Friday, February 2, 2018

Thursday February 1 Ag News

Zalesky named ENREC director

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has named Doug Zalesky director of its Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC), located near Mead, Neb. Zalesky will begin April 1.

Since 2011 Zalesky has served as director of the Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC) at the University of Wyoming. He oversees LREC’s beef unit, swine unit, sheep unit, research greenhouse facility, McGuire ranch, and lab animal facilities. Prior to this role, he was manager and research scientist at Colorado State University, San Juan Basin Research Center, in Hesperus, Colorado. Zalesky has also served as an extension beef specialist for South Dakota State University and Louisiana State University.

Zalesky is a Husker alum, earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science and production, and a master’s degree in physiology of reproduction endocrinology from Nebraska. He also served as a post-doctoral research fellow at Nebraska after earning his Ph.D. in physiology of reproduction and endocrinology from Texas A&M University.

The Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center leverages strengths of existing resources across eastern Nebraska including the university’s Lincoln campus to deliver integrated research and extension programming. The headquarters of the new ENREC is located at the former Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC).

Dr. Hughes to Present on the Secure Milk Supply at the Annual Convention

Dr. Dennis Hughes, DVM with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, will provide information on the Secure Milk Supply during the Nebraska State Dairy Association Annual meeting.  Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral infection primarily of cloven hoofed animals (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.).  Although FMD has not occurred in the U.S. since 1929, there are real threats of FMD invading the U.S.  by accidental or intentional introduction. 

Conventional mitigation has been mandatory depopulation (“stamping out”) of all infected herds, and stop all movement of affected species within control zones. Recently, state and federal animal health officials, veterinary researchers, and industry stakeholders have worked together to develop plans to maintain business continuity during a FMD outbreak. 

The goal of the Secure Milk Supply plan is to provide a workable business continuity plan for dairy producers that have cattle with no evidence of FMD infection, that are located within a FMD control zone.

The NSDA Annual Convention is going to be held on February 27, 2018 at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, Columbus, NE.  Details and registration are online at


Those who have inherited farmland or may do so in the future, are encouraged to register for an upcoming two-part online seminar series “So You’ve Inherited a Farm, Now What?” offered by Nebraska Extension.

The seminar will cover topics such as: keeping or selling a farm; farm management; lease provisions; legal considerations; and managing family communication issues and expectations.

“Inheriting a farm usually brings a number of questions, especially for those who are one or two generations removed from the operation” said Jim Jansen, extension economist. “These seminars will help demystify the process of selling or managing the farm.”

The free seminars will be held Feb. 19 and Feb. 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is requested. For more information and to register visit,

The program is being provided by members of the Nebraska Extension Land Management Outreach Team. For more information or assistance, contact Allan Vyhnalek, extension educator, at or 402-472-177 or Jim Jansen at or 402-261-7571

Funding for the seminar is provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) brings together high school students from around the state to learn more about the ag industry, discover ag-related careers and strengthen their appreciation for agriculture. Applications for this year’s NAYI are now available from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). Current high school juniors and seniors interested in attending this summer’s program in Lincoln have until April 15 to apply.

“There are many careers available in the agricultural industry, and it can be challenging to select one,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “NAYI fosters career development by giving students guidance through networking opportunities with agricultural leaders and professionals. Through hands-on experiences to improve leadership and communication skills, students can identify future career goals and evolve into strong agricultural advocates.”

NAYI is a five-day summer program for current high school juniors and seniors. The Institute will be held July 9-13, 2018, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus. NAYI features motivational speakers, discussion on agricultural issues and opportunities, a hands-on farm management game, a formal banquet and awards presentation, and a street dance. This is NAYI’s 47th year, making it the longest running ag youth program of its kind in the nation.

NAYI is coordinated by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC), which is comprised of 21 college-aged students selected by NDA for their passion and interest in the ag industry. The Council’s purpose is to provide young Nebraskans with a better understanding of agriculture, including agricultural opportunities available to today’s youth.

NDA selects students to attend NAYI based on their leadership skills, interest and involvement in agriculture. Applications are available online at or by contacting the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-6859. This is the first year that all applications must be submitted electronically. Finished applications should be emailed to: no later than April 15, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

“To keep growing Nebraska agriculture, we need to remind students about the many career opportunities available in the ag industry,” said Wellman. “If you know high school juniors or seniors with an interest in agriculture, encourage them to apply to NAYI before the April 15th   deadline.”

Ricketts, Ag Leaders Congratulate Nebraska’s Cattlemen on Growth of Nebraska Herd

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report showing Nebraska has grown in the total number of cattle in the state.  The report also notes that Nebraska leads the nation in cattle on feed.

“Congratulations to Nebraska’s cattle producers on achieving the distinction of the most cattle on feed of any state.  Consistent focus on opening new markets, like China, and telling the story of Nebraska beef through international promotion efforts are supporting growth in the industry.  We look forward to continued partnership with industry leaders to help create more opportunities to grow our state’s number one industry and the Beef State.”

“Nebraska beef producers are second to none, weathering challenges while continually growing the herd statewide.  Our 6.8 million cattle demonstrate our commitment to the industry we love and continue to grow.  Nebraska agriculture as a whole enables the state’s cattle industry to flourish,” said Galen Frenzen, Nebraska Cattlemen President.

“I am pleased that the number of cattle in Nebraska continues to grow.  Nebraska is known around the world for producing high-quality beef products, so it is only fitting that we lead the nation in this category,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman.  “The dedication of Nebraska cattlemen in producing top-quality beef products works hand in hand with the synergy of the state’s corn and ethanol sectors.” 

Record Amount of Land Hits the Market Through FNC

Data released by land grant universities and industry organizations point out that there has been less farm and ranch land for sale than usual the past few years. Despite today's slow land market, Farmers National Company is experiencing a 50 percent increase in the land it has for sale over its previous high volume.

The historic run-up in land prices during the decade leading up to and including 2013 faded in to the background as the past four years instead witnessed a steady and measured decline in values for crop and grazing land throughout the Midwest and Great Plains. Some regions experienced the decline sooner with a larger drop-off in land prices, whereas other regions saw less of a decline. Good quality land generally declined less while lower quality tracts saw weak demand and a bigger price decline. At this time, the market for quality land is steady to slightly stronger. So, what’s next for land values, up or down?

Randy Dickhut, AFM, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National Company, said there are a number of positive factors supporting current land values.

“The industry has experienced a post-harvest bump in land prices in most grain producing areas. With above average crop yields in most locations, farmer optimism has increased as has the bidding for quality crop land. The supply of land on the open market remains low while the number of buyers and demand is adequate for what is on the market at this time,” Dickhut said.

Other factors also are providing support for today’s land prices, Dickhut noted. Continued low interest rates are helping create a demand for ag land as a long-term investment for individuals and institutional funds.

:In general, there is still enough purchasing power in the hands of farmers to compete for good land or land that helps grow ones operation. We are also seeing a small increase in 1031 tax deferred exchange buyers as they move to trade into different land or to diversify out of other real estate holdings and into cropland,” Dickhut said.

However, there also are factors on the horizon that could negatively affect land values, Dickhut noted. Current farm economics are not conducive to strength in the land market. Low grain prices are keeping overall farm income levels depressed. That means that lower incomes are reducing the cash flow necessary to finance crop inputs, equipment needs and land payments, leaving less cash for land purchases.

“Individual and institutional investors are well aware of the lower grain prices and incomes. The resulting reduction in the return on investment for land has kept some investors out of the land market during the past few years,” he said.

Another factor that may weigh on land prices is that lenders are being more cautious in the amount of money they will lend for agricultural land purchases. This could dampen demand as farmers and ranchers are the predominant buyers of crop and grazing land, Dickhut pointed out.

“Cash flow and equity concerns of farmers could generate additional land for sale in the market as some producers liquidate either land or equipment to shore up their finances. The magnitude of these additional land sales will probably be small and vary by region, but the potential for an increase in the supply of land on the market bears watching,” he said.

The final factor that could have a downward effect on land values are the outside influences.   This could include negative outcomes for trade that U.S. agriculture depends upon, unexpected consequences from tax laws and potential changes in the next Farm Bill.

“The next six months will determine the direction of land values. Economic and financial factors will become more evident for producers and lenders. The factors and the outside influences will become better defined as we move through 2018. Now more than ever, professional advice and representation are critical to receiving a fair market price for agricultural land no matter if values move up or down. And more and more landowners are putting their trust in Farmers National Company to sell their land,” Dickhut said.



Real estate sales activity in Nebraska has seen sales volume jump ahead of the previous levels in October and November. Paul Schadegg, area sales manager for the company said that “good quality land sells well, whereas lower quality crop or grassland struggles to find buyers.”

“Farmers National Company holds many auctions in Nebraska with most all ending with a successful sale. That is a great outcome for our clients, especially during this slower land market,” Schadegg said. Demand for high quality land extends throughout the state west to east. 

Schadegg reported that sellers in the market at this time are mainly families and estates. “We are experiencing a land market with less property for sale and a more cautious demand. Some additional sales are expected before planting time from financially motivated sellers as the farm economy struggles with low grain prices,” he said.

Demand for high quality cropland in Iowa remains strong despite the reduced farm income picture. “Values for good land have been fairly steady during the past year and have even seen a slight increase since harvest,” according to Sam Kain, ALC, GRI, ABRM, national sales manager for Farmers National Company based in West Des Moines, Iowa.

“Buyers of farmland are being more deliberate about their decisions, but farmers and investors are very interested in purchasing the right piece of ground that makes sense for them. Lenders are being more cautious in the amount of money they will lend on a land purchase, but there is still enough capital in the country to create demand for good land,” Kain said.

Auctions are still the predominate means to sell cropland in Iowa with more than 66 percent of Farmers National Company’s sales in the state being through the bidding process. Sam Kain noted that 99 percent of the Farmers National Company auctions result in a final sale. “We have very good success selling land through auctions in our Iowa marketplace as there is competition from farmers and investors,” Kain said.

Farmers National Company, an employee-owned company, is the nation’s leading agricultural landowner services company. Farmers National Company has sold 3,876 properties and more than $2.23 billion of real estate during the last five years. The company manages more than 5,000 farms and ranches in 28 states comprising more than 2 million acres. Additional services provided by the company include auctions, appraisals, insurance, consultation, oil and gas management, lake management, a national hunting lease program, forest resource management, and FNC Ag Stock. For more information on our company and the services provided, visit the Farmers National Company website at

Iowa Pig Farmer Appointed America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board has named Leon Sheets, a pig farmer from Ionia, Iowa, as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year® for the remainder of 2017-18 program year. The previous winner, Leslie McCuiston, stepped down after taking a new position in the agricultural industry where she will not directly work with pigs, which is an ongoing requirement for the role. 

“With the unexpected change, the National Pork Board reached out to our America’s Pig Farmer of the year judging panel,” said Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska, and president of the National Pork Board. “The panel unanimously voted to elevate Sheets, a finalist from last fall, with the move adopted and supported by all members of the National Pork Board.”

For McCuiston’s part, she said, “First and foremost I would like to congratulate Leon and thank him for graciously stepping into the role of America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. He is a great representative of what pig farmers do every day. Although it’s bittersweet for me, on a personal level, one must evaluate professional opportunities as they are presented. I am excited to continue working with pig farmers and veterinarians in my new role.”

Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Sheets, who started farming with his grandfather when he was a young child. Sheets raises 33,000 pigs on his farm in northeast Iowa, where he focuses on animal care and environmental sustainability. With the help of his employees, son and wife, Sheets also grows corn, soybeans, hay and cover crops.

“Working with pigs has been a rewarding profession,” Sheets said. “Every morning I wake up to new challenges, along with knowing what to expect when I head to the barns,” said Sheets. “Living on a farm is more of a lifestyle than simply a job. I look forward to sharing my passion and experience with others.”

The annual award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced. Leon will serve in the role until a new America’s Pig Farmer of the Year is announced in October 2018.

Improve Beef Cattle Management with ISU Extension and Outreach Publications

Raising beef cattle presents a myriad of challenges. In addition to field specialists and faculty who are experts in their field, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has resources in place to help producers meet these challenges and manage healthy and profitable herds.

beef cattle in pasture“These publications, especially the newer ones, are designed around issues and challenges that are typical among producers,” said Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center and extension beef specialist with Iowa State University. “There are also options that are broader in their approach for producers who are looking to fine-tune their management to improve the efficiency of their cattle and reduce problems that can occur.”

ISU Extension and Outreach offers the BRaNDS software (BRANDS 500) to producers, who use this computer program to better evaluate rations for groups of differing weight and production stages.

“Producers have many things to think about when raising livestock,” said Dan Loy. “The most elemental consideration is daily care and feeding the animals. Producers must make sure they are comfortable every day, that they have access to clean water, food and adequate bedding in situations where it is required.”

Many of the publications listed here have no charge to download.

Publication “Feed Bunk Management” (IBCR 201A) is extremely useful in helping feedlot managers find the right mix of food for consistent and sustainable animal growth. “Growth Promotant Implants for Cattle” (IBC 113), “Beef Feedlot Systems Manual” (PM 1867) and “Small Open Beef Feedlots in Iowa” (PM 3018) are valuable resources as well.

An increase in efficiency can help producers increase their profit margins, sometimes by implementing small changes into their operation. “Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers” (PM 1713) is currently in the final stages of a renovation and will be released this spring. “Pasture and Grazing Arrangements for Beef Cattle” (IBC 119) and “Making the Switch to Baleage” (IBCR 202) are also helpful in managing a herd’s grazing.

An extensive list of publications is also available on keeping beef cattle healthy. These publications include:
    Feeding CTC to Beef Cows (IBC 120)
    Beef and Dairy Cattle Vaccination Programs (IBC 111)
    Heat Stress in Beef Cattle (PMR 1016)
    Pink Eye in Beef Cattle Herds (PMR 1017)
    Weak Calf Syndrome in Beef Cattle Herds (PMR 1018)
    Trichomoniasis in Beef Cattle (PMR 1012)
    Ergot Poisoning in Cattle (PMR 1013)
    Vitamin A Deficiency in Beef Calves (PMR 1014)

“Understanding what causes disease can help prevent it,” Loy said. “The solution isn’t always in a vaccine bottle or antibiotic. Improved biosecurity efforts or attention to cleanliness and sanitation are important factors in keeping animals healthy.”

In addition to these publications, the Iowa Beef Center has reached an agreement with the Iowa Beef Industry Council to provide beef quality assurance certification as a part of its programming. This will allow the Iowa Beef Center to continue its goal of bringing animal health and wellbeing information to beef producers.

Iowa Corn Says Long-term Water Quality Funding Will Accelerate Farmer Led Efforts

One of the key pieces in improving Iowa’s water quality fell into place yesterday, as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed her first bill into law, providing nearly $300 million of dedicated funding for water quality efforts in Iowa over the next 12 years. Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) farmer-leaders joined Governor Reynolds as she recognized them and many others for helping to champion water quality funding legislation through the statehouse. 

“We thank Iowa lawmakers and Governor Reynolds for ensuring this stable funding source as it is absolutely critical in encouraging continued collaboration across the state,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “State grants and loans for water-related projects will spur even greater private investment by farmers. These dollars will provide additional resources, education, and outreach helping farmers scale up conservation practices on their farms and in their communities.”

ICGA also hosted this week two farmer-to-farmer seminars focused on the importance of soil health and conservation at the Iowa Power Farming Show. These represent farmer-led discussions happening across Iowa. “As farmers, we want to do our part,” said Recker. “I see it at every farmer event I attend, a strong desire by farmers to want to adopt conservation practices and to share with one another technical knowledge and key learnings. We are working with experts and scientists to use the latest technology and data in determining best practices. We’re taking on the challenge of making continuous improvements in preserving the water and soil on our farms. As we go forward together, we will take what we learn and adapt what we do to the conditions on our farms.” 

Current Iowa Corn efforts include: 
+    Investing in the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), a farmer lead initiative of the National Corn Growers Association working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economic as well as an environmental standpoint. With more than 100 working farms enrolled in the program, including almost 30 in Iowa, SHP tests and measures farm management practices that improve soil health and benefit farmers. 

+    Creating the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), along with our partners at the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association, which works in priority watersheds in the state providing funding, outreach guidance, watershed planning and conservation expertise. 

+    Supporting the Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council (INREC) which proactively supports the adoption of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy by bringing together nearly every segment of Iowa’s agriculture industry to help lead environmental efforts related to water quality.  INREC is leveraging private investments to work with Iowa State University on multiple efforts to measure progress in conservation adoption and water quality improvement. 

+    Proactively communicating the positive steps farmers are taking to implement practices on their farms. 

For more information on how Iowa Corn is leading the way on water quality, go to

 NPPC Statement on Pork. The Other White Meat® Ruling

 The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today issued a ruling on a suit challenging the sale of the Pork. The Other White Meat® trademarks. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) sold the trademarks to the National Pork Board in 2006. The following statement may be attributed to Ken Maschhoff, an Illinois pork producer and president of the National Pork Producers Council.

“We are conducting a thorough review of the decision and evaluating our options. We are disappointed that the court partially denied the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s motion to dismiss this frivolous lawsuit, one that was never based on a legitimate legal challenge to a federally approved transaction but instead was brought by an anti-meat activist group intent on eliminating meat consumption and harming a vast U.S. industry that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans and feeds billions of people at home and abroad.

“NPPC enjoys the strong support of pork producers nationwide. Regardless of the final outcome in this case, we are well positioned to continue fighting for the livelihood of farmers and others in rural America.”

The court’s decision followed a motion last January to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which authorized the transaction as part of its oversight responsibilities under the 1985 Pork Act.  The Pork Act set up the pork checkoff program and established the National Pork Board to administer it. The USDA’s motion argued that the lawsuit, filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and two other parties, lacked merit, was barred by a six-year statute of limitations, that the plaintiffs failed to establish standing to file the lawsuit or show that they were harmed by the sale of the trademarks, and that the agency’s evaluation of the sale of the trademarks showed they provided significant value to the pork industry.

HSUS and other plaintiffs – which included Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, an activist group, and a lone Iowa resident who is a member of this group – claimed that the trademarks were sold for an inflated price. NPPC sold the assets, widely regarded as one of the most recognizable marketing brand assets in history, for $35 million. A USDA-conducted study later valued the trademarks at between $113 million and $132 million.

Perdue Unveils, Interactive Website for Agricultural Producers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled, the new interactive one-stop website for producers maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). is now live but will have multiple features added over the coming months to allow agricultural producers to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs. The website, launched at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau, gathers together the three agencies that comprise USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.

“Many farmers are out in their fields using equipment that is connected to satellite and GPS technology, yet when they need to interact with USDA, they have to stop, fill out a paper form, and fax or carry it to their local office. That is a real digital divide,” Perdue said. “Our staff is friendly, and they love to see farmers in person, but they know that time is valuable. Producers are working hard to make their farms profitable, so these tools will help get the paperwork done without taking a big chunk out of the day to fill out forms.” is mobile device-friendly and can identify for farmers the most convenient USDA office locations. New functions will be added shortly, including an interactive calendar, farming success stories, an online appointment feature, digital forms, and a business data dashboard. Additionally, when the 2018 Farm Bill is signed into law, there will be plain language program descriptions and a tool to determine eligibility.

“As I’ve traveled to 32 states in my first nine months as Secretary of Agriculture, I have consistently heard people express a desire for greater use of technology in the way we deliver programs at USDA,” Perdue said. “It’s my goal to make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government, and is a big step in that direction.”

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for February 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for February 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for February is 1.750 percent, up from 1.625 percent in January.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during February is 2.750 percent, up from 2.625 percent in January.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for February are as follows, 2.125 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 1.875 percent in January; 2.250 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 2.125 percent in January; 2.375 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 2.250 percent in January; 2.500 percent with 10-year loan terms, up from 2.375 percent in January and; 2.500 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 2.375 percent in January.

CattleFax Predicts Large Supply and Strong Demand in 2018

CattleFax celebrated its 50th anniversary during the popular CattleFax Outlook Session at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. CattleFax Senior Analyst Kevin Good highlighted the industry’s profitability during 2017 and said the trend looks to continue into 2018.

CattleFax analysts told the audience U.S beef cow inventory increased 2.8 million head in four years, and an additional 200,000-400,000 head are expected to be added to the herd over the next few years. Good said there are growing supplies of protein coming to market during the year ahead, including large supplies of competing proteins, which will weigh on all beef prices. 

“We have a bigger supply of all proteins ahead in 2018. For the past year we were very fortunate to have solid export volume,” said Good. “We are forecasting trade to increase year-over-year in 2018, but still, the rate of production is out-pacing the rate of exports.”

Although beef production is expected to increase to 27.5 billion pounds during 2018, Good said current consumer demand is expected to remain good and potentially increase as retail prices moderate. He said CattleFax is predicting beef to remain a strong competitor against other proteins.

“Demand is robust on all fronts. Domestically, retail demand is increasing and beef is being featured more in the consumer markets,” said Good. “The retail and foodservice industries are doing very well and the solid economy in the United States is one of the main drivers as unemployment rates continue to decline and per capita income rises.”

Good said even though beef demand is high, leverage will continue to be a challenge for the feedlot and packing segments as shackle space becomes increasingly constrained by rising slaughter rates. With the growth in production, Good said he anticipates lower, but still profitable price levels for the cow-calf segment, while feeders and backgrounders will see their margins narrow.

Input costs are expected to remain manageable, with grain prices expected to remain steady. According to CattleFax, yields will drive corn prices in 2018-19 marketing year with no significant changes anticipated in acreage or demand. Futures corn prices are projected to range from $3.25 to $3.95 per bushel as supplies remain adequate. With more livestock to feed in 2018 and the smallest acreage on record in 2017, CattleFax predicts hay prices will increase $10-$15 per ton with additional weather-related price risks.

Drought conditions have been spreading across the United States since last winter with the Southwest being impacted the most. Art Douglas, professor emeritus, Creighton University, predicts a possible transition from La Niña conditions to a weaker El Niño by summer. U.S. weather patterns over the next three months will be dictated by La Niña. However, equatorial warming could shift drought patterns across North America by late spring and summer.

During the session, CattleFax analysts predicted fed cattle prices lower than prior year levels, averaging $115 per hundredweight (cwt.). Good said fed cattle prices are likely to face resistance near the $130 level, with downside risk in the upper $90 range. He predicted bargaining position will continue to favor cattle processors and retailers, with profit margins at or above 2017 levels.

CattleFax projected 750-pound steers will average $1 lower than 2017 levels at $145/cwt., with a range from the upper $120s to $160/cwt. Meanwhile, U.S. average 550-pound steer calves will see a trading range from $170/cwt. at the spring high to an average price in the upper $130s, during the fall marketing season. For the full year, calf prices are expected to average $158/cwt.

To see more from the CattleFax Outlook Session or to become a member, visit

Cattlemen Applaud Dropped Hold on Doud, Urge Senate to Approve Nomination ASAP

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is dropping his hold on the nomination of Gregg Doud to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:

"This is great news for America's cattlemen and women, and for all agricultural producers. We're glad that Senator Flake has finally heard our call for him to drop his hold and allow Gregg Doud to start working to improve market access around the world for our producers. With talks continuing on NAFTA, the Korea-US trade agreement, and access to many other markets still up in the air, it's imperative that the U.S. Senate now move as quickly as possible to confirm Doud's nomination."

Cattlemen Release 2018 Policy Priorities

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today unveiled its 2018 Policy Priorities, which will guide the group’s lobbying efforts in Washington over the coming year. The document was released at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix.

This year’s Priorities focus on five main categories: the 2018 Farm Bill, Trade and Market Access, Regulatory Reform, Antimicrobial Use, and Fake Meat.

Some of this year’s priorities are familiar to longtime industry watchers. Like last year, NCBA will work to ensure that the pending Farm Bill includes full funding for a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank, protects conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and prevents market-disrupting policies like mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

Likewise, the group’s regulatory-reform efforts will again focus on finding a permanent solution to an electronic logging devices mandate, modernizing the Endangered Species Act, and replacing the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

New to the Priorities list this year is an emphasis on antimicrobial use - specifically the aim to secure clean Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) reauthorization and continuing the Key Technologies Task Force action steps on antimicrobials. Another new emphasis in 2018 will be a focus on protecting the industry and consumers from fake meat and misleading labels on products that do not contain real beef.

“With tax reform, regulatory rollbacks, and new access to the Chinese market, we had some big victories in Washington last year, but this is no time to take a break, and 2018 promises a mix of new and familiar challenges,” said incoming NCBA President Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation California rancher. “We’re going to continue to ensure fair access to foreign markets, fight against unnecessary regulation, make sure the Farm Bill addresses our needs, and guarantee that consumers have the ability to purchase a safe, healthy, and accurately labeled protein source.”

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 538 million bushels in December 2017. Total corn consumption was up 2 percent from November 2017 and up 2 percent from December 2016. December 2017 usage included 92.3 percent for alcohol and 7.7 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 2.25 million bushels, down 35 percent from November 2017 and down 13 percent from December 2016. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 487 million bushels, was up 2 percent from November 2017 and up 3 percent from December 2016. Corn consumed in December 2017 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.2 percent and 9.80 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.97 million tons during December 2017, down 2 percent from November 2017 and down 6 percent from December 2016. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.43 million tons in December 2017, up 4 percent from November 2017 and up slightly from December 2016.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 319 thousand tons during December 2017, up 2 percent from November 2017 but down 9 percent from December 2016. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 310 thousand tons in December 2017, up 2 percent from November 2017 but down 3 percent from December 2016.

Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.29 million tons (176 million bushels) in December 2017, compared to 5.20 million tons (173 million bushels) in November 2017 and 5.07 million tons (169 million bushels) in December 2016. Crude oil produced was 2.02 billion pounds up 2 percent from November 2017 and up 3 percent from December 2016. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.42 billion pounds during December 2017 decreased 3 percent from November 2017 but increased 1 percent from December 2016.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 174 thousand tons in December 2017, compared to 151 thousand tons in November 2017 and 179 thousand tons in December 2016. Canola crude oil produced was 150 million pounds up 16 percent from November 2017 and up slightly from December 2016. Canola once refined oil production at 116 million pounds during December 2017 was down 8 percent from November 2017 and down 1 percent from December 2016. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 54.7 million pounds during December 2017 was up 20 percent from November 2017 and up 6 percent from December 2016.

Edible tallow production was 78.2 million pounds during December 2017, down 14 percent from November 2017 but up 3 percent from December 2016. Inedible tallow production was 324 million pounds during December 2017, up 1 percent from November 2017 and up 3 percent from December 2016. Technical tallow production was 96.1 million pounds during December 2017, down 20 percent from November 2017 and down 4 percent from December 2016. Choice white grease production at 104 million pounds during December 2017 decreased 11 percent from November 2017 and decreased 15 percent from December 2016.

Flour Milling Products

All wheat ground for flour during the fourth quarter 2017 was 235 million bushels, up slightly from the third quarter 2017 grind of 234 million bushels and up 1 percent from the fourth quarter 2016 grind of 233 million bushels. Fourth quarter 2017 total flour production was 109 million hundredweight, up slightly from the third quarter 2017 and up 1 percent from the fourth quarter 2016. Whole wheat flour production at 5.73 million hundredweight during the fourth quarter 2017 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the fourth quarter 2017 was 1.64 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the fourth quarter 2017 was 1.62 thousand hundredweight.

Durum wheat ground for flour and semolina production during the fourth quarter of 2017 totaled 17.5 million bushels, up 8 percent from the third quarter 2017 but down 4 percent from the fourth quarter 2016. Fourth quarter 2017 durum flour and semolina production was 8.39 million hundredweight, up 8 percent from the third quarter 2017 but down 2 percent from the fourth quarter 2016. Whole wheat durum flour and semolina production was 120 thousand hundredweight, down 38 percent from 194 thousand hundredweight in the third quarter 2017 and down 35 percent from 184 thousand hundredweight from the fourth quarter 2016. Fourth quarter durum wheat millfeed production was
116 thousand tons and the daily 24-hour milling capacity for durum and semolina production was
127 thousand hundredweight.

Rye ground for flour during the fourth quarter of 2017 was 494 thousand bushels, up 22 percent from the third quarter 2017 but down 1 percent from the fourth quarter 2016. Rye flour production during the fourth quarter of 2017 was 240 thousand hundredweight, compared to 206 thousand hundredweight in the previous quarter and 238 thousand hundredweight in the same quarter for the previous year. The daily 24-hour milling capacity for rye milling was 9.39 thousand hundredweight for the fourth quarter 2017.

Soy Growers Support Removing Duplicative Regulatory Requirements In House Farm Bill

The American Soybean Association (ASA) joined a large group agriculture organizations and other stakeholders last week in asking the House Committee on Agriculture to include language from H.R.953, the Regulatory Burdens Act, in the anticipated 2018 Farm Bill.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Congressman Gibbs (R-OH) and passed by the House with wide support May 24, 2017, would provide regulatory relief to producers by removing the requirement for duplicative National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting for pesticides already approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The measure was included in a version of the 2014 Farm Bill that passed the House, but was not included in the final version of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Commodity Classic MAIN STAGE Features High-Profile Presenters and Practical How-To Information

Attendees at the 2018 Commodity Classic February 27-March 1, in Anaheim, California will have the opportunity to hear from a wide range of well-known speakers on the Main Stage, presented by Commodity Classic and Successful Farming®.  The Main Stage is located right on the trade show floor and offers a robust schedule of educational programs, demonstrations and panel discussions.

The Tuesday line-up on the Main Stage includes:
-    Al Kluis, editor of Successful Farming®, on the future of commodity prices in 2018
-    Ag PhD’s Hefty brothers discussing soybean weed control
-    A panel featuring high-yield farmers discussing their agronomic practices
-    A panel of agribusiness executives discussing their views on agricultural technology and the reliance on high-speed broadband access

Wednesday’s Main Stage programming includes:
-    A Learning Center regarding the benefits of data-driven agriculture in terms of sustainability, productivity and profitability
-    Ag PhD’s Hefty brothers presenting on optimizing fertility programs
-    Presentations from Successful Farming® editors on equipment maintenance, successful grain marketing and efficient farm shop design

Thursday presentations on the Main Stage include:
-    A cooking demonstration featuring a top chef focused on nutritious recipes for food that kids crave to eat
-    A Learning Center session on pesticide resistance and pesticide management
-    A presentation by Marji Gauyler-Alaniz, president and founder of FarmHer, which highlights the impact of women in agriculture

Main Stage sessions are included with the general registration fee.  One-day registrations are available, which include access to the trade show and the Main Stage programming for that day.

“The Commodity Classic Main Stage provides yet another venue for attendees to gather critical information and insight for their operations,” said Gerry Hayden, a Kentucky farmer and co-chair of the 2018 Commodity Classic. “When you add the Main Stage schedule to the other educational opportunities, Commodity Classic is truly unmatched when it comes to helping America’s best farmers Grow Beyond—and become even better at what they do.”

Education is a hallmark of Commodity Classic. In addition to the Commodity Classic Main Stage, Commodity Classic offers Learning Centers, What’s New Sessions, Mini What’s New Sessions, Early Riser Sessions and the General Session.  Commodity Classic also features a huge trade show, entertainment and the opportunity to network with thousands of America’s best farmers.

Detailed information on all educational sessions and the entire 2018 Commodity Classic schedule are available at  Online registration and housing are also available on the website.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.


Ahead of the 2018 growing season, Monsanto is providing hundreds of free, in-person training sessions to help reinforce proper use of low-volatility dicamba formulations to control weeds in the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System. Under the new federal Restricted Use Pesticide label, training is mandatory for all applicators prior to using low-volatility dicamba formulations, including XtendiMax® Herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology.

XtendiMax® Herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology has been approved for in-crop use as part of the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System in 33 states in 2018. Seven of the 33 states – Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee – require that applicators attend training sessions provided by the state. In the other 26 states, Monsanto and other low-volatility dicamba registrants are providing training. States where Monsanto trainings are scheduled include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Growers are encouraged to visit to review training dates and locations and to register to attend. New training dates are being added to the site regularly.

Monsanto’s training sessions focus on compliance with the product label, application requirements, required record keeping, understanding of susceptible/sensitive crops, window of application and understanding environmental conditions such as inversions, along with other important topics. The training sessions last approximately 90 minutes, and participants will receive a certificate of completion.

While Monsanto’s training sessions are focused on the federal and state label requirements for its low-volatility product, XtendiMax® Herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology, they are designed to satisfy the mandatory training requirement to apply any of the low-volatility dicamba herbicides approved for use in their states.

“Because of the excellent weed control and strong yields growers saw in 2017, we are seeing a significant increase in demand for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® Soybeans this year,” said Ryan Rubischko, Monsanto’s dicamba portfolio lead. “As we prepare for the season, we want to remind growers and applicators that under the enhanced federal label, training is mandatory for all applicators this year. In the 26 states where we can provide training directly as a registrant, we are already scheduling hundreds of trainings to ensure that growers have as many convenient and accessible choices as possible, and we will continue to add more training sessions throughout the application season. For the remaining states, we are making information about state-provided training easily accessible on our website.”

“We encourage all growers and applicators to visit to learn about training opportunities in your state,” Rubischko said. “We are committed to ensuring that the training experience for growers is convenient and informative, and we will provide support to our customers every step of the way this season.”

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