Saturday, April 28, 2018

Friday April 28 Ag News


The Yes to Property Tax Relief Committee announced today that the petition initiative campaign to place a $1.1 billion property tax relief proposal on the November 2018 ballot has ended and petition signature collection efforts will cease.

Committee spokesman Trent Fellers released the following statement:

“We are grateful to the thousands of Nebraskans who have signed the petition, and to those who have dedicated their time and resources to this effort. Unfortunately, we no longer believe their interests are best served by this initiative and we are ending the campaign.”

“Doubts remain that a ballot measure to change state law is the correct means to address this issue. We’ve observed the Legislature closely and are not convinced the Legislature will effectively implement our proposal to reduce property taxes, even if enacted by the people. The decision not to proceed with the initiative petition does not mean we are ending our efforts to reduce the property tax burden, only that we are exploring other options that would set a higher bar to ensure the will of the people is carried out, including a possible Constitutional Amendment that could withstand any challenge from the Legislature.”

“What remains clear through this process and our discussions with Nebraskans is that people across the state are committed to finding permanent solutions to both the property tax burden and the broader issue of education funding in this state.  The voice of the people, already a significant influence on our efforts here, will continue to guide our deliberations as we determine the path forward as we work to address property taxes and education funding.”

Candidates Designated “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau PAC

Doug Oertwich of Pilger has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NEFB-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Oertwich is seeking to represent District 22 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“As a farmer and small business owner, Doug has first-hand experience with how Nebraska agriculture and rural communities are impacted by state policies and regulations. It’s also critical to have people in the legislature that understand the important role agriculture plays in our state’s overall economy,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

According to McHargue, Oertwich has a breadth of experience that includes serving on the Stanton County Planning Commission and as a Stanton County Public Power District Director. Oertwich has also served as a Nebraska Rural Electric Association Statewide Director and on the Nebraska Rural Electric Association Legislative Committee.

“Doug’s priorities of lowering property taxes, ensuring Nebraska has skilled workers, and expanding affordable housing in rural areas, align well with Farm Bureau’s support for growing and developing rural Nebraska,” said McHargue. “We are pleased to support Doug in his bid to represent District 22.

Myron Dorn of Adams has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NEFB-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Dorn is seeking to represent District 30 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“Myron’s priorities of lowering property taxes, providing quality education for Nebraska students, expanding economic development opportunities, and support for sound transportation infrastructure are shared by our members. We are proud to offer our support for Myron as he seeks the District 30 legislative seat,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

According to McHargue, Dorn not only understands the issues facing agriculture, but rural communities as well. Dorn is a farmer who has served on the Firth Coop Board, and has also served as Chair of the Gage County Board of Supervisors.

“Myron has first-hand experience in dealing with the challenges rural businesses face, as well as experience in working on the important balance between the needs of taxpayers and funding local government. We need people who understand that balance and can bring that experience to the Legislature,” said McHargue.

Dave Murman of Glenvil has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NEFB-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Murman is seeking to represent District 38 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“We are pleased to offer our support for Dave in his pursuit to represent District 38 in the Legislature. As a third-generation farmer and life-long resident of the district, he knows the people and communities he’s seeking to represent and has a passion for helping the district grow and thrive,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Murman’s priorities of lowering property taxes and supporting fair funding for schools and high-quality education, in addition to focusing on policies to support small businesses and job creation, helped earn Murman the designation.

“Dave shares many of our organization’s priorities. Furthermore, he has a strong track record of involvement in leadership positions to improve agriculture and rural Nebraska that make him a strong candidate. His experiences include, participating in the Nebraska LEAD Program, serving as president of the Nebraska State Dairy Association, service to the Dairy Farmers of America, and being a member of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s State Legislative Policy Committee. All of these experiences will serve him well in the Legislature,” said McHargue.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Agriculture” designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications, previous experience, communication abilities, and their ability to represent the district. 

NC Supports Senator Deb Fischer for the 2018 U.S. Senate Primary Election

The Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Board of Directors voted to continue their support of Senator Deb Fischer in the 2018 U.S. Senate primary election.  Senator Fischer is a long time NC and NCBA member from Cherry County with a strong track record of advocating for Nebraska's livestock industry.

Senator Fischer currently serves on two U.S. Senate committees that oversee many of the policy issues that impact Nebraska's farmers and ranchers: the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

During her time on EPW, Senator Fischer has been instrumental in fighting the misguided 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which would have subjected every puddle, ditch and stream to costly and burdensome federal Clean Water Act permitting.

Sen. Fischer's new role on the Senate Agriculture Committee gives Nebraska's producers a seat at the table as the next farm bill is written.  This comprehensive legislation ensures that farm safety nets are in place to help farmers and ranchers weather a tough agriculture economy and increasingly tight margins. Without critical programs like crop insurance, drought assistance and livestock indemnity, Nebraska's $23 billion agriculture economy would suffer a devastating blow.

Senator Fischer is also the Chair of the Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security Subcommittee within the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.  She gives Nebraska's livestock industry an active voice in promoting and defending the key issues for their families and businesses.

Nebraska Cattlemen greatly appreciates Senator Fischer's efforts and is proud to support her in the 2018 primary election.

Seven UNL students are set to begin summer internships sponsored by Nebraska Corn

As the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s spring semester winds down, seven students will soon be starting summer internship programs supported by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Although these internships may vary in scope and location, each are designed to provide students with an overview of Nebraska’s corn industry through real-world professional examples and experiences.

“At this point in my college career, I don’t quite know what I want to do after graduation,” said Liz Ruskamp, a UNL animal science major from North Bend. “I am hoping this internship will help me narrow down options and figure out what I am good at and identify areas where I could improve.”

“Nebraska Corn has long been helping students identify their career paths through our internship program,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “Each year, we’re encouraged to see a new group of energized interns who are ready to get started in their ag careers.”

Five of the seven summer interns will be based outside of the state and will work for major cooperators of Nebraska Corn. The remaining interns will work in Lincoln in the offices of the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

This year’s Nebraska Corn interns (followed by their internship locations) are:
    Hannah Settje, Raymond, U.S. Meat Export Federation – Denver
    Liz Ruskamp, North Bend, National Corn Growers Association – St. Louis
    Elizabeth Todsen, Ord, National Corn Growers Association – Washington, D.C.
    Halle Ramsey, Ord, U.S. Grains Council – Washington, D.C.
    Alyssa Ehler, Elkhorn, U.S. Grains Council – Mexico City
    Thomas Hoxmeier, Orleans, Nebraska Corn Board – Lincoln
    Heidi Borg, Allen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association – Lincoln

“Internships are important to college students because they’re a gateway to real careers,” said Hannah Settje, a UNL animal science major from Raymond. “My internship will bridge the gap between my education and what I’m looking for in my future career.”

Each intern will document their learning experiences through progress updates and social media posts. To keep up with the students throughout the summer, visit or follow the Nebraska Corn Board on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

Ribbon cutting for new Ankeny stormwater wetland designed to protect water quality

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will join Ankeny city officials and the Fourmile Creek Water Management Authority chair for a ribbon cutting for a new storm water wetland, built to manage and clean urban stormwater prior to entry into Fourmile Creek.  The event will take place on Mon., April 29 at 2 p.m. on the east side of Fourmile Creek (north side of 36th St. in Ankeny).

Reynolds will also sign a proclamation declaring April 29 to May 6, 2018 as Iowa Soil and Water Conservation week.  This year’s theme for Soil and Water Conservation week is “Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home.” More information about the activities that will be held during Soil and Water Conservation Week in Iowa can be found at

USDA Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2017 Summary

Total 2017 production of cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled 81.7 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2016. Production increased 4 percent for cattle and calves and 3 percent for hogs and pigs.

Total 2017 cash receipts from marketings of meat animals increased 7 percent to $88.4 billion. Cattle and calves accounted for 76 percent of this total and hogs and pigs accounted for 24 percent.

The 2017 gross income from cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled $88.9 billion, up 7 percent from 2016. Gross income increased 6 percent for cattle and calves and 11 percent for hogs and pigs from previousyear's gross income.

Cattle and Calves: Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased 6 percent from $63.7 billion in 2016 to $67.4 billion in 2017. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 57.4 billion pounds in 2017, up 6 percent from 2016.

Cattle and Calves Gross Income by State

NE - $11,179,128,000
IA - $4,081,715,000
KS - $8,281,329,000

Hogs and Pigs: Cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $21.1 billion during 2017, up 11 percent from 2016. Marketings totaled 38.1 billion pounds in 2017, up 3 percent from 2016.

Hogs & Pigs  Gross Income by State

NE - $804,920,000
IA - $7,121,183,000
KS - $542,318,000

Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2017 Summary

Milk production increased 1.4 percent in 2017 to 215 billion pounds. The rate per cow, at 22,941 pounds, was 163 pounds above 2016. The annual average number of milk cows on farms was 9.39 million head, up 67,000 head from 2016.

Cash receipts from marketings of milk during 2017 totaled $37.9 billion, 9.8 percent higher than 2016. Producer returns averaged $17.69 per hundredweight, 8.3 percent above 2016. Marketings totaled 214.5 billion pounds, 1.5 percent above 2016. Marketings include whole milk sold to plants and dealers and milk sold directly to consumers.

An estimated 979 million pounds of milk were used on farms where produced, 1.4 percent less than 2016. Calves were fed 91 percent of this milk, with the remainder consumed in producer households.

Value of Milk Production - by State

NE - $262,808,000
IA - $936,132,000
KS - $590,824,000

Poultry - Production and Value 2017 Summary

The combined value of production from broilers, eggs, turkeys, and the value of sales from chickens in 2017 was $42.7 billion, up 10 percent from $38.7 billion in 2016. Of the combined total, 71 percent was from broilers, 18 percent from eggs, 11 percent from turkeys, and less than 1 percent from chickens.

The value of broilers produced during 2017 was $30.2 billion, up 17 percent from 2016. The total number of broilers produced in 2017 was 8.91 billion, up 2 percent from 2016. The total amount of live weight broilers produced in 2017 was 55.6 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2016.

The value of turkeys produced during 2017 was $4.84 billion, down 22 percent from the $6.18 billion the previous year. The total number of turkeys raised in 2017 was 243 million, down 1 percent from 2016. Turkey production in 2017 totaled 7.49 billion pounds, up slightly from the 7.49 billion pounds produced in 2016.

The value of sales from chickens (excluding broilers) in 2017 was $46.7 million, down 47 percent from $87.4 million a year ago. The number of chickens sold in 2017 totaled 188 million, down 10 percent from the total sold during the previous year.

Value of all egg production in 2017 was $7.55 billion, up 16 percent from $6.51 billion in 2016. Egg production totaled 106 billion eggs, up 4 percent from 102 billion eggs produced in 2016.

2017 Nebraska Poultry Production and Value

The value of egg production in Nebraska during 2017 was $131 million, up $31 million from $100 million in 2016, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Egg production in 2017 was estimated at 2.49 billion eggs, down 81.0 million from the previous year. Average number of layers for 2017 at 8.17 million was down 676,000 from 2016.

U.S. Pork Industry Is Focused on Safeguarding Natural Resources

In light of a recent court ruling in North Carolina regarding hog production, the National Pork Board is sharing the strong record the U.S. pork industry has on the environment and sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability on the farm is an ongoing commitment by pig farmers today,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president and a Nebraska pig farmer. “As an industry, farmers are committed, through ongoing environmental sustainability efforts, to safeguard natural resources for future generations.”

Over the last decade, the U.S. has played a leading role in advancing animal agriculture’s environmental and conservation efforts. Respect for the earth and its natural resources is part of the U.S. agricultural heritage and America’s pork producers are dedicated to preserving that legacy. Long-term efforts have helped pig farmers raise more pork using fewer natural resources than ever before.

A key reason is new technology in place on farms across the country which improve sustainability and air quality, preserve soil quality and reduce land, water and energy use. In a 50-year look-back completed by the University of Arkansas in 2012 – and which is currently being updated with data through 2015 – U.S. pig farmers had reduced land use by 78 percent, reduced water use by 41 percent, and had a carbon footprint that was 35 percent smaller. Preliminary data over just the past five years shows continued progress.

Additionally, pig farms throughout the U.S. carefully manage the manure that is produced, and do so according to the requirements of all environmental permits and regulations. Manure is a valuable nutrient resource for the production of all crops, and is applied to fields in accordance with agronomic needs of the crop and according to state and federal regulations.

We Care, which marks a decade of commitment this year, includes steps to:
-    Produce safe food
-    Protect and promote animal well-being
-    Ensure practices to protect public health
-    Safeguard natural resources
-    Provide a safe work environment
-    Contribute to a better quality of life in our communities

“Pig farmers learn from the examples of others and we routinely share best practices,” said O’Neel. “That’s the motivation behind the development in 2008 of our We Care platform and its six ethical principles of production.”

Big Acts Slated to Perform at the 30th Annual World Pork Expo

Music and the aroma of grilled pork will fill the air at the 2018 World Pork Expo during MusicFest on Thursday, June 7. To help celebrate 30 years of Expo, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) will host a free concert featuring Josh Hoyer, a contestant on The Voice, followed by The Big Noise, led by Cactus Moser.

The festivities take place along the Grand Avenue Concourse of the Iowa State Fairgrounds, and run from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. The concert is just one of the many events scheduled for the World Pork Expo, presented by NPPC June 6-8 in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Whether visitors come to Expo to shop the trade show, sit in on a seminar or learn about market developments, the days are always packed," says Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and producer from Johnstown, Ohio. "That's why it's important to carve out time to relax and have some fun and fellowship. And MusicFest provides the perfect setting."

The soulful sounds of Josh Hoyer

Fusing soul with hints of R&B and classic country, Josh Hoyer, a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, was a contestant on season 12 of NBC's The Voice. With his smooth rendition of the Chi-Lites' 1972 hit "Oh Girl," he caught the attention of coaches Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.

The singer founded the soul-funk band Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal in 2012, where his rich, soulful vocals blend with masterful musicians, producing a remarkable chemistry. Their high-energy live show continuously crosses musical boundaries both in style and era, with the common goal of getting the crowd on their feet.

Recent recordings include the band's 2016 "Running from Love." In January, Hoyer released "The End of the Night," a three-song EP and solo side project with veteran Nashville songwriters Jay Knowles (Harry Connick Jr, Blake Shelton), and Jon Coleman (Trace Adkins). This spring, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal will record their fourth full-length album.

The Big Noise, with Cactus Moser

Headlining MusicFest is The Big Noise, led by Scott "Cactus" Moser, a talented drummer and music producer. The Big Noise is made up of musicians who've played on numerous records and tours. Over the last five years, the band has recorded and toured with Wynonna Judd, as Wynonna & The Big Noise.

Members of the group also have worked with singers including Ricky Van Shelton, Kevin Welch, Johnny Rivers, Pam Tillis and Richard Marx.

Moser is an original founding member of the country/western band Highway 101. He's also written and produced movie soundtracks, including "Union Bound" in 2016. Judd says Moser is genuinely "in love with music." And that includes all types, from country to rock to blues. "My goal was to try and capture emotions, not perfection," Moser says of his musical philosophy.

All combined, The Big Noise form a musically adventurous group that brings the members' original songs together with classic covers from groups such as the Grateful Dead, Blind Faith and James Gang.

Other sights not to miss

Visitors won't have a hard time finding other events and activities to enjoy while at Expo.

"Expo already features the world's largest pork-specific trade show," Heimerl points out. "But with expanded indoor and outdoor exhibit space, this year's trade show will be bigger than ever. Producers will definitely want to schedule extra time to see it all."

With more than 360,000 square feet of exhibit space, this year's expo expands into the Jacobson Exhibition Center. An estimated 500 companies from throughout the world will display new technologies, products and services specific to pork production. The trade show will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 8.

Pork professionals can hear the latest production and management strategies in a variety of free Pork Academy and Business Seminars throughout the day on June 6 and June 7. Swine shows are scheduled throughout the week in the Swine Barn, including the World Pork Expo Junior National and the open show. The shows conclude with a breeding swine sale on Saturday morning, June 9. Naturally, there's plenty of tasty pork to enjoy while at Expo, including free pork lunches available daily at the Big Grill.

For all the latest details, including daily event schedules, registration, hotel availability and more, go to the World Pork Expo website. Plan now to attend the 2018 World Pork Expo, June 6-8.

Bill Would Let Farmers Tap into Growing Industrial Hemp Market

The American Farm Bureau Federation is backing a measure that would allow U.S. farmers to tap into the potentially sizeable market for ingredients derived from industrial hemp in foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabric and textiles and much more. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 (S. 2667) would remove hemp’s designation as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

For nearly 70 years industrial hemp has been wrongly associated with its cannabis cousin, marijuana. As a result, a great deal of agricultural heritage in hemp seed genetics, crop research and technological innovation has been hindered or lost entirely, according to AFBF.

In addition, the Congressional Research Service has determined the U.S., the only major industrialized country in which farmers are not allowed to legally grow industrial hemp, is the largest importer of hemp materials, with annual sales exceeding $600 million.

“However, the tide is turning, and once again policymakers in Washington, D.C., and state houses across the country recognize the tremendous potential that industrial hemp can offer farmers as an effective rotational crop with promising economic benefits,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the legislation’s lead sponsor.

With the passage of the 2014 farm bill, and under the supervision of research universities or state departments of agriculture, states were authorized to “study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp.” Since then, more than 30 states have passed legislation legalizing this type of research, but its full-fledged production and commercialization is extremely hindered by its current designation as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) has introduced companion legislation (H.R. 5485) in the House.

Proposed Changes to the National List for Organic Livestock and Handling

On April 27, 2018, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) based on public input and the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) November 2017 recommendations for livestock and handling.

More information on how and why substances are added or removed from the National List is available on The National List page of the AMS website.

In general, synthetic substances are prohibited for crop and livestock production unless specifically allowed and non-synthetic substances are allowed for crop and livestock production unless specifically prohibited.

This proposed rule would make two changes to the National List:
-    Allow elemental sulfur in organic livestock production for use as a topical pesticide treatment to repel mites, fleas and ticks from livestock and their living spaces.
-    Reclassify potassium acid tartrate from a nonagricultural substance to an agricultural substance. Potassium acid tartrate is currently listed as a nonorganic ingredient allowed in organic products. Reclassifying potassium acid tartrate as an agricultural substance would require handlers to use the organic form when it is commercially available. If it is not commercially available, handlers would be allowed to use the nonorganic form.

The 60-day public comment period closes on June 29, 2018.

NC Residents Win Big Money from Smithfield

A federal jury reached a verdict worth $50 million in the first of 26 lawsuits against North Carolina pork producer Murphy Brown. An Indy Week Dot Com reports says the jury took less than 24 hours to reach the verdict against Murphy Brown, a subsidiary of Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods.

The plaintiffs contended that the company’s waste-management plan makes their lives miserable. The plan consists of storing excess hog waste in open-air cesspools, as well as liquefying and spraying the remains on nearby fields. The plaintiffs say the odors and mist from the spray drift onto their properties, that the hogs attract swarms of insects and buzzards, boxes with dead hogs smell especially bad, and the stench limits their ability to go outside.

The trial involved ten plaintiffs who live near Kinlaw Farm in Bladen County, North Carolina, who contracts with Smithfield to raise 15,000 hogs. Smithfield Foods says in a news release that they will file an immediate appeal of the verdict.

NPPC Statement on North Carolina Verdict

The verdict this week in a frivolous nuisance lawsuit against a North Carolina hog farm represents an unwarranted attack on livestock agriculture. The U.S. pork industry has a strong and long-standing track record of environmental stewardship and plays a critical role in strengthening the rural economy in America.

The misuse of our legal system to attack a farm sector that supports more than 500,000 U.S. jobs must come to an end.

Confined Space: Grain Bin Entry FREE Webinar

When: Thursday, May 10, 2018
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Presenter: Dan Neenan, Manager, National Education Center for Agricultural Safety

This Grain Safety program is intended for workers and managers in the grain industry including grain elevators, farm operators and workers, grain haulers, and agriculture business owners. The major focus of the program is on safety in confined space work areas including entry, respiratory protection, and prevention of Grain Dust explosions.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will:
-    Be able to identify hazards associated with confined space work in the grain industry
-    Understand the process for confined space entry and lock out procedures
-    Be able to discuss the confined space housekeeping procedures involved in grain handling
-    Know where to look for OSHA references and resources related to confined space entry in the grain industry
-    Identify the OSHA respirator standards that apply to an agricultural setting
-    Understand key components of an effective respiratory protection program
-    Access resources, templates, medical evaluations, and further trainings to effectively implement a respiratory program
-    Describe several recent dust explosions and the dust deflagration process
-    Identify the basic considerations used in a facility hazard analysis for dust
-    Describe the prevention and mitigation techniques used in control of the combustible dust hazard

For more information and to register, please visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment