Saturday, September 29, 2018

Friday September 28 Ag News


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 210 million bushels, down 19 percent from 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 61.0 million bushels are stored on farms, down 33 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 149 million bushels, are down 11 percent from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 40.9 million bushels, up 77 percent from last year. Onfarm stocks of 5.50 million bushels are up 10 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks, at 35.4 million bushels, are up 96 percent from 2017.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 72.0 million bushels, down 22 percent from a year ago. Onfarm stocks of 5.80 million bushels are down 28 percent from 2017 and off-farm stocks of 66.2 million bushels are down 22 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 1.76 million bushels, up 21 percent from 2017. On-farm stocks of 145,000 bushels are up 142 percent from a year ago, and off-farm holdings, at 1.61 million bushels, are up 16 percent from last year.

On-farm oat stocks totaled 600,000 bushels, down 54 percent from 2017.


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2018, totaled 475 million bushels, down 6 percent from September 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 29 percent were stored on-farm. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance totaled 623 million bushels, 3 percent below the 642 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2018, totaled 87.9 million bushels, 66 percent above the 53.1 million bushels on hand September 1, 2017. This is the highest September 1 total stocks since 2007, but well below the record 158 million bushels set in 1986. Of the total stocks, 24 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2018 is 132 million bushels, 6 percent above the 124 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on September 1, 2018, totaled 2.10 million bushels, down 7 percent from September 1, 2017.

USDA: Corn Stocks Down 7 Percent from September 2017

Soybean Stocks Up 45 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 5 Percent

Old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 2.14 billion bushels, down 7 percent from September 1, 2017. Of the total stocks, 620 million bushels are stored on farms, down 21 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.52 billion bushels, are up 1 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance is 3.16 billion bushels, compared with 2.94 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 438 million bushels, up 45 percent from September 1, 2017. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 101 million bushels, up 15 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 337 million bushels, are up 58 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2018 totaled 781 million bushels, up 18 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2017 soybean production is revised up 19.1 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is unchanged at 90.1 million acres, and harvested area is unchanged at 89.5 million acres. The 2017 yield, at 49.3 bushels per acre, is up 0.2 bushel from the previous estimate.

All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 2.38 billion bushels, up 5 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 631 million bushels, up 28 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.75 billion bushels, are down 1 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance is 605 million bushels, down 8 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 90.6 million bushels, up 37 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 51.8 million bushels, are up 55 percent from September 1, 2017. Off-farm stocks totaled 38.8 million bushels, up 18 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance of 21.6 million bushels is down 13 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 175 million bushels, down 3 percent from September 1, 2017. On-farm stocks are estimated at 91.4 million bushels, 1 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 83.2 million bushels, are 7 percent below September 2017. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance is 73.1 million bushels, 6 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 74.9 million bushels, 4 percent above the stocks on September 1, 2017. Of the total stocks on hand, 39.2 million bushels are stored on farms, 15 percent higher than a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 35.7 million bushels, 6 percent below the previous year. Indicated disappearance during June - August 2018 totaled 22.3 million bushels, compared with 27.7 million bushels during the same period a year ago.

Old crop grain sorghum stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 34.9 million bushels, up 4 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 3.36 million bushels, are down 22 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 31.5 million bushels, are up 8 percent from September 1, 2017. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance from all positions is 30.5 million bushels, down 41 percent from the same period a year ago.

Old crop sunflower stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 386 million pounds, down 35 percent from a year ago. All stocks stored on farms totaled 90.6 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 295 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 279 million pounds; of this total, 81.6 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 197 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 107 million pounds, with 9.00 million pounds stored on the farm and 98.1 million pounds stored off the farm.

12th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit!

A variety of topics will be discussed at this year's event.
    National Trade
    Progressive Technology to Improve Animal Health
    Breakout Session:
        Succession Planning/Startup in a Family Operation
        Livestock Traceability Impacts on Producers
    Genomically Based Decision Making
    Managing Risk in Volatile Markets
    Panel Discussion: Lab Cultured Meat

The Summit will be held Thursday, November 15th in the Animal Science Complex on East campus at UNL.  The seminar will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m.  More details soon! 

Importance of Yield Monitor Calibrations for Accurate Yield Data Collection

Joe Luck - NE Extension Precision Agriculture Engineer

Accurate yield monitor data collection is critical, especially when assessing test plots conducted during on-farm research trials or making other management decisions in the future. A critical element of yield monitor operation that should be considered to improve data collection practices is calibration of the mass flow (impact plate) sensor or optical sensor in the clean grain elevator.

Mass Flow Sensor Calibration

The mass flow sensor is the most critical component of the yield monitoring system. The calibration procedure for the mass flow sensor is time-consuming, but absolutely vital for accurate yield measurements. Since mass flow sensor readings may be affected by crop type, moisture content, and test weight, operators should consider performing separate calibrations under these differing circumstances. A separate calibration procedure should always be performed (and stored in the in-cab display) for different crops (such as corn, soybeans, or wheat).

The mass flow sensor calibration process usually involves harvesting two to six small loads of grain (around 3,000 to 5,000 lbs depending on manufacturer specifications) and measuring the scale weight of each load. The reason for this number of loads is to compensate for varying yields expected across a field during harvest. Each load should be harvested such that the flow through the clean grain elevator is as consistent as possible. Remember that the mass flow sensor is measuring grain flow (lbs/sec) through the clean grain elevator; multi-point calibrations (more than two loads) allow the system to provide more accurate estimates over a range, from low to high flow, through the combine. During the yield monitor calibration process, each load weight is entered into the in-cab display automatically or by the operator. The in-cab display then creates an equation to estimate a physical value (in pounds) of grain flow based on mass flow sensor output.

Typically there are two methods for varying the flow rates for proper mass flow sensor calibration:
-    constant speed with varying cut width or
-    varying speed with constant cut width. Both options can achieve the same result of varying flow through the clean grain elevator.

Always check throughout the growing season to make sure that debris and material are not building up on or around the mass flow sensor; it should be free to deflect normally during operation.

Newer systems from Deere®, Precision Planting®, and Ag Leader® may allow for automatic calibration load generation, or reduced calibration loads required. Always check manuals for the latest technique.

Optical yield monitor systems are a newer technology that can provide accurate yield data during harvest. These systems are calibrated in much the same way as mass flow sensors. Calibration loads are harvested and weighed and values are entered into the in-cab display for generating yield estimates. One important difference for optical sensors is that grain test weight must be accurately estimated for these to provide good yield estimates. Typically, a test weight measurement scale is included with the system. Pay particular attention to filling the scale properly.


While many factors can affect yield monitor estimates, mass flow or optical sensor calibration affects each data point collected within the field and should be performed properly. Remember to check manufacturer guides to determine how to best collect calibration loads for your yield monitoring system.

Applications Available NOW for the 2019 Corn & Soy Ambassador Program!

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2019 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program. The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a year long program for college students who are interested in learning more about the industry and becoming better advocates for agriculture. Each year up to 10 students are selected to participate in the program.

Throughout the year, students will take part in three seminars and a summer tour. The first meeting covers state and federal policies affecting the corn and soybean industries. The second meeting will focus on the role of checkoff programs in promoting corn and soybeans. The final meeting gives the students a glimpse of advocacy and leadership opportunities after they graduate. Meetings will take place in the Lincoln, NE area. The summer agribusiness industry tour will include different areas of the industry including, manufacturing, production, and processing. These stops will hopefully give students more insight into potential jobs and internships in the industry.

During the course of the program, students are also asked to spend time to promoting the state’s corn and soybean grower associations and checkoffs at promotional events such as Husker Harvest Day and Soybean Management Field Days. Following the completion of the program students will be recognized at the annual meetings of the corn and soybean associations, and each will be presented a $500 scholarship to help them with school expenses. Funding for portions of the program is provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

“The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a great way for college students to get an introduction to the industry. Many of our past program participants have gone on to internships and jobs from connections made during this program. We are looking forward to another excellent class,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA).

Applications for the Corn and Soy Ambassador Program can be found on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association website, For more information about the program, contact Morgan Wrich, Nebraska Corn Growers Association at 402-438-6459 ( or Lori Luebbe, Nebraska Soybean Association at 402-441-3239 (

Nebraska Corn Internships - Applications Available Now!

Nebraska Corn is exited to announce that applications for 2019-2020 internship program are now available! Over the last several years, Nebraska Corn has provided real-world experiences and opportunities for college interns. These students work directly with our partners with the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Corn Growers Association and in our offices in Lincoln.

There are seven different opportunities to choose from, so students are bound to find one that fits their interests. Five of those seven are summer internships located outside of the state. The other two experiences are year-long internships located in the offices of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

For more information on individual internships or for application details, see the program descriptions below.

Communications and Market Development Internship
Host: Nebraska Corn Board
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: May 2019 – May 2020

Marketing and Communications Internship
Host: National Corn Growers Association
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Duration: Summer 2019

Public Policy Internship
Host: National Corn Growers Association
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Summer 2019

Promotion and International Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Meat Export Federation
Location: Denver, Colorado
Duration: Summer 2019

International Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Summer 2019

International Agricultural Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: Summer 2019

Communications and Policy Internship
Host: Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: May 2019 – May 2020

Applications for all of these internships are due by Friday, November 2nd by 5 PM CT.

Winning Weaning Woes

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Weaning time is here which can be a stressful event for calves, cows and families alike. While preconditioning prepares the immune system to better handle the stress of weaning, there are some other areas of the ranch that can be modified to aid calf adjustment to life without mom.

Practice makes perfect. If cows and calves are comfortable being separated, both will better adjust on weaning day. Taking time a few days prior to weaning to bring in pairs and keep them separated for a few hours while both have access to feed and water can be a starting point. Trying this in a pasture setting is done by bringing pairs to a fence and allows cows to pass through and calves to follow parallel down the fence line.

Pen Preparation
Traditional weaning processes involve removing calves from cows at one time and starting them on feed in a pen setting. If using dry-lot pens, making water available at all times is critical. This can be done by adding an extra water along a fence line that calves will will walk into and also allowing water tanks to over flow so calves can find them easier. Clean water tanks also enhance calf performance and promote adequate water intake as bawling calves are prone to respiratory disease.

Pen size can be adjusted to reduce space available for calves to walk. Smaller pens increase the opportunities for calves to find feed and water and reduce the potential for dust problems. This can be done by setting up temporary panels and cutting the pen in half. After a few days, remove panels and the calves can spread out.

Calves also need to become accustomed to people. Walking calves up to the bunk right after feeding encourages feeding behaviors and acclimates them to handling at the same time. It is much easier to find and treat sick calves without additional stress if they are used to being handled. Calves that are afraid of people are surprisingly good at hiding signs of illness, at least until they become very sick. Investing time and effort to improve cattle handling skills pays dividends, especially considering the challenges in finding employees with livestock experience.

Feed Bunks vs. Grass
Calves learn grazing behavior from their dams. While cow/calf pairs spend most of their time grazing pastures in the summer, weaning time may be the first time calves will eat from a bunk. Providing long stem hay in the bunk helps attract calves to feed and promotes saliva production and healthy rumen function. Combining roughage with higher concentrate feeds helps calves achieve a positive energy balance more quickly.

Steers vs. Heifers
Separating weaned calves into groups based on gender is helpful is making sure everyone gets off on the right foot. Steers and heifers are usually fed very similar diets during the starting phase, but that often changes later in the feeding period. Depending on marketing objectives and whether or not the heifers are destined to be replacements, steers and heifers may be fed different diets with different implant strategies. Sorting the calves into their eventual groups at the outset reduces the amount of stress caused a second sort and the re-establishment of social groups.

If these seem like unnecessary steps to take, look at it from another angle. When we arrive at a hotel, we enjoy a nice clean room with hot water and even continental breakfast most of the time. Why would calves expect anything less at weaning time?

Trading with Japan

Rep. Adrian Smith

The United States and Japan are the world’s largest and third largest economies, totaling around 30 percent of the world’s economic output. Japan is the fifth largest consumer of U.S. exports, our fourth largest source of imports, and a top-three consumer of Nebraska’s beef, corn, pork, soybean, egg, and wheat exports worldwide. This is why news of a potential trade agreement to be negotiated between the United States and Japan should be greeted warmly.

Modern trade agreements aren’t just negotiated to address tariffs – they also typically address other issues such as intellectual property protection and accounting standards. In just one example, Japan currently levies a tax of 38.5%, which can escalate as high as 50%, on American exports of beef. Countries which have successfully negotiated trade agreements with Japan, such as Australia, currently have an advantage over the US in the Japanese market because they face dramatically lower rates of tariffs.

Because such an agreement would hold enormous benefits for Nebraska ranchers and farmers, I introduced legislation last year expressing support in Congress for a bilateral trade agreement to be negotiated between our two countries. I have further expressed this sentiment to President Trump and senior administration officials on many occasions. I made the case directly to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, during the last week of September.

International trade does not have to be a zero-sum game. In the case of Japan, they have negotiated bilateral trade agreements with Australia, the European Union, and Mexico, among others, which means their producers enjoy preferential access to Japanese markets relative to American producers. We need to even the playing field and give Nebraska producers the ability to compete fairly.

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to discuss our trade relationship. After the meeting they issued a joint statement recognizing the importance of reciprocal trade and the need for a trade agreement between our countries. Given China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region, which threatens Japan, and also our current trade disputes with China, increasing trade and security ties between the U.S. and allies like Japan could help to ensure that China behaves appropriately going forward.

I support trade agreements because reducing regulations, decreasing taxes, and facilitating productive trade policy are among the best ways the federal government can stimulate sustainable, long-term economic growth. So far, President Trump has delivered on his promises to cut burdensome regulations and sign tax reform into law. Negotiating a trade agreement with Japan would add to our list of accomplishments during his first two years in office.

Ag Retailers Reaffirm commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) members have reaffirmed their agreement to protect Iowa’s soil and water resources.

The group of 11 ag retailers have agreed to the Environmental Code of Practice for 2018. In the Code of Practice, ACWA members agree to delay fall anhydrous applications without a nitrification inhibitor until soil temperatures are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and trending lower. Members use the county soil temperature and forecast maps compiled by Iowa State University as a decision-tool for beginning fall fertilizer applications.

 “For over 15 years, we have focused on proper nutrient management and environmental stewardship and now is no exception,” said Dan Dix, NEW Cooperative general manager and ACWA president. “The Code of Practice is a fundamental aspect of ACWA membership, and we are glad to be a 4R Plus partner. The 4R Plus principles are globally accepted standards of best practices for cropping systems and we are proud to enhance our focus and offerings through them.”

4R Plus focuses on fertilizer application with the consideration of the right source, right rate, right time and right place. The Plus adds conservation practices to enhance soil health and improve water quality.

Led by the Nature Conservancy, 4R Plus is guided by a coalition of agricultural and conservation organizations to support farmers’ efforts to implement precise nutrient management and conservation practices.

“Our Code of Practice aligns with the 4Rs and there is synergy in the guidelines,” said Harry Ahrenholtz, ACWA chairman. “Members of ACWA hold each other accountable to abide by these standards, and each retailer notifies the group when fall fertilizer applications begin.”

ACWA supports adoption of nutrient management technologies to maximize nutrient use efficiency and help protect water quality. These technologies include nitrogen stabilizers, slow release fertilizers, incorporation or injection, soil nitrate testing and other tools that minimize loss of nitrogen to water sources.

Furthermore, ACWA encourages farmers to implement additional conservation and edge-of-field practices to reduce nitrate flow from tile systems including bioreactors, constructed wetlands, conservation stream buffers and cover crops.

“Members are dedicated to helping farmers manage nutrients to enhance both environmental quality and crop production,” said Roger Wolf, ACWA executive director. “The agriculture community remains committed to implementing practices that have a positive impact on environmental and water quality as well as improving crop production.” 

Farm Bill Talks Delayed Until After Mid-Term Elections

With less than four days for Congress to pass a new farm bill before the current law expires after Sunday, top ag lawmakers now readily admit they'll likely have to finish their work after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

POLITICO reports that the timing isn't surprising, as there has been more sniping among House and Senate negotiators than there's been signs of progress over the last month. But failure to meet the Sept. 30 deadline would still be a defeat for ag leaders who said they were determined to finish a new farm bill on time and provide some needed certainty to farmers and ranchers.

Hoping for better luck in November: Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said he hopes negotiators will make enough progress to vote on a final farm bill, H.R. 2 (115), the first week after the election.

Waiting until the lame duck is a gamble - political leverage would shift significantly if Republicans lose the House or Senate. Some farm bill conferees are warning that waiting until November will add a whole new level of complexity to the negotiations.

NAWG Disappointed in Farm Bill Expiration; Calls on Congress to Provide Certainty to Farmers

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is disappointed that Congress has not acted to reauthorize the farm bill before the September 30th deadline. Expiration of the current farm bill will leave farmers with uncertainty moving forward at a time when net farm income is expected to be down 13 percent this year compared to last year. NAWG calls on conferees to finish negotiations as quickly as possible on a farm bill that provides a strong safety net for growers.

“Farmers are facing historically low prices and a struggling rural economy. The farm bill provides growers access to crucial programs that support their operations,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Winter wheat farmers across the country have already begun seeding next year’s crop, and they are having to do so without knowing whether a safety net will be in place or what sort of conservation programs that may be available.’’

With the farm bill expiration, there are a number of immediate implications which could be resolved upon Congressional action to reauthorize the farm bill. Specifically, USDA will be unable to undertake new sign-ups in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and provide other assistance for growers to adopt conservation practices. Additionally, the availability of farm safety net programs like ARC and PLC for the 2019 crop year is uncertain until Congress acts, and permanent farm law in the form of parity price supports from the 1930s could be implemented if Congress doesn’t act on a new farm bill.  There are also several mandatory programs that do not have baseline and will lose funding beginning next Monday.

“NAWG also supports statements about the foreign market development programs made by U.S. Wheat Associates during this time of limbo,” continued Goule. “Inaction on the farm bill continues to create more uncertainty for farmers who are already stressed from the current economic conditions. On behalf of wheat farmers across the country, NAWG calls on Congress to finish the reauthorization process as quickly as possible.”

Farm Bill Delay Creates More Uncertainty for Wheat Growers

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is disappointed that, once again, a new national Farm Bill could not be passed and implemented on time. This all too common outcome is more concerning for wheat growers and our entire agricultural industry this time because the future of a highly successful export market development program hangs in the balance.

In the current Farm Bill, 39 programs that received mandatory funding at $50 million per year or less do not have a baseline budget beyond FY-2018 that ends on Sept. 30. If this Congress can’t agree on a new Farm Bill, an extension of the current Farm Bill would have to include additional funding, or these programs would disappear. The Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, has a budget of $34.5 million per year, making it one of these “orphan” programs.

“The FMD program is fundamental to our work promoting U.S. wheat around the world,” said Vince Peterson, President of U.S. Wheat Associates, which is one of 23 organizations awarded FMD funding in FY-2018. “We use FMD funding to cover the salaries of more than 40 non-American employees and expenses for 14 overseas offices. With no FMD allocation, we will have to cover costs incurred after October 1 by shifting funds away from our activities or by using reserves from producer funds. That is a short-term bridge that we have used in the past. But it is not sustainable for more than several months; beyond that, we would have to start cutting activities and eventually closing offices.

“This comes at a particularly bad time as wheat export markets have been hard hit by the effects of the tariff retaliation that has come from both China and Mexico this year,” Peterson added. “USDA calculated tariff losses to the wheat industry at close to $250 million and that meter is running. Without our cornerstone market development funding program, our ability to limit those losses, prevent further erosion in our reputation and get our exports back on track is severely handicapped.”

U.S. Wheat Associates is encouraged that the legislation in conference now includes a long-term fix for the FMD budget issue. And, when budget fights or late Farm Bill passage held up FMD and Market Access Program allocations in the past, retroactive funding was made available. However, USW must now bridge the gap caused by another delay without undermining its work for farmers in the competitive world wheat market — and hope that it is not building a bridge to nowhere.

NCGA Action Teams and Committees Announced for FY 2019

The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve as members of the organization’s action teams and committees for the next fiscal year, which begins Monday, October 1. As representatives of their 300,000 fellow American family corn farmers, these volunteers will guide NCGA programs to meet the organization’s short-term strategic goals in order to ultimately fulfill NCGA’s noble vision for U.S. corn: to sustainably feed and fuel a growing world.

 “While the year ahead will offer many challenges and opportunities, I am certain that the teams and committees of family corn farmers we have assembled will be both capable and wise in their leadership,” said NCGA FY 2019 President Lynn Chrisp, a corn farmer from Nebraska. “The men and women who volunteer to lead will provide excellent insight that will guide us into a bright future for corn farmers and all of humankind. NCGA received applications from over 150 highly-qualified candidates, with a wide spectrum of talents and life experiences, and we strongly urge all aspiring farmer leaders to continue serving their local and state organizations and seek to build additional leadership skills to better serve their fellow corn farmers nationwide in the future, as NCGA action team and committee members.”

Leadership for NCGA’s nine major teams in FY 2019 are:
-    Consumer Engagement Action Team: Ted Mottaz, chair; Debbie Borg, vice chair; Bruce Rohwer, board liaison.
-    Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team: Charles Ring, chair; Randy DeSutter, vice chair; Jeff Sandborn, board liaison.
-    Engaging Members Committee: Brandon Hunnicutt, chair; and Denny Maple, vice chair
-    Ethanol Action Team: Jay Schutte, chair; Mark Recker, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison.
-    Feed, Food & Industrial Action Team: Dan Wesely, chair; Chad Willis, vice chair; Chris Edgington, board liaison.
-    Freedom to Operate Action Team: Bob Hemesath, chair; Brent Hostetler, vice chair; Deb Gangwish, board liaison.
-    Market Access Action Team: Mike Lefever, chair; Larry Mussack, vice chair; John Linder, board liaison.
-    Risk Management Action Team: Randy Melvin, chair; Doug Noem, vice chair; Don Glenn, board liaison.
-    Stewardship Action Team: Roger Zylstra, chair; Carl Sousek, vice chair; Ken Hartman, board liaison.

Leadership for NCGA’s standing committees in FY 2019 are:
-    Corn PAC: President to be determined at first meeting; Harold Wolle, board liaison.
-    Finance Committee: John Linder, chair.
-    Governance Committee: Tom Haag, chair.

Lynn Chrisp will serve as president and also as NCGA’s delegate to the U.S. Grains Council. Kevin Ross of Iowa will serve as first vice president and, in this capacity, will chair the Resolutions Committee. Kevin Skunes of North Dakota will serve as chair and, in this capacity, will also chair the Nominating Committee.

On October 1, FY 2018 chairman Wesley Spurlock of Texas will retire from the Corn Board but will continue his service to his fellow corn farmers as the co-chair of the Commodity Classic Joint Venture Committee for 2019. Keith Alverson of South Dakota and Anthony Bush of Ohio will also retire from the board at that time.

The FY 2019 action teams and committees will have their first set of meetings in St. Louis in mid-December.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday September 27 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2018, was 3.45 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was unchanged from September 1, 2017, but down 1 percent from June 1, 2018.

Breeding hog inventory, at 430,000 head, was up 5 percent from September 1, 2017, but unchanged from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.02 million head, was down 1 percent from last year, and down 2 percent from last quarter.

The June - August 2018 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.09 million head, was down 6 percent from 2017. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 185,000 head, down 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.30 for the June - August period, compared to 11.65 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 190,000 sows during the September - November 2018 quarter, down 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2018 - February 2019 are 190,000 sows, up 6 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.


On September 1, 2018, there were 23.6 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. This is the highest inventory on record, up 4 percent from the previous year.

The June-August 2018 quarterly pig crop was 6.38 million head, up 57,000 head from the previous quarter and 10 percent above last year. A total of 570,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.20 for the June-August quarter, unchanged from last year.

As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 560,000 sows and gilts in the September-November quarter and 540,000 head during the December 2018-February 2019 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2018 was 75.5 million head. This was up 3 percent from September 1, 2017, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2018. 

Breeding inventory, at 6.33 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 69.2 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up 4 percent from last quarter.

The June-August 2018 pig crop, at 34.2 million head, was up 3 percent from 2017. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.19 million head, up 3 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 of 10.72 for the June-August period, compared to  10.65 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.16 million sows farrow during the September-November 2018 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2017, and up 4 percent from 2016. Intended farrowings for December-February 2019, at 3.12 million sows, are up 2 percent from 2018, and up 4 percent from 2017.

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


John Pollak, former director of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, has been named coordination lead for the Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative at the University of Nebraska.

The Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative was launched in 2016 in the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It is designed to leverage the many systems-based efforts underway at Nebraska to advance science-driven innovation in development of resilient systems for food animal production, health and well-being, and to train the diverse workforce required. With broad capacity across research, teaching and outreach, this initiative will take advantage of the state and university’s potential to lead the development of resilient, integrated systems for the production and delivery of nutritious, high-quality beef.

“Dr. Pollak is uniquely qualified for this role given his 30 plus years of experience as an esteemed expert in disciplines related to beef production, and his long history of service for beef producers,” said Archie Clutter, dean of IANR’s Agricultural Research Division. “With John’s leadership we’re confident that this initiative will result in far-reaching value for future beef production systems.”

Pollak served as USMARC director from 2010 to 2017. He began his career as an assistant professor of animal science at the University of California, Davis. Before coming to USMARC,  Pollak served as a professor of animal science at Cornell University for 29 years where he and his colleagues developed methods for genetic evaluation that have become the standard for global beef cattle breeding. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University. Pollak earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in animal breeding from Iowa State University.

 “When I first arrived at USMARC I attended a meeting of the Nebraska Cattlemen where I first heard of the Cattlemen’s goal for Nebraska to become the epicenter of beef production. I thought that reaching that objective would require a significant effort in R&D that addressed issues both within and across the multiple segments of the industry,” Pollak said. "Much has been accomplished in the past eight years both at UNL and USMARC towards providing that support. The opportunity to work with faculty at UNL and contribute to the further development of a beef systems initiative is very exciting, and as the program matures I look forward to expanding my interactions to involve industry partners.” 

IANR funding for the Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative has been used to support a range of transdisciplinary studies related to beef production, including a project that leveraged the institutional funding to secure an additional $1 million from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. The project, led by James C. MacDonald, associate professor of animal science and ruminant nutrition, is investigating how to improve land use efficiency through the integration of livestock and crop production systems. To learn more about this project, visit

IANR reappoints Hibberd to extension leadership post

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln announced today, the reappointment of Chuck Hibberd to the role of dean and director of Nebraska Extension for a five-year term.

The action comes following a planned five-year review of the leader.

Hibberd has served as dean of Nebraska Extension since October 2012. Under his leadership, Extension has adopted a new strategic team structure to address issues facing Nebraskans. The 18 issues, identified by clientele, range from economic viability for agricultural producers, to engaging underserved youth. The issue team model has allowed Extension to be a more demand-driven and interdisciplinary resource for the state.

Nebraska Extension also administers the Nebraska 4-H Youth Development program. In Nebraska, 4-H reaches 1 in 3 age-eligible youth and families in all 93 counties, with the support of over 12,000 volunteers.

“The needs of the state are very unique and rapidly changing. I’m proud of the way that Dean Hibberd has guided Nebraska Extension in its efforts to address these needs in more ways than ever before,” said IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm. “With Chuck’s foresight and leadership, I am confident in Extension’s ability to serve Nebraskans moving forward.”

Fuel the Cure in Nebraska throughout October

Throughout October, drivers can fuel cancer research by choosing American Ethanol blends at select retail stations participating in Fuel the Cure throughout Nebraska.

Fuel the Cure is a Nebraska awareness promotion designed to bring attention to the benefits of cleaner-burning American Ethanol blends available throughout the state. For every gallon of ethanol-blended fuel – E15 to flex fuel E85 – purchased between Oct. 1-31, the participating fuel station will donate 3 cents per gallon with proceeds to benefit the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

“Motorists have a choice of biofuels that significantly reduce pollutants,” said Sarah Caswell, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Gasoline contains as many as 300 different chemicals. Many of these chemicals are used to increase octane — but some are known and suspected to cause cancer. Higher blends of biofuel dilute the level of toxic additives in our fuel, which helps reduce pollution and the threat to public health.”

Participating retailers will have pink handles on fuel pumps and signs for Fuel the Cure. Drivers will want to stay tuned throughout October as some retailers may offer discounts or special giveaways at their location.

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

“Using higher blends of ethanol is a good decision for all Nebraskans,” said David Bruntz, Nebraska Corn Board chairman and farmer from Friend, Neb. “It helps the state’s economy, consumers’ wallets, vehicle engines and the environment. Ethanol’s impact across the country and the globe continues to grow, but it starts right here at home.”

The Nebraska Corn and Ethanol Boards, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations. For more information visit,

NRDs Raise Nearly $24,000 for Youth Natural Resources Education and Honor Award Winners

The 2018 Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Annual Conference was held at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, September 24th – 25th and focused on protecting lives, property and the future of Nebraska’s natural resources.  This year more than 400 natural resources districts (NRD) managers, staff, board members, conservation partners and the public received new information on many natural resources and agriculture developments and projects going on now.

Participants had a variety of educational break-out sessions to choose from.  Sessions focused on water scarcity, overall water management, soil health, groundwater plans and water quality successes in Nebraska. Other events included recognition of Hall of Fame inductees, conservation award winners, master conservationist awards and a speech by Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Foundation which provides financial assistance to youth programs in natural resources and agriculture, raised nearly $24,000 this year during its live and silent auctions, golf and shootout fundraisers. These funds will assist in supporting more than 11 different educational programs in Nebraska to encourage children and young adults to learn more about our natural resources and consider a career in natural resources.

During the Hall of Fame ceremony, three individuals were inducted into the Natural Resources Hall of Fame. They include Keith Rexroth from Sidney, Nebraska. Ron Milner from Imperial, Nebraska, and Don McCabe who grew up near Newcastle and currently resides in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is the NRDs’ 46th Anniversary.

Hall of Fame inductee categories include: Natural Resources District Board Member, Natural Resources District Employee and NRD Supporter which includes individuals outside the NRD system.

Hall of Fame inductee Keith Rexroth from Sidney, Nebraska, was nominated for the Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board member award by the South Platte Natural Resources District. Rexroth spent 24 years as a member of the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD) Board of Directors, 16 of those as Chairman. One of his major achievements during those years was his commitment and input into developing an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) which will help protect water resources into the future. He’s received numerous awards including the 1983 Outstanding Young Farmer Nebraska award, 2005 NRD Director of the Year award and 2013 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture award. Rexroth received an appointment by the governor as an advisor for the Three-State Cooperative Agreement on the Platte River, has been a member of the High Plains Ag Lab Advisory board since 1973, was a board member for the USDA Agricultural Research Service station in Akron, Colorado and has spent countless hours volunteering his time to youth education as well.

Hall of Fame inductee, Ron Milner posthumously was nominated for the Hall of Fame NRD Staff category by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District. His wife resides in Imperial, Nebraska. Milner served as the first general manager of the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) from 1972 to 1997. He helped pass the Groundwater Management Act in 1976 and with Milner’s guidance, the URNRD board adopted an order that required metering and reporting of groundwater use, making the NRD the first in the state to do so in 1978. Metering was done so that Milner and the NRD would be able to see how much water was being used and to make sure that irrigators were not going over their newly allotted allocation. There was great opposition to the metering, but Milner knew it was the right decision to make and it would be beneficial to the conservation of groundwater. He created the first Groundwater Management Area in the state and enacted well spacing rules as well.

Hall of Fame inductee, Don McCabe, was nominated by the Central Platte Natural Resources District to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Natural Resources Districts Supporter.  McCabe grew up on a farm near Newcastle, Nebraska. He currently resides in Lincoln. He worked for the Nebraska Farmer magazine for 37 years and was instrumental in helping farmers in Nebraska learn about how to implement conservation practices to protect Nebraska’s soil and water. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska and served in the U.S. Navy for four years. McCabe covered natural resources issues that needed to be addressed through Groundwater Management Plans, to new techniques and technologies available to help farmers address production and natural resources issues. He’s key in helping lower nitrate levels in the Central Platte Natural Resources District due to his articles focusing on conservation efforts to achieve such a goal.

Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Conservation award winners include:

Director of the Year – Don Kavan of Morse Bluff, NE - Nominated by Lower Platte North NRD
Educator of the Year – Philip Simpson with Burwell Junior/Senior High School - Nominated by Lower Loup NRD
Tree Planter of the Year Award - Jerry Fullerton of Cody, NE - Nominated by Middle Niobrara NRD
Outstanding Grassland Conservation Award - The Mathewson Family of Potter, NE - Nominated by South Platte NRD
Outstanding Soil Stewardship Conservation Award - Scott and Barbara Gonnerman of Waco, NE - Nominated by Upper Big Blue NRD
Outstanding Community Conservation Award - Dan Kathol of Hartington, NE - Nominated by Lewis and Clark NRD
Omaha World-Herald and IANR Master Conservationist Award Winners include:
    Agriculture – Scott and Barbara Gonnerman of Waco, NE - Nominated by Upper Big Blue NRD
    Education – Shell Creek Watershed Monitoring Program in Newman Grove High School - Nominated by Lower Platte North NRD

NEBFARMPAC Endorses Bob Krist for Governor

Nebraska Farmers Union’s Political Action Committee, NEBFARMPAC, announced its unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement of Bob Krist for Governor in in the 2018 general election.

Vern Jantzen of Plymouth, NEBFARMPAC President said, "For Nebraskans who want a Governor that is willing to step up and tackle Nebraska’s overuse of property taxes to pay for K-12 schools, Bob Krist is the clear, hands down choice for Governor. Nebraska agriculture is facing the worst financial crisis since the mid-1980’s. Our net farm income is half of what it was five years ago.  Nebraska’s property tax intensive state tax system must be addressed, and Bob Krist is willing to listen and lead on that critical issue.”

John Hansen, NEBFARMPAC Secretary said, “Our organization helped create our state’s unique one house, non-partisan, unicameral legislature. Our state has been well served because it has mostly avoided the blinding dysfunction of partisan politics that paralysis our Congress. We are extremely alarmed by Governor Ricketts heavy handed unprecedented meddling in Legislative elections. He uses his family fortune to buy control of the Legislature. He recruits candidates to run against incumbent state senators, and fund their campaigns. His meddling in legislative elections undermines the relationship between state senators and their Governor, their working relationship with each other, and their relationship with their own voters back home in their district. A state senator should not be put in a position where that pick between representing the will of the voters back home, or incurring the wrath of the Governor who will recruit a candidate to run against them if they cross him. ”

“By contrast, Bob Krist’s 10 years of service in the Legislature is a shining example of the independent, non-partisan citizen servant state senator. He is a good listener, good at bringing people together to solve problems, good at asking questions and gathering information, and willing to tackle tough issues. We believe he has a deep abiding respect for our state’s unicameral system of government, its traditions, and its non-partisan independence. He is the kind of state senator George Norris would be proud of,” Hansen said. “Bob Krist is a good leader and he will make a great Governor.”

Gragert Named “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau PAC

Tim Gragert of Creighton has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau – PAC (NEFB-PAC), Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Gragert is seeking to represent District 40 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“Tim Gragert has a proven track record of service to his community. Whether through his 40 years of military service, 25 years as a member of the Creighton Volunteer Fire Department, or 12 years serving on the Creighton Public School Board, he has a long history of public service,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau. “We are happy to lend him our support as he seeks to represent and provide a voice for the people of District 40 in the Nebraska Legislature.”

According to McHargue, Gragert earned the “Friend of Agriculture” designation for his understanding of the importance of agriculture and his desire to be a voice for agriculture in Lincoln.

“As a life-long resident of District 40, Tim understands how important agriculture is to his District and to our state. He’s made it clear that he will fight to lower property taxes which have been a major issue, not just for farmers and ranchers, but for all property owners across our state. We are pleased to count Tim Gragert among those who have received our “Friend of Agriculture” designation,” said McHargue.

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

Siouxland Ag Lenders Seminar Provides Dairy Management Information

Helping ag lenders and consultants manage client portfolios will be the focus of the second Siouxland Ag Lenders Seminar, Nov. 1 in Orange City, Iowa. The program will feature presentations by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists and other leading industry experts.

Lenders who serve agricultural clients – especially those who work with dairy operators – in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota are encouraged to attend, as the seminar will focus on agricultural market outlooks, the farm bill, financial recordkeeping and accounting, insurance and farm safety procedures.

“Ag lenders know that risk management continues to be a major variable for profitability in most ag enterprises,” said Fred M. Hall, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “For that reason, understanding the current market trends and risks is a necessary part of farm management assistance. Lenders working with dairy operators have the additional necessity of understanding a complex system of milk marketing, labor inputs and federal policy implications.”

Presentations during the seminar include:
-    2018 Farm Bill, by Joe Outlaw, professor and extension economist at Texas A&M University.
-    Milking Robots: Do They Pay? by Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
-    Dairy Market Outlook, by Robert Cropp, emeritus professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
-    Market Outlook, by Chad Hart, associate professor and extension economist at Iowa State University.
-    Barn Safety, Fire Prevention and Insurance Required, by Larry Wyatt, senior investigator and ag engineer with Grinnell Mutual Insurance Company.
-    Accrual Accounting and the Necessity of Good Financial Records, by Gary Vande Vegte, managing partner of Van Bruggen & Vande Vegte CPAs and Financial Advisors.

“Our goal is that Siouxland lenders have a local source for current information, which they can use as they begin their annual client reviews,” Hall said. “The presenters have national standing and are actively participating in the national discussion in their topic areas.”

Registration is due by Oct. 26 and is $80 for the first person from a business or organization and $50 for each additional attendee. A registration form is available online. Registration includes lunch, refreshments and informational materials. Attendees can register the day of the event, but the event day $100 per person registration fee does not include lunch.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1 and conclude at 3:30 p.m. It will be held at The Triple Box, 4758 Ironwood Avenue, Orange City.

The seminar is supported by Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Bankers Association, Minnesota Bankers Association, Nebraska Bankers Association and South Dakota Bankers Association.

NBB Appreciates Bipartisan Support for Biodiesel Tax Incentive Extension

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked the 46 Congressmembers – led by Rep. David Young (R-IA) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) – who voiced their strong support for a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive. The Congressmembers representing states from California to Connecticut asked for a resolution in the coming weeks in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

The letter notes that the biodiesel tax incentive was retroactively renewed for 2017 in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed in March this year. Unfortunately, the incentive was not extended to 2018 and is currently expired.

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers are putting investments on hold in the face of the uncertainty created by the off-again, on-again nature of tax incentive eligibility. A multi-year extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel incentives will provide the industry the certainty it needs to continue to generate the economic and environmental public benefits,” the Congressmembers state in the letter.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “Right now, soybean farmers are harvesting a record crop but facing extreme uncertainty about the price they’ll receive and whether they’ll have access to markets. Biodiesel adds value to every bushel of soybeans and provides a market for the growing surplus of soy oil. A multiyear extension of the biodiesel tax incentive would give farmers a welcome bit of certainty this year.

“It would further provide biodiesel producers, blenders and retailers the opportunity to plan and expand the market for biodiesel, which would benefit truck drivers, consumers and others all along the value chain. NBB appreciates the leadership of Representatives Young and Loebsack and the support of the bipartisan group of Representatives from across the country that co-signed the letter.”

FDA Requests Comments on Dairy Food Labeling

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“We welcome the public comment request announced today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that we hope will finally curtail the misleading labeling practices of plant-based foods imitating real dairy products. NMPF will provide additional perspective explaining why the agency must enforce its own labeling regulations and limit the use of standardized dairy terms to products that come from an animal.

“We are pleased that after years of engagement with FDA, the agency is finally addressing our concerns about how these plant-based products are inappropriately marketed to consumers. In fact, the docket recognizes many of the same issues we’ve brought to light over the last four decades: that plant-based products are packaged, merchandized and sold in the same way as real dairy foods, yet provide fewer nutrients and therefore cannot be considered suitable substitutes.

“However, our comments will further emphasize that at its heart, our concern over accurate labeling is a concern not just about nutritional equivalence and the implications for public health. A food identified by a standard of identity is so much more than just a collection of nutrients. A standardized dairy food, like milk, yogurt or butter, is defined by its inherent characteristics including how and where it is sourced, and its sensory attributes and performance properties. Quite simply, just adding plant protein, calcium and a few other ingredients to water does not make it milk.

“We appreciate Commissioner Gottlieb’s efforts to evaluate current food labeling practices and how they can impact public health. But, as important as that is, we also believe FDA’s efforts must go a step further. We will remain engaged throughout this and future processes to keep a spotlight on this critical issue.”

Alberta Cattle Need More Feed Grain; Council Encourages U.S. Corn, DDGS Use

Drought conditions on the Canadian prairie have reduced harvest yields and caused more yearling cattle to move into feedlots earlier. U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) can help supplement this domestic shortfall and meet increased demand for feed - as a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) mission promoted to feedyards in Alberta in September.

“The lots varied widely from calves only to finishing feeders and everything in between,” Hanson said. “These end-users are looking for a consistent, reliable supply of U.S. corn and DDGS and practical solutions to problems related to railroad timing, reliable offloading and additional investment needs.”

The marketplace for Canadian livestock feed demand is highly competitive with many alternative energy and protein feed ingredients available for producers. The 2018 Canadian harvest, however, has realized lower yields for wheat and barley, leading to less overall tonnage. Additionally, the harvest has higher quality, which is moving the limited volume available into export and food markets versus feed markets.

The United States is well-positioned to fill this domestic grain shortfall due to close geographic proximity to the U.S. market, including northern U.S. ethanol plants that offer U.S. DDGS for local feed rations, and the market access provided by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Overall, Canada has purchased 1.44 million metric tons (56.7 million bushels) of U.S. corn thus far in the 2017/2018 marketing year (Sept. 2018-July 2018), more than double the previous marketing year, in addition to 605,000 tons of U.S. DDGS.

The Council continues to work with Alberta feedlots to address concerns related to challenges with Canadian rail transload and delivery and provides practical solutions to buffer these challenges.

“Alberta livestock producers have mounting concerns about feed grain availability and rising prices are putting U.S. corn into a competitive price with Canadian grain,” Dowler said. “Given that corn was widely available in Alberta last year, more cattle feeders are well aware of the opportunity to feed U.S. corn and DDGS and are becoming more knowledgeable about pricing and logistics, in large part due to the Council’s work.”

Furthermore, the same drought conditions are affecting pastures, and producers are selling yearling calves to feedlots about a month earlier than normal. The combination of these market conditions means the Council’s visit was well-timed as cattle feeders are making important decisions about grain buying for coming months.

“All indications are that U.S. corn will move into Alberta, with potentially more than one million tons required to make up for domestic shortfalls in feed grains,” Dowler said. “On the final day of the Council’s travel, more than 100,000 tons of corn traded in Southern Alberta attributed to increased awareness of the use of corn and DDGS in cattle feed rations provided by team members and downward pressure on corn prices.”

Auto Import Tariffs Will Prompt More Retaliation Against American Agriculture, Warns NPPC

U.S. tariffs on auto imports likely would prompt retaliation from some of American agriculture’s biggest trading partners, leading to catastrophic financial harm to farmers, warned the National Pork Producers Council in comments submitted today to the Senate Committee on Finance.

In its ongoing efforts to realign U.S. trade policy, the Trump administration is considering putting duties on autos and auto parts under the 1962 Trade Expansion Act’s Section 232 for national security reasons.

NPPC reiterated its opposition to U.S. tariffs imposed to date – Section 232 duties on steel and aluminum imports and tariffs on imported goods from China related to that country’s theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of U.S. technology – and to any new tariffs.

“American agriculture generally and U.S. pork producers specifically have borne the brunt of trade retaliation from some of our top trading partners,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “We can’t afford to take another hit. If we do, a lot of farmers could go out of business, and consumers will pay a lot more for food.”

According to an estimate from Iowa State University economists, an initial 25 percent Chinese tariff on U.S. pork was the main cause of hog futures dropping by $18 per pig from March through May, or $2 billion industrywide on an annualized basis. In June, Mexico imposed a 10 percent tariff on U.S. pork, and in July, it increased the duty to 20 percent, and China imposed another 25 percent tariff. (Mexico is the U.S. pork industry’s No. 2 export market; China is No. 3.)

U.S. tariffs on auto imports could affect Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and at least four members of the European Union – Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as well as countries that supply parts to those nations. All are customers for U.S. pork. Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea are four of the U.S. pork industry’s top five export markets.

“Tariff retaliation from any of those countries would be bad for us,” Heimerl said, “but if we get duties from Canada, Japan, Mexico or South Korea – or all of them – U.S. pork and other U.S. farm exports would be dealt a devastating blow.”

Farm Bill Unlikely Before Lame Duck Session

ASA Newsletter

With the end of Fiscal Year 2018 approaching this weekend, time will run out on the farm bill. Major programs, including crop insurance and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, will continue because they are permanently authorized and funded.

The 2014 Act also provides funding through the marketing year for 2018 program crops, but the dairy program will expire at the end of December. While the Conservation Reserve Program is permanently funded, its authority will lapse in October, meaning that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will honor existing contracts but not be able to enter into new ones. Then there are 39 so-called “orphan” programs that will lose both authorization and funding on Oct. 1, including certain conservation programs, most bioenergy (biofuels), rural development and agricultural research programs.

The Foreign Market Development (FMD) program will lose authorization and funding on Oct. 1, while the Market Access Program (MAP) will remain authorized and funded through December.  ASA has worked with other trade associations that participate in FMD and MAP to maintain authorization and increase funding for these export promotion programs in the new farm bill.

Negotiations between the House and Senate on the 2018 farm bill have bogged down on several issues, including the SNAP work requirements in the House bill.  A compromise under which waivers of these requirements by states would be restricted has been floated, but no agreement is in sight.

Another provision in the House bill would make base acres that weren’t planted to a program crop in 2009 to 2017 ineligible for Title 1 payments under Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Savings from this change would be used to allow producers who experienced severe drought in 2009 to 2012 to update their yields under the PLC program. The base change provision is controversial because farmers who have been allowed to underplant their base and receive payments since the 1996 Farm Bill would have their base and payments taken away.

It is highly unlikely that Congress will return to Washington in October to finish the farm bill. The annual appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2019 has made more progress than in recent years, with a package of three of the 12 bills signed into law by President Donald Trump earlier this month.

Other packages are still stymied, including one that includes agricultural appropriations. However, a catch-all Continuing Resolution is included in a bill that also covers appropriations for the Department of Defense, which is considered “must pass” legislation. Assuming the CR passes and is signed by the President, funding for the government will continue until it expires on Dec. 7.

Legislators will return after the Nov. 6 mid-term elections to elect new leaders for the 116th Congress, but won’t get around to finishing the spending bills and trying to finalize the farm bill until after Thanksgiving.

ASA and its state affiliates are calling on Congress to complete the next farm bill this year rather than consider an extension when they come back to Washington. A short-term extension would avoid the “dairy cliff” at the end of December, but would mean starting the farm bill process over again with a new Congress and potentially new members and leaders of the Agriculture Committees.

Faced with continuing low prices and a volatile trade environment, no one in production agriculture wants to see added uncertainty in the support provided through the farm bill.  As a result, and if the farm bill isn’t finished in the lame duck session, there has been discussion of possibly extending the 2014 Farm Bill for three years – beyond the term of the next Congress and hopefully to a more stable farm economy.

ASA Joins Effort to Ensure Appropriations Bills Don’t Undermine BE Disclosure Law

Late last week, ASA joined others in the ag value chain on a letter to House and Senate appropriations Committee leadership regarding a provision impacting the disclosure of bioengineered (BE) food. The House and Senate are conferencing their respective versions of the appropriations bill and the letter aims to ensure that the final bill does not include any language that would undermine USDA’s uniform disclosure standard or create confusion for consumers. USDA is expected to finalize rules on BE foods later this year.

Farmers Union Urges Administration to Allow E15 Year-Round, Reconcile Billions of Gallons of Lost Demand for Biofuels

Ahead of an expected Trump Administration announcement on changes to the nation’s biofuel policies, National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging the President to follow through on his promises to support American family farmers and the biofuel industry by allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline, ceasing undue hardship waivers to oil refiners, and making up for lost demand as a result of previous waivers.

Building on a recent letter from farm and biofuel groups to President Trump, NFU President Roger Johnson said that while an E15 waiver is a step in the right direction towards expanded use of American grown biofuels, such a measure on its own would not make up for the billions of gallons of lost demand for ethanol that have resulted from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) exemptions handed out by former EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

“The historic decline in the farm economy over the past five years has been exacerbated by mishandling of the nation’s chief biofuel policy, the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Johnson. “While a move to allow year-round use of E15 gasoline is expected to increase domestic demand for ethanol by 1.3 billion gallons over the next five years, that number pales in comparison to the projected 4.6 billion gallons worth of demand that would be lost over the next 6 years if EPA continues handing out hardship waivers to oil refiners.”

The administration has been working on changes to biofuel policies that would ease tensions between biofuel and oil industries. Yet, to date, its actions have undercut demand for biofuels by waiving oil refiner requirements to comply with the RFS. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue last month said the administration will soon allow year-round use of E15 gasoline – a bump for the biofuel sector.

Johnson said such an announcement must be accompanied by a provision that makes up for the billions of gallons of lost demand as a result of hardship waivers, as well as a commitment not to further erode demand through continued use of waivers. “An announcement on E15 in and of itself does not make whole a biofuels industry that has experienced significant damage as a result of the former EPA administrator’s actions,” he said.

Johnson said such a request is commonsense for an administration that has pledged to support family farmers and American grown biofuels.

“The farm economy has placed many family farmers in dire financial straits right now,” said Johnson. “They are looking to the administration to take meaningful actions that, in the aggregate, expand demand for American farm products. Yet, to this point, they’ve only seen demand destruction. That must change immediately with tangible actions that ensure more biofuels make their way into the transportation fuel sector.”

Johnson added that NFU is a strong proponent of expanding use of higher blends of ethanol, like E30, in order to provide farmers with a stronger market for their products and consumers with cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient transportation fuels.

“Farmers Union is going to continue to push for expanded use of higher blends of ethanol, for the benefit of family farmers and consumers alike,” he said. “Until the administration creates an environment in which these fuels can succeed, it will have shortchanged the family farmers the President has pledged to support.”

Soy Family Participates in Taiwan Goodwill Mission and Signing Ceremony

U.S. soybean farmers have been present and active developing demand and utilization of soy in Taiwan for nearly 50 years. During a Washington visit this week, Yau-Kuen Hung, chairman of the Taiwan Vegetable Association and Wade Cowan, past president of the American Soybean Association, signed a commitment by the Taiwan soy industry to purchase an additional 600,000- 1 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) is hosting a Goodwill Mission from Taiwan with the help of the soy family during this week, and on Wednesday, the delegation met with soy family representatives, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials and Members of Congress. This trip reestablishes the deep connection and relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.

IGC Raises 2018-19 Grain-Production Forecast, Boosts Corn

The International Grains Council said Thursday that it has increased its forecast for global grain production for both this season and the next.

The IGC's fresh monthly forecasts boost expected 2017-18 production by 3 million metric tons to 2,095 million tons, and expected 2018/2019 production by 9 million tons to 2,072 million metric tons.

The changes represent increases of 0.1% and 0.4% on the grain body's figures from last month's report.

In its predictions for the 2018/2019 production season, the IGC upped its expected corn production to 1,074 million tons from 1,064 million tons. That increase combined with a 4-million-ton increase to expected soybean production, bringing that forecast total to 370 million tons, complimented by a 1-million-ton addition to the wheat production forecast, at 717 million tons.

Expected rice production was flat at 491 million tons.

"Nearly all the adjustment is for maize, including increased figures for the US (+6.1 million tons), the EU (+2.7 million tons) and Ukraine (+1.2 million tons)," the IGC said, adding that, for soybeans, "reduced shipments to China are more than offset by bigger deliveries to other markets, including Argentina, the EU, North Africa and Near East Asia."

Learning to Do, Doing to Learn Through the Turn the Bag Blue & Gold FFA Program

Mycogen Seeds is excited to announce its 2018-19 Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program with the National FFA Organization. After a successful pilot year in 2017-18, Mycogen expanded the program to seven states and eight FFA chapters.

The Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program focuses on a comprehensive learning platform that provides foundational agronomic principles and professional sales training to FFA students. As part of the program, students can raise funds for their local FFA chapter, state FFA associations and National FFA Organization.

“We are not only dedicated to our farmers’ growth but also the growth of young agricultural leaders,” says Blake Courtney, Mycogen marketing communications manager. “Last year, we piloted the program with six FFA chapters across corn-growing regions, donating more than $35,000 to local FFA chapters, the National FFA organization and their respective state FFA associations.”

Students will hit the field this fall, putting their skills to work. In collaboration with their local Mycogen territory manager and local retailer, participating FFA members will offer corn hybrids that fit local geographies, including two Mycogen® brand TMF silage hybrids. Farmers can purchase seed through FFA members and receive their Mycogen brand seed in a specially branded Mycogen blue-and-gold bag.

Real-life experience

Matt Porter, a Mycogen territory manager, says the experience is invaluable and provides students with real-life, in-the-trenches experience.

“It’s one thing to learn about agronomy or professional sales techniques in a classroom, but this program takes that experience to a new level by asking students to incorporate their learnings in the field,” Porter says. “Last year, I worked with the York, Nebraska, FFA chapter, and it was rewarding to see those students interact with farmers and follow the curriculum.”

Farmers interested in supporting the program and their local FFA chapter can contact one of the following 2018-19 FFA chapter participants or corresponding Mycogen retailer partners.
    York FFA Chapter, York, Nebraska - Central Valley Ag Cooperative, York, Nebraska
    Chase County FFA Chapter, Imperial, Nebraska - Nutrien Ag Solutions, Imperial, Nebraska
    Central Plains FFA Chapter, Gowrie, Iowa - NEW Cooperative, Inc., Fort Dodge, Iowa
    Alexandria FFA Chapter, Alexandria, Minnesota - Pro-Ag Farmers Coop, Brandon, Minnesota
    Elsberry FFA Chapter, Elsberry, Missouri - MFA, Inc., Elsberry, Missouri
    Eastern Hancock FFA Chapter, Charlottesville, Indiana - Harvest Land, Wilkinson, Indiana
    Fremont FFA Chapter, Fremont, Michigan - Ceres Solutions, Fremont, Michigan
    Bureau Valley FFA Chapter, Manlius, Illinois - Nutrien Ag Solutions, Sheffield, Illinois

“As part of the Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program process, students started getting more interested in careers in agriculture,” says Jason Hirschfield, FFA advisor in York. “Whether they go into agronomy or not, they are at least asking the ‘what ifs,’ and that, I believe, is powerful.”

Driving Dairy Profitability — Tip 1: Shoot for an SCC of 100,000 or lower

By Mike Lormore, DVM, MS, MBA, Director, U.S. Dairy Cattle Technical Services, Zoetis

Aggressively pushing your somatic cell count (SCC) as low as you possibly can — even lower than the accepted standard of 200,000 — will drive profitability. Merely monitoring SCC isn’t enough as you work to increase productivity and battle mastitis, the most costly disease in the industry.

High SCC could cost you 11 pounds/cow/day, according to Zoetis and Compeer Financial’s analysis of a 11-year herd data study that included 489 year-end financial and production record summaries.1* The top-third of herds in the study had a bulk tank SCC that averaged 132,000 cells/mL. Meanwhile, the bottom one-third of herds had a bulk tank SCC average of 284,000 cells/mL. This difference in SCC was associated with an 11-pound difference in milk per cow per day for the top-performing herds. Additional benefits associated with lower SCC included more milk production, increased pregnancy rates and fewer death losses.

The challenge is to rethink your ultimate SCC goal — 200,000 SCC isn’t low enough. The study showed that for every 100,000 cells/mL increase in bulk tank SCC, milk yield declines 5.5 pounds. 1* Giving up this many pounds of milk as an accepted standard shows more ambitious goals present a real opportunity for our industry and individual dairies to improve. To increase dairy production and operation profitability, pushing your SCC lower — to 150,000 or even 100,000 — is critical.

Get there in three steps:

1.    Keep SCC in check — Without a management strategy that includes actively monitoring individual cow SCC and new infections, you are taking a financial risk. Make sure you know your SCC levels and have protocols in place for identifying mastitis pathogens and treating them.

2.    Prevent new infections — Coliform intramammary infection rate is about four times greater during the dry period than during lactation.2 When going into the dry period, set protocols that are both tailored to clear up existing infections and prevent new ones. Implement a dry cow treatment program that includes a broad-spectrum tube, a proven internal teat sealant and vaccination against coliform infections.

3.    Reduce mastitis risk and use fewer mastitis tubes — Nothing lessens the financial impact of mastitis like reducing the risk of it occurring. Genomic testing can help you identify which animals are most likely to avoid getting sick. This has been proven with first- and second-year results from a field study using Clarifide® Plus that shows cows in the top quartile based on their respective genetic trait herd rankings had 47% fewer cases of mastitis. Effectively, those cows in the top quartile need half as many mastitis tubes, they have half as much discarded milk, and they spend half the number of days in the hospital pen compared with the cows in the bottom quartile.3

Managing SCC to push levels as low as possible presents a large opportunity to improve your long-term profitability. To learn more about SCC management strategies and the Dairy Financial Drivers study, visit

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wednesday September 26 Ag News

USDA Providing Funds to Protect and Restore Agricultural Lands, Grasslands and Wetlands Across Nebraska

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This program, created under the 2014 Farm Bill, provides funding for the purchase of conservation easements to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to restore and protect critical wetlands and grasslands.

Nebraska state conservationist Craig Derickson said, “Conservation easements are a good tool to ensure natural resources are conserved and protected for all Nebraskans. We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”

The main goal of ACEP is to prevent productive agriculture land from being converted to non-agricultural uses and to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Applications can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for 2019 funding opportunities, applications in Nebraska must be received by Nov. 1, 2018. Applications are currently being accepted for both agricultural land and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of conservation easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

A key option under the agricultural land easement component is the "grasslands of special environmental significance" that will protect high-quality grasslands that are under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other non-grazing uses.  To qualify, the application would need to be located in an area meeting the designated criteria.

All applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Eligible applicants will be compensated with a payment rate comparable to the local land use value.

Applicants will need to provide accurate records of ownership and ensure they have established current fiscal year ownership eligibility with USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center and at

“NRCS staff will work with all interested applicants to help them through the application process and provide one-on-one assistance to create the conservation easement option that works best for their farming or ranching operation,” Derickson said.

For more information about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services it provides, visit your local USDA Service Center or

Land O'Lakes CEO to Address ABA National Ag Bankers Conference

Land O’Lakes President and CEO, Beth Ford, is among the headline speakers who will address the nation’s largest gathering of ag lenders at the American Bankers Association National Agricultural Bankers Conference Nov. 11-14 in Omaha, Neb. This year’s event, hosted at the CHI Health Center Omaha, will cover the most pressing issues in agricultural lending today including U.S. trade policy, commodity prices and the way technology is changing ag finance.

Ford, one of just 25 female CEOs leading a Fortune 500 company, will explain how consumer trends are changing the way businesses operate, as well as opportunities and challenges ahead in the ag sector and overall economy. In addition to Ford, ag lenders will hear from former USDA Chief Economist Dr. Joseph Glauber on current U.S. trade policy and how it will affect farmers; Amazon Web Services’ Head of AgTech, Cameron Holbrook, on Amazon’s development of cloud technology and its interest in the ag industry; and Dr. Stephen Higgs of Kansas State University on the threat of agricultural biological weapons.

The four-day conference will feature more than 35 sessions on other topics including:
-    Commodity outlooks. The latest updates from the experts on beef, dairy, grains, livestock/pork and—new this year—a super session on permanent plantings, rice and cotton.
-    Succession planning on the farm. This session will help lenders understand the key role they can play in helping businesses and families address succession planning.
-    Regulatory view of ag banking. The OCC and FDIC will share their views on the impact of new regulatory changes on ag and rural lending.
-    How technology is changing ag and ag finance. More than one session will cover the future of ag banking and how bankers can harness the latest financial technologies.

For the second year, the event will include a “Women in Ag Banking Networking Breakfast,” which aims to inspire participants and provide an opportunity to discuss ways to celebrate successes and failures as professional women in the field. This year’s networking session will feature Natalie Bartholomew, author of The Girl Banker Blog.

For additional schedule information or to register for the conference, call 1-800-BANKERS or visit

Perdue on Negotiations for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding today’s agreement between President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe to begin negotiations for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement:

“Achieving high-standard trade agreements is a top priority for American agriculture, and the announcement of the beginning of negotiations for a U.S.-Japan trade agreement is an important step in that process. This is welcome news, since we know that export income is critical to the financial health of agriculture and is a key contributor to rural prosperity. Japan is an important customer for our agricultural products and we look forward to the great potential this breakthrough represents. Today’s announcement is further proof that President Trump’s approach to trade – standing strong for American interests and bringing other countries to the table – will benefit our entire economy, including the agricultural sector.”

Ricketts Hails News of U.S.-Japan Trade Negotiations as “Big Growth Opportunity”

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that the United States and Japan had agreed to enter trade negotiations.  The agreement came at a summit meeting in New York between President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Japan is Nebraska’s number one direct international investor and our second largest trading partner outside of North America,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Last year, Nebraska experienced double-digit growth in beef and pork exports to the country.  A new deal with Japan is critical to sustaining that growth into the future.  Nebraska is grateful for the personal attention both President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer have given to pursuing a new deal, and I appreciate that our friends in Japan are coming to the table to negotiate around our shared goals.  A new trade deal represents a big growth opportunity for both countries, and I hope negotiations move swiftly.”


Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest export market, with over $1 billion worth of exports in 2016.  The country is Nebraska’s largest direct international investor with Japanese companies employing about 9,400 people in Nebraska.  They are a top-3 customer for Nebraska beef, pork, eggs, corn, wheat, and soybeans.
·         Beef:  $316.1 million – #1 market
·         Corn:  $244.2 million – #2 market
·         Pork: $198.4 million – #1 market
·         Soybeans and Soybean Products: $81.5 million – #3 market
·         Eggs: $16.8 million – #1 market
·         Wheat: $13.9 million - #2 market

Smith Applauds Progress on Trade between U.S. and Japan

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the below statement following a September 26 summit between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan which produced a joint statement outlining plans for future trade negotiations.

“Japan is one of our most important allies and trading partners, and a bilateral trade agreement between our two nations is long overdue. Today’s meeting between President Trump and Prime Minster Abe represents a positive step toward the negotiation of such an agreement for the benefit of our producers and consumers alike. I have long called for the reduction of trade barriers between United States and Japan, and I encourage our trade negotiators to meet as soon as possible to build on this progress.”

Smith introduced legislation earlier this Congress, H. Res. 236, Recognizing the importance of the United States-Japan partnership and supporting the pursuit of closer trade ties between the United States and Japan.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding U.S., Japan Trade Talks

“Ever since the President pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, we have urged the Administration to follow through on its promise of developing bilateral free trade agreements with TPP member countries, especially Japan. Today’s announcement that the United States and Japan have agreed to enter trade talks is tremendous news and couldn’t have come at a better time.”

“Japan is already our largest trading partner for Nebraska beef, and a major purchaser of Nebraska agriculture commodities including pork, corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, and dairy products. There is no doubt that a bilateral agreement with Japan would be a major win for Nebraska farmers and ranchers if the U.S. is able to reach an agreement with similar terms to those previously negotiated under the TPP, specifically as it relates to tariff reduction on agriculture products.”

“TPP was projected to be a boon for Nebraska agriculture, increasing agriculture cash receipts by more than $378 million per year when fully implemented, with much of that gain attributed to increased trade with Japan. If the U.S. can lower Japan’s existing 38.5 percent tariff on U.S. beef which was slated to gradually decline to 9 percent under TPP, that would be a major victory for Nebraska, the ‘beef state’.”

NCBA “Strongly Supports” Expanding Trade with Japan

Today National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Kevin Kester released the following statement in response to the announcement that the United States and Japan will pursue a bilateral trade agreement:

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly supports President Trump’s commitment to expanding trade with Japan. Today’s announcement is exciting news for America’s beef producers because Japan is our top export market, accounting for nearly $1.9 billion in U.S. beef sales in 2017. Unfortunately, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan—a trade barrier that hurts America’s beef producers and Japanese consumers. NCBA has been a strong advocate for a bilateral trade deal between our nations and looks forward to working closely with the Trump Administration to secure increased market access for our industry. We congratulate President Trump and Prime Minister Abe for taking this important step in our trading relationship. The faster negotiations conclude, the faster U.S. producers can provide more Japanese consumers with the high-quality beef they demand.”

NPPC Lauds Administration On Bolstering Ties With Japan

The National Pork Producers Council strongly praised the Trump administration, following today’s announcement by the White House that the United States and Japan soon will begin trade talks. The Asian nation is the U.S. pork industry’s No. 1 value market, importing in 2017 more than $1.6 billion of U.S. pork.

“This is fantastic news for America’s pork producers,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Japan has been our top export market for years, so it’s good that the administration wants to solidify the relationship with that important economic and geopolitical ally.

“This is very positive for the U.S. pork industry, and it comes at a time when pork producers were having concerns about losing market share in Japan.”

That’s because the U.S. pork industry’s biggest competitor, the European Union, recently concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan. That deal is set to become effective early next year. Additionally, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP minus the United States) is expected to be finalized in early 2019.

“We look forward to working with the Trump trade team on bolstering ties with one of our most important trading partners,” Heimerl said.

U.S. Wheat Associates Welcomes Formal Trade Talks with Japan

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is excited to hear that the Trump Administration and the Japanese government are taking formal steps toward trade negotiations. The announcement today to “further expand trade and investment between the United States and Japan in a mutually beneficial manner” has the potential to eliminate a dangerous vulnerability for U.S. wheat farmers.

Over the years, Japan has purchased more U.S. wheat than any other country, but also imports wheat from Canada and Australia, which are members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) along with Japan. Once ratified, this agreement will include a gradual reduction of Japan’s effective tariffs on milling wheat imported from TPP member countries. While U.S. wheat farmers have excellent and longstanding relationships with Japanese millers, the higher tariffs on U.S. wheat would force them to purchase significantly more Canadian and Australian wheat within a few years of the new agreement’s implementation. That is a result no U.S. wheat grower can afford, and we are hopeful that the Administration will address this problem as an early achievement in the negotiations.

In addition to addressing this specific problem for wheat, we appreciate the emphasis on free, fair and rules-based trade. These negotiations are a positive sign that the United States is again moving toward a comprehensive agreement with Japan and, hopefully, with other countries in the Pacific region and around the world. That would benefit U.S. agriculture and the entire U.S. economy. 

House Ag Committee Holds Roundtable with Doud, McKinney to Discuss Ag Trade Agenda

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) made the following statement today after holding a roundtable with USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Gregg Doud, and USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, to discuss the administration’s agricultural trade agenda:

“We know the angst in farm country right now. Between low prices, droughts, flooding, hurricanes and the retaliatory tariffs of our trading partners – there is hurt in the heartland. We continue to work with the Administration as they make progress on NAFTA and other trade agreements, but we also recognize that the best thing Congress can do to aid farm country is to provide farmers and ranchers with the certainty and predictability of a five-year farm bill. On that front, we will continue our work until a new farm bill is complete.”

EIA: US Ethanol Stocks Again Decline

Domestic ethanol stocks declined for a second straight week during the week ended Sept. 21 on mixed blending demand and decreased plant production, according to Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday, Sept. 26.

EIA reports ethanol inventories decreased 117,000 barrels (bbl) during the week reviewed to 22.629 million bbl, 1.9 million bbl, or 9.2%, above supply held a year earlier.

Plant production dropped 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.036 million bpd during the week ended Sept. 21, 4% above the corresponding week in 2017. Four-week averaged production was 1.048 million bpd versus 1.034 million bpd during the corresponding four week period in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, slid 27,000 bpd to 901,000 bpd during the week-ended Sept. 21, 1.7% lower than a year ago. For the four weeks ended Sept. 21, blending demand averaged 922,000 bpd, 12,000 bpd more than the same period in 2017.

USDA Outlines Next Steps for Animal Disease Traceability

Greg Ibach, under secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Marketing and Regulatory Programs, announced USDA's four overarching goals for advancing animal disease traceability to protect the long-term health, marketability and economic viability of the U.S. livestock industry.

"The landscape surrounding animal disease traceability has changed dramatically in the past decade, and producers across the nation recognize that a comprehensive system is the best protection against a devastating disease outbreak like foot-and-mouth disease" Ibach said. "We have a responsibility to these producers and American agriculture as a whole to make animal disease traceability what it should be--a modern system that tracks animals from birth to slaughter using affordable technology that allows USDA to quickly trace sick and exposed animals to stop disease spread."

USDA's four overarching goals for increasing traceability are:
- Advance the electronic sharing of data among federal and state animal health officials, veterinarians and industry; including sharing basic animal disease traceability data with the federal animal health events repository (AHER).

- Use electronic ID tags for animals requiring individual identification in order to make the transmission of data more efficient;

- Enhance the ability to track animals from birth to slaughter through a system that allows tracking data points to be connected; and

- Elevate the discussion with States and industry to work toward a system where animal health certificates are electronically transmitted from private veterinarians to state animal health officials.

These goals reflect the core themes resulting from a State and Federal Animal Disease Traceability Working Group that developed 14 key points for advancing traceability. They are also in keeping with feedback APHIS received at stakeholder meetings held across the country to hear from industry and producers directly.

USDA recognizes that some sectors of the livestock industry have already invested a lot of infrastructure into developing their traceability programs. These new goals complement what those sectors are already doing, and will help increase traceability across the entire industry. USDA is committed to continued discussion and collaboration to ensure we coordinate traceability efforts across the country.

While electronic ID is critical for advancing traceability, it's important to emphasize USDA will not dictate the use of a specific tag technology. Different industries prefer different tag types (low frequency vs. ultra high frequency) and choice will continue to be a cornerstone of USDA's program, giving producers the ability to decide what works best for their operations. Not only will electronic ID allow animals to move more quickly through ports, markets and sales, it will also help ensure rapid response when a disease event strikes.

To assist with the transition to electronic ID, USDA is ending the free metal tags program and instead offering a cost-share for electronic tags. This is something stakeholders have repeatedly told us they need to help transition to electronic ID.

"Another key component of our plan is sharing a few key data elements from existing state and industry animal movement databases with our animal health events repository," said Ibach. "That way, if an outbreak occurs, we can quickly find the information we need to locate and identify potentially diseased or at-risk animals. This helps avoid unnecessary quarantines that could impact producers' livelihoods. And by linking to that information instead of housing it ourselves, we maintain our stakeholders' privacy."

Moving forward, USDA wants to continue to build on the current momentum around animal disease traceability, and will begin implementing these ADT goals starting in fiscal year 2019. USDA will work with our state partners and industry to establish appropriate benchmarks to meet to show progress. USDA will also ensure all new traceability cooperative agreements will be contingent on measurable advancements toward these three goals.

All Fertilizers Higher Third Week of September

Retail fertilizer prices continue to track higher, according to fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of September 2018. All eight of the major fertilizers' increased from a month earlier. One fertilizer, urea, made a significant 6% move higher compared to the third week of August. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $384 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were all higher in price compared to last month, but none were up a noteworthy amount. DAP had an average price of $494 per ton, MAP $520/ton, potash $362/ton, 10-34-0 $448/ton, anhydrous $494/ton, UAN28 $239/ton and UAN32 $278/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

In the U.S., all eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. Potash is 5% higher, 10-34-0 is 8% more expensive, UAN32 is 12% higher, UAN28 is 13% more expensive, both MAP and DAP are now 15% higher and both anhydrous and urea are now 23% more expensive compared to last year.

ACE leadership testifies on fuel economy, emissions standards

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings testifies today during the public hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks.

Jennings’ testimony emphasizes how ethanol-enriched, high octane fuel blends between 25 and 30 percent (in the 99-100 RON range) would enable automakers to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel economy. The following are excerpts from Jennings’ testimony:

“We are grateful EPA and NHTSA are seeking comment on how fuel such as 100 RON E30 can provide automakers flexibility to meet CAFE-GHG standards. Research indicates the use of 98 to 100 RON fuel containing at least 25 percent ethanol results in 3 to 9 percent efficiency gains in high-compression engines which are beginning to dominate the marketplace.

“Increasing the content of ethanol in gasoline is but one way to produce high octane fuel. We recognize refiners prefer 95 RON where additional octane is petroleum-derived and ethanol content is capped at 10 percent. Ultimately, however, EPA needs to weigh benefits and costs. In some wholesale markets today, unleaded gasoline costs nearly one-dollar-per-gallon more than ethanol.

“Not only will 98 to 100 RON fuel containing 25 to 30 percent ethanol save consumers compared to the premium-priced octane level being advocated by oil refiners, it is a more cost-effective approach for automakers to achieve meaningful efficiency gains and emission reductions.”

Below are steps ACE will recommend in its written comments and encourages EPA to take during its final rulemaking to enable high octane fuel to play a role in helping automakers meet the 2021-2026 standards, including:
-    Establish or promote a minimum octane fuel rating in the range of 98 to 100 RON with 25 to 30 percent ethanol and propose or invite automakers to propose a corresponding certification fuel for engine testing purposes.
-    Phase out the 85 AKI octane rating in high elevation areas of the country because automakers do not recommend it in their engines.
-    Restore credits for automakers to produce flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and establish new incentives for vehicles designed to achieve optimal efficiency on high octane ethanol blends.

ACE encourages ethanol supporters to utilize its Legislative Action Center to submit comments on or before the comment period deadline of Oct. 26.

NCGA at SAFE Vehicles Rule Public Hearing

Michigan farmer and NCGA Ethanol Action team member Russell Braun testified on behalf of NCGA at a public hearing in Dearborn, Mich., September 25 to review the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule. This proposed regulation would set standards for vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Important for farmers, regulators also requested comments on the benefits and role of high-octane fuels when it comes to meeting vehicle standards.

Corn farmers have a vested interest in the future of transportation fuels, and NCGA wants to ensure automakers have the tools and technology to meet future emissions and efficiency standards, both cost-effectively and safely for drivers. One of these tools is high-octane fuel, such as a mid-level ethanol blend.

Braun’s testimony urged regulators to consider fuels and vehicles as a system of high-octane fuel used with optimized engines. While ethanol may not be the only source of fuel octane, it is the lowest cost - and lowest carbon - octane source currently available to consumers.

Braun also encouraged EPA to use the agency’s authority to support the production and use of higher-octane fuels by addressing regulatory barriers, the need for a minimum fuel octane standard, RVP parity and correcting fuel efficiency calculations.

“NCGA supports one national standard for vehicles. High-octane, low-carbon fuel can help harmonize federal and state standards and is a needed compromise solution on future standards,” Braun concluded his testimony.

Farm Bureau Calls for Evaluation of Endangered Species Protection

California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson today urged Congress to improve the current culture of conflict that exemplifies current Endangered Species Act regulations.

Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the California olive and citrus grower told members of the House Committee on Natural Resources that an evaluation is needed of how the Endangered Species Act works, and how it can be improved to better work with farmers and other landowners.

“We all value protecting species from extinction.” Johansson said. “Our disagreements are not about the goal of species protection, but the best way to achieve that goal. We are not here to question the Act’s fundamental goal of striving to conserve species from extinction. This goal will not and should not change. What we grapple with today is not whether we should conserve species from extinction, but how we should conserve species from extinction.”

Johansson explained to the Committee that farmers and conservation groups understand that for species protection programs to work better, they must be improved for both species and people.

“What we know is that to actually take care of species on the land, we need to work with, not against, the people on the land,” Johansson said. “For this to happen, we must increase the opportunities for collaboration and decrease the opportunities for conflict. Currently, landowners view the ESA as a threat. The history of the ESA has generally shown landowners that having species or habitat (on their private land) creates a lot of risk and provides no real benefit. Given that half of listed species spend 80% of their lives on private land, this situation offers little opportunity for people or species.”