Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday February 5 Ag News

Ricketts Announces Schedule for 30th Governor’s Ag Conference

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the agenda for the 30th annual Governor’s Ag Conference, an important event for farmers, ranchers, ag leaders, and agri-business managers in Nebraska.  The conference is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, March 7-8, 2018, at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.

“Each year, the Governor’s Ag Conference brings together Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers to share best practices and create networks that help grow our state’s number one industry,” said Governor Ricketts.  “It’s a unique opportunity for our ag producers to discuss the ag industry and provide direct input to the state in our work to support future growth in agriculture.  We look forward to hosting Nebraska’s ag community for the 30th anniversary of the conference and urge interested farm and ranch families to consider joining us to celebrate this special occasion.”

The conference will feature discussions on issues currently impacting the agricultural industry, including: international trade, ag diversification in rural Nebraska, and Nebraska ag leaders undertaking national leadership roles.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure that this year’s Governor’s Ag Conference speakers are personally connected with Nebraska agriculture and are well-respected members of the state’s ag community,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “These speakers understand the importance of Nebraska agriculture and the role it plays in the economic well-being of the state.”

The conference starts Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. with remarks from Governor Ricketts and NDA Director Wellman.

Following those remarks will be a panel discussion featuring Nebraska producers serving in national leadership roles. Panelists include:
·       Don Bloss, Chair, National Sorghum Producers
·       Lynn Chrisp, First Vice President, National Corn Growers Association
·       Jim Miller, Chairman, U.S. Soybean Export Council
·       Terry O’Neill, President, National Pork Board
·       Craig Uden, Past President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, begins at 6 p.m. on March 7 and features an assortment of food and beverages from Nebraska.

The conference resumes on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 9 a.m. with a panel presentation on international trade and the benefits gained from companies participating in Nebraska trade missions. Panelists include:
·       Jerry Wiggs, Greater Omaha Packing Company, Inc.
·       Chris Roth, Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc.

At 10 a.m., a panel representing ag companies that have built businesses and created jobs for small Nebraska communities will discuss the importance of ag diversification in rural Nebraska.  Panelists include:
·       Norm Krug, owner/founder, Preferred Popcorn
·       Troy Becker, co-owner, Unified Pet Products

The last panel presentation of the day will discuss the growth of the food processing industry in Nebraska, featuring speakers from Costco, Hendrix, and Kelley Bean.

Lunch will be served at noon and will include keynote speaker Greg Ibach, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs of the USDA.  Ibach will update conference participants on agricultural activities at the federal level.

“The Governor’s Ag Conference gives producers an opportunity to network with colleagues, share information and prepare for the future,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “We’ve lined up quality speakers, and I appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge and experience with our conference participants.  I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in agriculture to attend.”

A $100 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Wednesday and Thursday.  Registration and additional information is available online at, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.

2018 CBB Officers Named

Cattle producers Joan Ruskamp of Dodge, Nebraska, Chuck Coffey of Springer, Oklahoma, and Jared Brackett of Filer, Idaho, are the new leadership team for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB), elected unanimously by fellow Beef Board members during the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix on February 2, 2018. Ruskamp will serve as chairman, Coffey will serve as vice chairman and Brackett as secretary/treasurer to lead the national Beef Checkoff Program for the coming year.


Newly elected CBB Chairman Joan Ruskamp and her husband, Steve, operate a feedlot and row-crop farm west of Dodge, Nebraska. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Curtis, where she earned an associate degree in veterinary medicine in 1980. Joan has been very active in the beef industry, with service to numerous producer organizations. In addition, she has been a 4-H leader for about 20 years, an EMT for more than a decade, and a religious education teacher for nearly 30 years.

Chuck CoffeyVice Chairman Chuck Coffey is a fifth-generation rancher who grew up on a ranch in the hill country of Harper, Texas  He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in range science from Texas A&M. Chuck taught agriculture at Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, after completing his master's in 1985, eventually he chaired the department until he joined the Noble Foundation as a pasture and range consultant in 1993. He is extremely passionate about ranching and feels blessed to be able to work on the ranch every day.

This year's Secretary/Treasurer, Jared Brackett, is a fifth-generation cow/calf producer from Filer, Idaho. Jared BrackettHe graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in agriculture economics and is a diehard Aggie football fan. Brackett is also a past president of the Idaho Cattlemen's Association and continues to serve on a number of other livestock committees and boards. 

The Beef Board also elected members to serve on the Exective Committee and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.


The 12-member CBB Executive Committee includes the Board’s three officers and eight members elected at-large. The CBB members elected the following members to its 2018 Executive Committee: Amelia Kent of Louisiana, Bill King of New Mexico, Paul Moss of Tennessee, Don Smith of Texas, Jana Malot of Pennsylvania, Jack Parent of Vermont, Irv Petsch of Wyoming and Rob Von Der Lieth of California. CBB Vice Chairman, Chuck Coffey, will serve as chairman of the Executive Committee, and as immediate past CBB Chairman, Brett Morris of Oklahoma will serve as an advisor to the committee.

The Executive Committee operates under the direction of, and within the policies established by, the full Board and is responsible for carrying out Beef Board policies and conducting business and making decisions necessary to administer the terms and provisions of the Act and Order between meetings of the full Board.


The Beef Promotion Operating Committee was created by the Beef Promotion Research Act to help coordinate state and national beef checkoff programs. The 20-person committee includes 10 members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, among them the Board’s three officers and seven other members of the Board elected at-large by Beef Board members. The other 10 members are appointed from the Federation of State Beef Councils.

CBB members elected to the 2017 Beef Promotion Operating Committee during the annual meeting in Phoenix include: Michael Smith of California, Robert Mitchell of Wisconsin, Hugh Sanburg of Colorado, Tammy Basel of South Dakota, Janna Stubbs of Texas, Ken Blight of Michigan and Rich Brown on New York.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

Central Plains Irrigation Conference Feb. 20-21 

Get the latest information on using water efficiently in farm production at the Central Plains Irrigation Conference and Expo Feb. 20-21 at Colby, Kansas. Celebrating its 30th year in 2018, the conference offers technical and practical information to help farmers manage irrigation and water resources.

Coordinated by the Central Plains Irrigation Association, a joint effort of extension, growers, and the irrigation industry in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, this year's conference will be held at the City Limits Convention Center, 2225 S. Range Ave. Primary sponsors are Kansas State University and irrigation-related agricultural companies. Kansas Corn will host a dinner and farmer panel.

“This conference is the place to find out about the latest research and technology advances relevant for agricultural producers across the Plains states,” said Danny Rogers, agricultural engineer with K-State Research and Extension. “There’s never been a more important time for farmers to be aware of ways they can conserve water as they help grow the nation’s and world’s food supply.”

The opening day lunch will feature the showing of "Thirsty Land," a documentary film by producer and director Conrad Weaver about drought, water, and agriculture in the western United States. Weaver will introduce the film and answer questions afterward.

CPIA conference speakers include university researchers and extension specialists, government officials, and farmers who will share their experiences, addressing such topics as
-    Using Remote Sensing to Improve Irrigation Uniformity;
-    Irrigating Corn under Reduced Well Capacity Conditions;
-    Impact of Tillage and Crop Residue on Soil Water Storage and Infiltration;
-    Current Research on Maximizing Irrigation Productivity in Corn;
-    Center Pivot Maintenance and Preserving Irrigation Pump Performance;
-    In-Canopy vs. Above-Canopy Sprinklers — Which is Better for your Field?
-    Basic Design, Filtration, and Maintenance of Subsurface Drip Irrigation;
-    KSU Crop Management Results from 28 Years of Subsurface Drip Irrigation Research;
-    Producers’ Reactions to Water Use Restrictions;
-    Center Pivot Safety;
-    and more topics.

Nebraska presenters will include Daran Rudnick, Nebraska Extension Irrigation Management Specialist, Derrel Martin, Irrigation and Water Resources Engineer; Steven Melvin, Extension Educator, and Burdette Barker, post-doctorate researcher in water management, all from the University of Nebraska, and Brian Olson, manager of the Monsanto Learning Center at Gothenburg.

Expo vendors will answer questions about the latest irrigation technology and related services.
Registration and Contacts

The conference registration form is available online. Individuals can register for one or both days of the conference.

Additional conference information is available at the Central Plains Irrigation Association website,, or by contacting Donna Lamm at 785-462-7574 or In Nebraska you can also contact Rudnick, Nebraska Extension Irrigation Management Specialist, at 308-696-6709 or


Those looking to improve their understanding of agricultural production risks and crop insurance are encouraged to attend an upcoming crop insurance workshop hosted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. University experts, industry representatives and growers will lead the workshop scheduled for Feb. 26 at College Park, 3184 US-34 in Grand Island.

Crop insurance represents the cornerstone of risk management due to its ability to transfer large amounts of financial risk from producers to someone else. The workshop will provide guidance on how to select a crop insurance contract and how this decision interacts with other aspects of a farming operation.

 “Understanding crop insurance can give producers a financial advantage,” said Cory Walters, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Nebraska. “Failure to understand how it works can leave producers financially stressed and at a financial disadvantage.”

 Walters will kick off the event with an overview of crop insurance in Nebraska. He will also share results of recent crop insurance research conducted at the university. Since crop insurance is closely tied to weather, Eric Hunt, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. staff scientist, will have an outlook of the upcoming season and what it may mean for your operation. Crop insurance industry representatives will discuss crop insurance contracts, and a panel of Nebraska farmers will share how they manage risk with crop insurance.

 “The goal of this workshop is to have a discussion on selecting the right crop insurance products for an individual’s unique situation,” said Walters.

 The workshop will start at 8:45 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.  Lunch is included in the registration. 

 The workshop cost is $35 before Feb. 20 and $40 afterward. To register, visit Paper registration forms can be requested by calling Sandy Sterkel at 402-472-1742.

For questions regarding the workshop, contact Cory Walters at 402-472-0366 or

 NFU Announces Featured Speakers, Panel for 116th Anniversary Convention in Kansas City

 Family farmers and ranchers traveling to Kansas City for the National Farmers Union (NFU) 116th Anniversary Convention will have the opportunity to hear from top speakers in American and international agriculture during the four-day conference.

Jason Kander, president of Let America Vote, will provide keynote remarks at the convention. NFU President Roger Johnson, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, and USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett will take center stage to discuss the scope and solutions to the opioid epidemic in American farming communities. And Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Art Cullen of The Storm Lake Times will offer remarks at the convention opening banquet.

The convention annually brings together members, industry professionals, policymakers, and reporters for a series of educational breakout sessions, award presentations, a local farm tour, and the family farm organization’s unique, grassroots policy adoption process.

NFU 116th Anniversary Convention

Jason Kander, President, Let America Vote
Roger Johnson, President, National Farmers Union
Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation
Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, USDA
Art Cullen, Editor, The Storm Lake Times

The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center
1 East Pershing Road
Kansas City, MO 64108

March 4-6, 2018

The most up-to-date convention information, including a tentative agenda and hotel information, can be found on the NFU website at

Dairy Industry Urges Swift Confirmation of Gregg Doud as Trade Negotiator for Agriculture

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today urged the U.S. Senate to swiftly approve Gregg Doud as chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Doud’s confirmation process was halted last year after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) placed a hold on his nomination. With Flake’s hold now lifted, USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack and NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern are asking the Senate to move quickly to confirm Doud, particularly given the breadth of trade issues in which the USTR is engaged.

"The U.S. dairy industry welcomes this news, and looks forward to working closely with Doud as the new U.S. ag chief negotiator,” said Vilsack. “The role of the agriculture ambassador within the USTR is critical to successful U.S. engagement with current negotiations and growing global markets.”

“America’s dairy farmers depend on carefully calibrated trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (KORUS),” Mulhern said. “We need a strong advocate for agriculture in the USTR during this crucial period.”

U.S. dairy exports support millions of jobs, from farmers and processors to distribution and shipping businesses in every U.S. state. During the last several years, exports have become extremely important to the industry. The United States has gone from exporting less than $1 billion in 2000 to exporting more than$7 billion in 2014, before a dip in prices dropped exports to $5 billion in 2016.

CWT Assists with 3.8 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 17 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association.

These cooperatives have contracts to sell 2.974 million pounds (1,349 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 859,803 pounds (390 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from February through May 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 12.688 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 1.590 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 11 countries on three continents. These sales are the equivalent of 152.871 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.

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