Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday March 15 Ag News


The average for Nebraska agricultural land values has declined by 3 percent over the last year, according to preliminary findings from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Farm Real Estate Market Survey. This marks the fourth-consecutive year of decline. Market values have dropped 17 percent since reaching a high of $3,315 in 2014.

The statewide all-land average value for the year ending Feb. 1 averaged $2,745 per acre. Average farmland values for the eight districts and the percentage decrease from 2017 were: northwest, $720 (5 percent); north, $1,095 (6 percent); northeast, $5,420 (2 percent); central, $3,280 (3 percent); east, $6,260 (2 percent); southwest, $1,700 (3 percent); south, $3,775 (3 percent); and southeast, $4,810 (1 percent).

Survey participants pointed to low commodity prices over the prior year and current property tax policies as the reason for declining farm real estate values.

Tillable grazing land values declined by 6 percent, the largest percentage decline of the seven land classes. Sharp drops in the northeast (11 percent) and central (10 percent) districts contributed to the overall reduction in tillable grazing land values. Hayland in the central and southwest districts also experienced 10 percent declines in value.

Values for dryland and irrigated cropland across Nebraska declined 1 to 7 percent. Several districts exist where regional land values increased 2 to 6 percent, but these instances were small, indicating a fairly unchanged land market for this region.

Future prospects for cropland in Nebraska remain interlaced with the earning potential for the major commodities grown across the state, input expenses and monetary policies influencing the cost of borrowing for future land purchases. Regulation policies guiding the use of water for irrigation were also noted as a potential driver for the changes in the future value of irrigated cropland in certain areas of the state, according to survey participants.

Land classes serving the cow-calf industry, including grazing land and hayland, experienced a wide range in declines between 1 and 10 percent across the state. According to survey participants, demand for beef and availability of forages during periods of drought were two of the major drivers for the future value of these land classes.

Recent increases in exports of beef from Nebraska to China remain critical for the value of cattle raised in the state.

Irrigated cropland rental rates on average declined between 2 and 5 percent across Nebraska with a small increase noted in the north district. Survey participants indicated that property taxes are one of the landowners' most critical concerns during rental negotiations. Landlords face the prospects of low returns on their land after accounting for property taxes, while tenants face tight cash flows with current commodity prices, input expenses and rental payments.

Annual maintenance of fence, weed control, removal of unwanted brush or cedar trees, and watering systems for livestock also factor into the rental rates paid across Nebraska for grazing land.

The preliminary report can be found at

Land values and rental rates presented in the report are averages of survey participants' responses by district. Actual land values and rental rates may vary depending upon the quality of the parcel and local market for an area. Preliminary land values and rental rates are subject to change as additional surveys are returned. Final results from the survey will be published in early June 2018 and will be available at

Smith Supports Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) spoke in favor of the biodiesel tax credit for domestic fuel production Wednesday in a Ways and Means Tax Subcommittee hearing on expired tax extenders.  Cal Meyer, Group Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Ag Processing Inc. of Omaha, testified in the hearing.

“We need to diversify our country’s energy supply, and tax incentives play a significant role in bolstering domestic biodiesel production and consumption,” Smith said.  “Biodiesel also adds value to U.S. agriculture, especially soybeans.  Through innovation and technological advancements, the efficiency of biodiesel production has increased from 25 million gallons in 2004 to 2.9 billion gallons today.

“Producers need certainty to make decisions going forward.  I appreciate Mr. Meyer coming to Washington, D.C., to share his expertise with the committee and stress the importance of this issue to both the future of agriculture and our country’s energy independence.”

Smith is a strong supporter of biofuels and has cosponsored legislation to renew the biodiesel tax credit and transition it to the producer level.

UNL Feedlot Webinar March 28

Nebraska Extension is offering a new way to get information on timely beef topics in a series of hosted webinars. The webinars will be on select Wednesdays 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. CST, and will feature discussions from participants to determine educational needs on new topics, presentations by experts, and updates on current activities. The educational presentations will be recorded and posted at for later viewing. The upcoming feedlot webinar is on Heat Stress Preparedness by Terry Mader from 12:30-1:30 P.M. CST, Wednesday, March 28.

You can connect and find more details at:

UNL Bull Sale, April 14

Each year UNL has a bull sale conducted by the UNL Beef Cattle Merchandising Class. It is an unique learning environment for students and has commercial bulls that will work for you. The event takes place at the Animal Sciences Complex in the arena on East Campus in Lincoln with bulls penned in the morning and a complimentary lunch served before the sale commences at 1:00 p.m.

For more details, contact Dr. Matt Spangler, UNL, Animal Geneticist, 402-472-6489.

ACE applauds governor letter to reject proposals to reduce RFS levels

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) applauds the letter Midwest governors sent to President Trump today thanking him for his continued support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and urging the President to reject proposals designed to weaken – or waive – this key pillar of the farm economy, including Senator Ted Cruz’s waiver credit proposal, or “RIN cap.”  ACE CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement applauding the governor’s for encouraging President Trump to reject any RIN cap or waiver credit proposal to reduce RFS levels:

“We appreciate the leadership these governors are showing in support of keeping the RFS on track.  We hope the administration and Congress will listen to their advice and not take any steps to undermine an already shaky farm economy.”

The letter is signed by six governors, including Kim Reynolds (IA), Pete Rickets (NB), Eric Holcomb (IN), Jeff Colyer (KS), Eric Greitens (MO), and Dennis Daugaard (SD).

Nebraska Farmers See Soybean Export Process First-Hand

Nebraska soybean growers traveled to the Pacific Northwest last week to see how their product is exported worldwide.

The trip was part of the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) See For Yourself program that’s designed to give farmers a hands-on opportunity to learn about their checkoff.

The farmers visited the AGP terminal at Grays Harbor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Pike Place Market and the Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO) grain terminal.

Dave Utrecht, a soybean producer from Hastings, Neb. and a first-time See For Yourself attendee, was awestruck by the size of the TEMCO terminal.

“It just boggles the mind how much grain can move in such a short period of time,” Utrecht said. “There’s a soybean processing plant in Hastings, and within 35 days that soy meal can travel across the world to China.”

Dale Blum of Hildreth, Neb. said the trip opened his eyes to the impact Nebraska soybeans have worldwide.

“It kind of amazes me how everything has to work in conjunction to keep rails going, to keep ships loaded, to keep enough soy product to fill the ships,” Blum said. “I’ve always said we all have to work in this together, and after going on this trip I realized how big the whole system is.”

Ron Stech from Osmond, Neb. agreed.

“There’s all we do on our end, producing the crop, a whole host of things that need to happen after to get it loaded onto the ship. Any little hiccup along the way can affect everything that’s going on,” Stech said. “It really hit home when we were at the terminal and they advised us that the very next train unit that was coming in was less than 12 hours away and it was coming in from Nebraska.”

Blum said he hoped Nebraska producers could continue to grow their exports.

“After talking to some of the people who are handling and selling the soybean, I learned they know we consistently produce a pretty good product out here,” Blum said. “I think the overseas market realizes that and they rely on us a little bit more because of that. It makes me feel good that I can keep producing and it has a place to go.”

Stech said he would recommend the See For Yourself trips to any producer who wanted to learn more about how their product affects the global economy.

“When we get too comfortable in our own little surroundings we tend to forget the big picture and how much is going on out there, and when you do something like this, it really opens your eyes to what our products are part of,” Stech said. “We affect a lot of people in the world.”

 Iowa soybean leaders travel to China to reaffirm commitment to ag trade

Maintaining strong agricultural trade relations with China is a priority for the Iowa Soybean Association and the purpose of a delegation’s visit to the country of 1.4 billion March 16-25.

Led by ISA President Bill Shipley of Nodaway and President-elect Lindsay Greiner of Keota, the delegation will meet with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad at the U.S. Embassy in China and key Chinese officials representing soybean processors and feed companies.

“China consumes 60 percent of global soybean production and Iowa farmers are a key supplier,” Shipley said. “With U.S. commodity prices sliding and other countries ramping up production, this is precisely the wrong time for the U.S. to retreat as a trusted source of high-quality soybeans.” 

While preparations for the visit began last year, the timing of this month’s discussions is opportune.

Farmers are increasingly concerned about trade disruptions between the United States and China caused by steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The White House is also said to be considering tariffs on imports of Chinese technology and telecommunications resulting from a “Section 301” intellectual property investigation.

Last year, Iowa’s nearly 42,000 soybean farmers produced 562 million bushels of the oilseed. The crop is valued at more than $5 billion. Nearly one of every four rows of soybeans grown in Iowa is destined for China. Nationally, U.S. soybean exports to China totaled 1.3 billion bushels in 2017 valued at $12.4 billion.

“China, which wasn’t even in the market for soybeans 16 years ago, is now our largest customer, purchasing more soybeans than all others combined,” Shipley added. “Iowa soybean farmers, with the support of their association and investment of the soybean checkoff, have developed strong relationships with Chinese soybean buyers, industry representatives and the Chinese government.

“We’re committed to maintaining these relationships while navigating these unsettled times,” he added. “Our time in China will offer the opportunity to share this important message personally.”

Imposing tariffs may help U.S. steel workers and steel industry, but the potential damage to the overall economy might be greater, said ISA Chief Executive Officer Kirk Leeds, a delegation participant.

“Unfortunately, given the importance of exports to U.S. farmers and the overall farm economy, agriculture trade is often the first casualty in any trade war or retaliation,” he said.

The ISA continues to work with Iowa’s Congressional delegation in communicating concerns about the way tariffs are being proposed and their potential impact on soybean farmers and U.S. agriculture.

“It’s clear underlying challenges remain in overall trade relations between China and the U.S., and for that matter between trading partners around the world,” Leeds added. “The best strategy for maintaining strong trade relations between China and the U.S. is to make sure that both sides continue to fully engage in conversation, negotiations and open dialogue. That’s what we’ll do during our time in China.”

Shipley said Iowa farmers are optimistic that U.S. and Chinese government officials will expand, not restrict, trade.

“We excel in producing high-quality grain and meat, important staples for a Chinese population that is increasing and becoming more affluent,” he added. “The best option is to keep trade flowing.”

IFBF Young Farmer Gate to Plate Tour to Highlight Diversity

The 2018 Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Gate to Plate Tour will give Farm Bureau members, ages 18 to 35, an opportunity to tour diverse farms on June 29 and 30 in Wisconsin, the land of cheese and a few other surprising types of agriculture.

"The ag economy is proving more challenging than ever for young farmers getting started in agriculture. The Gate to Plate Tour is designed to get participants thinking about how we can innovate on the farm by observing the ways farm families in rural Wisconsin have added value to the commodities they produce," said Laura Cunningham, IFBF's Young Farmer Advisory Committee chair. "I hope others will join me to see some unique farms, taste test the products produced on each farm and meet new young farmers from around the state."

The first day will take these young farmers to Perlick Distillery, where five generations of the Perlick family have been farming since 1920. They grow corn, wheat, rye, flex, soybeans and sunflowers. In May of 2016, the family celebrated the one-year anniversary of a new endeavor--a distillery where they produce vodka made from the grain grown on their farm.

Just a 15-minute drive south of the Perlick Distillery is the tour's second destination. Northstar Bison is owned by the Graese family who claim the title for being the largest distributors of grass-fed bison meat in the United States. The family started this operation with two young bison and grew into a vertically-integrated enterprise with 600 bison being raised in northwest Wisconsin and east central Minnesota. The bison are humanely harvested and processed at a plant owned by NorthStar.

The next day will be all about what Wisconsin is known for--dairy. The 350 cows at Marieke Gouda Dairy are milked three times per day to create cheese that is "handcrafted with passion." Owner Marieke Penterman grew up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands. Her and her husband, Rolf, came to Wisconsin to start their dairy because of the location and farm-friendly people. Their signature cheese was named the 2013 Grand Champion of the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest and is made from an authentic Old World Gouda recipe with herbs and spices imported from Holland.

The founders of the final stop, Nelson Cheese Factory, made cheese for more than 100 years. While they no longer make cheese, the shop includes a selection of wines and cheese made locally in Wisconsin and around the world. They feature cheeses like Irish Cheddar, Danish Blue and Fromager d'Affinois and also offer unique local meats from lamb cuts to German style sausages.

The tour is $75 per person which includes overnight accommodations (double occupancy), charter bus fees and group meals. Seats are limited and preference will be given to members who have not participated in a previous IFBF young farmer tour.

For more information or to register by May 25, visit

NGFA commends introduction of bipartisan Senate CRP reform bill

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the Senate designed to reform the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to target enrollment of truly environmentally sensitive acres.

The legislation (S. 2557) was introduced today by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bob Casey, D-Pa., each of whom serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee. The "Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work" (GROW) Act would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to modify the CRP to avoid enrollment of productive farmland that can be cropped in environmentally sustainable ways, as well as generally prohibit the enrollment of whole farms. It also would invest scarce conservation dollars on working lands conservation programs, as long advocated by the NGFA.

"We commend Sens. Ernst, Grassley, Brown and Casey for introducing this bipartisan legislation to guide the development of the conservation title of the Senate's farm bill," said NGFA President Randy Gordon. "We believe it is important that the next farm bill look to the future by providing opportunities for the next generation of American farmers to access land to build economically viable farm enterprises without having to compete against existing artificially high CRP rental rates and other CRP policies that currently create substantial barriers to entry. Reversing this trend is essential to the future lifeblood of rural communities.

"Focusing CRP on environmentally sensitive acres also enhances the sustainability of U.S. agriculture and is essential to enabling the United States to remain competitive in international markets and to capture the increasing global demand for food and fiber," Gordon added.

Among other things, the GROW Act would cap CRP rental rates for acres enrolled under general sign-ups to 80 percent of a county's average cash rental rate. Currently, CRP rental rates often are considerably higher than local farmland cash rental rates, thereby pitting the U.S. government as a competitor against young and beginning farmers trying to enter production agriculture and remain in rural communities.

The NGFA also noted that based upon the most recent data available, more than 25 percent of the 24 million acres now enrolled in the CRP consists of productive farmland. The GROW Act also would retain the current CRP enrollment cap at 24 million acres.

"This bipartisan legislation is a positive step forward in retargeting the CRP away from enrolling large tracts of productive farmland, and provides concepts that warrant serious consideration as development of the next farm bill proceeds," NGFA said.

House Bill Exempts Farms From Reporting Emissions

A bipartisan bill to exempt farmers from reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard emissions from the natural breakdown of manure on their farms yesterday was introduced in the U.S. House. The National Pork Producers Council strongly supports the legislation, which is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced last month in the Senate.

Sponsored by Reps. Billy Long, R-Mo., and Jim Costa, D-Calif., along with 85 cosponsors, the “Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions (ACRE) Act,” H.R. 5275, would fix a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

CERCLA, more commonly known as the “Superfund Law,” is used primarily to clean hazardous waste sites but also includes a mandatory federal reporting component.

The appeals court ruling could force more than 100,000 livestock farmers to “guesstimate” and report the emissions from manure on their farms to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center (NRC) and subject them to citizen lawsuits from activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States.

“America’s pork producers are grateful to Congressmen Long, Costa and their 80 colleagues for introducing legislation to fix this problem,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Routine emissions from hog manure do not constitute a ‘hazardous’ emergency that requires the Coast Guard to activate a national cleanup response.

“EPA exempted farms from CERCLA reporting because it knew responses would be unnecessary and impractical. We need to have that exemption reinstated, and NPPC calls on the House and Senate to pass their respective commonsense, bipartisan bills as soon as possible.”

The appeals court’s April decision originally set a Nov. 15, 2017, deadline for as many as 200,000 farms to report emissions. After petitions from EPA – supported by NPPC motions – the court twice delayed that deadline, with the most recent postponement until May 1.

Some farmers tried filing reports Nov. 15, but the Coast Guard’s NRC system was overwhelmed. In some instances, NRC operators refused to accept reports for more than a single farm per call because they didn’t want phone lines tied up, and in one case, an operator sent notices to more than 20 state and federal response authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a state police agency, after receiving a report.

“The pork industry was prepared to comply with the reporting mandate,” Heimerl said, ”but EPA, the Coast Guard and state and local emergency response authorities said they didn’t want or need the information, which could have interfered with their legitimate emergency functions.”

February Soybean Crush Rises to Record

Soybean processors crushed a record amount of oilseed in February, a trade group said, beating pre-report expectations. The National Oilseed Processors Association said that its members crushed 153.7M bushels of soybeans in February, above 142.8M a year earlier and more than average analyst estimates of 148.5M bushels. Strong demand for soybeans to crush has been a bright spot for a market pressured by large supplies. Soybean oil stocks in February rose to 1.856B pounds, up from 1.728B a month earlier and above expectations.

NCBA Hosts Webinar - The 4's of Crossbreeding: Simple, Structured, Successful, and Sustainable

Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 7 p.m. CT

Structured crossbreeding systems have been shown to have substantial impacts on the production efficiency of commercial cow-calf operations. Join the webinar to discuss keys for successful and profitable crossbreeding systems that enhance profit and sustainability. Managed heterosis, simple breeding systems and breed complementarity are the key value drivers you’ll learn about. Megan Rolf, PhD at the Kansas State University and Bob Weaber, PhD at Kansas State University will lead the discussion.

If you missed the last two webinars in this 4-part genetics series which focused on EPDs and Indexes be sure to find the link at WWW.NCBA.ORG.

USDA Announces Regionalization Agreement with South Korea to Help Protect U.S. Trade During HPAI Detections

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an agreement with the government of South Korea that significantly reduces negative impacts on trade should another detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) occur in the United States. The agreement will allow for trade restrictions at the state level instead of the country level during any future HPAI detections.

This action bolsters the already strong trade relationship between the United States and South Korea and will prevent a repeat of trade actions taken in 2015 when all U.S. poultry, poultry products and eggs were banned as a result of a detection of HPAI.

“Limiting trade restrictions during future HPAI detections to only those states with positive detections will help keep trade flowing,” said Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “The new science-based agreement will allow unaffected U.S. producers to keep poultry, poultry products and eggs going to South Korea. This helps us meet Secretary Perdue’s vision of doing right and feeding the world.”

“Trade is critical for the health of American agriculture, and to support vibrant rural economies. Keeping markets open to exports of U.S. poultry is an important part of that story,” said USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. “This success with South Korea, a top ten market already for poultry products, means we will continue to grow exports to a critical market.”

USDA plays a vital role in ensuring the free flow of agricultural trade by certifying that the millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries' entry requirements. USDA also keeps export markets open for American agricultural products by addressing concerns about plant and animal health raised by U.S. trading partners. Under the new agreement, if there is an HPAI detection in the United States, unaffected states would continue to trade with South Korea.


In 2014, the last full year without any HPAI-related trade restrictions in place, South Korea purchased $122 million in U.S. poultry and products, including eggs, making it the United States’ tenth-largest market. South Korea’s imports from all sources were nearly $426 million in 2017, but only $46 million came from the United States. In August 2017, South Korea lifted its most recent HPAI-related ban on imports of U.S. poultry, poultry products and fresh eggs, imposed in response to an HPAI outbreak in March 2017.

Brazilian U.S. Ethanol Demand Remains High

Last year, the Brazilian Government announced a tariff rate quota for ethanol imports, where imports in excess of 600 million liters are subject to a 20-percent tariff. However, U.S. ethanol has been priced so low that it is still an economical alternative in Brazil.

Currently, ethanol is $1.50 per gallon at the Gulf Coast Ports in the United States, while ethanol in Brazil is $2.32 per gallon.

According to the USDA, demand for ethanol in Brazil is robust because of widespread use of flex-fuel vehicles and a mandate requiring a minimum of a 27-percent ethanol blend in gasoline.

Due to price competitiveness and strong demand, Brazil, the second largest global ethanol producer, is also the largest overseas buyer of U.S. ethanol.

One contributing factor is the internal distribution of ethanol in Brazil.

Ethanol mills are mostly located in the sugar producing areas of southern Brazil.

Because of infrastructure constraints, it is cheaper to ship ethanol by boat from the U.S. to the northern regions of Brazil than by overland transport through Brazil.

No comments:

Post a Comment