Friday, May 3, 2019

Thursday May 2 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Calls Property Rights Protection Bill Passage “Win for Agriculture, Win for Nebraska”

Nebraska farmers and ranchers will have greater assurances that investments made to grow and expand their farm and ranch operations are not subject to the whims of frivolous nuisance lawsuits due to the Legislature’s passage of LB 227, May 2. The bill was introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango at the request of Nebraska Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups to boost protections for farms and ranches against nuisance related suits that have plagued farmers and ranchers in other states. LB 227 is one of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s priority bills for the 2019 legislative session.

“We’ve watched farmers come under fire in other states as anti-modern agriculture activists fund nuisance lawsuits seeking monetary awards. We’ve seen those type of frivolous suits end multi-generational farming operations, because someone moved into an agriculture area and decided they didn’t like many normal characteristics of farms and ranches such as dust and odors,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “Agriculture is our state’s largest industry and a major contributor to our state’s economy. Our farms and ranches are too important to allow that type of activity to happen here. This is a win for agriculture and a win for Nebraska.”

The bill passed builds on Nebraska’s “Right to Farm” law which is meant to protect farms and ranches from someone moving into the neighborhood and filing a lawsuit against the operation because they don’t like the dust, odor, smell, noise, or other agriculture-related realities of living in an agricultural area. LB 227 continues agriculture’s “first in time” protections, but further establishes a statute of limitation so a change in farming practices could only be considered a nuisance if the individual or entity files a nuisance lawsuit within a two-year window of claiming a nuisance situation exists.

“To stay viable, our members need to have the flexibility to make investments and changes in their operations. In some cases, that means being able to add livestock to their operation so they can bring their son or daughter home to the farm. We believe they should be able to do that without being fearful of nuisance suits that have been successfully used against farmers in other states. LB 227 is an important step to help offer that protection,” said Ansley Mick, Nebraska Farm Bureau director of state governmental relations. “We thank Sen. Hughes, Sen. Lathrop, and the members of the Legislature for pushing this bill across the finish line.”

LB 227 advanced with 46 yes votes, two no votes, and one present, not voting. The bill will now go to Governor Ricketts for final approval.

NeCGA Announces FLAGship Program Awardees

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Future Leaders in Agriculture Scholarship Program (FLAGship Program). After reviewing the applications and much deliberation, the NeCGA Grower Services Committee chose five applicants to each receive a $2,000 scholarship. The awardees are listed below, along with their intended secondary school and degree program:
  - Korbin Kudera, Clarkson (UNL, Agronomy)
  - Justin Mensik, Morse Bluff (Northeast Community College, Diversified Agriculture)
  - Layne Miller, Oakland (UNL, Agribusiness)
  - Chad Niemeier, Beatrice (UNL, Agronomy)
  - Tanner Nun, Geneva (UNL, Agricultural Education)

To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be a member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association or the son/daughter of a NeCGA member. They must be a senior in high school or college freshman who is continuing their education in Nebraska.

“The applications we receive for the FLAGship Program continue to impress. Each year seems to bring out the best and brightest of the future of agriculture in Nebraska. We are excited to see where these young people take our industry,” said Andy Jobman, Chairman of the Grower Services Committee and Vice President of NeCGA.

For more information about the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Future Leaders in Agriculture Scholarship Program, please visit or call (402) 438-6459.

Deadline Extended to Apply for Funds from USDA to Help with Livestock Mortality

Nebraska farmers and ranchers impacted by the “Bomb Cyclone” and raging flood waters this spring are working hard on cleaning up and assessing the damages to their ag operations. 

One of the more significant losses experienced by landowners has been the death of livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has financial assistance available to help landowners cope with the aftermath of livestock losses.

Through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program - commonly referred to as EQIP farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to properly dispose of dead livestock. Applications are being accepted now through July 1. This is an extension of the original sign up periods announced immediately following the flooding/blizzard.

NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “We want to ensure this assistance continues to be available to producers still dealing with the aftermath of this unprecedented and devastating event for Nebraska. NRCS conservationists are available to provide technical and financial assistance to help producers dispose of livestock carcasses in a safe manner.”

Producers who have not already disposed of livestock can apply for EQIP now. Producers can then get a waiver to allow them to begin working to dispose of deceased livestock before having an approved EQIP contract.

“Typically, producers cannot begin working on an EQIP practice before their EQIP contract has been approved. But since this situation is so time-critical, NRCS is encouraging producers to sign up for EQIP first, then submit a waiver to go ahead and begin animal disposal prior to having their EQIP contract approved,” Derickson said.

Producers in the area who suffered other damages due to the blizzard and flooding – such as damaged fencing, water sources, or windbreaks – may also seek assistance from NRCS through general EQIP funding. The sign-up period for general EQIP is continuous and has no cut off application date.

Derickson said, “NRCS is committed to helping producers get back on their feet after these extreme weather events while also ensuring Nebraska’s natural environment remains healthy and productive.”

For more information about the programs and assistance available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or

Northeast to host precision ag camp for high school students

High school students will have the opportunity to explore the many advances in precision agriculture at a free camp being offered at Northeast Community College this summer.

Ag-Citing Precision Ag Camp will meet Wednesday, June 12, and Thursday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days on Northeast’s Norfolk campus.

Campers will learn to use the tools and gadgets in precision management, such as satellite imagery, auto-steer, sensors, drones and other technology. Workshops will explore precision equipment used in planting and harvest. Campers will also take an industry tour and meet professionals as they learn about careers in precision agriculture.

Registration is limited to the first 20 applicants and is available to students who will be in grades 9 through 12 for the 2019-20 school year.

The camp is offered free of charge.

To register, visit For more information, contact the Northeast Community College Agriculture, Math and Science division at (402) 844-7180 or email Debb Strate at

Petersen collects veterinary goods, donations for flood victims

Devastation left in the wake of Nebraska’s historic spring flooding sent Husker Katelyn Petersen into action.

With impacts to wildlife, animals, farmers and ranchers on her mind, the senior animal science major from Lyons scrapped her spring break plans and opted to lend a hand.

Starting with $1,000 from her own savings, Petersen purchased milk replacer to provide to farms that sustained losses. She also launched a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $2,500. A day later, she had raised $4,500 — enough to fill an entire trailer with needed donations.

Her first round of donations included food for dogs, cats, chickens and horses, along with corn, oats colostrum supplement, milk replacer, antibiotics, syringes and sedatives for other farm animals. She delivered the items directly to people she knew were in need and to complete strangers via drop off locations.

"Sometimes I would see cattle and a horse and I would just leave supplies by their mailboxes," Petersen said.

Subsequent trailer loads included more livestock-related goods — salt and mineral blocks, all-purpose pellet feeds, fence posts, medications and veterinary supplies.

At one point, Petersen received a donation of an entire semi-trailer load of feed from a company in Iowa. Another donation provided goat feed to those who requested it.

Petersen’s desire to provide support was fueled by the immediate need in communities affected and her ability to act quickly. She knew large companies and organizations would make their way to the damaged areas, but it would take some time to organize.

"I wanted to do something then and was able to with being on spring break," Petersen said. "The calf that lost its mother didn't have a week to wait to get colostrum or milk replacer. That rancher or pet owner didn't have time to figure out which roads he was going to have to travel to get feed or supplies, along with everything else going on."

Scientists to launch new tornado research mission

Researchers are about to embark on a new research project aimed at understanding the relationships between severe thunderstorms and how tornadoes form across the Great Plains with the goal of improving forecasts.

The upcoming project, Targeted Observation by Radars and Unmanned Aircraft Systems of Supercells, or TORUS, will be discussed during a news conference followed by a public open house at the Salina Regional Airport, Salina, Kansas on May 14th.

The TORUS project involves more than 50 researchers using 20 tools to measure the atmosphere, including unmanned aircraft systems, mobile radars and NOAA's WP-3D Orion "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft. Fieldwork will be conducted May 15 to June 16 throughout a 367,000-square-mile area of the Central Great Plains from North Dakota to Texas and Iowa to Wyoming and Colorado.

Funded by NOAA and the National Science Foundation, the project is led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Partner institutions are the University of Colorado Boulder, Texas Tech University, NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, and the University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.

USDA Dairy Products March 2019 Production  Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.10 billion pounds, 0.7 percent below March 2018 but 11.0 percent above February 2019. Italian type cheese production totaled 484 million pounds, 0.1 percent above March 2018 and 9.6 percent above February 2019. American type cheese production totaled 435 million pounds, 1.8 percent below March 2018 but 11.3 percent above February 2019. Butter production was 175 million pounds, 3.9 percent below March 2018 but
6.3 percent above February 2019.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with March 2018)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 164 million pounds, down 8.0 percent.
Skim milk powder - 49.6 million pounds, up 17.9 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with March 2018)
Dry whey, total - 78.4 million pounds, down 14.2 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 110 million pounds, up 9.2 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 42.3 million pounds, down 16.1 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with March 2018)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 65.6 million gallons, up 3.2 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 41.7 million gallons, up 1.5 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.50 million gallons, up 3.9 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.84 million gallons, down 11.9 percent.


More than 3,000 people from 38 countries were in attendance at the Petfood Forum in Kansas City, Missouri this week. This is the pet food industry’s largest event, with exhibitors and attendees from various backgrounds including research and development, technology and packaging providers, ingredient suppliers and retailers. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the Kansas Corn Growers Association had a booth at the event to interact with these stakeholders.

“This was an opportunity for us to discuss the benefits of corn in pet food as well as engage with current customers and potential future partners,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “We were able to showcase how corn can be used in treat form and talk about how corn is a key factor in digestibility, the value-added attributes of corn in pet food and the nutritional and energy value of corn to pets.”

While at the event, NCGA debuted its new corn in pet food materials, including technical research, fast facts, Corn MythBusters and the top 10 reasons to include corn in pet food. The information in the materials came from a study conducted by Kansas State University in which NCGA partnered with the Kansas Corn Growers Association to look at corn in pet food.

Some corn fast facts shared at the event were:
  - Corn is highly digestible, with nearly 100 percent disappearance of starch.
  - Corn toasts well and forms browning reaction products with rich flavor notes.
  - Corn is tasty and preferred over other grains.
  - Corn is high in antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  - Short chain fatty acids found in corn support immune function and homeostasis of the intestine.
  - Grains cause less than 1.5-percent of all pet food allergy cases.

To view the Corn in Pet Food materials, go to

NCBA Statement on the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act

Today Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, released the following statement in response to the introduction of the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Cattle producers are glad to see another bipartisan effort designed to provide much-needed relief for livestock haulers. This legislation demonstrates that U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Greg Pence (R-IN) are serious about addressing the implementation of electronic logging devices and the overly-restrictive hours of service rules that livestock haulers face today. We thank them and all the original co-sponsors for their support. NCBA will continue to work with members of Congress, industry groups, and the Department of Transportation on long-term solutions to our current transportation concerns.”

U.S. Grains Council Board Names LeGrand As Next President And CEO

The U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC's) Board of Directors has named Council Director in Mexico Ryan LeGrand as its next president and chief executive officer, effective mid-June.

“We are very pleased to announce the selection of Ryan LeGrand as the Council’s new president and CEO,” said USGC Chairman Jim Stitzlein. “His steadfast and level-headed leadership comes at a critical time amid challenges around the world for U.S. trade and a rapidly growing program of Council activities in markets that show potential for new demand.”

The Council is a non-profit export market development organization that promotes the global use of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

LeGrand joined the organization in Mexico in 2015 and has served as the director of the Council’s Mexico City office since 2016. In this capacity, he has overseen the expansion of the Council’s programming in that country to include ethanol promotion and worked to steady relations with the U.S. and Mexican feed and livestock industries during the negotiations of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"I am honored to have been selected for this role at the Council and look forward to expanding trade opportunities for the grain, ethanol and related products we promote around the world," LeGrand said. "The American farmer works extremely hard each year to produce quality crops, and I look forward to working with our members and staff to continue our mission of opening, maintaining and defending foreign markets."

During his tenure with the Council in Mexico, LeGrand has also led efforts for U.S. grains including increasing U.S. DDGS demand, cultivating both large and small craft brewers to purchase more U.S. barley and encouraging sorghum use by Mexican livestock producers.

LeGrand previously worked for Gavilon as the director of ingredients in Mexico, located in Guadalajara, managing the company’s feed ingredients trading, import and distribution throughout the country. LeGrand also served as the director of exports for Hawkeye Gold, LLC, exporting DDGS to Latin America and Asia. Early in his career, he worked a year in the Council’s Washington office as a manager of international operations.

LeGrand holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in international business.

“Ryan has shown dedication to measured growth for U.S. grains and co-products in Mexico, our most important export market and neighbor,” Stitzlein said. “We are certain the Council is in good hands with Ryan’s confident leadership and look forward to working with him in this new role.”

AGCO Reports First Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, reported net sales of approximately $2.0 billion for the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of approximately 0.6% compared to the first quarter of 2018. Reported net income was $0.84 per share for the first quarter of 2019, and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, was $0.86 per share. These results compare to a reported net income of $0.30 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, of $0.35 per share for the first quarter of 2018. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 7.1%, net sales in the first quarter of 2019 increased approximately 6.5% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

First Quarter Highlights
-    Reported regional sales results(1): North America (1.3)%, Europe/Middle East (“EME”) +4.0%, South America (14.3)%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) (16.3)%
-    Constant currency regional sales results(1)(2): North America (0.6)%, EME +13.2%, South America (2.6%), APA (9.6)%
-    Operating margin improvement of 190 basis points vs. first quarter of 2018
-    Regional operating margin performance: North America 6.2%, EME 10.5%, South America (5.4)%, APA 2.6%
-    Share repurchase program reduced outstanding shares by approximately 0.4 million during the first three months of 2019
-    Increased full-year outlook for net income per share

“Focused operational performance across our regional business units and supportive market conditions are driving sales and earnings growth,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “AGCO’s first quarter results demonstrated solid progress towards our margin improvement goals for 2019. Led by our Europe/Middle East region, AGCO’s first quarter 2019 adjusted operating margins improved over 190 basis points compared to the first quarter of 2018. Our margin expansion resulted from organic sales growth, an improved pricing environment and initiatives aimed at lowering material costs and improving productivity. We have raised our outlook for the full year to reflect our confidence in our continued strong performance and in the market recovery.”

Beyond Meat Goes Public as Sales of Plant-based Meats Rise

(AP) -- Beyond Meat is ready for more.

The El Segundo, California-based maker of plant-based burgers and sausages will make its debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday. It's the first pure-play maker of vegan "meat" to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, which researches and tracks IPOs.

Beyond Meat raised about $240 million selling 9.6 million shares at $25 each. That values the company at about $1.5 billion.

The 10-year-old company has attracted celebrity investors like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio and buzz for placing its products in burger joints like Carl's Jr. It sells to 30,000 grocery stores, restaurants and schools in the U.S., Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Israel.

Still, Beyond Meat has never made an annual profit. It's also facing serious competition from other "new meat" companies like Impossible Foods and traditional players like Tyson Foods Inc. Tyson recently sold a stake in Beyond Meat because it plans to develop its own alternative meat.

The IPO comes amid growing consumer interest in plant-based foods for their presumed health and environmental benefits. U.S. sales of plant-based meats jumped 42% between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of $888 million, according to Nielsen. Traditional meat sales rose 1% to $85 billion in that same time frame.

The trend is a global one. U.K. sales of meat alternatives jumped 18% over the last year, while sales of traditional meat and poultry slid 2%.

Even Burger King has recognized the appeal. Earlier this week, the fast food chain announced that it would start testing the Impossible Whopper, made with a plant-based burger from Impossible Foods, in additional markets after its monthlong test in St. Louis proved successful.

Beyond Meat products, made from pea protein, canola oil, potato starch and other plant-based ingredients, have been sold in the meat section of groceries since 2016. Its burgers "bleed" with beet juice; its sausages are colored with fruit juice.

That has broadened their appeal beyond vegetarians. Beyond Meat says a 26-week study last spring showed that 93% of Kroger customers who bought its burgers also bought animal meat during the same period.

Health comparisons are mixed. A four-ounce 92% lean burger from Laura's Lean Beef has higher fat and cholesterol than a Beyond Meat burger, but Beyond Meat's burger has higher sodium and carbohydrates and slightly less protein. The lean beef burger is 160 calories; a Beyond Meat burger is 270 calories.

Beyond Meat also costs more. For $5.99, consumers can get two 4-ounce patties of Beyond Burger or four 4-ounce patties of Laura's Lean Beef.

But Beyond Meat touts environmental benefits as well. The company says a plant-based burger takes 99% less water and 93% less land to produce than a beef burger, and generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Beyond Meat was founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown, a former clean energy executive. Brown's family part-owned a Maryland dairy farm, so as a child, Brown spent weekends and summers on the farm. As he grew older, he began to question whether people really needed animals to produce meat.

Brown teamed up with two professors from the University of Missouri, Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff, who had been developing soy-based chicken since the 1980s. By 2013, Beyond Meat was selling plant-based chicken strips nationwide at Whole Foods. (The company discontinued chicken earlier this year but says it's working on a better recipe.)

For investors, the stock is not without risk. Beyond Meat lost $30 million last year, and it must continue to spend heavily on research and development. The company employs 63 scientists, engineers, researchers, technicians and chefs at its 30,000-square-foot California lab. It also has manufacturing facilities in Columbia, Missouri.

Renaissance Capital, which has researched the company, says investors will likely tolerate those losses because the company is growing so quickly. Beyond Meat's net revenue was $87.9 million last year, 170% higher than 2017.

In documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Beyond Meat says it will invest $40 million to $50 million in current and new manufacturing facilities and spend $50 million to $60 million on product development and sales. The rest will be used to pay down debt and fund operations.

Protecting Your Horse Against Rabies Is in Your Hands

All core equine diseases pose grave dangers, but rabies presents the most serious threat for exposed horses and humans who encounter them. Annual vaccination is the only way to protect your horse against rabies — which is 100% fatal to horses once clinical signs appear.

Only 1 out of 7 horses are vaccinated against rabies, a staggering number that puts so many horses at risk for this devastating disease. Provide dedicated care to your horse to protect against rabies as well as the other potentially deadly core diseases: West Nile virus, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis and tetanus.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease which means that it also presents risk to your family, friends and anyone else that encounters your horse. “Sometimes, rabies will surprise you because it mimics other diseases.  But, it’s important to recognize it because of the exposure not only to other animals, but especially to people,” said Eleanor Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP, Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. “Rabies is always a risk to people that are around the animal. It’s a very serious disease; rabies is always fatal.”

Complicating the risks is the unavoidable exposure to wildlife that could carry the disease. Bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks all present rabies risks. Furthermore, rabies often appears when you least expect it.

“Warning signs of a horse that has contracted rabies doesn't always show up as a classic rabies case — foaming at the mouth and biting,” said Maggie Loomer, DVM, Durango Equine Veterinary Clinic. “Often, it can be disguised as colic.”

Through responsible horse care, providing the protection your horse needs from core diseases has never been easier. Talk with your veterinarian to learn more about the risk of rabies and all core diseases. And take preventive measures to protect the health of your horse through annual vaccination with Core EQ Innovator™.

The first and only vaccine to contain all core equine disease antigens in one injection, Core EQ Innovator protects against West Nile virus, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus and rabies. The vaccine, available from your veterinarian, is demonstrated safe and was shown to be reaction-free in 99.7% of horses, according to field safety studies.

ACE leads discussion with fuel retailers, equipment expert at ICGA’s High Octane Fuel Summit

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President and Market Development Director Ron Lamberty moderated a panel discussion among flex fuel and E15 retailers, and a retail equipment sales and service provider today at the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) High Octane Fuel Summit at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, Indiana.

ICGA rebranded its annual event this year, calling it the High Octane Fuel Summit, and making a greater effort to cover marketing and equipment topics in addition to policy discussions. One goal of the change was to attract more fuel retailers, who are likely to be interested in topics like those discussed by the panel Lamberty moderated. That discussion was entitled “Future fuels are coming. Are you ready?”

The panelists Tom Navarre of Family Express, Nathanial Doddridge of Casey’s General Store, and Martin Dunifon with Gasoline Equipment Services Company discussed real life E15 and flex fuel station conversion, benefits and challenges of offering higher ethanol blends, and the growth of ethanol sales in their markets.

“Beyond sharing their experience, the panelists talked about what help they need from the ethanol industry,” Lamberty said. “With the summer driving season just a month away and lots of questions surrounding EPA’s rule to allow the sale of E15 all year, the marketers discussed the steps they took to add E15 to their fuel slate and what they’ve learned from offering the blend at their stations.”

“Each panelist has different experiences in the ethanol fuel market,” Lamberty said. “Family Express began adding E15 in 2016 to stores throughout Northwest and Central Indiana and has sold E85 for more than a decade. Casey’s has been selling ethanol and E85 even longer, and recently did a successful test of E15 at several stations, leading to company plans to add the new product to more than 500 of their 2,000 stores.” Gasoline Equipment Services Company, an Indiana pump and equipment company, completed the panel to talk about what is required — and not required — to add E15 to a station's fuel slate. The company is a distributor for Wayne Fueling Systems, which provides retail fueling dispensers compatible and UL-Listed to E25 as a standard feature.

Kicking off the countdown to the IndyCar races, the Summit also featured complimentary admission to Dallara’s racing museum, street-legal race car rides, racing simulators and a green-screen photo booth in a race car.

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