Friday, May 17, 2019

Thursday May 16 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Slumps Below Growth Neutral: Farm Loan Defaults Expected to Double from 2017 Rates

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for May slumped below growth neutral for the month. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, the RMI for May indicated negative growth for the month for the region, after five months of growth.     

Overall: The overall index for May slipped to 48.5 from 50.0 in April. This is the first time since November of last year the index has fallen below growth neutral, indicating negative growth for the month. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“The trade tensions and tariffs are hammering the farming economy. Grain farmers throughout the region continue to experience losses produced by trade issues and plentiful global supplies.  On the other hand, the expanding U.S. domestic economy is supporting livestock producers in the region. For May, according to bankers, the negatives far outweighed the positives,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for May sank to 41.2 from April’s 45.2. This is the 66th straight month the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0. 

The May farm equipment-sales index increased to 31.3 from April’s 27.4. This marks the 69th straight month that the reading has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

Bankers were asked to project the growth in farm loan defaults for the next 12 months. On average, bankers expect farm loan defaults to climb by 10.9 percent. This is more than double the estimated rate of growth just two years ago. 

In reaction to higher default rates, almost two-thirds, or 61.8 percent of bankers, increased collateral requirements, and more 41.2 percent rejected a higher percentage of farm loan applications.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for May slipped to 45.9 from 47.9 in April. The state’s farmland-price index sank to 40.4 from last month’s 44.6. Nebraska’s new-hiring index declined to 51.5 from April’s 51.8.

Iowa: The May RMI for Iowa declined to 46.5 from 51.5 in April. Iowa’s farmland-price index climbed to 47.2 from April’s 44.4. Iowa’s new-hiring index for May improved to 53.1 from 50.3 in April.     

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.  

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

Seven college students begin summer internships sponsored by Nebraska Corn

Seven students from various colleges and universities are beginning summer internship programs supported by the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Although these internships may vary in scope and location, each are designed to provide students with an overview of Nebraska’s corn industry through real-world professional examples and experiences.

“Nebraska Corn’s internship program has been a great way to provide college students with real-world experiences in the agricultural industry,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “Through seven different internship experiences, we’re able to help students see how vast our state’s corn industry can be. We know our students are the next generation of our industry, so we want to be sure to expose them to important topics such as policy, promotion, communication and international trade.

Five of the seven internships are located outside of Nebraska and last throughout the summer. These five internships are with cooperating partners of the Nebraska Corn Board.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is hosting two of the interns. Alyssa Jones is majoring in communication studies and political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She is interning with the NCGA office in Washington, D.C. Emily Keiser is interning with the NCGA office in St. Louis, Missouri. Keiser is majoring in agricultural education, communication and leadership at South Dakota State University.

“I applied for this internship because I wanted to expand my knowledge of the production side of the agricultural industry and focus on policy issues,” said Keiser. “I also appreciated the action NCGA takes to inform members and consumers about the current changes and actions of the industry that shape the industry as a whole.”

Seven college students will be participating in Nebraska Corn’s internship program. Cheyenne Gerlach (from DeWitt), Morgan Leefers (from Otoe), Amanda Kowalewski (from Gothenburg), Alyssa Jones (from Elkhorn), Emily Keiser (from Gothenburg), Isabelle Stewart (from Columbus) and Sierra Richey (from Juniata).

Amanda Kowalewski is interning with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in Denver, Colorado. Kowalewski is majoring in agricultural economics at UNL.

Two students are interning with the U.S. Grains Council. Cheyenne Gerlach is working at the international headquarters in Washington, D.C., and Sierra Richey is gaining international experience in the Panama City office. Gerlach is studying integrated sciences at UNL and Richey is majoring in international business and Spanish at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

“Throughout my time with the U.S. Grains Council, I hope to gain more of an understanding of the way the United States works with its international partners to accomplish the best deals for not only our farmers, but also for producers and consumers across the globe,” said Gerlach. “I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the D.C. community and absorbing as much information on U.S. grains as possible. I am so grateful to get to represent Nebraska corn and its producers this summer.”

Two of the internships are year-long experiences and are located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Isabelle Stewart is an agricultural education major at UNL and is interning with the Nebraska Corn Board. Morgan Leefers is majoring in agricultural business at UNL and works with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Both internships assist with the coordination of communications and promotional efforts with their respective organization.

“I’ve heard great things about all of the internships with Nebraska Corn,” said Leefers. “Last year, I saw a presentation from one of the past interns and she was so passionate about her experience. I thought it seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about something I’m interested in: agriculture!”

In addition to the students gaining real-world experiences throughout the summer and helping fulfill the duties and missions of their respective organizations, the interns are also able to gain valuable insight on possible future careers.

“I am not sure what my future path holds yet, but I know that it involves agriculture and communicating with others,” said Stewart. “I feel as this is going to be a very good opportunity in preparing me for some of the many career choices I am considering.”

Each intern will document their learning experiences through progress updates and social media posts. To keep up with the students throughout the summer, visit or follow the Nebraska Corn Board on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

Nebraska Corn responds to President Trump’s proposed aid package with call to action request from farmers

Trade disruptions add uncertainty to the U.S. agricultural economy. President Trump’s recent announcement to increase the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods continues to chip away at an already fragile sector. On top of trade disputes and tariffs, the EPA has been granting Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to oil refiners, which has harmed ethanol production, Nebraska has experienced devastating weather conditions, and crumbling infrastructure have all created a perfect storm for agriculture.

To help reduce the impact to U.S. farmers, the Trump administration is pursuing a second round of trade assistance programs for agriculture. During the first round of aid in the fall of 2018, corn farmers received a penny per bushel in harvested corn through the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The news of a second round of trade aid has many Nebraska corn farmers concerned.

“We’ve always advocated for trade over aid,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “As a corn farmer, I appreciate the administration’s intent to help alleviate the losses farmers are experiencing due to trade disputes and tariffs, but a penny didn’t cut it last fall and it’s not going to cut it now. Nebraska corn farmers have lost an estimated $192 million over this last week due to increased trade tensions. A penny is a drop in the bucket.”

In response to a farm aid package, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) and the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) are working in collaboration with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to activate corn farmers across the state as well as throughout the entire Corn Belt. Corn farmers are being asked to contact the White House directly to voice their concerns regarding the proposed aid package. Additionally, both NeCGA and NCB submitted formal letters to the Trump administration as well as Nebraska’s congressional delegation seeking their support during these times of trade disruptions.

“I’m not sure how much longer some corn farmers can withstand seeing corn prices in the red,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Nationally, trade disputes have already caused a $6.3 billion loss to corn farmers in 2018. While we’ve been patient in trade negotiations, we still don’t have an updated NAFTA and still haven’t resolved disputes with China. It will take more than a penny per bushel trade assistance package to help corn farmers.”

Corn farmers wanting to participate in Nebraska Corn’s call to action request can do so by emailing President Trump, or they can contact the White House directly at 202-456-1414.

Crop Residue Exchange Now Available For Listing Pasture Rentals

Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist

The Crop Residue Exchange is an online engagement tool designed to increase accessibility to grazing resources. This online exchange was recently updated to now include the ability to list pasture for rent to livestock producers.

After establishing a log-in account, a pasture can be listed available for grazing by clicking “List Residue” on the home page. The land available for grazing can be described using an interactive map and answering a series of basic questions. Under “Residue Type”, pasture is now one of the choices available.

Pricing can be done on a per acre or a per head per day basis. The fencing situation, water availability, and dates available are among the information that can be provided. Livestock producers can log in and search the database for available for grazing within radius of a given location of interest.

The Crop Residue Exchange is made possible with funding support from Nebraska Extension.

Recycle plastic ag pesticide containers for useful products

Recycling plastic is the right thing to do -- especially when it diverts about 75,000 pounds of pesticide containers annually from Nebraska landfills.

“Clean containers are made into useful products for U.S. agriculture and industry,” said Clyde Ogg, Pesticide Safety Education Program extension educator. “Nebraskans are known to be good stewards, and this is just another example of that.”

Now in its 28th year, 18 sites are available for recycling statewide (see list). Again, producers and commercial applicators pay no fee. Before taken to the sites, however, containers must be triple- or pressure-rinsed. Label booklets and caps must be removed, though base labels can remain.

Randy Saner, Nebraska Extension educator in Lincoln-Logan-McPherson counties, applauds participants who recycle.

“Recycling is a good choice for people. We don’t need to be filling up our landfills with plastic. Recycling saves the environment and money,” Saner said.

Thorough rinsing helps ensure all product gets used. It’s very easy to leave 6 or more ounces of pesticide in a 2.5-gallon container, or about 2 percent.

Containers must be rigid, high-density polyethylene, 55-gallon size or smaller. Containers originally held pesticides for crop, turf/ornamental, forestry, aquatics, public health and pest control; as well as adjuvants, crop oils and surfactants. Containers that originally held consumer products, or home and garden pesticides are NOT accepted. Containers must be triple- or pressure rinsed.

Ogg advised wearing proper personal protective equipment when rinsing and handling empty containers. That includes long-sleeve shirt, long pants, socks, chemical-resistant shoes, goggles, and chemical-resistant apron.

Apply rinsate immediately to the load and spray on a labeled site; never dispose of it on the ground, in water or any other nonlabeled area. Never store unused pesticide in any container other than the one it came in.

Clean containers are collected, ground up, and reused in industry-approved products such as ag drain tile/pipe, pallets, underground utility conduit, landscape edging and nursery pots.

Collection Sites

    Buffalo: Kearney Recycling Center, Kearney, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Cass: Wilber Ellis, Plattsmouth, call 402-298-8550 to schedule
    Cuming: West Point Transfer Station, West Point, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., accepts drums
    Dawson: Country Partners Cooperative, Lexington, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
    Lincoln: ABC Recycling, North Platte, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; accepts drums
    Scotts Bluff: Gering Landfill, Gering, Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., accepts drums

    Antelope: Central Valley Ag, Royal, accepts drums
    Dawes, Solid Waste Ass’n of Northwest Nebraska, Chadron, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
    Saunders: Helena Agri Enterprises, LLC, Ashland, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Dakota: Central Valley Ag, South Sioux City, Wednesdays in June and July, 11 a.m. to noon, accepts drums
    Johnson: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Tecumseh, July 22-Aug. 2, accepts drums
    Lancaster: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Waverly, June 14

    Burt: Tekamah Transfer Station, Tekamah, year-round by appointment, call 402-374-2929
    Custer: Custer County Recycling, Broken Bow, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by appointment, call 308-870-0313, accepts drums
    Lincoln: North Platte Transfer Station, North Platte, by appointment, call 308-535-6700, accepts drums
    Otoe: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Nebraska City, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment, call 402-873-3391, accepts drums
    Sarpy: Farmers Union Co-op, Gretna, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment, call 402-332-3315
    Thurston: Papio NRD, Walthill, monthly by appointment, call 402-846-5463, accepts drums

To see a container preparation checklist and any additional sites as added during the year, and more, go to For easy-to-follow instructions on triple-rinsing drums and pressure-rinsing, see G1736, “Rinsing Pesticide Containers,” .


Honey production in 2018 from Nebraska producers with five or more colonies totaled 2.36 million pounds, down 11 percent from 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

There were 40,000 honey producing colonies in Nebraska during 2018, down 5 percent from 2017. Average yield was 59 pounds per colony, down 4 pounds from 2017. Producer stocks were 850,000 pounds on December 15, 2018 up from 423,000 pounds a year earlier.

Prices for the 2018 crop averaged 199 cents per pound, up from 191 cents in 2017. Prices were based on retail sales by producers and sales to private processors and cooperatives. Total value of honey produced in 2018 was $4.70 million, down 7 percent from 2017.


Honey production from producers with five or more colonies in Iowa totaled 1.86 million pounds in 2018 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Honey report. This was an 8 percent decrease from the 2.03 million pounds produced in 2017. The number of honey producing colonies in the state increased from 35,000 colonies in 2017 to 38,000 colonies in 2018. This number does not include producers with fewer than five colonies or producers who did not harvest honey. Yield per colony in Iowa averaged 49 pounds, down from 58 pounds per colony in 2017. Iowa ranked eighteenth nationally in honey production, unchanged from 2017. Colonies which produced honey in more than one state were counted in each state where the honey was produced. Therefore, at the United States level yield per colony may be understated, but total production would not be impacted.

On December 15, 2018, producer honey stocks in Iowa, excluding stocks under government loan programs, were 1.01 million pounds, a 3 percent decrease from 2017. The state’s 2018 honey crop was valued at $4.38 million, down 5 percent from the previous year’s $4.59 million. The average price per pound for all marketing channels in Iowa was $2.35, up 9 cents from 2017.

United States Honey Production Up 2 Percent for Operations with Five or More Colonies in 2018

United States honey production in 2018 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 152 million pounds, up 2 percent from 2017. There were 2.80 million colonies producing honey in 2018, up 4 percent from 2017. Yield per colony averaged 54.4 pounds, down 2 percent from the 55.5 pounds in 2017. Colonies which produced honey in more than one State were counted in each State where the honey was produced. Therefore, at the United States level yield per colony may be understated, but total production would not be impacted. Colonies were not included if honey was not harvested. Producer honey stocks were 29.1 million pounds on December 15, 2018, down 5 percent from a year earlier. Stocks held by producers exclude those held under the commodity loan program.

Honey Prices Down 2 Percent for Operations with Five or More Colonies in 2018

United States honey prices decreased 2 percent during 2018 to 216.6 cents per pound, compared to 219.9 cents per pound in 2017. United States and State level prices reflect the portions of honey sold through cooperatives, private, and retail channels. Prices for each color class are derived by weighting the quantities sold for each marketing channel. Prices for the 2017 crop reflect honey sold in 2017 and 2018. Some 2017 crop honey was sold in 2018, which caused some revisions to the 2017 crop prices.

2019 BeefMeets in June

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will be holding five events around the state in June.

This year’s BeefMeets will include education on policy and production topics, industry updates, a tradeshow and a meal. Not only will attendees learn more about topics affecting the beef business, but it’s a great opportunity to voice concerns and work towards solutions with ICA staff and leaders.

Beef Meets locations and dates are as follows:
6/4: Lakin Center in Malvern
6/5: The Barn at Bunker Hill in Wilton
6/6: Wilkerson Farms in Linden
6/11: The Grainery in Cherokee
6/13: Pine View Angus in Colesburg

BeefMeets will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Each event will feature a keynote speaker followed by a farm tour or cover crops panel presentation. ICA staff will update the audience on policy priorities and the Iowa Beef Industry Council will also share key accomplishments and plans. 

Speaker Highlights

Malvern - June 4
Joe Leathers, Keynote - Since 2008, Joe Leathers has managed the historic 6666 (Four Sixes) Ranch which covers 275,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle. As a member of the NCBA Traceability Working Group, Leathers encourages producers to be proactive members of the discussion surrounding livestock traceability. The Four Sixes Ranch has been using EIDs since 2011, when their cows had to be moved across state lines due to drought. Since then, the individual IDs have helped to enhance management of cows across several states in several different ways.

Will Longinaker, Cover Crops Panel - Will Longinaker, cow/calf producer from Fremont County, has been planting and grazing cover crops including rye, canola and turnips for around 5 years. On the Longinaker farm, spring grazing helps offset hay costs, and allows pastures time to grow. “I wouldn’t have made it through this spring without the cover crops to graze,” Will says. “I would have had to buy hay for my cows.” At the Malvern BeefMeet, hear Will’s advice and lessons learned in cover crop grazing.

Wilton - June 5
Joe Leathers, Keynote - Following the June 4 BeefMeet in Malvern, Leathers will travel with us to Wilton, sharing his thoughts on voluntary traceability with producers in eastern Iowa.

Karl Dallefeld, Prairie Creek Seed, Cover Crops Panel - An expert on cover crops and cattle, Karl will share lessons learned from working with dozens of cattle producers across the midwest. If you are interested in grazing or harvesting cover crops, don’t miss this BeefMeet presentation. Karl will also be joining us in Malvern.

Linden - June 6
Jacqui Fatka, Keynote - A native Iowan, Jacqui is the policy editor at Feedstuffs and Farm Futures. As a daughter of a farmer, she continually looks for ways to simplify the often complex and misunderstood world of agricultural policy into common terms for readers. She writes articles daily on the many political happenings across the country specializing in coverage of regulations, trade, farm bill, biofuels and immigration policy. She writes weekly insight for the Feedstuffs Inside Washington column and Farm Futures´ blog DC Dialogue.

Wilkerson Farms, Farm Tour - It has been five years since Chad and Amy Wilkerson built their first hoop barn for calving. Since then, they’ve added a second barn and opened their doors, literally and figuratively, to other cattle producers interested in calving under roof. Join us in Linden to see the barns first-hand, and hear about the successes, challenges, and opportunities related to confinement calving.

Cherokee - June 11
Chris Clayton, Keynote - As the Ag Policy Editor for DTN/The Progressive Farmer since 2005, Chris Clayton is up to speed on the policy issues that impact your cattle operation. In his presentation, Clayton will cover the latest updates on federal policy topics, including fake meat, WOTUS, China and USMCA.

Grant Breitkreutz, Cover Crops Panel - The Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association’s President-Elect, Breitkreutz has been planting and grazing triticale post-harvest for about twenty years on his southern Minnesota farm. As the winner of many awards, including NCBA’s Regional Environmental Stewardship Award, Breitkreutz is eager to share the lessons he’s learned in cover-cropping and grazing throughout the years.

Colesburg - June 13
Chris Clayton, Keynote - Chris will trek across Iowa to join us in Colesburg for the 5th and final BeefMeet of 2019.

Pine View Angus, Farm Tour - Located in the hills of Clayton County, Pine View Angus was the 2017 winner of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Carcass Challenge. John Wessel and his brother, Tom, have built an award-winning Angus seedstock operation and commercial herd through precise heifer and sire selection. Hear their advice first-hand and enjoy a tour of the farm, including a secluded pasture nestled in the hills of northeast Iowa.

Registration Information

Registration is free for students, $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Pre-registration is requested, but walk-ins are welcome. Visit to register.

IFBF Economic Summit features national trade, market and risk management experts to help farmers manage challenging times

Flooding, volatile market swings, prevented planting, trade stalled—it seems this year more than ever before—the future is uncertain for many Iowa farmers.  Long before this year’s crops are ready for harvest, Iowa farmers need to take proactive steps to manage their risk.  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is bringing a variety of experts and resources to Des Moines June 28th to help farmers manage their way through yet another downturn.

“Managing Through Challenging Times” is the focus for the 2019 Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit at the Des Moines Marriott-Downtown.  The one-day event features a variety of risk management, banking, trade and new market experts to help Iowa farmers remain sustainable.

IFBF Senior Economist Dr. Sam Funk says the featured speakers bring national expertise to Iowa to help farmers learn how they can remain sustainable.  “There’s no single solution for agriculture.  Many farmers are searching for how to get through this time until they can make a living in ag again.  How do we manage our way through this challenging time? Some things can be controlled, and some cannot.  We need to be informed on how to manage risk as best we can.  We need to help our farmers focus in on the results and impacts of China, because China has been a global juggernaut for agriculture trade sales the past decade; farmers need to focus on the current trade status and impacts on markets.  So, what do we see with demand for soybeans or soy meal?  And when it comes to African swine fever, what should Iowa hog farmers be doing now to stay ahead of the curve?  If you’re going to manage anything, you must understand the scenarios and the opportunities, including managing risk and negative potential consequences.  Sometimes risk can lead to rewards.  Farming can be a risky venture, and the goal of our Economic Summit is to inform farmers of opportunities, changes, and strategies they can use in managing their farms,” says Funk.

Farmers will hear from a variety of experts, including a Canadian farmer who grows industrial hemp who will discuss regulations, production, and what he’s learned along the way.  The potential of diversified agricultural practices and market possibilities of alternative crops are generating buzz since Iowa lawmakers this year approved a measure that creates the Iowa Hemp Act and was signed by Governor Reynolds.  The measure authorizes the production and marketing of industrial hemp in Iowa in compliance with federal law and will be administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). IDALS will submit a state plan for approval by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Under the bill, a licensed grower can grow a maximum of 40 acres of industrial hemp in Iowa.  “Right now, there are many questions about new opportunities like the industrial hemp market, and how or if Iowa farmers can find a profit from growing industrial hemp.  So, we know there will be a lot of interest in this topic,” says Funk.

Also coming to the 2019 IFBF Economic Summit is Ms. Debra Bauler, the chief information officer for Cargill Protein and Salt, who will examine the growing use of blockchain systems in the production of meat and other foods.  “Farmers will benefit from learning more about this topic, because they may be able to tap into blockchain systems to set themselves apart from the rest and that’s what’s needed to find new market advantages during this downturn.  We know there’s interest in this because consumers want intimacy with their food—they want to know everything about how it was raised or grown.  Walmart is tapping into blockchain trends by coming up with their own Angus beef supply chain. They want to own these cattle very early on, so they have traceability and information on these cattle.  That comes with a new level of information and integration, but it’s only the beginning,” says Funk.

The full-day summit will feature a range of Iowa-based and national experts on other topics critical to agriculture today, including Jim Knuth, Iowa-based senior vice president of the Farm Credit Services of America, who will provide an update on the farm lending environment and factors to consider when working with your banker.  Dr. Allan Gray, director of the Center for Food and Agriculture Business at Purdue University, is also on the agenda to provide attendees insight into technology use in agriculture, and how to best utilize technologies during a time of trade uncertainty for farmers.  Additionally, Dr. Art Barnaby, Emeritus Professor at Kansas State University, will share his insight on farm risk management, particularly government crop insurance programs, which will likely be utilized by thousands of Iowa farmers following devastating spring flooding.

Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch, is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $150 for non-members before June 19.  Tickets will be available at the door--$60 for members and $150 for non-members.  Visit or contact Lavonne Baldwin (515-225-5633; for more information.

Tyson Sues Federal Agency for $2.4M Over Hog Inspections

(AP) -- Arkansas-based meat processor Tyson Foods is suing a federal agency for $2.4 million, saying it had to destroy 8,000 carcasses because a federal meat inspector lied about checking hogs at a plant in Iowa.

Tyson Foods says Yolanda Thompson, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service, signed certificates suggesting she checked slaughtered hogs at the Storm Lake plant in March 2018. It says video footage indicates Thompson never entered the plant and actually approved inspections while sitting in her automobile.

The Sioux City Journal reports that the meat processor filed suit Tuesday in Sioux City's U.S. District Court alleging the agencies knew of Thompson's inadequate inspection practices and physical difficulties walking around the plant.

USDA and Tyson officials declined to comment.

New Research Explores Consumer Behavior When Eating Away From Home

Today, the National Pork Board released its latest findings from the comprehensive Insight to Action research, this time examining trends in consumer behavior related to dining out. With a shifting dining out landscape and multicultural cuisine trends on the rise in the U.S., the Pork Board set out to understand the needs, considerations and motivations that impact out-of-home dining decisions.

The Pork Board’s All About Dining Out: What’s on Trend report uncovers why consumers decide to eat the proteins they do and explores tactics so that foodservice operators can meet those needs, such as exploring new flavors, dishes and menu formats. Similar to the Pork Board’s findings from the previous report, Dinner at Home in America, there is an overarching high level of consumer satisfaction with dishes that feature pork, pointing to opportunity for incorporating pork in new ways on menus.

“With rapidly changing innovations, technology and competition, foodservice providers who truly understand what diners want – and deliver on it – will stand the test of time,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board’s board of directors. “Consumer-driven insights are critical to our mission of increasing demand for pork. We want to spur innovation in collaboration with foodservice leaders and demonstrate that having more pork in more forms on more menus can increase consumer satisfaction and help drive operator profitability.”

By knowing and understanding these behavior drivers, foodservice operators have an opportunity to develop new menu items and shift consumer experiences to give diners experiences that meet these primary needs.

“Pork is the number one consumed protein globally, and yet fresh pork is the featured protein in less than 7% of entrĂ©e options when dining out in the U.S. That seems contradictory,” said Jarrod Sutton, vice president of domestic marketing for the National Pork Board. “With the growing popularity of Asian and Latin cuisines, where pork is a staple and a centerpiece, foodservice operators at every point on the spectrum have the opportunity to provide their customers with more flavorful and authentic options.”

Some of the key consumer insights from the report include:
-    There are three primary drivers for consumer decisions. When considering where and what to eat when dining out, there are three primary drivers for consumers:
       + Taste
       + Health
       + Convenience
-    They treat themselves. Consumers seek out menu options they don’t usually make at home. One in four consumers (27%) consistently look for something new to eat, and they see dining out as an opportunity to treat themselves and indulge a little bit. As the Pork Board’s research revealed in January, consumers don’t keep pork on hand as often as other proteins.

With it not being eaten at home as often, it can easily become that treat/indulgence they are looking for.
-    Healthy options are still important. While health isn’t the main reason people dine away from home, it’s still important to consumers that menus have healthy options. Restaurants can expand the menu to include healthy pork options – like the pork tenderloin or the pork sirloin chop – in the same set as other healthy proteins, such as chicken and seafood.
-        When health is the primary driver for a consumer’s dining out decision, roughly six in 10 diners want a food that is “reasonably healthy,” and roughly four in 10 want a food that fits their diet.
-    Expand their horizons. When asked what pork dishes people crave, 51% said they crave Mexican and Latin pork dishes and 45% said they crave Asian pork dishes.
-    Make it easy; make it fast. Convenience was the primary need for consumers in 38% of away-from-home dining occasions. Consumers have high expectations for convenience when out to eat, and technology and the proliferation of on-the-go dining options have helped meet that need.

For more information on the National Pork Board’s Insight to Action research, or to download the full All About Dining Out: What’s on Trend report, visit

USDA Enhances African Swine Fever Surveillance Efforts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is furthering its overall African Swine Fever (ASF) preparedness efforts with the implementation of a surveillance plan. As part of this plan, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will work with the swine industry, the states, and veterinary diagnostic laboratories to test for ASF.

ASF is a highly contagious and deadly disease affecting both domestic and feral (wild) pigs. It does not affect human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. ASF has never been detected in the United States.

“African Swine Fever is an area of high interest among the veterinary community and our swine industry, and we continue to take action to prepare for this deadly disease,” said Greg Ibach, Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “While we are confident that our overlapping safeguards will continue to keep ASF out of the United States, an enhanced surveillance program will serve as an early warning system, helping us find any potential disease much more quickly. It will also minimize virus spread and support efforts to restore trade markets and animal movements as quickly as possible should the disease be detected.”

To make this program as effective and efficient as possible, USDA will add ASF testing to our existing classical swine fever surveillance. We will test samples from the same high-risk animals, using the same overall process, but will test for both diseases instead of one. USDA and its partners expect to begin ASF surveillance efforts within weeks, and will implement the full surveillance plan over the course of the spring.

The surveillance effort will test samples from high-risk animals, including sick pig submissions to veterinary diagnostic laboratories; sick or dead pigs at slaughter; and pigs from herds that are at greater risk for disease through such factors as exposure to feral swine or garbage feeding.

In addition, USDA will work with state and federal partners to identify and investigate incidents involving sick or dead feral swine to determine if they should be tested for ASF or other foreign animal diseases.

The surveillance testing of commercial swine herds is an addition to USDA’s overall African swine fever prevention effort, including:
-    Working with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response, and trade maintenance;
-    Working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry, paying particular attention to cargo, passengers, and products arriving from China and other ASF affected countries;
-    Increasing detector dog teams with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to sniff out illegal products at key U.S. commercial sea and airports;
-    Collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure everyone follows strict on-farm biosecurity protocols and best practices (including for garbage feeding in states where that is allowed);
-    Restricting imports of pork and pork products from affected countries;
-    Coordinating closely on response plans with the U.S. pork industry, producers and States to be ready should a detection ever occur in the United States; and
-    Expanding the testing capabilities and testing capacity of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Our overall goal remains to keep this deadly disease out of the United States. For more information, visit APHIS’ updated ASF webpage at

NPPC Applauds USDA Enhanced Efforts on African Swine Fever Prevention

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauded additional measures announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enhance its African swine fever (ASF) preparedness efforts with the implementation of a surveillance plan. The risk of ASF – an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks – is growing as outbreaks continue throughout China and other parts of Asia. There are no reported cases of ASF in the United States.

"U.S. pork producers are already suffering as a result of numerous trade disputes with top-importing countries, and an outbreak of ASF in the United States would be devastating," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and president of NPPC. "That's why it's so important we have a strong surveillance program, to ensure early notification of any spread of the virus. With no vaccination available, prevention is our only defense. We thank USDA for today's announcement and look forward to working with the agency to strengthen safeguards to protect our animals."

Among the enhanced ASF surveillance efforts announced by USDA, the agency will:
-    add ASF testing to its existing classical swine fever surveillance;
-    work with state and federal partners to identify and investigate incidents involving sick or dead feral swine to determine if they should be tested for ASF or other foreign animal diseases;
-    work with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response, and trade maintenance; and
-    increase detector dog teams with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to sniff out illegal products at key U.S. commercial sea and airports.

This Week in U.S. Soy Market Development

While several key U.S. trade relationships hang in the balance and tensions mount, USSEC is actively working to grow new markets for U.S. soy worldwide. Just this week, grower-leaders and partners participated in five events bringing together current and potential customers representing significant demand from 30 countries around the world. Here’s what they’re working on:

    Thailand: The 2019 U.S. Soy Asia Trade Exchange event provides a vital opportunity to connect more than 300 Southeast Asia and Asia Subcontinent purchasers with U.S. exporters and grower leaders. Guests attend presentations and panels focusing on the quality of the U.S. soy crop, global soy protein outlook, sustainable production, and transportation. U.S. soy crushers and buyers also learn about key research, markets, crop quality, consumers’ views on sustainability, and the overall U.S. Soy Advantage.

    Nigeria: USSEC visited for the first time this week, discussing the value and potential of U.S. soy, while building relationships with current and potential customers. In these markets, soy consumption is currently very low with vast potential. USSEC has new emphasis on these future, evolving markets, which typically have large populations, growing economies, and very low protein consumption.

    Japan & Taiwan: As part of USSEC’s “What it Takes” strategy to keep U.S. soy exports at the same approximate 60 percent level regardless of the loss of the China market, USSEC has held “Experience Today’s U.S. Soy Advantage” conferences in a number of markets. This week, two of these conferences were held in Japan and Taiwan. In these mature markets, work focuses on promoting the sustainability component of the U.S. Soy Advantage, maintaining relationships with long-term buyers, shaping market access issues and the acceptance of technology like gene editing and biotechnology.

NFU Urges Congress to Halt Relocation, Reorganization of Research Agencies

Despite concerns about how it would affect the quality, quantity, and objectivity of agricultural research, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is rushing forward with plans to move the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service (ERS), two major research agencies, outside of Washington, D.C., and reorganize ERS under the jurisdiction of the Chief Economist.

In a letter sent today to Congressional leadership, National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s oldest general farm organization reiterated its misgivings about the proposal and urged Congress to take “decisive action” to halt the process.

NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
“NIFA and ERS support critically important research that ensures the economic and environmental sustainability of family farm agriculture. The USDA’s haphazard process to relocate and reorganize these agencies has lacked meaningful public input and is already disrupting operations. Should the move continue as planned, we are worried that it will further undermine the agencies’ fundamental mission.

“Again and again, National Farmers Union and other stakeholders have voiced concerns about the potential implications of the move, yet the USDA has failed to provide a cost-benefit analysis to alleviate those concerns. Barring adequate justification, this move should not occur. We urge Congress to act quickly and decisively to prevent the proposal from moving forward.”

Genus Continues to Advance PRRS Resistance Global Initiative

Genus plc (LSE: GNS), a leading global animal genetics company, announced today that it has entered into a strategic collaboration in China, the world’s largest pork market. The collaboration, with Beijing Capital Agribusiness Co. Ltd (“BCA”), a leading Chinese animal protein genetics business, is to research, develop, register and market elite pigs in China that are resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (“PRRSv”). Today’s announcement marks an exciting step forward in the development of PRRS resistant pigs for pork producers in China.

“The combination of Genus’ PRRSv resistance technology, elite genetics and breeding know-how along with BCA’s deep understanding of the porcine sector in China and its distribution channels plays to the strengths of each party,” said Bill Christianson, PIC COO.  “We are looking forward to rapidly progressing the PRRSv resistance program in collaboration with BCA and launching this important new product in China.”

The initial phase of the collaboration is expected to take several years and focuses on the research, development and regulatory approval in China of PRRSv resistant pigs. Following regulatory approval and the launch of PRRSv resistant pigs in China, Genus and BCA have agreed that they will work together in a joint venture which will include Genus's porcine operations in China ("PIC China").

As China seeks to modernize its pork production, these efforts are significantly hindered by disease outbreaks. The potential to reduce PRRSv will bring significant benefits to China by improving the reliability of the pork supply chain and continuing to provide high-quality pork to Chinese consumers. PRRSv affects the majority of pigs in China and causes animal suffering, reproductive failure, increased mortality and reduced growth. BCA and Genus also intend to cooperate to research and develop solutions to other major animal health challenges facing the Chinese pork industry including African Swine Fever.

“We are excited to collaborate with Genus PIC, the world’s leading porcine genetics company, for the registration and launch of PRRSv resistant pigs in China as an important step of a broader partnership,” said Liu Jiantong, General Manager and Vice Chairman of Beijing Capital Agribusiness Co., Ltd.  “BCA is a leading agricultural company that focuses on providing high quality and modern technology to Chinese animal protein producers.  Our exclusive collaboration with Genus PIC in China on this cutting-edge technology and other future ventures further expands BCA’s presence in the animal protein genetics sector and is consistent with BCA’s long-term strategy.”

“The more countries that have approved the production or consumption of pork from PRRSv resistant pigs the smoother global trade. China is the largest consumer, producer and importer of pork in the world. It is important for Chinese consumers, Chinese producers and overseas producers—including those here in the U.S.—to have approval for use of this technology in China,” added Bill Christianson.

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