Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday March 21 Ag News


New research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is bringing tractor testing into the modern era.

Though tractor technology has changed rapidly, the testing techniques used on the machines have not changed in several decades, said Santosh Pitla, project lead and assistant professor in biological systems engineering.

“Research in precision agriculture often focuses on agronomy, but there has not been as much focus on the power houses, or tractors,” Pitla said. “Tractors are a primary power source for operations, and they rely heavily on fuel and energy efficiency.”

Tractors play an important role in precision agriculture, which is seen as one of the primary ways to provide food, fiber and fuel for a growing population. This project will assess three different types of power -- power takeoff, hydraulic and drawbar -- used by tractors to pull implements such as planters, field cultivators or ammonia applicators.

Older implements would use only one type of power at a time, but today’s modern implements use a combination of PTO, hydraulic and drawbar power simultaneously. Because current tractor testing looks only at the drawbar, the research project will focus on implementing mixed mode testing so all three powers can be evaluated at the same time.

“The biggest opportunity for improved tractor-testing techniques in this area is in fuel efficiency,” Pitla said. “It’s about matching the right tractor to the right implement. Right now, tractors are oversized for some of the implements they are pulling, so they are wasting a lot of energy.”

The research will occur at the university’s Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead and at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. The tractor test lab is the officially designated testing station for the United States and gauges tractors according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development codes. The long, oval track on East Campus has completed more than 2,000 tractor tests since 1920.

“The university is uniquely positioned to conduct this research because of our Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory,” Pitla said. “We’re the only facility of our kind capable of testing the largest tractors, and the only facility in the Western Hemisphere.”

For this project, instrumentation such as sensors and data-logging devices will be placed on the tractors pulling an implement. The instrumentation will help the researchers gather fuel-rate, engine-load and hydraulic-power data. Using this data, the researchers will assess what kind of power is needed for different implements.

The data collected from the mixed-mode testing could support manufacturers in their efforts to design more efficient engines. According to Pitla, the research will not be specific to one company and could easily be adopted across the tractor industry.

This project is funded by a four-year, $472,887 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Others researchers involved include: Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory; Joe Luck, associate professor in biological systems engineering; and Rodney Rohrer, research engineer at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory.

To learn more about the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, visit


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Thin alfalfa stands can be rejuvenated by interseeding grasses and converting them to pasture or haying as a grass-alfalfa mixture.

               Most alfalfa fields start to lose stand and production ability after cutting hay for several years.  Sometimes winterkill thins stands.  As your stands begin to get thin, consider interseeding grasses into this thinning alfalfa.  Not only might you extend the useful life of your alfalfa field by several years, you also will develop excellent hay or grazing for your livestock.

               The most common grasses interseeded into alfalfa are orchardgrass and smooth brome, but other grasses like endophyte-free tall fescue, meadow brome, festulolium, and wheatgrasses also can be used.  If you plan to use this field as pasture, include other legumes like red clover for short-term pasture or birdsfoot trefoil if you plan to graze this as pasture more than three years.  This will add diversity to your animals' diet and help assure good legume growth for several more years.

               You must get these new seedlings off to an early start, so be sure to interseed as soon as soils thaw and conditions allow tractor and drills to operate properly.  If your alfalfa still is relatively thick and vigorous, also take a very early hay cutting well before buds form, probably during the first week of May.  This will allow sunlight to continue to reach new seedlings below the alfalfa.  Then use your good judgement regarding competition from the existing alfalfa for subsequent hay cuts.  By mid- to late summer you could be able to start to graze rotationally.  The new seedlings won’t contribute much forage this year, but next year they should be a welcome addition.

               Interseeding grass into existing alfalfa takes timely planting and haying, but both land and livestock can improve with your efforts.

Iowa Corn Farmers Take Their Priorities Issues to the State Capitol

Nearly 100 Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) members filled the State Capitol rotunda today for the “Iowa Corn Day on the Hill” lobbying event. This delegation included ICGA Board, county leaders and student FFA members from across the state. Their lobbying efforts focused on increasing state coupling of the federal section 179 expensing provision, protecting agriculture in comprehensive tax reform, and obtaining funding for biofuels infrastructure. In addition, farmers took time to thank the state lawmakers who helped pass water quality legislation, Senate File 512, signed into law earlier this session.

“Iowa Corn Day on the Hill events facilitate one-on-one interactions with state legislators where members can discuss and promote ICGA policy priorities and issues important to Iowa agriculture,” stated Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “The dedication and engagement of our members allow ICGA to have a strong, unified voice at the State Capitol.”

ICGA’s “Day of the Hill” efforts focused on the organization’s top state legislative priorities for this session, including:
 ·    Conservation/Water Quality – Long term, increased funding for Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
 ·    Ethanol: Obtaining funding for Iowa’s biofuels infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)
 ·    Taxes: Full state coupling of the federal Section 179 small business expensing provision
 ·    Taxes: Protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform

“Our focus is on measures that will help Iowa’s struggling farm economy, and at the top of our list is Section 179,” explained Recker. “We are asking for full coupling of Section 179 to the federal provision allowing farmers and small businesses to expense and depreciate capital expenses on their tax returns. Section 179 is a key tool for farmers and small businesses alike, as it allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment during that tax year.”

One of ICGA’s legislative successes this legislative session was the signing of water quality legislation by Governor Reynolds. “We thank the legislature and the governor for the passage and signing of SF512, allowing for a stable and increased funding source to improve Iowa’s water quality,” said Recker. “These dollars will provide additional resources, education, and outreach helping farmers scale up conservation practices on their farms and in their communities.”

If you missed this Day on the Hill event, we encourage you to contact your legislators by other means, including by attending local townhalls or forums. To see ICGA’s full list of state and federal priorities for 2018, please visit

Feed at Night, Calve During the Day

Does feeding time influence the time of calving? To answer this question, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialists Adele Harty and Taylor Grussing look to research data.

"Yes, feeding affects time of calving," Harty said. "Feeding cows later in the day and evening will increase the number of calves born during daylight hours, when it is easier for livestock producers to watch them more closely."

Gus Konefal, a rancher from Manitoba, Canada first developed this feeding method after he discovered 80 percent of his cows calved between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. when they were fed later in the day.

Konefal's method included a twice a day feeding, with first feeding between 11 a.m. and noon and second feeding between 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Similar research was conducted at Iowa State University.

"This research used the Konefal feeding system, but only feeding one time per day at 4 p.m., starting two weeks prior to the expected start of calving," Grussing said.

The result? Eighty-two percent cows calved between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. with 91 percent of the calves born before 11 p.m.

"Only 9 percent of calves were born outside the window when traditional calf checks are performed," Harty said.

When heifers were separated from the data set and analyzed, 90 percent calved in this same time frame.

A survey collected from 15 beef producers in Iowa and Missouri also reported that when they fed once daily between, 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., the result was 85 percent of cows calving between 5 a.m. and midnight.

Compare this data to cows from herds not on the Konefel feeding system. That data showed an equal distribution of cows calving during the night as during the day, a 50/50 split.

Researchers at USDA-ARS at Miles City, Montana completed at three-year study evaluating differences in feeding time on calving time.

"The numbers were not as dramatic as Konefel and Iowa State data," Grussing said. "However, there was a consistent 10 to 20 percent decrease in the number of cows calving between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the late fed cows compared to the early fed cows."

If you're a cattle producer who would like to see more calves born during daylight hours, below are some points to consider when implementing the Konefal calving method.

- Research indicated for this method to be most effective, evening feedings should be implemented one month prior to the scheduled start of calving. If feeding times are changed closer to calving, this will result in a more calves born during the day than morning feeding.

- Iowa State University data advises staying as close to the same feeding schedule and feed amount as possible each day. Deviating more than 15 minutes, or providing too much feed, will yield less desirable results.

- Maintain regular night checks. Konefal calving may simply mean that there will be less work to be done between checks due to fewer calves born during the night.

- The Konefal calving method works best in a drylot situation where all feed is provided. Desired effect in a grazing situation may not be seen unless supplemental hay or timing of grazing can be regulated.

- Weather can play a role in effectiveness. Before or during storms, cattle may not come to the bunk to eat and may be more likely to calve at night.

Additional research indicates that a first calf heifer who calves during the day will tend to calve during the day the remainder of her productive years.

Low Steer Slaughter Fuels Spring Cattle Prices

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

A nice Spring (or we might say late winter) rally has had fed cattle in the upper $120s for most of the last 8 weeks. While a first reaction might be "well, its Spring and we usually get a grilling season demand bump" there is a supply contribution to this story. Steer slaughter has been below a year ago while heifer and cow slaughter have been boosting beef production.

After January steer slaughter was up 5.5 percent, February steer slaughter was 2.1 percent below that of February 2017. March is even with a year ago, through mid-month including an estimate of steer slaughter using the preliminary data.

Heifer slaughter is up about 5.5 percent for the year to date. In contrast to steer slaughter, heifer slaughter was up 7.8 percent in February. Thinking back to the last cattle on feed report that split out the on-feed data into steers and heifers, there were 15.9 percent more heifers on feed January 1 of this year ago compared to last year. More beef and dairy cows have moved to market this year, with beef cow slaughter up 11.5 percent and dairy cow slaughter up 4.3 percent.

Weights contribute to beef production along with slaughter numbers. So far this year steer dressed weights are up about 2.5 pounds over last year, while heifer weights are up 7.2 pounds. Cow dressed weights are up 13.3 pounds. Heifer dressed weights are 56 pounds less than steer dressed weights. The mix of animals going to market is an important part of this spring rally in prices. Relatively more heifers and cows than steers is working to moderate beef production, which is only up 2.5 percent so far, this year. Beef from cull cows is certainly destined for different products and different markets than beef from fed steers and heifers. Relatively tighter supplies of beef from steers has contributed to smaller growth in beef production and the recent rally in cattle prices. The expectation of growing steer and heifer supplies is contributing to falling live cattle prices on the futures market.

A quick note on this week's cattle on feed report. My pre-report estimates are for marketings to be 101.3 percent, placements at 101.0 percent, and cattle-on-feed to be 107.8 percent of a year ago. Recent feeding profits and good demand for cattle would encourage placements. It wouldn't be a surprise to see larger placements in the Southern Plains due to the worsening drought.

ACE DC fly-in underscores RFS importance to rural America

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and 70 of its grassroots members are in Washington, D.C. as part of the organization’s 10th annual fly-in today and tomorrow. The two-day event brings together ethanol producers, retailers, investors, corn growers, service and product providers, and more to participate in over 120 scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill.

“This unique event brings together a group of advocates from all walks of life, putting a human face on the ethanol industry to communicate our policy priorities to Members of Congress and Executive Branch decision makers,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “What sets ACE and this event apart is the emphasis we place on using our most persuasive and effective spokespeople for our industry; the people whose everyday life experiences and authenticity illustrate how the decisions made in Washington, D.C. impact their businesses and communities.”

This year, ACE is doubling down on the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on rural America in its meetings with Members of Congress, along with paid advertising, and social media messaging, due to recent attempts to undermine the RFS coupled with the down rural economy.
“There is no time like the present to ensure the voices of our grassroots members are heard on Capitol Hill, as the President and Congress weigh the impact these harmful changes could have,” Jennings said. “Our fly-in provides corn farmers, flex fuel retailers and biofuel advocates – those who represent rural America -- the opportunity to educate our office holders about how the RFS works for them, and how the high-octane ethanol the industry produces can help jumpstart economic growth in the U.S. if the RFS is left to function as intended by Congress.”

ACE is running a paid digital ad campaign in E&E News, a news organization focusing on energy and the environment, utilizing a voice from its grassroots membership, Marietta Lakness, a farmer and ethanol plant investor from South Dakota. Marietta represents the people who count on the RFS. The ads call on the President to stand up for Marietta by standing by the RFS. The RFS helps boost demand for crops and prices received by farmers. Ethanol production has become a vital market for U.S. agriculture and supports 360,000 jobs in rural communities.

However, oil companies are demanding President Trump and Congress weaken the RFS by capping or waiving renewable identification number (RIN) obligations. History shows undermining the RFS hurts rural America, and there is a “win-win” solution on the table that doesn’t involve dismantling the RFS. The quickest way to reduce RIN prices is to blend more ethanol by granting Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief for E15.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue to Climb Higher

Retail fertilizer prices continued their recent upward trend, moving higher again the second week of March 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. Prices for all eight of the major fertilizers were higher compared to last month.

As has been the case in the past couple of weeks, the price of only one fertilizer was up a significant amount. UAN32 was 7% more expensive compared to a month earlier. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $282 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were all higher compared to the prior month, but none were up a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $466 per ton, MAP $503/ton, potash $350/ton, urea $368/ton, 10-34-0 $421/ton, anhydrous $503/ton and UAN28 $237/ton.

Anhydrous is above the $500-per-ton level for the first time since the second week of June 2017. That week, the price was right at $500 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

Five fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. UAN32 is now 1% more expensive, urea is 2% higher, potash is 4% higher, DAP is 5% more expensive and MAP is 9% higher than last year.

The remaining three fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. Anhydrous is 1% less expensive while UAN28 is 4% lower and 10-34-0 is 5% lower looking back a year.

Ethanol Stocks Down from Record High

Domestic ethanol supply declined 500,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.1%, from a record high during the week-ended March 16 to 23.8 million bbl, although supply is up 1.2 million bbl, or 5.3%, versus a year ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest weekly report shows.

Plant production increased 24,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.3%, to 1.049 million bpd last week while up 5,000 bpd, or 0.5%, compared to a year ago, with a number of plants returning from their seasonal maintenance programs. For the four-weeks to March 16, production averaged 1.044 bpd, up 7,000 bpd, or 0.7%, versus same period in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, increased 6,000 bpd, or 0.7%, last week to 916,000 bpd while down 1,000 bpd versus a year ago. For the four weeks to March 16, ethanol blending demand averaged 899,000 bpd, up 3,000 bpd, or 0.3%, versus same period in 2017.


More than 20 years ago, farmers from four U.S. dairy cooperatives came together to form Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), with a strategic vision to establish the first national dairy cooperative with investments across the U.S. dairy supply chain.

Today, as more than 1,600 people gather in Kansas City for the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting, DFA is not only a leading Cooperative owned by family-farmers from across the U.S., but also the largest supplier of milk in the world and the fourth-largest global dairy foods company.

With this year’s meeting theme, “Real People, Real Dairy,” DFA is putting the spotlight on the foundation for the Cooperative’s success: its dairy farm families and their commitment to working hard every day to deliver real dairy to real families across the country and the world, which is why the DFA mark matters.

“Over the last 20 years, DFA has experienced tremendous success, and the Cooperative’s vision is truly becoming a reality with more than 40 processing plants across the country, a strong portfolio of branded dairy products and growing global investment strategies,” says Randy Mooney, chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “As we think about the next 20 years, our focus will continue to be on our farmer-members and investing in what makes sense for the greater good of not only the dairy industry, but also the global food industry.”

The meeting kicked off with the Chairman’s Report, delivered by Mooney, who operates a dairy farm in Rogersville, Mo. Mooney, who also serves as chairman of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), talked about the importance of providing value to members and ultimately working together and building a Cooperative that will thrive and remain relevant for years to come.

An overview of DFA’s business was delivered by President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith. His presentation highlighted DFA’s financials for 2017 as well as updates on DFA’s commercial investments that provide a market for members’ milk through new and expanded plants. Investment highlights included: opening a satellite office in Singapore, building a joint venture cheese and whey facility in Michigan, along with Glanbia plc and Select Milk Producers, Inc., as well as investing in a state-of-the-art dairy ingredients plant in Garden City, Kan.

“Since DFA began twenty years ago, our primary focus has been about bringing value to our farmer-owner members and that still remains true today,” says Smith. “We continually strive to remain competitive in our core business of marketing members’ milk, while also looking to grow and expand our commercial investments, which not only deliver profits to our farmer-owners, but also help ensure DFA remains financially secure.”

Special guests and additional highlights of the meeting included:
    Siobhán Talbot, group managing director at Glanbia plc, discussing strategies for delivering better nutrition for every step of life’s journey
    Tim Brown, president and chief operating officer at Chobani, providing insights into the brand’s commitment to providing better food for more people
    An overview of the latest dairy promotion activities by Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer at Dairy Management Inc.

The Cooperative’s Annual Banquet brought a host of recognitions, including the 2018 Members of Distinction. Every year, family members at one farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas are recognized for service to their dairies, their families, communities and the industry.

In addition, outgoing Board of Directors Bill Herr of Greenwood, Wis., Chris Kraft of Fort Morgan, Colo., and Urban Mescher of Maria Stein, Ohio, were recognized for their contributions to DFA.

Winners of the 2018 DFA Cares Foundation Scholarship were announced at the banquet. DFA Cares scholarships are awarded to outstanding students pursuing a career in the dairy industry. This year, 45 recipients will receive a combined total of $57,000 toward their undergraduate and graduate studies.

DFA’s Annual Meeting concluded on Wednesday with the resolutions process, which brought together 250 elected delegates from across the nation to vote on a slate of issues that guide the policy position and business activities of DFA for the coming year.

NCBA Encouraged by "Positive Developments" in Omnibus Spending Bill

Today Colin Woodall, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), released the following statement:

“The omnibus spending bill includes a number of positive developments for cattlemen and women, including language that would prevent 200,000 farms and ranches from being regulated like toxic waste sites, delay the implementation of electronic logging devices for livestock haulers for another six months, and provide a critical fix for wildfire funding that also provides expedited authority to implement much-needed vegetation management on federal lands. We are also glad to see refinements to the tax code that address the 199A issue. NCBA and our affiliates have been working closely with Congress to ensure the spending bill addresses issues of concern for U.S. ranchers and beef producers, and we are glad to see our policy priorities reflected in the legislation. We urge Congress to take the next step and vote ‘Yes’ when the bill comes up for a vote.” 

    CERCLA Reporting: A provision would relieve livestock producers of the emissions reporting requirements under CERCLA, protecting 200,000 farms and ranches around the country. NCBA has been urging affiliates and members to support stand-alone legislation in the House and Senate that would also exempt agricultural producers from CERCLA reporting requirements. Passage of the omnibus spending bill would achieve the same goal.

    Electronic Logging Devices: The bill includes a provision that would grant livestock haulers an exemption from ELDs until September 30, 2018. A further delay will provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) more time to educate our livestock haulers on the ELDs while industry works on solutions to the current Hours of Service rules that do not currently work for those truckers driving livestock across this great nation. Recent NCBA actions on this issue include:
        September 2017 – NCBA and allied groups petition Department of Transportation for ELD waiver.
        September 2017 – NCBA and affiliates ask Congress to support one-year delay of ELD implementation for livestock haulers.
        November 2017 – NCBA helps secure 90-day waiver from ELD implementation
        March 2018 – NCBA and allied groups successfully petition for another 90-day wavier from ELD implementation.

    Section 199A Fix: The 199A fix included in the bill will equalize tax treatment of commodity sales to cooperatives and non-cooperatives, while also providing flow-through deduction from co-ops to their members similar to the old Section 199 deduction for domestic production activities.

NGFA commends congressional leadership for including Section 199A fix in omnibus spending bill

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended the bipartisan congressional leadership for reportedly including in the omnibus fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill stakeholder-driven provisions that would correct the unintended consequences of Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The NGFA and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives had issued a joint statement on March 13 supporting prompt enactment of the legislative language, which was developed after months of collaboration and extensive analysis in an effort to replicate to the greatest extent possible the tax benefits accorded to farmer-owned cooperatives and their farmer-patrons under the previous Section 199 (also known as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction), while also restoring the competitive landscape of the marketplace as it existed in December 2017 so that the tax code does not provide an incentive for farmers to do business with a company solely because it is organized as a cooperative or private/independent firm.

Pending verification that the final language accurately reflects the concepts developed by NGFA and NCFC, NGFA said it will urge its prompt passage.

"There is a huge sense of urgency in getting this issue resolved, as producers continue to make marketing decisions, particularly given the welcome rally in corn and soybean prices in recent weeks," said NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon.  "Thousands of grain elevators and other agribusinesses, most of them small businesses that provide economic vitality to rural communities, will be making costly decisions on whether to reorganize their business to be able to compete or even whether to remain open for business during coming weeks.  NGFA is confident Congress understands the calamity that will result unless the current Section 199A is corrected, and we will be working tirelessly until it is.  The inclusion of these provisions in the omnibus bill is a huge step in the right direction to preserve competitive choices for producers when marketing their agricultural products."

The legislative provisions would amend Section 199A as it exists in current law, under which producers can deduct up to 20 percent of gross payments received on sales of agricultural cooperatives, without certain limitations based on income.  Meanwhile, farmers selling to private/independent companies are restricted to deducting 20 percent of net business income, a considerably smaller deduction.

Gordon also noted the urgency and necessity of correcting the current Section 199A is compounded by the fact that the skewed tax benefits are not limited to agricultural cooperatives, but conceivably to any business or group of citizens that might want to form a cooperative.  "The implications of this spreading well beyond agricultural businesses could be devastating to the generation of tax revenues to the federal treasury," he said. 

The NGFA had noted previously that great care was taken by stakeholders to develop a concept that provides tax relief to farmers, as envisioned in the tax-reform law, while restoring to the maximum extent possible the competitive balance of the marketplace.  NGFA's membership consists of an almost equal number of grain, feed, grain-processing and export businesses organized as cooperatives or private/independent companies.

NCFC President Chuck Conner on Section 199A Provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill

"I would like to commend congressional leadership for inclusion of provisions to address the marketplace impacts of Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the omnibus government funding package unveiled today. 

"These provisions will accomplish the goal that NCFC and our member co-ops set out at the beginning of the tax reform debate last fall—preventing a tax increase on farmers and their co-ops by keeping the Domestic Production Activities Deduction, or DPAD. DPAD will largely be recreated in this bill, which also preserves the competitive position of co-ops in the marketplace. In fact, by combining the individual-level business deductions that farmers can claim and the recreated DPAD pass-through from their co-ops, farmers selling to cooperatives have the opportunity to see more of a tax deduction than farmers selling to non-cooperatives.

"This action fits in line with Congress's long history of public policy in support of co-ops and shows an appreciation of the unique relationship that co-ops have to their farmer-owners. It is a recognition that for many farmers, their co-op isn’t simply some business that they buy from or sell to, it’s an integral part, an extension of their operations. 

"The benefits of these tax provisions will also be seen beyond just agriculture itself. A farmer with more money in his pocket will spend it with Main Street businesses in his community. When a co-op is able to generate more business and expand its operations, the profits go back to the member-owners to spend locally, not off to faceless Wall Street investors or absentee owners hundreds of miles away. The recreation of DPAD will help to ensure that co-ops remain a cornerstone of American agriculture and rural communities."

Aquaculture: Looking at the Potential for Corn Growers

The National Corn Growers Association recently attended the Aquaculture America Conference to learn more about the industry and make connections with companies to discuss the benefits of corn and corn byproducts in aquaculture diets.

NCGA met with a number of companies and representatives while at the conference, including tru SHRIMP of Minnesota, Prairie Aquatech of South Dakota, Eagles Catch of Iowa, and various feed mills and feed ingredient companies including Cargill, Zeigler, ADM, Blue Ridge Aquafeeds and BlueWater Feed Company.

"Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world," said Feed Food & Industrial Action Team Chair Bruce Peterson. "However, 90 percent of U.S. seafood is imported today, representing a large opportunity to expand domestic production facilities. Aquaculture farmers continue to explore opportunities to increase the amount of plant-based feed ingredients used in their operations. Corn-based feed could provide an economical and sustainable option compared to traditional fish meal and would represent an incremental source of demand for corn and corn-based products."

"Additional research, development and feed trials are needed to better understand the value proposition that corn may bring to their industry," Peterson added.

Various topics discussed at the conference included feed ingredients, food safety and quality, nutrition and alternative feeds.

NCGA will continue to interact and build relationships with the aquaculture community to help grow demand for corn DDGs in the future.

EU Approves Bayer Takeover of Monsanto After Concessions

(AP) -- The European Union has approved Bayer's buyout of Monsanto in a massive agriculture business deal, but says they will have to shed some $7.4 billion in firms and other remedies to ensure fair competition in the market.

The $57 billion takeover has been watched by rivals and environmental groups, who are fearful that the number of players in the business of selling seeds and pesticides will shrink further and give one company a suffocating grip on the market.

EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday that the remedies proposed by Bayer and Monsanto are worth well over 6 billion euros in business and "meet our competition concerns in full."

Monsanto in September accepted Bayer's offer, in which it also assumes $9 billion in debt, in a move affecting anything from tomatoes and cucumbers to the use of pesticides across the globe.

Without the remedies, Vestager said that the buyout would have significantly reduced competition in the market and hindered innovation. She said the deal would create the world's largest pesticides and seeds company and therefore needed a large number of remedies to be approved.

"We have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same," said Vestager. "That is important because we need competition to ensure farmers have a choice of different seed varieties and pesticides at affordable prices."

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said that "the European Commission's approval is a major success and a significant milestone." He said the companies were still working with U.S. authorities on the deal, which they hope to close in the second quarter of 2018.

Vestager made her approval dependent on the remedies and business sales.

She said the divestitures remove all overlaps in seeds and pesticide markets and streamlines R&D.

And, Vestager said, Bayer committed to work to keep open the emerging market in digital farming, which focuses on the use of data to guide agriculture. Bayer proposed BASF as the company to take over the business it sells in this sector.

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