Monday, December 31, 2018

Monday December 31, 2018 Ag News

Here's the last post of the year, posted in the final hours of 2018.  So long, MMXVIII!!!!

Corn Stalk Quality After Weathering
Bruce Anderson, Nebraska Extension Forage Specialist

Rain in the fall usually is welcomed despite the delays it causes with crop harvest.  Pastures and alfalfa benefit from extra growth and winterizing capabilities.  Wheat and other small grains get well established as do any new fields of alfalfa or pasture.  The reserve moisture stored in the soil will get good use during next year’s growing season.

But rain also reduces the feed value of corn stalks in fields that were already combined, and even on standing stalks.  This fall many fields have had some pretty heavy rain and snow on those stalks.

Rain reduces corn stalk quality several ways.  Most easily noticed is how fast stalks get soiled or trampled into the ground when fields are muddy.

Less noticeable are nutritional changes.  Heavy rain soaks into dry corn stalk residue and leaches out some of the soluble nutrients.  Most serious is the loss of sugars and other energy-dense nutrients, which lowers the total digestible nutrients (TDN) or energy value of the stalks.  These same nutrients also disappear if stalks begin to mold or rot in the field or especially in the bale.  Then palatability and intake also decline.

There is little you can do to prevent these losses.  What you can do, though, is begin to supplement a little earlier than usual.  Since weathering by rain reduces TDN more than it reduces protein, consider the energy value of your supplements as well as its protein content.

Weathered corn stalks still are economical feeds.  Just supplement them accordingly.


Are you getting tired of winter?  Tired of hauling water or chopping ice?  Well maybe, just maybe you can let your cows eat snow when its available for their water needs.

Snow sometimes can be a good source of livestock water.  Research from Canada and several northern states have shown that cows can eat 30 to 40 pounds of snow per day to meet their water needs.  And some ranchers already rely on only snow to provide water on their winter pastures.

To be successful using snow as your water source, several conditions must be met.  First off, the snow must be clean and fresh.  We’ve all heard jokes about eating yellow snow, but it’s no joke if that is what your cows are depending on.  Snow that’s crusted over, filled with dirt, or heavily trampled is not adequate.

Second, the cows must be in good shape.  It will take body heat energy to melt the snow they eat so thin cows or sick cows should not be forced to rely on snow for water.  Lactating cows also should have a good source of liquid water.

Make sure the cows are eating an adequate diet to provide the extra energy needed to melt that snow.  Cows that go off feed or aren’t eating enough might be having trouble getting enough water from the snow.  After all, they do need to learn how to effectively graze snow to get enough water.

Lastly, be sure to have an alternate water source readily available.  Snow availability and snow conditions can change rapidly.

Snow can be used as the only source of water for many livestock, saving time, money, and potentially extending grazing to remote areas or later in the season.  However, monitor intake and cow condition carefully to be successful.

Nebraska Cattlemen 2018 Year in Review

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) once again reflects on membership and leadership happenings as another year passes.

2018 was anything but predictable. In terms of an essential element, moisture was as plentiful as any year. Rainfall was abundant in the spring, summer and fall depending on your location in the state. The impact by Mother Nature provided plenty of moisture for grass and crop production. And to close out the calendar year, it was too much. Prior to NC annual convention, the rain/sleet/snow the first weekend in December nearly statewide forces us to remember the winter of 1983-1984.

An exciting occurrence in 2018 was the once in a lifetime mission in creating a member-owned office in Lincoln. Since the merger over thirty years ago, the membership of Nebraska Cattlemen has never enjoyed or benefitted owning an office in Lincoln. Being frugal and prepared, every NC Board since the merger has planned and saved for this opportunity. The 2017 NC Board established a fundraising campaign to supplement the financial demands of owning our building. The campaign is well within reach of the monetary goal and the building is on track to being completed the first part of the 2019 year.

Another unpredictable variable was all things related to trade. Trade has become a necessity to our profitability based on the reality the world’s consumers desiring our product. Depending on the week or month, the value of exports can range as high as $300+ per value of the total dollars of a harvested beef carcass. That fact referenced against the noise certain media cries about the current administration’s trade efforts, sometimes it’s difficult to know the truth. However, the facts through the first eleven months of 2018, USDA/Foreign Ag Service statistics reported beef exports up cumulatively for the year 768,276 metric tons, 13.6% versus 2017, which is significant. “We can be hopeful of what could happen. But that reinforces two points. Trade is essential for beef producers. And regardless of negotiations being successful or unsuccessful, we as producers will be impacted. It does feel like superior success is on the cusp of happening as this administration has negotiated for improvements, specifically for beef trade like none in recent times.” NC Executive Vice President, Pete McClymont.

2018 finishes with yet again a critical need for property tax relief and reform. The year brought another wasted attempt to bring any measure of improvement to how ag land taxation and/or K-12 school funding is addressed in the country’s fourth largest ag cash receipts state. Despite the frustration, the commitment by current NC leadership, members and staff continues.

The year-end has NC staff and leaders preparing for the 2019 legislative session. Nebraska Cattlemen will continue working for Nebraska beef producers – pasture to plate in 2019.

My Goals for 2019

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts

As we close out 2018 and enter 2019, many of us are turning our minds to the future.  Some are setting new financial or fitness goals.  For others, they may be resolving to spend more time with family or to read new books.  As we enter the new year, I have put together a list of goals for our state in 2019.  I am sharing a few of them here.

Great Opportunities ­– Jobs create opportunities for individuals and families, giving them dignity, economic freedom, and financial independence.  For the third year in a row, Nebraska achieved one million non-farm jobs in 2018.  This year, we ranked #3 for wage growth, #4 for workforce participation rate, and #6 for low unemployment.  My team has put a big focus on connecting Nebraskans to great opportunities through initiatives like our reemployment program at the Department of Labor and the Developing Youth Talent Initiative through the Department of Economic Development.  In 2019, we will expand our efforts to develop our people and connect even more Nebraskans to great jobs.  We will continue to build upon the foundation of our current programs to ensure that our people have the skills they need to take the great jobs in our state.

Innovative Customer Service Successes – In 2018, our team made progress on our mission to make government more effective, more efficient, and more customer focused.  We brought faster service to the Omaha Metro South DMV in Sarpy County with a new, enhanced location in Bellevue.  We eliminated bureaucratic processes in the Division of Developmental Disabilities so our service coordinators can spend more time serving the needs of Nebraskans.  A review of how inmates in our prisons receive medical care cut down on the number of inmates being transported out of state prisons, helping protect public safety.  In 2019, the Center of Operational Excellence and our process improvement coordinators will continue to equip our team with new skills to eliminate waste and find innovative ways to speed up the work of state government.

Property Tax Relief – As the Legislature gathers again for a new session, there will be another opportunity to deliver new property tax relief for Nebraskans.  As we think about how to address high property taxes in the upcoming legislative session, it is important to focus on the fundamentals.  There are three key things that matter when it comes to cutting property taxes:  We have to control spending.  We have to reform how property is valued for tax purposes.  And we cannot tax one group of people to pay for someone else’s tax relief.  Right now I am preparing a budget that controls spending along with additional property tax relief.  I will be unveiling my budget during my State of the State address on January 15th, and I look forward to working with Senators to deliver more tax relief for you.

Year-Round E15 – In October, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and I joined President Trump in Council Bluffs for a special announcement.  At the event, President Trump announced his approval of the year-round sale of E15.  This is a big deal for Iowa and Nebraska, the top two ethanol-producing states in the nation.  Right now, E15 can only be marketed September 16th through April 30th, meaning that we are missing out on peak driving months during the summer.  A final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow E15 to be sold all year long, and we will be encouraging the EPA to finalize this rule in time for the summer driving season.  The EPA also recently approved the State of Nebraska for a pilot program to test E30.  In the pilot program, we will study the use of Nebraska-grown and produced E30 in conventional vehicles owned by the state.  This additional research around mileage and maintenance will help show that E30 will help consumers save money at the pump, help clean up the environment, and is great for our farmers and ranchers.

These are just a few of our goals for 2019.  In the coming weeks, I will be sharing some of the initiatives I have been working on as we kick off the 106th session of the Nebraska Legislature.  Until then, I hope you and your family have a safe and joyous conclusion to the holiday season.  If you have thoughts you would like to share about the upcoming year, I hope you will take the time to write me at or you can call 402-471-2244. 

Have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

USDA Updates Available Functions During Lapse in Funding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Friday updated its assessment of how the lapse in federal funding will affect services and programs should the government shutdown remain unresolved beyond December 31, 2018.  Many services will carry on, while others will discontinue on January 1, 2019 because available funds have been expended.

Certain USDA activities would remain active because they are related to law enforcement, the protection of life and property, or are financed through available funding (such as through mandatory appropriations, multi-year discretionary funding, or user fees). During the first week of the shutdown, 62% of employees have been either exempted or excepted from shutdown activities. If the shutdown continues, this percentage would decrease, and activities would be reduced as available funding decreases.

USDA activities that will continue beyond January 1, 2019 include:
-    Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services.
-    Grain and other commodity inspection, weighing, grading, and IT support services funded by user fees.
-    Inspections for import and export activities to prevent the introduction and dissemination of pests into and out of the U.S., including inspections from Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the mainland.
-    Forest Service law enforcement, emergency and natural disaster response, and national defense preparedness efforts.
-    Continuity and maintenance of some research measurements and research-related infrastructure, such as germplasm, seed storage, and greenhouses.
-    Care for animals, plants, and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research and to comply with the Wild Horses and Burros statute.
-    Eligible households will still receive monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for January.
-    Most other domestic nutrition assistance programs, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, WIC, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, can continue to operate at the State and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available. Additional Federal funds will not be provided during the period of the lapse, however deliveries of already-purchased commodities will continue.
-    The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into February.  Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month.
-    Minimal administrative and management support, including to excepted IT systems and contracts, will be maintained to support the above activities.
-    Natural Resources Conservation Service offices will remain open to support conservation technical and financial assistance (such as Environmental Quality Incentives Program and easement programs).
-    Market Facilitation Program payments for producers that have already certified production with the Farm Service Agency.
-    Trade mitigation purchases made by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
-    Agricultural export credit and other agricultural trade development and monitoring activities.
-    USDA’s Market News Service, which provides market information to the agricultural industry.

USDA activities which would not be continued include:
-    USDA Farm Service Agency county offices will close at the end of business on Friday, December 28, 2018.
-    Provision of new rural development loans and grants for housing, community facilities, utilities and businesses.
-    Recreation sites across the U.S. National Forest System, unless they are operated by external parties under a recreational special use permit, will be closed. While technically closed, many will still be physically accessible to visitors at their own risk, but without staffing at ranger stations and without access to facilities such as public restrooms.
-    New timber sales.
-    Most forest fuels reduction activities in and around communities.
-    NASS statistics, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, and other agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections.
-    Assistance for the control of some plant and animal pests and diseases unless funded by cooperators or other non-appropriated sources.
-    Research facilities except for the care for animals, plants and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research.
-    Provision of new grants or processing of payments for existing grants to support research, education, and extension.
-    ERS Commodity Outlook Reports, Data Products, research reports, staff analysis, and projections. The ERS public website would be taken offline.
-    Most departmental management, administrative and oversight functions, including civil rights, human resources, financial management, audit, investigative, legal and information technology activities.
-    Mandatory Audits (Financial Statements, FISMA, and potentially Improper Payments) will be suspended and may not be completed and released on the date mandated by law.

U.S. Soy Processors Expand Domestic Crush Capacity
A recent study indicates that two new crush facilities are expected to open their operations in 2019, with a third crush plant expected to start up by the end of 2021. The initial facilities to open are to be in Michigan and South Dakota, with the third to be located in North Dakota. U.S. soybean processors have historically built crush plants near major livestock feeding areas, as it is more cost effective to ship the beans than it is the finished protein meal. For the U.S., that means that most crush plants are in either the Midwest, to supply hog, cattle and dairy operations, or in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast where the majority of U.S. poultry production is based. 

Once up and running, these additional processing plants are expected to grow U.S. crush capacity by 6 to 10 percent and consume an estimated 120 million bushels per year. The new plants are expected to crush soybeans at a higher rate of 100,000 to 120,000 bushels per day, whereas older facilities could process just 70,000 to 120,000 bushels per day. With this improved technology, these plants are expected to result in adding 2.8 million short tons of soybean meal and 1.4 billion pounds of soybean oil to the market per year. The facilities in the Dakotas are expected to move most of its soybean meal that isn’t consumed in the local feed market out via the Pacific Northwest while the crush facility in Michigan would be able to move product not consumed locally via the Great Lakes and out to the Atlantic.

The impacts of this expansion are expected to be mostly favorable for U.S. soybean farmers as the additional demand support basis levels and cushions farmers from export risk. For processors, the additional capacity may hurt margin structure in the short-term as supply outpaces demand forecasts, but in the long run, the new facilities may close some processing and focus capacity at more profitable facilities. For global buyers, the additional crush capacity means larger supplies of U.S. Soy-based meal and oil to meet growing populations and developing consumer needs.

U.S. agriculture now facing risk of market losses in its second largest export market – Japan

After experiencing dramatic market losses due to the China-U.S. tariff trade war, U.S. farmers and ranchers are now sounding a fire alarm over the threat to exports to their next largest market – Japan.    The Asian country is a huge importer of U.S. wheat, meat products, soybeans for both food and feed uses, corn and distillers grains, and a range of other American ag products.

Unlike China, Japan didn’t retaliate with tariffs of its own on U.S. products in response to Trump administration tariffs on steel and aluminum.   Japan is taking the opposite approach, forming two new multi-nation free trade pacts that will open up its markets.   The U.S. is not among those nations.

As of yesterday, December 30, Japan began cutting tariffs and backing off quotas on agriculture imports from most of America’s biggest competitors.     After the U.S. under the administration of Donald Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement that was negotiated over many years under the previous administration, 11 Pacific countries continued negotiations for a trade pact under the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).   Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Chile are among major ag exporting nations that are part of the agreement.

On February 1, Japan will implement a new trade pact with the EU.   The new European Union-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will offer similar tariff reductions and quota improvements on agriculture products for the EU’s 28-nations, including U.S. competitors France, Italy, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands. 

The Trump Administration has announced its intention to negotiate a two-nation free trade pact between the U.S. and Japan.   Those efforts are just getting going.

Farmers for Free Trade Statement on CPTPP Going into Effect and the Competitive Disadvantage it Creates for American Farmers

Today, Brian Kuehl, Co-Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade, the nationwide campaign to support trade policy that opens markets for American farmers and ranchers, released the following statement as the the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) went into effect for six of its eleven members. Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign co-chaired by former Senator Baucus and former Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).

“Today marks the beginning of an era of lost opportunity for American farmers and ranchers. While America stands on the sidelines, countries that directly compete with our farmers – including Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – will begin to receive the tariff-free benefits of a trade agreement the U.S. once stood at the center of.

 “U.S. beef, poultry, grains, dairy and so many other commodities will be at an immediate disadvantage starting today. Our farmers and ranchers will continue to be at a competitive disadvantage until we reengage with trading partners across the globe and rejoin the many nations that are providing their farmers with the benefits of multilateral trade agreements like CPTPP.

 “Particularly at a time when we are looking for ways to ensure China competes on a level playing field, the United States needs to be the one setting the rules in vast new markets for our exports, including Asia. We will continue to push the Administration and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to fight for our farmers by catching up with the rest of the world on trade.”

AFBF Accepting Internship Applications Through Jan. 7

The American Farm Bureau Federation is accepting online applications through Jan. 7, 2019, for five paid summer internships.

The dates of AFBF’s internships are between mid-May and mid-August, depending on schedules, and will last 8 to 10 weeks. It is preferred that interns begin their internships no later than June 10. Interns are supervised by an intern coordinator in their assigned department and are responsible for their own housing.

Applications are being accepted for the intern positions below.....
  - Business Operations & Revenue Development
  - Communications
  - Leadership, Education & Engagement
  - Public Policy – Economic Analysis
  - Public Policy – Legislative

Visit for information on how to apply. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 7, 2019.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thursday December 27 Ag News

Northeast students gain global perspective on agriculture

Northeast Community College students had the opportunity recently to learn about agriculture from an international point of view.

As part of a partnership with Central Valley Ag (CVA), Deon van Staden, Somerset West, South Africa, met with Introduction to Agriculture Economics and International Agriculture classes at Northeast. In his first year in Nebraska with CVA, van Staden works in operations.

Clayton Hensley, recruiter for CVA and Northeast alum who presented with van Staden, said that due to Nebraska’s low unemployment rate and the high unemployment rates in other countries, CVA has expanded its hiring overseas in order to find qualified workers in a number of areas.

Van Staden gave a presentation on South Africa and its agriculture industry, which is remarkably diverse across its numerous climactic regions. This includes the Northern Cape where sheep and cattle are prominent, the Eastern Cape where corn and other crops are grown, and the northeast, where sugar cane dominates.

And even though they lie on opposite ends of the world, South Africa and the United States have a number of similarities, van Staden said.

“We’ve got basically the same equipment and technologies in South Africa. The main difference is we don’t produce on such a large scale.”

Michael Lechner, agriculture instructor at Northeast, stressed the importance of students learning about a country’s agriculture system directly from the source as the College strives to create a globally competitive workforce.

“When students have the opportunity to listen to a presentation, it should be from someone who is a citizen or someone who lived and interacted with the local population of the country. The students gain a much greater appreciation and understanding of a country from someone who worked in it directly rather than someone who simply vacationed there.”

“Often students, and Americans in general, do not appreciate the opportunities in the US compared to other countries. I believe that trade is about relationships and cooperation between countries.”

Northeast Community College grants the eighth highest number of associate degrees in agriculture in the nation and the most in Nebraska.

A peaceful Aggie campus

NCTA Dean Ron Rosati, Ph.D.    

This is a quiet time on the NCTA campus with most members of our college community at home with family enjoying the holidays and catching up on family events.

However, responsibilities continue at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in maintaining the Curtis campus and surrounding farm and livestock enterprises.

As a winter storm moves into Frontier County and much of Nebraska, several staff and students are tending to essential activities.

College livestock are fed and cared for by student employees who live locally. These NCTA Aggies look forward to the opportunity to earn some extra spending money during the University’s holiday break.

Others have the responsibility for the dogs, cats, furred and feathered pets, and exotic animals housed at NCTA. We maintain a large inventory of animals to meet the needs of our teaching programs in veterinary technology, animal science and equine management areas. As a result, student workers dedicate several hours a day to to maintaining facilities and food for the animals.

Some staff also provide oversight for those chores. Faculty and staff are on call throughout the year to handle any questions or emergencies which may occur with campus animals. Student employees have directions to call their on-call contacts if animals are sick, hurt or missing. Though infrequent, health situations can occur, regardless of the season or time of day.

Other college staff provide campus security throughout the year. And physical plant operators are on call to handle any emergencies at college facilities.

The NCTA campus is more than 100 years old and it still retains its original academic buildings. Occasionally our older infrastructure reminds us of its age when a water pipe breaks or a steam line fails. At times like that, alarms go off and employees are quick to arrive at campus to solve the problem. We appreciate the dedication of these employees and their knowledge and skill as they work to keep our campus functional.

NCTA’s statewide mission

Holiday breaks also provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and NCTA’s mission for the future. We check on our progress as an academic institution. Our leadership team designs  adjustments to our procedures, as needed, in a continuous effort to improve NCTA’s effectiveness at creating successful graduates.

On January 4, before classes begin the following Monday, the college will gather partners from across the state for an evaluation and planning activity. The NCTA Statewide Advisory Council comes to Curtis to join us in developing our next five-year strategic plan.

This advisory council consists of professionals from various constituencies across the state including higher education, state government, agricultural industries, secondary education, parents, alumni and students. The group will review a draft strategic plan which has been developed by various advisors, internally and externally, of our college community.

Annually, the Statewide Advisory Council convenes at NCTA,  and throughout the year communicates electronically, for input to campus. Next week, the group will make recommendations for improvement, addition or modification to the NCTA Strategic Plan.

We appreciate the assistance of our extensive college community from throughout Nebraska. We value their insights and the time they dedicate to NCTA in developing this important roadmap for campus facilities, services, staffing, and most importantly, the academic success of Aggie students.

NCTA strives to expediently respond to the emerging workforce development needs of Nebraska’s agricultural industries. The NCTA Statewide Advisory Council helps us achieve that mission.

FSA Offices Open Thru Dec 28th

During a government shutdown, agencies that have funds appropriated in prior years that are carried forward can continue to serve customers until that money is used up. As a result, FSA county offices will remain open through December 28th, according to an announcement on the USDA Farm Service Agency website.

As per the announcement, if you need to visit your FSA county office, please check our website or call your local office to ensure we are open before you make the trip. Farm loan services will be limited. You can find your local office by visiting

As a reminder, signup for the Market Facilitation Program ends on January 15, 2019. You do not need to be finished with harvest to sign up. Farmers have until May 1, 2019 to certify production.

Hemp Farming Now Legal Through Farm Bill Provision

Vote Hemp, the nation's leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization working to change state and federal laws to allow commercial hemp farming, announced the federal legalization of hemp farming in the U.S., after nearly 2 decades of the organization's advocacy and policy leadership on the issue.

The 2018 Farm Bill, passed by Congress on December 12, and signed into law by the President on December 20, includes Section 10113 titled "Hemp Production," which removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, places full federal regulatory authority of hemp with USDA, and allows State departments of agriculture to file hemp programs plans and regulate hemp cultivation per their State specific programs.

"This bill constitutes a momentous victory for the movement in support of hemp farming, and will have far-reaching positive impacts on rural economies and farming communities, increase availability of sustainable products for American consumers, and create new businesses and jobs in the hemp industry," said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "Now that we have lifted federal prohibition on hemp farming, it's time to invest our energy in expanding hemp cultivation and the market for hemp products across the country so that all can reap the benefits of this of this versatile, historic American crop," said Steenstra.

In addition to defining hemp as cannabis that contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, the bill asserts a 'whole plant' definition of hemp, including plant extracts; and removes roadblocks to the rapidly growing hemp industry in the U.S., notably by authorizing and encouraging access to federal research funding for hemp, and removing restrictions on banking, water rights, and other regulatory roadblocks the hemp industry currently faces.

National Pork Board Celebrates El Sabor of Holiday Traditions

This season, the National Pork Board is ready to spread cheer by bringing Latinos across the country together to do what they love most -- savoring the flavor of family traditions. It's much more than "lechón;" it's a taste of home.

A National Pork Board study revealed that 62 percent of Hispanics prefer foods that remind them of their family's traditions. For many U.S. Hispanics, pork is the essential protein for any holiday gathering.

"Pork continues to be a Hispanic staple and a must-have for some of our favorite traditional holiday dishes," said Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural marketing at the National Pork Board. "In fact, our recent study indicates that 65 percent of Hispanics have consumed fresh pork at home in the last two weeks. Additionally, Nielsen data shows that Latinos spend 7 percent more on fresh pork than the average household in the U.S."

Knowing that the majority (66 percent) agree, "Food is a way to show others I care about them," for many Hispanics, pork is more than a staple; it's a symbol of love.

To add flavor to the traditions Latinos hold most dear this holiday season, the National Pork Board recommends these traditional pork dishes:

- Pork Pozole a la Poblana - This traditional Mexican stew is perfect to keep you warm, and a must for a New Year's Eve celebration.

- Roasted Pork Loin with Mojo Criollo and Mashed Yucca - This Latin-inspired dish is perfect for hosting a small holiday dinner where flavor becomes the number one guest.

- Whole Hog Roast in La Caja China - There is nothing like roasting a pig in La Caja China. This Caribbean favorite, perfect for outdoor gatherings, is a true family feast and a crowd-pleaser.

Perdue to Address 100th AFBF Annual Convention

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will give the closing general session keynote address at the 100th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Jan. 14, 2019.

More than 6,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in New Orleans Jan. 11-16 to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy-setting process that will guide AFBF through 2019.

Perdue has served as U.S. agriculture secretary since 2017 and joined Farm Bureau members at the 2018 Annual Convention. Prior to his appointment to the Trump administration, he served as governor of Georgia from 2003-2011 and as a Georgia state senator from 1991-2002.

“We are honored that Secretary Perdue will join us as a keynote speaker,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Well before his first day in office in Washington, D.C., the secretary has been a champion for farmers and ranchers. We are excited to kick off Farm Bureau’s 100th year hearing from such a strong advocate for agriculture in the administration. He truly understands how trade, regulations and labor shortages affect a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next.”

Farm Bureau members can register for the 100th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show through their state Farm Bureaus or online through AFBF at

Dairy Strong speakers address challenges, offer insights

One of the Midwest's premiere conferences for the dairy community will be held Jan. 23 and 24 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wis.

Dairy Strong 2019 will bring together more than 700 farmers, corporate professionals and government and university representatives to explore the future of an integral part of the culture and economy of Wisconsin and the nation.

The conference will include a dynamic discussion about the changing landscape of export markets and the role of agricultural commodities in trade negotiations. Gregg Doud serves as the chief agricultural negotiator, in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Ken Schmidt, the former director of communications for Harley-Davidson and now a highly sought-after communications consultant, will be a featured speaker. Schmidt played an active role at Harley-Davidson in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history. He will talk about how to improve competitiveness and reach out to new customers in completely non-traditional ways, which is a timely discussion for the dairy community. Schmidt was a featured speaker at the first Dairy Strong conference in 2015.

Famed geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan will serve as the economics keynote and closing speaker. Zeihan's worldview marries the realities of geography and populations to a deep understanding of how global politics impact markets and economic trends.

A keynote by sports agency trailblazer Molly Fletcher will kick off the conference. As one of the top agents, she has represented sport's biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. While Fletcher negotiated more than $500 million in contracts and built lasting relationships, she also observed and adopted the traits of those at the top of their game. She will draw parallels to the dairy community by identifying the traits that allow successful leaders to lean in to challenging times, emerging better on the other side.

Newly elected Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has been invited to deliver the state legislative keynote at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24.

In addition to keynotes, the event will feature track sessions and shorter presentations on the Innovation Stage, presented by CWAS Global, located in the trade show area. Topics range from risk management to advocating for dairy on social media and breakthroughs in dairy nutrition.

New this year is the Wisconsin wine and cheese tasting and pairing stage, presented by HUB International, featuring experts from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin for cheese education, pairing ideas, fun facts and more.

Dairy farmers, along with other commodities, are desperate to make sense of the challenges and opportunities that lie in global markets. We know that trade is a critical solution to this prolonged period of low prices.

As farmers, we often focus on what needs doing today, but it's never been more critical to understand and advocate for trade and global markets. With this in mind, the chief agriculture negotiator for the office responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries will discuss current trade negotiations and future goals. This presentation will take place from 10-11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24.

Leading the discussion will be Gregg Doud, from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Together with 30 key appointed officials, Doud supervises trade negotiations, monitors trade disputes, enforces laws and keeps a constant flow of communication with Congress, industry, nongovernmental organizations and the public on U.S. trade policy.

Doud will call on his first-hand experience with recent trade negotiations, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask pointed questions. The session is open to all registered attendees of Dairy Strong and will be available to view on YouTube after the event via

Track 1: Consumer Trends
    "Research roundup: Understanding our consumers", presented by Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Animal Agriculture Alliance. Sponsored by Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.
    "Consumers are driving change in today's food culture", presented by Madlyn Daley, Dairy Management Inc. and Helen Lundell, the Hartman Group. Sponsored by Quality Liquid Feeds.

Track 2: Dairy Technology
    "Revealing the benefits of precision technology on your dairy", presented by Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, Alltech. Sponsored by Alltech.
    "Results of a bedding dryer; Healthier cows with dryer bedding", presented by Lee Kinnard, Kinnard Farms and Rob Plank, McLanahan. Sponsored by McLanahan.

Track 3: Business Development
    "Best approaches to managing risk and improving dairy business performance". Sponsored by K·Coe Isom.
        Liz Griffith, Tuls Dairies, Avalon, Wis.
        Dan Rice, Prairieland Dairy, LLC, Firth, Neb.
        Doug Grotegut, Grotegut Dairy Farm, LLC, Newton, Wis.
    "Value-added dairy: On-farm processing opportunities, challenges and insights".  Sponsored by Compeer Financial.
        James Baerwolf, Sassy Cow Creamery; Columbus, Wis.
        Mark Crave, Crave Brothers Farm, LLC; Waterloo, Wis.
        Jerry Jennissen, Jer-Lindy Farms/Redhead Creamery; Brooten, Minn.

, presented by CWAS Global
The Innovation Stage takes place directly on the trade show floor. This space features timely presentations in a concise 20-minute format focused on emerging technologies and innovations.

Presentations include:
    "Risk management: MPP, LGM and new programs", Aaron Gransee, Investors Community Bank. Sponsored by Investors Community Bank.
    "Giving your calves the best start", Rick Roden, Roden Echo Valley, LLC. Sponsored by Calf-Tel.
    "Navigating the new tax landscape", Patrick Erickson, CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP. Sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP.
    "So, you're thinking about a digester? Talk to me first, please", John Haeckel, Clean Fuel Partners. Sponsored by Clean Fuel Partners.
    "The new biogas paradigm", Ryan Murray, Eisenmann Corporation. Sponsored by Eisenmann Corporation.
    "Make it, shake it, feed it", Tom Oelberg, Diamond V. Sponsored by Diamond V.
    "Practical solutions for improving fiber digestibility in your silage crop: Keys to driving forage levels in the diet that support high production and performance", Bill Powel-Smith, Pioneer. Sponsored by Pioneer.
    "Changing dairy: Starting with how we advocate,"Jess Peters, Spruce Row Farm & Katie Dotterer-Pyle, Cow Comfort Inn Dairy. Sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition

About Dairy Strong

In its fifth year, Dairy Strong is a conference where all aspects of the dairy community come together to coalesce around a commitment to what's important today and tomorrow. Farmers representing farms of all sizes and business philosophies are joined by any number of related businesses and partners to learn, engage and explore. For more information about Dairy Strong including the complete schedule and registration information, go to

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wednesday December 26 Ag News

Farmers & Ranchers Cow/Calf College - 2019 Partners in Progress Beef Seminar
Monday, January 14, 2019 – US-MARC, Clay Center, NE


9:30 a.m. Registration and Refreshments: Meat Animal Research Center Conference Room
9:55 a.m. Introductions – Brad Schick & Brandy VanDeWalle, Nebraska Extension Educators
10:00 a.m. Welcome to U.S. Meat Animal Research Center & Great Plains Veterinary Educ. Center
Dr. Mark Boggess and Dr. Dale Grotelueschen Directors – MARC and GPVEC
10:20 a.m. “To Graze or Not to Graze? Factors That Affect Risk of Nitrate Toxicity in Annual Forages” Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist
11:00 a.m. “Increasing Production Efficiency” - Rick Funston, Nebraska Extension Reproductive Physiologist
11:50 Session and Lunch Rotation
(First Rotation: 11:50-12:20 p.m. Second Rotation: 12:25-12:55 p.m.)
Rotation A: Brandy VanDeWalle, Extension Educator “Family Farm Stress”
Rotation B: Lunch: SC Research and Extension Center Meeting Room
1:00 p.m. “Top 3 Environmental Considerations During Short-term Cow-Calf Confinement” Amy Schmidt, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering/Animal Science
1:45 p.m. “Animal Husbandry Strategies to Improve One’s Efficiency” - Kip Lukasiewicz, Sandhills Cattle Consultants Inc.
2:30 p.m. Coffee Shop Panel: Dr. Dale Grotelueschen, Moderator - Featuring: Kip Lukasiewicz, Rick Funston, Brandy VanDeWalle, Mary Drewnoski, Amy Schmidt
3:15 p.m. Closing Remarks, Door Prize for Surveys & Thanks to Sponsors/Presenters

There is no cost for the event; however early registration is necessary for a meal count. Register online at or by at: (This saves time at registration.) You can also call the Fillmore Co. Extension Office at (402) 759-3712 or email Brandy VanDeWalle at

Initial and Recertification Chemigation Information

Aaron Nygren, NE Extension Educator, Colfax County

Based on NDEQ records, your chemigation certificate expires on December 31, 2018.  According to Nebraska law, if you plan to chemigate during 2019, you will need to attend a training session and pass a written test to become recertified.  The NDEQ records for chemigation licenses are found at:

Requirements for initial and recertification are the same with no charge for the training, manuals or certification.  One option for individuals needing Initial or Recertification training is to attend one of the Nebraska Extension meeting’s listed on the back page of this letter and pass a written exam. 

Another option for those needing Recertification only is to complete an online training program and pass an online test after making an appointment at an exam testing location. The online course will take more time, but if interested, users can find information at:
If you plan to become certified, please pre-register at the Nebraska Extension Office whose training session you plan to attend. Phone numbers are listed on the back of this letter for your convenience.  Upon registration you will be asked if you want to receive the training manual and calibration workbook to review prior to the training session. You can also find these materials online at the bottom of this link:

On the day of the training session, please bring your Chemigation Training Manual, Calibration Workbook, No. 2 pencil, and calculator (you are NOT allowed to use your cell phone as a calculator) along to use during the training and testing.  Cell phones are turned off during testing.  If you do not pre-register, as a walk-in you can receive a new copy of the training materials the day of the training.  Review of the material prior to the training session will be very helpful when taking the exam.  Training and testing will take approximately 3 hours. 

January 23 - 1:00 p.m. CST - ENREC, Ithaca - Aaron Nygren - 402-352-3821
January 29 - 1:00 p.m. CST - Madison Co. Ext Office, Norfolk - Wayne Ohnesorg - 402-370-4040
February 15 - 1:30 p.m. CST - Holt Co Courthouse Annex, O'Neill - Amy Timmerman - 402-336-2760
February 20 - 6:00 p.m. CST - Club Room, Ag Park, Columbus - Aaron Nygren - 402-352-3821
February 21 - 10:00 a.m. CST - Hartington City Auditorium - Amy Timmerman - 402-336-2760
February 26 - 9:00 a.m. CST - Madison Co Ext Office, Norfolk - Wayne Ohnesorg - 402-370-4040
March 5 - 1:30 p.m. CST - American Legion Hall, Neligh - Wayne Ohnesorg - 402-370-4040
March 11 - 1:00 p.m. CST - Casey’s Building, Fairgrounds, Albion - Aaron Nygren - 402-352-3821
March 12 - 1:30 p.m. CST - Holt Co Courthouse Annex, O'Neill - Amy Timmerman - 402-336-2760
March 14 - 9:00 a.m. CST - Madison Co Ext Office, Norfolk - Wayne Ohnesorg - 402-370-4040
March 14 - 9:30 a.m. CST - Bloomfield Community Center - Amy Timmerman - 402-336-2760
April 11 - 1:30 p.m. CST - Holt Co Courthouse Annex, O'Neill - Amy Timmerman - 402-336-2760

You must attend the entire class and pass the 50 question multiple choice test to be certified.  Upon successful completion of the class, chemigators may renew individual injection site permits administered by the local NRD office before June 1st.  For questions or additional information, don’t hesitate to call the Extension Educator contact listed.

Pacific Ethanol Idles Nebraska Ethanol Plant

Pacific Ethanol Inc. has laid off 26 employees at an ethanol plant in Nebraska due to low prices and a glut of product in the market. According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the company now has put nearly 20 percent of its total U.S. ethanol capacity offline.

"The ethanol market is over-supplied with the glut of this year's corn harvest and a seasonal weakening in demand for motor fuels following the summer driving season," said Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol, in an interview. "Companies that have scale need to take responsibility" and not add more fuel into the glut."

Pacific Ethanol is the country's sixth-largest ethanol producer. It said in its third-quarter earnings report that it would reduce production due to low prices for its automobile fuel product.

U.S. ethanol makers are struggling with collapsing biofuel prices in part because of the loss of ethanol exports to China as a result of President Donald Trump's trade war.

In Aurora, Nebraska, the company idled a plant with a capacity of 45 million gallons of ethanol, and laid off the employees who operate it. The company is still running its neighboring ethanol plant with a 110-million-gallon capacity in Aurora, Koehler said.

Northeast agriculture students demonstrate the benefits of cover crops

The benefits of cover crops are numerous. The USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service reports they prevent erosion, improve physical and biological properties of soil, supply nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the availability of soil water, and break pest cycles, along with other advantages.

Each year, agriculture students at Northeast Community College conduct their own research into the use of cover crops and then discuss their findings of using best practices in order to improve yields during a field day held on the College farm.

“The species of the cover crop selected along with its management determine the benefits and returns,” said Bob Noonan, agriculture instructor. “Our field day allows us to showcase what the students have learned in the management of cover crops and why we even grow these crops as part of the soil health process. There are a number of soil health factors that have been shown to improve yields through the use of growing cover crops.”

Noonan said cover crops are planted shortly after summer crops, such as seed corn, soybeans, and silage, are harvested. Most often, they are species that survive over winter, such as cereal rye and winter wheat. Once planted, the roots of these crops grow down into the soil throughout the winter months.

Noonan said as a result, organic matter in the soil increases, which serves as a major component of good, healthy soil.

“It also brings nutrients that the crops didn’t use back up to the surface of the soil for next year’s crop.”

Northeast Community College has been conducting its cover crop experiments for five-years. In that time, the students and their instructors have seen organic matter in the soil increase by 63-percent. Noonan said one reason there is such a high rate is because the soil in the field where they conduct their research is very marginal.

“So you tend to see more rapid increases in these poorer soils,” he said.

On expert who was at this year’s cover crop field day was Jacob Ness, a field manager for the Soil Health Partnership (SHP). SHP, an initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, has been working with Northeast Community College as part of a ten-year applied research project. Students participate by selecting cover crop species to be used, planning management, and then determine what the benefits will be.

The field day, where the students present their findings, is not only open to other Northeast ag students, but to all producers. Noonan said in order to attract more producers and explain their benefits of the practice of cover crops in the future, they have a goal to plant early season silage in the field. In turn, this would allow for an August harvest followed by the planting of the cover crop. With this schedule, it would be possible to hold the field day prior to the fall harvest.

Noonan said just like any other species, cover crops are dependent on the weather.

“If the weather is warm, that rye will be looking like a green lawn in two-weeks. But this fall, like last fall, has been cold. There has been some growth, but warmer conditions play a huge role in their development. When you see green out there, that means you have live roots. That is so beneficial for soil microbial health.”

The live roots produce food that is beneficial for microbes that are in the soil. In addition, a better balance with good microbes can kill soil pests.

Noonan and his students are working with Ohio State University (OSU) on another initiative utilizing Northeast’s cover crop field. He describes it as an applied research project on how cover crops can help suppress weeds.

“Our students are out in that field, both in the fall and spring, reporting on germination rates, emergent rates, and monitoring the crop. We are sharing data back and forth with Ohio State. I’m also in the process of reviewing student videos that we will be sharing with (OSU) while they will also share their data and management practices with us.”

A few Northeast ag students come into their specific program with information on cover crops that they have used in their family operations. But the added benefit, according to Noonan, is that others who have not had the same experience, are taking what they have learned at Northeast back to their home operations.

“Many of them have had their parents consider using cover crops, but there are a lot of management techniques that you need to do so you don’t cause harm to your crop. So, the students learn all of those practices, know what to do, bring it home, and then mom and dad, or the person they work for, can have their questions answered and start applying the practices.”

It also goes beyond their home operations; students are taking these best practices into their careers in the ag industry.

“If these students are working as an agronomist or at a co-op, this will be one more tool for them to assist whomever they’re working for and not only improve soil health, but improve yields.”


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               When you receive forage test reports from a laboratory, you may see terms like relative feed value or relative forage quality.  Which one is best?  And why?

               For many years we used a forage testing system that measured two different types of fiber called NDF and ADF.  We used NDF to estimate how much hay cows would eat and we used ADF to estimate how much energy they would get from that hay.  Then we combined those values to give an overall estimate of forage quality that we called RFV, which stands for relative feed value.

               But ADF is not as accurate at estimating energy as we would like.  The problem is that RFV assumes all fiber has the same digestibility.  We know that is not true, and it especially misrepresents the forage quality of grasses.  Grasses have more fiber than legumes but grass fiber usually is more digestible than legume fiber.  Unfortunately, there used to be no other forage test available at an affordable cost that was any better.  But today there is!

               New, low-cost tests finally were developed several years ago that do a very good job of measuring digestible fiber.  Forage scientists and animal nutritionists have worked together with these tests to also revise the intake and energy estimates so results from these tests predict much more accurately how animals will truly perform.  Likewise, a new overall estimate of forage quality was developed, which now is called RFQ and it stands for relative forage quality.

               While this new RFQ test is especially useful when testing grassy hays, it also has been proven to be better with alfalfa and other legumes.  So when you test forages in the future, look for labs that offer relative forage quality.  Your numbers will be more accurate.

Beef Genetics Survey Respondents Needed

Kristen Ulmer, NE Extension Educator, Saunders County

To aid the development of new selection tools and their adoption by producers, researchers seek to understand current attitudes and perceptions of industry stakeholders. Producers and industry participants are encouraged to take part in an online survey to help inform the development of a new beef cattle selection decision support tool. This work is part of the activities funded through a recent USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant (2018-68008-27888) awarded to research and extension faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, USDA-ARS US Meat Animal Research Center and a leading genetic evaluation software developer, Theta Solutions, LLC.

The survey is accessible until December 31, 2018, at:

The results from this survey will help form the development of a web-based decision support platform for genetic selection (e.g., bull selection) and the educational efforts around helping people use it.

Zwagerman Appointed Director of Drake Agricultural Law Center

Drake University Law School announces the selection of Jennifer Zwagerman as the next director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center. Neil Hamilton, the Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law, has served as the director since the founding of the center in 1983 and will retire later.

"Drake Law School leads the nation in the field of agricultural law, thanks to Professor Hamilton's leadership and vision. I am confident that Jennifer Zwagerman has the knowledge, background, and energy to further our international reputation for research and teaching in this important area," Dean Jerry Anderson says of the appointment.

Jennifer Zwagerman is a 2004 graduate of Drake Law School, graduating with her certificate in food and agricultural law. As a student she was recognized as an Opperman Scholar and served as editor-in-chief of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law.

Zwagerman became director of the Career Development Office at the law school in 2011, and associate director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center in 2015. She initially taught courses at the law school as the Faegre & Benson Visiting Scholar in 2010 and has continued to teach since. Congruent with her director duties, Zwagerman has also been named assistant professor of law. Prior to joining Drake Law School, she was an attorney in the Des Moines office of Faegre & Benson (n/k/a Faegre Baker Daniels) with a national food and agribusiness practice and served as a law clerk to the Honorable David R. Hansen on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Zwagerman takes an active part in industry organizations and bar activities. She recently completed a term as the 2017-2018 president of the American Agricultural Law Association, continuing her service on the board now as immediate past-president. Zwagerman is currently on the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Board of Directors and the Iowa State Bar Association Agricultural Law Council and Rural Practice Committees.

"I am honored to be chosen to continue the work of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and build upon the reputation established by Professor Hamilton," shares Jennifer Zwagerman. "The Drake Agricultural Law Center is what initially brought me to Drake as a student, and I want to ensure that future students have the same opportunities and experiences I had to explore and contribute to this important area of law and policy."

Zwagerman holds a Master of Laws in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a Juris Doctor degree from Drake University Law School, and a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Communications from Michigan State University.

Drake Law School will officially welcome her in this new capacity beginning August 2019.

"I am very pleased the faculty selected Jennifer to continue Drake's pioneering work on agricultural law," comments Hamilton. "I cannot think of anyone more suited to take on this role and I am very proud of her achievements."

Drake Law School will host a symposium and dinner on March 29 honoring Hamilton and his significant contributions to the University, Law School, and the field of agricultural law. For details, visit

Nitrogen Fertilizers Lead Retail Prices Higher

Nitrogen fertilizers continue to lead retail prices higher the third week of December 2018, with anhydrous and UAN prices significantly higher than last month, according to prices tracked by DTN.  It's the second week of sharp price jumps. Six of the eight major fertilizers are higher with three fertilizers having substantially higher prices.

Anhydrous prices are 9% higher compared to last month with an average price of $565. That's a $45-per-ton increase in the past month. UAN28 prices are 8% higher than the prior month. The nitrogen fertilizer has an average price of $265/ton, up $19/ton. UAN32 is 6% more expensive from last month and is up $17/ton with an average price of $304/ton.

Three other fertilizers' prices were slightly higher. DAP had an average price of $508/ton, up $7/ton; MAP was $532/ton, up $2/ton; and potash prices averaged $377/ton, $9/ton higher.

The average urea price was fractionally lower than last month at $407/ton, while starter fertilizer, 10-34-0, was unchanged at $457/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.34/lb.N, UAN28 $0.47/lb.N and UAN32 $0.48/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. Potash and MAP are both 10% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 13% higher, DAP is 14% more expensive, urea is 17% higher, UAN32 is 20% more expensive, UAN28 is 22% higher and anhydrous is now 23% more expensive compared to last year.

CWT Assisted Export Sales Top 131 Million Pounds of Dairy Products in 2018

Total 2018 Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) assisted member sales reached 72.5 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 17.4 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 41.6 million pounds of whole milk powder. The milk equivalent of these sales is 1.364 billion pounds on a milkfat basis.

For the week of December 17th, member cooperatives accepted 23 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 3.214 million pounds (1,458 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, 204,462 pounds (100 metric tons) of butter and 476,199 pounds (216 metric tons) of whole milk powder. The product will be delivered during the period from January through June 2019.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

AVMA Combating Suicide Amongst Veterinary Professionals

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) participated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in researching Suicide among veterinarians in the United States from 1979 through 2015. The study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, reported female veterinarians were 3.5 times as likely, and male veterinarians were 2.1 times as likely, to die from suicide as the general population. According to a 2016 CDC report, 45,000 Americans, ages 10 or older, died by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and is on the rise.

Every profession has unique challenges and stressors that must be addressed. Just as veterinarians are passionate about their profession and dedicated to improving the health and welfare of people and animals, the AVMA is committed to the health and wellbeing of their members. Prior to the release of this and other studies, the AVMA, and a broad coalition of partners from industry, state and allied veterinary medical associations (VMAE), academia (American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges), representatives of private and corporate practices, the North American Veterinary Technicians Association (NAVTA), practice managers, the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), independent veterinary communities and others, joined together to tackle this issue.

"Too many of our colleagues have either contemplated, attempted or died by suicide," said Dr. John de Jong, AVMA President. "And one suicide, is clearly too many. Working with our colleagues throughout the veterinary community will help us find solutions more quickly. This issue is affecting not only our profession, but society as a whole, in numbers greater than ever before."

In addition to their partners within veterinary medicine, the AVMA is working closely with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and other suicidology experts.

"As medical professionals we need to understand and learn about the clinical signs associated with suicide and work with other medical professionals to confront and combat this serious problem," Dr. de Jong said.

The AVMA and partners are creating and developing resources, not only for those in distress, but for those who love and want to help those who are suffering. A key program available to help veterinarians identify and refer at risk colleagues, is QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training. The AVMA offers this one-hour, online 'gatekeeper training' free of charge to every member and veterinary student. It teaches people without professional mental health backgrounds to recognize the signs that someone may be considering suicide and helps them to establish a dialogue.

"Often times, people may suspect someone is suffering but they don't know what to say, or they worry that what they say may make the situation worse," said Dr. Brandt. "It is my goal to have every veterinarian complete the QPR training. It provides guidance on what to say and ways in which you can enhance a sense of belonging and help alleviate the sense of fear that some may have about being a burden to their friends, family or colleagues."

Programs and tools available to tackle specific stressors include:

Moral/ethical distress--the result of a medical caregiver's unique relationship with a patient, through which empathy allows the caregiver to "take on the burden" of an ill or dying patient. The AVMA has collected and developed a number of resources to help veterinarians combat moral/ethical distress.

Financial burdens can also play a part in harming veterinarians' mental health. With average student debt loads on the rise, veterinarians may be struggling to make ends meet and find it difficult to plan for the future. The AVMA has resources on financial planning--including a personal financial planning tool, salary calculator and tips on student loan repayment--to help veterinarians address these concerns.

Availability of controlled substances - The potential for drug abuse and addiction is higher in medical professions than in other workplaces because of the increased access to controlled drugs. To address these issues, the AVMA has developed an online wellbeing and peer-assistance toolkit.

Student debt and other early career stressors?, a website aimed at students and early career veterinarians geared to helping them navigate wellbeing, finances, and career concerns.

AVMA's 100 Healthy Tips to Support a Culture of Wellbeing -- this guide offers strategies and practical steps one can take at work and at home to support healthful living and create a positive work environment.

Peer assistance programs around the country can be found at veterinary peer assistance programs.

Veterinary Wellbeing Summits -- These summits provide veterinary practitioners, as well as those in industry, academia, researchers and others, an opportunity to discuss what steps should be taken to support enhanced wellbeing throughout the profession.

Numerous educational efforts through public speaking and webinars aimed at creating cultures of wellbeing are ongoing.

AVMA is working with the United Kingdom's (UK) Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) to improve the health and wellbeing of all those who work on veterinary teams across the globe.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 93,000 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. Visit for more information.

Heart of America Dairy Expo Program Announced

Dairy farmers from all over the Midwest will be gathering in Springfield, MO, January 17-19, for the seventh annual Heart of America Dairy Expo presented by Hiland Dairy Foods.

The Heart of America Dairy Expo features an FFA Ag Career Day, Pre Conference Seminar on dairy grazing, nationally known dairy speakers, a producer panel and the largest dairy specific trade show in the southern Midwest at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center.

“We are moving forward during a very challenging time of economic conditions caused by depressed milk prices at the farm,” says Expo Chairman and dairy farmer Ted Sheppard of Cabool, MO.  Sheppard also serves as president of the Missouri Dairy Association which is the official host of the Heart of America Dairy Expo.

“Our program will provide attendees with new directions on dairy grazing, quality milk production, federal dairy programs and managing robotic dairies,” says Sheppard.

“First, we are holding our second annual FFA Ag Career Day on Thursday afternoon January 17 at 3 PM.  It is open to all FFA chapters and 4-H youth in Missouri and surrounding states.  There is no cost to the students and their advisors.

“We follow that with our Thursday evening Grand Opening Buffet Reception at 6 PM we call “Cattlemen’s Night at the Dairy Expo.”   All Missouri cattle producers and their families are welcome to join us for a beef and ham dinner.  After dinner, Kyle Langham of the American National Insurance Company will address “Dairy Quality Center—what it can do for you.”

"Friday's program starts at 9:25 AM.  Jorge Delgado of Alltech will be discussing “Building a Winning Team on your Dairy.”

“Rounding out the morning program will is Kevin Gubbels of Insure My Forage, who will cover “What you need to know about USDA’s RMA’s New Dairy Revenue Protection”, sponsored by Insure My Forage.

"Friday's Pork Chop Luncheon, sponsored by Hiland Dairy Foods and the Missouri Pork Association will feature remarks by Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson followed by a key note presentation on “Staying Profitable in Tight Margins” by Matthew Lange of Compeer Financial in Wisconsin sponsored by Central Life Sciences," says Sheppard.

"After lunch, attendees will hear from Dr. Mike Brouk of Kansas State University presenting “Managing Robotic Dairies for Success and Profitability” courtesy of DeLaval and Flory Dairy Equipment.  A dairy farmer panel follows discussing “Adjusting Your Dairy to These Prices” moderated by Dr. Scott Poock of the University of Missouri and sponsored by MFA Inc., Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Mycogen Seeds and ST Genetics.

"The Expo program also includes the annual meetings of the Missouri Dairy Association, Missouri Holstein Association, Missouri Brown Swiss Association, Missouri Guernsey Breeders Association, Missouri Jersey Cattle Club, Midwest Milking Shorthorn and the Missouri Ayrshire Association," says Sheppard.
 “Last year we drew almost 500 attendees from 15 states," says Dave Drennan, Expo Sales Manager and Executive Director for the Missouri Dairy Association.
“Registration is free for dairy farmers and their families with a nominal registration fee for allied industry representatives.  All dairy farmers and allied industry, regardless of state, are invited to attend.

“The Oasis Hotel and Convention Center offers a convention hall which will house over 55 dairy exhibits and equipment inside.  It is also conveniently located on the north side of Springfield, MO at Glenstone and Interstate 44,” says Drennan.

“We also don’t want travelers to forget that Branson is only 45 miles away from Springfield so we hope they plan a trip and enjoy all Missouri has to offer,” concludes Drennan.

Meal reservations are requested and may be made by viewing for more details and the complete Expo schedule.

Sleeping room reservations may be made by calling the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center directly at 417/866-5253 or 888/532-4338 and ask for the Heart of America Dairy Expo room block. 

Legal Hemp Raises Questions About Pesticides

The legalization of industrial hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill is good news for farmers -- especially tobacco growers dealing with declining demand for their crop. The bad news? If they find pests or disease damaging hemp crops, there are no pesticides that are considered safe or legal to protect them.

Industrial hemp, which can be used for fiber in textiles, is a member of the cannabis species but contains less than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives users a high, and also cannabidiol (CBD), which is purported to have multiple uses. Since cannabis has until now been a federal schedule 1 drug -- akin to heroin and LSD - it was illegal to grow, and pesticides have never been approved for use on the plant.

That will change when the provisions of the Farm Bill go into effect, but potential growers still face many hurdles. In a paper published in the journal Crop Protection, Purdue University researchers lay out the problems surrounding the lack of pesticide regulations for cannabis.

"Pesticide regulations are narrow and confusing. A product approved for use on soybeans or corn can only be legally used for those products. It's illegal to go off-label and use a pesticide on another crop," said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology and co-author of the study. "It can take many years for manufacturers to prove the safety and efficacy of their pesticides, and many more to get all the federal approvals. In the meantime, our hands are tied."

In the paper, Beckerman, Leah Sandler, a Purdue graduate research assistant, Fred Whitford, director of Purdue Pesticide Programs, and Kevin Gibson, a Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology, call for a clear federal framework that defines pesticide rules for cannabis, research funding that will lead to valuable information for hemp growers, and policies and procedures that will ensure the safety of products derived from cannabis.

"There's already a lot of interest from potential growers, and if the farming community sees hemp as a viable crop, then we need to be working to address the concerns they're going to have surrounding crop protection," Sandler said. "You'd really rather have everything in place before you have people growing cannabis or hemp, but that hasn't happened. It will take considerable effort to take the steps necessary to ensure that cannabis can be grown safely and that growers will have the tools necessary to protect their crop investments."

The researchers also suggest that any federal pesticide regulations for cannabis should clearly define how those rules apply to cannabis grown for use as marijuana. Thirty states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, and the Pew Research Center reports that 62 percent of American support marijuana legalization, suggesting that more states may adopt similar laws.

Still, if the federal government continues to categorize marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, anyone growing cannabis for marijuana use in the 30 states that have legalized it will still be prohibited from using pesticides on their plants, whether they are grown commercially or for personal use.

That could lead to confusion and serious consumer safety issues, Beckerman said, because of the differences in the ways hemp and marijuana are used. A pesticide that is safe for hemp being turned into fiber may not be safe for use on marijuana or for CBD, since those products are often concentrated and consumed or inhaled by consumers.

"When a highly valued crop has problems, people are going to apply pesticides. But unlike many of our currently regulated crops, cannabis can be dried or turned into oils, concentrating it and any chemicals put onto the plants," Beckerman said. "We don't know how those concentrations might affect users who ingest and inhale the end products."

But growers go off-label to protect their cannabis plants, as evidenced by lab tests of marijuana that show illegal pesticide residues.

"There are some natural, herbal types of pest- and disease-control products out there, but they are not regulated, kind of like herbal supplements you see at the store that promote health benefits. We don't know if they're safe, and we don't know if they work," Whitford said. "So growers go off-label, and not only is that dangerous, but it risks their crop as well. If those crops are tested and show any levels of illegal pesticide use, the entire crop can be confiscated."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Friday December 21 Ag News

Northeast Center for Enterprise schedules precision agriculture training sessions

Several precision agriculture training sessions will be offered in the coming weeks at four northeast and north central Nebraska locations by the Center for Enterprise at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. The instructor will be Lonny Mitchell, precision agriculture trainer at Northeast.

The sessions are targeted to those employed or involved in agricultural-based businesses and industries.

A three-year grant to Northeast from the National Science Foundation is providing increased training opportunities for these workers and operators, specifically in precision agriculture, he said. “Through this grant, we (Northeast) will be able to provide more of these type of events to be made available over the upcoming months and years,” he said.

“Precision agriculture is a management practice where management decisions are made at the sub-field level based on site-specific data,” Mitchell said. “This allows operators to place the right input, at the right amount in the right place at the right time, thereby increasing profit potential.”

The first training course, titled “Decisions Driven by Data: Utilize the Power of Your Data to Make Informed Decisions,” will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m.

The class will be conducted in room 132 of the Maclay building on Northeast’s Norfolk campus and broadcast to three sites: ESU 17 in Ainsworth and Northeast’s campuses in O’Neill and West Point.

Mitchell said the training will help attendees better understand how to utilize large volumes of data, collected over multiple years, to make objective decisions in their crop and livestock operations.

Topics will include: How to spread the cost of data over multiple years; utilizing data to make objective decisions; sources of data that make a sizable impact on the bottom line; organizing data to be more easily used in the decision-making process; tools available to analyze operational data and assist in decision making; services available to help with data-driven decision making and incorporating multi-year data into the decision process.    

The next training, “Precision Agriculture Implementation: The Right Way for You,” will be offered at the same four locations from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The focus will be on implementing the right precision agriculture practice into an operation. The session will cover such topics as precision agriculture and steps to implement the right plan; impacts of precision agriculture on an operation and purchasing new equipment versus modifying existing equipment.

The sites in Norfolk, Ainsworth, O’Neill and West Point will host a third training course from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.  Mitchell said the purpose of the “Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI): Possibly the Best Money You Can Spend” training will be to increase a producer’s understanding and realization that utilizing VRI helps address concerns by agricultural communities about water, the most critical resource on this planet.

Focus areas include reduced water usage; increased overall crop health; reduced movement of nitrates through the soil; reduced rounds by pivot systems during the season; reduced variability in crop health across a field; and the use of soil moisture probes and water meters.

The fee for each of these three trainings is $30.

Northeast’s West Point Campus will be the location of two additional trainings.

“Understanding Ag Data and Variability” will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. In this session, Mitchell will discuss the importance of accurately collected farm data and the role it plays when implementing a variable rate management plan.

The two-part “Soil Management Technology” training will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays, March 7 and 14. Mitchell will discuss different types of technology that can be utilized in managing a soil profile. He also will cover the uses of EC data (a measure of the soil’s electrical conductivity), soil moisture and fertility sensors, and various soil sampling methods and technologies used in sampling.

The fee for each of these two West Point trainings is $80.

For more details on the precision agriculture training courses or to register, call the Northeast Campus in Norfolk at 402-844-7000.

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Announces Availability of Youth Scholarships

The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) is accepting applications for scholarships from qualified youth in Nebraska who have an interest in the beef industry. These scholarships will be awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year and are provided through contributions received by the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Applications are available on the Nebraska Cattlemen website ( or can be obtained by calling the NCF office at (402) 475-2333.

The Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship awards a $10,000 scholarship to an outstanding college junior, senior or graduate-level student. Eligible students must be residents of Nebraska and be enrolled in a Nebraska college or university pursuing a beef industry-related degree. The scholarship will be awarded based on student need, Nebraska beef industry involvement (past achievements and future plans) and academics. Students will be required to complete the written application (due in the NCF office by February 15, 2019) and finalists will be invited to an final interview with the selection committee.

NCF offers numerous other $1,000 minimum scholarships, awarded on the basis of academic achievement, beef industry involvement and goals/quality of application from the following funds. This application is due into the NCF office by March 15, 2019. Scholarship recipients must be a high school senior or college student, have a “C” or higher grade point average, and be enrolled or intending to enroll full time in a college or university that offers a bachelor degree, an approved vocation or trade school, or a state accredited junior college. Refer to the application for complete selection requirements.

Reinke Recognizes Grossenburg Implement with Gold Pride Award

Reinke has recognized Grossenburg Implement in Wayne with a Gold Reinke Pride award in recognition of the company’s marketing year success. The dealership was honored during Reinke’s annual convention in Spokane, Wash.

“I congratulate Grossenburg Implement on receiving this award,” said Reinke Vice President of North American Irrigation Sales Mark Mesloh. “Reinke appreciates the dedication they have to the growers in their community. We’re proud to work with them and have them representing Reinke in Wayne.”
Reinke dealerships from across the United States and Canada gather each year to attend the company’s sales convention. The convention’s awards ceremony recognizes select Reinke dealerships for their hard work and dedication to sales and marketing throughout the past year.

The Reinke Pride awards are determined as part of an incentive program that distinguishes superior achievement levels according to an evaluation based on a dealership’s exterior and interior housekeeping and maintenance, indoor and outdoor displays, safety, retail environment, merchandising, professionalism, promotions, event participation and market share.


All layers in Nebraska during November 2018 totaled 8.57 million, up from 7.69 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during November totaled 209 million eggs, up from 195 million in 2017. November egg production per 100 layers was 2,443 eggs, compared to 2,534 eggs in 2017.

IOWA: Iowa egg production during November 2018 was 1.36 billion eggs, down 3 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during November 2018 was 57.8 million, down slightly from last month but up 4 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for November were 2,363, down 2 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year.

November US Egg Production Up 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.07 billion during November 2018, up 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.92 billion table eggs, and 1.15 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.06 billion were broiler-type and 81.7 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during November 2018 totaled 390 million, up 3 percent from last year. November egg production per 100 layers was 2,322 eggs, up 1 percent from November 2017.
All layers in the United States on December 1, 2018 totaled 392 million, up 2 percent from last year. The 392 million layers consisted of 331 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 57.6 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.25 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on December 1, 2018, averaged 77.7 eggs per 100 layers, up slightly from December 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Down 3 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during November 2018 totaled 46.9 million, down 3 percent from November 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 50.8 million on December 1, 2018, up 9 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 260 thousand during November 2018, up 73 percent from November 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Down 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during November 2018 totaled 767 million, down 1 percent from November 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 688 million on December 1, 2018, up slightly from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 7.33 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during November 2018, down 8 percent from November 2017. 

Nebraska Cattlemen Strongly Supports Proposed Clean Water Rule

Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen President

"Nebraska Cattlemen strongly supports the Administration's announcement of a new clean water rule, which will protect our nation's waterways and drinking water while providing clear rules for Nebraska's livestock producers to follow."

"Clean Water Act jurisdiction greatly affects Nebraska's 19,000 cow-calf ranches and 1,000+ feedlots. Regulated waters should be easily identifiable by landowners and industry, allowing producers to seek a permit when appropriate and to act in accord with state and federal law without unnecessary delays."

"The proposed clean water rule will provide producers with this regulatory certainty while protecting our environment. Clean water is our way of life and preserving our land means healthy places to live, work, and play."

2018 Nebraska Cattlemen Convention and Trade Show Wraps Up 

Another successful Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Convention and Trade Show was held Dec. 5-7 in Kearney, Nebraska. Over 600 attendees participated in the many meetings, meals and social events that happened during the 2018 convention.

The annual convention is the time for the NC membership to review and discuss current and new policy during committee meetings that were held on Thursday.

The Animal Health and Nutrition Committee heard speakers address the need for planning for catastrophic disease outbreaks and how the processes would be implemented and tracing animals for diseases.  There was a presentation on an emerging disease, Bovine Congestive Heart Disease, that manifests itself differently than other heart diseases.  Policy was adopted on this issue and will be taken to National Cattlemen Beef Association’s meetings in late January.

The Brand and Property Rights committee had a panel with representation from the Nebraska Brand Committee, a process verified program administrator, an animal identification company and a government official to discuss the past, present and future of animal identification.  The roles of all these entities are changing and the future has great potential for utilizing identification systems that meet numerous needs.

The Education and Research committee heard from Nate Blum, NC Consulting Solutions, on The Coalition for 21st Century Innovation in Education.

Marketing and Commerce committee discussed CME Live Cattle Contract Modifications and received an update on the ELD mandate.

The Natural Resources and Environment Committee adopted new policy to strengthen private property and nuisance protections for livestock producers under existing state law.

The Taxation committee heard a preview on the 2019 legislative session and state Senator Curt Friesen shared comments on working with a variety of coalitions to address property tax reform in the coming session.

Convention is not only a time to discuss policy, educate, socialize and network but it also offers membership the opportunity to nominate and elect new council and committee leaders. NC congratulates the following on their new and re-elected positions:

President: Mike Drinnin, Clarks
President Elect: Ken Herz, Lawrence
Vice President: William Rhea III Arlington
Past President & Nominations Chair: Galen Frenzen, Fullerton

Member Services Vice Chairmen:
Region 1: Lewis Coulter, Bridgeport
Region 2: Kenneth Stephens, Valentine
Region 3: Tyler Weborg, West Point
Region 4: Steven Fish, Norfolk
Region 5: Jared Jaixen, Loup City
Region 6: Steve Stroup, Benkelman
Region 7: Ed Klug, Columbus
Region 8: Dawn Caldwell, Edgar
Region 9: Shannon Petersen, Gothenberg

Council Leaders:
Cow/Calf Chair: Nancy Peterson, DVM, Gordon
Cow/Calf Vice Chair: Frank Utter, Brewster
Farmer/Stockman Chair: Andy Reigle, Humphrey
Farmer/Stockman Vice Chair: Dan Egger, Columbus
Feedlot Chair: Dean Wilken, Bloomfield

Feedlot Vice Chair: Jerry Kuenning, Lemoyne
Seedstock Chair: Larry Dybdal, Newcastle
Seedstock Vice Chair: Larry Mach, Weston
Allied Industries Council Representative: Andrew Dorn, Minden

Committee Leaders:
Animal Health and Nutrition Chair: Jeff Fox, DVM, Beemer
Animal Health and Nutrition Vice Chair: Scott Langemeier, Stromsburg
Brand and Property Rights: Duane Gangwish, Wayne

Brand and Property Rights Vice Chair: Tom Hansen, North Platte
Education and Research Chair: Doug Smith, Curtis
Education and Research Vice Chair: Kelly Terrell, Gothenburg
Marketing and Commerce Chair: Stephen Sunderman, Norfolk
Marketing and Commerce Vice Chair: Hank Klosterman, David City

Natural Resources and Environment Chair: Chris Schluntz, Republican City
Natural Resources and Environment Vice Chair: Jacob Mayer, Weston
Taxation Chair: Dick Pierce, Miller
Taxation Vice Chair: Lavon Heidemann, Elk Creek
Member Services: Justin Jarecke, Kearney
NCW – Consumer Promotion and Education Committee Chair: Gina Hudson, Belvidere

During the annual banquet the Industry Service Award winners and Hall of Fame Honoree were recognized. This year the Industry Service Award was presented to Stanley Garbacz as well as to the late Jeffrey Biegert and Robert “Bobby” Gottsch.

Bill and Kathy Rhea of Arlington, Nebraska received the 2018 Hall of Fame Award. The award highlights Nebraska Cattlemen members who exemplify an ongoing commitment to the beef cattle industry. Presented only once annually, the Hall of Fame award is the organization’s highest honor.

Iowa State Offers Course on Preventive Controls for Animal Feed

A training course to become a Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance designated Preventive Controls Qualified Individual will be held in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 15-17. The two and a half day training will be held in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State campus.

This course is the standardized training required by FSPCA for facilities that are processing any type of animal food (complete feed or ingredients). It is sponsored by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative.

The Food Safety Modernization Act requires processing facilities to comply with the new current good manufacturing practices and to implement a written animal food safety plan developed and overseen by a preventive controls qualified individual.

Individuals who operate an animal food facility are encouraged to attend the Preventive Controls for Animal Food course to obtain their designated PCQI training certification. Certifications will be given by the FSPCA to attendees who complete all sessions of the course.

The course is being taught by Charles Hurburgh, professor and extension grain quality and handling specialist with Iowa State University; Erin Bowers, associate scientist in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State; Connie Hardy, program specialist in Value Added Agriculture with ISU Extension and Outreach; and Kim Anderson, program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Pre-registration is required to attend this course. Registrations must be completed online prior to midnight, Jan. 8. For more information, contact Hurburgh at 515-294-8629 or or visit

The mission of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative is to create knowledge and provide information that will improve the efficiency of traditional commodity grain markets and assist emerging markets for user-specific grains. For more information, visit


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is again accepting applications for grant funding through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program.  The grants are available to support projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.

“The Specialty Crop Block Grant program has funded many valuable projects over the years that are focused on supporting our specialty crop farmers and helping build markets for these products. Funds are again available to support projects around food safety, research and marketing efforts,” Naig said.  “Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products.”

The final funding level for the 2019 Iowa Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is yet to be announced by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, administer of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, but should be similar to last year’s $334,269.77 funding.

Grant funds shall be used for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and that benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. These projects can include marketing and promotions, research and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops and addressing local, regional and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers.

Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, and producer, industry and community-based organizations are all eligible to apply for funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.  In addition, single organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners.

Grant awards will be considered up to a maximum of $24,000 and projects can have a duration of up to 30 months (2.5 years).

“Specialty Crops” that are eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.  Both fresh and processed specialty crops are eligible.

Proposals must be received on or before Friday, March 1, 2019.  Additional information is available at

The Department is again establishing a Review Committee to help review, evaluate and make recommendations on grant proposals submitted to the Department.

Those interested in participating in the Review Committee should have knowledge of specialty crops, and/or grant writing or grant management experience, and the ability to devote the necessary time to complete the review process.  Additional information about reviewer responsibilities, meeting dates and an application form can also be found at

Applications to participate in the Reviewer Committee are due Feb. 5, 2019.

The Department is asking specialty crop stakeholders and organizations to submit public comments on program priorities.  The comments will help identify priorities, establish the criteria used to evaluate the projects proposed for funding and determine how the reviews are conducted.

Comments can be submitted by email to or by mail to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Specialty Crop Block Grant, 502 East 9th, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319.  Comments received by March 1, 2019 will be presented to the review committee to assist in prioritizing projects.


The U.S. Department of Transportation this week permanently suspended the requirement that livestock haulers use electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their trucks. As part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act mandated that drivers of commercial motor vehicles replace by Dec. 18, 2017, their paper logs with ELDs, which record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information.

The National Pork Producers Council requested on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and other livestock sectors a waiver from the requirement. The organization also asked for an exemption from the regulation, citing the incompatibility between transporting livestock and DOT’s Hours of Service rules. Those regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and restrict their on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes nondriving time.

NPPC was granted the waiver, but a permanent fix was not determined. NPPC applauds the Trump administration’s commitment to U.S. agriculture, marking this as a huge win for U.S. livestock producers and haulers.

USDA Cold Storage November 2018 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on November 30, 2018 were down 6 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down slightly from the previous month but up 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 11 percent from the previous month but up 1 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 38 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on November 30, 2018 were down 13 percent from the previous month but up 2 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 38 percent from last month and down 5 percent from November 30, 2017.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on November 30, 2018 were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 7 percent from November 30, 2017.  Butter stocks were down 33 percent from last month and down 3 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on November 30, 2018 were down 7 percent from last month and down 6 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 5 percent from last month and down 9 percent from a year ago.

Perdue Applauds USDA’s 2018 Accomplishments

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the accomplishments made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the past year. USDA has continued enacting President Trump’s goals of regulatory reform, streamlining government, and refocusing USDA to be customer oriented.

“In 2018 we have fought for American farmers, ranchers, and producers by delivering new and improved trade deals like USMCA and a re-negotiated KORUS agreement, provided trade assistance to farmers due to illegal trade retaliation, and helped our fellow citizens through devastating natural disasters,” Perdue said. “I am proud to say that every day at USDA we do our best to live by our motto to “Do Right and Feed Everyone.”
SNAP Reform

USDA made major strides in reigning in dependence on government assistance by beginning the rule making process to move more able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to self-sufficiency. With today’s strong economy and more jobs available than there are workers, USDA’s proposal helps ensure the 3.8 million individual ABAWDs receiving SNAP benefits get back to work and on the path to self-sufficiency.

Hurricane Response

USDA has significant roles to play in helping agricultural producers recover from hurricane-related damage and improve agricultural resilience to disasters. USDA provided a broad range of assistance to residents, agricultural producers and impacted communities at large following Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018. This assistance has included providing children affected by Hurricane Florence access to free meals, help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients replace food lost due to power outages and provide disaster food assistance to low-income families affected by storms who would not normally be eligible for the regular program but because of disaster related expenses have need for assistance, assistance to producers suffering damage to working lands and cattle mortality, helped businesses and utilities by considering requests to defer principal and/or interest payments, and provided emergency farm loans to impacted operations. In addition to offering similar assistance following Hurricane Michael, USDA also held workshops in the area where the hurricane made landfall to help connect producers with USDA programs that can help them rebuild their operations. Finally, USDA provided subject matter expertise to the FEMA Emergency Support Functions responding to these and other disasters as part of the whole-of-government effort.


In the past year, the USDA Forest Service treated more than 3.5 million acres to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health through timber sales and prescribed fire. The USFS treated an additional 2.5 million acres to improve watershed conditions, ecosystems, infrastructure, and provide clean water for millions of Americans. Additionally, the USFS fought multiple major wildfires in 2018 conjointly with local authorities.

Customer Service

USDA successfully merged the Agricultural Marketing Service, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, and the Farm Service Agency’s Commodity Operations programs to better meet the needs of farmers, ranchers, producers, and consumers while improving customer service and maximizing efficiencies.

USDA stood up a new Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area, which encompass the USDA’s domestic-facing agencies: FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency. The Department also launched the FPAC Business Center in 2018, which will eliminate redundant administrative support functions, including human resources, information technology, finance, procurement, and property management. USDA strives to be the most customer focused and customer-oriented department in the Federal government.

USDA also made other efforts to improve customer service across the agencies:
-    Created “Tell Sonny” Online Feedback Tool: Through collaboration with the Centers of Excellence, USDA built an online feedback tool, called “Tell Sonny,” which captures citizen feedback on how USDA is doing.
-    Optimized Infrastructure: USDA achieved $21.5 million in cost savings/avoidance by optimizing its Enterprise Data Centers, and by consolidating and closing a total of 23 data centers as part of the Data Center Optimization Initiative.
-    Strengthened Cybersecurity: USDA decreased the number of critical vulnerabilities per endpoint by 62 percent and the number of high vulnerabilities by 73 percent, decreasing USDA’s weaknesses in software or hardware that can be exploited by a hacker.
-    Reduced Fleet Size: After reviewing the motor fleet, USDA reduced its fleet size by over 4200 vehicles, which will potentially avoid an estimated $26 million in costs in fiscal year 2019.


Through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the United States made major strides towards strengthening its highly productive and integrated trade relationship with its North American neighbors, ensuring preferential access for U.S. agricultural exports and solidifying commitments to fair and science-based trade rules.

USDA efforts to break down barriers and pursue export opportunities resulted in new or expanded market access for numerous U.S. farm products in 2018. These included dairy and poultry to Canada under the USMCA, as well as lamb and goat meat to Japan, beef and pork to Argentina, poultry to India and Namibia, lamb to El Salvador, beef and poultry to Morocco, eggs to South Africa and dairy to Turkey.

Foreign Agricultural Service staff around the globe assisted U.S. exporters in releasing hundreds of shipments that were detained at foreign ports. This ensured that more than $77 million of perishable U.S. products arrived safely at their final destinations. Among them were beef to Bulgaria, cherries to Taiwan, cranberries to China, lobsters to the United Arab Emirates and squid to Peru.
Trade Assistance to Farmers

In 2018, USDA provided a range of assistance to farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. To help ensure this assistance reaches those affected, FSA is facilitating the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers; AMS is managing a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities that will be distributed through nutrition assistance programs and child nutrition programs; and FAS is making available $200 million to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products.

Farm Bill

USDA provided over 2,000 items of technical assistance to members of Congress during the 2018 Farm Bill legislative process. In order to serve America’s farmers, producers, and ranchers to the best of our ability, USDA worked hand in hand with legislators to give technical assistance for dozens of programs affected by this year’s Farm Bill.

Eradication of Pink Bollworm and Other Invasive Species

In October, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that U.S. cotton is free — after more than 100 years — of the devastating pink bollworm. This pest cost U.S. producers tens of millions of dollars in yearly control costs and yield losses. Thanks to rigorous control and regulatory activities carried out by USDA, state departments of agriculture, the U.S. cotton industry, and growers, pink bollworm was eliminated from all cotton-producing areas in the continental United States. As a result, USDA lifted the domestic quarantine for pink bollworm, relieving restrictions on the domestic and international movement of U.S. cotton. APHIS and its partners also successfully eliminated feral swine from Maryland and New Jersey, and three additional States (Iowa, Maine, and Oregon) saw significant reductions in feral swine populations. Additionally, in FY18, APHIS declared two Ohio communities free of Asian longhorned beetle, in Monroe Township after a seven-year eradication effort and in Stonelick Township after a six-year effort.

National School Lunch Program

To make school meals more appealing to children, reduce food waste, and ease operational burdens, USDA published a final rule allowing for more flexibilities in the food served through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. This action is part of USDA’s Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens.


Secretary Perdue launched a USDA initiative to provide comprehensive and timely support to veterans interested in opportunities in agriculture, agribusiness, and in rural America. USDA wants to ensure veterans looking to return home, or start a new career on a farm or in a rural community have the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. The resources include a veterans website and a USDA-wide AgLearn curriculum to allow all employees to understand the unique opportunities offered to our nation’s veterans.

USDA Agency Accomplishments

USDA is made up of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country. While each mission area’s accomplishments may be found by using the links below, notable accomplishments are as follows:
-    Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) collaborated across USDA agencies to develop and implement a program to purchase targeted commodities to assist farmers and ranchers affected by unfair trade tariffs.
-    Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research Unit in New Orleans, Louisiana, developed TACgauze™ – a domestically-produced, nonwoven, cotton gauze made of greige (raw, unbleached) cotton. In comparison to standard crinkle-type gauzes made of processed cotton, TACgauze was found to be 33 percent lighter and 63 percent more absorbent in trials. It also promoted clotting more quickly. Commercialized in November, military services organizations are evaluating TACgauze for use by our warfighters on the battlefield and civilian organizations are exploring its widespread use in treating wounds.
-    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) played a vital role to ensure the free flow of agricultural trade by keeping U.S. agricultural industries free from pests and diseases. An example of this critical work is APHIS’ recent efforts to prevent African Swine Fever from entering the United States through a series of interlocking safeguards that includes working with producers, states and industry to ensure they are following biosecurity recommendations, restricting pork and pork imports from affected countries, and working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to train inspection dogs and increase screening vigilance for passengers and products arriving from affected countries.
-    Economic Research Service (ERS) conducted a study on how agricultural production has shifted to much larger farming operations over the last three decades, even as the number of very small farms grows. Based on detailed farm-level data, Three Decades of Consolidation in U.S. Agriculture measured trends in consolidation and tracked developments in farm-level specialization as well as the organization of farming businesses.
-    Farm Service Agency (FSA) added seed cotton as a covered commodity under the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2018 crop year, which provides cotton producers access to USDA risk management tools that provide other covered commodities much-needed protection from low markets.
-    Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspected more than 160 million head of livestock and 9.47 billion poultry carcasses. FSIS Inspectors also conducted 6.9 million food safety and food defense procedures across 6,500 regulated establishments to ensure meat, poultry and processed egg products were safe and wholesome.
-    Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provided almost 13 million pounds of USDA Foods, valued at $18.6 million, and $5.6 million worth of infant formula and baby food, to ensure those whose lives were disrupted by disaster have the food they need as they got back on their feet.
-    Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) facilitated $2 billion in exports of U.S. agricultural commodities to Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia through the GSM-102 Export Credit Guarantee Program. FAS rolled out the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, which helps to mitigate the effects of other countries’ trade barriers by helping U.S. agricultural exporters develop new markets. A total of 71 organizations have applied for the program, submitting requests totaling more than $600 million, for funding that will be allocated in early 2019.
-    Forest Service (USFS) made improvements in environmental analysis and decision-making to cut costs by $30 million, and reduced analysis time by 10 percent. The USFS worked with sister agencies to update policies and processes for more efficient application and implementation of mineral extraction and energy production projects. The agency also reformed wildland fire systems to prioritize risk-based resource allocation and lower costs while protecting lives, property, and resources.
-    National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) launched a new, improved online survey questionnaire for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The new system is now in use for nearly 50 percent of NASS surveys with the remainder coming online as they are conducted. The user-friendly questionnaire is accessible on any device, calculates totals automatically, and skips questions that do not apply. In addition to being more convenient for respondents, it streamlines data collection and analysis for USDA.
-    National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) delivered grants to the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development and Purdue Extension to host a quarterly webinar series, Combating Opioids, to make a difference in addressing opioid misuse and abuse, especially in rural communities. There have been over 575 participants from across the country on 5 webinars and over 1,000 views to archived presentations and materials housed on the project’s website
-    Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided technical assistance to more than 900,000 land managers, and comprehensive planning assistance to over 100,000 producers in 2018. This work resulted in conservation plans for nearly 28 million acres. NRCS actions in 2018 also resulted in 33.3 million acres being treated with conservation practices to improve water quality, with estimated reductions of nutrient loss of 47,732 tons of nitrogen and 7,821 tons of phosphorus on cropland.
-    Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) (PDF, 130 KB) in October, USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a joint agency formal agreement (PDF, 578 KB) launching the Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative. This new agreement will improve coordination across federal agencies to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste.
-    Risk Management Agency (RMA) provided more than $61 million in coverage following Hurricanes Florence and Michael. RMA paid more than $1.99 billion in claims for causes of loss related to drought for the 2018 reinsurance year. Claims for 2018 coverage totaled more than $3.29 billion.
-    Rural Development (RD) invested in new and improved high-speed e-Connectivity for more than 45,000 rural homes and businesses, modernized rural electric infrastructure for more than 7 million customers, invested in new and improved water and wastewater infrastructure for nearly 3 million rural customers, and invested in new and improved community infrastructure including streets, transportation, aviation, ports, and water and storm water resources for 1.2 million rural Americans.

Perdue Announces ERS, NIFA Site Selection Criteria

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the criteria the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed to evaluate the 136 Expressions of Interest received from parties in 35 states vying to become the new homes of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  Secretary Perdue announced in August 2018 that most ERS and NIFA personnel would be moving to outside of the National Capital Region by the end of 2019.

“We don’t undertake these relocations lightly, and we are doing it to improve performance and the services these agencies provide,” Perdue said.  “We will be placing important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from Washington, D.C.  We will be saving money for the taxpayers and improving our ability to retain more employees in the long run.  And we are increasing the probability of attracting highly-qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities.”

USDA is following a rigorous site selection process, with leadership from USDA, ERS, and NIFA involved.  USDA has retained Ernst & Young (EY), a leading provider of professional services with a dedicated Construction and Real Estate Advisory Services practice, to assist in the relocation efforts.  EY provides real estate advice to organizations across industries, including the federal government.  USDA will leverage EY inputs to support and facilitate USDA’s site selection process.

Based on the Expressions of Interest submitted in response to the USDA Notice of Request for Expression of Interest for Potential Sites for Headquarters Office Locations dated August 15, 2018 and extended through October 15, 2018, EY and USDA developed initial criteria for site selection.  USDA will apply a set of guiding principles, including locations meeting USDA travel requirements, locations with specific labor force statistics, and locations with work hours most compatible with all USDA office schedules.

Additionally, using the high-level criteria posted in the Federal Register (transportation logistics, workforce, community/quality of life, and capital and operating costs), USDA has defined criteria to apply to the Expressions of Interest:
-    Quality of Life: Subcategory examples include Diversity Index, Residential Housing Costs, Access to Healthcare, and Home and Community Safety Ranking.
-    Costs (Capital and Operating): Subcategory examples include Cost of Living Adjustment, Commercial Real Estate Costs, Land Costs, and Wage Growth Rate.
-    Workforce: Subcategory examples include Labor Force Growth Rate, Unemployment Rate, and the Labor Force Population.
-    Logistics / IT Infrastructure: Subcategory examples include Lodging Availability, Proximity to Stakeholders, and Travel Time to / from DC.

Perdue Details USDA Functions in the Event of a Lapse in Federal Funding

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today detailed which functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will remain available in the event of a lapse in government funding.

“There may be a lapse in funding for the federal government, but that will not relieve USDA of its responsibilities for safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide,” said Secretary Perdue.  “Our employees work hard every day to benefit our customers and the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our programs. During a shutdown, we will leverage our existing resources as best we can to continue to provide the top-notch service people expect.”

Some USDA activities will be shut down or significantly reduced and some USDA employees will be furloughed.  However, certain USDA activities would continue because they are related to law enforcement, the protection of life and property, or are financed through available funding (such as through mandatory appropriations, multi-year discretionary funding, or user fees).  For the first week of a potential shutdown, 61% of employees would either be exempted or excepted from shutdown activities.  If the shutdown continues, this percentage would decrease, and activities would be reduced as available funding decreases.

USDA activities that would continue in the short-term include:

-    Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services.
-    Grain and other commodity inspection, weighing, grading, and IT support services funded by user fees.
-    Inspections for import and export activities to prevent the introduction and dissemination of pests into and out of the U.S, including inspections from Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the mainland.
-    Forest Service law enforcement, emergency and natural disaster response, and national defense preparedness efforts.
-    Forest Service employees will continue to work on managing and maintaining the current forest system lands and sustaining the health and safety of the lands for their continued use.
-    Continuity and maintenance of some research measurements and research-related infrastructure, such as germplasm, seed storage, and greenhouses.
-    Care for animals, plants and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research and to comply with the Wild Horses and Burros statute.
-    Eligible households will still receive monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for January.
-    Most other domestic nutrition assistance programs, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, WIC, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, can continue to operate at the State and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available.  Additional Federal funds and commodities will not be provided during the period of the lapse.
-    The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into February. Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month. Carryover funding will be available during a lapse to support FY 2019 meal service.
-    Minimal administrative and management support, including to excepted IT systems and contracts, will be maintained to support the above activities.
-    Provision of conservation technical and financial assistance (such as Conservation

Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and easement programs).
-        Some farm payments (including direct payments, market assistance loans, market facilitation payments, and disaster assistance programs) will be continued for the first week of a shutdown.
-        Market Facilitation Program payments.
-        Trade mitigation purchases made by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
-        Agricultural export credit and other agricultural trade development and monitoring activities.
-    USDA’s Market News Service, which provides critically important market information to the agricultural industry.

The following USDA activities would not be continued and would be shut down in an orderly fashion during a government funding lapse.  These activities include:

-    Provision of new rural development loans and grants for housing, community facilities, utilities and businesses.
-    All recreation sites across the U.S National Forest System, unless they are operated by external parties under a recreational special use permit.
-    New timber sales.
-    Most forest fuels reduction activities in and around communities.
-    NASS statistics, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, and other agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections.
-    Investigation of packers and stockyards related to fraudulent and anti-competitive activities.
-    Assistance for the control of most plant and animal pests and diseases unless funded by cooperators or other non-appropriated sources.
-    Research facilities except for the care for animals, plants and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research.
-    Provision of new grants or processing of payments for existing grants to support research, education, and extension.
-    ERS Commodity Outlook Reports, Data Products, research reports, staff analysis, and projections.  The ERS public website would be taken offline.
-    Most departmental management, administrative and oversight functions, including civil rights, human resources, financial management, audit, investigative, legal and information technology activities.
-    Mandatory Audits (Financial Statements, FISMA, and potentially Improper Payments) will be suspended and may not be completed and released on the date mandated by law.
-    After the first week, farm loans and some farm payments (including direct payments, market assistance loans, market facilitation payments for those producers who have not certified production, and disaster assistance programs).