Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday June 29 Ag News


Nebraska producers planted 9.70 million acres of corn in2018, up 2 percent from last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Biotechnology varieties were used on 96 percent of the area planted, unchanged from a year ago. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 9.35 million acres, up 1 percent from a year ago.

Soybean planted area is estimated at 5.50 million acres, down 4 percent from last year. Biotechnology varieties were used on 96 percent of the area planted, up 2 percentage points from 2017. Producers expect to harvest 5.45 million acres, down 4 percent from a year ago.

Winter wheat seeded in the fall of 2017 was a record low 1.10 million acres, down 2 percent from last year. Harvested area is expected to total 1.00 million acres, down 2 percent from a year ago.

Alfalfa acreage to be harvested for dry hay is estimated at 880,000 acres, up 6 percent from last year. Other hay acreage to be cut for dry hay is estimated at 1.85 million acres, up 3 percent from a year ago.

Sorghum acreage planted, at 220,000 acres, is up 22 percent from a year ago. Area expected to be harvested for grain is 155,000 acres, up 15 percent from last year.

Oats planted for all purposes is estimated at 135,000 acres, up 23 percent from last year. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 45,000 acres, up 29 percent from last year.

Dry edible bean planted acreage is estimated at 125,000 acres, down 31 percent from last year. Harvested acres are estimated at 114,000 acres, down 26 percent from the previous year.

All chickpea planted acres are estimated at 5,000 acres, with harvested area estimated at 4,600 acres.

Proso millet plantings of 100,000 acres are down 5 percent from a year ago.

Sugarbeet planted acres, at 45,900 acres, are down slightly from last year. Area expected to be harvested is estimated at 44,500 acres, down 2 percent from a year ago.

Oil sunflower acres planted are estimated at 33,000, up 10 percent from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 31,000 acres, up 9 percent from a year ago. Non-oil sunflower planted acreage is estimated at 10,000 acres, down 35 percent from a year ago. Harvested area is estimated at 9,000 acres, down 40 percent from the previous year.

Dry edible pea planted acres are estimated at 65,000 acres, up 12 percent from last year.  Harvested acres are estimated at 62,000 acres, up 11 percent from the previous year.

Fall potato planted acres are estimated at 19,500 acres, up 3 percent from the previous year. Harvested acreage is forecasted at 19,300 acres, up 2 percent from a year earlier. The percent planted by type of potato is: 45 percent white, 50 percent russet, 2 percent red and 3 percent yellow.

The estimates of planted and harvested acreages in this news release are based primarily on
surveys conducted during the first two weeks of June.


Corn planted for all purposes in Iowa is estimated at 13.3 million acres, unchanged from the March intentions and last year according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Acreage report. Corn to be harvested for grain is forecasted at 12.9 million acres. Producers reported planting biotechnology varieties on 93 percent of their 2018 corn acres. The percent of corn acreage planted to insect resistant (Bt) varieties is estimated at 3 percent, herbicide resistant only varieties were planted on 7 percent of the acres, and stacked gene varieties were planted on 83 percent of the acres.

Soybean acreage planted is estimated at 9.90 million acres, up 100,000 acres from the March intentions, but down 100,000 acres from the 2017 planted acreage. Soybean acreage to be harvested is forecasted at 9.84 million acres. Based on reports from producers, 95 percent of the soybean acres were planted with herbicide resistant varieties.

Total dry hay expected to be harvested for 2018 is estimated at 1.20 million acres, up 100,000 from the March estimate and up 120,000 acres from 2017. Of the total, 830,000 acres of alfalfa and 370,000 acres of other hay are expected to be harvested for dry hay.

Acreage seeded to oats is estimated at 130,000 acres, down 10,000 from the March intentions, but up 15,000 acres from 2017. Oat acreage expected to be harvested for grain is estimated at 55,000 acres, up 13,000 acres from 2017.

Winter wheat planted acres are estimated at 20,000 acres, up 4,000 acres from 2017. Acres to be harvested for grain is forecasted at 13,000 acres, up 5,000 from 2017.

USDA Acreage

Corn Planted Acreage Down 1 Percent from 2017
Soybean Acreage Down 1 Percent
All Wheat Acreage Up 4 Percent
All Cotton Acreage Up 7 Percent

Corn planted area for all purposes in 2018 is estimated at 89.1 million acres, down 1 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acres are down or unchanged in 31 of the 48 estimating States. Area harvested for grain, at 81.8 million acres, is down 1 percent from last year.

Soybean planted area for 2018 is estimated at 89.6 million acres, down 1 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage is down or unchanged in 14 of the 31 estimating States.

All wheat planted area for 2018 is estimated at 47.8 million acres, up 4 percent from 2017. This represents the second lowest all wheat planted area on record since records began in 1919. The 2018 winter wheat planted area, at 32.7 million acres, is up less than 1 percent from last year and up slightly from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 23.2 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 5.89 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.62 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2018 is estimated at 13.2 million acres, up 20 percent from 2017. Of this total, about 12.7 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. Durum planted area for 2018 is estimated at 1.89 million acres, down 18 percent from the previous year.

All cotton planted area for 2018 is estimated at 13.5 million acres, 7 percent above last year. Upland area is estimated at 13.3 million acres, up 7 percent from 2017. American Pima area is estimated at 243,000 acres, down 4 percent from 2017.


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 551 million bushels, down 4 percent from 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 280 million bushels are stored on farms, down 8 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 271 million bushels, are down slightly from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 98.0 million bushels, up 37 percent from last year. On-farm stocks of 23.5 million bushels are up 24 percent from a year ago and off-farm stocks, at 74.5 million bushels, are up 42 percent from 2017.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 37.0 million bushels, down 15 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 1.40 million bushels are up 33 percent from 2017 but off-farm stocks of 35.6 million bushels are down 17 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 3.26 million bushels, up 21 percent from 2017. On-farm stocks of 380,000 bushels are up 153 percent from a year ago and off-farm holdings of 2.88 million bushels are up 13 percent from last year.

On-farm oat stocks totaled 250,000 bushels, down 17 percent from 2017.


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on June 1, 2018, totaled 1.10 billion bushels, down 4 percent from June 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 56 percent were stored on-farm. The March - May 2018 indicated disappearance totaled 600 million bushels, 6 percent above the 568 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on June 1, 2018, totaled 220 million bushels, 24 percent above the 177 million bushels on hand June 1, 2017. This is the fourth highest June 1 total stocks on record, 14 percent below the record set in 2007. Of the total stocks, 32 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for March - May 2018 is 146 million bushels, 11 percent above the 132 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on June 1, 2018, totaled 420 thousand bushels, down 18 percent from June 1, 2017.

USDA Grain Stocks

Corn Stocks Up 1 Percent from June 2017
Soybean Stocks Up 26 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Down 7 Percent

Corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 5.31 billion bushels, up 1 percent from June 1, 2017. Of the total stocks, 2.75 billion bushels are stored on farms, down 3 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 2.56 billion bushels, are up 7 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2018 indicated disappearance is 3.59 billion bushels, compared with 3.39 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 1.22 billion bushels, up 26 percent from June 1, 2017. On-farm stocks totaled 377 million bushels, up 13 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 845 million bushels, are up 33 percent from a year ago. Indicated disappearance for the March - May 2018 quarter totaled 888 million bushels, up 15 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop all wheat stored in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 1.10 billion bushels, down 7 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 130 million bushels, down 32 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 970 million bushels, are down 2 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2018 indicated disappearance is 395 million bushels, down 17 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop Durum wheat stocks in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 35.9 million bushels, down 1 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 15.0 million bushels, are down 19 percent from June 1, 2017. Off-farm stocks totaled 20.9 million bushels, up 17 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2018 indicated disappearance of 13.6 million bushels is down 18 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop barley stocks in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 94.7 million bushels, down 11 percent from June 1, 2017. On-farm stocks are estimated at 26.4 million bushels, 2 percent below a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 68.3 million bushels, are 14 percent below June 1, 2017. The March - May 2018 indicated disappearance is 35.3 million bushels, 8 percent below the same period a year earlier.

Old crop oats stored in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 41.0 million bushels, 18 percent below the stocks on June 1, 2017. Of the total stocks on hand, 11.4 million bushels are stored on farms, 16 percent below a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 29.6 million bushels, 20 percent below the previous year. Indicated disappearance during March - May 2018 totaled 13.9 million bushels, 8 percent above the same period a year ago.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on June 1, 2018 totaled 65.3 million bushels, down 23 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 5.22 million bushels, are down 39 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 60.1 million bushels, are down 21 percent from June 1, 2017. The March - May 2018 indicated disappearance from all positions is 74.9 million bushels, down 22 percent from the same period last year.

Pulse crops stored in all positions on June 1, 2018 and the change from June 1, 2017 are: dry edible peas, 4.40 million cwt, up 1 percent; lentils, 1.76 million cwt, up 45 percent; Austrian winter peas, 270 thousand cwt; all chickpeas, 880 thousand cwt, up 108 percent; small chickpeas, 268 thousand cwt, up 102 percent; and large chickpeas, 612 thousand cwt, up 111 percent. Small chickpeas are defined as peas that will pass through a 20/64 inch round hole screen. Large chickpeas are defined as larger than 20/64 inches.

Two Young NE Leaders attend the 2018 NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference

In early June, 61 upcoming cattlemen and women leaders from across the Nation gathered together for the week long National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 2018 Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Among those participants were two young cattlemen future leaders from Nebraska, Terryn Drieling of Ashby and Scott Peterson of Valentine.

NCBA’s YCC program kicked off in Denver, Colorado with classroom type sessions. These sessions were designed to provide the participants with more information about NCBA and the work the organization conducts on behalf of members. Along with background information on NCBA the group participated in leadership development, media training and hands-on demonstrations of NCBA’s consumer marketing programs.

While in Colorado they got the opportunity to tour Five Rivers Cattle Feeding’s Kuner Feedyard, the JBS processing plant as well as met with the executive team at JBS Headquarters. Prior to leaving Denver, participants also stopped at one of Safeway’s flagship stores to learn more about beef marketing at the retail level, giving the group an in-depth understanding of every aspect of the beef supply chain.

On their way to Washington D.C. the group stopped briefly in Chicago for a tour of Hillshire farms, the new McDonald’s Campus and OSI, one of the nation’s largest premiere beef patty producers.

Washington, D.C., brought the young leaders face to face with the impacts of public policy on their operations and an in-depth briefing on current policy issues from NCBA lobbyist and policy experts. While at the Capitol the participants had the opportunity to advocate for industry policy priorities to 200 of their elected officials.

“YCC was the experience that I needed to fully grasp the entire beef chain. Understanding the challenges of JBS and Tyson in staffing and marketing gave me a greater understanding of the challenges facing the beef industry as a whole. I am grateful to the Nebraska Cattlemen and all those individuals who assisted in my selection. This experience energizes me to continue to work for beef producers and to seek other ways of impacting the industry. The experiences and friendships will last a lifetime.” Scott Peterson of Valentine, Nebraska.

“I had high expectations going into YCC, and this trip exceeded them all. I learned something new at every stop, made solid connections, built lasting friendships, and was once again impressed by the NCBA team. The highlights for me were visiting with the McDonald’s team, seeing how their burgers are made, and visiting our representative on the Hill. Kudos, to our team at Nebraska Cattlemen for being a constant voice for us not only within our state, but also in DC. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to attend YCC and look forward to what the future holds for the beef community.” Terryn Drieling, Ashby Nebraska.

NCBA’s YCC program impacts these young producers with knowledge and experiences they had never known before. These types of programs are crucial to the future of the United States Beef Industry.

Lindsay Corporation Increases Cash Dividend

Omaha-based Lindsay Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.31 per share, payable August 31, 2018, to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 17, 2018. This quarterly cash dividend rate represents a 3.3% increase in the previous quarterly indicated rate of $0.30 per share. The new annual indicated rate is $1.24 per share, up from the previous annual indicated rate of $1.20 per share.

At March 19, 2018, Lindsay Corporation had approximately 10.8 million shares outstanding, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNN.

Iowa’s Farmland Owners Continue to Age, with More Than a Third 75 or Older

An Iowa State University study shows that the age of Iowa’s farmland owners continues to rise, with a record high 35 percent aged 75 years or older in 2017.

Sixty percent were over the age of 65, which is 5 percentage points higher than 2007 and twice the level recorded in 1982, say Wendong Zhang and Alejandro Plastina, assistant professors and extension economists at Iowa State, who released results of the 2017 Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey at a press conference Thursday in Ames.

Conducted by Iowa State University since the 1940s, the Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey — completed every five years — focuses on forms of ownership, tenancy and transfer of farmland in Iowa, and characteristics of landowners. The latest survey was conducted in July 2017.

Aging farmland owners is one of several notable trends found in the latest survey, said Zhang and Plastina, both assistant professors of economics.

“An increasing amount of land is cash rented,” Zhang said. “In 1982, leased farmland was equally divided between cash rent and crop share leases. However, by 2017, 82 percent of leased farmland was under a cash rent arrangement. Two primary reasons for the trend away from crop share and towards cash rent agreements are that landowners have become more dispersed and the number of landowners per tenant has increased. Both these trends make payment in grain and keeping grain differentiated by owner more difficult.”

More farmland is now owned debt free, the researchers said. In 2017, 82 percent of Iowa farmland was debt free, a significant increase from 62 percent in 1982 and 78 percent in 2012. This could be the result of profits earned during good crop years in 2012 and 2014 and profitable livestock production years like 2014.

The survey found that reasons for owning farmland are changing. “The survey found three primary reasons for owning farmland,” Plastina said. “Almost half — 49 percent — is owned for current income, 19 percent is owned for long-term investment and 29 percent is owned for family or sentimental reasons. The remaining reasons include owning a house with an acreage and for recreation purposes.”

Zhang and Plastina said the data show a trend away from sole ownership and joint tenancy towards institutionalized ownership structures, such as trusts and corporations.

“In 2017, trusts accounted for 20 percent of all acres in Iowa, while three decades ago almost no land was owned in that fashion,” Zhang said. “In contrast, the share of farmland owned by sole owners or joint tenancy declined from 80 percent of farmland in 1982 to only half in 2017.”

Taken together, these major trends have significant implications for when and how farmland is intended to be transferred to the next generation, the Iowa State economists said.

The latest survey found willing or giving land to family remained the most popular method of intended land transfer. The second most popular method of intended land transfer was the establishment of trusts.

“These recent trends reveal that only 7 percent of Iowa farmland was intended to be sold to a nonfamily member,” said Zhang. “Recent federal and state tax policy changes, especially the reinforcements of stepped-up basis for farmland transition and 1031 exchanges for farmland, will likely continue making the farmland market tight with limited land sales.”

Complete results of the survey are available at A video of the press conference is available at Zhang and Plastina’s presentation slides are available at

Selected highlights from the 2017 survey include:
-    Sixty percent of Iowa farmland is owned by people 65 years or older and 35 percent of farmland is owned by people 75 or older.
-    Eighty-two percent of Iowa farmland is owned free of debt, which represents a significant increase from 62 percent in 1982 and 78 percent in 2012.
-    Forty-seven percent of farmland is owned by women. Thirteen percent is owned by female landowners over the age of 80.
-    Fifty-three percent of farmland is leased, with the majority of farmland leases being cash rental arrangements.
-    Twenty-nine percent of Iowa farmland primarily is owned for family or sentimental reasons.
-    There is a continuous shift away from sole ownership and joint tenancy to trusts and corporations, which accounted for 20 percent and 10 percent of land, respectively, in 2017.
-    Over half of Iowa farmland is owned by someone who does not currently farm: 34 percent is owned by owners with no farming experience and 24 percent by retired farmers.
-    Eighty percent of land was owned by full-time Iowa residents, 7 percent was owned by part-time residents and 13 percent was owned by those who do not live in the state.
-    Cover crops are grown on approximately 4 percent of Iowa farmland. About 20 percent of farmland owners expressed willingness to pay a portion of planting costs to encourage more adoption of conservation practices on the land they own.
-    Approximately 30 percent of Iowa’s land uses inputs purchased from a cooperative, markets products through a co-op and uses custom services of agricultural cooperatives.

The Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey started in the 1940s. Since 1989, Iowa State University has conducted the survey every five years, as mandated by Iowa Code. This survey series represents the first of its kind in the nation and the only consistent information on ownership, tenure and transitions of farmland at the state level.

Denitrifying Bioreactor Field Day Is July 17 in Boone

Prairie Rivers of Iowa, in partnership with Iowa Learning Farms, will host a field day on Tuesday, July 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Field Extension Education Laboratory, located at 1928 240th St. in Boone. This field day, sponsored by Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa Corn, and the Story County Soil and Water District, will discuss the design and implementation of practices that work to remove nitrate from tile lines. The event is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by July 12 to Kayla Bergman, Watershed Coordinator at Prairie Rivers of Iowa, at 515-232-0048 or

This event will include a tour of a denitrifying bioreactor and will feature presentations from Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Station On The Edge, Jace Klein, a bioreactor designer with Ecosystems Services Exchange, and a local landowner with bioreactor experience.

“We are excited to co-host with Iowa Learning Farms to showcase a vital practice that will help Iowa reach the nitrate reduction goal outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Kayla Bergman, watershed coordinator at Prairie Rivers of Iowa.

The event will be held rain or shine, so please wear appropriate clothing and make sure to wear sunscreen. Water and a free dinner from Jimmy’s BBQ Pit will be provided by event sponsors.

Senate Passes Its Version of Farm Bill before July 4 Recess

On Thursday evening, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill on a vote of 86-11, with the few dissenting votes coming from Republicans.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) commends the Senate’s ongoing bipartisan work, which maintains much of the 2014 farm bill structure including protecting crop insurance and commodity programs, and ASA continues to advocate for on-time passage of a final bill before the 2014 Farm Bill expires the end of September.

John Heisdorffer, a soybean producer from Keota, Iowa and ASA president, said, “We are happy that the Senate’s bill continues the structure of Title 1 commodity programs and still offers producers a choice between the Price Loss Program (PLC) and the county Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) program. While we would like to see market development funding increased, we are pleased that funding for Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market Access Program (MAP) remains intact and is protected by consolidating those two programs under one export promotion umbrella.”

The House version of the Farm Bill, passed June 21, has similar structures for crop insurance, commodity programs, and foreign market development funding.

There are, however, some contrasts between the competing bills: The House bill includes reforms in the SNAP (food stamp) program that are not included in the Senate version; the Senate reduces the Adjusted Gross Income cap for Title 1 program payment eligibility from $900,000 to $700,000; the House broadens the definition of “actively engaged in farming”; the House eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program; and, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is increased from 24 million acres to 29 million in the House bill and to 25 million in the Senate bill.

Congress has adjourned for the 4th of July recess, but leaders of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees say they want to convene a Conference Committee soon after they return on July 9. At that time, they will begin hammering out differences between their two versions of the bill.

NPPC Statement on North Carolina Hog Farm Verdict

A jury verdict today against a North Carolina hog farm in favor of plaintiffs who lodged unwarranted nuisance claims sets a dangerous precedent for American livestock agriculture, according to Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a hog farmer from Johnstown, Ohio. The following statement can be attributed to Heimerl:

“For the second time in as many months, a North Carolina verdict has come back in favor of plaintiffs after a jury was prevented from visiting the farm subjected to baseless claims. We are deeply troubled by this decision against a farm that has operated responsibly and in compliance with state laws since 1985 and that maintains the highest standards of environmental and community stewardship.

“American hog farmers already face serious headwinds, including export market uncertainty caused by ongoing trade disputes. We can’t allow trial-lawyer abuse of our legal system to continue as it threatens the livelihood of livestock farming families, undermines the rural economy and unnecessarily increases food prices for consumers.”

NCBA Responds to Canadian Tariff Hikes on U.S. Beef Products

Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade and Market Access for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to Canada's announcement of higher tariffs on U.S. beef products beginning on Sunday, July 1:

"For the past few weeks Canada has threatened to retaliate against the United States by slapping a tariff on $170 million worth of U.S. beef products in direct response to the steel and aluminum tariffs. Today, they made good on that threat. These retaliatory tariffs were and still are clearly avoidable, and the unfortunate casualties will be Canadian consumers and America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen. We may not know the extent of the damage these tariffs may have on our producers, but we believe that cooperation is a better path forward than escalation. As Canadians gather to celebrate Canada Day and we prepare to celebrate American Independence, we encourage our government and the Canadian government to remember that we are allies and we rely on each other for future economic prosperity."

AFBF Analyzing Supplemental Notice on 2015 WOTUS Repeal

The Environmental Protection Agency released a Supplemental Notice on repeal of the 2015 WOTUS Rule. American Farm Bureau Federation General Counsel Ellen Steen says,

“We are closely analyzing the supplemental notice on repeal of the 2015 WOTUS Rule that the EPA issued today. The issuance of this additional notice shows that EPA listened to public comments that showed confusion over what was being proposed and why. This supplemental notice will provide a more meaningful opportunity for public comment by clarifying that EPA’s proposal is to permanently repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule because that rule was illegal in multiple respects. AFBF looks forward to providing further comments in support of the repeal of this unlawful and unconstitutional regulation.”

International Food Security Assessment, 2018-2028

Karen Thome, Birgit Meade, Kamron Daugherty, and Cheryl Christensen
USDA Ecoonomic Research Service

International food price spikes over the past decade impacted of price shocks on the food security of vulnerable populations. Low food prices and rising incomes can improve a country's food security situation because people can more readily afford and access food. The speed of improvement in food security is also affected by inequality in income and consumption, as well as agricultural production and market conditions. Understanding how these factors combine provides a measure of progress in food security and its drivers. 

What Did the Study Find?

Given projections for lower food prices and rising incomes for most countries in this report, food security is expected to improve between 2018 and 2028: the share of the food-insecure population is expected to fall from 21.1 percent to 10.4 percent; the number of food-insecure people is projected to fall from 782 million to 446 million; the food gap—the amount of food required to allow all food-insecure people to reach the caloric target of 2,100 calories per person per day—is projected to decline from 36 million tons to 24 million.

Gains in food security vary across regions. In Asia, where income growth is strong, the share of the food-insecure population is projected to decline from 16.6 percent in 2018 to 4.7 percent in 2028. The challenge is greater in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where population growth is higher and income growth lower. In 2018, SSA is projected to have 35.3 percent of its population food insecure; despite improvements, 24 percent are still food insecure in 2028. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the share of the population that is food insecure is projected to drop from 19.5 percent in 2018 to 9.5 percent in 2028. Food security is also projected to improve for North Africa, s the most food-secure region in the study. There, the share of the population that is food insecure falls from 4.9 percent in 2018 to 2.3 percent in 2028.

Read the report here....

Thrusday June 28 Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2018, was 3.55 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 4 percent from June 1, 2017, and up 3 percent from March 1, 2018.

Breeding hog inventory, at 430,000 head, was up 2 percent from June 1, 2017, and up 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.12 million head, was up 5 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter.

The March - May 2018 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.15 million head, was up 1 percent from 2017. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 190,000 head, up 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.30 for the March - May period, compared to 11.45 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 190,000 sows during the June - August 2018 quarter, unchanged from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for September - November 2018 are 190,000 sows, down 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.


On June 1, 2018, there were 22.7 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. This is the highest June 1 inventory on record, up 4 percent from the previous year.

The March-May 2018 quarterly pig crop was 6.33 million head, up 167,000 head from the previous quarter and 13 percent above last year. A total of 570,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.1, up slightly from last quarter.

As of June 1, producers planned to farrow 570,000 sows and gilts in the June-August quarter and 570,000 head during the September-November quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2018 was 73.5 million head. This was up 3 percent from June 1, 2017, and up 1 percent from March 1, 2018. This is the highest June 1 inventory of all hogs and pigs since estimates began in 1964.

Breeding inventory, at 6.32 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up 2 percent from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 67.1 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up 1 percent from last quarter. This is the highest June 1 market hog inventory since estimates began in 1964.

The March-May 2018 pig crop, at 33.2 million head, was up 4 percent from 2017. This is the largest March-May pig crop since estimates began in 1970. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 3.12 million head, up 4 percent from 2017. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 10.63 for the March-May period, compared to 10.55 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.17 million sows farrow during the June-August 2018 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2017, and up 4 percent from 2016. Intended farrowings for September-November 2018, at 3.18 million sows, are up 2 percent from 2017, and up 4 percent from 2016.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 47 percent of the total United States hog inventory, down from 48 percent the previous year.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Acts to Improve Mobile Broadband, Seeks Assistance from Nebraskans

The Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) is taking steps to deliver better mobile broadband service in rural Nebraska, and the organization will need help from Nebraskans to do it, said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, June 28.

“Nebraskans should have access to high-speed internet service no matter where they live in our state. We know that is not the case. From emergency service to educational opportunities, from personal use to needs of rural businesses, including our farms and ranches, hi-speed internet is essential,” said Nelson. “With the FCC set to invest billions to improve mobile wireless service in rural areas it’s important rural Nebraska not be left behind.”

In March, the Federal Communication’s Commission (FCC) released a map identifying areas of the country without sufficient 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. The map is important as it will help the FCC identify where to allocate $4.53 billion in federal dollars over the next 10 years to expand 4G LTE service.

“The current map indicates much of the state of Nebraska would not qualify for FCC assistance as service is available from one carrier or another. Yet we know there are issues across the state with dropped calls, as well as slow downloading and uploading of data,” said Nelson. “That’s why we’ve moved forward to challenge the coverage map for Nebraska.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau recently received a waiver from the FCC allowing them to challenge the legitimacy of the coverage map. The FCC map is based on coverage data provided to the FCC by mobile service providers. The FCC challenge process allows for the collection of wireless speed data from actual cell service users.

“We need Nebraskans from across the state to help by using their mobile devices to run speed tests,” said Nelson. “We will need to prove there are coverage issues. These speed tests are an integral part of improving the accuracy of the map and enhancing our chances of Nebraska qualifying for FCC grant dollars so all Nebraskans can have access to quality coverage.

Speed tests can be run by downloading the FCC Speed Test App in the Google Play store or the Apple App store. Results can be emailed to Nebraskans interested in running speed tests and helping improve broadband coverage are encouraged to visit for more information.  

Tissue Testing Recommendations Available in Publication

The practice of conducting tissue testing for phosphorus and potassium in corn and soybean is a relatively new tool in Iowa crop production. While soil testing has been widely used for decades, proper tissue testing recommendations are still emerging.

A new publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach discusses the results of tissue testing research and interpretation at Iowa State University. The publication “Phosphorus and Potassium Tissue Testing in Corn and Soybean” (CROP 3153) provides interpretations specific for Iowa’s growing conditions.

“Iowa research into tissue testing in previous decades has shown that either this was not a reliable practice or the research wasn’t sufficient,” said Antonio Mallarino, professor and extension specialist in agronomy at Iowa State. “As interest in tissue testing has grown in the last few years, we saw a need for additional research in order to determine the value of tissue testing and develop guidelines on how to interpret test results.”

The resulting publication is the first interpretations for tissue testing specific to Iowa, and is based on 66 site-years of research results for phosphorus and 119 site-years for potassium.

“Tissue testing isn’t perfect, but it can be used to monitor nutrient levels available to crops,” Mallarino said. “Now that the research has been completed, people can see the interpretations and results, with information backed by good science. Tissue testing can be helpful in assessing the available supply of phosphorus and potassium for corn and soybean crops when used as a complement to soil testing.”

The publication also provides information on how to sample plant tissue, including detailed photographs of the different growth stages of both corn and soybean. The specific part of the plant to be sampled is detailed for the reader.

Naig Elected Midwest State Departments of Ag Officer

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig was elected to serve as vice president of the Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture (MASDA) by his peers from 12 states across the region. Naig was elected during the MASDA annual meeting, which was held in Keystone, S.D.

"I appreciate the confidence of my MASDA colleagues in electing me to this position. Many of the issues facing farmers and the ag industry are the same across the Midwest, so it is important we are coordinating with our colleagues at other State Departments of Agriculture," Naig said. "These meetings allow us to have open and frank conversations about the issues impacting agriculture in our states, such as trade, water quality and animal disease response planning."

MASDA is comprised of the Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of Agriculture from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

As a subset of the larger National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the organization exists to grow and enhance agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government and stakeholders.

Celebration of 12 Years of Ethanol Powered Racing at the Iowa Corn 300

The Iowa Corn 300, one of the major INDYCAR racing events of the year, will race into the Iowa Speedway on Sunday, July 8. This will be the 12th running of the Iowa Corn sponsored event to showcase the clean-burning, lower cost of ethanol on the fastest short track on the planet!

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) look forward to once again being able to present the many benefits of ethanol to fans. The Iowa Corn 300 demonstrates the power of ethanol at speeds over 200 mph, but it also provides the benefits to every driver of using cleaner burning, homegrown fuel choices at the pump. The major highlights including its value to the U.S. economy, to reducing fuel costs and carbon emissions as well as providing a homegrown fuel source.

“We value the partnership with the Iowa Speedway and INDYCAR to showcase the power and performance of ethanol, a homegrown fuel that today supports local farmers in our state,” said ICPB President Duane Aistrope, a farmer from Randolph. “Fueling up with homegrown ethanol also benefits every driver because it’s cleaner burning, reduces harmful emissions, and supports Iowa jobs and your local economy.”

ICGA President Mark Recker sees the race as an opportunity to network with ICGA members and connect with consumers. “With more than 1,000 ICGA members typically attending the race, this event is a great place to connect with farmers from across the state. Ethanol continues to be a win-win for Iowa, but we're far from the checkered flag. As farmers work hard to raise their corn crops, Iowa Corn is working to broaden access to higher blends of ethanol, like E15, and ensure consumers have access to ethanol blends whenever they pull up to the gas pump. ICGA is working to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard to provide access to ethanol at the pump.  If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you could be like their favorite INDYCAR driver and fill your tank with an E85, 85% ethanol fuel blends.”

The Iowa Corn 300 and the Iowa Speedway have the second longest running partnership in INDYCAR competition. “This is truly an event for the whole family,” said Aistrope. “Fans love meeting the drivers at the fan walk, seeing the fast cars and feeling the excitement at the track. The Iowa Corn 300 is one of the top summer events and I would encourage everyone to come to experience the event.”

To find out the best fuel for your vehicle, go to If you have questions about the race, log on to for the race day schedule and more information on ethanol.

Farm Bill Passes Senate

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement today after the Senate passed the farm bill by a vote of 86 to 11:

“The Nebraskans who feed the world deserve stability and predictability so they can do their jobs. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I’m proud of the bipartisan policies the Senate advanced today, which protect crop insurance, improve critical trade promotion programs, and expand broadband deployment capabilities in rural America. I take my role as a leading voice for Nebraska agriculture very seriously, and I will continue to work hard and deliver for our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.”  

Sasse Statement on Farm Bill

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement following his vote for the Farm Bill.

"Nebraska's farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the world and the last thing they need from Washington is even more uncertainty when the threat of a trade war has already made things unpredictable. Nebraskans want a Farm Bill that understands that and brings predictability to risk programs. Today's vote is a step toward making that a reality."

 Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Senate Passage of Farm Bill

“Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers scored a big victory tonight with the Senate’s passage of their version of the 2018 Farm Bill. In keeping with our principals, the Senate has put together a bill which protects federal crop insurance, provides a series of risk management tools for farmers and ranchers, improves conservation programs and provides funding for trade promotion and livestock disaster programs.”

“We want to thank Senator Fischer for all of her outstanding work in getting this bill through the Senate Ag Committee and Senator Sasse for his support of this important legislation. We must now keep this forward momentum and put together a final conferenced bill which includes the best pieces of both the House and Senate versions. In these uncertain economic times for our nations farm and ranch families, it is vital for Congress to do everything they can to get a final farm bill to the President’s desk as quickly as possible.”

Senate farm bill takes steps to level playing field for family farms

Today, the Senate passed its version of the farm bill, with a 86-11 vote. In response, Center for Rural Affairs Senior Policy Associate Anna Johnson said the farm bill represents a “step in a positive direction for family farms.”

“For years, Sen. Grassley has championed closing loopholes in farm programs that allow millions of dollars of subsidy payments to go to individuals who are not doing the hard work of farming,” Johnson said. “We were very pleased the final Senate bill includes these long-needed fixes to subsidy payments that level the playing field for family farms.”

Johnson said she is disappointed the Senate declined to take up a proposal from Sens. Durbin, Grassley, Flake, Shaheen, Warren, and Lee, that would have “put common sense limits on crop insurance subsidies for the very largest operations.”

“Currently, there are no limits placed on farmers’ access to crop insurance subsidies, which provides a competitive advantage to the largest operations,” she said. “This payment structure continues to drive farm consolidation, increase land prices, and undermine rural communities. The Senate missed an important opportunity to address this issue in crop insurance today.”

The bill includes strong support for several programs that are important for the development of rural communities, and would reinstate the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development, according to Johnson.

“However, we are concerned that the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) has not received mandatory funding in either the House or Senate farm bills,” she said. “This program supports rural entrepreneurs who start, then build small businesses. RMAP helps spark innovation and economic activity in rural areas where it is sorely needed.”

In addition, the Senate farm bill cuts working lands conservation funding, reducing the number of acres enrolled annually in the Conservation Stewardship Program from 10 million to 8.8 million. The Senate also proposes to combine several smaller programs that support beginning farmers and rural development.

“While we are concerned by the impact of the proposed cuts to working lands conservation funding, we are glad to see the proposed program combinations will protect the missions of the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and others,” Johnson said.

The versions of the bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives will now go in front of the Joint Conference Committee, which will address the differences and agree on a final bill. The current farm bill expires Sept 30, 2018.

“Now, we look toward conference, and urge our elected officials to maintain the many strengths of the Senate bill, resolve the challenges that remain, and develop a bipartisan farm bill that supports rural communities,” Johnson said.

NCBA: “Rejection of Lee-Booker Amendment is a Win for America’s Cattle Producers”

Kevin Kester, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate's rejection of an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill offered by U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Cory Booker (N.J.) that sought to undermine commodity “checkoff” programs:

“The rejection of this amendment is a win for America’s cattle producers, who voluntarily created and continue to overwhelmingly support the beef checkoff system. Legislation like the Lee-Booker amendment is largely pushed by militant vegans and extreme political organizations that essentially want to end animal agriculture.

"We're happy that producers can continue to lead the checkoff system and contract with whatever producer-led groups will best promote beef consumption and research."

"We want to thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and every other Senator who opposed this wrong-headed amendment today."

NCBA Welcomes Passage of Senate Farm Bill, Says "More Work Remains"

Kevin Kester, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to passage of the Senate Farm Bill, which passed by a vote of 86-11:

“Today’s successful Senate vote is another step forward for the Farm Bill, but much work remains to address the priorities of American cattlemen and women. While the Senate version includes permanent authorization of the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, zero dollars are provided. The Senate version also left out important changes to the Conservation Title that were included in the House version of the bill.  We appreciate all the Senate’s work on behalf of cattle producers, but the House bill includes provisions of critical importance to NCBA members.” 

NCGA Statement on Senate Passage of Farm Bill

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement on the Senate passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Today’s vote is a welcome step to providing much-needed certainty for farmers facing increasingly challenging times.

“NCGA would like to thank Senate Republicans and Democrats for working together to get this bi-partisan bill passed and recognizing the importance and effectiveness of the farm bill’s risk management tools, including a robust federal crop insurance program.

“With the combined threat of retaliatory trade tariffs and an EPA seemingly intent on dismantling the RFS, farmers need a strong farm bill now more than ever. NCGA urges members of the House and Senate to come together quickly and find common ground to strengthen the farm safety net and adequately meet the needs of American consumers and our rural communities across our nation.”

Roberts Successfully Pushes Senate Farm Bill Across Finish Line

National Sorghum Producers applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) for his leadership leading to Senate passage today of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, with a vote of 86-11. In response, NSP Chairman and sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska, Don Bloss released the following statement:

“The bipartisan leadership demonstrated by Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow to bring this bill to its completion is heartily commended by National Sorghum Producers. We appreciate the Senators who showed support for agriculture today, bringing us one step closer to a final bill that provides the needed support and certainty for sorghum farmers and all of America’s farmers and ranchers.

“This is a solid bill for sorghum farmers with stability under the farm bill safety net, attention to resource conserving crops like sorghum in the conservation title, strong crop insurance that preserves the most important risk management tool we have with direction to improve sorghum policies, and a trade title that provides critical funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development.

“As Chairman Roberts has said so often, it is not the best possible bill but it is the best bill possible, and we are proud of his work. We are grateful to Senator Roberts and his staff for getting the bill across the Senate floor, putting it in a position to be conferenced with the House—a process we anxiously anticipate in July with leadership from both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.”

Conaway Applauds Passage of Senate Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) today offered the following statement upon passage of the Senate farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018:

“Passage today of the Senate Farm Bill reflects a hard fought victory, and I commend Chairman Roberts for his tireless efforts. I look forward to working together to send a strong, new farm bill to the president’s desk.”

National Milk Praises Senate Passage of 2018 Farm Bill

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today lauded passage of the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill by a bipartisan vote of 86 to 11. With the House having adopted its version of the Farm Bill on June 21, the two chambers must now reconcile differences in the two bills in a conference committee later this summer.

NMPF thanked Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for their leadership in finalizing the measure in a timely manner, and commended Stabenow for her work to secure $100 million in additional funding for the dairy title baseline.

“Sens. Roberts and Stabenow have crafted a bipartisan Farm Bill that includes important dairy policy improvements at a time when many farmers are facing a very tough economic time,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We are pleased that the two chambers now have the opportunity to harmonize their versions to produce a final bipartisan, bicameral bill that can be signed into law by Sept. 30.”

The Senate version of the Farm Bill contains enhancements to the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) sought by NMPF, including improved coverage levels and greater program flexibility. The bill – which renames the MPP as the “Dairy Risk Coverage” program –  raises the maximum covered margin to $9/cwt. and adjusts the minimum percentage of milk that can be insured. It also includes an important agreement reached between NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association on price risk management. NMPF commended Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) for their efforts to strengthen dairy policy for producers of all sizes, and looks forward to continuing this work as the process continues.

The Senate bill also contains conservation provisions that will help producers access technical and financial assistance to carry out conservation practices on their operations. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) added a helpful amendment to give dairy farmers greater flexibility in meeting their goals under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Under the trade title, the Farm Bill re-authorizes the trade promotion programs that are critical to dairy farmers and their cooperatives. Mulhern said NMPF also appreciates the successful efforts of Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) to include provisions in the bill that promote the consumption of fluid milk. NMPF also thanked Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for including provisions of her Dairy Business Innovation Act in the bill to help foster innovation and new opportunities for the dairy industry.

NFU Applauds Senate Farm Bill Passage; Presses for Additional Improvements During Conference Process

The U.S. Senate today voted 86-11 in favor of its bipartisan Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors unanimously supported the Senate’s efforts when the bill was first introduced. Rob Larew, NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications, echoed those sentiments:

“We are appreciative of the Senate’s work on this bill and are pleased by its passage. At a time of great financial stress, family farmers and ranchers are in need of some economic certainty. The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill includes encouraging provisions that strengthen the farm safety net, promote farm sustainability, and ensure access to fair and diverse markets, all of which would provide essential security.

“As the bill moves forward to conference, we look forward to working with Congressional leadership to make additional improvements and investments.”

NAWG Responds to Senate Passing its 2018 Farm Bill

Today, with a vote of 86-11, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill out of Chamber. In response, NAWG President Jimmie Musick made the following statement:

“NAWG commends the Senate for working together in a bipartisan fashion to move the Farm Bill forward, out of the chamber and on to conference. It’s vital for a final Farm Bill to be reauthorized before the September 30th deadline, so that farmers can have certainty that a safety net and strong risk management tools will continue to be in place during these uncertain economic times in farm country.

“Crop insurance is a unique risk management tool available for farmers and ranchers.  NAWG continues to advocate for a strong crop insurance program and continued choice between ARC and PLC in the final version of the bill.

“NAWG continues to support Farm Bill provisions that provide financial incentives for farmers to adopt conservation practices into their operations. We applaud reauthorization of both the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), as these programs both serve as important function in helping farmers to implement conservation techniques on operations across the country. 

“NAWG is pleased that the legislation reauthorizes and funds the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program and will continue to advocate for increased resources for both. Additionally, we continue to support and encourage a strong research title and appreciate that the Senate bill authorizes increased funding for the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.  

“NAWG calls for a speedy conference and for the conferees to be chosen quickly. We look forward to continuing to work with members in the House and Senate to advocate for wheat farmers as both versions of the Farm Bill go on to conference.”

USDA Report Highlights Benefits of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today highlighted a new report showing the positive impacts of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on American farms. Six months after the President signed the tax cuts and reforms into law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report, titled “Estimated Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Farms and Farm Households.”  The report examines in detail how the historic tax cuts and reforms will alleviate the tax burden on American farms to help them grow and prosper.  According to the report, average tax rates are expected to decline across all farm sizes and commodity specializations and fewer farm estates will be subject to the Death Tax.

“Most family farms are run as small businesses, and they should be able to keep more of what they earn to reinvest in their operations and take care of their families,” Perdue said.  “Simplifying the tax code and easing the burden on farmers will free them up to make choices for themselves, create jobs, and boost the overall American economy.  This report just shows what we knew all along: the tax cuts and reforms will benefit farmers.”

The TCJA significantly reformed the Federal income tax system, including individual and business income tax rates, business expenses, taxable income deductions, and the alternative minimum tax. The TCJA also doubled the Federal estate tax exclusion. The USDA ERS report estimates the impact of current Federal income tax provisions on farm households by using 2016 tax-year data.

Farmers Take Food Answers Direct to Busy Moms­

In a new national video series launched today, CommonGround farmer volunteers head to the city to help local moms tackle their busy lives and answer the food questions that nag so many parents.

“We get it. We’re moms too. There’s just not time to sort everything out. There’s too much information,” said CommonGround volunteer and mom Kristin Reese from Baltimore, Ohio. “Spending time with these moms - carpooling, grocery shopping, running errands - helped us learn more about how they make their food choices and gave them access to real time answers about food in their daily lives.”

Three CommonGround volunteer farmers from rural communities took to the towns and cities. While these moms’ lifestyles and scenery may differ, they have more in common than not.

“At the end of the day we all just want to stay on top of the crazy to-do list and take care of our families, stressing about food doesn’t fit into that mix. We are all overwhelmed,” said Bekah Gustafson from Dresser, Wisconsin. “Standing in the milk aisle with a mom who has no agriculture context, it’s easy to understand why.”

“This platform provided the opportunity to have a real conversation about food, where it originates, how it makes its way to their table and what that all might mean for their families,” said Kyla Hamilton from Lubbock, Texas.

The Carpool video series, which can be found on the CommonGroundNow Facebook Page, is part of the farmer-led, grassroots-focused CommonGround program. CommonGround brings together a group of female farmers for conversations about the food they grow and how they produce it. They share personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help customers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming.

More than 200 women farmers volunteer to participate in conversations with consumers. The program has brought answers to consumers in all 50 states, having more than a billion touch points over the past eight years. A past campaign included an “Ask a Farmer” button in a grocery store aisle. Activating the button brought a live farmer volunteer right to the store, surprising and delighting the customers.

Senate Passes Appropriations Bill Funding Waterways Infrastructure

The U.S. Senate this week passed its version of the FY19 Energy & Water Appropriations bill, which includes funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waterways programs. The Energy & Water Appropriations bill was part of a package of appropriations bills that passed by a vote of 86 to 5.  The Senate bill provides for full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, $3.74 billion for the USACE Operations & Maintenance account, and $1.528 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). This HMTF level exceeds the target of $1.4 billion that was established in the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014. The Senate bill will not go to conference committee to negotiate differences with the House version.

For comparison, the House Energy & Water Appropriations bill also calls for full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, provides a record level $3.8 billion for USACE Operations & Maintenance, and $1.6 billion for the HMTF. The funding levels in both the House and Senate bills represent strong support for these American Soybean Association (ASA) transportation and infrastructure priorities.

USGC Mission To Japan Explores Turning U.S. Ethanol Opportunity Into Sales

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) explored the potential for increased exports of U.S. ethanol under Japan’s new energy policy as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agricultural trade mission to the country earlier this month.

Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney led the overall delegation, the largest such group of U.S. businesses and state government leaders yet in a series of missions focused on expanding export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.

The Council’s contingency of USGC officers, staff and members met with McKinney as well as U.S. officials stationed in Japan and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Environment. During each meeting, the Council expressed appreciation for continued support by both governments of the Council’s market development programs and the potential for U.S. ethanol to gain market share in Japan’s fuel market.

“While we have opened the door to ethanol exports to Japan, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Darren Armstrong, USGC secretary/treasurer and farmer from North Carolina, who participated in the mission. “The Council and our partners have an opportunity to provide more information to the Japanese government as well as to the entire value chain about the many benefits of ethanol.”

In April 2018, the Japanese government announced that the country’s biofuels policy will allow imports of the oxygenate ETBE (ethyl tert-butyl ether) produced from U.S. corn-based ethanol. The revision is part of the Japanese government’s aggressive goal of reducing carbon intensity by 26 percent by 2030.

The new policy includes increased carbon intensity reduction requirements of the feedstock used to make ETBE - a 55 percent reduction compared to gasoline, which was previously 50 percent. The new policy also recognizes the ability of corn-based, U.S.-produced ethanol to meet that goal, thanks to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions from improvements in production efficiency and the emergence and use of co-products like distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

“This policy development is significant for both the United States and Japan,” Armstrong said. “The shift demonstrates the U.S. ethanol industry’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions and supports Japan’s government as it looks to provide positive economic benefits to its transportation industry and consumers while meeting carbon intensity reduction commitments.”

Japan will now allow U.S. ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of a total estimated demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used to make ETBE, or potentially 95.5 million gallons of U.S.-produced ethanol, worth about $140 million, annually.

The Council and its ethanol industry partners will continue to work closely with the U.S. and Japanese governments to communicate the benefits and importance of U.S. ethanol, including how Japanese refiners and consumers can financially benefit.

“With this decision, Japan recognizes the environmental value of U.S. corn-based ethanol,” Armstrong said. “Going forward, our role is to further demonstrate the economic value of using even greater volumes of ethanol, including through direct blending, as is done in the United States.”

CLAAS Is Honored as a 2018 Dealer’s Choice Award Winner

CLAAS of America recently received the 2018 Dealer’s Choice Award in the Full-Line Manufacturer category from the Equipment Dealer's Association (EDA). This is the first time the EDA has classified the high-end harvesting company as a full-line manufacturer. Dealer’s Choice companies receive the highest ratings from their dealers in their respective manufacturer categories.

The EDA awards are based on the results from the annual EDA Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey, which received input from 2,200 dealer participants in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces to rate up to seven manufacturer lines they carry in 11 key business categories. Manufacturers participating in the survey are classified in one of four different categories: Full-Line, Short-Line, Tractor and Outdoor Power Equipment.

“It’s a tremendous honor for us to receive the Dealer’s Choice Award and be recognized by our dealers. We’re proud and humbled,” said president of CLAAS Global Sales – America Leif Magnusson. “We could not do what we do without the strength, passion and support from our dealers tirelessly supporting farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and Canada.”

Within the Full-Line Manufacturer category made up of six manufacturers, CLAAS ranked first in product quality, parts quality, product availability, product technical support and communications with management; and second in parts availability.

As the fourth-largest agricultural equipment company in the world, CLAAS continues to increase its dealer presence and support throughout the U.S. and Canada by expanding and opening new dealerships while offering the innovative support and technology needed by today’s growers. The full line of CLAAS equipment features LEXION combines, self-propelled JAGUAR forage harvesters, XERION tractors as well as a wide range of balers and hay tools, all created to increase harvest efficiency and provide higher throughput.

Consumers Sue Pork Industry for Massive Antitrust Price-Increasing Scheme

A federal class-action lawsuit has uncovered a nationwide antitrust overpricing scheme enacted by the leading food conglomerates of the $20 billion pork industry, who forced consumers to pay high prices for bacon, ham, hotdogs and other pork products, according to the law firm bringing the case, Hagens Berman.

The lawsuit filed June 28, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota states that the price-fixing scheme has been carried out by the biggest named in the industry who control approximately 80 percent of the market. Attorneys say Tyson, Hormel and other major meat companies have been bilking consumers in all states since 2009 by systematically controlling their output, in lock-step.

If you purchased any pork products from Tyson, Hormel or other major sellers, you may be entitled to reimbursement. Find out your rights to potential compensation and learn more about the lawsuit here »

Affected brands include, but are not limited to, Ball Park Franks, Bosco's, Craft Meats San Francisco, Hillshire Farm, Hormel, Jennie-O, Jimmy Dean, Lloyd's Barbeque, Nathan's Famous, SaraLee, Smithfield, SPAM, Steak-eze, Tastemakers and Tyson.

“Hardworking families across the nation strive to put food on the table, but little do they know, the game is rigged from the beginning: the largest food companies are secretly ensuring their dollar doesn’t go as far at the supermarket as it should,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, law firm representing consumers in the lawsuit against the pork industry. “We’re seeking to hold Tyson, Hormel and others accountable for this nearly decade-long scheme to hog their share of profits.”

The lawsuit states that along with Tyson and Hormel, Agri Stats Inc., Clemens Food Group, Indiana Packers Corporation, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods LP, Smithfield Foods Inc. and Triumph Foods LLC “entered into a conspiracy from at least 2009 to the present to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize the price of pork.”

“The principal (but not exclusive) method by which defendants implemented and executed their conspiracy was by coordinating their output and limiting production with the intent and expected result of increasing pork prices in the United States,” the suit reads. “In furtherance of their conspiracy, defendants exchanged detailed, competitively sensitive, and closely guarded non-public information about prices, capacity, sales volume and demand through their co-conspirator Agri Stats.”

Beginning in 2009, the pork industry showed abnormal price movements, according to graphs in the lawsuit. Aggregate prices published by the USDA show the hog market year average price was at or below $50 every year between 1998 and 2009, before increasing to $76.30 cents per pound in 2015, an increase of more than 50 percent.

How the Pork Overpricing Scheme Began

In 2009, according to the lawsuit, Agri Stats began supplying “highly sensitive ‘benchmarketing’ reports” to the pork industry’s kingpin corporations. These reports allowed competitors to compare their profits and performance, but unlike typical industry reports of this nature, Agri Stats’ reports showed detailed financial and production data from each player and customized the information in a way that “bears all of the hallmarks of the enforcement mechanism of a price fixing scheme,” according to the lawsuit.

On a weekly and monthly basis, Agri Stats provides the pork companies named in the lawsuit with current and forward-looking sensitive, non-public information including profits, costs, prices and slaughter information, as well as regularly provides the keys to deciphering which data belongs to which producers. This allowed the companies to monitor each other’s production and control supply and price.

The lawsuit states that the defendant companies paid millions of dollars since 2009 to subscribe to Agri Stats’ reports.

Agri Stats’ reports were also placed at the center of a price-fixing lawsuit involving the broiler chicken industry, in which they had the same outcome: to reduce strategic uncertainty in the market, changing the incentives of competitors to compete, and inducing them to illegally cooperate to drive up prices. Agri Stats marketed its “benchmarketing” report subscription to the pork companies as a way to increase profit, saying, “…the ultimate goal is increasing profitability…”

“Once Agri Stats got everyone in the pork industry to put their card on the table, there was no competition,” Berman said. “When you’re aware of every move your competition is making, the only step left is to form an alliance, and that’s exactly what happened here.”

“We believe this a class antitrust operation, with the sole purpose of increasing profits for these companies orchestrating the scheme,” he added.

With this information, the pork industry’s top players were kept in control, dominating the vast majority of the market. High barrier of entry forced out new competitors.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday June 27 Ag News


A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will conduct a project transforming manure and cedar mulch from waste to worth. The project is funded by a $132,663 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Leading the research will be Amy Millmier Schmidt, assistant professor in biological systems engineering and animal science, and Rick Koelsch, professor in biological systems engineering and animal science. The project is designed to provide natural resource benefits to Nebraska through increased utilization of livestock manure and cedar mulch among crop farmers.

“When manure is applied to cropland at agronomic rates using recommended best management practices, it provides agronomic, soil health, and environmental benefits,” said Schmidt.

As the management of eastern red cedar trees has become a critical issue in many parts of the state, Schmidt and others have been studying practices that utilize the biomass created during forest management activities in ways that add value to this product.

“Combining wood chips with manure prior to land application could provide a market for the woody biomass generated during tree management activities and help offset the cost that landowners bear for tree removal,” she said.

The team’s on-farm research to date has demonstrated that manure-mulch mixtures improve soil characteristics without negatively impacting crop productivity. This new award will allow an expanded project team to demonstrate the practice more widely throughout the state, complete an economic analysis of the practice, and engage high school students in educational experiences related to soil health, conservation and cedar tree management. It will also introduce the students to on-farm research for evaluating a proposed practice change.

“On-farm research is at the core of extension and research programs at land-grant universities like Nebraska,” said Koelsch. “Giving high school students hands-on experience evaluating a practice to understand how it impacts farm profitability is a unique way to improve science literacy, critical thinking skills, and interest in agricultural careers.”

Outreach activities will focus on improving understanding among crop farmers of the benefits these amendments provide and motivating implementation of this new practice. The long-term goal of the project is to improve soil health properties for Nebraska soils, reduce nutrient losses to Nebraska water resources, and reduce eastern red cedar tree encroachment on Nebraska’s pasture and grassland resources.

The project is one of the 105 projects receiving $18,301,819 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $289 million in grants to over 2,000 projects across the state.


Growers, crop consultants and extension educators interested in management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension's field day, supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 11 near Carleton.

Palmer amaranth is a member of the pigweed family and is one of the most troublesome weeds in soybean fields because of its resistance to glyphosate and some other herbicide groups. Greenhouse dose-response studies have confirmed resistance when glyphosate was applied even at higher rates.

At the field day, experiments will demonstrate how to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, Enlist and Balance GT soybeans in Nebraska. Keynote speaker, Aaron Hager will share his experiences for management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. Hager is a professor and extension weed scientist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Three certified crop adviser credits will be available.

There is no cost to attend the field day. However, pre-registration is required before 3 p.m. on July 10. To register, visit

Directions to the field day: from Geneva, go south on Hwy 81 for 14.6 miles, turn west onto Hwy 4 for 5.3 miles. Farm field is located on the south side of Hwy 4 between C St. and Renwick St. in Carleton. GPS coordinates: 40°18’24.7”N 97°40’29.0”W

For more information, contact Amit Jhala at 402-472-1534 or


Jill O'Donnell will become the first director of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on July 1.

O'Donnell brings extensive experience in the international arena, working with public- and private-sector partners to address 21st-century challenges with an interdisciplinary perspective. Most recently, she was a consultant to the NATO Communications and Information Agency. She will use that experience as she works with the faculties of the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Business and Law to create Yeutter Institute programs and curricula that address challenges in international trade and finance.

O'Donnell has lectured on trends in international trade for corporate audiences and educators, taught courses in political science and U.S. foreign policy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and examined economic and policy themes related to South Korea as a consulting researcher and author for the Council on Foreign Relations. A native of Columbus, Nebraska, O'Donnell began her international policy career in Washington, D.C., serving on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel. She earned her Master of Arts in international relations and international economics from Johns Hopkins University and her undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

"Clayton Yeutter had a tremendous impact on international trade and finance, along with boundless confidence in the potential for Nebraska students to play leadership roles in a changing world," O'Donnell said. "I look forward to building an institute worthy of his legacy."

The institute will prepare students to understand, participate in and shape global trade and finance in an increasingly interconnected world. It will build on the strengths of the partnering colleges to offer undergraduate and graduate education, facilitate faculty research and conduct outreach efforts related to international trade and finance. 

A renowned trade expert and University of Nebraska alumnus, Yeutter and his wife, Cristy, made a $2.5 million leadership gift to establish the Clayton K. Yeutter International Trade Program Fund, and the Nebraska legislature appropriated $2.5 million in 2015 to support establishing the institute. The Board of Regents formally approved the institute in December 2017, and the university and the University of Nebraska Foundation are continuing private fundraising.

To help fulfill Yeutter’s vision for the institute, Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, served as diplomat in residence in 2017. Vetter will continue to work with the institute as the chair of its advisory board. Three endowed chaired professors will serve as the core faculty for the institute: the Duane Acklie Chair in the College of Business, the Michael Yanney Chair in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the Clayton Yeutter Chair in the College of Law.

To learn more about the institute, visit

Ricketts Encourages Ag Producers, Agribusinesses to Sign Up for Trade Mission to Mexico

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts is encouraging Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness representatives to take part in the state’s upcoming trade mission to Mexico this August.  On the mission, Nebraska representatives will have opportunities to meet with Mexican agriculture officials and industry representatives.

“Trade is an essential part of growing Nebraska and continues to be a top priority for my administration and me,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Mexico is Nebraska’s second-largest ag export market and a major market for Nebraska beef, so we want to thank the people of Mexico for their past business and grow more opportunities for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.”

Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman, who will accompany Governor Ricketts on the trade mission, stressed the importance of growing agricultural trade opportunities in Mexico.

In 2016, total agricultural exports from Nebraska to Mexico equaled an estimated $956 million out of a total agriculture export value of $6.4 billion.  Mexico is Nebraska’s largest export market for corn, wheat, dairy, sugar and sweeteners, and animal fats, and the state’s second-largest export market for soybeans and soybean products, dry edible beans, sorghum, distillers grains, feeds and fodders, and planting seeds.

“Trade is important to all Nebraskans as we produce more ag products than we are able to consume,” said Director Wellman.  “Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness leaders are the best people to share the story of Nebraska agriculture and the quality ag products we have to offer.”

Due to the nature of the trip and the meetings involved, the delegation group is limited in size.  Participants will be responsible for all costs associated with the trip including airfare, lodging, meals, and participation fees.  For more information about the trade mission or for those interested in attending, email Stan Garbacz, Nebraska ag trade representative, at

Bacon Earns Nebraska Farm Bureau “Friend of Agriculture” Designation

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NEFB-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Bacon, who is seeking re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, received the designation based on his work on several policy issues of high priority to Nebraska farmers and ranchers, according to Nebraska Farm Bureau First Vice President Mark McHargue, who chairs the NEFB-PAC.

“While representing a largely urban district, Congressman Bacon has demonstrated time and again, his strong understanding of the importance of Nebraska agriculture to our state’s economy and how it translates into the well-being of his district,” said McHargue. “He’s consistently provided unwavering support for Nebraska agriculture, whether it’s advocating for opening international markets for agricultural goods, supporting federal tax reform to lower the tax burden on Nebraskans, or going to bat to provide regulatory relief for farmers and ranchers.”

Serving on the House Agriculture Committee, Bacon has also proven instrumental in helping craft a new farm bill that protects critical farm programs such as crop insurance, conservation programs, trade promotion programs, and agriculture research. Bacon has also demonstrated support for Nebraska’s livestock sector by advocating for mandatory funding in the farm bill for the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program to help address livestock disease issues.

“We are proud to count Congressman Bacon among those receiving our “Friend of Agriculture” designation as he seeks re-election to represent the 2nd District. We thank him for his ongoing support of Nebraska agriculture and our state’s farm and ranch families,” said McHargue.

Raybould Stands with Nebraska Farmers; Kicks-Off “Fischer Failing Farmers” Effort in Washington County

U.S. senate candidate and grocery store owner Jane Raybould stood with Nebraska ag producers Wednesday to decry Senator Deb Fischer’s failure to protect farmers, ranchers and consumers in the escalating trade war. Corn prices continue to decline, soybeans hit a record-low this summer and the US Department of Agriculture named Nebraska, along with four other states, as those likely to be most affected by Chinese tariffs. [Lincoln Journal Star, 4/5/18]

Appearing at a farm outside Blair, in Washington County, Raybould said:

“This is a Washington-made trade crisis that is hurting Nebraska farmers and Senator Fischer is nowhere to be seen,” Raybould said. “Instead of fighting back on behalf of her constituents, Senator Fischer is sticking with her party bosses and the DC corporate lobbyists financing her campaign. We need a new senator who isn’t afraid to buck the powerful interests in our nation’s capital to stop this trade crisis that will ultimately hurt ALL Nebraskans.”

Among those appearing with Raybould were Tom Cady, a Blair farmer; Ben Steffen  owner/operator of Steffen Ag Inc. near Humboldt and former President of Nebraska Agriculture Builders;  and Don Hutchens, a native of Geneva, a farmer and former executive director of the the Nebraska Corn Board and assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Highlights of speakers’ remarks:

Tom Cady: “If our exports of livestock, crop, soybeans, wheat, everything – if Washington, DC is going to use that as a pawn, we did that a long time ago. It broke half of us. We can’t stand that again. If you can remember the early 80’s, I survived – just by the hair of my teeth. A lot of guys didn’t. We used our exports as a ploy in trade negotiations and if we do that again, well, we’re trying to export beef to China and soybeans… if we can’t have that market, we’re in trouble.”

Ben Steffen:“Agriculture is what I love but I am very concerned about the way we’re conducting business in Washington right now. This artificial, manufactured trade crisis that we have on our hands right now is totally unnecessary. It’s counterproductive and it represents a loss to all of us.

“Nebraskans are in the driver’s seat here. We are the people electing someone to represent us. We send someone to Washington, DC to be a voice for us – not to be a voice for a party or a church mouse, or someone playing to the audience in Washington DC and seeking any other position. We are electing somebody to represent us and that’s what we need.”

Don Hutchens: “Nobody wins in a trade war… For Nebraska, we’ve got nearly a billion dollars of corn in the international marketplace. Nearly a billion dollars in ethanol and distiller’s grain and China is putting a 45% tariff on ethanol. We worked hard to develop that market. They didn’t just call us up and say, ‘hey, send us your ethanol,’ or this country asking us to send more corn. We negotiated those things. Farmers did. And so, those relationships are at-risk and the farmer gets hit in the middle.

“I want to thank Sen Fischer for her public service in the legislature and the commitment but right now, if you’re not willing to take it to the administration and advocate for your constituents, it’s time to step aside and let somebody else get in the mix. I’m willing to get my hands dirty on behalf of somebody that’s running for U.S. Senate.”

Senator Fischer was among 14 Republican senators to vote against plan that would have asserted authority over Trump administration decision-making on trade-related issues [Washington Post, 6/14/18] and when pressed on her lack of support for the Toomey-Corker proposal that would require congressional approval when the president enacts tariffs under the auspices of national security, Senator Fischer said: “I haven’t heard a compelling case. The sponsors of the bill need to make that.” [Washington Post, 6/11/18]. Earlier this year, Senator Fischer hadn’t even looked at Senator Jeff Flake’s bill that would nullify tariffs on steel and aluminum. She told Nebraska Radio Network, “A number of bills are introduced every year. I haven’t had Senator Flake approach me to visit with me about that bill either, so I don’t know how serious he is about pushing it forward.” [Nebraska Radio Network, 5/4/18]

NBC Director's Meeting Notice

The Nebraska Beef Council will hold a Board of Director's meeting on Friday, June 29, 2018 at the Nebraska Beef Council office located at 1319 Central Ave, Kearney. The meeting will begin at Noon central and will include discussions on elections and governance. 

Carroll County Corn Growers Brings Education Trailer to Carroll County Fair

The Carroll County Corn Growers will be at the Carroll County Fair in Coon Rapids, Iowa on July 14th. The highly-visible and interactive Iowa Corn mobile education trailer will be at the fair on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m., as well as on Saturday afternoon. The 60-foot state-of-the-art mobile display brings to life Iowa Corn's successful Corn It's Everything campaign. It takes visitors on a multi-media journey showing how Iowa Corn farmers conserve their land while growing corn that's used for food, feed, fuel and the 4,000 other products made from you guessed it, corn.

In addition, the Carroll County Fair and the Carroll County ISU Extension are celebrating their 100th Year Anniversary.

Iowa Corn launched Iowa Corn-fed Summer Road Trip to help you find restaurants, local events such as this and fuel retailers across the state. Go to to find award-winning corn-fed burgers and pork tenderloins and to sign-up for contests throughout the summer. Use our hashtag, #CORNFEDSUMMER to promote how you are using corn products all summer long.

Avoid Pesticide Drift During Spraying Season

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged farmers and other pesticide applicators to ensure they are following all pesticide label requirements and taking the necessary steps to prevent pesticide drift this spraying season

Applicators should evaluate factors such as wind speed, wind direction, temperature, spray pressure, nozzle height, any required set-backs and surrounding properties before they begin spraying a field.

"The recent wet weather has created some challenges as farmers and applicators look to spray for weeds and pests, but it is important they wait until conditions are right and that they carefully follow all of the product label requirements," Naig said. "Pesticides are important tools that help keep our crops healthy and it is important that they are used appropriately and do not impact neighbors."

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Pesticide Bureau is responsible for responding to complaints and investigating potential misuse of pesticides. In addition, education and testing on the safe use of pesticides is administered to all licensed pesticide applicators by the Department in conjunction with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

It is important all applicators read and follow the label directions on any pesticide when using. Product labels give applicators information about safe handling, application rates, personal protective equipment needed, appropriate crops to be treated, tank mixes, avoiding drift and more. It is a violation of state and federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with label directions.

If there is concern about a specific pesticide misuse incident, Iowans can file an "Incident Report" with the Department's Pesticide Bureau by phoning 515-281-8591 or by emailing the information to This report must be filed within 60 days after the alleged date that damages occurred.

More information about activities of the Department's Pesticide Bureau can be found at

USRSB Reminds Public of Opportunity to Comment on Sustainability Framework

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) is reminding the public of a valuable opportunity to provide feedback to the group’s national Sustainability Framework by July 1. The Framework, the first-ever set of resources designed to help improve the overall sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain, was developed by USRSB’s diverse membership of producers, packers, processors, retailers, food service and environmental organizations.

“The USRSB membership has invested more than three years in developing the U.S. Sustainability Framework,” said Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, JBS USA Sustainability Director and 2018 – 2019 USRSB Chair. “We strongly encourage the public to contribute to this important work to ensure we create a valuable set of resources that can improve U.S. beef sustainability by addressing the challenges faced by the diverse beef communities who produce, buy and sell beef.”

The Framework highlights key areas important to U.S. beef sustainability including animal health and well-being, efficiency and yield, employee safety and well-being, land resources, water resources, and air and greenhouse gas emissions. It is designed to address the challenges and opportunities for each segment of the U.S. beef value chain – from producers to retailers – to help identify ways to improve and accelerate sustainable progress.

The feedback received through the public comment period will guide the USRSB as it finalizes the Framework. The Framework will be available for a final comment period later this year.

To participate in the Public Comment Period and to learn more about the USRSB Sustainability Framework, please visit

Fertilizer Prices Mostly Higher Third Week of June

Retail fertilizer prices continue to see extremely small movements with prices for most fertilizers slightly higher the third week of June 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, but none were up by a significant percentage. DAP had an average price of $485 per ton, MAP $505/ton, potash $354/ton, urea $364/ton, 10-34-0 $440/ton, UAN28 $242/ton and UAN32 $277/ton.

One fertilizer, anhydrous, was lower in price compared to the previous month. As with the higher prices, the price move was just slightly lower. Anhydrous had an average price of $503 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. 10-34-0, anhydrous and UAN32 are now up 1%, potash is 4% higher, MAP 7% more expensive, urea is 9% higher and DAP is 11% more expensive compared to last year.

The remaining fertilizer, UAN28, is lower in price compared to a year prior by 1%.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Edge Up

Domestic ethanol stocks edged up slightly last week as production continued higher, rising to the highest level since late December, according to Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday, June 27.

EIA reports ethanol inventories added 27,000 barrels (bbl) to 21.674 million bbl during the week profiled, down 0.5% versus the same week in 2017.

Plant production rose 8,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.072 million bpd during the week-ended June 22, the highest level since the week-ended Dec. 22, 2017, at 1.090 million bpd and 5.6% higher than the same time in 2017. Four-week average production at 1.057 million bpd as of June 22 was 55,000 bpd higher than the corresponding four weeks in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, increased 12,000 bpd to 947,000 bpd during the week-ended June 22, 14,000 bpd lower than a year ago. For the four weeks ended June 22, blending demand averaged 932,000 bpd, down 4,000 bpd versus the same period in 2017.

Administrator Pruitt Issues Memo to Increase Regulatory Certainty in Permitting Process

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step toward updating the regulations governing EPA’s role in permitting discharges of dredged or fill materials under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In a memorandum to the Office of Water and Regional Administrators, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt outlined changes that EPA will propose that would increase predictability and regulatory certainty for landowners, investors, businesses, and other stakeholders

“Today’s memo refocuses EPA on its core mission of protecting public health and the environment in a way that is fair and consistent with due process,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We must ensure that EPA exercises its authority under the Clean Water Act in a careful, predictable, and prudent manner.”

EPA’s current regulations on the implementation of section 404(c) of the CWA allow the Agency to veto – at any time –a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) or an approved state that allows for the discharge of dredged or fill material at specified disposal sites. The memo directs EPA’s Office of Water to develop a proposed rulemaking that would consider the following changes:
-    Eliminating the authority to initiate the section 404(c) process before a section 404 permit application has been filed with the USACE or a state, otherwise known as the “preemptive veto.”
-    Eliminating the authority to initiate the section 404(c) process after a permit has been issued by the USACE or a state, otherwise known as the “retroactive veto.”
-    Requiring a Regional Administrator to obtain approval from EPA Headquarters before initiating the section 404(c) process.
-    Requiring a Regional Administrator to review and consider the findings of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the USACE or a state before preparing and publishing notice of a proposed determination.
-    Requiring EPA to publish and seek public comment on a final determination before such a determination takes effect.

The robust National Environmental Policy Act explicitly requires federal agencies to consider environmental effects from proposed projects, and include opportunities for public review and comment. Additionally, in the four decades since EPA’s regulations were last revised, the environmental statutory and regulatory landscape has changed dramatically. Given these existing protections and significant changes, updating EPA’s authority under section 404(c) will advance EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment while improving predictability and regulatory certainty.

EPA’s proposal, after undergoing interagency review, will be available for public review and comment.

Alltech Crop Science attains organic certification

Alltech Crop Science, the agronomic division of Alltech, has attained organic certification in North America for two of its naturally based products: Grain-Set® and Agro-Mos®. The two micronutrient fertilizers, which are based on amino acid and fermentation technology, join the company’s other Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)-certified products, including Soil-Set®, Crop-Set® and Galvanize® Contact, increasing options for organic growers to meet the nutritional needs of their crops.

“Consumers are demanding more natural products that are sustainable and traceable, and we’re excited to be able to offer an expanded organically certified line to our growers who are looking to meet those demands,” said Dr. Steven Borst, Alltech Crop Science general manager.

Borst also noted that the company now offers a certified organic product for every stage of a plant’s growth cycle.

This certification further solidifies Alltech Crop Science’s commitment to Alltech’s founding ACE principle, the promise that in doing business, the company has a positive impact on agriculture, the consumer and the environment. To learn more about how the company’s organic product line provides growers with more options to sustainably manage their productions, visit

Commodity Classic Releases 2019 Schedule

Commodity Classic has released its tentative schedule for the 2019 show slated for Thursday, February 28 through Saturday, March 2 in Orlando, Fla.  Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused educational and agricultural experience.

The 2019 schedule includes extended trade show hours, allowing attendees to spend even more time with the wide array of exhibitors on the huge trade show floor.  Exhibit space is selling out fast, ensuring that attendees will have the opportunity to visit hundreds of booths featuring the latest technology, innovation and equipment.

A full slate of educational sessions—selected by the farmer committee that leads Commodity Classic—will provide information on a wide range of critical topics important to America’s farmers.  The Main Stage on the trade show floor returns in 2019 and will offer a full slate of outstanding presentations from agribusiness leaders, well-known ag personalities and other speakers.

The popular General Session, which typically features an inspirational speaker and commodity association leaders, is scheduled for Friday morning.  In 2018, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue spoke to the thousands in attendance and he will be invited to do so again in 2019.

Other scheduled events include What’s New and Mini What’s New sessions which feature emerging services and technologies, and awards banquets and policy development sessions for the sponsoring commodity associations.  Commodity Classic also offers plenty of opportunities to network with thousands of fellow farmers from across the nation and around the world.

The 2019 Commodity Classic will conclude on Saturday night with the Evening of Entertainment, which traditionally features a nationally-known performer.

A detailed outline of educational sessions, speakers and events for 2019 will be available this fall.

To view the 2019 schedule and stay updated on the latest information about the 2019 Commodity Classic, visit and sign up for email updates.

NMPF Statement on Failure of House Immigration Bill

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation

“We are extremely disappointed that Congress did not include an agricultural guestworker element as part of its compromise immigration reform bill that ultimately failed today. The U.S. dairy industry continues to face serious challenges obtaining and maintaining a reliable workforce, and we were hopeful that we can achieve a better outcome for farm employers.

“We were encouraged by negotiations over the weekend that would have added a farm guestworker visa program, including multiple NMPF-backed improvements. This effort to expand the appeal of the overall measure demonstrated the need to tackle the farm worker issue sooner rather than later. We commend Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) for their exemplary negotiations on this bill. We also thank House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) for his ongoing efforts to establish a farm guestworker visa program, as well as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) for his work to secure key improvements. Finally, we wish to thank the many members who elevated and prioritized the needs of dairy farmers in conversations with House leadership and committee chairmen over the course of many months.

“However, we are deeply disappointed that a small group of House members chose to undermine this good work by refusing to compromise, undermining good faith negotiations and ultimately preventing forward progress. This kind of hostage-taking cannot continue if Congress is to make meaningful progress on a critical issue for our country. We know there are many members in both parties who are eager to forge solutions to these complicated issues, and we are hopeful that this is not the end of the process. Dairy cannot wait any longer.

“We hope that the agriculture guestworker provision will be brought to the House for a vote later this summer as we continue to work with our congressional allies to create legislation that addresses our concerns.”

Farmer Co-ops Disappointed in Lack of Ag Labor Provisions in Compromise Immigration Bill

Chuck Conner, president & CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

"We are disappointed that immigration legislation under consideration by the House of Representatives later today will not include provisions to address the labor crisis faced by America’s farmers and ranchers. Over the past few weeks, several members of Congress have worked tirelessly to include provisions in the package that would create a workable guest worker program and address agriculture’s need for an authorized workforce. We specifically applaud Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) for making significant progress to include long-overdue improvements to our untenable situation. Despite this progress, dynamics beyond their control or ours prevented inclusion of these provisions in the Leadership’s compromise bill. We continue to believe a proposal that addresses agriculture’s labor needs can garner majority support from House members if brought to a floor vote."

Golden Harvest® portfolio expands with 37 new corn hybrids and 17 new soybean varieties for 2019

Golden Harvest®  is growing its strong portfolio for the 2019 planting season with the release of 37 new corn hybrids—21 of which are from our 16 new genetic families—and 17 new soybean varieties. Earlier this year, Golden Harvest announced it would benefit from an incremental $400 million investment. The breadth and quality of its 2019 seed portfolio showcases that pledge.

“We’re excited about how well the new Golden Harvest hybrids are performing against the competition,” said Ashley Giese, Golden Harvest corn product manager. “When farmers choose Golden Harvest hybrids for next season, they are choosing to maximize the genetic potential of every acre.”

In trials against DeKalb®, Golden Harvest won an estimated 59 percent of plots with a 4.76 bushel-per-acre (bu/A) average yield advantage. Compared to Pioneer®, Golden Harvest corn hybrids won an estimated 57 percent of the plots and averaged 3.78 bu/A higher.2

“Our new hybrids are adapted to fit many unique field environments,” said Giese. “The new class provides additional yield potential and agronomic advantages in our earlier and mid- to late-season hybrids.”

The 2019 Golden Harvest hybrids span in relative maturity from 78 to 118 days and feature proven genetics protected by high-performing Agrisure® traits and technologies:
-    Twelve hybrids will include the Agrisure Duracade® trait, which provides a unique mode of action to control corn rootworm and preserve the yield potential of elite corn hybrids.
-    Ten hybrids will feature the Agrisure Viptera® trait, which offers the most comprehensive above-ground insect control and is the only trait available today that effectively controls western bean cutworm.
-    Four hybrids will contain Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge®, the most advanced trait stack on the market, combining the Agrisure Duracade and Agrisure Viptera traits for control of 16 above- and below-ground insects.
-    Two hybrids will contain Agrisure Viptera 3330 E-Z Refuge, the newest above-ground-only trait stack in the Agrisure portfolio that features three modes of action against above-ground insects, reducing the need for scouting and costly rescue treatments.
-    Eight Agrisure Artesian® hybrids will help maximize yield when it rains and increase yield when it doesn’t, via the most advanced corn water technology on the market.
-    Twenty-eight hybrids will be available as E-Z Refuge seed blend products, providing convenient, integrated single-bag refuge offerings.

In select geographies, Golden Harvest will also offer seven new Enogen® hybrids for a total of 31 options available for 2019 planting. Featuring an in-seed innovation that benefits farmers marketing grain to participating ethanol plants and those producing grain or silage for livestock feed, eight to 17 hybrids are available in each sales region. In the ethanol market, Enogen grain enhances the ethanol production process by improving process efficiency, while Enogen Feed helps increase the level of available energy when incorporated into dairy or beef cattle rations.

Golden Harvest soybeans are also more than standing their ground against competitor varieties. The 2019 Golden Harvest soybean class outyielded the Pioneer portfolio by 1.7 bu/A in more than 1,100 replicated trials and beat Asgrow® varieties by 0.8 bu/A in more than 500 replicated plots. 3

“When combining the strength of the Golden Harvest portfolio with our newly released Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® varieties, we’ve seen the performance of our portfolio improve exponentially,” said Dennis Storm, Golden Harvest soybean product manager. “As Golden Harvest R&D efforts are continually bringing forward the potentially highest-yielding genetics coupled with industry-leading agronomic defense packages, farmers planting Golden Harvest soybeans are going to win.”

The 17 new Golden Harvest varieties span in relative maturity from 0.06 to 4.9 and provide the following technology for additional defense against weed resistance:
·         Twelve contain Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology, three of which are equipped with Sulfonyl-Urea Tolerant Soybeans (STS®) herbicide tolerance and may reduce resistance to ALS-inhibitors, allowing higher application rates on select herbicides.
·         Five include LibertyLink® technology, one of which has STS herbicide tolerance.

Golden Harvest soybeans protect against many of today’s toughest challenges, such as soybean cyst nematodes, sudden death syndrome, brown stem rot and Phytophthora root rot.

The new 2019 hybrids and varieties further build upon a portfolio engineered to equip farmers with agronomic options for all field types, soil characteristics and weather conditions. The Golden Harvest portfolio is available from Golden Harvest Seed Advisors, who combine high-yielding seed options with local agronomic knowledge and tailored field recommendations.