Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday May 17 Ag News

Ricketts Pumps E15, Promotes Ethanol while Proclaiming May as Renewable Fuels Month

This morning, Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed May as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska during a ceremony at Casey’s General Store on N 156th Street.  Following the official proclamation, the Governor stepped up to the pump to fill customers’ tanks with E15 to promote higher ethanol blends.

“Nebraska’s biofuels power our vehicles and propel our state’s economy forward,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Corn-based ethanol and soy biodiesels save Nebraskans money at the pump, and they literally help us breathe easier.  We’re successfully working to introduce greater volumes of higher ethanol blends—E15, E30, and E85—into the nation’s fuel supply to save consumers money, benefit the environment, and create more opportunity for Nebraska’s farm families.”

“Casey’s is demonstrating its commitment to Nebraska by adding this blender pump,” said Sarah Caswell, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “This infrastructure will enable the station to offer Nebraska consumers more choice at the pump to use fuel that is cheaper for them and better for the state’s economy and environment.  E15 is safe to use in 2001 and newer cars.  Now, Nebraska drivers will have more opportunity to choose to use that higher ethanol fuel blend.  The more ethanol we use, the better for our air and economy.”

Nebraska is the nation’s second-leading producer of ethanol.  The state’s 25 ethanol plants have capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons of the fuel each year.  Thanks to the efforts of the 1,400+ rural Nebraskans who work directly in ethanol production, the state’s ethanol output has reached record highs of 2.2 billion gallons per year.  The total value of Nebraska’s ethanol production exceeds $2.8 billion.

Nebraska is pioneering the use of high-level ethanol blends.  On June 3, the state will commence an EPA-approved pilot program to study the use of locally sourced E30 in conventional state-owned vehicles.  The research on these vehicles’ mileage and maintenance needs will help demonstrate how E30 can both reduce consumers’ costs and contribute to a cleaner environment.

There are now more than 100 fuel stations retailing higher ethanol blends throughout the state.

Ethanol produced in Nebraska is made from corn and the process yields distillers grain—a high-protein livestock feed—as a co-product.  A vibrant ethanol industry creates more opportunities for farmers by increasing demand for corn, as well as for ranchers by providing a close-by supply of premium feed.

“We know ethanol is a great product, and we work hard to share that message,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.  “Through Renewable Fuels Month, we’re able to directly connect with consumers to discuss the benefits of American Ethanol.  The fact that increased ethanol blends are locally produced, naturally higher in octane, renewable, cleaner-burning, and less expensive are all messages that resonate well with consumers.  American Ethanol is a great choice for our nation’s drivers and a great choice for Nebraska.”

U.S. Beef Gains Full Access to Japan

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that eliminate Japan’s longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports, paving the way for expanded sales to the United States’ top global beef market. Last week, on the margins of the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting in Niigata, Japan, Secretary Perdue met with Japanese government officials and affirmed the importance of science-based trade rules. The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003.

“This is great news for American ranchers and exporters who now have full access to the Japanese market for their high-quality, safe, wholesome, and delicious U.S. beef,” Secretary Perdue said. “We are hopeful that Japan’s decision will help lead other markets around the world toward science-based policies.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that this expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually. The agreement is also an important step in normalizing trade with Japan, as Japan further aligns its import requirements with international standards for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

In December 2003, Japan banned U.S. beef and beef products following the detection of a BSE-positive animal in the United States. In December 2005, Japan restored partial access for U.S. beef muscle cuts and offal items from cattle 20 months of age and younger. In February 2013, Japan extended access to include beef and beef products from cattle less than 30 months of age.

In April 2017, Japan eliminated its age-based BSE testing on domestic Japanese cattle, paving the way for similar age-based restrictions to be lifted on negligible BSE-risk trading partners, including the United States. On January 15, 2019, Japan’s Food Safety Commission (FSC) concluded eliminating the age restriction for beef from the United States, Canada and Ireland posed a negligible risk to human health. Based on the FSC risk assessment, Japan began consultations with the United States to revise its import requirements in order to align with the BSE guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The new terms and conditions will be posted May 20 to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Export Verification Program web page.

Fischer Statement on Japan Lifting U.S. Beef Export Restrictions

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Japan has lifted restrictions on U.S. beef exports:

“Nebraskans produce some of the most high-quality and delicious beef in the world. It’s great to hear that Japan has lifted the restrictions on U.S. beef exports, increasing opportunities for our state’s ag producers. I thank Secretary Perdue for his hard work on this front and look forward to continuing to work with him to expand market access for Nebraska agriculture products.”

In March 2016, Senator Fischer led a congressional delegation visit to Japan and met with Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe. Additionally, Fischer had breakfast in Washington, D.C., with Abe in February 2017 to discuss the export restrictions.

Sasse: “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner In Japan.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a champion for Nebraska agriculture and trade, released the following statement after United States beef gained full access to Japanese markets.

“Beef. It’s what’s for dinner in Japan,” said Sasse. “This is great news for Nebraska. Our beef is second to none and our cattlemen are going to make a ton of money when more Japanese consumers realize what a great Nebraska steak tastes like.” 

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Japan Eliminating Restrictions on U.S. Beef Imports

“Today is a great day for Nebraska beef producers and Nebraska agriculture! The elimination of Japan’s long-held age restrictions on American beef imports was long overdue. For the first time in 15 years, Nebraska beef producers will have full access to the Japanese market. Japan is the fourth largest consumer of Nebraska agricultural products and far and away the largest purchaser of Nebraska beef. Today’s action will only strengthen our relationship and create greater opportunities to move Nebraska beef products into Japan. We hope this is just the first of more good news to come in securing a much needed trade deal with Japan that ensures U.S. and Nebraska beef producers are competing on a level playing field with our competitors from around the world.”

NCBA Applauds Greater U.S. Beef Access to Japan

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding the announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that Japan will allow products from U.S. cattle, regardless of age, to be imported into that country for the first time since 2003:

"This is great news for American cattle producers, and Secretary Sonny Perdue and the Trump Administration deserve a lot of credit for helping knock down this non-tariff trade barrier in Japan. This underscores the safety of the U.S. beef herd, and it will hopefully send a signal to other Asian nations that non-science-based trade barriers like this one should be eliminated in their countries, as well.

"Tariff rates grab all the headlines, but non-tariff barriers are often just as important, if not more so, when it comes to determining market access. Hopefully this will help spotlight this important point and lead to more trade victories in the near future." 

USMEF Statement on Full Access for U.S. Beef in Japan

Today U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that Japan has agreed to eliminate longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports, including the 30-month cattle age limit. Details are in this USDA news release.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

USMEF appreciates the efforts of USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to secure removal of the 30-month cattle age limit for beef exports to Japan, which is a major step toward putting BSE in the rear view mirror when it comes to global beef trade. While most of the U.S. beef shipped to Japan will continue to be from fed cattle under 30 months of age, the opportunities for over-30-month beef cuts and beef variety meat are significant. Japanese buyers from the pre-BSE era are very familiar with these opportunities, and USMEF has been educating many others who entered the industry over the past 15 to 20 years.

USMEF estimates that removal of the cattle age restriction will increase exports to Japan 7 to 10 percent, or by $150 million to $200 million per year. Beef muscle cuts from over-30-month cattle that are most likely to achieve success with Japanese buyers include short plate, chuckeye rolls, short ribs, middle meats, clods and briskets. Beef variety meat items most likely to be in demand include outside skirts, hanging tenders, mountain chain tripe, tongues, abomasum and intestines. The ability to use beef from over-30-month cattle will also lower costs for companies exporting processed beef products to Japan. But for the U.S. industry to fully capitalize on this growth opportunity, U.S. beef needs to be on a level playing field in Japan. So USMEF is also anxious to see progress in the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations.

Secretary Perdue Joins USMEF for Urban Barbecue Promotion in Japan

Joining U.S. Meat Federation (USMEF) staff in promoting U.S. beef and pork while personally grilling and serving American-style barbecue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue participated in a USMEF promotion this week in Tokyo. The activity, funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board, benefited greatly from the presence of Perdue, who was in Japan for meetings with agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 industrial nations.

"Consumers were able to meet Secretary Perdue and hear him speak about U.S. red meat, which made quite a positive impression," said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF director in Japan. "Having him attend the event helped put a face on American agriculture and bolstered our efforts to build trust among Japanese consumers. In a personable way, he was able to encourage people to continue to purchase and enjoy U.S. beef, pork and lamb."

The event – the latest in USMEF's Urban Barbecue campaign – was supplemented by tasting samples of U.S. beef and U.S. pulled pork prepared with a special Perdue family barbecue sauce recipe. Perdue's appearance at the grill was followed by a session that featured Japanese food journalists, bloggers and social media celebrities grilling U.S. beef and pork.

Perdue moved from grill to grill, chatting with participants about his barbecue preferences.

USMEF launched the Urban Barbecue campaign to show Japanese consumers that American-style barbecue can be made easily without large smokers or other professional equipment.

"The Japanese love the taste of American barbecue, but one thing that was keeping consumption from expanding was the common belief that it is difficult to prepare," said Yamashoji. "We have been working to dispel that belief, with Urban Barbecue activities that demonstrate how easy it is to prepare American-style barbecue."

Perdue's visit precedes scheduled meetings later this month between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who are expected to review the progress of recently launched trade agreement negotiations between the U.S. and Japan.

Sasse Statement on Distinction Between Chinese Cold War and North American Trade Tensions

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken trade advocate and a China hawk, issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

“China is our adversary; Canada and Mexico are our friends. The President is right to increase pressure on China for their espionage, their theft of intellectual property, and their hostility toward the rule of law. The President is also right to be de-escalating tension with our North American allies. Today’s news that the Administration is dropping steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico is great for America, great for our allies, and certainly great for Nebraska’s agriculture industry.”

United States Announces Deal with Canada and Mexico to Lift Retaliatory Tariffs

Today, the United States announced an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove the Section 232 tariffs for steel and aluminum imports from those countries and for the removal of all retaliatory tariffs imposed on American goods by those countries.  The agreement provides for aggressive monitoring and a mechanism to prevent surges in imports of steel and aluminum. If surges in imports of specific steel and aluminum products occur, the United States may re-impose Section 232 tariffs on those products. Any retaliation by Canada and Mexico would then be limited to steel and aluminum products. This agreement is great news for American farmers that have been subject to retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico. At the same time, the Agreement will continue to protect America’s steel and aluminum industries.

Secretary Perdue Statement on the Removal of Section 232 Tariffs

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement after the Section 232 Tariffs were removed from Canada and Mexico.

“Today’s announcement is a big win for American agriculture and the economy as a whole. I thank President Trump for negotiating a great deal and for negotiating the removal of these tariffs. Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products. Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement.”


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding an agreement reached by the United States, Canada, and Mexico to remove tariffs on steel and aluminum imports (Section 232).

“I have raised this issue with the President and his team, and I appreciate the successful completion of these negotiations by the Administration. The removal of these tariffs is a major step forward on two fronts; it signals the end to retaliatory tariffs placed by Canada and Mexico which have impacted Nebraska producers, manufacturers, and consumers, and is also a necessary and important step toward adoption of USMCA. Maintaining the trading relationships with Canada and Mexico is crucial to the Nebraska rural economy.”

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Deal to Eliminate U.S. Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Mexico, Canada

“Nebraska farmers and ranchers have been in desperate need of good news on the trade front. Today’s announcement that the U.S. will lift its steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada delivers the positive news farmers and ranchers have been waiting for. Elimination of these tariffs is one of the key actions Nebraska Farm Bureau has been calling for to help move us closer to finalizing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It’s critical we stabilize trade relations with two of Nebraska’s largest trading partners and this is a major step forward. Elimination of the steel and aluminum tariffs will further help ensure the U.S. gets the most out of the USMCA when implemented.”

Ricketts Celebrates Tariff Reductions, Urges Swift Passage of USMCA

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Trump had secured an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove retaliatory tariffs on American goods imported from the U.S. by the two countries.

“A combination of flooding, low commodity prices, and trade negotiations have made for a very tough time for agriculture recently,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Thanks to President Trump’s work, these tariff reductions give our farmers and ranchers more certainty, and set the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on a path to approval.  This agreement is critical for our country and growing key trade relationships.  Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do their part by approving the USMCA.”

IPPA Statement about U.S. Lifting Metal Tariffs on Mexico, Canada

The U.S. government announced May 17 that it is lifting the 25 percent tariff on steel and the 10 percent duty on aluminum imports that had been imposed last year on Canada and Mexico.

“Iowa pork producers thank the Trump administration for ending the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada. This is a change we have been requesting since last fall because retaliatory tariffs by Mexico had the effect of reducing U.S. pork exports to one of our top markets,” said Trent Thiele, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Thiele is a pig farmer from Elma, Iowa.

"Mexico's 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork has cost our producers $12 per animal,” Thiele said, referring to an impact study by ag economist Dermot Hayes of Iowa State University. “Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork's largest export market. This allows Iowa pig farmers to now focus our energies on convincing Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)."

Without removing the metal tariffs, even a ratified USMCA could not have done away with the retaliatory measures.

“That’s why the metal tariffs were of such concern to us,” Thiele said. “We want to thank the entire Iowa congressional delegation for standing behind us on this concern. We especially want to thank Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst for taking that message directly to President Trump.”

Last year, Canada and Mexico purchased more than 40 percent of pork that was exported from the United States. Iowa is the top state for pork exports, and produces nearly one-third of the pork produced in the United States.

Iowa Farm Bureau pleased with deal to lift Mexico and Canada retaliatory tariffs

Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill

“Today’s announcement that the Trump Administration is lifting the 232 Steel and Aluminum tariffs is a positive development, particularly for Iowa pork producers, and IFBF members are hopeful this is the beginning of continued progress on opening trade markets. Iowa Farm Bureau members have been advocating for increased trade and closely monitoring the situation as trade disruptions are coming at a difficult time for Iowa farmers; floods are wreaking havoc; weather is driving planting delays and low commodity prices continue to make profits elusive.

The lifting of steel and aluminum tariffs reopens unfettered access to our longtime trading partners -- Mexico and Canada. Renewed market access to Mexico will directly impact Iowa’s pork industry. IFBF applauds this latest development and urges Congress to move towards swift passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement.”

Dairy Industry Cheers Rollback of Tariffs That Bolsters USMCA Chances

U.S. dairy officials today congratulated the governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada for reaching an agreement to roll back metal tariffs that have soured U.S.-Mexico cheese trade and slowed passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The United States agreed to end Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from its North American neighbors. In return, U.S. dairy officials expect that Mexico will drop their retaliatory tariffs against U.S. dairy products – including duties as high as 25 percent on U.S. cheese exports to Mexico.

“This is an important development for the U.S. dairy industry, and we applaud the hard work of negotiators from all three countries that made it possible as well as the numerous members of Congress that have insisted upon the need to resolve the Section 232 metal tariffs dispute with our North American partners,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “If Mexico lifts its tariffs on U.S. dairy in response, it would be a welcome return to normalcy with our number one export market. It would also build vital momentum for swiftly advancing USMCA towards passage.”

“America’s struggling dairy farmers are in need of some good news, and today’s announcement certainly helps,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “This paves the way for Mexico to drop retaliatory tariffs that have harmed dairy, and for Congress to take its next step to help our producers – to vote on USMCA and quickly ratify it.”

Mexico is, by far, America’s biggest dairy customer, with $1.4 billion in sales last year. U.S. products accounted for 80 percent of Mexican dairy imports by value in 2018, but that dominant market share was being jeopardized by the retaliatory tariffs.

The tariffs were likewise making it politically difficult for Congress to pass USMCA – a pact that modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement, maintains U.S. dairy sales into Mexico, expands dairy market access in Canada, and reforms many nontariff barriers.

NPPC Statement on U.S. Lifting North American Metal Tariffs

The Trump administration today announced plans to lift the 25% tariff on steel and the 10% duty on aluminum imports imposed last year on Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products.

"We thank the administration for ending a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and president of the National Pork Producers Council. "Mexico's 20% retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork has cost our producers $12 per animal, or $1.5 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis. Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork's largest export market and allows NPPC to focus more resources on working toward ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork in North America."

Last year, Canada and Mexico took over 40% of the pork that was exported from the United States. NPPC has designated USMCA ratification as a "key vote" and will closely monitor support of the agreement among members of Congress. U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada support 16,000 U.S. jobs.

"We are also hopeful that the end of this dispute allows more focus on the quick completion of a trade deal with Japan," Herring added. "U.S. pork is losing market in its largest value market to international competitors that have recently implemented new trade agreements with Japan."

According to Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, U.S. pork will see exports to Japan grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years if the U.S. quickly gains access on par with international competitors. Hayes reports that U.S. pork shipments to Japan will drop to $349 million if a trade deal on these terms is not quickly reached with Japan.

NCBA Says Removal of Steel, Aluminum Tariffs "Opens the Door" For USMCA

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Colin Woodall, today released the following statement in response to a deal that will lead Canada and Mexico to drop retaliatory tariffs against U.S. producers:

"“NCBA is grateful to President Trump for working with Canada and Mexico to resolve the steel and aluminum tariff situation. Removing this trade barrier opens the door for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA). NCBA strongly supports the USMCA, and now is the time for Congress to work with President Trump to ratify the USMCA as soon as possible. We cannot afford to delay action on this monumental agreement.”

U.S. Grains Council Encouraged By Section 232 Deal With Canada, Mexico

USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight:

"The U.S. Grains Council is encouraged by the announcement of a deal to lift Section 232 tariffs and countertariffs on goods traded between our country, Canada and Mexico. Our two neighbors are among our best customers for every grain and grain product the Council promotes, and efforts to continue to build stronger relationships with them, including through the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), are critical."

Farm Bureau Statement on Lifting of Agricultural Tariffs

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Today’s lifting of steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports and the elimination of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products by Mexico and Canada is welcome news.

“Retaliatory tariffs are a drag on American farmers and ranchers at a time when they are suffering more economic difficulty than many can remember. Elimination of these tariffs should help pave the way for approval of the USMCA by Congress. Likewise, keeping an eye on today’s deal should address concerns about dumping and unfair subsidies.

“With this milestone reached, we urge negotiators to continue their work toward re-opening markets with the European Union, China and Japan. The Farm Bureau believes in fair trade. Eliminating more tariffs and other trade barriers is critical to achieving that goal.”

Wheat Leaders Pleased to See Sec. 232 Tariffs Removed, Call on Congress to Approve USMCA

The announcement today that Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada will be removed is an important step toward approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Trade (USMCA), say farmer leaders of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG).

“We thank the Administration for recognizing that these tariffs are hindering trade agendas that open overseas markets,” said USW Chairman Chris Kolstad, a wheat farmer from Ledger, Mont. “We also encourage repealing all the remaining steel and aluminum tariffs and oppose new tariffs on autos under Section 232. New tariffs would encourage our trading partners to retaliate against U.S. farmers and agricultural exports and further weaken international trade rules.”

The USMCA agreement includes important provisions for wheat farmers. USMCA retains tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for our long-time flour milling customers in Mexico, a crucial step toward rebuilding trust in U.S. wheat as a reliable supplier in this important, neighboring market. In addition, the USMCA makes important progress towards more open commerce for U.S. wheat farmers near the border with Canada. The updated USMCA agreement would enable U.S. varieties registered in Canada to be afforded reciprocal treatment. While there are remaining challenges, we applaud the Administration for negotiating this critical provision in the USMCA and taking a big step towards reciprocal trade along the U.S.-Canadian border.

“Leaders in Congress made it clear that the USMCA agreement would never be approved unless the tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum were removed,” said NAWG President Ben Scholz, a wheat farmer from Lavon, Tex. “We want to remind members of Congress that the farmers in their states and districts expect support for this agreement. We are certain USMCA will bring jobs and economic prosperity to rural America and across the United States.”  

NGFA commends removal of Section 232 tariffs, urges Congress to approve USMCA

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended trade negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada for successfully completing talks that will lead to the removal of U.S. Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the two countries, as well as Canada and Mexico’s counter-tariffs imposed on U.S. agricultural and other products. 

“This is an extremely important development that should spur expeditious ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade accord in all three countries,” said NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon. “As an organization that is a strong and unconditional supporter of USMCA, we urge the administration to submit, and Congress to approve USMCA on a bipartisan basis. In the current trade environment, in particular, U.S. agriculture desperately needs the certainty and market access USMCA will provide.”

“What it Takes” theme for ACE’s 32nd annual conference

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) opened registration for its 32nd annual conference August 14-16 at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District in Omaha, Nebraska. This year’s “What it Takes” conference theme and programming reflect the ethanol industry’s fortitude for growing the business of clean fuel despite several headwinds the industry battles today.

“Rural America is under tremendous economic stress due to artificial limits on demand and we have more policy irons in the fire than ever before,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “There’s no time like the present to come together, so we encourage ethanol producers and industry members to register for this year’s conference and join us in Omaha this summer as we have candid conversations about ‘what it takes’ to move this industry forward.”

For over three decades, the ACE conference has focused on the people of the ethanol industry and their priorities — a meeting where ethanol producers rub shoulders with retailers, policymakers, researchers, and other industry members. The event provides two days of general sessions, including updates from ACE leadership, as well as insight on topics like the ethanol retail marketplace, future demand opportunities, and trade developments from fuel retailers and industry experts. The conference also offers nine breakout sessions with subjects covering the latest in technology updates, strategic planning advice, and ways to make ethanol plants more profitable.

“We’re looking forward to providing a conversational forum for our industry to share the latest activities underway to increase demand for ethanol here and around the world,” Jennings added. “The ethanol industry was built from the ground up by people who understood that the only way to get everything you want is to give everything you got.”

Stay tuned for more agenda details in the upcoming weeks. For more information about the event, please contact Shannon Gustafson at or visit There are several conference sponsorship opportunities available. The  2019 Sponsorship and Advertising Guide also offers bundled advertising opportunities in ACE’s Ethanol Today magazine for event sponsors. Contact Chuck Beck at to find out how you can maximize your reach while minimizing the expense.

State Farm Bureau Communicators Honored for Outstanding Work

The American Farm Bureau Federation honored top communications specialists at the organization’s National Communications Conference. Texas and Pennsylvania took home the most honors, including awards in news, media relations and video production. Among the winners....

Best Promotional or Education Video or Ad:
Georgia – Whitney Mooney;
Nebraska – Cassie Hoebelheinrich.

Soybean Growers Need an Integrated Approach When Fighting Nematode

In the 30 years that he’s worked for Iowa State University, one tiny pest continues to give Greg Tylka fits.

That pest is a parasitic roundworm that attacks the roots of the soybean plant – known to growers as the soybean cyst nematode.

This microscopic worm has been reducing soybean yields across the Midwest for decades, but thanks to the educational efforts of Tylka, a professor in plant pathology and microbiology at Iowa State University, and many others, a coalition of universities, companies and soybean associations was formed in the late 1990s that helped educate farmers about the importance of sampling fields for the presence of SCN.

Known as the SCN Coalition, this multi-state effort encouraged farmers to test their soils for SCN, and if present, plant resistant varieties. In response, SCN numbers declined and yields improved.


But a new problem is emerging – slowly but surely – as the SCN becomes resistant to the resistance. Today, Tylka said the data show SCN is found in 70% to 75% of Iowa’s fields, with an annual yield reduction ranging from 5% to 50%, depending on the level of infestation and the weather.

During the warm summer months, a new generation of SCN is born every 24 days. Part of the problem is that most resistant varieties use the same source of resistance, known as the PI 88788. After many years of planting the same resistance, the nematode has adapted.

“Farmers need to be aware that the nematode is overcoming the common resistance,” he said. “They need to search out the less common type of variety resistance and they need to use other things to manage it as well.”

In the early days, the answer was “take the test and beat the pest,” Tylka said. In other words, test your soil for SCN, and plant a resistant variety to fix the problem. While that advice still holds true, today’s SCN management includes rotating the type of resistant varieties, using nematode-protectant seed treatments, and also rotating to non-host crops, like corn, small grains and forages.
soybean cyst nematode adult females on soybean root.

Under attack

In infested fields, nematode juveniles penetrate the roots of soybeans, the females swell up with eggs and damage the cellular structure and growth potential of the plant.

Tylka said the damage is often undetectable above ground, and farmers may assume incorrectly that they don’t have an issue. Even when yields seem high, he still encourages farmers to test their soil, to maintain those good yields and prevent a future issue.

The eggs alone can live in the soil for as long as 10 years. Once an infestation starts, it can take multiple years of crop rotation and variety rotation to bring under control.

“It’s the energizer bunny of yield loss for soybeans,” Tylka said. “It’s in the soil and no matter what happens, year in and year out, it just keeps going and increasing.”

Take action

Tylka said he understands why farmers often overlook SCN, but if they want more bushels in the bin, and to maintain their yields, he suggests they be diligent about testing and management.

“It’s easy to overlook because it’s a problem that we’ve had under control for two decades,” he said. “But by golly, if it’s in 70% of the fields, it’s tugging on yields.”

Learn more about SCN on the Soybean Cyst Coalition website, including the Frequently Asked Questions section. Information is also available on an SCN webpage, at


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with recommendations outlining both short and long-term actions that would provide assistance to farmers facing losses due, in part, to the most recent tariff increases and prolonged trade dispute with China.

NCGA analysis, capturing corn market impacts from May 2018 to April 2019, showed an average price loss of $0.20/bushel. In March and April of 2019, as trade talks with China lagged on, that loss widened again to closer to $0.40/bushel.

Given these losses, NCGA is urging USDA to improve upon last year’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) which set the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel, to make sure that assistance more equitably compensates farmers for market losses. Beyond USDA, NCGA is also urging the Administration to address demand destruction caused by the EPA’s small refinery exemptions to oil refiners, among other actions.

NCGA members have been urging President Trump to consider the full scope of challenges facing farmers and sharing their personal stories on social media, using the hashtag #APennyWontCutIt.

Farm Bureau Statement on Trump Immigration Reform Proposal

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Farm Bureau welcomes President Trump’s focus on fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. However, nowhere is reform more critical than in the agricultural sector. Labor shortages now are being felt by farmers and ranchers across the country, in dairy, fruits and vegetables, mushroom, livestock and other sectors. We will not relent in our fight to ensure that a solution to our agricultural labor needs is included in any immigration reform package.

“Farm Bureau economists issued two detailed studies of this problem over the last decade. In the more recent report, in 2014, looking at potential losses in vegetable, livestock, fruit and grain production, estimated losses range as high as $60 billion. A reformed agricultural guest worker program that is flexible and affordable for farmers, fair to workers and effective in meeting the needs of all producers is critical. We also need to provide current workers the opportunity to earn legal status. These workers are essential to our nation’s food production.

“This is a difficult issue and there are no easy solutions. We applaud the Administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are tackling the problem. We look forward to working with them to advance solutions that allow us to continue growing our food within our borders.”

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