Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday April 19 Ag News


When dropping off your clean agricultural pesticide containers for recycling at one of Nebraska’s 18 participating recycling collection sites, you can feel good knowing the containers will be recycled into useful products that stay in the U.S.

Now in its 27th year, the recycling program encourages producers to bring clean, dry, intact containers to a nearby collection site. Clyde Ogg, coordinator of Nebraska Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program, notes there is no charge to producers. They must, however, triple- or pressure-rinse containers and drain them before dropping them off.  Containers will be collected, ground up and reused in industry-approved products such as drain tile, underground utility conduit, pallets, landscape edging and nursery pots.

At collection sites, clean jugs are bagged and temporarily stored, often inside truck trailers. In the Midwest, G. Phillips & Sons (GPS) transports the jugs to Iowa City, Iowa. The family-owned company based in Stanwood, Iowa, processes nearly 500,000 pounds of scrap plastic per day.

Using stringent standards, GPS makes pallets for seed and ag chemicals produced in the U.S., said Stacey Bruinsma, GPS procurement manager. No GPS recycled plastic is exported, she added, so it doesn’t end up manufacturing something like children’s toys.

It takes 24, 2.5 gallon jugs, with other plastics blended in, to make one 40x48-inch pallet, Bruinsma said, noting pallets last years and can be recycled again.

The Virginia-based Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) contracts with GPS and oversees the national pesticide container recycling effort for its 44 member states.

ACRC Executive Director Mark Hudson said in 2017 Nebraska collected nearly 89,900 pounds of containers, approximately 28,000 pounds more than in 2016.

Nationally, ACRC contractors again collected 11 million pounds of containers last year. ACRC programming is funded by crop protection product manufacturers and distributors.

Nebraska sites this year has four locations open May-August, while several sites are open year-round. Other sites are open by appointment or specific dates.

To see additional sites that may be added, a container preparation checklist and more, see

County Collection Sites


    Buffalo: Kearney Recycling Center, Kearney, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Cass: Wiles Bros. Fertilizer, Plattsmouth, call 402-298-8550 to schedule, accepts drums
    Cuming: West Point Transfer Station, West Point, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., accepts drums
    Dawson: Country Partners Cooperative, Lexington, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
    Lincoln: ABC Recycling, North Platte, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday by appointment, accepts drums
    Sarpy: Farmers Union Coop, Gretna, call 402-332-3315
    Scotts Bluff: Gering Landfill, Gering, Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., accepts drums
    Thurston: Papio MRNRD Shed, Walthill, Fridays only, accepts drums


    Antelope: Central Valley Ag, Royal, accepts drums
    Dawes: Solid Waste Association of Northwest Nebraska, Chadron, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
    Kearney: Cooperative Producers Inc., Minden, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saunders: Reids Farmacy, Ashland, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums


    Dakota: Central Valley Ag, South Sioux City, June and July, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon, accepts drums
    Lancaster: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Waverly, June 15, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Otoe: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Nebraska City, July 23-27, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums


    Burt: Tekamah Transfer Station, Tekamah, year-round, by appointment, 402-374-1255
    Custer: Custer County Recycling, Broken Bow, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by appointment, 308-870-0313, accepts drums
    Lincoln: North Platte Transfer Station, year-round, by appointment, 308-535-6700, accepts drums

How-to for Rinsing Pesticide Containers

Nebraska’s pesticide container recycling program accepts 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic agricultural pesticide or crop oil containers; in some locations, 15-, 30- or 55-gallon drums are accepted.

Containers must be pressure- or triple-rinsed and drained. Rinsate must be returned to the spray tank and used appropriately, said Clyde Ogg, extension educator and Nebraska PSEP coordinator.

Remove and throw away any labels, booklets and slipcover plastic labels on the containers. Glued paper labels may be left on, and container caps should be rinsed off before disposing. Before being accepted, containers are thoroughly inspected.

Properly rinsing pesticide containers saves money, protects you and the environment, and meets federal and state regulations for pesticide use, Ogg said.

Saves money: It’s very easy to leave 6 or more ounces of pesticide in a 2.5 gallon container, or about 2 percent. Not rinsing means you basically throw product away then, or later when product left in the container gets sticky and difficult to remove.

Apply rinsate immediately to the load and spray on a labeled site; never dispose of it on the ground, in water or any other nonlabeled area.

Protect yourself: Follow these six steps for proper container rinsing:
-    Wear the same PPE (personal protective equipment) while rinsing containers as the label requires for handling and mixing. This may include a heavy-duty apron and goggles, in addition to the standard long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, and liquid-resistant gloves and shoes. Most pesticide poisoning occurs when product gets absorbed by the skin and into the blood.
-    Remove container cap, empty all pesticide into the spray tank. Allow container to drain for 30 seconds, then rinse immediately, before product becomes sticky and hard to remove.
-    Fill container 10-20 percent full of water or rinse solution; replace cap.
-    Swirl liquid within container to rinse all inside surfaces. Remove cap and pour rinsate into the spray tank, again allowing container to drain for 30 seconds.
-    Repeat previous steps two more times, for a total of three times.
-    Puncture container so it cannot be reused.

Never store unused pesticide in any container other than the one it came in.

For easy-to-follow instructions on triple-rinsing drums and pressure-rinsing, see G1736, “Rinsing Pesticide Containers,”  


This week, the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) will introduce elementary-school students in the city to life on the farm. The NAYC’s annual Urban Youth Farm Tour connects students from Lincoln with nearby farmers and ranchers so the children can experience agriculture up close and learn how food is produced. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) sponsors the NAYC.

On Friday, April 20, the NAYC members will be joined by nearly 250 students and their teachers from elementary schools in Lincoln as they visit operating beef, dairy and grain farms near Wahoo. The Nebraska Corn Board sponsors transportation costs for the students to attend the tour.

“These tours are really important because they help children learn about agriculture, Nebraska’s number one industry,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “The tours also give the NAYC members a chance to teach young students not only about farm animals and where food comes from, but also the responsibility of caring for animals.”

The NAYC consists of 21 college-age men and women who have been selected by NDA based on their enthusiasm, interest and leadership in agriculture. The NAYC is celebrating 47 years of promoting agriculture to Nebraska youth, from preschoolers to high school students.

“The Urban Youth Farm Tour is always a fun event,” said Wellman. “I’d like to personally thank the farmers and ranchers in the Wahoo area who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to host these tours and share the story of Nebraska agriculture.”


Nebraska native Sarah Polak has been named experience coordinator at Raising Nebraska, the award-winning agricultural literacy experience at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds.

Polak brings more than two decades of administrative and agricultural experience to the position. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumna previously held responsibilities with the Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center and Plainsman Museum.

"The daughter of an irrigation well-driller and a science teacher, my parents instilled in me a strong foundation and love for Nebraska," Polak said. "Raising Nebraska offers an opportunity to help others understand Nebraska and the importance of agriculture to our state."

Through interactive exhibits and displays, Raising Nebraska is designed to let people see agriculture from virtually every angle — including water conservation, soil health, animal wellbeing, food safety, invention, innovation, economic impact and global hunger.

"As our world becomes increasingly urban, we tend to lose connection with where our food comes from," Polak said. "Raising Nebraska showcases the present and future of agriculture to help people connect with their food again."

Raising Nebraska is open Monday through Friday throughout the year. The exhibition is a cooperative effort between the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Nebraska.

For more information, visit

Ricketts Announces 2018 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined Sand County Foundation, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), Cargill, and the Nebraska Environmental Trust to announce the O’Rourke Family’s RuJoDen Ranch as the recipient of the 2018 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award®.  The annual award honors Nebraska landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

“Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Congratulations to the O’Rourke family on this great honor.  Their work at the RuJoDen Ranch demonstrates how private land owners consistently help feed the world while caring for and conserving the land and habitat they utilize every year.  People like the O'Rourke family are helping set the standard for farmers and ranchers across our state and the nation.”


Jim O’Rourke’s grandparents, Frank and Jerene, became the second family to steward this land along the Pine Ridge south of Chadron in northwestern Nebraska in 1950.  A sign they erected, which reads, “O’Rourke - RuJoDen Ranch - Wildlife Habitat,” reflects the family’s commitment to a land conservation ethic.

Previously cultivated fields have been seeded with perennial grasses to stabilize and rebuild soil health.  Grazing management along the riparian areas of Chadron Creek, has resulted in a multi-age class of hardwoods as well as increased tree and shrub diversity, ideal for a variety of wildlife.  Stable banks, overhangs and shady, cool water provides for good fish habitat.  Invasive cedar trees were removed from the riparian areas and uplands to further improve wildlife habitat.  The ponderosa pine forest was thinned to improve tree health and reduce fuel loads, which proved effective in saving the majority of the timber stand during the 2012 wildfire.

The O’Rourke family realizes the increasing number of smaller acreage ranches need to be diversified to be sustainable and have implemented a myriad of practices including, beekeeping, pasture raised poultry, deer and turkey hunting, a horse-motel and an agro-tourism endeavor.  Guests have the opportunity to stay in historic sheep herder wagons and hunt, fish, hike or simply “un-plug” from the modern world.

Through multiple generations, the O’Rourke family continues to carry on a traditional land ethic which is guided by a wisdom that all systems are connected and must work together to achieve true land conservation.

The Leopold Conservation Award is presented in honor of renowned conservationist and author Aldo Leopold, who called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.  Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, and multiple use benefits.

“Governor Ricketts understands that Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are integral to the health of the state’s natural resources,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President.  “We appreciate the Governor’s continued participation in this important celebration of sustainable agriculture on private lands.”

“AFAN is proud to support the Leopold Conservation Award and we are excited that the O’Rourke family from the Pine Ridge area is joining the ranks of many Nebraska landowners who have won this prestigious award,” said Emily Skillett, AFAN livestock programing coordinator.  “Conservation on private land is alive and well in all sectors of agriculture.  The O’Rourke family has used conservation practices to protect their land and to create sustainable wildlife habitat.”

“The Nebraska Environmental Trust is proud to be part of the annual Leopold Conservation Award in Nebraska recognizing families that do so much for conservation like the O’Rourkes,” said Mark Brohman, Nebraska Environmental Trust Executive Director.  “The O’Rourkes have educated so many people not only in the classroom and on their property, but all over the Midwest and even internationally.  From forest thinning to reduce fire danger, reseeding past fields, promoting wildlife and showcasing diversity to be sustainable, they have done so much and are very deserving of the Leopold Award.”

“Cargill applauds Jim and Lora O’Rourke for their life long devotion to conservation and agriculture,” said Sammy Renteria, general manager of Cargill in Schuyler.  “Like many other Nebraskans, the O’Rourke’s have cultivated a conservation ethic handed down to them by their family.  They not only implement it on their land but work tirelessly to educate others on how to do the same.  We are proud to support the recognition of such a deserving family.”

The Leopold Conservation Award in Nebraska is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from Cargill, Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, Farm Credit Services of America, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, Green Cover Seed, Nebraska Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Sandhills Task Force, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Assoc. and the World Wildlife Fund.

Nebraska Farmers Union PAC Announces Primary Endorsements

NEBFARMPAC, the political action committee of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 3,500 farm and ranch families announced its Primary endorsements.  Additional endorsements will be made for the fall election. 

NEBFARMPAC Secretary John Hansen said “This year’s set of primary endorsements includes many of our own members.  Nebraska Farmers Union encourage our members to become educated on the issues, to get constructively engaged in the public policy process, be fair, honest, independent, and take the long view.  We are always pleased when our members step up and assume the risks and responsibilities to run for public office at all levels of government.  We honestly believe public service is a noble calling.”

NEBFARMPAC Board endorsements are based on candidate positions on family farm and ranch issues and input from county and district officers.  The NEBFARMPAC Board of Directors announced the following endorsements for candidates for the Primary election with NeFU members in bold:

Third Congressional District:  Paul Theobald.

Nebraska Legislature:
LD 2:   Susan Lorence             LD 6:   Machaela Cavanaugh              LD 8:   Mina Davis
LD 10: Wendy DeBoer            LD12:  Steve Lathrop                          LD 16: Chuck Hassebrook
LD18:  Scott Winkler              LD 20: John McCollister                     LD 26: Matt Hansen
LD 28: Patty Pansing Brooks      LD 30: Myron Dorn                         LD 30: Don Schuller
LD 32: Tom Brandt                    LD 34:  Curt Friesen                            LD 36: Matt Williams
LD 38:  Marsha Fangmeyer        LD 40: Timothy Gragert                   LD 46: Adam Morfeld
LD 48: John Stinner

State Board of Education:
District 5—Patricia Timm      District 6—Maureen Nickels          District 8—Deborah Neary

Board of Regents University of Nebraska:  District 4—Larry Bradley and District 8—Barbara Weitz.

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors:  District 2—Jake Seeman

Nebraska Public Power District:  Subdivision 11—Fred Christensen.

Omaha Public Power District: 
            Subdivision 1—Amanda Bogner        Subdivision 6—Eric Williams
            Subdivision 7—Janece Mollhoff       Subdivision 8—Linda Duckworth

Lancaster County Commissioner:  District 1—Sean Flowerday.

NEBFARMPAC President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth said “We have endorsed a very good set of candidates for the primary.  The candidates we support are from different political parties that support family farm and ranch agriculture, renewable energy development, adequate funding for education, property tax reform and relief, and the non-partisan independence of the Legislature.”  


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today encouraged eligible farmers and apiarists to register or re-save their data in the Iowa Sensitive Crop Directory for the 2018 growing season. Two new mobile apps have been released to make it easier for members to access and input data.

“Iowa partnered with FieldWatch just last year to update and improve our state’s Sensitive Crop Directory and have been pleased by the positive response from applicators as well as specialty crop farmers and beekeepers.  Hopefully these new apps will make the directory even more user friendly for everyone,” Naig said.

The FieldCheck app is designed to give applicators more functionality from their mobile device and while in the field.

The BeeCheck app is specifically for beekeepers and will provide the same functionality as the online platform, but will make changing the entered location of beehives easier and faster for the beekeepers. Ease of use is key in the ability of producers and beekeepers to maintain current data in the FieldWatch system.

Both apps are available free of charge on Android and iOS and by found by searching for Field Check or BeeCheck in the app store.

FieldWatch, Inc. launched the two new mobile apps earlier this month. FieldWatch is a non-profit company that helps applicators, growers of specialty crops and beekeepers communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve stewardship.

“As we prepare for another growing season, now is a great time for farmers raising pesticide sensitive crops and beekeepers to register their sites or make sure their information is up to date,” Naig said.

Iowa had more than 1,500 producers of pesticide sensitive crops that have registered 740 Iowa fields covering almost 33,000 acres in 2017.  Apiarists in the state registered over 1,700 apiaries containing over 11,000 beehives.

Of the 14 states that participated in the FieldWatch program in 2017, Iowa ranked number one in listed beehives, second in apiaries, third in the number of registered producers, and fourth in the number of registered fields.  Pesticide applicators have also embraced the registry. The 513 registered applicators in Iowa was first among the participating states in this category in 2017.

Apiary sites, half an acre or larger commercial vineyards, orchards, fruit and vegetable grow sites, nursery and Christmas tree production sites, and certified organic crops are included in the registry.

Once registered, producers can log in any time and edit contact and site information.  The Iowa Sensitive Crops Registry, and links to the FieldWatch login page can be found at .  Questions can also be directed to IDALS State Horticulturist, Paul Ovrom, at or 515-242-6239.

NFU Applauds Introduction of FARMERS FIRST Bill in Senate

A bipartisan group of Senators today introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to provide mental health resources in rural America to address the alarmingly high rate of suicide amongst farmers and ranchers.

The bill, Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST), would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and authorize $50 million for the program, which has yet to be funded since being first authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. FRSAN provides grants to extension services and nonprofit organizations that offer stress assistance programs to individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations. FARMERS FIRST is sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

National Farmers Union (NFU) president Roger Johnson applauded the Senators on the introduction of the bill:

“Farming and ranching is a highly stressful occupation. As the downturn in the farm economy worsens, many producers are finding themselves in a state of crisis. The FARMERS FIRST Act would provide farmers with support they need to weather these tough times. NFU has long advocated for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, and we applaud the efforts of these Senators to expand the program and set a funding target. We urge Congress to reauthorize FRSAN and provide it with robust funding in the next Farm Bill.”

Farm Bill Includes First Definition of Plant Biostimulants

A draft of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill provides the first definition for plant biostimulants by the U.S. government. It requires the USDA to perform a study on the potential regulatory and legislative reforms needed to ensure appropriate review, approval and uniform national labeling for biostimulant products. Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Michael Conaway (R-Texas), released the bill.

The draft Farm Bill defines plant biostimulants as "a substance or micro-organism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield."

"The inclusion of a definition for plant biostimulants in the Farm Bill represents a critical initial step in the legislative process that will ultimately support the development of new sustainable technologies for agriculture and U.S. farmers," said David Beaudreau, Director of the U.S. Biostimulant Coalition. "This bill will need to be considered and possibly amended by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before adoption and signature by the President."

This is the first definition of plant biostimulants in any proposed U.S. legislation and it is largely consistent with the definition currently under review within the European Union," said Keith Jones, Executive Director of the Biological Products Industry Alliance. He called it a major step forward for biostimulant manufacturers.

Record High Pork Production for March

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.52 billion pounds in March, down slightly from the 4.54 billion pounds produced in March 2017.

Beef production, at 2.20 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.70 million head, down 2 percent from March 2017. The average live weight was up 8 pounds from the previous year, at 1,358 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.1 million pounds, 6 percent below March a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 43,700 head, down 3 percent from March 2017. The average live weight was down 7 pounds from last year, at 240 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.30 billion pounds, up 1 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.7 million head, up slightly from March 2017. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 286 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 14.2 million pounds, was up 3 percent from March 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 201,600 head, 3 percent above last year. The average live weight was 140 pounds, unchanged from March a year ago.

By State:        million lbs.    --   % March '17

Nebraska ....:          673.5             95      
Iowa ...........:          660.3            103      
Kansas ........:          471.4             99      

January to March 2018 commercial red meat production was 13.2 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 3 percent from last year, veal was up slightly, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 3 percent.

Record High Total Red Meat and Pork Production for 2017

Total red meat production for the United States totaled 52.1 billion pounds in 2017, 3 percent higher than the previous year. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, and lamb and mutton. Red meat production in commercial plants totaled 52.0 billion pounds. On-farm slaughter totaled 87.6 million pounds.

Beef production totaled 26.3 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the previous year. Veal production totaled 80.2 million pounds, down 1 percent from last year. Pork production, at 25.6 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year. Lamb and mutton production totaled 150.2 million pounds, down 3 percent from 2016.

Commercial cattle slaughter during 2017 totaled 32.2 million head, up 5 percent from 2016, with federal inspection comprising 98.5 percent of the total. The average live weight was 1,349 pounds, down 14 pounds from a year ago. Steers comprised 52.9 percent of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter, heifers 27.2 percent, dairy cows 9.4 percent, other cows 8.8 percent, and bulls 1.7 percent.

Commercial calf slaughter totaled 512,300 head, 5 percent higher than a year ago with 98.2 percent under federal inspection. The average live weight was 250 pounds, down 16 pounds from a year earlier.

Commercial hog slaughter totaled 121.3 million head, 3 percent higher than 2016 with 99.3 percent of the hogs slaughtered under federal inspection. The average live weight was unchanged from last year, at 282 pounds. Barrows and gilts comprised 97.2 percent of the total federally inspected hog slaughter.

Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter, at 2.18 million head, was down 3 percent from the previous year with 88.9 percent by federal inspection. The average live weight was down 1 pound from 2016 at 133 pounds. Lambs and yearlings comprised 94.8 percent of the total federally inspected sheep slaughter.
By State:             '17 mill lbs.   --  '16 mill lbs. 

Nebraska .....:        8,113.2              8,007.8
Iowa ............:        7,229.5              7,055.2
Kansas .........:        5,691.3              5,418.2

There were 834 plants slaughtering under federal inspection on January 1, 2018 compared with 814 last year. Of these, 666 plants slaughtered at least one head of cattle during 2017 with the 13 largest plants slaughtering 57 percent of the total cattle killed. Hogs were slaughtered at 636 plants, with the 13 largest plants accounting for 59 percent of the total. For calves, 5 of the 190 plants accounted for 72 percent of the total and 2 of the 537 plants that slaughtered sheep or lambs in 2017 comprised 38 percent of the total head.   

Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas accounted for 49 percent of the United States commercial red meat production in 2017, unchanged from 2016.

Farm Bureau Encourages Lawmakers to Support Death Tax Repeal Bill

Many farms and ranches will be helped by the recently enacted estate tax exemption of $11 million per person indexed for inflation and the continuation of stepped-up basis, but the threat of a return to the $5.5 million per-person exemption in 2026 highlights the need for permanent relief, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017, temporarily doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person through 2025. In addition, the legislation preserves stepped-up basis and continues to allow the transfer of any unused exemption to a surviving spouse. Farm Bureau supports making the $11 million per-person exemption permanent as a step toward the eventual repeal of the estate tax.

“The new exemption level will protect the vast majority of our nation’s farms and ranches from the devastating consequences of estate taxes, but a potential return to a $5.5 million per-person exemption in 2026 is troublesome. Instead of spending money to upgrade buildings, purchase equipment and further invest in livestock herds, farmers and ranchers will have to continue to divert resources to pay for estate planning and life insurance,” Farm Bureau wrote in a recent letter to House members urging them to cosponsor the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 5422).

Tax laws must protect the families that grow America’s food and fiber, often for rates of return that are already miniscule compared to almost any other investment they could make, Farm Bureau said.

“What is needed are permanent tax policies that do not punish capital-intensive businesses like farms and ranches, and that do not hinder sons and daughters from continuing the agricultural legacy of their parents. The American Farm Bureau Federation continues to support estate tax repeal,” the group wrote.

ACE returns to Mexico to address ethanol retail questions

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty returns to Mexico this week for the second time this spring to speak at a meeting of Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers in Monterrey about equipment compatibility and other practical considerations when switching over a station to offer E10 for the first time. This meeting is part of a U.S. Grains Council’s series of technical workshops to address questions from local station owners as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve. 

“Some of the station owners in Mexico have the same entrepreneurial spirit the splash blenders had back when ethanol was first being introduced in the U.S.,” Lamberty said. “For the first time in their lives, these marketers are free to buy fuel from someone other than the state-owned oil company. Now, on top of that, we’re introducing them to opportunities ethanol can provide to them. Everything from offering lower cost, higher quality fuels, to becoming a splash blender and actually competing with the oil company that ran their lives for so long. It’s pretty exciting to play a role in the transition to E10 in Mexico.”

The USGC is conducting the workshops throughout Mexico in conjunction with AMPES, the Mexican association of service station equipment providers. The first workshop Lamberty spoke at was held earlier in April in Tijuana. The sessions focus on questions that have emerged about using ethanol following changes in Mexican law that took effect in June 2017 that allow up to an E10 blend outside of three major cities (Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara).

Last year at the request of USGC, Lamberty traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet with members of Association Mexicana De Empresarios Gasolineros (AMEGAS), Mexico’s largest group of gasoline station owners, to discuss challenges and opportunities with offering ethanol blended gasoline. Lamberty emphasized how retailers can make money and the practical implications of implementing and selling up to E10 blends. As ACE gets more actively involved in export promotion, the organization will continue to work with USGC to provide information to retailers and others who want to sell more ethanol.

Chinese Pork Production on the Rise

China's pork output rose 2.1 percent to 15.4 million tonnes in the first quarter compared with the period during the prior year, official data showed on Tuesday, after farmers rushed to slaughter their pigs amid a rapid decline in prices.

According to Reuters, the falling price led some farmers to send more hogs to slaughter amid worries prices would come under further pressure later in the year.

The number of hogs slaughtered rose 1.9 percent to 199.8 million head, the National Bureau of Statistics said, while the total herd declined by 1.2 percent to 415.2 million head.

China is the world's top producer of pork and its herd accounts for more than half the global total.

In addition to expansion by large farms, heavy snow in Eastern and Central China before the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February delayed the transport of pigs from the north to the south, boosting pig supplies in the market after the holiday when demand is typically much weaker, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs told reporters at a briefing.

Kansas State University and Deere & Company continue research partnership

Kansas State University hosted Deere & Company leaders recently to explore research partnerships. Deere & Company representatives met with a number of university officials and researchers and toured facilities before reconfirming a commitment to collaborate on future projects.

Richard Myers, Kansas State University president, said the university is poised to provide expertise in a range of areas that are important to Deere.

"K-State strives to be Deere & Company's preferred partner on talent and innovation related to production agriculture and engineering," Myers said. "K-State has immense research strength and capacity in engineering systems and manufacturing as well as technologies associated with planting, growing and harvesting various crops."

Kansas State University and Deere & Company recently extended a master research agreement for five years. According to Peter Dorhout, the university's vice president for research, master research agreements help expedite university-industry collaborations when specific research projects are identified.

"Extending our master research agreement with Deere & Company will help us provide expertise as needed to solve problems and look to the future of our global food systems," Dorhout said. "We enjoyed introducing the company to our capabilities in terms of both people and facilities and learning how these might apply to the Deere business."

Deere, founded in 1837, is a global company with headquarters in Moline, Illinois. The company's distinctive leaping deer logo is instantly recognizable on its agricultural, construction, forestry and turf care equipment. The worldwide company does business in more than 130 countries and is well known for its core values of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation.

Deere & Company has hired more than 50 Kansas State University graduates in the past six years and regularly supports students through internships and senior design capstone projects. The company is also a K-State Career Center corporate partner. John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture, said the university's graduates and researchers are a natural fit for Deere & Company.

"Both Deere & Company and K-State have a long history of supporting agriculture and generating innovations that help producers improve their efficiency and feed the world," Floros said.

Bradley Kramer, head of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department in the university's College of Engineering, said his department anticipates building on past efforts.

"We've collaborated with Deere for a number of years by providing manufacturing expertise and support through our Advanced Manufacturing Institute and we look forward to exploring additional projects," Kramer said.

Visitors from Deere & Company met with multidisciplinary researchers from agronomy, animal science, engineering and physics. They also heard presentations about relevant efforts in K-State Research and Extension, the College of Business Administration, and systems and resources related to precision agriculture. As Kansas State University's strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation continues to lay the groundwork with Deere & Company for future partnerships that benefit students, faculty and Kansas.

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