Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Monday May 6 Ag News

Nebraska Beef Council May Meeting Notice

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Director's will have a zoom meeting at the NBC office located at 1319 Central Ave. on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 beginning at 12:00 p.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will discuss  USMEF Foreign Marketing opportunities. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at pam@nebeef.org. 

Controlling Horn Flies on Pastured Cattle in Nebraska

Steve Neimeyer – NE Extension Educator 

Livestock producers will soon be sending cattle to summer pastures. Horn flies are a perennial pest of pastured cattle since their introduction from Europe in the 1880s. The horn fly spends most of its time on cattle, mainly on the animal’s backs, sides and when temperatures are very warm, on the belly region. Both sexes of horn fly feed on blood, averaging between 28 and 38 blood meals per day, with each blood meal lasting about 10 minutes. When horn fly numbers exceed 200 flies per animal, cattle will become more stressed due to fly biting. This stress reduces milk production in mother cows and grazing time, which leads to reduced weight gains. The annual economic losses caused by this fly have been estimated at $1billion in the United States. The fly has also has been implicated in causing summer mastitis. Horn fly numbers on Nebraska cattle can often exceed several thousand flies in late August or early September.

Ear tag strips that have been utilized in past years, will not be available for the 2019 fly season. The strip is currently undergoing some design modifications. With most insecticide ear tags, it is strongly recommended to use two tags per adult animal for horn fly control. If face flies are present, apply one tag per calf. Delaying tagging until the last week of May or first week of June will provide the greatest impact on horn fly numbers through the fly season. Insecticide ear tags applied in late April or early May either need to be refreshed by mid-summer, or another fly control method implemented to insure season-long reduction in horn fly numbers.

Many horn fly populations in Nebraska exhibit some tolerance to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. To manage fly tolerance issues, be sure to alternate insecticide classes of dusts, insecticide ear tags, animal sprays, pour-ons, and feedthroughs (IGRs). A list of delivery methods, labeled insecticides, and their Mode of Action (MoA) groups for horn fly control are found in Table 1. This includes organophosphates (Group 1B), pyrethroids and pyrethins (Group 3), avermectins and milbemycins (Group 6), juvenile hormone analogues (Group 7A), and benzolyureas –chitin inhibitors (Group 15). Continual use from a single MoA against a species can lead to resistance to all products in the group. To improve control, rotate between MoA groups during the fly season or at least annually.

Cattle Feeder’s Day Coming to Southwest Iowa

Cattle producers can increase their knowledge of current feedlot issues and profitability during an educational program June 13 at the Wallace Foundation Learning Center.

Researchers from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide answers to producer questions related to animal health, nutrition and producing high quality, marketable beef.

“Topics covered will include evaluating new ways to identify bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and utilizing micronutrients to mitigate stress and optimize growth performance,” said Erika Lundy, beef specialist with Iowa State Extension and Outreach. “Lastly, we’ll discuss management strategies when targeting cattle for high quality-grade premium markets.”

The goal of the program is to connect cattle producers and stakeholders with the ongoing research at Iowa State, which Lundy said was inspired by the concerns and questions of producers.

Registration begins at 10 a.m., and the program starts at 10:30 a.m. An optional tour of the Iowa State Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm feedlot will be held at 2 p.m., and will feature the new individual-intake feeding system.

Program presentations
-    “New Methods to Detect BRD in Feedlots,” by Terry Engelken, DVM, associate professor with ISU Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.
-    “Managing Mineral Nutrition to Optimize Growth Promotant Performance,” by Elizabeth Messersmith, Iowa State graduate student in animal science.
-    “Stress in the Feedlot: Roles of Micronutrients,” by Erin Deters, Iowa State animal science graduate student.
-    “Managing for High Quality Beef,” by Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center and ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist; and Erika Lundy, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist.

The meeting is free and includes lunch.  Walk-ins are welcome. RSVP by contacting the ISU Extension and Outreach Cass County office at 712-243-1132, or the East Pottawattamie office at 712-482-6449. Erika Lundy can be reached at ellundy@iastate.edu.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund Helping Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Communities

“We looked around and didn’t know where to start. The devastation was so overwhelming, but the check we received from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund helped us take the first step and know that we are not alone. We are so grateful,” said Tom and Fran Geisler, who farm and raise cattle near Hooper.

“The kindness and generosity of people across Nebraska and the United States is humbling,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “More than $2 million has been collected for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, with 100 percent of funds raised going to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in need of assistance,” said Nelson.

According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 104 cities, 81 counties, and five tribal areas have had emergency declarations. The cost of the damage by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture is estimated at $440 million in crop losses; and $400 million in cattle losses. Other estimates include $449 million in damages to roads, levees, and other infrastructure across the state.

“For us to continue to rebuild our farms, ranches, and rural communities, it will take patience and perseverance to get through the magnitude of the loss and destruction,” said Nelson. “While the response to this fund has been overwhelming, we have seen requests for aid come into the Disaster Relief Fund totaling more than what we currently have in the fund. The amount we have raised doesn’t meet the assistance already requested, and additional applications are received each day.”

The fund was established at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, so donations meet the criteria for qualified charitable contributions for tax purposes.

“When we first started the fund, the immediate need in rural areas was water, food, shelter, and medicine for people and animals,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

“As health and safety situations stabilize, other needs have emerged, including clearing flood debris from pastures, fields, and homes; rebuilding fences to protect livestock; paying for extra fuel to deliver hay to stranded cattle; and helping restore fresh water to residents and animals in places like Boyd County,” said Schafer.

At Chance Ridge near Elkhorn, funds from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund have been used to buy fuel, food, and lodging for those volunteering to help with clean up. “We serve as a delivery hub for hay and other supplies,” said Autumn Rock of Chance Ridge Event Center. “Because of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to help more than 150 farmers from across the state and keep more than 10-thousand head of cattle alive. This fund is truly making a difference.”

The need for assistance, both short term and long term, continues to grow. Each day there are different requests, and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund stands ready to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

“The repairs and recovery from this disaster will take a huge amount of resources. The next step is to provide support for intermediate and long-term recovery efforts in areas where there are gaps in availability of insurance coverage and government assistance,” said Nelson.

“We continue to seek financial donations to meet the growing aid requests coming into the Disaster Relief Fund,” said Schafer. “Every dollar counts. When we all give, we come together as one community, making Nebraska stronger.”

To donate, apply for aid, or access other disaster assistance resources, visit www.nefb.org/disaster.

Fake-milk “study,” like beverages it supports, lacks key ingredients

The National Milk Producers Federation today is correcting the record intentionally muddied by the Plant Based Foods Association in conjunction with Linkage Research & Consulting, which presented flawed analysis as legitimate research to grab inaccurate headlines.

Linkage’s “study” of comments filed in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration docket that concluded in January purports to show that consumers would prefer that dairy terms remain on non-dairy beverages and other products. The FDA solicited comments because, according to the agency, it “has concerns that the labeling of some plant-based products, which can vary widely in their nutritional content, is leading consumers to believe that those products have the same key nutritional attributes as dairy products.”

But as has been the case throughout the current labeling debate, the fake-milk marketers continue to mischaracterize what FDA has been considering, trying to turn a serious discussion of consumer transparency and nutritional inferiority into a red-herring debate over whether consumers think almonds are a dairy product – in this case, by presenting an incomplete and selective review of comments to the FDA as authoritative.

“None of the fake foods stealing dairy terms contain the same nutrition as the milk or dairy product they attempt to imitate,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “The vegan and animal rights activists who were encouraged by our opponents in this debate to flood the docket with comments understand that these fake products don’t contain milk. But that’s never been the issue. Research clearly shows that consumers don’t understand the nutritional differences between real, natural dairy products and the inferior, imitation products masquerading as milk.”

In contrast to the cherry-picked data from PBFA, Mulhern pointed to actual public opinion research conducted by Ipsos, a survey firm that has conducted scientifically valid research on the topic:
-    77 percent of buyers of dairy and plant-based beverages think almond-based drinks have as much or more protein than dairy, when in fact real milk has as much as eight times more protein;
-    78 percent thought plant-based drinks had at least as many vitamins and minerals as dairy, also wrong;
-    68 percent thought such beverages had at least as many “key nutrients” such as calcium and potassium, which they do not.

“It’s understandable why the fake-milk crowd would rely on fake facts – the actual ones aren’t on their side,” Mulhern. “But that doesn’t excuse their adulterating a debate taken seriously by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the School Nutrition Association, and others who have thoughtfully explained why labeling transparency is a public good.”

NMPF has outlined a constructive path forward to resolve the labeling issue. In February it filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlining a labeling solution that reinforces and clarifies current FDA labeling regulations. The petition may be accessed here.

Meanwhile, FDA inaction is encouraging continued chaos in the marketplace, one that’s engulfing other dairy products as well as milk. Fighting fake dairy is high on the agenda at the American Butter Institute’s annual conference, which begins today in Chicago.

Fed Steer Marketings Ramp Up Seasonally

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Steer slaughter has begun to ramp up, seasonally, over the last month. Slaughter is up about 9 percent from mid-March to mid-April. The almost 30,000 head per week increase is relatively close to the increase in slaughter seen over the last five years, on average, and last year.

One of the interesting notes in the cattle market over the last year has been the relatively low level of steer slaughter. While the cow herd and the calf crop have continued to grow, steer slaughter over the last 52 weeks is 1.5 percent below the previous 52 weeks. So far this year, steer slaughter is about 2.7 percent below a year ago. Over time, steer slaughter should, roughly, match the growth in the calf crop. Unlike heifers, there's not much else to do with a steer.

Steer dressed weights normally decline until late May to early June. Weights this year have followed that seasonal pattern, but have been below last year's weights until the last couple of weeks. Weights averaged 857 pounds for the last reported week, about same as last year. The cattle on feed report has indicated more cattle on feed than a year ago and extremely large numbers on feed longer than 120 days. With some good weather, it's likely that weights will outpace last year's level, adding to beef production. The quarterly cattle on feed report did indicate fewer steers on feed on April 1, 2019 than a year ago. But, steer slaughter ramping up seasonally and heavier weights does imply growing beef production into the summer.

Increases in beef production have come from heifer and cow slaughter. Fed heifer slaughter is 11 percent higher than a year ago over the last four weeks, and 9 percent higher for this year. Driven by the financial wreck in the dairy industry, dairy cow slaughter has been the highest since the dairy herd buyout days of the 1980s, at over 70,000 head per week in March. Dairy cow slaughter has finally resulted in milk production falling below a year ago providing some hope for higher milk prices.

Over the next few weeks watch for increasing steer slaughter and increasing steer and heifer dressed weights. Reduced dairy cow slaughter and higher cow beef cutout values may provide some hope for higher cull cow prices in coming weeks.

USDA Releases Report on Rural Broadband and Benefits of Next Generation Precision Agriculture

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has unveiled a groundbreaking report, A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies. The report finds that deployment of both broadband e-Connectivity and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technology on farms and ranches throughout the U.S. could result in at least $47 billion in national economic benefits every year.

   “Broadband and Next Generation Precision Agriculture are critical components for creating vital access to world-class resources, tools and opportunity for America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to doing our part to clear the way for nationwide broadband connectivity that will allow the next generation of precision agriculture technologies to thrive and expand.”

Download A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies (PDF, 3.5 MB). To see how Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies can work on farm and ranching operations, view the Connected Technologies infographic (PDF, 909 KB).

   The report also finds that if broadband infrastructure, digital technologies at scale were available at a level that meets estimated producer demand, the U.S. economy could realize benefits equivalent to nearly 18 percent of total agriculture production. Of that 18 percent, more than one-third is dependent on broadband e-Connectivity, equivalent to at least $18 billion in annual economic benefits that only high-speed, reliable internet can provide.

   For many years, USDA and the American agriculture industry have been actively researching the feasibility, usage and potential upside of Next Generation Precision Agriculture technologies. Until now though, the interdependency of these technologies and broadband e-Connectivity has not been evaluated. The report released today explores this symbiotic relationship and quantifies the potential economic benefit of broadband buildout and the complementary adoption of connected agriculture technologies. Going forward, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be engaged in multiple facets of infrastructure and technology deployment, including financing rural capital investments and supporting producers who are exploring which Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies are best suited to improve their operations and serve their customers.

   In April 2017, President Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. The Report identified Achieving e-Connectivity in Rural America as a cornerstone recommendation.  The Administration has been executing this priority call to action through the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), which reflects rural broadband build-out as one of President Trump’s directives to the Federal government. A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies opens the next chapter in the USDA’s response to this call to action.

Higher Limits Now Available on USDA Farm Loans

Higher limits are now available for borrowers interested in USDA's farm loans, which help agricultural producers purchase farms or cover operating expenses. The 2018 Farm Bill increased the amount that producers can borrow through direct and guaranteed loans available through the Farm Service Agency and made changes to other loans, such as microloans and emergency loans.

As part of the change, Direct Operating Loan limit increased from $300,000 to $400,000, and the Guaranteed Operating Loan limit goes from $1.4 million to $1.75 million. Operating loans help producers pay for normal operating expenses, including machinery and equipment, seed, livestock feed and more.

In addition, the Direct Farm Ownership Loan limit is now $600,000; and the Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan limit increased to $1.75 million. Farm ownership loans help producers become owner-operators of family farms as well as improve and expand current operations.

Meanwhile, producers can now receive both a $50,000 Farm Ownership Microloan and a $50,000 Operating Microloan. Previously, microloans were limited to a combined $50,000. Microloans provide flexible access to credit for small, beginning, niche, and non-traditional farm operations.

And producers who previously received debt forgiveness as part of an approved FSA restructuring plan are now eligible to apply for emergency loans. Previously, these producers were ineligible.

For more information on FSA farm loans, contact your local USDA Service Center.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Statement on President’s Sudden Tariff Increase 

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign comprised of over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations from across retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture, today released the following statement on the President’s tweet announcement that tariffs on $200 billion of goods will increase from 10 to 25 percent on Friday.

“For 10 months, Americans have been paying the full cost of the trade war, not China. To be clear, tariffs are taxes that Americans pay, and this sudden increase with little notice will only punish U.S farmers, businesses and consumers.

“Doubling down on taxing Americans as a negotiating tactic only makes a bad situation worse. Taxing Americans when they buy furniture, tools, electronics and groceries should have nothing to do with reaching this agreement. This isn’t leverage to get a better deal, it’s taking money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans.

“If the President follows through on this threat, the consequences will be dire. Raising tariffs to 25 percent could cost nearly one million American jobs, according to recent estimates. This decision will also roil financial markets and increase the likelihood of retaliation on American farmers who are facing the lowest income levels in years.

“Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to step up to meet this threat head on. Job-killing tax hikes on their own constituents should be a non-starter, and in the days ahead, lawmakers must act to protect Americans from this threat.”


Impacts of raising tariffs to 25 percent and what Americans have paid in tariffs to date:
·       Raising tariffs to 25 percent will cost Americans nearly one million jobs - A report from the Trade Partnership found that an increase to 25 percent, coupled with tariffs already in place and retaliation, will reduce employment by over 934,000 jobs, cost the average family of four $767 and reduce GDP by 0.37 percent.
·       $69 Billion in added costs to consumers - American consumers have been saddled with $69 billion in added costs because of the tariffs the U.S. imposed last year, including on $250 billion on Chinese imports as well as levies on steel and aluminum, according to a study released by a group of economists.
·       $1.4 billion in reduced income for Americans every month – A recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Princeton University and Columbia, found that “the Trump administration's trade policies and tariffs reduced U.S. income at a rate of $1.4 billion per month by the end of November.” The study found that U.S. businesses and consumers saw "substantial increases" in the price of goods throughout last year, including a "complete passthrough" of U.S.-imposed tariffs on to imported items.”
·       All costs of the trade war are being passed on to consumers – The study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Princeton University and Columbia also found that “the U.S. tariffs were almost completely passed through into U.S. domestic prices. “The entire incidence of the tariffs fell on domestic consumers and importers up to now, with no impact so far on the prices received by foreign exporters.”
·       Even Chairman Hassett and CEA have acknowledged that consumers are paying the costs of the trade war – The Annual Economic Report to the President noted that the downside of raising billions of dollars for the Treasury in 2018 was the “costs paid by consumers in the form of higher prices and reduced consumption.”
·       National Bureau of Economic Research finds that U.S. consumers have borne the brunt of tariff increase – View a timeline of how consumers have paid an estimated $303 billion in tariffs.

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