Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday April 12 Ag News - E15 RVP - Farm Bill - TPP - plus more!

Ricketts Visits White House for Roundtable on Agriculture & International Trade

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by President Donald J. Trump at the White House with members of Nebraska’s federal delegation and other governors.  During the roundtable, Governor Ricketts urged President Trump to continue to open up new markets for Nebraska’s quality agriculture products and to pursue trade strategies that help grow agriculture.

“Nebraskans appreciate the work the President has done to open new markets for Nebraska beef and pork, but there is also uncertainty around the disruption tariffs may cause,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The President led a great working meeting today on agriculture, trade, and ethanol issues.  During the discussion, I urged the President to put a continued focus on expanding markets for agriculture.  He listened and expressed a commitment to growing international trade so we can grow opportunities for our farmers and ranchers.”

Governor Ricketts has been an advocate for expanding international trade opportunities for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.  The Governor has led trade missions to China, Japan, Canada, and the European Union to expand markets and build new partnerships.

The roundtable discussion comes amidst concerns about the impact of trade negotiations on Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.  To date, President Trump’s trade discussions have resulted in the opening of negotiations in key markets such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Argentina, and South Korea.  This week amidst negotiations, President Xi Jinping of China declared that the country would open sectors such as banking and auto manufacturing, increase imports of American goods, and expand intellectual property protections, among other reforms.


International trade is a key driver of Nebraska’s economy.  Statistics for 2017 show that Nebraska increased total pork exports by 20 percent and beef exports increased by 12 percent.  Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.22 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production.  Nebraska’s $6.4 billion in ag exports during 2016 translated to $7.8 billion in additional economic activity.

Top 5 Ag Export Products:
1.   Soybeans and Soybean Products - $2.08 billion
2.   Beef – $1.26 billion
3.   Corn - $1.16 billion
4.   Pork - $479 million
5.   Hides and Skins - $291.9 million

Top 5 Ag Export Markets:
1.   China - $1.43 billion
2.   Mexico - $956 million
3.   Japan - $887.1 million
4.   South Korea - $499.9 million
5.   Canada - $433.5 million

Fischer Presses for Nebraska at Trade Meeting with President

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after meeting with President Donald J. Trump at the White House to discuss the benefits of trade to production agriculture:

“At the White House today, I spoke in person with President Trump about a number of agriculture issues causing anxiety and uncertainty for many Nebraskans. NAFTA, potential Chinese tariffs, and upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard were among the topics we covered. I provided the president with factual information about our state’s ag exports and the central role agriculture plays in Nebraska’s economy. Furthermore, I conveyed to him how critical it is that we work together to protect markets – domestically and internationally – for our families. I’m encouraged by the president’s desire to move forward with the sale of year-round E-15 with a RVP waiver and to reengage with TPP nations in discussions to open new markets. I will continue to press this case for the people of Nebraska.” 

Sasse Statement on President’s Reconsideration of TPP

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for trade and agriculture, issued the following statement regarding his meeting with the President today.

“The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law. It is good news that today the President directed Larry Kudlow and Ambassador Lighthizer to negotiate U.S. entry into TPP.”

Wheat Groups Applaud Decision to Negotiate for TPP Membership

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are very happy to learn that President Trump is directing U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow to begin negotiating for the United States to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“Putting it simply, joining TPP is the best way to avoid a potentially devastating loss of wheat sales to Japan,” said USW Chairman Michael Miller, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash. “If the United States joins TPP, U.S. wheat should be able to compete on a level playing field with Canadian and Australian wheat, which will soon have a major advantage once TPP is implemented. That would keep U.S. wheat sales that currently represent 50 percent of Japan’s total wheat imports competitive in this crucial market.”

“It is very encouraging that the President is taking this step,” said NAWG President Jimmie Musick, a wheat grower from Sentinel, Okla. “If we can find a way to join this trade agreement, it will go a long way toward helping protect the incomes of every American wheat farmer. We also want to thank the members of Congress who pushed very hard to see this opening.”

USW and NAWG look forward to working with the Administration to provide any information and support it needs to achieve a successful negotiation that brings the United States back into the agreement. Read more at

 Smith Statement on Administration Decision to Expand Access to E-15 Gasoline Blends

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), a senior member of the Committee on Ways and Means, released the following statement today after President Trump announced his intention to expand access to 15 percent ethanol blends in gasoline (E-15) year-round.

“I’m proud to hear President Trump’s support for expanded access to E-15 gasoline blends year-round. This is a decision which will allow greater access to cleaner and more affordable fuel options throughout the year while also benefiting Nebraska agriculture as various ethanol blends become more widely available.

Having long supported this expansion, I introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act to bring about broader access to higher ethanol blends. I applaud this move by the administration and urge its swift implementation in order to guarantee the maximum benefit for consumers and producers alike.”



President Trump announced today that he supports approval for year-round consumer access to E15, a high-octane fuel composed of 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline. This is welcome news for Iowa’s farmers and American motorists as it will help expand the availability and market access for higher blends of ethanol.

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanks U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst as well as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for their unwavering support for creating a path for E15 full availability especially during the White House discussions this week. We also thank President Trump for his public support of year-round E15 sales that will provide consumers greater access to lower-cost, cleaner-burning fuel at the pump.

However, our work in defending the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is still not done. We continue to work with the President and our elected leaders to protect the integrity and intent of the RFS from potentially damaging RIN price cap proposals and small refinery exemptions. Iowa farmers will continue to stand up for their farms and support the biofuels industries that have kept our communities in rural America alive and thriving.

For Iowa’s corn farmers, ethanol remains our top market. By allowing year-round E15 sales, we will increase demand for corn and provide homegrown fuels to consumers supporting our state.
As a nation, we should be doubling down on our need for reliable, homegrown biofuels not blocking their market access. Maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and year-round sales of E15 keeps Iowa’s ethanol industry viable and provides a key market for our corn going strong.

NCGA Statement on President Trump’s Announcement on RVP Parity

Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association

“Today, at a meeting at the White House with governors and lawmakers, President Donald Trump committed to making policy changes that would allow for the sale of blends greater than 10 percent, such as E15, year-round. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is very pleased with this announcement, and we thank the President for this commitment to America’s corn farmers and rural America.

“Allowing the sale of E15 all year, will allow for less confusion and more savings at the pump for consumers, continue to benefit the environment with the further reduction of emissions and provide corn farmers with a more stable market.  NCGA has been advocating for this parity for higher blends of ethanol not only for these benefits but also because of the additional ethanol blending addresses refiner concerns about RIN values. Increased blending lowers RIN values.

“NCGA realizes there is still work that needs to be done to make this happen, but we will work alongside the President and Administration to make sure this regulatory burden is removed.

“NCGA has been working closely with Members of Congress and President Trump’s administration to be sure farmers’ voices are heard. We applaud Secretary Perdue and farmers’ champions in Congress for their steadfast support.

“Even with the positive news from the White House today, NCGA continues to call on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to stop granting small refinery exemptions, giving extremely profitable refiners a pass on meeting their RFS obligations and destroying demand. We remain opposed to further demand destruction through a RIN price cap or other policies that undermine the RFS.”

ACE thanks president for pledge to support the year-round sale of E15

Today, President Trump publicly pledged his support of allowing the sale of E15 year-round. Below is a statement from American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings:

“ACE has been calling for a legislative or administrative fix to this outdated regulatory burden for a long time now, and we’re grateful the president has publicly expressed his support to help the industry move in a positive direction. Allowing the sale of E15 year-round is not only a commonsense step to provide regulatory relief to retailers, it is a win for their customers, who save about a nickel to a dime with each gallon of E15 at the pump. It is also the quickest way to take pressure off RIN prices. E15 blending nationwide will increase ethanol blending which will increase the supply of RIN credits and help bring down their price.  E15 is a clean and safe fuel with lower evaporative emissions than E10 and straight gasoline and will help further decrease tailpipe emissions.

“There’s a clear recognition of refinery wins in the form of so-called hardship waivers and collapsing RIN prices have caused real damage in rural America — it is time to allow E15 to be sold year-round. We look forward to participating in the process to finally make E15 sales year-round a reality.”

Growth Energy Welcomes President Trump’s Support for E15

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today applauded President Trump’s commitment to lifting outdated Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) limits on summer-time sales of E15 without tying RVP relief to any refinery-backed limits on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We applaud President Trump for embracing a common-sense fix to create a level playing field for cleaner, more affordable fuel options during the summer driving season. The White House clearly understands that RVP relief will expand a growing market for America’s farmers while letting consumers pick the fuel of their choice.

“This simple fix allows retailers to offer better options alongside traditional blends all year long."

Biodiesel Stakeholders Unite in Concern for RFS

The National Biodiesel Board today joined the American Soybean Association and the National Renderers Association urging President Trump to keep his promises to rural voters.

“Recent Actions by the EPA have undermined President Trump’s commitment to support consumer access to domestic renewable fuel and rural economies supported by upholding a strong Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs. “The EPA’s decision to give large, profitable refiners free passes are hurting biodiesel producers, renderers and farmers. If the President is serious about keeping his promise, he needs to pay attention.”

In the letter the three organizations thank the president for his support saying, “We appreciate your ongoing efforts to champion the entrepreneurs, farmers, and manufacturers working to grow our nation’s domestic renewable energy industry.”

They also note concern surrounding the seeming inconsistent signals from the administration. The letter states, “Contrary to your steadfast support, the EPA has undermined the RFS through recent actions granting so-called “hardship” exemptions designed for small refiners.  This has a direct impact on consumers, renderers, fuel marketers, biofuel producers and hundreds of thousands of American soybean farmers. The actions taken by the EPA undermine the integrity of the RFS and stand in direct contrast to your pledge of support in Iowa.”

Press coverage has indicated the EPA has granted exemptions to several refineries for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years, including one of the nation’s largest. EPA has apparently granted Andeavor a hardship waiver for its three smallest refineries, while their profits last year were approximately $1.5 billion dollars. At least two other refineries with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profits appear to have also been granted exemptions. 

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated in a bi-partisan Congress with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

 NFU Applauds E15 Waiver, Says More Needs to be Done for Higher Blends of Ethanol

President Donald Trump today announced the administration would allow the year-round sale of E15, or gasoline blends comprised of 15 percent ethanol, which had previously been barred from being sold in the summer.

National Farmers Union (NFU) applauded the President’s move and called on the administration to eliminate similar barriers to expanded use of higher blends of ethanol. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Family farmers are facing severely depressed prices due to massive oversupply of corn and other commodities. We appreciate the administration’s move to remove this unnecessary regulation that decreases demand for farm products.

“While this waiver will go a long way towards cutting into the corn supply, more can and should be done for higher blends of ethanol, like E30. This high-octane fuel offers better economic, fuel economy and air quality benefits than do lower blends of ethanol, yet far too many barriers continue to exist to keep it from being used. Farmers Union encourages the administration to build on the President’s support for farmers and rural communities by building demand for higher blends of ethanol in our transportation fuels.”

Chairman Conaway Introduces the Agriculture and Nutrition Act

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) introduced the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) – critical legislation to address the economic challenges facing the nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making historic investments in opportunities for SNAP recipients. Upon introducing the bill in the House, Chairman Conaway said:

“Rural America is hurting. Over the last five years, net farm income has been cut in half. Natural disasters and global markets distorted by predatory trade practices of foreign countries, including high and rising foreign subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers, have resulted in huge production losses and chronically depressed prices that are today jeopardizing the future of America’s farm and ranch families.

“The farm bill keeps faith with our nation’s farmers and ranchers through the current agriculture recession by providing certainty and helping producers manage the enormous risks that are inherent in agriculture. The farm bill also remains faithful to the American taxpayer and consumer. Under the farm bill, consumers will continue to enjoy the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world, and taxpayers will reap the more than $112 billion in budget savings projected under the current law.

“Ensuring an affordable food supply is important to every citizen, but it is absolutely critical to the most vulnerable among us who struggle every week to put food on the table. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is reauthorized under the farm bill, is essential to helping many Americans feed themselves and their families.

“The farm bill also keeps faith with these families by not only maintaining SNAP benefits but by offering SNAP beneficiaries a springboard out of poverty to a good paying job, and opportunity for a better way of life for themselves and their families.

“I’m excited to share our vision with the American people – and eager for people to see the details of a proposal that offers people real hope and promise.

"I’m also looking forward to quickly moving this farm bill through the House and working with the Senate to deliver a farm bill to the president’s desk that is on time, as the president has asked us to do.”

For more information on the bill, visit

Secretary Perdue Statement on Release of 2018 Farm Bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement on the release of the 2018 Farm Bill:

“I applaud Chairman Conaway and the House Agriculture Committee for their diligence and hard work in crafting the 2018 Farm Bill. The trend of low commodity prices over recent years and headlines about trade disputes have caused anxiety among agricultural producers these days, so this legislation is critically important to give them some much-needed reassurance.  In my travels across the country, I have found that farmers have confidence in President Trump’s ability to negotiate strong trade deals with other nations, but they also want a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill that puts their needs above Washington, D.C. politics.  While there is still much work to be done, I am pleased that this Farm Bill aligns with many of the principles USDA released in January.  I look forward to working with the Agriculture Committees and members of Congress from both sides to pass a comprehensive Farm Bill in a timely fashion to provide the needed support and certainty to our farmers.  The Trump Administration has made rural prosperity a priority for the country, and a Farm Bill that works for agriculture is a key component of the agenda.”

ASA Welcomes Introduction of Chairman's Mark

The American Soybean Association (ASA) responded this afternoon to the introduction of the chairman's mark of the farm bill from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway of Texas. ASA President John Heisdorffer issued the following statement:

"We commend Chairman Conaway for moving the farm bill process forward with the introduction of the chairman's mark today. We recognize this process has many stages, and while this version lacks support from Democrats, we hope that the chairman will continue to work to negotiate to get the needed support to pass a bill that can conference with the Senate and become law in 2018.

"We need to get this farm bill done this year to provide long-term certainty for farmers, given lingering questions on trade and the shaky state of the farm economy.

"We also appreciate the chairman for including authorization for the Foreign Market Development program, as well as funding for FMD and the Market Access Program. ASA will continue to press for the doubled funding we originally requested for these programs, which farmers across the country leverage to expand our overseas markets."

House Farm Bill Establishes, Funds FMD Vaccine Bank

The National Pork Producers Council hailed the House Committee on Agriculture’s inclusion in its 2018 Farm Bill of language establishing and funding a vaccine bank to combat an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although the disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world.

“This is a great first step for the livestock industry,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force. “Right now, we’re ill-prepared to deal with an FMD outbreak, which would be devastating for pork producers and other sectors of agriculture.”

The agriculture panel’s Farm Bill calls for first-year mandatory funding of $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million in block grants to the states for disease prevention and $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides diagnostic support to assist in managing diseases in the United States. For the other years of the 5-year Farm Bill, there’s $30 million in mandatory funding for state block grants and $20 million to be used at the Agriculture secretary’s discretion for the vaccine bank, the NAHLN and the states.

NPPC is urging lawmakers to provide annual funding of $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million for state block grants and $30 million for the NAHLN over the life of the Farm Bill.

Currently, the United States does not have access to enough FMD vaccine to handle more than a very small, localized outbreak. According to Iowa State University economists, an FMD outbreak in the United States, which would prompt countries to close their markets to U.S. meat exports – thus creating a surplus of meat on the domestic market – would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over 10 years if livestock producers weren’t able to combat the disease through vaccination. The corn and soybean industries would lose over a decade $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively; and economy-wide job losses would top 1.5 million.

“These costs can only be mitigated if the U.S. can mount a swift and robust response once FMD is detected,” Heimerl said. “Including FMD language in the House Farm Bill is a huge first step in addressing this gap in our disease prevention preparedness. We are very grateful to the House Agriculture Committee for its efforts on this very important issue for livestock agriculture.”

The House bill also includes funding for the NPPC-supported Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program, both of which help support exports markets for U.S. goods. The programs are consolidated as the International Market Development Program.

NCBA "Pleased" To See U.S. House Farm Bill Language, Ready to See It Move Forward

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement in response to the release of the 2018 Farm Bill text in the U.S. House of Representatives:

”We're pleased to see the House Agriculture Committee's language for the 2018 Farm Bill. and we're ready to see the bill move forward.

"We appreciate the Committee authorizing the Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank, which is vitally important to the safety of our industry. However, we were hopeful for full funding levels, which this bill does not provide in years two through five. We'll continue fighting to secure that funding through all possible avenues.

"We're also happy to see the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) bolstered in this bill, as well as funding for research, foreign market development, and market access programs.

"We will continue to work with the Committee to get this bill onto the House floor as quickly as possible." 

Farm Bureau Statement on 2018 Farm Bill

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“Today’s release by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) assures America’s farmers and ranchers that congressional agriculture leaders recognize the economic challenges our producers face.

“Farm Bureau is pleased to see meaningful adjustments to the current farm bill’s provisions for dairy and the Agriculture Risk Coverage program, as well as new provisions for cotton farmers included in the commodity title. We also appreciate improvements proposed for federal crop insurance. There are additional provisions aimed at improving conservation programs, the specialty crops program and research and rural development programs that will benefit our members across the nation.

“The House Agriculture Committee’s proposed 2018 farm bill shows the committee is aware of a farm economy teetering on a knife’s edge. The legislation released today will assist farmers and ranchers battered by commodity prices that often do not cover the costs of production. This is one step to bring certainty to our farmers when we face challenges from many different directions. There are still details to be worked out, and we stand ready to work closely with leadership and members of the committee to move forward. We urge Congress to complete a new farm bill soon that promotes food security, a strong farm economy and the thousands of jobs that are supported by America’s agricultural productivity.”

NMPF Statement on Introduction of New Farm Bill in House Agriculture Committee

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF:

“Congress made important improvements to the dairy safety net earlier this year, but as we have said repeatedly, there is more that must be done in the upcoming Farm Bill. That need is particularly urgent given the ongoing economic distress facing America’s dairy farmers.

“As the House developed its Farm Bill, we have worked closely with the leaders of the Agriculture Committee, including Chairman Mike Conaway, Ranking Member Collin Peterson, Vice Chairman Glenn Thompson and others to make further improvements to the Margin Protection Program and enhance farmers’ ability to use the Livestock Gross Margin program and other risk management tools.

“The bill introduced today includes several changes we have advocated for, particularly in improving coverage levels and providing greater coverage flexibility for dairy producers. It also includes important language on price risk management, which NMPF has worked on closely alongside the International Dairy Foods Association. As the Farm Bill moves forward, we will continue to work with our allies in Congress on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to further strengthen the dairy safety net for producers of all sizes.”

NAWG Responds to the House Committee on Agriculture’s Release of its 2018 Farm Bill Text

Today, the House Committee on Agriculture released its language for its version of the 2018 Farm Bill. In response, NAWG President Jimmie Musick made the following statement:

“We are glad to see that the House is taking a first step in the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization process by releasing its draft bill. NAWG is currently reviewing the text and will continue to work with Members of the Committee and their staff to ensure our priorities are addressed in the bill.”

“NAWG continues to advocate for a strong crop safety net program which means no cuts to the crop insurance program and maintaining a producer choice between revenue-based (Agriculture Risk Coverage) and price-based (Price Loss Coverage) programs, as well as improvements to both. Further, NAWG continues to advocate for prioritizing working lands conservation programs in the Conservation Title, reauthorization and increased funding for MAP and FMD, as well as a strong research title. 

“We urge Congress to move forward in a bipartisan manner in order to enable a bill to pass both chambers.”

 NFU Appreciates House Ag Committee Work on Farm Bill, Urges Stronger Provisions for Family Farmers Amidst Financial Struggles

U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway today released the heavily anticipated text of a new Farm Bill.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson thanked the committee for their work to put together a farm bill and encouraged Congress to work together in a bipartisan fashion to advance a stronger farm bill for family farmers in 2018. Johnson issued the following statement in response to the release:

“Farmers Union appreciates the hard work of the House Agriculture Committee over the past couple years to develop a farm bill that works to improve the lives of all Americans.

“Farm income stands at just half of what it was when the last farm bill was written, leaving thousands of farm families struggling financially. Under current conditions and with the programs we have in place, we’re losing farmers. Family farmers and ranchers simply need more resources.

“Yet congressional leadership has severely hamstrung the committee’s ability to address the six-year, 50 percent decline in the farm economy. While they’ve shown little regard for spending and deficits this Congress, they’ve failed to provide adequate resources for food and agriculture at a time of grave financial strain on family farmers and ranchers. This is irresponsible and harmful.

“Family farmers deserve to be a priority. They deserve to have a safety net that addresses current economic conditions. They deserve strong programs that help them improve the long-term sustainability of their farms. And they deserve access to fair and diverse markets. The final version of this farm bill must reflect the growing challenges family farmers face.”

16th IPPA tenderloin contest set to begin

There are many Iowa restaurants that serve great breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and the Iowa Pork Producers Association is ready to launch the search for the state's best.

IPPA will begin accepting nominations for this 16th annual contest on April 18 and give consumers the opportunity to nominate their favorite tenderloin restaurant, café or pub. Nominations can be submitted at or by using the form in the May issue of the Iowa Pork Producer magazine. The nomination process closes on June 5. Nominations are limited to one per household.

Any café, restaurant or tavern that serves hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloins is eligible to be nominated. An establishment must be open year-round to win, but seasonal restaurants can make the top five. The top five restaurants with the most nominations from each of the eight IPPA districts will be judged. The IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee reserves the right to add additional restaurants to the judging process as it sees fit. Restaurant owners and operators are prohibited from nominating their own establishment.

"We look forward to this contest each year because it's consumer-facing and we love how excited and passionate some tenderloin connoisseurs' get," said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA marketing and program director. "We're looking forward to discovering more of the greats and finding Iowa's best of 2018!

Restaurants can help promote nominations in their establishment by downloading and printing a specially designed poster from the Iowa Pork website.

One person who nominates the winning restaurant will be entered in a drawing to win $100. The winning restaurant will receive $500, a plaque to display in the establishment and statewide publicity.

IPPA received 3,014 nominations with 271 different establishments named in the 2017 contest, won by the Grid Iron Grill in Webster City. The committee judged 43 establishments last summer on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics and eating experience.

Iowa pork industry representatives will judge the tenderloins and IPPA will announce the winner during National Pork Month in October.

The contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that have pork as a regular menu feature in support of Iowa's nation-leading pork industry.

Online BQA Certification Surpasses 20,000 Mark

More than 20,000 individuals have gone online to obtain Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification since online training modules were relaunched on Feb. 1, 2017. BQA certifications are also available at in-person training events offered through state beef councils, cattlemen’s affiliates, extension programs and other local efforts throughout the country. The BQA program is funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.

By showing how common-sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions, BQA helps beef producers capture additional value from their market cattle, and more. It also reflects a positive public image for the beef industry and instills consumer confidence in it. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows and bulls are the best they can be.        

The online BQA experience is tailored to each participant by industry sector and interest. After registering, participants are taken through an interactive training module that can be completed online, anytime, with participants starting and stopping training at their convenience without losing progress. Categories for training and certification include Cow-Calf, Stocker, and Feedyard.  Online training and certification is available for free and accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days each week, making it a convenient option for busy farmers and ranchers.

States with most online certifications to date are Texas, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee and California.  To find out more about BQA online certification, go to

ASA’s Heisdorffer Testifies on Importance of Trade with China

American Soybean Association (ASA) President John Heisdorffer today provided testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means on the potential impact of Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybeans.

Heisdorffer, who farms in Keota, Iowa, highlighted the importance of maintaining China as a robust market for U.S. soybean exports, and the lasting effects implemented tariffs and a trade war would have on soybean farmers.

“Through a long-term and comprehensive program to demonstrate the value of soy-based feeds, ASA and the U.S. Soybean Export Council helped build demand for soybeans to the level of Chinese imports today,” Heisdorffer said.

In 2017, China imported 1.4 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans, 62 percent of total U.S. exports and nearly one-third of our annual soy production. According to a study conducted by Purdue University, soybean exports to China could drop dramatically if China chooses to impose a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.

“Retaliation by China against U.S. tariffs would undercut prices received by soybean producers and further hurt the already depressed farm economy. Crop prices are down 40 percent since 2013, and farm income has fallen by 50 percent. Operating margins are slim, and farmers cannot absorb additional hits to the farm economy.

“As producers of the Nation’s number one agricultural export, soybean farmers want to be an essential part of helping lower our trade deficit with China. We believe that expanding market access can play a vital role in increasing our agricultural trade surplus. We ask this Committee and Members of Congress to help allow soybean farmers be part of the solution instead of collateral damage from a potential trade war,” concluded Heisdorffer.

NCGA Statement on House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on China Tariffs

Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association

“Ag exports support more than one million American jobs and are a major driver of the U.S. economy. With 95 percent of consumers living outside the U.S., the future of American agriculture depends largely on the ability to sell to foreign markets.

“As corn farmers, we need open markets for our agricultural goods and want the trade doors with China to remain open. While not a lot of U.S. corn is exported to China today, we view China as having great potential as a market for U.S. corn and corn products.  We appreciate President Trump’s commitment to agriculture by offering Secretary Perdue the option to make emergency assistance payments to farmers, but farmers prefer having a market for their crops.

“With commodity prices so low, we cannot afford another blow to farm income. While we are grateful for the support, America’s farmers prefer building markets through trade, not relying upon aid payments.

"If aid becomes necessary, it should come as a part of the farm bill. The farm bill is the best vehicle to provide this risk management tool, as payments are only paid when a farmer faces low prices, something that is beyond their control. If this is the route that is taken, the amount of funds needed to be appropriated by Congress to write a farm bill needs to reflect the severity of the situation.”

April 19 Webinar by Genetics Experts to Give Cattlemen Guidance on Creating the Best Herd

This year’s edition of the NCBA Cattlemen’s Genetics Webinar Series comes to a close April 19, with a special presentation that puts a focus on honing bull selection.  The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association teamed up with six genetics specialists from across the country to offer this series, which kicked off Jan. 18.

The Genetics Webinar Series was designed for producers who would benefit from genetics knowledge, from the experienced seedstock breeder to someone who might be new to the cattle industry and needs to better understand genetics. It is being coordinated by the NCBA producer education team. Earlier webinars were “The 4 S’s of Crossbreeding: Simple, Structured, Successful and Sustainable,” “Show Me the Money! Are there EPDs for Profit?”, and “Fake News: EPDs Don’t Work.” These webinars can be accessed at under the Producer Education tab.

Titled “Putting the Tools to Use: Buying Your Next Bull,” the April 19 webinar puts the genetic concepts covered in the first three seminars to work, as attendees will go to a virtual bull sale and select the best bull from a sale catalog for two distinct production scenarios. The webinar begins at 7 p.m. CDT.

Leading discussion on the topic at the webinar will be Matt Spangler, Ph.D., associate professor and extension beef genetics specialist at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Bob Weaber, Ph.D., professor and beef extension specialist at Kansas State University. Joining in the discussion will be other members of the eBEEF team, a group of six genetic specialists from five academic institutions who have invested time and resources in the advancement of the cattle industry through genetics.

According to Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education, the genetics webinar series has been an effective extension of NCBA educational webinars, which was started several years ago. “Some of the largest participations in our webinars have been for genetics topics in the spring,” said White. “This 2018 partnership with the eBEEF team has been a terrific addition to the education we can provide.”

Cattle producers are invited to join the webinar live, although “homework” for the seminar – available at – is advised. The homework includes the eBEEF bull sale catalog and the eBEEF bull selection scenario.

For more information, go to the Producer Education tab of the website.

Quality Counts: Go The Extra Mile At Every Stage Of The Corn Value Chain

From the start of the corn planting season to the ramp up of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) information-sharing activities on last year’s crop as it moves into international channels, quality is more important than ever. The Council recently received reports of stones in corn shipments to Japan - a reminder of how important it is to ensure the U.S. corn crop maintains its high quality at each step of the value chain.

No matter where foreign material - including non-grain plant materials and other objects – is inadvertently mixed with corn cargoes, one point is certain: the presence of foreign material can undermine the reputation of U.S. grains.

“The size of the stones is like that of corn kernels,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan, of the rocks found in Japanese corn shipments. “However, the stones have to be picked up by hand because they cannot be removed by sieves before they go to roller mills.”

Many factors in grain purchasing decisions are beyond control, but by working together, the entirety of the corn value chain can have a large influence over corn quality. Even small actions far removed from U.S. export customers can influence the quality image of U.S. corn when it is received by export customers.

“Quality counts at every point along the way,” said USGC President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Sleight. “It is important to pay attention to good handling practices - from seed development and equipment design, to storage and transporting. The more we pay attention, the more we minimize end-users’ issues, and the more our relationships overseas continue to grow.”

Close attention to quality at each step in the marketing chain pays off among export customers, and U.S. grain industry maintains a good reputation for transparency about grain quality. Each year, the Council produces two corn quality reports, the Corn Harvest Quality Report, released after the U.S. harvest season, and the Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, when corn is assembled for export to overseas customers. These reports, and the Council’s educational events to present the information to buyers, are key parts of continual outreach and are well received each year.

To maintain that reputation, quality is an issue the entire U.S. corn industry must continue to address – working to further learn about the nature of these customer concerns as well as create and implement achievable solutions throughout the process. The Council is committed to having those conversations and finding productive paths forward for all involved.

Global customers value the U.S. grain industry's ability to meet their needs year-in and year-out via investment and open communications regarding their quality concerns. The industry must continue to commit to the highest levels of grain quality at every level of the supply chain.

NAMA Honors Kendal Frazier with 2018 Ag Association Leader of the Year Award

The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) has named Kendal Frazier, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), as the inaugural Ag Association Leader of the Year.

This award recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence among senior executives who have made significant contributions to the agriculture industry in their roles with association or commodity organizations. Frazier will be honored during the 2018 Agri-Marketing Conference, April 11-13, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Frazier’s tenure with NCBA began in March 1985, and during his more than three decades with the association he held leadership roles with its communications, governance and issues management functions. Frazier served as the Chief Operating Officer before being named CEO in 2015.

Throughout his years of service to the beef community, Frazier has worked on numerous high-profile projects and issues. For instance, he played a lead role in coordinating the beef industry response to the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. He also developed and/or managed award-winning communication tools utilized by NCBA today, including NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen, National Cattlemen and Directions.

Frazier was also instrumental in retooling the annual Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show to expand the industry-leading trade show, along with increased opportunities for experiences and entertainment, improving the event for attendees. This strategic shift has spurred significant growth in attendance, leading to consecutive attendance records in recent years, thanks in part to Frazier’s leadership and vision.

In addition to his work at NCBA, Frazier has also served in volunteer leadership roles with the Livestock Publications Council, Agriculture Council of America and more recently with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

USDA Proposes Branding Updates for Mexican Cattle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to update its branding requirements for cattle entering the United States from Mexico. The changes would simplify the branding requirements, making the brands easier to apply and read, reducing errors. They would ensure Mexican cattle are easily identifiable and traceable for the remainder of their lives in the event of a disease detection.

The Mexican government requested changes to address issues with the current branding requirements, including confusion between the Mx and MX brands used for spayed heifers and breeding cattle respectively; the small size of the brands, which can cause blotching and require rebranding; and the rejection of animals at ports entry based on questions about whether they were branded correctly.

The proposed rule addresses these concerns by requiring an M brand for all cattle. The brand would also be larger in size for better readability. Together, these steps will reduce branding errors. To make it easy to distinguish between feeder and breeding cattle, brands for breeding animals would be placed on the shoulder. Feeder cattle would continue to be branded on the back hip.

The proposed rule would still allow an MX ear tattoo option for breeding cattle, instead of a brand, because the tattoos have not posed a readability problem and are a permanent form of identification. Cattle imported from Mexico would still require an approved eartag for traceability purposes.

USDA is already allowing Mexico to use the M brand on spayed heifers and breeding cattle as an alternate to the Mx and MX brands. This has reduced errors and confusion at border ports. The change is proving to be beneficial for both countries.

USDA will accept comments on this proposed rule for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. This proposed rule may be viewed in today's Federal Register at: Beginning April 12, members of the public will be able to submit comments at:

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