Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Monday May 20 Ag News

The Environmental Disease Called Pinkeye
Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Have you ever thought about how some years get labeled “bad years” for a certain animal disease? We remember that “bad year” for calf scours. Likewise, there are “bad years” for calf pneumonia and even “bad years” for breeding on pasture.

What is it about those “bad years”? Are there years when there are just a lot more germs around for some random reason?

The reasons behind cattle diseases exploding in certain years and not others have to do with the fact that our animals are beholden to their environment. Climatic conditions such as snow, rain, heat, or humidity can affect the ability of the animal to resist a certain disease or succumb to it. Additionally, weather conditions can be beneficial to the growth and survival of certain illness-causing germs or they can be detrimental. This is illustrated by the concept of the “epidemiologic triad” – the concept that the interaction among the animal, the germs, and the environment affects whether an animal gets sick or stays healthy. Cattle are among the domestic animals most affected by our fickle weather conditions here in the Northern Plains.

Plentiful moisture during the grazing season might contribute to what could be called a “bad year” for a certain cattle disease: pinkeye.

Not unfamiliar to cattle producers, pinkeye is a bacterial infection of the surface of the eye. What starts out as red, weepy eyes quickly progresses to severe inflammation and an eating-away of the clear portion of the eyeball. It’s a painful problem for affected cattle; left untreated, it can lead to blindness. Different types of germs have been identified in affected eyes, with Moraxella bovis being the one most commonly found.

So what creates a potentially “bad year” for pinkeye? Again, it’s not simply because there are more germs around. In fact, cattle pinkeye is quite different from some diseases where just being exposed to the germ equates to an illness (influenza, for example). Researchers tell us that pinkeye germs can be found in the eyes of normal cattle. What’s more, when they try to artificially create the disease experimentally, they can’t do it by just squirting the bacteria in the calf’s eye. It’s not just the germ; there has to be something more.

That something more is irritation. The normal eye is very good at resisting infection. In order to cause infection and inflammation, pathogenic bacteria have to stick to the eye surface, multiply, and release enzymes that damage the cornea. But this surface is constantly washed by tears, which also contain antibacterial substances. Simple blinking also brushes bacteria off the cornea. Even if some of the bacteria happen to stick, the cells of the cornea (the clear portion of the eye) turn over every 5-7 days.

But irritation to the eye surface is just the chink in all this armor that Moraxella is waiting for – and the opportunities are plentiful during moist summers. Tall grass can scratch the eye surface, and pollen is an additional irritant. Flies and other insects become more plentiful, and they are particularly drawn to tears and gunk that forms in the corner of the eye, causing more irritation. Even strong sunlight provides an irritation that the bacteria can take advantage of.

Because bovine pinkeye can’t easily be replicated by simple exposure to the bacteria, it could very well be considered an environmental disease. Reducing the pinkeye risk for pasture cattle means addressing their environment.

The role of the bacteria should not be entirely discounted, however. Pinkeye tends to affect multiple cattle in a herd. When the bacteria is successful at infecting an animal, there’s more of it around to spread to another by flies or direct contact. Exposure to higher bacterial numbers means less of an irritation is needed for an infection to start.

It’s easier said than done but controlling the environmental aspects of pinkeye through fly control shade and clipping tall grass should be considered. While the success of pinkeye vaccines is erratic, they should also be discussed with your veterinarian. Just because the environmental aspects of pinkeye may be hard to control, producers should still do what they can to protect cattle from this painful, production-robbing disease.

Dairy Barn Lighting Webinar

This Thursday, May 23 at 12:00 noon CST Nebraska Dairy Extension will host a webinar on dairy barn lighting.  Dr. Geoffrey Dahl from the University of Florida Gainsville will discuss photoperiod management throughout the life cycle of dairy cows.  Dr. Dahl will discuss recommendations for growing heifers, dry cows, and lactating cows. 

To join the webinar on Thursday, use the  link: go.unl.edu/dairylighting.  No registration is needed. 

Nebraska Ethanol Board Meeting May 31, 2019

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet Friday, May 31 at 11:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in Grand Island, Nebraska, in the community meeting room at Bosselman Enterprises Headquarters       (1607 S. Locust St.).

The board meeting agenda highlights include:
    Budget Report
    Fuel Retailer Update
    E30 Demonstration Update
    Marketing Programs
    State and Federal Legislation
    Ethanol Plant Reports
    Administrator’s Report

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Chemigation permits are due June 1st

     Farmers planning to chemigate during the 2019 growing season must renew chemigation permits by June 1 to meet state deadline requirements, according to Josh Schnitzler, Water Resources Coordinator for the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD).  Chemigation is the application of any chemical, fertilizer or pesticide through an irrigation system. To legally chemigate in Nebraska, an operator must be certified to apply chemicals and obtain a chemigation permit from their local NRD.

     "Farmers holding chemigation permits, even if they are uncertain whether they will chemigate later this year, should consider renewing their permits by June 1," Schnitzler said.  Schnitzler is encouraging area producers to reapply by the state-required deadline to avoid the increased cost and possible delays of an inspection.

     An irrigation system that has not been renewed prior to the June 1 deadline cannot apply chemicals through the system until a new permit is obtained.  Chemigation renewal permits cost $20.  New chemigation permits cost $50, and the applicant cannot use the system until it passes a mandatory inspection.  All permits must be submitted to the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.

     By renewing a permit by June 1, a producer may proceed with chemigation. An inspection does not have to be performed prior to chemigation for a renewal application, Schnitzler said.  However, a random chemigation inspection may be necessary later in the season as part of the LENRD's routine summer inspections as required by state law.

     Applicants must have the signature of a certified applicator on their application form.  Schnitzler stated, “In order to be certified, a person must complete a chemigation safety course and pass an exam once every four years.”

     If chemigating is necessary, on short notice, emergency permits can be obtained at a cost of $250.  Irrigation systems meeting chemigation law standards will then be allowed to operate within 72 hours.

     Approximately 2,016 chemigation permits were approved by the LENRD in 2018.  For more information on renewing or obtaining chemigation permits, call the Lower Elkhorn NRD at 371-7313.

Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center Open House - June 12

The  University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead is hosting an open house on Wednesday, June 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is an informal and informative opportunity to come see how ENREC is making a difference. The event is for both rural and urban audiences – see firsthand what we are doing at ENREC and why it matters.  

Join us at the August N. Christenson Building  for...
·       Christenson Annex Building Tours - Be one of the first to tour the Christenson Building annex.
·       Demonstrations & Displays - * See how the University is learning and teaching with drones, a hail simulator machine, and beef and science mobile labs.  * ENREC has been serving as a collection site for hay, fencing and livestock supply donations for Nebraska producers impacted by the March flood and blizzard events.  Learn about the project and the University’s role in leading disaster relief.  ·       Who works at ENREC and what do they do?  Learn about the work we are doing & why it is important to Nebraska.
·       Refreshments - Enjoy free refreshments, including “Nifty N150” ice cream.
·       3:15 or 4:15 Bus Tour - See where research projects and educational programs are taking place

More information online at:  https://enrec.unl.edu/2019enrecopenhouse/


The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced the recipients of scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year. The awards include renewable and one-time scholarships to 61 students totaling $250,000 for the ensuing academic year.

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program was established in 2010 by a gift from the Paul and Virginia Engler Foundation. The mission of the program is to embolden people on the courageous pursuit of their purpose through the art and practice of entrepreneurship. The program offers an academic minor while serving as an intersection in which students from a diverse array of majors and business interests can come together in pursuit of the American Dream.

Incoming Freshman Scholarship Winners:
AINSWORTH: Samuel Wilkins
ALMA: Tanner Kauk
CORDOVA: Luke Petersen
CURTIS: Tristin Smith
FALLS CITY: Dylan Frederick
FULLERTON: Brentyn Wetovick
GORDON: Kenna Rose
HARVARD: Dustin Stone
HASTINGS: Alexa Mitcham
LYONS: Layne Miller
OGALLALA: Tyler Perrin
PAXTON: Benjamin Schow
SUTTON: Megan Fehr
WAYNE: Josie Thompson
SAMMAMISH, WA: Grace Weaver

Continuing Student Scholarship Winners:
AINSWORTH: Maria Harthoorn, sophomore
ALBION: Sydney Wynn, junior
ALLIANCE: Tyler Quick, sophomore
ALMA: Kaleb Kindler, sophomore
CALLAWAY: Lucy Kimball, sophomore
CLARKSON: Korbin Kudera, sophomore
CORTLAND: Aaron Deunk, junior
DAVEY: Miranda Hornung, sophomore
DAVID CITY: Anna Kobza, senior
DEWITT: Sloane Holtmeier, junior; Cheyenne Gerlach, senior
EDDYVILLE: Sage Williams, junior
FIRTH: Adam Oldemeyer, junior
FULLERTON: Emily Frenzen, senior
GENOA: Jessica Weeder, junior
GOTHENBURG: Jessica Rudolph, junior
HERSHEY: Louise Wiseman, junior
HOWELLS: Darren Hegemann, senior; Hailey Coufal, junior
HUBBARD: Shelby Utech, senior

KEARNEY: Eli Wolfe, junior; Ralston Ripp, sophomore
MADISON: Michayla Goedeken, junior
NEWPORT: Rachel Stewart, junior
OAKLAND: Brent Miller, senior
OGALLALA: Amanda Most, sophomore
OMAHA: Brytany Gama, sophomore; Sarah Osborn, junior
ORD: Shelby Kittle, sophomore
ORLEANS: Haley Ehrke, senior
RAYMOND: Hannah Settje, senior
SCRIBNER: Lindsay Peters, junior
SIDNEY: Halle Ramsey, senior
SPENCER: Kelli Mashino, junior
STERLING: Sarah Buehler, junior
SUMNER: Mekenzie Beattie, sophomore
TAYLOR: John Schroder, senior
UNADILLA: Hannah Esch, senior
WALLACE: Hannah Nelson, sophomore
WAUNETA: Wesley Wach, sophomore
WEST POINT: Eric Klitz, senior
WISNER: Keeley Russman, senior

JEFFERSON, SD: Karl Schenk, junior
STEELE, ND: Shaye Koester, sophomore
WOODSTOCK, IL: Daniel Serdar, sophomore
KATHMANDU, NEPAL: Sushant Timalsina, junior

For more information, contact program director Tom Field at 402-472-5643 or tfield2@unl.edu.

COO Meyer to Retire from AGP

Ag Processing Inc a cooperative (AGP) announced today that Cal Meyer, Chief Operating Officer, has decided to retire at the end of 2019 after thirty-four years with the Company.  Promoted to COO in September of 2015, Meyer also served for nineteen years as Group Vice President, overseeing the Company’s commercial activities and operations functions.  During Meyer’s tenure, he has played a crucial role in AGP’s management and leadership, while continuing to assist in the evolution of the Company to changing business and industry conditions. 

“Throughout his career at AGP, Cal’s leadership contributed greatly to the Company’s success,” said Keith Spackler, Chief Executive Officer.  “We have worked together for many years and I can attest that his vision, devotion, and work ethic have been key components in AGP’s achievements.  Additionally, his contributions in managing and developing many of our leadership team members will add to continued success as we move forward.” 

“I have been fortunate during my career to have worked with a number of highly motivated and professional people in an industry for which I have great respect.  I have confidence in the work ethic and abilities of the AGP team,” said Meyer.  “I find reward in knowing that collectively, we have built a tremendous foundation for the Company’s future.” 

Meyer’s career in agribusiness started with Archer Daniels Midland in 1981.  He joined AGP in 1985 as a merchandiser at the St. Joseph, Missouri soybean processing plant.  He subsequently became Merchandising Manager at AGP’s Manning and Eagle Grove, Iowa processing facilities.  Upon his promotion to National Account Manager in 1993, he and his family moved to Omaha, Nebraska.  Meyer was named Vice President of Marketing for the Soybean Processing Group in 1997.  In 2000, he was promoted to Group Vice President responsible for commercial activities and operations.  His career highlights include developing and working with a professional team and building a successful company.  His future plans include working on his acreage, enjoying his family and grandchildren, and pursuing several activities and hobbies. 

Veteran farmers invited to barbecue

Veteran farmers in Nebraska are invited to meet and discuss agricultural issues in a free gathering hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The Nebraska Veteran Farmer Barbecue is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at the Barreras Family Farm, 11564 County Road P30, near Blair, Nebraska. This event is for current or former active duty, guard, or reserve military service members and their families.

“We’ve listened to veteran farmers across Nebraska and have heard a desire for networking and opportunities,” said Cora Fox, Center for Rural Affairs policy associate and veteran of the National Guard.

This is a potluck-style gathering with a main dish provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish.

“Veterans attending can see how others have translated the duty and drive of military life into rewarding second careers in farming,” Fox said. “It is often shared that the traits needed to excel in military service: initiative, organization, dedication, and creative problem solving, are also required to start and grow a farm.”

To RSVP, visit cfra.org/events or contact Fox at 402.687.2100 ext. 1012 or coraf@cfra.org.

This event is funded in part by New Belgium Brewing Company.

USMEF Statement on Removal of Retaliatory Duties on U.S. Red Meat

Today the Mexican government published the official notice removing Mexico’s retaliatory duties on U.S. pork, and Canada’s Department of Finance announced that Canada will immediately eliminate the 10% tariff Canada imposed on prepared beef items imported from the United States.

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:
Restoring duty-free access to the Mexican and Canadian markets is a tremendous breakthrough for the U.S. red meat industry. USMEF thanks President Trump and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer for reaching an agreement with Mexico and Canada on steel and aluminum tariffs and in turn Mexico and Canada’s lifting of the retaliatory duties on U.S. red meat. This also removes a significant obstacle for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and USMEF is hopeful that all three countries ratify USMCA as soon as possible.

NMPF Celebrates Lifting of Tariffs Against U.S. Dairy; Hard Work Remains on Trade

The National Milk Producers Federation today celebrated Mexico’s lifting of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. cheese exports. Still, hard work remains for lawmakers and officials to further improve the trade outlook for dairy farmers, with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement yet to be approved and a prolonged trade dispute with China clouding dairy exports.

“Dairy farmers have much to celebrate, with the resumption of normal business with our largest export partner,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “To move forward in boosting exports, Congress needs to pass the USMCA, and administration officials need to resolve the latest impasse in U.S. negotiations with China in a way that’s favorable to producers. Meanwhile, trade negotiations with Japan and other key partners also must move ahead. The time for progress on all fronts is now.”

Mexico is the largest destination for U.S. dairy products, with Mexico purchasing $1.4 billion last year. Mexico’s retaliatory exports against dairy resulted from the U.S. imposition of tariffs against Mexican metals last year. After the three nations announced the end of the metal tariffs on Friday, the retaliatory tariffs were lifted shortly thereafter. Canada, the second-largest destination, also lifted its retaliatory tariffs against U.S. yogurt.

The USMCA, concluded last fall but still not voted on in Congress, would restore trade certainty with our largest export market and increase access to Canada’s market while making key changes to Canada’s trade-distorting dairy-pricing policies. Meanwhile, trade conflict with China, the third-biggest buyer of U.S. dairy, intensified last week. The escalation of trade tensions has left tariffs on U.S. dairy exporters in place, and China recently increased tariffs on U.S. lactose and infant formula, among other goods, showing continued trade damage to U.S. farmers.

The USDA is currently considering assistance to farmers harmed by trade-related actions. NMPF continues to advocate that the USDA develop a robust dairy package that reflects the damages producers have faced.

Soy Growers Look to USMCA

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news on Friday that leaders from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada reached a deal which would lift the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, removing a major roadblock to passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“Soybean farmers welcome the Trump Administration’s decision to reach a deal on tariffs with Mexico and Canada. The positive news was uplifting during this time of volatile export markets, and soy growers are urging continuation of the momentum with the swift passage of the USMCA,” said ASA President and Clinton, Kentucky soybean grower Davie Stephens. “We appreciate the leadership from Capitol Hill and Members of Congress like Senator Chuck Grassley, for vocalizing the barrier these 232 tariffs presented to passage. As lawmakers turn to completing the task of passing USMCA, we continue to urge them to use their platform to raise the ongoing concerns over the still present China tariffs. ”

Under NAFTA, U.S. soy exports to Canada and Mexico were almost $3 billion in 2017, U.S. soy exports to Mexico have grown four-fold under the agreement, making Mexico the number two export market for U.S. soybeans.

Soy growers depend on exports, and passage of USMCA is vital to ensuring continued trade with two of U.S. soybeans’ top trading partners.

April Milk Production up 0.3 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during April totaled 17.4 billion pounds, up 0.3 percent from April 2018, according to USDA. March revised production, at 17.8 billion pounds, was down 0.3 percent from March 2018. The March revision represented a decrease of 40 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,996 pounds for April, 19 pounds above April 2018. This is the highest production per cow for the month of April since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.71 million head, 55,000 head less than April 2018, and 1,000 head less than March 2019.

U.S. Organic Sales Reach Record $50 Billion in 2018

Clean, transparent, fresh, sustainable. Environmentally friendly, animal humane, high quality, social activism. Those traits are all identified with organic, and in 2018 they all helped push organic sales to unprecedented levels. The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey released Friday by the Organic Trade Association.

New records were made in both the organic food market and the organic non-food market. Organic food sales reached $47.9 billion, for an increase of 5.9 percent. Sales of organic non-food products jumped by 10.6 percent to $4.6 billion. The growth rate for organic continued to easily outpace the general market: in 2018, total food sales in the U.S. edged up just 2.3 percent while total non-food sales rose 3.7 percent.

Millennials are pushing for transparency and integrity in the food supply chain, and they are savvy to misleading marketing. The USDA Organic seal is gaining new appeal as consumers realize that organic is a certification that is not only monitored and supported by official standards, but is the only seal that encompasses the spectrum of Non-GMO, no toxic pesticides or chemicals, dyes or preservatives.

Almost 6 percent (5.7 percent) of the food sold in this country is now organic. Today's consumers can find organic products - food and non-food items -- in every aisle of their grocery stores. They can choose organic in their favorite big box store, their club warehouse store, even in their neighborhood convenience store, and increasingly on the internet. Organic is no longer a niche market.

"Organic is now considered mainstream. But the attitudes surrounding organic are anything but status quo," said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. "In 2018, there was a notable shift in the mindset of those working in organic toward collaboration and activism to move the needle on the role organic can play in sustainability and tackling environmental initiatives."

"Activism is a natural reaction from an industry that is really close to the consumer. When we are in an environment where government is not moving fast enough, the industry is choosing to move to meet the consumer rather than get stalled," said Batcha.

Still the stalwart of the organic industry, sales of organic fruits and vegetables rose to $17.4 billion in 2018 for a 5.6 percent rate of growth, on par with the growth attained in 2017. By comparison, the overall fruits and vegetables category, including both organic and conventional products, grew by just 1.7 percent in 2018.

Fruits and vegetables now account for 36.3 percent of all organic food sales. Organic fruits and vegetable make up close to 15 percent (14.6 percent) of all the produce sold in the U.S., and have nearly doubled their market share in the last ten years.

Produce is a gateway to organic for consumers, especially Millennials and those with young families. Industry experts note that the more people learn about health and wellness, the more people buy fresh produce.

Popular in the organic produce aisles: the classics like carrots, greens, apples, bananas. Also hitting stride are organic berries, avocados, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and tropical fruits like mangoes and papayas. And outside the fresh produce section, the frozen, canned, and dried vegetable and fruit sections also made gains.

GROWMARK Launches Technology Testing Platform

GROWMARK announced today it is partnering with technology vendors from across the world with its new AgValidity testing program. With new tech products bombarding the agricultural market every day, AgValidity will focus on research and development to cut through the clutter and bring FS customers the best combination of personalized solutions.

“GROWMARK and the FS Brand are known as trusted advisors to our customers across North America,” said Lance Ruppert, director of agronomy marketing technology for GROWMARK. “With our expertise, technology companies are increasingly looking for a partner to help test new products and AgValidity will help identify cutting-edge products and services that can improve our customers’ bottom line.”

More than 20 projects are currently in testing including analytical technologies, biologicals, soil health, and artificial intelligence applications.

“We are already a leader in agronomy technology ranging from FS Advanced Information Services suite of data management tools to FS crop specialists using aerial imagery deep in our growers’ fields,” said Mark Orr, GROWMARK vice president of agronomy. “Our research teams will now provide an additional level of customized service for FS customers.”

AgValidity is currently working with FS customers across the country on test trials, ranging in variety from row crops to fruits and vegetables.

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