Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday January 9 Ag News

Fischer Joins Senate Agriculture Committee

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced she is joining the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.

“I’m excited to announce that I am now a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. For over 40 years, I’ve worked with agriculture and rural development organizations across the state of Nebraska. Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy and it’s a big part of my own life. As a state senator in the Nebraska Legislature and as a U.S. Senator, common-sense agriculture policy has been a top priority for me, and I am honored that I now have an opportunity to be more involved at the federal level.

“This coming year is going to be critical as the 2014 farm bill expires and the committee works to write the next farm bill. Throughout this process, I’m going to continue traveling Nebraska, as I’ve done for the past five years, and listen to thoughts, suggestions, and concerns from our state’s many ag producers. At this important juncture, my priorities will be supporting an affordable and viable farm safety net, safeguarding crop insurance, and expanding trade opportunities for Nebraska producers and their families.

“In this new role, I look forward to working together with Nebraskans, Chairman Pat Roberts, and my colleagues on the Ag committee to advance the smart policies farmers and ranchers need to do their job of feeding our hungry world,” said Senator Fischer.

“I’m pleased Senator Fischer will be joining the Agriculture Committee. We have worked together on a number of successful legislative efforts on behalf of rural America. Given her firsthand experience in the agriculture industry, Senator Fischer will be a welcome addition to the Committee, just in time to represent Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers in Farm Bill negotiations. I have no doubt she will do a fine job,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas).

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Sen. Deb Fischer Appointment to Senate Agriculture Committee

“The appointment of Sen. Fischer to the Senate Agriculture Committee is tremendous news not just for Nebraska farmers and ranchers, but for farmers and ranchers across our country. As a rancher, and as an individual who has represented the interests of agriculture at all different levels of public service, we could not be more pleased to have her providing leadership and direction to the Senate Agriculture Committee as they begin the task of developing the 2018 Farm Bill. We thank her for her continued commitment and her ongoing efforts to improve the environment in which Nebraska’s farm and ranch families work to operate and grow their family businesses.”

Ricketts and Wellman Congratulate Fischer on Appointment to Senate Ag Committee

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman congratulated U.S. Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska on being appointed to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.

“Congratulations to U.S. Senator Deb Fischer on being selected to serve on the Senate Ag Committee,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This is a critical time in agriculture as the Farm Bill debate begins.  Senator Fischer will play an important role in helping ensure the interests of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are heard in Washington.”

“I’m pleased to hear Senator Fischer joined the Senate Agriculture Committee,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “The committee’s role in agriculture and nutrition is extremely important to Nebraska.  The Senator’s presence will provide an important voice for our state.”

Senator Fischer also serves on the following Senate Committees:  Armed Services Committee; Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Committee on Environment and Public Works; Committee on Rules and Administration; and the Special Committee on Aging.

Schiller Competes at National Western Roundup in Public Speaking

Payton Schiller qualified to be one of 983 participants from 32 states of U.S. and 1 providence of Canada to compete at the 98th Annual Western National Roundup.  This opportunity was held in Denver, Colorado from January 4-7, 2018.  Being a participant, she attended leadership workshops, motivational speaker banquet and the National Western Stock Show. Payton competed in the Horse Public Speaking contest in the National 4-H Horse Classic Western Division of the Roundup.  She proudly represented Cuming County as stated in her 10 minute memorized speech about Equine Therapeutic Horseback Riding.  Payton received a 3rd place overall in her contest.


Larry Howard, NE Extension, Cuming County

A good deal of expense and many long hours go into harvesting and storing hay for winter feeding.  So why waste it!  Hay feeding waste can be reduced.

Cattle can waste as much as 45 percent of their hay when it is fed without restrictions.   There are a couple of steps you can do to minimize costs and maintain an adequate hay supply.

Your first step should be to limit how much hay is available.  Research shows that cattle fed hay with free access every four days needed about 25% more hay than cattle fed daily.  Daily feeding reduces the amount of hay refused, trampled, fouled, over-consumed, or used for bedding.

A second step is to restrict access to the hay by using hay racks, bale rings, electric fences, feed bunks, or anything else that will keep animals off the hay.  It’s especially important to limit the amount of hay accessible to trampling.  The use of racks or bale rings with solid barriers at the bottom, prevent livestock from pulling hay loose and then dragging it out to be stepped on.

If you feed hay on the ground, either as loose hay, unrolled round bales, or as ground hay, it is especially important to follow these guidelines.  Limit the hay fed to the amount animals will clean up in a single meal.  Anything left over will be stepped on, fouled, or used for bedding instead of as feed.  And if possible use an electric wire or other barrier to restrict access to only one side of the feed on the ground.  Also be sure to distribute that hay enough so all cows have access to it at the same time.

With good management, you can stretch your hay further and reduce the feeding waste.

2018 Nutrient Management Record Keeping Calendars are Now Available

An easy-to-use record keeping calendar for livestock operations that keeps track of manure related records is available to all livestock producers. The calendar was designed to be used by all sizes of livestock operations and includes all records required for operations permitted for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). It has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a valuable resource for livestock producers.

Records of rainfall, storage depth gauge levels, and storage and equipment inspections are an important aspect of required manure and runoff storage records for a NDEQ permit. It also has a sample of an Annual Report that a CAFO must submit by March 1st of each year.  These and other records will help you gain value from manure nutrients and document your stewardship of the environment.  The calendar also has several pieces of information throughout that will be helpful to the producer.

The calendar is available for free.  You can pick one up at the Cuming County Extension office or receive one by contacting Leslie Johnson (leslie.johnson@unl.edu) or the NDEQ office. Calendars are good through January 2019.

Partners in Progress Cow-calf College Jan 30

The annual Farmers and Ranchers Cow/Calf College “Partners in Progress – Beef Seminar” will be held at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Great Plains Veterinary Education Center near Clay Center on January 30, 2018 with registration, coffee and donuts starting at 9:00 a.m. The program will run from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension’s Farmers and Ranchers College and will feature several outstanding speakers discussing issues and management strategies that can affect the profitability of all beef producers. There is no cost for the event and the public is invited. It does include a noon meal, which means that early registration is necessary to reserve materials and a meal.
Link to flyer:


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is asking students to share the story of Nebraska agriculture by entering NDA’s annual ag poster contest. The contest is in its 15th year and is open to all Nebraska students in grades 1-6. This year’s theme, “Sharing the Story of Nebraska Agriculture,” highlights the importance of our state’s number one industry.

“Farm families work hard to provide us all with delicious, nutritious and affordable food, and this contest is a great opportunity for students to highlight the numerous contributions agriculture makes to our state,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “We look forward to seeing the students’ creativity as they share the story of Nebraska agriculture.”

NDA’s annual ag poster contest is divided into three age categories: first and second grade students; third and fourth grade students; and fifth and sixth grade students. Entries must be postmarked by the March 1, 2018, deadline.

“Agriculture is our state’s number one industry, so it’s important to share the story of Nebraska agriculture and show how diverse and expansive the ag industry is in Nebraska,” Wellman said. “This contest also gives teachers and parents the opportunity to help children better understand the extensive role agriculture plays in their day-to-day lives.”

NDA will announce the winners of the poster contest during National Ag Week, March 18-24, 2018. National Ag Week highlights the diversity of agriculture and celebrates the food, feed and fuel that farmers and ranchers provide every day. NDA will feature winning entries on its website and in promotional materials and publications.

Contest rules and official entry forms are available online at www.nda.nebraska.gov/kids. For more information, contact Christin Kamm at 402-471-6856 or by email at christin.kamm@nebraska.gov.

Registration available for ACE’s 10th annual Washington, D.C. fly-in

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) formally announces the organization’s 10th annual Washington, D.C. fly-in will take place March 21-22. Registration for this event and ACE’s 2018 advertising and sponsorship guide for this opportunity and others are available at ethanol.org/events/fly-in.

“The purpose of our fly-ins is to put a human face on the ethanol industry and to communicate our policy priorities to Members of Congress and Executive Branch decision makers,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “The most effective lobbyists aren’t lobbyists at all, but rather farmers, ethanol producers, Main Street business leaders, retailers selling higher ethanol blends, and other grassroots individuals whose daily lives benefit from ethanol.”

This past spring, 75 ethanol advocates met with more than 120 Members of Congress from 35 states. Participants included ethanol company investors and management, corn farmers, scientists, fuel marketers and gas station owners, with representation from Jetz, Cresco Fast Stop, Midway Service, Good & Quick, Sheetz, and Propel Fuels.

“In ACE’s 10 years of hosting D.C. fly-ins, we’ve found that the most successful ones strike a balance between Hill visits with our champions and those with Members of Congress who may be new, opponents of our policy priorities, or live outside the Corn Belt,” said Shannon Gustafson, ACE Senior Director of Operations and Programming. “We encourage participants to share personal stories – Members of Congress and their staff hear from lobbyists and association staff regularly, but a deeply personal perspective of how the ethanol industry has directly benefitted a participant may help them view a topic with fresh eyes.”

During Capitol Hill meetings, ACE and its fly-in attendees have emphasized the need to maintain support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, urged Members of Congress to cosponsor legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 (S. 517 and H.R. 1311), and discussed the importance of the biofuels sector to a robust rural economy.

“While we are pleased the statutory 15-billion-gallon volume for conventional biofuel will be maintained in 2018 and EPA rejected pleas to change the point of obligation, more can and should be done to overcome regulatory hurdles which prevent market access to higher ethanol blends,” Jennings said. “We encourage people from all walks of life who support ethanol to register for this important opportunity to tell this industry’s success story.” 

Farm Bureau Elects New Grassroots Leaders

Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Annual Convention elected members to serve as board and committee leaders for the organization.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall and Vice President Scott VanderWal were re-elected to two-year terms.

Bryan Searle, president of Idaho Farm Bureau, and Ron Gibson, president of Utah Farm Bureau, were elected to two-year terms on the AFBF board of directors, representing the Western Region. Hans McPherson, president of Montana Farm Bureau, was elected to a one-year term, representing the Western Region. Rodd Moesel, president of Oklahoma Farm Bureau, was elected to a one-year term, representing the Southern Region.

Twelve other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board: Carl Bednarski, Michigan; Jim Holte, Wisconsin; Blake Hurst, Missouri; and Steve Nelson, Nebraska (Midwest Region); Mark Haney, Kentucky; John Hoblick, Florida; Harry Ott, South Carolina; Jimmy Parnell, Alabama; Wayne Pryor, Virginia; and Randy Veach, Arkansas (Southern Region); and Rick Ebert, Pennsylvania and Ryck Suydam, New Jersey (Northeast Region).Russell Kohler of Utah was elected the new chair of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for a one-year term, which makes him a member of the AFBF board of directors.

Elected to two-year terms on the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee were Cindy Ramsey, Indiana; Jennifer Cross, Maryland; and Lou Nave, Tennessee. Lillian Ostendorf of Montana was re-elected to a two-year term on the committee.

Delegates also approved measures to help assure a prosperous agricultural and rural economy in the coming year and beyond.  Resolutions approved by farmer and rancher delegates from across the nation ran the gamut of issues, from trade to regulatory reform, crop insurance, biotechnology and more.

“Today’s actions give us a clear roadmap at a time when farmers are on the verge of their fifth consecutive year of shrinking net farm income,” Duvall said. “Despite these difficulties, we remain optimistic: Official Washington feels more like a partner than it did just a short time ago. We have real opportunities to make progress in policy that we have not had in the past.”

Among other things, delegates approved measures supporting:
-    An improved Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program to decrease risk-management disparities across counties
-     A flexible cotton support program that considers cotton seed, cotton lint or both to help beleaguered cotton growers
-     Strengthened and more flexible risk management and safety-net programs for dairy farmers
-     Permission for workers to seek employment from more than one farmer under the H2A program
-    Trade and trade agreements that strengthen market opportunities for U.S. agriculture
-     Elimination of sunset provisions in trade agreements, to give certainty to businesses into the future
-    Modification of NAFTA to improve market access to difficult Canadian dairy markets, in addition to improved food-safety standards for imported products
-    An end to use of non-GMO labels on products that do not have GMO alternatives
-     A $1 per member increase in dues paid by state affiliates of the American Farm Bureau Federation
-     Support for the use of gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR, along with a voluntary and uniform labeling program for such products

AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show will be held in New Orleans, Jan. 11-16, 2019.

USDA Announces Proposed Rule to Amend Egg Products Inspection Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced a critical step forward in making egg products safer for Americans to eat. FSIS is proposing to amend the egg products inspection regulations by requiring official plants that process egg products to develop Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs) and to meet other sanitation requirements consistent with the meat and poultry regulations. FSIS is proposing that official plants will be required to produce egg products in such a way that the finished product is free of detectable pathogens. The regulatory amendment also uses agency’s resources more efficiently and removes unnecessary regulatory obstacles to innovation.

FSIS is proposing to eliminate those current regulatory provisions not consistent with that of the meat and poultry regulations. The proposed rule aims to modernize food safety inspection systems at egg products plants. Under the HACCP system, plants will be able to tailor a food safety system that best fits their particular facility and equipment. Furthermore, by removing prescriptive regulations, egg products plants will have the flexibility and the incentive to innovate new means to achieve enhanced food safety.

“As we continue to modernize inspection systems and processes, we are committed to strengthening consistency across the services that FSIS inspection personnel carry out for the consuming public," said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “This proposed rule will ensure the same level of inspection and oversight of all regulated products as we carry out our public health mission."

In addition, FSIS will be further fortifying the safety of the American consumer by taking over jurisdiction of egg substitutes, which pose the same risk as egg products and will be treated with the same level of scrutiny and care.

The impact cost for the proposed rule is mitigated by the fact that 93% of egg products plants already use a written HACCP plan that addresses at least one production step in their process, while also alleviating the unnecessary costs associated with the current prescriptive regulations.

There will be a 120-day period for comment once the rule is published in the Federal Register.

National Livestock Producers Association Searching for new CEO

As the organization enters its 97th year of serving livestock producers, the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA), the national association of livestock marketing cooperatives and their captive livestock credit corporations, is looking for its next Chief Executive Officer.

Scott Stuart, longtime executive of the association, was recently tapped as the new CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the organization that administers the Beef Checkoff.  The NLPA Board of Directors is pleased for Scott and is confident he will do a great job for beef producers in his new position.

NLPA is seeking that individual who has a strong livestock and association management background and is able to provide strategic leadership for the organization and manage all aspects of organizational affairs.  The next CEO must be a gifted communicator, energetic self-starter and motivational and inspirational leader with an exceptional ability to articulate a clear vision for a diverse organization, build consensus, collaborate and drive toward a common vision.  NLPA is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado; an extremely attractive location that offers many outdoor activities and has exceptional travel connections.

The national CEO search is being conducted by MJM Global Search, an executive search firm located near Denver, Colorado.  Jim Harlan, MJM’s President and CEO, is leading the search and has placed several top executives in various agricultural and livestock organizations both nationally and internationally.

Those interested in more information on this exciting opportunity are invited to contact Jim at 303-660-0766 or jim@mjmglobalsearch.com.  More information on NLPA and the Position Announcement is available at www.nlpa.org.

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