Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tuesday May 1 Ag News

May is Beef Month - New advertising campaign celebrates consumers love of beef and and the people who raise it

Twenty-five years after establishing one of the nation’s most iconic food brands, America’s beef farmers and ranchers are leveraging the strong equity of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to reintroduce the brand to a new generation of consumers. The relaunch will blend the strongest assets from the long-loved brand – such as the famous Aaron Copland “Rodeo” music and the famous tagline – and couple those with new creative assets. In total, the effort showcases the pleasure that beef brings to meals, the people who raise it and the nutritional benefits (such as protein) that beef provides.

“Consumers love beef, and as with all foods, today’s consumers want the whole story about the beef they buy.” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, Global Marketing and Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff, which funds the campaign. “Our research shows that the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand is still extremely popular among consumers, including millennials. So, in honor of its 25th Anniversary, we have refreshed the brand and updated our resources to make beef information available to consumers where they want it, when they want it and how they want it.”

The overall effort was designed with millennial media preferences in mind. The campaign launched Oct. 9, 2017 with digital advertising and a new digital platform at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com, a single, comprehensive location that provides an interactive experience on all things beef, from cuts and cookery, to a robust collection of beef recipes to an inside look at the lives of the people who raise beef.

“Beef is one of the most popular foods among consumers, whether it’s your favorite steak or burger. But it can also be one of the most confounding, with questions ranging from the right cut, to the right way to cook it to where it came from,” said Harrison. “That’s why we wanted to make beef easier to enjoy. We’re setting out to answer the biggest questions that consumers have about beef, all in one place.”

To launch the campaign, NCBA has produced an “anthem” video that features the familiar children’s song, “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” with a new twist, to celebrate the American tradition of ranching while shedding light on what’s new about raising food today. This past summer, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. team traveled more than 3,800 miles from coast to coast to capture video, images and the stories about the real people who raise beef. The new series of videos and content will feature only real farmers and ranchers from across the country. While cattle and beef are raised differently in California than in Florida, or Iowa or Washington, the passion and commitment to care for the animals and land is the same.

Harrison explained that through the video series, consumers will learn about each step of the beef production process, from the farms and ranches, to feedlots, to processing and retail and to the consumer.

“Today’s farmers and ranchers blend time-honored traditions with cutting edge innovations to raise beef, from drones and GPS tracking on the range to apps and other electronic tools that ensure precise and nutrient-filled rations in the feedbunk,” she said. Later in the year, new advertisements that celebrate beef’s unique qualities as a protein source will launch to appeal to consumers’ genuine love for beef, along with virtual tools such as 360 degree videos that show how beef goes from pasture to plate.

This all comes at a great time to enjoy beef. The recently completed National Beef Quality Audit, funded by the beef checkoff, shows a higher percentage of beef is grading Prime and Choice – the two highest grades USDA assigns – than it has in more than 35 years. Steak tenderness has achieved its best tenderness scores since testing began in 1990, according to the National Beef Tenderness Study.

To launch the campaign, NCBA is working with its new digital advertising agency of record, VML.
“Digital is a powerful medium that turns marketing on its head because of the power given to the consumer. Instead of telling people what to think, digital platforms – whether it’s BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com or the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Facebook page or Instagram feed – allow people to discover beef the way they want to,” Eric Baumgartner, VML executive vice president said.

To help launch the new Beef. It’s What For Dinner. brand, VML worked with NCBA to produce the “anthem” video and the series of beef producer videos, as well as designed the new brand logo.

Livestock Hauling Information

NSDA newsletter

Recently, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN), the Nebraska State Dairy Association, Nebraska Cattleman, Nebraska Extension, Farm Bureau, the Governor, Nebraska State Patrol and other agencies have been meeting to discuss livestock hauling and transportation to ensure all livestock reach their final destination and there are no roadblocks along the way to stop the livestock from reaching their final destination. 

Should a semi need to be taken off the road, it is being suggested that police escort the semi to an appropriate off-loading site.  The off-loading site will be approved by the owner of the cattle. 
Given the amount of livestock that are on the road each day, it is important that proper standard operating procedures are in place for livestock hauling.  Currently, there are no SOPS for livestock handling on roadways. NSDA and other livestock organizations will continue to provide updates to livestock hauling as they become available.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman To Join Senator Fischer in Central Nebraska

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) will host Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in Nebraska on Friday, May 4, 2018. Roberts will join Fischer and Nebraska agriculture stakeholders for a Farm Bill roundtable discussion in Grand Island.

The Farm Bill roundtable will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CDT at the Nebraska State Fair Grounds - State Fair Boardroom, Suite 200, 501 E. Fonner Park Road, Grand Island, Nebraska. 

Later in the day, Fischer and Roberts will tour AGP Soybean Processing Plant in Hastings.

Livestock Windbreak Design Principles and Resources

Steve Niemeyer – Extension Educator

Windbreaks, both constructed and planted, can improve conditions for livestock in windy and cold conditions. Increasing the effective temperature that an animal is exposed to during cold weather keeps them comfortable, more efficient users of feed, and at a lower risk of cold stress which can lead to disease.

Design Considerations - The main considerations of windbreak design are windbreak height, orientation, length, and density.
·    Height
Windbreak height is the highest point on the structure or tallest row of trees. Generally, the protected zone of the windbreak will extend out 10-15 heights of the windbreak with a 50% reduction in wind-speed.
·    Orientation
Orientation of the windbreak is ideally perpendicular to the cold winter wind, given that wind patterns fluctuate around the state, wind roses can be used to evaluate the frequency of wind direction in your area and can be found on the NE mesonet website (https://mesonet.unl.edu/).
·    Length
Windbreak length is the uninterrupted distance between roads or paths through the trees. Ideally the ratio of windbreak length and tree/windbreak height is 10:1, which means that to develop a full protected zone a 10’ tall windbreak should be 100’ long2.
·    Density
The last major design consideration is density, which is the ratio or fraction of solid space in relation to total space. Density impacts the effectiveness of a windbreak by controlling how much wind blows through the windbreak versus blowing over the windbreak. One impact of density is that the denser the windbreak the greater the initial reduction in wind speed, but the wind speed increases faster on the downwind side of the windbreak which decreases the protected area. Additionally, very dense shelterbelts and solid fences create a larger negative pressure area just behind the windbreak which causes snow to build up in large drifts. The target for livestock windbreak density is 60-80%.
·    Constructing Windbreaks
Windbreaks can be built to be mobile or permanent. The biggest considerations to take into account are the wind load that the structure needs to withstand and the density of the windbreak. Wind pressure loads for a 10 ft high windbreak can exceed 20 lb/ft2 if winds exceed 85 mph. This means that for a solid windbreak (most extreme condition) with posts in the ground every 10 ft that the wind can exert over 2000 lbs of force on each post. Posts of diameter 8” or greater with underground portion below the frost line (3-5 ft depending on location) should be adequate in permanent systems. In mobile systems, the base needs to be broad enough and heavy enough not to tip over or move. 

Determining Density

The density of the windbreak is important to control to increase the size of the protected area, reduce the physical load on the windbreak, and limit snow drift formation on the downwind side. To target 80% density measure the width of the solid material you are using for the windbreak panels, and divide by 0.80, this will give you the center to center spacing that you need to reach 80% density. For example below, using 1 x 8’s for the windbreak we find a spacing of 9.0625 inches. Feel free to round up or down to the nearest quarter inch, if rounding up the density is 78%, if down the density is 80.5%. Which means that between each board there will be a 1.75-2 inch space.

Planting Windbreaks

When planting windbreaks the principles described above still apply, but we have less control over the growth characteristics of the plants regarding density. Density is controlled by the types of shrubs and trees planted, their spacing, and how many rows are used. Coniferous trees maintain their leaves throughout the winter and improve the winter time density. Deciduous trees lose their leaves and provide less density in the winter time. Another benefit of living shelterbelts is that they can provide significant snow storage capacity, especially if they are wide; this can also be a detriment however if there is inadequate drainage out of the shelterbelt in the spring thaw. When sizing a shelterbelt determine how many head will be in the pasture at one time through the winter and multiply by the amount of space per head depending on how much space you would like to give them (the lower the space the higher the likelihood of muddy conditions in spring - each situation will be different).


The purpose of this article is to give you a good starting point and some guidelines on how to begin planning your livestock windbreak. As well as to provide you with some other useful resources as you move forward. The big take-aways are that density, height, orientation, and length determine the protected area. Also, target density should be between 60-80% for wind protection, and that width and species selection determine density in planted windbreaks. One final and important note regarding windbreaks for livestock is that roads, feed alleys and cattle alleys should never be less than 75 ft downwind of a shelterbelt, or 50 ft upwind, as snow accumulation and storage usually occurs within these areas and could cause unnecessary snow blowing/moving duties.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Many of us have wetland pastures that contain lots of reed canarygrass.  For many of you, it might be the first perennial grass ready for grazing this spring.

               Reed canarygrass produces high yields and grows very well in wetlands.  It also grows well in well-drained soils.  It would be one of our most popular pasture grasses if it wasn’t so hard to graze due to problems it has with low palatability.

               Reed canarygrass has two things working against it.  First, it naturally contains some unpalatable compounds called alkaloids that discourage animals from eating it.  Secondly, the plant produces a course stem that makes it difficult to eat.

               If you have reed canarygrass pasture, the only way I have found to use it effectively is to always graze it before it gets very tall.  Ideally, this means that when the grass gets about eight to ten inches tall, and no taller, immediately graze it down to three or four inches in just a couple of days and then move off to another grazing area.  When it regrows back to eight to ten inches tall, graze it again.  Every time it regrows, graze it again.

               As growth speeds up this spring, you might need to graze the same area every two or three weeks.  This takes some dedication, planning, and intensive management.  If the grass gets away from you, animals will just nibble at some leaves, trampling the rest.  Then you might be better off cutting the taller growth for hay, followed by renewing your intensive grazing as regrowth begins.

               Reed canarygrass is not as bad a pasture grass as many people think.  But it does take some knowledge about the plant and some dedicated management to get good use from it.

Renewable Fuels Month Filled with Consumer Savings

Just in time for summer vacations and trips to the lake, Nebraska drivers will save on ethanol blends every Friday in May for Renewable Fuels Month.

Select retailers in Omaha, Grand Island and Bellevue are offering discounts on cleaner-burning American Ethanol and one location is discounting biodiesel!

·         Friday, May 4
o   Bucky’s – 3052 S. 84th St., Omaha
o   Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
o   Discount: $0.85 OFF per gallon of E85

·         Friday, May 11
o   Kum & Go – 14353 Q St., Omaha
o   Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
o   Discount: E15 and E85 for $0.99/gallon

·         Friday, May 18
o   Bosselman Travel Center – 3335 W Wood River Rd., Grand Island
o   Time: 4-7 p.m.
o   Discount: Clean 88 (E15) for $1.88/gallon, E85 for $0.85/gallon, and $1 OFF per gallon of automotive biodiesel

·         Friday, May 25
o   Pump & Pantry – 3605 Summit Plaza Dr., Bellevue
o   Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
o   Discount: Clean 88 (E15) for $1.88/gallon and E85 for $0.85/gallon

Find all the details for the fuel promotions at http://americanethanolne.org/renewable-fuels-promo/.

E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or have a yellow gas cap.

Biofuels serve as a low-cost option for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation sources. According to the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture, ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 40-45 percent compared to gasoline.

Renewable Fuels Month is coordinated through the Nebraska Ethanol Board, the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Soybean Board. Several promotional events are also being posted throughout the month on their social media platforms. Visit www.AmericanEthanolNE.org and www.BiodieselNE.com for more details.

A portion of Kum & Go, Bosselman Travel Center and Pump & Pantry’s fuel pump upgrades were paid for with the Access Ethanol Nebraska (AEN), a grant program administrated by the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Nebraska Department of Agriculture, with the Nebraska Energy Office as the lead agency. Nebraska’s federal award of approximately $2.3 million for the AEN program came from the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). USDA rules require that the USDA funds be matched dollar for dollar with funds from state, private industry or foundations. Matching funds will come from the Nebraska Corn Board through the state corn checkoff funds paid by Nebraska corn farmers and from the Nebraska Environmental Trust approved funding of $500,000 for each of the two years. Matching funds will also come from contributions made by individual ethanol plants and “Prime the Pump,” a nonprofit organized and funded by the ethanol industry to improve ethanol infrastructure.

Military veteran farm tour to visit area farms

Veteran farmers have an opportunity to network and visit the farms of fellow military veterans during the Answering the Call: Veteran Farm Tour, on Thursday, May 24. The free bus tour will start outside of Lincoln and include three stops in the surrounding rural area. There is no cost to attend, and transportation and lunch are provided.

Veterans can see firsthand how others who have served have translated the duty and drive of military life into a second career on the farm.

“It is often shared that the same traits needed to excel in military service; initiative, organization, dedication and creative problem solving are also required to start and grow a farm,” shared Jordan Rasmussen, policy program associate at Center for Rural Affairs.

The tour kicks off with a stop at Robinette Farms, south of Lincoln. Robinette Farms is a diversified, commercial, small-scale, family farm that grows over 80 varieties of vegetables for regional grocery stores, farmers’ markets and local customers.

Lunch will be provided on the second stop of the tour, Prairie Plate restaurant on the Lakehouse Farm. Prairie Plate is a farm-to-table restaurant that offers a seasonal menu based on products from the co-located Lakehouse Farm and regional providers. Both the restaurant and farm are veteran owned and operated.

Barreras Family Farm is the final stop on the tour, where Army values are woven into daily farm operations. Barreras Family Farm provides pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free, sustainable farm products including chickens, eggs and goats milk via direct retail and wholesale customers in the surrounding areas.

“The tour will provide veterans interested in farming with an on the ground opportunity to see and hear from fellow veterans who are engaged in rewarding second careers in farming,” said Rasmussen.

Registration is requested by May 21. For more information and to register, call 402.687.2100 x1032 or visit cfra.org/events/answeringthecallfarmtour.

Ag Sack Lunch program concludes eighth year of reaching Nebraska fourth-graders with free lunches and farm facts

The popular Ag Sack Lunch Program, which provides free sack lunches to Nebraska fourth-graders and shows them where their food comes from, wraps up its eighth year in May. Nearly 5,000 students from 95 schools will have participated in the program this school year.

The Ag Sack Lunch program is designed to be a fun program for fourth-graders—and by extension their parents–to demonstrate the importance of agriculture to Nebraska. Since its inception in 2010, the program has provided nearly 40,000 students with free lunches and an introduction to the state’s No.1 industry. Sponsors of this program include the Nebraska Soybean Board, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Nebraska Beef Council.

Each year, over 20,000 fourth-graders visit the State Capitol Building in Lincoln as part of their curriculum. The Ag Sack Lunch program ties into these visits by inviting teachers to participate in the educational sessions, which educate youth on our food production system.

Program sponsors budget for 5,000 free lunches a year, which consist of Nebraska-produced foods. Each student receives a special deck of playing cards, which include games and fun facts about agriculture.  New this spring, was the addition of “Old Corn Maid” to the deck of cards. The cards were already equipped to play “Crazy Soybean,” but now students can also enjoy playing “Old Corn Maid” with their friends and family, while continuing to learn more about Nebraska agriculture.

Before the youth eat their lunch, they listen to a short presentation that teaches them about the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy. “Ag Ambassadors,” which consist of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students who are passionate about agricultural education, lead the sessions. 

Through the Ag Sack Lunch program curriculum, Ag Ambassadors inform students that one in four jobs in Nebraska has some connection to agriculture, beyond farming itself, such as equipment manufacturing and sales, building construction, transportation and supermarket retailers. They also explain the state ranks first in the country for cattle on feed, sixth in pork production and that over one-third of Nebraska-produced grain is fed to livestock within the state.

Fourteen UNL students served as Ag Ambassadors throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Most of them are pursuing ag-related degrees. They are Kate Likens, Swanton; Sarah Wollenburg, Beatrice; Breann Zimmer, Pleasanton; Claire Dressman, Superior; Catherine Jones, Bellevue; Abby Steffen, Crofton; Emily Bergstrom, Wilcox, Jordan Bothern, Lincoln, Abby Durheim, X VA, Grace McDonald, Phillips, Heidi Borg, Allen, Mirissa Scholting, Louisville, Rylie Kalb from Wataga. IL and Abby Durheim, Sunbury, OH.

 Iowa’s Best Burger is at Café Beaudelaire in Ames

The 2018 Iowa’s Best Burger has been named at Café Beaudelaire in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) and the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) announced the winner on Tuesday, May 1.

“We are excited to kick off May Beef Month by awarding Café Beaudelaire with the title of the Best Burger in Iowa,” says Brooke German, Director of Marketing for IBIC. The Brazilian-inspired restaurant serves a hand-pattied burger, and the judges noted that the taste and quality of the burger is outstanding and worth a drive to have it again. ”

Café B, as it is called by locals in the area, is owned by Brazilian-born Claudio Gianello and his wife, Kellie, from Carroll. The restaurant is located in the heart of Iowa State University’s campus-town and serves food with a Latin flavor to Ames’ temporary student population and permanent residents.

The restaurant has been in business for 28 years, and over that time, Gianello has tried several different renditions of his now-famous burger. He settled on a simple combination of salt, pepper and oregano on a hand-made patty of Certified Angus Beef. Together with a toasted bun and a variety of toppings, the result is nothing short of amazing.

Katie Olthoff, Director of Communications for ICA adds, “The contest is a fun way for us to show our appreciation to Iowa’s beef farmers for the work they do to provide great-tasting beef, such as the burger served at Café B.” Iowa has nearly 30,000 beef producers and is 4th in the nation for cattle on feed.

The designation as Iowa’s Best Burger comes after a two-phase competition. The first phase is all based on votes from the public. For a month, burger lovers went online and voted for their favorite Iowa burger, submitting nearly 10,000 votes representing around 700 restaurants. At the end of the month, the ten restaurants with the most votes are declared the “Top 10.”

From there, anonymous judges visited each of the restaurants, focusing on the burger patties and scoring them based on taste, doneness and presentation.

Café B joins previous winners including The Smokin’ Hereford BBQ of Storm Lake, which took home the title last year. Winners in previous years are: 2016 - The Chuckwagon Restaurant Adair; 2015 - The Cider House of Fairfield; 2014 - Brick City Grill in Ames; 2013 - 61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis; 2012 - Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids; 2011 - Rusty Duck in Dexter; and 2010 - Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that during May the final round of letters will be sent to farmers who have previously registered a livestock premises in an effort to update the Iowa Premises Registration database. All information in the database is confidential and only used to contact producers in case of an animal disease outbreak.

Farmers are asked to respond to the letter and either confirm the information is correct or respond with their updated information. Letters will be sent to producers in Poweshiek, Ringgold, Sac, Scott, Shelby, Sioux, Story, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Worth and Wright counties this month.

“Being able to quickly identify any and all premises during an animal disease outbreak is a vitally important step as we work to stop the spread of the disease and then eliminate it,” Naig said. “We have had a very good response from farmers to this effort and we do want to encourage anyone that receives a letter this month or have received one previously and have not yet responded to take the time to contact our Department and make sure all their information is up to date.”

All Iowa livestock farmers are encouraged to make sure that all locations where they have livestock have a premises identification number (PIN) and to make sure their information is up-to-date.  All the information in the premises ID database is confidential and protected under federal law and can only be used for animal health purposes.

Farmers can complete or renew their premises registration by completing the form found on the Department’s website at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/animalIndustry/pdf/premiseIDapp2.pdf  and submitting the signed form to the Department.

If farmers have questions they can contact the Department’s Animal ID Coordinator toll free at 888-778-7675 or by email at idals_id@iowaAgriculture.gov. More information is also available on the USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability Home Site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/.

Iowa currently has more than 31,500 premises registered.

ISU Extension and Outreach to Host RUSLE2 Soil Loss Workshop

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in collaboration with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has scheduled a workshop to train livestock producers and service providers on how to use the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) and the Iowa Phosphorus Index in nutrient management and manure management plans. RUSLE2 software calculates soil loss for a given field, which is needed for figuring out the Iowa Phosphorus Index. 

The workshop will be held June 7 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County office in Altoona. The workshop runs from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The introductory level workshop provides hands-on software orientation, including an introduction to the operating parameters, selection of input values, and developing and saving management operations for RUSLE2. Additionally, real field examples will be used in the workshop to determine risk calculations of the Iowa Phosphorus Index and how to incorporate these numbers into manure and nutrient management planning requirements. Manure management planning, soil sampling requirements, common errors and the DNR’s review process also will be discussed.

The workshop will be taught by Don Corrington and Barb Stewart, U.S. Department of Agriculture-NRCS; Kapil Arora and Dan Andersen, agriculture and biosystems engineering specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach; and Jeremy Klatt, Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“Nutrient and manure management plans require updated RULSE2 and P-Index calculations every four years, and this workshop will be a great refresher for those producers who develop their own plans or for consultants who are new to this planning process,” said Arora.

Cost of the workshop is $200 if registered by June 1, and $225 after that date. The workshop fee includes handout materials, RUSLE2 software, refreshments and lunch. Because software will be provided, participants are required to bring an MS Windows compatible laptop equipped with a USB drive and Microsoft Excel software, as well as the administrator password to the computer in order to install software. The workshop is limited to 30 participants and walk-in attendees are not allowed. Certified Crop Advisor Credits (5SW, 1 NM) are available for this workshop.

Additional program information and directions to the workshop are available from the ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County office. Participants interested in attending the workshop can register directly online.... https://registration.extension.iastate.edu/emc00/PublicSignIn.aspx?&SessionID=ej5ej3fgofh8ei9fcpei8&Lang=*

USDA Celebrates World Trade Month

May is World Trade Month, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) marks the occasion by highlighting USDA’s success and continued commitment to expanding trade and increasing rural prosperity through agricultural exports.

“As World Trade Month begins, we recognize the vital role trade plays in supporting U.S. agriculture, rural America, and our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers feed, fuel, and clothe our nation and the rest of the world. Since day one I’ve said I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy, and I’m proud of the progress we make each day serving our customers, selling our products around the world, and working to protect and preserve our agricultural interests.”

Agricultural trade is critical for the U.S. farm sector and the American economy. In 2017, U.S. exports of food and farm products totaled $138.4 billion, up from $134.7 billion in 2016. Additionally, farm exports supported more than 1.1 million American jobs across the entire economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, USDA’s work pursuing new and expanded trade is essential to removing barriers, helping America’s farmers and ranchers reach new customers, and ensuring that U.S. products and producers are treated fairly.

“Since the day he took office as USDA’s first Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney has been circling the globe promoting U.S. agricultural products and engaging with foreign government counterparts to break down barriers to U.S. exports,” added Perdue. “I said he’d be our ‘million-mile flyer’ and he’s already getting close to hitting that mark. In just over 6 months on the job, he’s covered 10 countries, from Europe to Asia to the Middle East to Latin America, advancing our policy interests and promoting our products.”

USDA promotes trade in many ways. Through the Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA breaks down trade barriers, creates export opportunities, and enforces and improves existing trade agreements to benefit U.S. agriculture. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service supports trade by keeping U.S. agriculture industries free from pests and diseases. The USDA Office of the Chief Economist provides economic and policy analysis in support of U.S trade initiatives, and produces dependable global supply and demand estimates. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service protects the public’s health by ensuring the safety of food exports and imports and helping establish international food standards that protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices. These are just a few examples of how USDA works every day to promote global trade for U.S. agriculture.

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production Report

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 526 million bushels in March 2018. Total corn consumption was up 9 percent from February 2018 and up 2 percent from March 2017. March 2018 usage included 91.8 percent for alcohol and 8.2 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 2.72 million bushels, up 15 percent from February 2018 and up 2 percent from March 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 473 million bushels, was up 9 percent from February 2018 and up 3 percent from March 2017. Corn consumed in March 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.7 percent and 9.3 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.94 million tons during March 2018, up 6 percent from February 2018 but down 3 percent from March 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.41 million tons in March 2018, up 12 percent from February 2018 and up 2 percent from March 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 320 thousand tons during March 2018, up 12 percent from February 2018 but down 10 percent from March 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 276 thousand tons in March 2018, up 8 percent from February 2018 but down 10 percent from March 2017.

Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.47 million tons (182 million bushels) in March 2018, compared to 4.95 million tons (165 million bushels) in February 2018 and 4.82 million tons (161 million bushels) in March 2017. Crude oil produced was 2.08 billion pounds up 10 percent from February 2018 and up 11 percent from March 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.46 billion pounds during March 2018 increased 16 percent from February 2018 and increased 4 percent from March 2017.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 164 thousand tons in March 2018, compared to 152 thousand tons in February 2018 and 185 thousand tons in March 2017. Canola crude oil produced was 140 million pounds up 9 percent from February 2018 but down 10 percent from March 2017. Canola once refined oil production at 121 million pounds during March 2018 was up 8 percent from February 2018 but down 3 percent from March 2017. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 48.8 million pounds during March 2018 was down slightly from February 2018 and down 1 percent from March 2017.

Edible tallow production was 87.2 million pounds during March 2018, up slightly from February 2018 and up 10 percent from March 2017. Inedible tallow production was 342 million pounds during March 2018, up 6 percent from February 2018 and up 7 percent from March 2017. Technical tallow production was 100 million pounds during March 2018, down 9 percent from February 2018 but up 20 percent from March 2017. Choice white grease production at 110 million pounds during March 2018 decreased 3 percent from February 2018 and decreased slightly from March 2017.

Flour Milling Products

All wheat ground for flour during the first quarter 2018 was 227 million bushels, down 3 percent from the fourth quarter 2017 grind of 235 million bushels but up 1 percent from the first quarter 2017 grind of 224 million bushels. First quarter 2018 total flour production was 106 million hundredweight, down 3 percent from the fourth quarter 2017 but up 1 percent from the first quarter 2017. Whole wheat flour production at 5.71 million hundredweight during the first quarter 2018 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the first quarter 2018 was 1.61 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the first quarter 2018 was 1.64 million hundredweight.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for May 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for May 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for May is 2.125 percent, up from 2.000 percent in April.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during May is 3.125 percent, up from 3.000 percent in April.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for May are as follows, 2.500 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 2.375 percent in April; 2.625 percent with five-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.625 percent in April; 2.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.750 percent in April; 2.875 percent with 10-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.875 percent in April and; 2.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.875 percent in April.

AGCO Reports Improved First Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, reported net sales of approximately $2.0 billion for the first quarter of 2018, an increase of approximately 23.3% compared to the first quarter of 2017. Reported net income was $0.30 per share for the first quarter of 2018, and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, was $0.35 per share. These results compare to a reported net loss of $0.13 per share and adjusted net loss, excluding restructuring expenses and a non-cash expense related to waived stock compensation, of $0.02 per share for the first quarter of 2017. Excluding favorable currency translation impacts of approximately 9.4%, net sales in the first quarter of 2018 increased approximately 14.0% compared to the first quarter of 2017.

First Quarter Highlights
-    Reported regional sales results: North America +31.4%, Europe/Middle East (“EME”) +30.4%, South America (18.0)%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) +21.9%
-    Constant currency regional sales results: North America +29.6%, EME +14.3%, South America (13.2)%, APA +12.4%
-    Regional operating margin performance: North America 5.3%, EME 8.5%, South America (9.1)%, APA 2.9%
-    Increased full-year outlook for net sales and net income per share
-    Quarterly dividend increased 7% to $0.15, effective first quarter 2018

“AGCO capitalized on strengthening industry demand and delivered solid results in the first quarter,” stated Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Improved market demand in North America and healthy industry conditions in Western Europe supported sales and margin improvement in those regions resulting in better than expected sales and earnings growth for the Company. Our weak results in South America reflect the challenging industry environment and lower levels of production, as well as the transition costs associated with localizing newer product technology into our Brazilian factories. While our focus on cost management to mitigate market pressures continues, we are maintaining a strong level of investment in new products and technologies, as demonstrated by an increase in engineering expenses in 2018 over 2017, both in the first quarter, and the total planned for the full year.”

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