Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wednesday May 22 Ag News

Ricketts to Lead Trade Mission to Germany in November

Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) have announced plans to lead a trade mission to Germany this November.  The Governor made the announcement from the Midwest International Trade Association (MITA) Annual World Trade Conference in La Vista.

“Germany is a global economic force with advanced capabilities in manufacturing, biotechnology, and agriculture.  Engaging with Germany is imperative in order to continue to raise Nebraska’s visibility with companies in the country—several of which already invest in Nebraska.  We look forward to this visit and to opening up new opportunities for Nebraska in Germany,” said Governor Ricketts.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Ag Services and the U.S. Census Bureau, exports to Germany from Nebraska totaled nearly $1.5 billion from 2010 to 2017.  Soybean exports alone totaled $696 million during that period, while machinery saw a 200% increase from 2010 to 2017.  Additionally, German companies have invested in Nebraska.  CLAAS, a prominent manufacturer of agricultural equipment, selected Omaha as its North America headquarters.  Graepel, a manufacturer of perforated metals, located its North American base in Omaha as well.

DED Director Dave Rippe and staff were in Germany in April 2019 to promote Nebraska and introduce companies to the advantages of doing business in the state.  During the upcoming trade mission, the delegation will attend the Agritechnica trade fair for agricultural technology in the Hanover region to increase Nebraska’s profile and drive interest in the state.  The trade fair exhibits technology in smart farming and advanced ag equipment, and has attracted 458,000 visitors from 128 countries at previous shows.

“Germany continues to be an area of significant opportunity for economic development efforts,” Director Rippe said.  “This trade mission to Germany will build upon the relationships we have established with companies and officials alike, and set the stage for our future engagements.”

Governor Ricketts has led trade missions to many countries, including members of the European Union, Japan, Canada, China, and Mexico to expand trade relationships and export opportunities for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.  The Governor’s Council for International Relations, which he established in 2017, focuses on increasing Nebraska exports and identifying new business opportunities in international markets.

The itinerary for the upcoming trade mission was developed in cooperation with the Governor’s Office, DED, German officials, and U.S. Consulate staff in Germany.  The delegation is expected to meet with German government officials to discuss trade policy, and will hold meetings with agricultural officials and industry leaders in agricultural manufacturing.

The trip is scheduled for November 10-18, 2019, and will include visits to Berlin, the Hanover region, the Düsseldorf region, and Frankfurt.  Since space is limited, those interested in participating in the trade mission should email Cobus Block, International Business Manager, at to ask questions and/or register.

Nebraska Cattlemen to Launch New Market Reporting Service Features

A significant upgrade of Nebraska Cattlemen's (NC) Market Reporting Service (MRS) electronic fed cattle market information delivery system for producers will debut on June 5 during NC's Midyear Meeting in Columbus, NE. NC MRS will introduce both Android and iOS smartphone applications during the NC Marketing and Commerce Committee meeting which begins at 10:15 a.m. CT Wednesday, June 5th at the Ramada Rivers Edge Convention Center.  The meeting will be open to registered attendees of NC's Midyear Meeting. Early registration is available until Thursday, May 30th at or by calling 402-475-2333, and onsite registrations will be accepted at the door.

Available exclusively to NC Market Reporting Service subscribers, the new smartphone applications are designed to ensure instantaneous delivery of market information and also streamline subscribers' ability to communicate with Market Reporting Service staff via efficient "one click" built in email communication media as well as an interactive feature for reporting of cash fed cattle trades.  In addition to the Market Reporting Service's real-time cash fed cattle sales information and market news feed, the apps will also feature CME Group / Chicago Board of Trade futures quotes as well as DTN's exclusive newly released weather module.

The Market Reporting Service was initiated in the late 1980's by a group of Nebraska Cattlemen member feedyards and provides an assimilation point for "real time" cash fed cattle bids and asking levels as well as sales prices, terms of trade, and delivery windows for completed cash trades.

The MRS information footprint has steadily expanded over the past three decades through working agreements with the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, and the North Dakota Stockgrowers Association.  Staffed by analysts with over 65 collective years of Midwest cash fed cattle market experience, and maintaining a network of cattle and beef industry contacts throughout the United States, the NC-MRS market information feed has become increasingly valuable to producers in the region and throughout the country as the core of the fed cattle industry's price discovery has become increasingly concentrated along the I-80 corridor.

This technology upgrade represents a significant investment on behalf of NC's Market Reporting Service towards maintaining active price discovery within the region - directly benefiting producers in Nebraska and other Midwestern states as well as the beef cattle production and marketing chains throughout the United States.

Producers unable to attend the unveiling of the NC MRS apps during the NC Midyear Meeting can obtain information by contacting the NC MRS office at 402-475-2333.


“Global Economic Growth and Agricultural Trade: Prospects, Policies and Perspectives” is the focus of a symposium June 4 at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. Ninth St. in Lincoln.

The symposium is jointly hosted by the Farm Foundation Food and Agricultural Trade Resource Center and the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is free and open to the public.

A keynote presentation by Luke Chandler, chief economist of Deere and Company, will be followed by a panel discussion with agricultural trade experts. Those experts are:

> Richard Crowder, former U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, and professor and Thornhill Endowed Chair in agricultural trade, Virginia Tech University

> Darci Vetter, former U.S. chief agricultural negotiator and global lead, public affairs, and vice chair for agriculture and food, Edelman

> John Beghin, Michael Yanney Chair of International Trade and Finance, Yeutter Institute and Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

A reception will start at 5 p.m. with the symposium scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The event will be streamed live at

The vision of Nebraska alumnus and renowned trade expert Clayton Yeutter, the Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, support interdisciplinary research and increase public understanding of these issues.

Farm Foundation is an agricultural policy institute cultivating dynamic nonpartisan collaboration to meet society's needs for food, fiber, feed and energy. Since 1933, it has connected leaders in farming, business, academia, organizations and government through proactive, rigorous debate and objective issue analysis. The Resource Center is one example of this collaborative work. To learn more, visit

Request USDA Assistance to Protect Infrastructure Damaged by March Blizzard/Flooding

Assistance Request Deadline Extended to June 20, 2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Nebraska is accepting requests for assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program to address watershed impairments resulting from the March “Bomb Cyclone” and associated flooding. Requests for assistance must be submitted to the NRCS State Conservationist in Nebraska by June 20, 2019.

NRCS Nebraska State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “We have extended this sign up period to provide additional time for those impacted by the March severe weather to apply for this assistance.” Derickson explained, “EWP is designed to install recovery measures to safeguard lives and property as a result of a natural disaster. We have teams out now completing damage survey reports. These reports help us understand the extent of the damage and the amount of funding needed for recovery work.”

Watershed impairments that the EWP program addresses include debris-clogged stream channels, scoured or eroded bridges, and undermined and/or unstable streambanks that pose an imminent threat to public infrastructure (i.e.: bridges, county roads, etc.).

EWP work is completed through a local project sponsor. EWP project sponsors must be a legal subdivision of state government such as a city, county, state agency, town, or a federally-recognized American Indian tribe or tribal organization.

“Generally, NRCS will pay up to 75 percent of the restoration costs. The project sponsor is responsible for the remaining balance of funding needs, which can include in-kind support. It’s important to note that any recovery measures already implemented by the sponsor or in process by the sponsor would not be eligible for reimbursement,” Derickson said.

Potential sponsors seeking assistance through EWP should work with their local USDA service center, which can be found at For more information about the EWP Program, contact Allen Gehring, at (402) 437-4037.

Iowa Corn Growers Association® Invites Members to Discuss Key Policy Issues at Local Roundtables

Policy development at the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a vital grassroots process. Each year, ICGA hosts roundtable meetings in local communities across the state to gather insight and feedback on priorities from members. The meetings, which will be held in June and July, allow ICGA members to come together, share a meal, and discuss key issues impacting corn farmers. Policies brought forward and approved at roundtable meetings go on to the annual ICGA Grassroots Summit on August 26-27 for the ICGA delegates to debate for adoption into the ICGA policy book. This process enables the organization to take action in lobbying for and supporting sound policy development and pro-farmer legislation.  See the below listing for locations and times.

June 11
Clarion – Hagie Manufacturing, 721 Central Ave W. (5PM optional tour of Hagie, 6PM Roundtable)

June 18
Okoboji – Pearson Lakes Art Center, 2201 US-71 (6PM)
Mt. Pleasant – Airport Road Vineyard & Winery, 2555 Lexington Ave. (6:30PM)

June 20
Templeton – Templeton Center, 230 S. 5th Ave (3PM optional tour of Templeton Rye, 5PM Roundtable)
Donahue – Cinnamon Ridge Farms, 10600 275th St. (6PM)

June 24
Mason City – North Iowa Events Center, 4-H Learning Center 3700 4th St. SW (6PM)
Galva – Quad County Corn Processor Plant, 6059 159th St. (5PM optional tour of plant, 6PM Roundtable)

June 25
Red Oak – AgriVision, 2405 N. 4th St. (6PM)

June 26
Arlington – Mark Recker’s Farm, 9768 70th St (5:30PM)
Ottumwa– Ottumwa Golf & Social Club, 304 E Golf Ave (6PM)

July 2
Orient – Henry A. Wallace Life Center, 2773 290th St. (6PM)

July 8
Central City – Pete Brecht’s Farm, 3925 Jordans Grove Rd (6PM)

July 9
Ames – Johnny’s at Hilton Coliseum with ISU VIP guest appearance, 1705 Center Dr. (5PM)

Roundtables are FREE for ICGA members, but registration is requested. A meal will be included at each session. If you can't attend a roundtable but wish to present a policy resolution for consideration, please contact your local ICGA Board member. Go to for more information.

Iowa Farm Rental Rates Decline, But Not as Much as Commodities

Cash rental rates for Iowa farmland are down 1.4% compared to last year, but are still higher than in 2011, despite significant decreases in crop prices.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s “Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2019 Survey,” (FM 1851) published in the May Ag Decision Maker newsletter, the average cash rent per acre is $219, down from $222 per acre last year.

Meanwhile, corn and soybean prices have dropped 50% and 45%, respectively, since mid-2013, according to Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State.

“Cash rents declined slightly in 2019 but won’t offset lower prices for farmers who are renting land,” said Plastina. “It will be tough to break even with these cash rents if you are renting land.”

Cash rents have only dropped about 19% since the historic high of $270 per acre, in 2013, but the decline is in line with the cumulative 16.7% decline in land values since 2013.

The survey is based on 1,262 responses across the state for cash rent prices received to grow corn, soybeans, hay, oats and pasture. The rate of change varied by county and by region, with 65 counties experiencing a decline in the average rent for corn and soybeans.

The 2019 survey showed a range from a 3.4% increase in southeast Iowa (District 9), to a 2.7% drop in north central Iowa (District 2). The lowest rents are in the south central counties, where most averages are below $200 an acre.

Plastina said the survey can serve as a reference point for negotiating rental rates, but should not be blindly used in leasing contracts.

“These are averages so I always say that they should not be used as off-the-shelf truths to avoid negotiations between tenants and landowners,” Plastina said. “Both parties have to figure out what actually works for them in terms of the land quality, historic yields, what kind of improvements are being made to the land and other factors unique to their situation.”

Other articles in this month’s Ag Decision Maker include a look at farm stress and marriage, called “Keys when ‘married’ to farm stress,” by Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

The newsletter also includes information for farmers who want to compute their own cropland rental rates, as well as the publications “Livestock Enterprise Budgets for Iowa,” and “Financial Performance Measures for Iowa Farms.”

More resources on rental agreements can be found on the Ag Decision Maker leasing page.

Farmland leasing meetings are being scheduled for July and August across the state for in-person discussions for landowners and tenants on leasing trends and issues that impact renting Iowa farmland.

USDA Cold Storage April 2019 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on April 30, 2019 were up slightly from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 5 percent from the previous month and down 9 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 2 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 4 percent from last month but down 5 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, 2019 were up 2 percent from the previous month and up slightly from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up slightly from last month but down 5 percent from April 30, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on April 30, 2019 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 4 percent from April 30, 2018.  Butter stocks were up 8 percent from last month but down 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 5 percent from last month and down slightly from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.

Urea Prices Spike 5% Higher Amid Transportation Trouble

Retail fertilizer prices continued to be fairly steady the second week of May 2019, although one spiked higher, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Like the last two weeks, prices for four of the eight major fertilizers were higher, while the other four were lower than last month. But, unlike the last few weeks, one fertilizer was considerably higher.

Urea was 5% more expensive compared to the second week of April, up $22 per ton with an average price of $426/ton. This marks the first time since the second week of February a fertilizer has seen a significant price move, which DTN considers 5% or more.

The remaining three fertilizers with higher prices saw more marginal increases. Potash had an average price $392/ton, up $4; 10-34-0 $487/ton, up $6; and anhydrous $595/ton, up $1.

The remaining four fertilizers were slightly lower looking back to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $498/ton, $6 lower; MAP $526/ton, down $5; UAN28 $267/ton, $3 lower; and UAN32 $311/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.46/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 3% higher; MAP is 4% more expensive; potash, 10-34-0 and UAN28 are all 11% higher; UAN32 is 13% more expensive; urea is 16% higher and anhydrous is 17% more expensive compared to last year.

Agriculture Industry Groups Call on Congress to Immediately Extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit

Thirteen trade groups representing farmers, rural lenders, crop and biobased oil producers, and biodiesel producers today wrote leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, asking them to take action on bipartisan legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive.

“America’s farmers and rural communities are facing a mounting economic threat. With your leadership, Congress can help mitigate the crisis by taking immediate action on a policy that enjoys bipartisan, bicameral support. We are writing today to ask you to renew and extend the biodiesel tax incentive at the earliest opportunity,” the letter states.

“Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle and across the country agree that the biodiesel tax incentive should be renewed.,” the letter continues. “We ask you to bring an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive up for immediate consideration in Congress.”

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “Income for America’s farmers is falling, and the impact is beginning to be felt in other sectors of the rural economy. Biodiesel production adds value to oil seed crops and recycled oils, providing one bright spot for the agriculture sector. Congress can take rapid action to renew the biodiesel tax incentive – a policy that enjoys broad bipartisan support – to help U.S. biodiesel producers continue growing.”

The groups include the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, CoBank, Corn Refiners Association, Farm Credit Council, National Biodiesel Board, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Renderers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and U.S. Canola Association.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/17/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 17, ethanol production rose 19,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 1.9% increase, at an average of 1.071 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 44.98 million gallons daily. That is the largest volume in 37 weeks and 42,000 b/d (4.2%) above year ago levels. The four-week average ethanol production rate lifted 0.6% to 1.046 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.04 billion gallons (bg)—the first time this year to breach 16 bg.

Ethanol stocks moved 5.2% higher to 23.4 million barrels, building across all PADDs. This is the largest volume in seven weeks and stands 5.9% greater than year ago reserves.

There were no imports reported by EIA for the 27th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of March 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied expanded 3.1% to 9.429 million b/d (396.0 million gallons per day, or 144.55 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol moved fractionally lower (-0.2%) to 951,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.58 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.36%.

Over 200 Farm, Food and Rural Groups Support Agribusiness Merger Moratorium Bills

Today, a broad-based coalition of 219 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI).

The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2019 would initiate a moratorium on large agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing and grocery retail mergers to allow time to assess the impact corporate consolidation has on farmers, workers, consumers and communities. It also recommends improvements to antitrust enforcement. The bills were also introduced in the House and Senate in 2018.

“Over the past several decades, lax antitrust enforcement has greatly reduced competition in the industries that supply and buy from family farmers and ranchers, saddling them with higher input costs, fewer choices, and less innovation,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “After a recent wave of agribusiness mega-mergers, Senator Booker and Representative Pocan’s legislation would provide a much-needed opportunity to evaluate the damage and establish stronger safeguards to prevent this level of consolidation in the future. We heartily support this merger moratorium, and we urge Congress to do so as well by passing it swiftly.”

“The hyper-consolidation of our food supply means that farmers earn less, consumers pay more and our food system is less resilient,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “With mega-deals like ChemChina-Syngenta, Monsanto-Bayer and Dow-DuPont going through in just the last few years, it’s past time for Congress to act to stop the further consolidation of our food system.”

The letter outlines the impacts of a merger and acquisition spree that has swept through food and agriculture in the last decade, with mergers between major seed, fertilizer, food processing and grocery retail giants. This wave of consolidation has contributed to falling farm prices, declining farm incomes, stagnant wages for food workers, rising food prices and economic stagnation in rural communities.

The Booker-Pocan bill would put a strategic pause on merger combinations of over $160 million in sales or assets and establish a commission to study the impacts of consolidation in the food and agricultural sectors on farmers, rural communities, workers and consumers. The commission would also recommend any necessary changes to federal antitrust statutes or other laws and regulations to restore a fair and competitive agricultural marketplace.

“Smaller-scale and historically disadvantaged farmers who have long depended on livestock to sustain their diverse operations face disproportionate challenges marketing their products at fair prices in an increasingly concentrated agribusiness dominated market,” said Lorette Picciano, Executive Director of the Rural Coalition. “Mega-mergers are the prime driver of the downward spiral in income, wages and working conditions for this sector of producers as well as farm and food chain workers, and small businesses that erodes rural economic vitality and ecological health, and pits workers and communities against each other to survive. It is long past time for policy makers to provide them the time and statutory tools they need to build the futures they want.”

The letter, signed by groups from 46 states, urged other Members of Congress to cosponsor the legislation to stop the mergers that threaten independent family farmers, consumers and communities.

"For too long, corporate consolidation in the food and agriculture sectors has been ignored despite alarms raised by family farmers and rural communities of the negative, anti-democratic impacts of this trend,” said Jim Goodman, Board President of the National Family Farm Coalition. “Corporate domination of our rural economies and agricultural markets has undercut independent producers, exploited the workers who grow and process our food, forced rural businesses to close, and degraded our ecosystems. We are encouraged by the leadership of Senator Booker and Representative Pocan in bringing attention to this issue and taking a first step toward protecting the viability of small and mid-scale family farmers and local food systems."

Farm Credit Makes Grant to Improve Access to Mental Health Care for Farmers

Farm Credit has partnered with AgriSafe Network to support its Total Farmer Health campaign. The program will educate rural health professionals on the mental health risks faced by farmers and ranchers and trains them to integrate basic mental health screenings into their primary care practices.

“The name of the program, Total Farmer Health, says it all. This grant will help improve access to mental health care in rural America,” said Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose. “As we commemorate Mental Health Month in May, Farm Credit hopes to play a role in helping improve the mental health resources available to agricultural producers across the country.”

Farmers and ranchers face a number of barriers to accessing mental health care. Farmers struggling with mental health issues are often more likely to seek help from their primary care practitioner than from mental health service providers, due to perceived stigma. Many rural areas lack specific mental health services entirely, making primary care practitioners an even more vital resource for producers and other rural residents in need of care. This funding will help better prepare these primary caregivers to address farmers’ mental health needs.

Farm Credit joins CHS in this partnership that will allow AgriSafe to train 300 rural primary care professionals on integrating farmer mental health services within primary care settings.

USDA Announces New Packers and Stockyards Act Regulations to be Issued

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will invite the public to comment on new proposed revisions to regulations under the Packers & Stockyards Act in compliance with a 2008 congressional mandate by the Bush administration. At issue is whether or not family farmers have a legal leg to stand on when the largest agriculture monopolies bully them in the marketplace using predatory and retaliatory practices to either keep farmers in line or to drive them out of business.

USDA’s action complies with its commitment to a federal court in 2018 in response to Organization for Competitive Markets’ (OCM) litigation against Secretary Sonny Perdue and USDA for having illegally withdrawn two of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules that were filed by the Obama administration to comply with the congressional mandate. These rules were the market safeguards that OCM, allied farm organizations, and individual farmers and ranchers have been advocating for over a decade.

Today’s USDA announcement states: “This action would invite comments on proposed revisions to regulations issued under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act). The revisions would specify criteria the Secretary could consider in determining whether conduct or action by packers, swine contractors, or live poultry dealers constitutes an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage and a violation of the P&S Act.”

In response, OCM issued the following statement:

“The fate of America’s family farmers is now in the hands of Secretary Perdue. Whether he will side with large transnational corporate monopolies like JBS and Tyson or stand up for America’s independent family farmers is yet to be seen. We have legitimate concerns about the Secretary’s motivation in light of his statement when withdrawing the previous protections was that the abusive practices by these large corporations were moral actions that neither litigation nor regulation could solve. Perdue later eliminated the standalone Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) agency which was charged with enforcing the Packers & Stockyards Act, and transferred its delegation to the historically big agribusiness-friendly Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Abusive market practices not only bankrupt family farmers but they destroy rural communities, local businesses and banks while denying consumers healthy and safe food choices at their grocery stores. All of us must be prepared to accept the Secretary’s invitation and issue our comments about the exceptional need for market protections.” 

FCA Board Chairman Dallas Tonsager dies

Dallas P. Tonsager, board chairman of the Farm Credit Administration, died yesterday of lymphoma in Falls Church, Virginia. He was 64. He is survived by his wife, Sharon; his son Keith and daughter-in-law, Lindsey; his son Josh; and his granddaughter, Ilia.

Chairman Tonsager was appointed to the FCA board by President Barack Obama on March 13, 2015. He was designated chairman and CEO by President Obama on November 22, 2016.

“Dallas dedicated his life to helping farmers, ranchers, and other rural Americans,” said FCA Board Member Jeff Hall, who was designated CEO on May 20. “Both at USDA and FCA, he worked hard to promote investments in rural communities. As chairman of FCA, he urged the Farm Credit System to work with borrowers experiencing stress as a result of the current downturn in the farm economy. He was also a fine colleague and friend. His passing is a great loss to agriculture and rural America and a personal loss to everyone who knew him.”

“Dallas’ commitment to agriculture and rural America has been an inspiration,” said FCA Board Member Glen Smith. “I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to serve with him these past 17 months. His leadership as a regulator has helped keep the System strong despite the extended period of stress in the farm economy, and his work to expand investments in rural communities has made rural America a better place for future generations.”

In a press release, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson and Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway also offered their condolences to the Tonsager family and recognized Chairman Tonsager’s contributions. “He worked especially hard to ensure the success of the biofuels industry, as well as highlighting the healthcare and broadband needs of rural America,” said Chairman Peterson. “His leadership and dedication to rural communities will be greatly missed.”

Chairman Tonsager brought to his position on the FCA board extensive experience as an agriculture leader and producer, and a commitment to promoting and implementing innovative development strategies to benefit rural residents and their communities.

He served as under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013. In this position, he expanded broadband communication in rural America and implemented other key elements of the Recovery Act for rural America. He dramatically expanded USDA's water and wastewater programs, expanded funding for first- and second-generation biofuels, and funded hospitals and other public facilities in rural America. He also worked with the Farm Credit System and others to set up new venture capital investment funds.

From 2010 to 2013, Chairman Tonsager was a member of the Commodity Credit Corporation board of directors. From 2004 to 2009, he served as a member of the FCA board, as well as a member of the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation.

Before this, Chairman Tonsager served for two years as executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center. In this position, he coordinated initiatives to better serve producers interested in developing value-added agricultural projects. Services provided by the center include project facilitation, feasibility studies, business planning, market assessment, technical assistance, and education.

In 1993, he was selected by President William J. Clinton to serve as USDA's state director for rural development in South Dakota. Chairman Tonsager oversaw a diversified portfolio of housing, business, and infrastructure loans in South Dakota. His term ended in February 2001.

A longtime member of the South Dakota Farmers Union, Chairman Tonsager served two terms as president of the organization from 1988 to 1993. During that same period, he was a board member of Green Thumb Inc., a nationwide job training program for senior citizens. In addition, he served on the board of National Farmers Union Insurance from 1989 to 1993, and he was a member of the advisory board of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1990 to 1993.

Chairman Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, South Dakota. For many years, he and his older brother owned Plainview Farm in Oldham, a family farm on which they raised corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. He was a graduate of South Dakota State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture in 1976.

The Tonsager family plans to host a funeral service in South Dakota and a memorial service in Washington.

NCGA Remembers Farm Credit Chairman Dallas Tonsager

Farm Credit Administration Chairman Dallas Tonsager passed away Tuesday after a battle with lymphoma. Tonsager was a long-time champion of agriculture and rural America.

“Dallas was a good and honest man who worked hard on behalf of farmers and ranchers,” NCGA CEO Jon Doggett said. “He never lost touch with his rural roots and used his leadership positions to advocate for rural communities.”

Tonsager served as undersecretary for rural development at USDA from 2009 to 2013, overseeing an expansion of rural broadband development and increased funding for first- and second-generation biofuels, among other initiatives.

Statement on the Death of Dallas Tonsager

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose made the following statement on the death of Dallas Tonsager.

“Dallas had a life-long passion for rural communities and agriculture. During his time in Washington, D.C., Dallas worked tirelessly to support farm families and make a more vibrant rural economy. His leadership and his friendship will be deeply missed.”

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