Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tuesday February 6 Ag News

Eastern Nebraska Extension Beef Workshops

Nebraska Extension are hosting Beef Profitability Workshops in Eastern Nebraska to help Beef Producers evaluate their operations to make them more profitable through the latest research information. Extension Educators will be presenting the information.

These workshops have been held across Nebraska for the past fifteen years.  Workshops are sponsored by Nebraska Extension.  The cost is $15.00 which is payable at the door, but pre-registration is encouraged so we know how many will be attending.

Workshops that will be held in the area during March include the following locations.

March 13, 2018 – Wayne County at 1:00 p.m. @ Wayne Fire Hall in Wayne, NE.  Topics include “Points of Leverage in a Cow-Calf Operation”, “Unit Cost of Production for Cow-Calf” and “Composting Livestock Mortality”.  Pre-register by contacting Larry Howard at 402-372-6006 by March 9th.

March 14, 2018 – Colfax County at 1:00 p.m. @ Colfax County Fairgrounds in Leigh, NE. Topics include “Round Bale Storage”, “Temporary Fencing and Water” and “Composting Livestock Mortality”. Pre-register by contacting Larry Howard at 402-372-6006 by March 9th.

March 15, 2018 – Washington County Extension Office at 1:00 p.m. in Blair, NE.  Topics include “Points of Leverage in a Cow-Calf Operation”, “Unit Cost of Production for Cow-Calf” and “Composting Livestock Mortality”.  Pre-register by contacting Larry Howard at 402-372-6006 by March 12th.


An upcoming webinar from Nebraska Extension will focus on the economics of producing forage on cropland. The webinar is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. CST.

According to Beef Systems Specialist Mary Drewnoski, current corn prices and limited availability of perennial grass have some producers wondering if growing forages on cropland might be the answer to feeding the cow herd.

“Nebraska Extension is currently receiving many questions from producers and ag lenders about the economics of using cropland to produce forages,” said Drewnoski. “This webinar will answer these questions and provide economic examples to use when making a decision.”  

Common questions from producers include:
-    I can’t find enough pasture. Are annual forages economical?
-    Will growing corn or annual forages net more income?
-    Is converting a pivot to perennial grass economical when I’m in need of pasture?

The integrated systems production team including Jay Parsons, biosystems agriculture economist, Daren Redfearn, forage and crop residue specialist, along with Drewnoski, will be ready to answer questions during the webinar.

There is no cost to participate. Registration is required in advance. To register, visit https://unl.zoom.us/meeting/register/c0c47d7ec3f053127c24e00bf0acd2b8.

After registering, a confirmation email will be sent containing instructions to join the meeting.

New Soybean Disease Identification Resource for 2018

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released an updated version of the “Soybean Diseases” (IPM 4) publication to help farmers and other professionals in the agriculture industry identify and scout for disease threats to soybean production in Iowa. The publication includes scouting tips, disease descriptions, hi-resolution images and general recommendations for management. Also included are illustrated disease cycles for many diseases, a foliar disease estimation chart, and soybean growth and development and staging information.

“Soybean disease issues change over time, and the information we have about diseases advances with new research,” said Adam Sisson, extension specialist for the Integrated Pest Management Program at Iowa State University. “We updated 'Soybean Diseases' to reflect these changes and to improve the usefulness of the publication.”

“Several diseases not found in the previous version have been added, such as soybean vein necrosis and tobacco ringspot, along with new images and updates throughout,” said Daren Mueller, associate professor and extension crop plant pathologist at Iowa State University.

The "Soybean Diseases" publication is available to purchase online at the Extension Store. A hard copy of the publication costs $5, but there also is an option to order it in boxed quantities of 50 for a reduced price of $3.50 per publication. Printable downloads are $2.50 each.

SHIC Releases 2018 Plan of Work to Help Safeguard Swine Health

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) Plan of Work for 2018, with projects designed to quickly deliver results to safeguard the health of the US swine herd, was approved by the organization’s Board of Directors during their January 26 meeting.

The Plan includes a focused effort to improve transportation biosecurity, next steps for investigating feed as a possible vehicle for pathogen transport into the country and between farms, improving communication about international and domestic swine diseases, and continued testing of the ability to respond to emerging disease through the Rapid Response Corps.

The improved transport biosecurity from points of concentration project begins with better understanding of trucker/facility interactions and transmission pathways. Steps for facilitating improved trailer disinfection will also be investigated.

SHIC is investigating the ability of common inputs to act as biologic or mechanical vectors for disease introduction into the country or between farms. This includes work on feed transport of pathogens, studying imported feed components and their risk, along with what might reduce or eliminate risk.

SHIC programs for improving surveillance and discovery in 2018 will help investigate newly identified agents associated with disease as well as ensure detection of emerging disease to facilitate rapid response.

Being prepared to respond quickly and effectively to emerging disease includes SHIC’s new Rapid Response Program with Corps members already being trained. In the event of an emerging disease, the Corps will help quickly respond to and manage incidents with a focus on communications, quick research of pathogens, and supporting a unified response.

SHIC will continue to identify swine disease risks via domestic and international monitoring. As part of the international program, publications are monitored, international disease databases are watched, and international contacts and allied industry partners are asked to give a “boots on the ground” perspective.

SHIC will continue to support the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project to develop industry capacity for detection of emerging disease, rapid response, and continuity of business. The sharing of information through the project will be the foundation for new and innovative analyses to enable prospective swine health decision making.

The Swine Disease Matrix is constantly being reviewed with updates happening in response to disease activity and awareness. In 2018, SHIC will include bacterial pathogens, to reflect the reality seen on farms. Using the prioritized pathogens in the Swine Disease Matrix, SHIC is working to enhance swine disease diagnostic capabilities. SHIC-funded diagnostic tools will be staged for access by Veterinary Diagnostic Labs, so they can quickly be used for disease diagnostic work ups.

Information on all projects, research, and programs can be found on the SHIC website: www.swinehealth.org.

Reduce Yield Impact and Disease Risks When Using Cover Crops

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar about how producers can reduce yield impact and disease risks when using cover crops on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.

Despite the many documented benefits of cover crops, some farmers are hesitant to add cover crops to their operations due to perceived risks of yield impact and increased disease. Alison Robertson, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and an extension field crops pathologist at Iowa State University, will discuss best management practices that can help farmers avoid reduced stands and lower yields. She also will explain how a cover crop may act as a green bridge for oomycete pathogens, thereby creating an increased risk of seedling disease in corn without proper management.

“The goal of our research is to develop best disease management practices that protect yield potential and ensure profitability,” said Robertson. Robertson hopes that webinar viewers will gain a better understanding of the factors that can cause seedling disease of corn when using cover crops so that producers can appropriately manage risk. Robertson specializes in the research of seedling diseases caused by oomycete (water molds).

The Iowa Learning Farms webinar series takes place on the third Wednesday of the month. To watch, go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/ shortly before 1 p.m. on Feb. 21 and log in through the “guest” option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

Grassley Analysis Finds RFS Has Minimal Impact on Success of Refineries

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released the following internal memorandum produced by his energy policy staff who analyzed recent claims made by opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which attributed its recent bankruptcy filing in part to the RFS. The analysis finds that the biofuels blending requirement and the cost of Renewable Identification Number credits (RINs), a compliance mechanism designed for flexibility, have little to do with the success of refineries and were not significant factors in the PES bankruptcy. The Grassley analysis reached similar conclusions as those of multiple recent studies, including multiple by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. The Grassley staff analysis can be found here.

“I’m concerned any time an American’s job could be lost,” Grassley said. “After I heard that the Renewable Fuel Standard was being blamed for the financial troubles of some refineries, I wanted to know more. So I asked my staff to get to the bottom of the situation. After reviewing the facts, I’m confident that the Renewable Fuel Standard isn’t harming refineries, that other factors are at work, and that the RFS law is working as Congress intended. Once these facts are known, there ought to be an end to the misleading rhetoric blaming the RFS. I’ve always said that I’m for an all-of-the-above national energy strategy. Biofuels are responsible for thousands of jobs across the country. There’s no reason biofuels and other renewables can’t exist alongside conventional fuels. I’m thankful President Trump continues to support biofuels and rural America. The President should be applauded for his ongoing commitment to the RFS, which makes our air cleaner, energy cheaper and country stronger with more domestic energy production.”

The Grassley staff analysis found that, “The publicly available evidence points to the fact that PES finds itself in financial difficulty due primarily to changes in its available feedstocks and other management decisions. It does face a problem of having to acquire RINs to meet the looming RFS compliance deadline, but that is due in large measure to its reported decision last fall to sell off the RINs it had acquired, presumably in hopes of being able to buy them back at lower cost before the compliance deadline. Moreover, if PES had taken the sensible approach of other merchant refiners and invested in ethanol blending infrastructure or partnered with a blender, it appears it would have no need to purchase RINs at all.”

Grassley has said that it’s worth exploring ways to lower RIN prices without undermining the integrity of the RFS. Grassley has suggested making E15 available year-round and that EPA could do more to provide transparency to the RIN market.

ACE commends Senator Grassley for finding RFS not a significant factor in PES bankruptcy

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement in response to analysis Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa released today on the recent claims made by opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which attributed its recent bankruptcy filing in part to the RFS program.

“Senator Grassley’s analysis that the RFS compliance mechanism (RIN credits) is not the primary reason for the bankruptcy filing of Philadelphia Energy Solutions is spot on.  As more light is shone on the decisions PES management made between 2012 and today, it has become clear that they sacrificed RFS compliance for other investments which went bad.  RIN prices might be a politically convenient excuse for PES but the inconvenient truth is that other merchant refiners who adapted their business model to blend ethanol aren’t running to bankruptcy court for protection.  It would be outrageous for Congress or EPA to reform the RFS based on the mismanagement of one east coast refiner.”

Senator Grassley released an internal memorandum produced by his energy policy staff who analyzed the claims made by PES and other opponents of the RFS. The Grassley analysis reached similar conclusions as those of recent studies, including those of a four-part blog series released by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy this month. 

Record US Ethanol Exports in 2017

The United States exported a record 1.37 billion gallons of ethanol to more than 60 countries in 2017, up 17% from 2016, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Renewable Fuel Association.

Brazil was the leading destination for U.S. ethanol exports, receiving 446 million gallons, or 33%, of total shipments, the data shows. Canada imported 328 mg from the U.S., while India took in 173 mg. The Philippines and South Korea rounded out the top five destinations in 2017.

Export volumes to nine of the top 10 destinations saw increases over 2016 volumes, with Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates showing the largest gains.

After being the third-leading ethanol export market for the U.S. in 2016, China finished just out of the top 10 in 2017, as exports to that nation plunged nearly 90% in the wake of new tariffs being implemented.

According to the data, U.S. ethanol exports were valued at $2.4 billion in 2017, up 16% year-over-year.

U.S. ethanol imports remained scarce in 2017, with just 77 mg entering the country, and nearly all of the imported product went to California and was used to meet the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard requirements.

NMPF Insists on Correction to Scientific Journal Article Falsely Claiming Milk is Food Safety Risk

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today admonished the authors of a McGill University study for a research article falsely describing milk as a high-risk factor in spreading foodborne illness. NMPF said the study’s authors need to clarify that any significant dairy-related food safety risk is only associated with the consumption of raw milk, not commercially available dairy foods sold in the United States and other developed nations.

Prepared by a graduate student at McGill University of Canada and published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, the study compared the nutritional profiles of four imitation dairy beverages and conventional cow’s milk. The research demonstrated that none of the plant-based imitations replicates the nutritional benefits of real milk. However, the study also published inaccurate claims that cow’s milk “has been associated to cause wide spread disease outbreaks around the world.”

In a letter to the study’s authors, NMPF rebuked the claim, saying it is actually raw, unpasteurized milk that is a demonstrable source of pathogens.

Dr. Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president for dairy foods and nutrition, said the media attention to this inaccurate claim was disconcerting and had to be addressed.

“Cow’s milk is one of the most regulated food products on the market today,” she said. “To publish such an egregious claim in a scientific journal could damage consumer trust in this great beverage, which is why we insist that the study’s authors issue a correction to the journal article and revise its press release immediately.”

The public health risk associated with raw milk is supported by scientific evidence spanning over one hundred years. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens like E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella, the letter said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that over 70 percent of foodborne outbreaks involving dairy are attributed to raw milk. It is illegal in both Canada and many U.S. states.

“There is no basis for your statement linking milk consumption to worldwide foodborne outbreaks,” said the letter. “Such a comment has the potential to do incredible, unjustified harm to our industry and has the potential to cause fear in consumers who are seeking nutrient-dense and safe products for themselves and their families.”

ADM, Bunge Reported to be in Advance Merger Talks

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. is in advanced talks to acquire commodity trader Bunge Ltd., accelerating the pace of consolidation in the global grain-trading industry, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg reports that ADM and Bunge, which has a market value of about $11.5 billion, could reach an agreement as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The takeover talks are ongoing and could still fall apart, while other bidders could still be interested in acquiring Bunge, the people said. ADM is scheduled to announce full-year earnings on Tuesday.

Bunge, is the B in the so-called ABCD companies that dominate global agricultural trade, alongside ADM, Cargill Inc. and Louis Dreyfus Co. After several years of bumper crops, trading profits have fallen, prompting industry executives to talk of consolidation.

The potential ADM-Bunge deal may trigger a bidding war as Glencore Plc made an approach last year to Bunge about a merger with its own agriculture unit. While Glencore, which is partnering with Canadian pension funds, rarely gets in involved in competitive takeover battles, the commodity trader, led by Ivan Glasenberg, could try to trump ADM with a cash offer.

The takeover would also matter well beyond the tightly-knit world of agricultural traders. The companies buy crops across the planet -- from soybean growers in Brazil to wheat farmers in Ukraine -- and supply the world's largest food companies such as Nestle SA and Kraft Heinz Co. A merger of two giants of American agriculture will also attract the attention of politicians across the bread-basket states of the Midwest.

An ADM merger with Bunge would probably face significant antitrust hurdles in the U.S. and perhaps in Brazil and China. To satisfy regulators, a deal would likely require the divestment of assets, such as silos and processing plants in North America, certain to attract interest from competitors, Bloomberg reports.

ADM, which has a market value of about $23 billion, made a preliminary approach to Bunge in recent months, a person familiar with the matter said in January.

Talking Turkey: Seeing through the Myths on Cages, Factory Farms and Antibiotics

Closing the distance from farm to fork, America's turkey farmers, represented by the National Turkey Federation, have prepared a new series of videos and resources offering common-sense answers about raising healthy turkey flocks on family farms.

The videos are available at AmericasTurkeyFarmers.org.

Featuring a series of videos introducing consumers to turkeys raised on corn and soybeans in climate-comfortable protective barns, Minnesota turkey farmer John Zimmerman answers questions in an approachable manner with the view inside his barn. Questions are posed with humor by a cartoon animated tom turkey suggesting the exaggerated myths that consumers are often subjected to about how their food is raised. The videos are formatted for social media and available for online sharing.

"People are curious and like to understand more about their food and where it comes from," said Zimmerman. "It's satisfying to know consumers can appreciate how turkey farming is both practical and sustainable, and the answers to their questions are all common-sense."

Viewers see turkeys walk about freely and safely inside barns without cages, as well as learn how veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics are proven to clear an animal's system before the meat is processed.  The videos also share how healthy turkeys are raised on a nutritious diet of corn and soybeans along with vitamins and minerals, and how turkeys are farm-raised using smart technology and responsible stewardship of resources.

"The videos aim to satisfy the public's curiosity about a turkey farmer's practical approach to raising their flock and to encourage consumers' appreciation of their food from farm to fork," said Keith Williams of the National Turkey Federation. "These short videos present the exaggerated myths of turkey farming with a bit of humor that welcomes curiosity and encourages questions."   

America's Turkey Farmers website introduces the farmers, farmwork, and the food they provide for the consumer enjoyment of Turkey.The Perfect Protein®.  The depth of experience and attention to caring for turkeys can be reviewed on the website in the Stewardship Manual written and adopted by the country's turkey farmers as members of the National Turkey Federation. The website also offers concise fact sheets for turkey's lean protein options among a variety of cuts for meals throughout the week that can be grilled, baked, sautéed or served as snacks.

The online resources follow the successful engagement with the public from 1.3 million views on YouTube of the "Turkey Farm and Processing Plant" video visit by the world's leading animal welfare expert, Dr. Temple Grandin.

AmericasTurkeyFarmers.org content was created by the National Turkey Federation with distribution through a grant by USPOULTRY and creative production contributed by Alltech®.

Big Lessons from the Big Game: What Food and Ag Can Learn from Sunday’s Super Bowl Ads
Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity

If a TV ad doesn’t entice viewers to buy the product, it’s a failure. Judging by some of the ads seen during this year’s Super Bowl, companies are recognizing the power of demonstrating shared values in order to connect with today’s consumer.

A Budweiser ad shows a plant manager halting beer production in the middle of the night in order to fill cans with water to aid in hurricane relief efforts. Stella Artois devoted its time to promote a program that provides clean water to people in developing countries.

These ads provide clear illustrations of the power of sharing examples of social responsibility – aligning with The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) trust model proving shared values are much more important than information or expertise when it comes to earning consumer trust. Recent research shows consumers now believe their greatest impact on society comes not through voting or community involvement, but through their purchases. And values alignment is an important component of consumer purchasing decisions.

Whether it’s sponsoring a Little League team, a staff Habitat for Humanity volunteer program or efforts to provide fresh water for people in need, those in the food industry who are not documenting their community betterment efforts are missing an opportunity to connect with today’s socially-conscious consumer.

Another commercial during the big game featured snippets of telephone conversations as people thanked first responders for their efforts. Only after the words, “They answer the call. We make sure they can get it” does Verizon’s logo appear at the end of the 60-second spot.

Not to equate farmers with firemen, policemen and other front-line emergency responders, but all have earned high levels of trust and respect. Food companies and suppliers who sell to and buy from farmers likely face a much lower level of trust as evidenced by CFI's research showing the “big is bad” mindset among consumers is very real.

Food system stakeholders would do well to identify farmers as “heroes” who care for the land and provide quality animal care as part of delivering healthy, affordable food. As with the Verizon ad, farm suppliers and food companies can say they provide the tools farmers need to be guardians of the earth and animals.

Agriculture and food have traditionally relied on economics and science to validate their practices and products. Year over year in CFI’s consumer trust research, we see reinforcement that consumers believe that big is bad – that companies will put their interests ahead of consumer interests.

We learned more than a decade ago that while facts and science are imperative, they’re not the most important element if the goal is to grow trust in food. As seen in this year’s Super Bowl ads, sharing stories and data that demonstrate values is an integral part of earning trust. Once shared values have been established, the door is open to introduce factual justification for today’s modern food production practices.

No comments:

Post a Comment