FSA Accepting Enrollment Now for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Safety Net Programs for 2018
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Cuming County Executive Director Sarah Beck is encouraging producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill to stop in now to enroll for 2018 coverage.
Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers on the farm must enroll in the safety net programs, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, by signing a contract each program year.
“Come inside and complete your paperwork during the cold weather,” Beck said. “The average enrollment appointment takes less than 30 minutes and doing so now will save you valuable time when the weather warms and you need to be outside.”
For details regarding the ARC and PLC programs, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.
Appointment cards are going out in the mail so keep an eye on your mailboxes. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please call the Cuming County FSA Office at (402) 372-2451 ext. 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reschedule your appointment.
Ricketts Proclaims “FFA Week” in Nebraska
This afternoon, flanked by FFA leaders and members, Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring “FFA Week” in Nebraska. FFA, also known as “Future Farmers of America,” started in 1928. Its mission is to “make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.” FFA Week is celebrated nationally from February 17-24, 2018.
“FFA is helping raise up the next generation of Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and ag innovators,” said Governor Ricketts. “Through FFA, students across Nebraska receive great agricultural education and training from this historic organization. FFA is developing the fresh thinkers and strong leaders our growing agriculture industry needs to innovate and move it forward in the 21st-century.”
The Nebraska FFA Association was the sixth chartered by the National FFA Organization. Nebraska currently has over 8,500 FFA members in 185 chapters. Throughout the years, state departments have teamed up with Nebraska FFA chapters to promote agricultural education, career readiness, and professional development.
“FFA Week provides us an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our FFA members,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman. “FFA allows students an opportunity to grow as leaders while building their agricultural education, and, in turn, impacting their communities for the better.”
“The FFA Organization helps to develop students through premier leadership, personal growth, and career success,” said Nebraska State FFA Advisor Krystl Knabe. “The agriculture industry is the driving force for Nebraska’s economy. Our state’s educational system has recognized the importance of agriculture. We have a record number of agricultural education programs in Nebraska high schools and record high FFA membership. We are thrilled that Governor Ricketts is recognizing the Nebraska FFA Association during National FFA Week as the organization continues to develop and prepare future leaders of our great state.”
The Nebraska FFA program is supported by the Nebraska FFA Foundation.
“The Nebraska FFA Foundation is committed to investing in agricultural education and FFA for over 8,500 FFA members and their advisors by growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture,” said Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director Stacey Agnew. “I am thrilled Governor Ricketts is honoring FFA members and hope this will encourage more schools to add agricultural education and FFA programs. We need more career-ready students to help grow Nebraska’s number one economic engine – agriculture.”
“FFA chapters across the state play a major role in preparing students for careers in agriculture production, business, education and leadership,” said Nebraska Wheat Board Executive Director Royce Schaneman. “We appreciate the Governor recognizing the importance of FFA to Nebraska and look forward to celebrating this great organization.”
"The future of agriculture is dependent on the younger generation,” said Nebraska Cattlemen President Galen Frenzen. “Nebraska Cattlemen is grateful for all of the FFA programs across the State that are giving our students the knowledge and experience they need about our industry. As a former State FFA officer, I recognized firsthand the benefits of this organization.”
“The Nebraska corn industry is very proud of our state’s FFA students,” said Nebraska Corn Board Executive Director Kelly Brunkhorst. “Many of our past and present board members were involved with FFA, and they understand and appreciate the value of the organization. Also, several of our staff members and student interns throughout the years have been involved in FFA, so it is exciting to see them incorporate the leadership skills they gained through FFA into their careers. We congratulate all of our FFA members and thank the teachers and advisors who help mentor them.”
For more information about the Nebraska FFA, visit http://www.neaged.org/main.html.
Smith Earns Nebraska Farm Bureau “Friend of Agriculture” Designation
U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Smith, who is seeking re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District, received the designation based on his work on several policy issues of high priority to Nebraska farmers and ranchers, according to Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.
“Taxes, trade, and reducing the regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers are priorities for our members and Congressman Smith has provided leadership on all of these critical issues in Washington D.C.,” said Nelson.
Serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, Smith has provided a strong voice for agriculture on federal tax policy and played an instrumental role in helping deliver the first major revisions to the federal tax code in more than 30 years.
“Today Nebraska farmers and ranchers are able to continue to fully deduct their property taxes on their federal tax return, thanks in large part to the work done by the Congressman during debate on the federal tax bill. His engagement on that issue was instrumental in protecting those deductions,” said Nelson.
With one out of every three U.S. farm acres being planted for export and roughly 31 percent of U.S. gross farm income coming directly from exports to foreign countries, international trade is critical to farmers and ranchers.
“Rep. Smith has been and continues to be a strong proponent of growing international markets for Nebraska’s agricultural products. He’s represented agriculture directly with trade negotiators having just recently participated in a delegation to Canada to help bring an agriculture perspective to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) discussions,” said Nelson.
Smith has also championed efforts to reduce unwarranted regulations on Nebraska farmers and ranchers that needlessly increase the costs of doing business, in addition to pushing back on regulations that would infringe on private property rights.
“Whether it’s his work to halt the EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule that would have allowed the federal government to tell farmers and ranchers what they could do with their property or his efforts to address Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that would have driven up fertilizer costs, Congressman Smith has worked to address the issues of concern to farm and ranch families,” said Nelson.
In making the announcement, Nebraska Farm Bureau also pointed to Smith’s ongoing efforts to protect risk-management tools such as federal crop insurance, defend the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for corn and ethanol producers, as well as challenging animal rights activists who strive to erode the ability of Nebraska livestock producers to use commonly accepted production practices while attempting to damage the reputation of America’s farm and ranch families.
“We appreciate the ongoing efforts of Congressman Smith to serve Nebraska’s farm and ranch families and are proud to count him among those receiving our “Friend of Agriculture” designation,” said Nelson.
SYMPOSIUM TO HIGHLIGHT ISSUES OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN NEBRASKA
An upcoming symposium at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will highlight the importance of international trade to Nebraska's economy. The Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance is hosting the inaugural CME Group Foundation Symposium, "Changing Governments, Changing Trade: Impacts from Global to Local," March 13 in Lincoln.
The symposium is in conjunction with the final Heuermann Lecture of the 2017-18 season. The free event is noon to 6 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.
Speakers include Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Smithfield; Tim Groser, New Zealand's ambassador to the United States; Kirsten Hillman, Canada's deputy ambassador to the United States; Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade; and Andrea Durkin, editor-in-chief for TradeVistas. Kuehl and Durkin will discuss the local impact of global change in the Heuermann Lecture at 3:30 p.m.
A renowned trade expert and Nebraska alumnus, Yeutter made a $2.5 million leadership gift through outright and planned gifts to establish the Clayton Yeutter International Trade Program Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation in 2015.
The institute prepares students to understand, participate in and shape global trade and finance in a world that is increasingly interconnected. It builds on the strengths of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Business and College of Law to offer undergraduate and graduate education, facilitate faculty research and engage the community, all related to international trade and finance.
Advance registration is required. To register, visit https://ianr.unl.edu/yeutter-institute.
The symposium is sponsored by the CME Group Foundation and Smithfield.
USDA: 2017 Annual Milk Production up 1.4 Percent from 2016
The annual production of milk for the United States during 2017 was 215 billion pounds, 1.4 percent above 2016. Revisions to 2016 production decreased the annual total 31 million pounds. Revised 2017 production was up 35 million pounds from last month's publication. Annual total milk production has increased 13.4 percent from 2008.
By State '16 milk prod - '17 milk prod - % change
mil lbs. mil lbs.
Nebraska ..: 1,399.0 1,444.0 3.2
Iowa .........: 5,034.0 5,172.0 2.7
Production per cow in the United States averaged 22,941 pounds for 2017, 163 pounds above 2016. The average annual rate of milk production per cow has increased 12.5 percent from 2008.
By State '16 ave lbs/cow - '17 ave lbs/cow
Nebraska ..: 23,317 24,067
Iowa .........: 23,634 23,725
The average number of milk cows on farms in the United States during 2017 was 9.39 million head, up 0.7 percent from 2016. The average number of milk cows was unrevised for 2017. The average annual number of milk cows has increased 0.8 percent from 2008.
By State '16 Cows - '17 Cows
Nebraska : 60,000 60,000
Iowa .......: 213,000 218,000
USDA: January Milk Production up 1.8 Percent
Milk production in the 23 major States during January totaled 17.3 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from January 2017. December revised production, at 17.0 billion pounds, was up 1.1 percent from December 2016. The December revision represented an increase of 4 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.
Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,979 pounds for January, 24 pounds above January 2017. This is the highest production per cow for the month of January since the 23 State series began in 2003.
The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.74 million head, 49,000 head more than January 2017, and 4,000 head more than December 2017.
IOWA: Milk production in Iowa during January 2018 totaled 446 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous January according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during January, at 220,000 head, was unchanged from last month but 5,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,025 pounds, up 25 pounds from last January.
Producers should take precautions to mitigate corn spoilage
Due to beneficial weather conditions that increased kernel fill last fall, producers need to take precautions to mitigate corn spoilage this spring.
Mild weather during the months of September and October not only produced higher yields, but also increased kernel fill. Kernels that are “filled out” and denser like those seen during last year’s harvest usually do not dry as easily, especially in higher temporal systems. The kernels will dry on the surface but when moisture equals out, they will be wetter than anticipated.
“There will probably be a 1-2 percent higher moisture content difference than anticipated,” said Charles Hurburgh, professor and grain quality and handling specialist with Iowa State University. “Although this is not a huge problem in the winter, when warmer weather arrives we will start to see problems such as wetter cores in storage bins and corn spoilage.”
To prevent spoilage, producers should begin by taking grain samples from the core of the grain bin. Not only will this clean trash and flush foreign material, but also will help identify the moisture content.
“Producers need to recognize when something will have to be done when weather warms up,” said Hurburgh. “If we have a few consecutive 50-degree days, the top of bins will get warm and spoilage can happen. Producers also need to be prepared to turn fans on or return grain to the dryer if necessary.”
For additional information on proper grain storage practices, the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative has developed free online learning modules to help educate and teach producers proper grain storage techniques. Module topics include dryeration, aeration and fan performance. Visit https://www.extension.iastate.edu/grain for more information about the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and modules.
The mission of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative (IGQI) is to create knowledge and provide information that will improve the efficiency of traditional commodity grain markets and assist emerging markets for user-specific grains. For more information, visit iowagrain.org.
Average Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue to Inch Higher
Average retail fertilizer prices continued to inch higher the second week of February 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.
After several weeks of one fertilizer -- potash -- being slightly lower, prices for all eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier, though none were up by a significant amount.
DAP had an average price of $457 per ton, MAP $495/ton, potash $345/ton, urea $357/ton, 10-34-0 $415/ton, anhydrous $492/ton, UAN28 $230/ton and UAN32 $264/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.41/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.
Four fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Anhydrous is 1% higher, potash is 4% higher, DAP is 6% higher and MAP is 10% higher than last year.
The remaining four fertilizers are still lower in price compared to last year. Urea is 1% less expensive, while both UAN28 and UAN32 are 4% lower, and 10-34-0 is 6% less expensive than last year.
NCGA Statement on Senator Cruz's Remarks at Philadelphia Refinery Town Hall
The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to Senator Cruz's remarks during the Philadelphia refinery (PES) town hall.
“While most refiners are reporting double digit profit increases, Philadelphia Energy Solutions has filed for bankruptcy protection because its investors put their interests ahead of their workers’ interests. It’s disingenuous for Senator Cruz to claim he’s looking out for refinery workers, when he’s really looking out for Wall Street investors who made bad business decisions yet ensured they got their payout first, putting refinery jobs at risk.
“Senator Cruz is right about one thing – this is not about pitting corn farmers and refinery workers against each other. Corn famers see refinery owners and investors failing to take responsibility for their poor business decisions. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) works for consumers, union workers, farmers and our environment. Whether it’s the EPA, financial analysts or university experts, all confirm refiners are not facing a RINs price impact because they recover any costs through the price they receive for their refined products. Senator Cruz is trying to upend the RFS to address a non-existent problem and bail out refiners who opted not to invest in blending infrastructure, so they could blend renewable fuels and get biofuels credits for free.
“Corn farmers’ definition of a “win-win” is providing regulatory parity for E15, and higher blends of ethanol, which would increase the supply of RINs to lower RIN values, and improve transparency in the trading system. The only plan Senator Cruz has is to block the confirmation of Bill Northey, a well-qualified and much-needed leader at the Department of Agriculture, in order to undercut the successful, and beneficial Renewable Fuel Standard. “
ACE statement on Cruz town hall at Philadelphia refinery
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement following Senator Ted Cruz’s town hall with employees from the refinery Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month:
“Senator Cruz’s increasingly desperate publicity stunts do not change the fact that the problems facing Philadelphia Energy Solutions have nothing to do with the Renewable Fuel Standard and everything to do with mismanagement by the PES ownership group. In recent days, it has been disclosed by current and former PES employees that the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm that owns two-thirds of PES, prioritized cash distributions to shareholders over small investments that would have enabled the refinery to comply with the RFS. It is shameful that Senator Cruz is calling on Uncle Sam to bailout PES for mismanagement blunders when most U.S. refiners have been complying with the law. The ethanol industry has been crystal clear with anyone willing to listen that the win-win Senator Cruz claims to seek is to grant RVP relief for E15 and higher blends. This would increase ethanol blending and the RIN supply, bring down RIN prices, and keep the RFS statute intact.”
NGFA seeks clarification on trucking regulatory exemptions for agriculture
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) this week urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to clarify the agricultural commodity exception to its hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.
In its statement submitted in response to the FMCSA's request in the Dec. 20, 2017 edition of the Federal Register seeking input on the "Proposed Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Transportation of Agricultural Commodities," the NGFA urged FMCSA to clarify that grain elevators, feed and feed ingredient manufacturers, biofuels companies, grain and oilseed processors and millers, and livestock and poultry integrators are a source of agricultural commodities eligible for the exception.
"It is imperative that U.S. freight laws and regulations accomplish their goals without disadvantaging U.S. agriculture, given the highly competitive global marketplace that exists for agricultural products," the statement said. "Having access to a highly efficient freight transportation system and a pool of qualified drivers is critical for U.S. agriculture's competitiveness."
Specifically, NGFA said that the agricultural commodity exception should apply to all facility types within the agricultural supply chain to prevent additional financial harm.
In addition, for drivers operating under the agricultural commodity exception, NGFA recommended that FMCSA apply the hours-of-service regulations only to situations in which a driver operates beyond the 150-air mile radius. Under NGFA's recommendation, commercial truck drivers transporting agricultural commodities would not be required to maintain logs until exceeding the 150-air mile radius.
Finally, to prevent unnecessary regulatory burden and excessive costs, NGFA urged FMCSA to exempt from the electronic logging device (ELD) requirement drivers who predominantly transport agricultural commodities.
"Most NGFA members operate under the agricultural commodity exception and, therefore, are exempt from hours-of-service requirements for all or most of the year depending upon their state's definition for planting and harvesting seasons," said the NGFA statement, which also noted that requiring ELDs to be purchased for use during the non-planting and harvest seasons when demand for truck transportation has eased is nonsensical and inconsistent with President Trump's executive order to reduce regulatory burdens.
"NGFA looks forward to working with DOT and FMCSA on additional solutions to address the needs of our industry while continuing to protect the safety of the nation's highways," the statement concluded.
ASA Congratulates the 2018 Regional Winners of the Conservation Legacy Awards
The American Soybean Association (ASA) congratulates the regional winners of the 2018 Conservation Legacy Awards.
- Mark Schleisman, Lake City, Iowa (Midwest Region)
- David and Linda Burrier, Union Bridge, Md. (Northeast Region)
- Grant Norwood, Mansfield, Tenn. (South Region)
Each winner will be recognized at the ASA Awards Banquet on Feb. 28, 2018, at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif. During the banquet, one of the farmers will be chosen as the national winner.
The Conservation Legacy Awards is a national program designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievement of soybean farmers, which helps produce more sustainable U.S. soybeans.
A national selection committee, composed of soybean farmers, conservationists, agronomists and natural resource professionals, evaluated nominations based on each farmer’s environmental and economic program. The achievements of these farmers serve as a positive example for other farmers and help produce a more sustainable U.S. soybean crop. This program is sponsored by ASA, BASF, Monsanto, Corn & Soybean Digest, the United Soybean Board/Soybean Checkoff and Valent.
Mark Schleisman heads up M&M Farms, a diverse family operation in Calhoun County, Iowa. M&M Farms grows 4,500 acres of crops, including 2,000 acres of popcorn; manages 360 cow-calf pairs; and finish approximately 30,000 head of pigs.
While M&M Farms is located in an area where agriculture can flourish very well, it is also under a significant amount of scrutiny from an environmental standpoint. Calhoun County was one of three counties targeted by the Des Moines Water Works (later dismissed) against county drainage districts for discharging high levels of nitrates. Des Moines uses the Raccoon River as a primary water source.
The Schleisman farm is in the Elk Run watershed, a tributary to the Raccoon River and a source of concern about nitrate. As part of a demonstration project directed by the Iowa Soybean Association in cooperation with a number of partner organizations, Mark installed a couple of edge-of-field practices designed to significantly cut nitrate contribution to the Raccoon River.
One of these practices is a saturated buffer. It stores water under field buffers by diverting tile water into shallow laterals that raise the water table within the buffer, thus slowing outflow. The other edge-of-field treatment process is a bioreactor. It consists of a buried pit filled with a carbon source (wood chips) through which tile water is diverted. The carbon provides a food source for microorganisms; they use nitrate to metabolize the carbon, converting the nitrate to harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas.
“I have seen nitrate levels entering the bioreactor running 15 to 22 parts per million,” Mark said. “It is exiting the bioreactor at less than one part per million.” He has shared that story with many farm audiences, and has been featured in many interviews conducted for urban audiences as well.
Dave and Linda Burrier also know what it is like to live in a highly scrutinized farming area, particularly when it comes to protecting water quality. Their farm in Union Bridge, Md., is within 50 miles of the Chesapeake Bay and situated against the backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains. The farm is in a valley served by two well-traveled roads.
“We feel we are in a fishbowl,” Linda Burrier said. “We are always very conscious of what people can see. We try to keep our farm looking picturesque and our landlords expect us to care for their land in the same way.”
Regulators have pointed to agriculture as the largest source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, and in 2010, established Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations as a way to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay and all the rivers and streams that feed into it. The Bay TMDL, set by the EPA under the Clean Water Act, set targets for reduced nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution.
One way the Burriers demonstrate their conservation commitment is through the use of strip cropping. Their crops are grown in long narrow strips and the farm’s 1,800 acres support a diverse mix of crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, hay, and grass hay. “All our fields have a certain amount of slope,” David Burrier explained. “Alternating crops in these strips allows us to control soil erosion, control sediment loss and retain nutrients.”
In non-crop areas, the Burriers have installed and maintain grass waterways and buffers to reduce runoff. The TDML regulation has required them to have a nutrient management plan, which has greatly increased their record-keeping. Operating under TMDL regulations, the Burriers look for ways to efficiently provide crop nutrients to maximize production while minimizing potential nutrient losses.
Grant Norwood, a fifth generation farmer, grows 3,000 acres of crops in Henry County, Tenn. Going the extra mile for conservation has been the family’s approach to farming all the way back to the late 1800s, when Grant’s great, great-grandfather began farming from his log cabin in the Pleasant Hill community near Mansfield.
At Norwood Farms, they also implement a variety of conservation practices including cover crops, establishment of pollinator and wildlife habitats, installation of water and sediment control basins, and they are 100 percent no-till.
Norwood Farms’ efforts to be efficient and environmentally friendly even extend to their grain storage site, which uses three-phase electricity. The facility also uses a grain management system (Intelliair Bin Manager), which monitors temperature and moisture in the bins when grain is present.
“It maximizes the cooling and drying of the grain, reducing the energy because fans are only used when conditions are optimum to do the job,” Grant said.
“Our family’s focus on sustainability from one generation to the next is how we have been able to continue to farm the same land for five generations,” Grant added. He further explained that it may take some time to see the benefits of certain conservation practices, but they will pay back over time. “You have to have a long-term mindset, but the economic benefits will carry over to benefit future generations,” he said.
New Virtual Reality Video Tells Soil Health Story from ‘Every Angle’
As interest grows in soil health and its potential to optimize farming, the Soil Health Partnership has developed a new tool to immerse the inquisitive. Partnering with StoryUP, the nonprofit ag group has produced a “virtual reality” video that will allow viewers to visit a farm enrolled in SHP and experience a Virtual Field Day.
“One of our most powerful assets is our enrolled farmers sharing their stories and knowledge with others,” said NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability, Nick Goeser. “This video format allows viewers to transport themselves to a farm and learn from the farmer as if they are standing right there with him at a field day. We are all about innovation, and that spirit extends to our communications program.”
Virtual reality is 360-degree, 3D video or computer-generated environments viewed with special goggles where the user can see in all directions.
After giving some attendees of the Soil Health Summit a preview in January, the SHP officially launches the video, called “New Frontier in Agriculture,” at the Commodity Classic conference and tradeshow, Feb. 27 – March 1 in Anaheim, Calif. Attendees can stop by the SHP booth (#2739) to experience the video on a headset, and enter into a drawing for a prize.
The 4-minute experience, viewed in a Samsung GearVR headset, places the user in close proximity to farmers and SHP staff on Tim Smith’s farm in Eagle Grove, Iowa.
Smith, enrolled with SHP since 2014, demonstrates how he sets up strip-till equipment (a less intensive form of tillage), discusses why soil health matters to him and explains the benefits he’s experienced.
“The most obvious benefits to using cover crops, strip-till or no-till on my farm are lack of erosion…and less ephemeral gullies in my fields,” Smith says in the video. “When we get heavy rainfalls I’m not so concerned about washouts.”
The SHP will have a professional goggle at Commodity Classic for viewing, but the video is available to watch with any VR headset, including cardboard versions handed out at the SHP booth. To watch it in a headset:
- Download the YouTube app for iPhone or Android
- Play the video (on the SHP YouTube Channel)
- Turn phone horizontal
- Click the Google Cardboard icon on the lower right side of the screen
- Phone will split into two screens
- Place horizontal phone in a VR headset
For regular viewing, the video is available on the SHP YouTube Channel, where it is best viewed in the Google Chrome browser, which provides arrows allowing the user to turn the viewpoint.
An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economic as well as environmental standpoint.
Commodity Classic Partners with Feeding America for Second Year
For the second year, Commodity Classic has selected Feeding America as its charity partner, providing farmers with an opportunity to help Set the Table™ for a hunger-free America. Commodity Classic, the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, will be held February 27-March 1 in Anaheim, Calif. Attendees as well as agricultural advocates across the nation are encouraged to donate to Feeding America during the event.
Feeding America works with U.S. food banks to distribute food to more than 60,000 food pantries. Secure donations can be made by visiting CommodityClassic.com and clicking on the Feeding America logo on the home page. Donations can also be made through the free 2018 Commodity Classic mobile app, which can be downloaded using iTunes or GooglePlay app stores.
Donations will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Central/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, March 1. You don’t have to attend Commodity Classic to contribute to the Feeding America initiative.
“America’s family farmers produce grains and oilseeds that help provide an abundant and reliable food supply for our nation and the world,” said Gerry Hayden, a Kentucky farmer and co-chair of the 2018 Commodity Classic. “By partnering with Feeding America, we’re also showing that farmers are willing to go the extra mile to help end hunger here at home.”
Access to Rare Pigs Could be Effective Way to Diabetes Treatment
A unique breed of pig equipped with a heart that mimics a human's heart and has a special genetic mutation could provide researchers and scientists the key to a cure for diabetes and related complications.
CorVus Biomedical LLC, a Purdue University- and Indiana University-related startup, aims to breed and sell Ossabaw miniature pigs to researchers around the country. The company was co-founded by Michael Sturek, professor and department chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology and professor in Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Mouhamad Alloosh, an associate research professor, and James Byrd, a research technician, both in the IU School of Medicine's Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, are company co-founders.
In 2002 Sturek and a team of researchers acquired 26 feral Ossabaw miniature pigs from Ossabaw Island, one of the Sea Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Georgia. The pigs have a natural propensity for obesity and developing pre-diabetes, which make them ideal for research purposes, Sturek said.
"Ossabaw pigs naturally developed the propensity to obesity and pre-diabetes as a survival mechanism to cope with periods of starvation on Ossabaw Island," he said. "The pigs' form of pre-diabetes could reverse itself when the animals stopped gorging and started living lean again. We thought this genetic mutation and coping mechanism, and the pigs' heart, which mimics a human's fantastically, could provide the key to a cure for diabetes and the terrible long-term complications like heart disease, in humans."
About 30 million people in the United States, or more than 9 percent of the total population, have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, more than 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes and approximately 30 percent of them will develop type 2 diabetes.
"In humans a few long-term complications that can occur from diabetes include blindness, heart disease, obesity, fatty liver and polycystic ovary syndrome. These pigs provide the opportunity to test different drugs and devices, and even new types of bariatric surgery, more relevant to humans," Sturek said. "Ossabaws really are one of the most vital research specimens in the world to translate cures from basic lab research to humans."
Sturek said other animals don't provide the same research benefits.
"The Ossabaw pigs as we found them had never been touched by civilization, so they are at their purest pedigree. Other animals studied in biomedical research include mice; however, mice are so far removed from humanlike features that it's hard to gauge effectiveness of a treatment in humans," he said. "Ossabaw pigs can gain four times as much fat on the same calories than a normal farm pig. Normal farm pigs don't have the ability to gain as much fat as Ossabaws or even develop diabetes. The miniature Ossabaws are much preferred for research because of their efficiencies of scale."
CorVus Biomedical has contracts to sell the pigs to scientists in the next several weeks after the CorVus facility construction is completed.
"Right now we are the largest research and breeding colony of the Ossabaw pig in the world and we will expand further with our new facility," Sturek said. "It's important for us as a company to be able to produce these animals at a reasonable cost, and aim to operate more cost-effectively and provide more widespread access to these pigs for the future of research and medicine for diabetes."
CorVus has licensed its innovation through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.
"During the research phase at Purdue and IU, independent of the company, we sold the pigs to over 140 research institutions. We know scientists recognize the value and benefit of the Ossabaws," Sturek said. "We are the only company that is big enough to produce enough pigs so that scientists can have that access. We are excited to get our production site up and running, selling the pigs to researchers to study at their own sites."
Ossabaw swine resources at Purdue and IU have also been supported by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
Syngenta empowers ag students to be the future
Syngenta invites eligible university students to apply to its annual Syngenta Agricultural Scholarship program. Applicants are asked to share how they became #RootedinAg and how they will benefit today’s and tomorrow’s world as future leaders.
“We are excited to continue the Syngenta Agricultural Scholarship program this year and look forward to hearing how each student’s passion for ag took root,” said Vern Hawkins, Regional Director CP NA. “Because these young men and women are the branches that will grow to shape our industry’s future, we are confident they will strive to reach new heights.”
University students currently pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees in crop-related disciplines are eligible to compete for $20,000 in scholarship awards. Applicants must be U.S. residents enrolled as of spring 2018 in an accredited agriculture program at an eligible university.
“The number of strong submissions we receive each year proves that there is a young, vibrant group of students who are ready to energize the future growth of our industry,” said Mary Streett DeMers, senior communications lead, Syngenta. “This year will usher in a new class of students with innovative ideas and the ambition needed to bring their ideas to life.”
The 2017 winners were two young women who share a passion for the industry and its future success. Bachelor’s level winner Abigail Han shared in her essay how helping out on a farm was all it took for her love of agriculture to take root and spark her interest in pursuing an agricultural degree. Aimee Uyehara, 2017 master’s level national winner, believes “mutual respect, curiosity and the enjoyment of diversity” have contributed to her success as a student and will continue to guide her growth as a future leader.
Syngenta will award scholarships to a bachelor’s and master’s level national winner, selected from a pool of 4 regional winners in each category. Scholarship recipients will be announced in the fall.
For additional information about the scholarship, including official rules, prize amounts, essay topic, eligible universities and application guidelines, please visit syngentaus.com/scholarships.
Eco Agro and Eco Agro International Introduce Nitrogen Conservation Input System
Eco Agro and Eco Agro International LLC proudly introduce the Nitrogen Conservation Input System (NCIS) for use into the Urea Production Process.
This exciting breakthrough technology is patent pending and based on research developed during the process of acquiring multiple individual patents. NCIS Technology allows for introduction of proven Nitrogen Efficiency additives into Urea production.
"Our latest innovation, "Nitrogen Conservation Input Systems" (NCIS), enables Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs) to be affordable and effective at a lower cost for today's grower. We see NCIS as being a tool that overcomes a significant hurdle toward increased utilization of EEF's worldwide in efforts to improve crop production and yields." said David McKnight, whose team headed the development of NCIS.
In development and testing for over two years, NCIS introduces chemical synergies that allow Nitrogen Efficiency Additives to optimize the conditions for Enhanced Urea Production and performance. Test results have been on-going for over a year and have been very positive.
"By no means is the end of the development in the Urea Production area, there will be next generations of this technology," said Ray Perkins President of Eco Agro. "The options in these innovative discoveries are significant and the delivery system and molecular synergies created can be modified and taken down stream and applied onto Urea also," said Perkins.
Andrew Semple of EAI stated, "These proven Enhanced Efficiency Technologies coupled with an unparalleled low costs of treatment are a major leap toward mass adoption." Semple added "but there are more innovations on the horizon that are game changing and equally as exciting."
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