serious about long-term and measurable improvement and accountability on water quality, then the watershed approach must be part of the discussion and implementation. We welcome the challenge and the opportunities it provides for farmers and all Iowans.”

Northey statement on passage of SF512

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey issued the following statement regarding final passage of SF 512, which provides nearly $300 million for water quality efforts in Iowa over the next 12 years.

“Passage of this long-term water quality funding bill with bipartisan support is a tremendous next step as we work to continue scaling up the water quality efforts underway statewide.  We have seen Iowans all across the state taking on the challenge of improving water quality and this funding will help us build on these efforts.

“I want to thank the Governor for her strong support for this legislation and thank leadership in both the House and Senate for their commitment to this important issue.  To think we have gone from no funding specifically for water quality when the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was released in 2012 to passage of this legislation is a testament to their commitment to making water quality improvements.

“This funding will allow the Department to expand our investment in locally led water quality projects in targeted watersheds while also giving farmers and landowners statewide a chance to try practices focused on water quality.  We will continue to offer innovative new approaches, such as the first-of-its-kind crop insurance incentive program aimed at increasing acres of cover crops.  We will also scale-up the investment in edge-of-field and in-field infrastructure, like wetlands, saturated buffers and bioreactors to improve water quality.

“We are excited to continue the conversation on this important issue and are committed to working with all Iowans interested in protecting our state’s water quality.”

First Annual Soil Health Summit Awards Honor Best in Soil Health

Innovators. Educators. Communicators. Those are just some of the words used to describe the four recipients of the newly inaugurated “Seeds of Change Awards” at the 2018 Soil Health Partnership Summit, Jan. 18-19 in Chicago. These awards were developed to highlight those members of the Soil Health Partnership who go above and beyond to advocate for the partnership and for soil health throughout the year.

“The Soil Health Partnership could not exist without the willingness and enthusiasm of our partners—especially the farmers and agronomists on the front lines of our research,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership. “These four individuals exemplify the very best of our dedicated partners, and we look forward to honoring others as the research continues and our partnership expands.”

The four award recipients are:

    Super Spout: Andrew Reuschel, Golden, Illinois. Andrew is a first-year member of the partnership who is passionate about soil health, enthusiastic to take on new challenges and is always willing to share his experience with others. Andrew practices reduced tillage and cover crops on his farm and became interested in expanding soil and water conservation efforts.  Andrew comes by this interest in soil health naturally— his grandpa tried working with cover crops in the '70s, and his dad in the '90s. He says he is currently enjoying spending less money on chemical and fertilizer inputs!​

    Champion Communicator: Mark Mueller, Waverly, Iowa. Mark often takes the initiative to tell the story of what’s happening on his farm – a vital way to encourage other farmers to consider adopting new practices, and to share the progress agriculture is making with the public. In the last year, he drafted an opinion editorial on the soil health practices on his farm, published in three Iowa newspapers, including the Des Moines Register.  He’s done several other media interviews, including Wallaces Farmer and Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. He also spent four weeks journaling for Farm and Ranch Living Magazine, discussing his soil health journey in many of the entries, and hosting a professional photo shoot on his farm. The feature is scheduled to run in 2018.

    Ace Agronomist: Jack Hardwick, Beardstown, Illinois. Approachable and knowledgeable agronomists are a critical link between SHP and farmers when it comes to implementing and collecting data on new farming techniques. Both an agronomist and a farmer, Jack’s interest in soil health started with his degree in soil science. He then spent 12 years in various roles with FS, AgriGold, and BRANDT before going back to the family farm and starting a crop consulting business. His farmers look to him to answer their questions, and get sound advice and expertise. They often remark on how much they appreciate his insights into their farming operation.

    Data Digger: Tom Vaske, Masonville, Iowa. You know there’s always that one guy who has perfect records and precise notes. Tom Vaske is that guy. The research of the Soil Health Partnership relies on good data collection.  He is always on time, meticulous and accurate with his data, and ensures his trial location is correct each year. Tom started farming on his own in 2001 by renting land from a neighbor who wished to have conservation tillage practices maintained on the farm, so Tom converted an old planter into a strip till bar. He was initially skeptical of the practice and assumed he would eventually want to go back to plowing.  Years later, Tom is still utilizing strip till as an important tool in his operation. Tom has been testing the use of interseeding cover crops on his farm through randomized, replicated field trials with SHP.

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economic as well as environmental standpoint.

TPP Eleven Members Reach Agreement

Negotiators from 11 Pacific Rim nations agreed Tuesday on a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, the Japanese minister in charge of TPP said, a year after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the talks.

The 11 nations were close to a deal at a summit in Vietnam in November but fell short at the last minute after Canada raised objections.

Negotiators gathered again in Tokyo Tuesday and cleared away the remaining sticking points, said Toshimitsu Motegi, the Japanese minister handling the talks. He said the 11 nations aim to sign the agreement on March 8 in Chile.

Among Canada's issues was its desire for an exemption that it said was needed to protect Canadian cultural products from the effects of free trade. Mr. Motegi said the parties agreed to exchange a side letter with Canada over the issue after the pact goes into effect.

A Canadian official said Canada also secured "real gains" in terms of labor and environmental standards, and applauded the removal of text related to intellectual property. As for automotive rules, the official said Canada has one bilateral agreement with Malaysia on rules of origin, one pending with Australia, and another side deal with Japan regarding nontariff barriers pertaining to motor vehicles.

News of a TPP deal comes as the latest round of trilateral talks aimed at revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement formally began in Montreal on Tuesday. Among the most contentious sticking points is on the automotive front, regarding a Trump administration demand that regional content of light vehicles made in North America be increased to 85% from the current 62.5%, and that half the vehicle's parts be U.S.-made, to qualify for duty-free trade among the countries.

Both Canada and Mexico -- which is also part of the TPP pact -- oppose the U.S. NAFTA proposal on autos and are preparing counteroffers during the Montreal talks.

News of the pending TPP deal drew immediate concern from Canada's auto-parts makers, who have been focused of late on NAFTA and U.S. proposals that they believe threaten to upend the North American auto supply chain.

"Trophy-hunting trade deals that hurt the biggest sector in Canada is irresponsible and also makes us look weak to the U.S. in a NAFTA week," said Flavio Volpe, president of the Toronto-based Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.

The TPP deal came just a half-day after the Trump administration slapped steep tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines, a move to implement Mr. Trump's harder line on trade that he has touted since his election campaign.

Japan has depicted itself as a free-trade champion that can assume the kind of leadership role previously taken by U.S. administrations.

"Now in some parts of the world, there is a move toward protectionism, and I think the TPP-11 is a major engine to overcome such a phenomenon," Mr. Motegi said.

He said the deal was "epoch-making for Japan as well as for the future of the Asia-Pacific region." He also reiterated a hope frequently expressed by Japanese officials that once the 11-nation TPP is up and running, the U.S. might consider rejoining the deal.

The TPP agreement could also provide a framework for a future NAFTA deal should the current one be scrapped by the Trump administration, according to people familiar with the trade talks. Senior Mexican officials see the TPP agreement as an indication that the free-trade train is rolling forward with regional pacts, with or without the U.S. aboard, as NAFTA is being renegotiated.

Vice President Mike Pence said on a visit to Tokyo last year that as far as the Trump administration is concerned, the TPP is a "thing of the past."

Cattlemen on TPP Moving Forward Without U.S. - "Missed Opportunity to Gain Greater Access" to Foreign Markets

Kent Bacus, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association's Director of International Trade and Market Access, today issued the following statement in response to news reports that eleven nations have finalized a revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership without the United States:

“Withdrawing from TPP was a missed opportunity for the United States to gain greater access to some of the world’s most vibrant and growing markets. As we now enter a pivotal round of NAFTA negotiations, the last thing we need is to take a step backwards in our relationships with Canada and Mexico.

“We encourage negotiators in Montreal to continue building on the progress made in previous rounds so the United States can focus on tearing down trade barriers in Asia and around the world.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate’s unwillingness to confirm key negotiators like Gregg Doud as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, leaves the ag sector unfairly underrepresented at the world’s negotiating tables. It’s imperative that the Senate confirm Doud and the many other unconfirmed nominees as soon as possible.”

TPP-11 Puts U.S. Wheat Exports at Risk

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are expressing concern that a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that excludes the United States puts overseas demand for U.S. wheat at serious risk. 

“On January 23, 2017, exactly one year ago, President Trump announced the United States would pull out of the TPP. The announcement today that the eleven remaining TPP members have concluded talks on a revised deal without us sends another discouraging signal to our long-time wheat importing customers in Japan,” said Ben Conner, USW Director of Policy. 

Japan imports an average of 3.1 million metric tons of U.S. wheat every year. After full implementation of the new TPP, Japan’s import tariffs on Canadian and Australian wheat would drop by about $65 per ton. 

“That would put U.S. wheat producers at a total price disadvantage of more than $200 million per year from TPP alone,” Conner said. “As the agricultural community warned when the President made the announcement, withdrawing from TPP was shortsighted and unnecessary, and now U.S. wheat farmers could take the hit.” 

“As expected, the remaining members of TPP are moving forward without the United States,” said Gordon Stoner, NAWG President and a wheat grower from Outlook, Mont. “If nothing else, this announcement should serve as a rallying cry for farmers, ranchers and dairy producers calling for the new trade deals we were promised when the President walked away from TPP. The heat needs to be turned up on the administration and on trade negotiations with Japan. An already stressed agriculture sector needs the benefit of free and fair trade now.”

The so-called TPP-11 countries include Canada and Australia, which are major competitors to the United States in the Japanese wheat market. Other TPP countries with rapidly growing demand for imported wheat include Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, Chile and Peru. Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand round out the remaining TPP partner countries. 


Today, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national cooperative owned by family farmers, was awarded Dairy Foods magazine’s 2017 Processor of the Year Award.

DFA was recognized for its investments in the dairy processing industry, strategic partnerships, product innovation and commitment to sustainability. Dairy Foods magazine presented the award to executives from DFA at an awards luncheon at the International Dairy Foods Association Dairy Forum on January 23, 2018 in Palm Desert, Calif.

“One of the key reasons that Dairy Foods selected DFA as the 2017 Processor of the Year is because of the cooperative’s tremendous growth,” says Kathie Canning, editor-in-chief of Dairy Foods magazine.

DFA received the Processor of the Year Award for its investment in the processing industry, as evidenced by the new construction and expansion of dairy plants in Kansas, Michigan, New York, Missouri and Maryland. It has also been instrumental in developing and expanding innovative products such as the Sport Shake® Sportsman line of protein shakes as well as focusing on new product formats for several of its legacy brands such as Borden® Cheese, Kemps® and Keller’s® Creamery Butter. The cooperative also made strides in 2017 to achieve sustainability-minded improvements such as water usage reduction in its plants, as well as forming key partnerships to enhance sustainability practices on its members’ farms via anaerobic digestion and solar panel technologies. Finally, DFA is engaged and committed to the overall industry with company executives and board members playing key leadership roles in organizations that promote the industry, including the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Milk Producers Federation’s board of directors and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, to name a few.

“Everything that we do at DFA is ultimately about delivering value to our farm family owners and the marketplace by working to increase demand for dairy products in the U.S. and throughout the globe,” says Monica Massey, senior vice president and chief of staff at DFA. “We work to achieve this through continued investments, growth and innovation. Being recognized as the dairy industry’s Processor of the Year is truly an honor, and we are thrilled to accept the award on behalf of our more than 13,000 farmer-owners.”

 Ford’s New 2018 F-150 Joins Ranks of Diesel Vehicle Models Supporting B20 Biodiesel

Several automakers’ new 2018 diesel models are being featured this week at the Fort Worth Convention Center as the U.S. biodiesel industry celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the 2018 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. And full-size diesel truck fans also have reason to celebrate this year as Ford – America’s truck sales leader – delivers the first-ever Ford F-150 diesel with a targeted EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway rating, best-in-class diesel towing and payload, and full B20 support. B20 is a fuel blend of 20 percent low-carbon biodiesel with petroleum diesel.

The Ford F-150 joins the F-250/350/450 Super Duty® and F-650/750 medium duty trucks as well as the Transit van to round out Ford’s strong line-up of diesel models supporting the use of B20 biodiesel blends.  Attendees at the National Biodiesel Conference will have the opportunity to test drive the 2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty during a Biodiesel Ride-and-Drive Event at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Wednesday, and Ford’s new F-150 diesel is on display there this week in the Biodiesel Vehicle Technology Showcase.  In mid-January, Ford dealers begin taking orders for the 2018 F-150 with all-new 3.0-liter PowerStroke® diesel engine, and deliveries begin this spring.

Dominic DiCicco, Ford’s Manager of Environmental Policy and Fuel Quality, commented, “Ford is committed to offering our customers the power of choice with a wide range of alternative fuel and advanced powertrain options to help fleets reduce their carbon footprint and help our nation achieve its goals.  Adding the new F-150 3.0L Power Stroke diesel to our lineup of diesel models supporting the use of clean, renewable, low-carbon B20 biodiesel blends, complements Ford’s sustainability goals, and we are excited to bring this product to market for our customers.”

General Motors is also bringing a strong lineup of 20 different diesel vehicle options to market in the 2018 model year, spanning the car, truck, van and compact SUV categories.  General Motors supports B20 in all 20 of its diesel models.  One of GM’s flagship models, the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup with a 6.6L Duramax® turbo diesel engine, as well as the new 2018 Chevy Equinox SUV with 1.6L turbo diesel engine, will be featured at the National Biodiesel Conference this week compliments of The Thompson Group Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, TX.

The important off-road equipment market is also represented in the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase this week by long-time biodiesel supporter John Deere, featuring its best-selling utility tractor, the John Deere 5075E with a B20-supported PowerTech™ turbocharged diesel engine. John Deere was one of the first original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get involved with biodiesel, and this year the company is celebrating an important anniversary of its own – the 100th year since the first John Deere tractor was built.

Equipment giant Caterpillar Inc. is also featured at the National Biodiesel Conference this week. The Cat equipment product line, consisting of more than 300 machines, sets the standard for the off-road equipment industry.  Also long-time supporters of B20 biodiesel blends, Caterpillar is showcasing a CAT 938M Small Wheel Loader with a high torque, low speed C7.1 ACERT engine in the Biodiesel Vehicle Technology Showcase.

Customers from coast to coast have used B20 successfully in virtually every make and model diesel engine, and the vast majority of new diesel engines now have full OEM support for B20 with no vehicle modifications required. Yet in the ever-increasing drive to cut carbon and lower CO2 emissions, forward looking fleets and users are investigating higher biodiesel blends to maximize the reduction in their carbon footprint.  To address the interest, another vehicle showcase participant, Optimus Technologies, has developed aftermarket technology to enable B100 use even in the coldest climates. With its controller and second heated B100 tank system, Optimus is providing fleets an easy and cost-effective way to use pure B100 biodiesel in their existing vehicles and reduce carbon by 80 percent at a fraction of the cost of conversion to other fuel alternatives being considered that don’t provide as much carbon reduction, like compressed natural gas.

Scott Fenwick, Technical Director for the National Biodiesel Board and Chairman of the ASTM Committee on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants, stated, “For 25 years, the National Biodiesel Board and the U.S. biodiesel industry have worked closely with our partners in the auto and engine manufacturing community to ensure that biodiesel - America’s Advanced Biofuel - continues to keep pace with the nation’s increasing demands for cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable modes of transportation.  As we continue to demonstrate that the biodiesel industry is producing a consistently high-quality product that meets specifications, support from the original equipment manufacturers grows.” Today over 80 percent of the diesel vehicles coming off production lines fully support the use of B20, and OEMs are beginning to look into higher blends as well.

U.S. Wheat Industry Celebrates Japan Flour Millers Association Anniversary

Several representatives from the U.S. wheat industry joined members of the Japan Flour Millers Association to help celebrate the association’s 70th anniversary in Tokyo on Jan. 23, 2018. Senior managers from U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), as well as state wheat commission representatives and farmers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana participated in events commemorating the anniversary.

Japan has purchased significantly more U.S. wheat than any other country since 1949, when the Oregon Wheat Growers League first organized a trade delegation to investigate opportunities for expanding U.S. wheat sales there.

Today, the Japanese domestic milling and wheat foods industries are highly advanced and demand consistent, high quality wheat and flour. USW Chairman Mike Miller, of Ritzville, Wash., told members of the association that U.S. farmers are very proud to supply much of that wheat every year.

“It is good to know that our wheat is an essential ingredient in the wonderful wheat foods the Japanese people enjoy — and an essential ingredient in the success of these flour millers,” Miller said. “I reassured them that to honor their achievements, farmers will continue to invest in trade service and technical support in Japan, and to improve the quality and wholesomeness of our wheat to meet their needs in the future.”

“It was a great pleasure to congratulate the association's Chairman, Mr. Masayuki Kondo, President of the Japan Flour Millers Association, and the members of the association in person on their important anniversary,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “We were also able to thank our respected friend and colleague, Mr. Masaaki Kadota, who is retiring after many years serving as the association’s Executive Director.”

With support from state wheat commissions and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, USW focuses on providing up-to-date market information and collaborating with Japanese industry groups to demonstrate the quality and value of U.S. wheat. The mills provide purchase specifications to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (MAFF) based on the strict characteristics their wheat food customers demand. Japanese grain trade organizations act as intermediaries between MAFF and overseas sellers. Then MAFF carries out all milling wheat purchases and sells the wheat to Japanese flour mills.

“It is difficult to express how much we value our partnership with Japan’s flour millers and the rest of the wheat foods industries,” Peterson said. “We have developed a deep level of trust by maintaining an open dialogue with them. That has been so important to our mutually beneficial, long-term trading relationship and we confirmed our commitment to continue our partnership in that spirit.”

U.S. farmers continue to earn the largest market share in this well-established and quality conscious wheat market. MAFF issues consistent weekly tenders for U.S. hard red spring (HRS), hard red winter (HRW) and Western White, a blend of soft white (SW) and up to 20 percent club wheat. As a result, Japan has purchased an average of 3.1 million metric tons (about 114 million bushels) of wheat annually the past five years.

Also honoring the association at events in Japan were: wheat farmers Bill Flory of Culdesac, Idaho., Walter Powell of Condon, Ore., and Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore.; Damon Filan, manager of Tri-Cities Grain, LLC in Pasco, Wash.; Glen Squires, chief executive officer of the Washington Grain Commission; Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers; Collin Watters, executive vice president of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee; Mark Fowler, USW vice president of overseas operations; Mr. Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya, USW/Japan country director; and Ms. Sadako Ishida, USW/Japan program assistant. 

Y-TEX Corporation Introduces New Y-Tags™ One-Piece Ear Tagging System

Y-TEX Corporation, one of the leading global suppliers of livestock identification and pest control solutions, today announced the launch of its new Y-Tags One-Piece Ear Tagging System for beef and dairy cattle.  Featuring 100% PureLaser™ permanent imprinting and the unique Surgi-Tip™ self-piercing tip, Y-Tags represent a major advancement in one-piece ear tagging technology.

“Everyone at Y-TEX is extremely excited about this latest addition to our line of visual identification ear tags,” noted Stu Marsh, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Y-TEX.

“Y-Tags are molded from advanced thermo polyurethane (TPU) and acetyl nylon to withstand extremes in heat and cold, as well as ultra-violet light, moisture and mold.    And unlike some tags, Y-Tags are pliable, yet durable, so they hang tough without cracking or breaking.  It’s a difference you can actually see and feel.”

Another feature that sets Y-Tags apart from conventional one-piece tags is the 100% PureLaser™ permanent imprinting.  Y-TEX employs a proprietary process that delivers the deepest, darkest 100% pure laser imprint on the market.  While some other imprints fade over time, the Y-Tags PureLaser™ permanent imprint is guaranteed legible for the life of the animal.

“Livestock producers will also appreciate the new Surgi-Tip™ self-piercing tag tip,” Marsh said.  “Its unique four-sided design delivers a precise incision for less tissue damage, faster healing and improved retention.  Research shows that a clean incision and faster healing are two keys to better ear tag retention.”

Rounding out the Y-Tags system is the new Y-Tags one-piece applicator.  With its wider jaw, flip-out pin and ergonomic design, the Y-Tags applicator works seamlessly with the Surgi-Tip self-piercing tip to make tagging easier than ever.  Studies show that Y-Tags require less force to apply than other one-piece tags, resulting in less producer fatigue during the busy tagging season.

Y-Tags come in cow (large), calf (medium) and feedlot sizes in a wide variety of high-visibility colors.  The cow and calf tags are offered in 25-count and 100-count packages, while the feedlot tags are available in 1,000-count cartons containing 20 packages of 50 tags each.  Like all Y-TEX products, Y-Tags are made with pride in the USA.

“Our new Y-Tags One-Piece Ear Tags System marks an important addition to our growing line of top-quality livestock products,” stated Glenn A. Nielson, President of Y-TEX Corporation.  “For years, Y-TEX has been a leader in the visual identification ear tag industry, and our new Y-Tags serve to solidify our position in the marketplace while answering the need for new and better livestock ID solutions.”

Eggland's Best Launches New, Premium Chicken Food For Backyard Chickens

With more than 25 years in the business, Eggland's Best (EB) is known for its highest standards in taste, nutrition, freshness and quality – and now the brand is sharing its expertise with backyard chicken owners nationwide.  The new line of Eggland's Best Chicken Food and Chick Food features the same wholesome, all-vegetarian formula used by EB egg farmers. The formula consists of premium ingredients rich in 15 vitamins and minerals that helps hens be healthier and of course results in healthier eggs too. Multiple varieties will be available for both chickens and chicks, including a USDA certified organic option made with Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients.

"Since backyard chickens rely on chicken food as their primary source of nutrition, it's important to select the most nutritious and best quality product available," said Dr. Bart Slaugh, Director of Quality Assurance at Eggland's Best. "At Eggland's Best, we adhere to the strictest of quality standards, so consumers can feel confident that they are purchasing the highest quality chicken food that will help keep their hens healthy and produce a nutritionally superior egg. We even take the extra step of pasteurizing our products to provide an additional layer of safety for our feathered friends."

Eggland's Best unique chicken food formula consists of a proprietary all-vegetarian blend of healthy grains, canola oil, and a supplement of rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp, and Vitamin E, resulting in higher amounts of omega 3's as well as 15 different vitamins and minerals crucial for supporting the overall immune health, bone, muscle and overall development, energy, eye health, egg production and metabolism of backyard layers. Just like all other Eggland's Best products, EB Chicken Food never contains any animal by-products, recycled or processed foods, and never uses hormones, steroids, or antibiotics ever.

"We know many backyard chicken owners look at their hens as almost being members of their family. Being able to feed their 'girls' such a rich, premium, and proven diet, we knew, would be of great interest to those owners. And the more nutritious eggs are the reward they get for taking such good care of their flock. It's a really virtuous cycle for hens and humans alike," said Frank Bergin, General Manager, Strategic Ventures and Innovations for Eggland's Best. "We are excited to make our proprietary premium formula available to passionate backyard chicken owners everywhere so they can now rest easy that their 'girls' are getting the nutrition they need and deserve to live their best life."

Feeding backyard layers Eggland's Best Chicken Food not only helps keep hens healthier, but also produces superior eggs with six times more vitamin D, 25 percent less saturated fat, more than double the omega-3s, ten times more vitamin E, and more than double the amount of vitamin B12 than ordinary eggs.  The premium ingredients within the chicken food also help produce stronger shells and consistently plumper eggs with more vibrantly colored yolks than ordinary eggs store-bought eggs, so consumers never have to settle for ordinary.

Eggland's Best Chicken Food is now available at select farm supply, pet, mass merchandiser and grocery retailers nationwide, including Tractor Supply, Co.. Eggland's Best Chicken Food comes in crumble and mini-pellet varieties and in multiple sized bags. Eggland's Best Chick Food is available in crumble form and in multiple bag sizes as well. There are Organic versions of both Eggland's Best Chicken Food and Chick Food. 

For more information on Eggland's Best Chicken Food or where to find the product, visit www.egglandsbest.com/chicken-food.

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