Saturday, August 31, 2019

Friday August 30 Ag News

Nebraska LEAD Announces 2019-2021 Fellows

    Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Group 39 participants have been announced by the program’s director, Terry Hejny. The two-year program will begin in September.

      The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program are involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness in Nebraska.

    "Once again, it appears that Class 39 is filled with outstanding individuals from throughout our state and I am excited to get started with them. Our task will be to prepare and motivate them for future leadership roles in their community, our state and beyond," Hejny said.

    LEAD Fellows will participate in 12 monthly three-day seminars across Nebraska, a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a 14-16 day international study/travel seminar. The goal of the program is to develop problem solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for Nebraska agriculture and beyond.

    Seminar themes include: leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, leadership through communication, agricultural policy, international trade and finance, Nebraska’s political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social and cultural issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, information technology, advances in health care, the resources and people of Nebraska’s Panhandle and other areas designed to develop leaders through exposure to a broad array of current topics and issues and how they interrelate.

Nebraska LEAD 39 Fellows by city/town are:
ALBION: John Krohn
ARTHUR: Jason Christiansen
BELLEVUE: John Bronner, Derek Brown
BLUE HILL: Alex Buschow
CLARKSON: Mike Podany
CLATONIA: Monte Murkle
COLON: Jeff Meduna
COLUMBUS: Justin Lorenz

COZAD: Zack Jenner
ELGIN: Tiffany Hemenway
HOLDREGE: Molly Trausch
HORDVILLE: Rebekah Nortrup
KEARNEY: Elyse Schlake
LINCOLN: Travis Harrison, Laurel Mastro, Blythe McAfee, Brett Muhlbach, Tony Sibert
MULLEN: Kory Phillips
NELIGH: Koryn Koinzan
OMAHA:, Craig Davidson, Benjamin Grabenstein, Ashley Peters
SUTHERLAND: Thomas Kelly, Zachary Paulman
SUTTON: Jesse Mohnike
UTICA: Mindy Wolf

    The Nebraska LEAD Program is sponsored by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 12 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.

Nebraska Ethanol Board September board meeting and EHS industry training

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will hold a board meeting in Lincoln on Friday, Sept. 13 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be at Cornhusker Marriott (333 S 13th St.) in the Hawthorne Room. Visit here for the agenda. This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Then, on Sept. 19, safety professionals from across the state will gather in Kearney, Nebraska, for the 15th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit. The daylong summit presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board will feature speakers from agencies and organizations across the region, including the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, Flint Hills Resources safety department, Trinity Consultants covering OSHA and risk management plans, NAQS Environmental Experts, and Olsson.

For full details, visit the registration page. Registration is due by Sept. 11. The event is open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. College students are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the $50 registration fee.

“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest regulations and compliance changes, especially as ethanol plants implement new technology and expand operations,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “We are proud that the summit is attracting companies both directly and indirectly related to the ethanol industry, including organizations that focus on air quality and environmental compliance.”

Nebraska State Grange Annual Convention

Margaret Smith,  Nebraska State Grange

The Nebraska State Grange will hold the annual Convention in Grand Island at the Midtown Ramada Inn, September 13-15.  The National Grange delegates this year will be Harry and Cindy Greer from Colorado.  Cindy is National Grange Ceres, and President of the Colorado State Grange.  This will be the time to look over our policies and and suggest some resolutions for debate.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               September has arrived so crops like sorghum-sudangrass planted on prevent-plant acres now can be harvested or grazed.  How should you do it?

               Harvesting crops like sorghum-sudangrass requires dealing with all the moisture in the plant.  As silage, it usually is too wet to chop directly.  So you can windrow it, wilt to a desirable moisture, and then use a pickup attachment to chop.  Or you can wait until grain gets dry enough to balance the plant moisture if the hybrid is one that makes enough grain.  Or you can wait until a freeze causes the plant to dry down and then chop quickly enough so it doesn’t get too dry.

               Making hay isn’t much easier, especially if plants are tall.  September’s short days and cool temperatures will slow the drying rate so cut high to hold windrows off the ground, spread it wide to use as much sunlight as possible to dry it, and crimp it well to open stems so they can dry.  Then hope it doesn’t rain for the next couple of weeks.

               Maybe the best harvest option is baleage.  Plastic wrapping bales that are around fifty percent moisture could save a week of drying time and reduce weather risks.  You must either own the wrapping equipment or have a nearby custom operator but if it’s available it should be considered.

               Grazing also can be challenging.  If cattle get free access they will trample most of the forage.  Maybe good for the soil but certainly a loss of a lot of potential feed.  Allowing access to just a small portion of the field by strip grazing will get much more of the forage eaten rather than trampled.  Windrowing first and then strip grazing may work even better.

               Tall, green sudans and sorghums can provide much good forage but using them takes good moisture management.


               Do you grow alfalfa for your beef cows or for feedlots?  If so, maybe you should try harvesting your last cutting as a higher value cash crop this year.

               Cow and grinding hay appears to be plentiful this fall, causing prices to decline or at least stabilize.  However, all the rain made baling dairy hay very difficult.  This shortage is supporting higher prices for dairy hay.

               Many remaining alfalfa acres belong to cattle producers growing hay for their own cows or feedlots.  Since cow hay and grinding hay currently is priced at least 50 dollars per ton less than dairy hay, can you take advantage of this difference in price?

               Quite frankly, cattle producers have a tremendous advantage over commercial hay growers.  If you harvest your hay before it blooms, bale it in heavy, transportable packages with most leaves intact, store it under cover to prevent weather damage, and then market it to get its true value, you also can sell it for a premium price.  And you still can feed it to your own animals if your hay does not meet premium standards.

               Now maybe you're thinking "I can't sell my hay.  I need it for my own animals."  And you may be right.  But, if you do sell some dairy hay, what you also can do is buy other, less expensive hay at the grinding or stock cow hay price. But you get to pocket the extra 40, 50, maybe 60 dollars for each ton of hay you sold and still have hay for your own animals.

               What do you have to lose?  It costs very little to at least try to harvest premium quality hay.  If you succeed, you get a bonus.  And if your hay doesn't qualify for a bonus, you simply feed the hay to your own animals, just like you would have done anyway.

               No risk, high returns.  Indeed, what do you have to lose?

ICGA Delegates Move on Issues Impacting Iowa Corn Farmers at Annual Grassroots Summit

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) held its Annual Grassroots Summit in Altoona earlier this week on August 26 and 27 where ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities for the coming year.

During the two-day Summit, 100 delegates in attendance had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. This ICGA policy process includes a member-wide survey in the spring, roundtable discussions held across the state in the summer and the Grassroots Summit in late August. Policies related to national issues can be brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings in February with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) farmer delegates.

ICGA’s delegates deliberated on many important state issues impacting Iowa corn farmers, including these priority issues:
Conservation/Water Quality – Maintain legislative funding stream for Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
Ethanol – Obtain funding for renewable infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)
Livestock – Support existing regulatory framework for the livestock industry
Taxes – Protect critical tax credits (Section 179 and biofuels)
* (Listed in alphabetical order, not by priority ranking)

“The future of our organization lies in the hands of our grassroots members, and it is vital our members are engaged,” stated incoming ICGA President Jim Greif. “Throughout the year, there are many ways to get involved to develop ICGA policy. ICGA encourages all members to make their voices heard that these events.”

Delegates also weighed several key federal issues:
Ethanol – Retain the RFS, reallocation of unjustified SREs, and reduce regulatory barriers for higher blends
Trade – Expand new and protect existing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements
Trade – Protect/expand the Market Access Program (MAP) & Foreign Market Development (FMD) funding as part of the Farm Bill
Transportation – Maintain and upgrade our inland waterways system
* (Listed in alphabetical order, not by priority ranking)

Governor Kim Reynolds spoke to ICGA members during the first day of Summit. The Governor gave a powerful message in these tough economic times and shared that she stands strong with Iowa farmers to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

During the conclusion of the first day of the Summit, ICGA presented two awards to deserving ICGA members and partners. The Friend of Iowa Corn award is given to recognize state and federal legislators, their staff and others who have helped shape and implement priorities of Iowa Corn, and those who have been champions for our issues. This year, the Friend of Iowa Corn award was presented to Jerry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has been an essential part of the Iowa Corn team for over two decades. He is one of Iowa Corn’s contract lobbyists at the Iowa statehouse and has been instrumental in the shaping and passage of every significant piece of Iowa Corn legislation at the statehouse during his tenure.

The second award presented was the Walter Goeppinger Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an Iowa Corn member who has showcased exemplary leadership skills and service throughout their time with Iowa Corn. This year, Iowa Corn honored Jack Kintzle of Toddville, Iowa, who has shown exceptional dedication and leadership to the agriculture industry. Kintzle had a seat at the table for many pivotal conversations that have shaped Iowa Corn into what it is today. He is recognized for his thoughtful input, progressive thinking and diligent work ethic.

The Local Leaders Awards Breakfast kicked off Tuesday morning with an update from Iowa Corn Grassroots Network & Checkoff Committee Chair, Larry Buss, explaining the plan to grow ICGA membership. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig welcomed and thanked members for participating in the policy development of their organization. Wrapping up the program, Buss handed out awards recognizing the efforts of many outstanding local corn farmer-leaders and their programming at the county and district level.

The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Luncheon concluded with an update from representatives from the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series partnerships, University of Iowa Women’s Basketball Coach, Lisa Bluder and Iowa State University Women’s Basketball Coach, Bill Fennelly.

During the final part of the Summit, incoming ICGA President Jim Greif and incoming Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) President Roger Zylstra gave their presidential updates outlining their key goals for the upcoming year.

ICGA will release its finalized top 2020 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2019-2020 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing or calling 515-225-9242.

EPA Must Support Biofuels, Uphold Intent of RFS

On behalf of its nearly 200,000 family farmer and rancher members, National Farmers Union (NFU) today submitted public comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to adjust their proposed Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) volume obligations for 2020.

Though the proposal would maintain the current volume of conventional biofuels at 15 billion gallons, it would also significantly reduce the statutory volume for advanced biofuels and, consequently, the total renewable fuel volume. Furthermore, the proposal does not compensate for the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels that was eliminated by the ongoing misappropriation of RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs) to multinational corporations. In response to dwindling demand, at least 15 ethanol plants and several biodiesel plants have closed, and many others have reduced production, resulting in the loss of thousands of rural jobs.

Upon the initial release of EPA’s proposed volume obligations, National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed frustration that the agency neither increased biofuel use nor accounted for the damage inflicted on farmers and rural communities by the exemptions. In the organization’s comments, NFU President Roger Johnson echoed earlier misgivings and again urged EPA to address both issues in the finalized rule:

“Today’s agricultural community is facing a great number of challenges: a prolonged downturn in the farm economy, the erosion of international export markets due to escalating trade tensions, climate change-related weather extremes, and declining populations and job opportunities in rural areas.

“By expanding the market for home-grown biofuels, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) can play an important role in addressing all of these issues. It develops new markets for American farm products, which in turn buoys commodity prices and farm incomes. It reduces the emission of greenhouse gases that drive climate change. It creates good, stable jobs for rural Americans and stimulates local economies. On top of all that, RFS also offers benefits to American consumers and the country as a whole. Incorporating biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply lowers pump prices, improves air quality, and reduces dependence on foreign energy sources.

“Considering the RFS’s significant potential for good, it is disappointing that time and time again, EPA has chosen undermine the policy’s purpose and integrity - and this proposal is just the latest example of that. Not only does it fail to account for the immense harm inflicted by the abuse of small refinery exemptions, but it also slashes the statutory volumes for advanced biofuels that Congress set in 2007 to ensure the continued growth of the biofuels industry.

“We strongly urge EPA to reverse course in order to guarantee that the intent of the RFS is upheld – the agency must offset all 4 billion gallons lost to the waivers, it must enforce the volume requirements for conventional biofuels, and it must increase volumes for advanced biofuels.”

EPA’s Final 2020 Volume Obligations Must Restore Lost Gallons

In formal comments submitted today in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations, the Renewable Fuels Association called on the EPA to follow the law and make up for the lost blending volumes resulting from the numerous secretive refinery waivers granted by the agency.

“There is every reason to expect that the continued abuse of the system for granting small refinery exemptions will render the 2020 volumes meaningless again, given that the agency just approved an additional 31 small refinery exemptions without a transparent demonstration of severe economic harm,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper wrote. “Issuing small refinery exemptions after an RVO rule is finalized—as EPA has now done for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 compliance years—has the practical impact of reducing the effective RVOs to levels well below those specified in the rule.”

In its comments, RFA calls on the EPA to address this problem and ensure that the 2020 RVOs are administered in a manner consistent with the statute simply by accounting for small refinery exemptions when it calculates the percentage standards, as has been recommended during the interagency review process for two consecutive years.

In fact, Cooper noted, the formula used by EPA for calculating the annual percentage standards has always included a variable for “projected volume[s]” of gasoline and diesel for exempt small refineries, and EPA has in fact included non-zero values for these variables in past RVO rules. “Failing to include a non-zero projection of exempted gasoline and diesel from small refineries after the EPA has granted large-scale exemptions for three straight years defies reality and is a flagrant abuse of the Agency’s waiver authorities under the program,” he said.

Finally, Cooper wrote, EPA’s proposal “makes a mockery” of the 2017 federal court decision in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA, by refusing to add back 500 million gallons of renewable fuel the court determined were inappropriately waived by EPA. “RFA strongly urges the EPA to include the 500 million gallons in the final 2020 RVO, as required by the court.”

ACE urges EPA to reallocate volumes from RFS waivers harming rural America in comments on 2020 RFS proposal

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted comments today to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today is the final day the Agency is accepting public comments on the proposal.

ACE commented on several facets of the proposed rule including: the difference between EPA’s proposed 2020 RVO and the real-world effect Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) have on RFS blending obligations; the need for EPA to reallocate the gallons waived through SREs, in addition to restoring the 500 million gallons in compliance with the Americans for Clean Energy et al v. EPA lawsuit; how EPA’s abuse of the SRE provision harms rural America and violates statutory authority; the need for EPA to adopt the latest GREET model with respect to the proposed rule to “reset” the 2021 and 2022 RFS volumes to ensure EPA makes determinations on scientifically defensible GHG assessments; and our concerns about the Agency’s regulatory approach to the retail sale of E15 through blender pumps.

Several corn farmers and biofuel producers were cited in ACE’s comments, including ACE member plant Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy CEO Mike Jerke, who recently said EPA’s abuse of small refinery waivers “guts the RFS and breaks the president’s promise.” He goes on to explain that the August 9 announcement of 31 SREs for the 2018 compliance year, the USDA’s August 12 crop report and the trade war with China have combined to potentially take $10.6 billion away from farmers and ethanol plants and transferred much of that to oil companies.

ACE’s comments highlight the radical changes made to EPA’s handling of SREs under the Trump administration. “During RFS compliance years 2016 through 2018, the average number of SRE applications skyrocketed to more than 30 per year and the average approval rate increased to 90 percent. What’s more, the Trump administration waited until after the compliance year had closed to approve “retroactive” refinery exemptions. By tilting the scale and the calendar in favor of refineries, the Trump administration has never reallocated the waived blending obligations as required by the statute. Not only has EPA allowed 85 SREs for the 2016 through 2018 RFS compliance years, it has not reallocated the 4.04 billion gallons of statutory volume exempted over that timeframe. If one were to assume, for example purposes, all this waived volume constitutes ethanol from corn, this is equivalent to losing a 1.4-billion-bushel crop, or the entire market for Minnesota corn farmers in 2018.”

“The best way to spur market-based demand for farmers and improve conditions in rural America is to increase the production and use of renewable fuels. This is even more critical given the uncertainty created by trade wars and efforts to renegotiate existing trade pacts. EPA’s rule allowing U.S. retailers the ability to offer E15 to their customers all year opens the door for greater market access long-term, but the net effect of E15 year-round is still in the hole when it comes to ethanol demand through the RFS without restoring the waived gallons for small refineries.”

NBB Asks EPA To Increase Biodiesel Volumes in Annual RFS Rule

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's annual proposed Renewable Fuel Standard rule. NBB argues that EPA must increase advanced biofuel volumes for 2020 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2021 to accommodate domestic biodiesel and renewable diesel producers' proven ability to increase output. Further, the agency must properly account for small refinery exemptions -- which are actively rolling back biodiesel volumes -- and the 500 million gallons of biofuel unlawfully waived in 2016.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, said, "The RFS is intended to increase production and use of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel. EPA's proposal to flat-line both biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels -- combined with its small refinery exemption spree -- will roll back growth of our industry.

"EPA's small refinery exemptions are turning the RFS upside down and blocking our industry's progress. By handing out waivers to everyone that asks, EPA is destroying demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel and forcing U.S. producers to close up shop and lay off workers. EPA cannot continue to pretend it isn't harming biodiesel producers."

EPA's recent grant of 31 small refinery exemptions for 2018 destroyed demand for as much as 250 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel. Following the decision, one of the largest U.S. producers of biodiesel and renewable diesel closed three facilities, impacting more than 100 workers. NBB is asking EPA to restore the lost volumes in the 2020 rule and adjust its RVO formula to include a reasonable estimate of future small refinery exemptions.

Kovarik continued, "EPA must also restore 500 million gallons of biofuel demand that it unlawfully waived in 2016. The agency uses the same logic that the Court overturned in the 2016 case -- demand-side constraints -- to resist restoring the waived volumes. The agency must ensure the RFS volumes are made whole and that the renewable fuel industry can have confidence in the program's volumes."

NBB Disappointed in Court Ruling on 2018 BBD Volume

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) expressed disappointment in a Court ruling that upholds the Environmental Protection Agency's method for setting biomass-based diesel volumes in the 2017 RFS rules. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismissed NBB's petition as a policy disagreement with EPA's choice of biomass-based diesel volumes.

In the same decision, the Court rejects refiners' arguments that they are burdened by RIN prices and that EPA should change the point of obligation. The Court further rejected arguments that the 2017 RFS volumes were set too high and that EPA should have used additional waiver authority.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, said, "The Court's decision is disappointing. It fails to consider the obvious flaw in EPA's choice of biomass-based diesel volumes for 2018, which was set a year in advance of the other annual volumes. The Court found persuasive EPA's promise to allow growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel under the yet-to-be-set 2018 advanced biofuel. However, as we argued was the danger, EPA did not provide that growth -- it flatlined the advanced biofuel volume in 2018.

"Nevertheless, we see one bright spot in today's Court decision. The Court agreed with EPA's evidence that refiners are not harmed by the cost of RINs. The Court's ruling highlights the disparity between EPA's findings and its current practice of granting hardship exemptions to every refinery that asks. If the refiners aren't harmed by RIN costs, what exactly is the hardship they're facing?

"EPA's small refinery exemptions have caused severe economic hardships for biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, forcing some to close their doors and lay off workers. EPA must put the RFS program back on track."

Growth Energy Demands Immediate Action to Restore Biofuel Demand

Growth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore biofuel demand lost to oil industry handouts in comments on the agency’s final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO). Due by November 30, the RVOs will determine next year’s biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“The president made a ‘giant’ promise on ethanol, but rural communities cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “More biofuel plants are closing their doors with each passing week, and farm families have run out of options. The EPA must take immediate action to restore lost demand under the 2020 biofuel targets and repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions granted to oil giants like Exxon and Chevron.”

In written comments to the EPA, Growth Energy noted that the EPA’s secretive exemption process violates the letter and spirit of the RFS, which Congress adopted to promote growth in U.S. biofuel production.

“EPA’s proposal actively encourages blending less, not more biofuel,” wrote Growth Energy.  “By maintaining the status quo of an unaccounted number of exemptions, EPA would permit the oil industry to revert to its 2013 level of usage and still achieve compliance.  This is entirely illogical and unlawful. At this point, it is fair to say that EPA is destroying the RFS program. The overwhelming problem is EPA’s misguided and unlawful handling of compliance exemptions for small refineries. After initially allowing, through 2015, the number of exemptions granted each year to naturally dwindle, as intended, EPA has completely reversed course and suddenly begun granting dozens of exemptions covering billions of RINs, while providing no acceptable explanation as to why...”

“EPA’s radical escalation of small refinery exemptions, coupled with its refusal to require that exempt volumes be made up, have thwarted Congress’s intent and effectively exempted the RFS program out of existence,” added Growth Energy.

Farm Bureau Welcomes Proposed Biofuels Volumes, Warns Against Excessive Small Refinery Waivers

Though supportive of several aspects of EPA’s proposed volume standards for renewable fuels for 2020, the American Farm Bureau Federation cautioned that the agency’s failure to address its overuse of small refinery waivers diminishes the likelihood the volume targets will be met.

“EPA’s excessive use [of small refinery waivers] will undermine the goals that were set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence,” AFBF said in recent comments to EPA. The organization said EPA’s use of waivers “essentially solidifies nearly 4 billion gallons of lost demand.”

EPA’s proposed renewable fuels volume standards for 2020 would maintain the statutory requirement for conventional renewable fuel at 15 billion gallons, increase cellulosic fuels to 0.54 billion gallons, and bump up total advanced biofuels to 5.04 billion gallons. It would also increase biomass-based diesel to 2.43 billion gallons for 2021.

Farm Bureau touted the Renewable Fuel Standard’s many successes, including the growth it spurred within the agriculture sector as corn and soybean farmers expanded their crop production to meet demand for corn- and soybean-based biofuels.

Beyond the boost to rural America, the RFS2 is intended to give consumers more choices at the pump, reduce gas prices and enhance the country’s energy security.  In addition, the program is designed to spur investment in cleaner, domestic fuels and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate higher biofuel blends.

However, EPA’s use of small refinery waivers fails to send the signal that greater infrastructure investment is necessary and meaningful marketplace changes need to occur.  Each waiver erodes the Renewable Fuel Standard, cutting biofuels from the market and eliminating the incentive to offer lower-cost options at the pump.

Farm Bureau also emphasized that the petroleum industry’s unwillingness to offer higher blends of biofuels should not be taken as evidence that the RFS2 is unworkable.

“Rather, it is evidence that they are unwilling to adapt to policies enunciated by Congress. But making space in the market for alternative fuels that contribute to energy independence, environmental improvement, and economic development is exactly the point of RFS2.”

Tyson Foods to Buy 40% Stake in Foods Division of Grupo Vibra

Tyson Foods Inc. on Friday said it agreed to buy a 40% stake in the foods division of Grupo Vibra, a Brazilian producer and exporter of poultry products, for an undisclosed amount.

The Springdale, Ark., meat giant said the deal is part of its strategy to develop a more flexible supply chain compared with its previous model, which relied primarily on U.S. exports.

Tyson last year paid more than $2 billion to buy Keystone Foods, which has operations in China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia, from Marfrig Global Foods S.A. (MRFG3.BR).

The company in February agreed to buy the Thai and European operations of Brazil's BRF S.A. (BRFS3.BR) for $340 million.

Tyson said Grupo Vibra currently serves customers in more than 50 countries around the world.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Thursday August 29 Ag News

Northeast Nebraska Students Get an Up-Close Look at Agriculture at Ag Festival
More than 200 fifth graders from eight classrooms in Northeast Nebraska gained firsthand experience on where their food, fiber, and fuel come from by attending the third annual Growing Potential Agriculture Festival that was held in Wayne, Neb. on Aug. 29.

The annual festival is put together by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association, with 15 sponsors and volunteers coming together to help put on the successful event. The Wayne FFA Chapter also volunteered at the festival.

“Through this event, our organizations connect their common interest of agricultural literacy to offer a hands-on learning experience for Northeast Nebraska students. The aim is to create an understanding and knowledge of agriculture to prepare students to be informed citizens,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

Students made their way around learning stations that covered different facets of agriculture. At one station, the students discovered how livestock, such as beef cattle and chickens, rely on corn to produce the products they enjoy. Other activities included exploring the machinery farmers use to plant and harvest corn, how farmers care for the land, and the importance of ethanol to Nebraska’s economy.

“This is our third year coming to this festival and each year it gets better and better,” said Nicholas Kleve, fifth grade teacher at Louis and Clark Elementary in South Sioux City, “The kids are exposed to so many different agricultural career opportunities they have here in Nebraska from business to science. There’s something for everyone.”

Schools participated from towns across Northeast Nebraska including Wayne, Wisner-Pilger, Hartington, and South Sioux City.

“Every year the festival continues to grow in importance as students no longer live on farms,” said Mitch Schweers, president of the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “We are excited to provide an opportunity to showcase how students can connect with agriculture in our communities. We thank the agriculture groups who joined together to sponsor and volunteer at this event.”

Sponsors and volunteers include Channel, F&M Bank - Wayne, Farm Credit Services of America, Grossenberg Implement, Hefty Seed in Laurel, Hoegemeyer Hybrid, Michael Foods, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Pioneer, Sietec, Siouxland Ethanol, Wayne State Bank, Wayne FFA Chapter, and Wayne County Farm Bureau.


With recent announcements from North Dakota and Texas of cattle testing positive for anthrax, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging livestock owners to protect their animals by watching for this disease and by consulting with veterinarians about the use of vaccines.

Anthrax is a deadly disease caused by a spore-forming bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) that can remain alive, but dormant in the soil for years. The anthrax bacteria can contaminate soil and grass after periods of wet, cool weather, followed by hot, dry conditions. Animals can ingest the bacteria by consuming contaminated grass and hay, or by inhaling spores.

“Although anthrax is rare, it is not uncommon,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “A few cases are reported in the United States almost every year. Fortunately, there’s an effective vaccine available. Producers are encouraged to discuss preventative vaccinations with their veterinarians. If anthrax is suspected and confirmed by your veterinarian in your livestock, you need to vaccinate as quickly as possible.”

Acute fever, staggering, difficulty breathing and seizures, followed by rapid death (usually within 48 hours), are all common signs of anthrax in livestock. After exposure to the anthrax bacteria, it usually takes three to seven days for animals to show symptoms of the disease. Anthrax can affect cattle, deer, other livestock, dogs and even people.

“Farmers and ranchers make it a priority to protect the health and safety of their animals,” said Dr. Hughes. “If a laboratory confirms the presence of anthrax, NDA will work closely with the affected livestock owner to stop movement of animals and implement control measures on the property. Control measures include removing animals from the pasture where anthrax deaths are suspected so spores can’t infect the remaining animals, vaccinations, and properly disposing of dead animals and infected materials.”

Since anthrax also carries a risk to people, those handling the anthrax vaccine, infected animals and/or contaminated animal products should do so with care. Wash hands thoroughly, wear long sleeves and gloves, do not move carcasses as that could release bacteria into the air, and do not salvage hides, horns, antlers, skulls or any other tissue from dead animals.

If you suspect anthrax in your livestock, immediately notify your local veterinarian or NDA at 402-471-2351.

For more information about anthrax, visit: and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

Northeast faculty, staff support Nexus project

The faculty and staff of Northeast Community College are stepping up in a big way to support the Nexus campaign for new agriculture facilities on the Norfolk campus.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, announced this week that the staff and faculty have pledged $132,000 to the campaign. This follows last week’s announcement that the Acklie Charitable Foundation would provide a lead gift of $5 million for the $23 million project.

“Northeast employees have always been generous with their time, talent and treasure in support of the College,” Kruse said. “This financial investment in the Nexus campaign demonstrates both their commitment to the College, and the need they see for new facilities for the ag department.”

A kickoff event for faculty and staff was held earlier in the campaign, with food, games and information provided by the Nebraska Pork Producers, the Nebraska Cattlemen, the Cuming County Cattlemen, the Nebraska Corn Growers, the Nebraska Dairy Association, and Nebraska Farm Bureau. Several area businesses also supported the event, held in the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.

Long time ag faculty member Michael Lechner is one of those who has pledged his financial support for the Nexus project.

“The veterinary technology program is always at maximum enrollment,” Lechner said. “In my opinion the veterinary technology building located on the College farm is the least adequate building for teaching and learning at Northeast Community College. In general, the College farm has changed very little for decades.”

Mike Roeber, an animal science instructor at Northeast for the past 22 years, has also contributed to the Nexus campaign.

“This project will allow our faculty and staff to better prepare students for their post educational careers,” Roeber said.

Roeber was recently recognized as the top faculty member in the western region of the Association of Community College Trustees.

Nexus campaign co-chair Russ Vering said he was impressed by the support of the faculty and staff for the project. He said he once heard a speaker say that when the rate of change inside an organization is slower than the change outside, the end is near.

“Northeast staff and faculty have shown by their donations to Nexus that they are ready and preparing for rapid change,” Vering said.

Funding for the $23 million project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue.

For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse,, 402-844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.


As the University of Nebraska–Lincoln reflects on its 150-year legacy of improving the quality of life for Nebraska and beyond, it’s also celebrating its longstanding connections to the people of the land. For some, those connections predate the establishment of Nebraska’s land-grant university.

The term “land-grant university” dates back to 1857, when Rep. Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont proposed a bill to expand access to higher education beyond the elite to the working class. The idea was to allow states to sell or lease unclaimed U.S. land, using the earnings to start a university. Through the Morrill Act of 1862 and the Nebraska Enabling Act of 1864, nearly 135,000 acres of land in 13 counties helped establish the University of Nebraska. Through a new project called Land-Grant Connects, the university is honoring those who now own or live on that land, much of which is in northeast Nebraska.

“The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s roots run deep across this state,” said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension. “Through Land-Grant Connects, we’re exploring that history and celebrating those who live on the land that played such a key role in the beginning of our story, whom we continue to serve today.”

Today the land-grant mission is delivered through education, research and outreach through Nebraska Extension. On the Land-Grant Connects website,, a history of Nebraska’s land-grant process has been outlined. The site also features an interactive map of the 400 original land-grant parcels and stories highlighting the landowners. The university has also been publicly recognizing the landowners at county fairs throughout the summer.

Neva Winter’s family was recognized at the Madison County Fair in July. The family has lived on and worked the same land for the past 153 years — or six generations. Neva and her husband, Jim, bought the land — a few miles north of Norfolk, east of the North Fork Elkhorn River — from another family member in 1955 and farmed on it until Jim died in 2003. Their four daughters were raised in the farmhouse.

“The house was built in 1896, and then we added onto it about 42 years ago,” Winter said. “There’s over 40 (members) in my immediate family, so when we get together for family Christmas, it's too small now.”

The farm location was chosen after Godfried Winter and his sons Carl and Wilhelm traveled from Ixonia, Wisconsin. They were a part of a caravan of 53 wagons with 125 people that trekked to Madison County. When the settlers reached the North Fork Elkhorn River, they blindfolded the men and asked them to draw numbers from a hat to determine who would farm which lot. They each picked their number and went to work farming.

The farm ground is currently being rented, but Neva and her husband grew corn, soybeans and alfalfa on it. Corn and alfalfa were always grown on the land, Winter said, along with oats and wheat grown at various times.

Winter’s connection to the university runs deeper than the land. She was a 4-H leader for 15 years in sewing, helping her daughters and others make projects to bring to the Madison County Fair. Winter has also had multiple granddaughters attend the university and a grandson-in-law, Jim Brungardt, who was a member of the Husker football team.

Additional landowners will be recognized at the Nebraska State Fair on Sept. 1. An N150 pep rally at 2:30 p.m. will feature the Cornhusker Marching Band, Husker Spirit Squad, Herbie Husker and Lil’ Red, in addition to honoring those who live on the land originally granted to help establish the university.

To learn more about Land-Grant Connects, or if you are an owner of one of the land-grant parcels and want to share your story, visit

Public invited to fall listening sessions on university president search

Members of the NU community and public are encouraged to attend a series of listening sessions in early September to share their input on the search for the next president of the University of Nebraska.

The listening sessions, which will take place Sept. 3 through Sept. 9 across the four NU campuses, will be hosted by the Board of Regents together with the executive firm AGB Search. Feedback provided by faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the public at the sessions will help refine the criteria by which the Presidential Search Advisory Committee screens and evaluates candidates.

The fall sessions follow an initial series of listening sessions in June intended to gather input on the qualities and characteristics that NU stakeholders hope to see in the next president. Feedback from the June sessions, together with input from the 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, helped inform the development of a leadership profile now being used to attract candidates.

In a joint statement, Board of Regents Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln and Vice Chairman Jim Pillen of Columbus said: “We hope Nebraskans will take advantage of this opportunity to help guide what we believe is a critical leadership search for our university and state.

“The feedback we’ve received so far has had a significant impact. We’re grateful to the many stakeholders who have engaged up to this point, and we look forward to hearing from many more throughout the process.”

Details on the listening sessions follow. While sessions are generally targeted to specific stakeholder groups, all sessions are open to all members of the University of Nebraska community and public.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tuesday, Sept. 3, Nebraska Union Auditorium, 1400 R St.
    8 to 9 a.m.: Open session
    9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Student session with UNL Regent Emily Johnson
    11 a.m. to Noon: Staff/administrator session
    12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Alumni/community session
    2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNL Faculty Senate meeting

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Tuesday, Sept. 3, Truhlsen Campus Events Center, 619 S. 42nd St.
    9 to 10 a.m.: Alumni/community session
    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Staff/administrator session
    Noon to 1 p.m.: Student session with UNMC Regent Keith Ozanne
    1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Open session
Monday, Sept. 9, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center Conference Room, ground level
    5 to 6 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNMC Faculty Senate meeting

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Wednesday, Sept. 4, College of Public Affairs and Community Service Collaboration Space, Rooms 132 and 132D, 6320 Maverick Plaza
    9 to 10 a.m.: Open session
    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Staff/administrator session
    Noon to 1 p.m.: Student session with UNO Regent Aya Yousuf
    2 to 3 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNO Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting
    3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Alumni/community session

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Thursday, Sept. 5, Nebraskan Student Union, Antelope Room, 1013 W. 27th St.
    7 to 8 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNK Faculty Senate meeting
Friday, Sept. 6, Nebraskan Student Union, Room Ponderosa A, 1013 W. 27th St.
    9 to 10 a.m.: Open session
    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Staff/administrator session
    Noon to 1 p.m.: Student session
    1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Alumni/community session

Individuals who are unable to attend any of the listening sessions are invited to submit feedback to

The next president will succeed Interim President Susan Fritz, who was formally installed on Friday following the departure of President Emeritus Hank Bounds.

2019 NeFU Fall District Meetings Schedule

District 6 Fall Meeting:  Native Winery 32, 789 7th Road, West Point, NE 68788
9 miles west of West Point, 1 mile north on 7th Road
Monday, September 16, 2019.
6:00-7:00 pm wine tasting with cheese & meat plates with meeting to follow.
·         Graham Christensen: District 6 Director’s Report including Costco latest bad news financing efforts, Regenerative Ag, & Citizen Scientist Water Quality Testing
·         Julie Hindmarsh & Laura Thomas: NFU Fly-In Report
·         NeFU President John Hansen:  Report on state and national issues, & Lancaster County CAFO Task Force
 NeFU District 6 Business:
·         Election of officers: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer
·         Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention—elected by NeFU convention delegates
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.
For more information, call Paul Poppe (402) 380-4508.

District 7 Fall Meeting: Perkins Restaurant, 1229 West Omaha Avenue, Norfolk
Thursday, September 19, 2019. 6:00 pm Supper on your own with meeting to follow.
(Please attend this meeting so you can help with ideas to host the state convention.)
·         Martin Kleinschmit: District 7 Director’s Last Report (Martin is retiring)
·         Art & Helen Tanderup:  NFU Fly-in report
·         NeFU President John Hansen:  Report on state and national issues.
NeFU District 7 Business:
·         Nominations for Dist. 7 Director (3 year term elected by #7 delegates at state convention)
·         Election of officers: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer
·         Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention—elected by NeFU convention delegates
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.
For more info, call Art Tanderup (402) 278-0942 or (402) 887-1396.

District 5 Fall Meeting:  The Eatery, 2548 S 48th St, Lincoln, NE 68506
Monday, September 23, 2019.  6:00 pm supper on your own with meeting to follow
·          Ben Gotschall: District 5 Director’s Report
·         Camdyn Kavan: NFU Fly-In Report
·         NeFU President John Hansen: Report on state and national issues and Lancaster County CAFO Task Force.
NeFU District 5 Business:
·         Election of officers: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer
·         Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention—elected by NeFU convention delegates
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.
For more information, call Ben Gotschall (402) 705-8679.

Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention - Dec '19
·         NeFU Policy Development Day, Thursday, December 5, 2019
·         NeFU State Convention:  Friday-Saturday, December 6-7, 2019  
·         Divots Conference Center, 4200 West Norfolk Avenue, Norfolk, NE 68701
·         (402) 379-3833 Reservations for Norfolk Lodge & Suites (connected to Divots)

National Farmers Union Convention - March '20
·         NFU Convention, March 1-3, 2020   The Hyatt Regency, Savanah, GA
·         (912) 238-1234 for Reservations, 2 W. Bay Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401

Fischer on USDA Investigation into Market Manipulation Following Tyson Holcomb Plant Fire

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA’s antitrust enforcement division would examine whether market manipulation occurred following a fire earlier this month at a Tyson beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas:

“After this devastating fire occurred, I called for commodity market oversight to help ensure market participants are not taking advantage of our ag producers. I am pleased to see that Secretary Perdue will be taking a thorough look at potential anti-competitive behavior to protect Nebraskans. It’s the right thing to do.”

Secretary Perdue directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to investigate collusion or other unfair practices pertaining to beef pricing margins following the fire. In recent weeks, profit margins for producers have shrunk as prices paid for live cattle have fallen while beef prices have remained high.

The fire occurred on August 9 at a Tyson Foods plant, which operated at approximately 6,000 head/day or 375 head/hour. Following the fire, Senator Fischer wrote letters to Chairman Heath Tarbert of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Administrator Raymond P. Martinez of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, calling for commodity market oversight and flexibility for livestock haulers.

R-CALF USA Statement Regarding USDA Investigation of Tyson Fire Aftermath

Today, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement regarding Wednesday's announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it would investigate beef pricing margins in the aftermath of the August 9 fire that shut down the Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

"Like others in the industry, R-CALF USA has been very concerned by the packers' market activity following the fire at Tyson's Holcomb, Kan. plant, and the impact that activity has had on cattle producers across the country. It therefore welcomes the USDA's announcement that it is investigating the packers' conduct in the aftermath of the fire. While the industry awaits the outcome of that investigation, R-CALF USA will continue to fight alongside producers to ensure a competitive American cattle market.

"In April, R-CALF USA and four cattle-feeding ranchers from Iowa, Neb., Kan., and Wyo. filed a historic lawsuit alleging the four largest beef packers, Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef/Marfrig violated U.S. antitrust laws, the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, and the Commodity Exchange Act to unlawfully depress prices paid to American cattle producers since January 2015.

"That case is pending before the federal district court in Minnesota."

U.S. Pork Industry Receives USDA Grant to Open ASF Dialogue in Asia

The global outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), a disease affecting only pigs with no human health or food safety risks, is growing, with new cases appearing throughout Southeast Asia and China. While there are no reported cases of ASF in the U.S., a grant recently awarded to the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), with active support from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), aims to start a dialogue between the two regions, sharing veterinary knowledge and ways to prevent the disease from further spreading.

The approximately $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Animal Service division will fund the multi-phase project, helping to build strategic partnerships, while increasing trade of U.S. pork to the region. The work will include swine health field projects, including collection and analysis of disease samples, which are valuable data for all participants and U.S. pork producers.

"Pork production is a global business and working with industry representatives from Vietnam on these projects will be mutually beneficial for all," said SHIC Executive Director Paul Sundberg, DVM, PhD, DACVPM. "The Swine Health Information Center looks forward to fulfilling the responsibilities of this grant from USDA and in the process deliver value to U.S. producers for the benefit of national herd health."

"NPPC, in partnership with SHIC, National Pork Board (NPB), American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), and USDA, is committed to reducing the risk of the U.S. swine herd contracting foreign animal diseases, including ASF. With ASF spreading throughout Asia, this project will represent an important tool to further open both communication and markets between our regions," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer in Lillington, N.C.

Under the first phase of the project, the groups will identify and meet with key stakeholders in Vietnam. In phase two, the groups will train the Vietnamese veterinary workforce on ASF prevention and control, helping to build local veterinary capacity. Concurrently in the final phase, ASF-related field projects will be implemented, including those helping to inform the U.S. pork industry about effective ASF preparedness and response.

Information the projects will gain include:
    Identifying pathways for viral entry on farms
    Validating use of swine oral fluids to confirm farm or region positive or negative status
    Exploring the potential to isolate the virus on one area of a farm to enable other areas to provide pigs free of ASF contamination
    Validating cleaning and disinfecting procedures so farms may be repopulated as soon as it is safe
    Assessing cross-border risks and risk management of transboundary swine diseases

NPPC and SHIC are working closely with the USDA and the other industry organizations to first prevent ASF from entering the U.S. swine herd and to be prepared to respond should an outbreak occur. The industry is actively identifying and prioritizing critical research needs and working in collaboration with state and federal animal health officials to make sure that, at a national level, all appropriate biosecurity measures are being implemented.

Study: No One Cares About Restaurants' Stances on Animal Welfare

Businesses are increasingly embracing social causes as a way to promote brand trust among consumers while also attempting to better society. Chipotle, for example, made headlines when it released "Back to the Start," an advertisement promoting more humane food production. Yet the restaurant industry, which is often criticized due to concerns about animal welfare and employee wages, has otherwise been slow to capitalize on this marketing trend.

Now, a new study from the University of Missouri suggests this type of marketing is ineffective for restaurants using animal welfare as a marketing tool.

"Restaurants have faced a lot of criticism for how they source their food, and it is logical to think that social cause marketing could mitigate that criticism the way it has for issues in other industries," said Dae-Young Kim, lead author on the study and an associate professor of hospitality management in MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "We found that this kind of marketing does improve trust in restaurants on a variety of issues when the ads include engaging visuals, but when it comes to animal welfare, it doesn't matter how the message is delivered. Customers don't care."

Along with Sung-Bum Kim, an assistant professor at Inha University in South Korea who worked on the study while earning a doctorate at MU, his research team created marketing messages from fictional restaurants to investigate how such messages can impact levels of consumer trust and corporate reputation. Each message had two versions -- text only and text with visual elements such as illustrations and certification seals -- and each embraced one of four social causes: health, human services, environmental concern and animal welfare. Researchers then surveyed 433 participants about their reactions to the ads.

Unsurprisingly for the researchers, the majority of causes elicited improved trust and reputation for the restaurant when presented in a visually engaging message, as opposed to a generic message with plain text. But for the cause of animal welfare, consumer trust remained unchanged regardless of the type of message, indicating apathy on the part of customers.

"We have seen that visually appealing cause marketing works in a variety of contexts across many different industries," Dae-Young Kim said. "So when we see this marketing fall flat for restaurants addressing animal welfare, it tells us that the style of message isn't the problem. People are simply ignoring restaurants when they discuss that particular cause."

Kim said the problem is probably not that people don't care about animal welfare. One possible explanation is that not enough restaurants have taken a stand regarding animal welfare for customers to pay attention. Conversely, people might be more receptive to an animal welfare message in a pet food advertisement because pet food companies have been incorporating that message into their marketing for several years. In that case, more marketing from restaurants addressing animal welfare could prompt more customers to start listening, Kim said.

The study, "Building corporate reputation, overcoming consumer skepticism, and establishing trust: choosing the right message types and social causes in the restaurant industry," was published in Service Business. Kathleen Jeehyae Kim also contributed to the study while earning her doctorate at MU.

Japanese Regulators Make Informed Decisions About U.S. Corn

Face-to-face conversations and seeing U.S. corn farms, elevators and export facilities firsthand will help a team of Japanese government regulators make more informed decisions and facilitate an uninhibited flow of U.S. corn and co-products from the United States to one of its largest and most loyal customers.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) annually schedules teams of Japanese regulators involved in the food, feed and environmental approvals of biotech corn events to travel to the United States for just this purpose. While these regulators may have limited knowledge of the U.S. corn value chain, their recommendations or decisions could potentially slow down entire approval or regulatory processes.

“These meetings provided Japanese regulators with information on the biotech corn traits and products in the pipeline for entry into the Japanese regulatory system in the near future,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan, who accompanied the team. “Discussions with the U.S. grain value chain also demonstrate how Japanese regulatory approvals and regulations need to be able to work with the real world of how U.S. corn is produced, transported and exported.”

This year’s team traveled to Washington, DC, Missouri and Louisiana in August to meet with U.S. government regulators, biotech seed companies and biotech industry organizations as well as U.S. corn farmers and agribusinesses involved in the production, distribution and exports of U.S. corn to Japan.

“For most of the participants, this was their first time to see a corn field or a grain elevator, even though they work on biotech corn safety dossiers on a daily basis,” Hamamoto said. “These in-person visits will help these team members make better decisions based on what they heard about grain production and how U.S. farmers and grain handlers work to maintain and improve grain quality.”

The Japanese regulators also learned what U.S. regulators and industry representatives are doing to address unintentional low level presence of unapproved events in commercial corn supply. While major issues in this area are uncommon, these discussions help keep corn trade between the United States and Japan open and functioning.

Both the United States and Japan have science-based and well-functioning regulating systems related to biotech corn, and both countries are also in the process of evaluating how to regulate plant breeding innovations, including gene-edited products. Ministries within the Japanese government signaled earlier this year that they will not consider organisms produced using gene editing as genetic modification, providing reassurance for continued market access for U.S. farmers to one of their largest international markets.

Japan currently ranks as the second largest market for U.S. corn, purchasing more than 12 million metric tons (472 million bushels) thus far in 2018/2019 (September 2018-June 2019) - a 21 percent jump year-over-year. Japan has also increased purchases of U.S. DDGS by 11 percent this marketing year, ranking as the ninth largest buyer at 418,000 tons. Imports of 6.46 million gallons of U.S. ethanol have also risen by 38 percent year-over-year and the first shipment of ETBE produced with U.S. corn-based ethanol arrived in Japan in July. These strong export sales further underpin the importance of continued conversations between the Japanese government and end-users and the U.S. government, farmers and agribusinesses.

Cutting-edge trait technology platform launching with 2020 Golden Harvest soybean lineup

Golden Harvest is further expanding its trait technology platform offerings with the addition of LibertyLink® GT27™ available for 2020 planting. The LibertyLink GT27 soybean technology, which offers glyphosate and Liberty® herbicide tolerance, will be offered in 20 of the 66 new Golden Harvest® soybean varieties.

Golden Harvest also offers farmers access to Enlist E3™ soybeans and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® in the 2020 lineup. The Enlist E3™ soybean trait was approved earlier this year for broad 2020 commercial planting, and the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® trait remains at the forefront of weed control technology.

"Golden Harvest is committed to providing farmers the highest-yielding genetics along with their choice of the industry's leading trait technologies," said Travis Kriegshauser, strategic marketing manager, Golden Harvest soybeans. "We realize farmers require products tailored for their unique field challenges, so we equip them with defensive and offensive trait options to maximize stable yield performance."

The 66 new Golden Harvest varieties range in relative maturity from 0.06 to 5.1 and provide advanced trait technology for maximum soybean yield potential.
    31 varieties include the new Enlist E3 trait technology with 3 modes of action, offering tolerance to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate.
        4 offer Sulfonyl-Urea Tolerant Soybeans (STS®) herbicide tolerance and may increase tolerance to ALS-inhibitors, allowing higher application rates on select herbicides.
    20 varieties include the new LibertyLink GT27 trait technology.
        2 offer STS herbicide tolerance.
    15 varieties include Roundup Ready 2 Xtend trait technology.
        4 offer STS herbicide tolerance.

The growing breadth and quality of the Golden Harvest seed portfolio is a direct result of the incremental $400 million investment announced in 2018.

"Since our proprietary soybean breeding program is the longest-running in the U.S. with 50 years of extensive soybean breeding, field testing and disease screening, it's no surprise our soybeans are the best in the business," said Kriegshauser. "Golden Harvest not only offers farmers the highest-yielding genetics on the market today, but we are also the industry's leading provider of herbicide trait choice."

This unmatched combination of genetics and traits enabled Golden Harvest varieties to again capture the spotlight in 2018 Farmers' Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) trials. Third-party data, including FIRST trials, validates seed company trials and reveals the top performers across seed brands. Golden Harvest soybeans had 17 first place results, 41 Top 3 finishes and 131 Top 10 varieties in the 2018 FIRST trials.

Largest Operating Hemp Processing Facility in the US... Now Open for Business

Paragon Processing ― a state-of-the-art facility offering total seed-to-shelf solutions for industrial-scale hemp processing, manufacturing and storage, as well as private- and white-label goods ― is pleased to announce it is now open for business. The high-security facility, stationed on a 38-acre property, is located 140 miles south of Denver.


At a staggering 250,000 square feet, it is the largest hemp processing facility currently operating in the U.S. It can store up to 50 million pounds of hemp biomass, and hosts 13 dock-high loading positions, along with housing Superior Flow-branded proprietary processing equipment.

Paragon Processing offers full-scale processing for up to 1 million pounds of hemp biomass per month, with a target to expand to 2 million pounds with the arrival of the upcoming 2019 fall harvest season, which runs from September through November.

"We're pleased to offer an array of turnkey services, including extraction, distillation, isolation, THC-free processing, sales, storage and third-party laboratory testing," says Paragon Processing Co-President Matt Evans. "It is important to our mission to provide a one-stop-shop partnership for clients, whether they are farmers seeking assistance, new companies testing an idea or an established business seeking to strengthen its production practices and/or product lines."

Paragon Processing's climate-controlled facility minimizes the risks associated with external weather conditions and temperature shifts, providing solutions for all farmers' needs. Additionally, by offering the proper storage conditions and ideal cooler temperatures, the threat of mold is entirely eliminated. Historically, the property was both a former Columbia House Records space and a Kroger distribution center, which provided secure, safe storage with fully certified fire sprinkler systems already in place.


Understanding the goals of companies to build out their brands and add value to existing products, Paragon Processing acts as the purveyor of industrial hemp solutions and seamless integration to relieve supply chain disruption, allowing companies to benefit from this one-stop operation.

"Paragon Processing is a comprehensive facility for industrial-scale hemp," says Evans. "With the legalization of the 2018 Farm Bill, the production and interstate transfer of hemp has increased the demand for both hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products, and we aim to propel the industrial hemp manufacturing efforts in order to confidently answer this call."

Paragon Processing's practices are centric to establishing trust and transparency in the hemp processing industry, while assisting farmers with developing the best practices, recording accurate genetics-related data and mapping full traceability of hemp biomass. On the business spectrum, future and current company owners alike, can take advantage of additional services. For the clients' convenience, a third-party accredited laboratory is on site, complete with Certificate of Analysis (COA) assignments.

Post-harvest farm support is also a core value of Paragon Processing, where the team provides assistance surrounding the manufacturing of hemp-derived products, with no upfront or monthly costs required. From industrialized harvests, Paragon Processing can process hemp biomass into winterized crude and produce CBD distillate, THC-free distillate, CBD isolate, CBG, CBN and CBD-infused products. Paragon Processing prides itself on utilizing the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art techniques, including cryo-ethanol extraction and three-stage molecular distillation, where 300 liters per hour of winterized crude can be successfully processed, into full spectrum distillate oil.

After it leaves Paragon Processing, product then makes its way to a white-label distribution center, located in Colorado Springs. The 45,000-square-foot partner facility churns out voluminous hemp-derived products per day, from 1 million gummies to 10,000 tinctures, along with wellness products, like lip balm and sunscreen.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, Paragon Processing aims to extend its tried-and-true approach to both farmers and business owners nationwide, along with expanding to fill 250 internal job positions by the end of 2019. Paragon Processing will be available nationwide to provide its services from the farm to end users, as the surge of industrialized hemp farming continues.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wednesday August 28 Ag News

Frogeye Leaf Spot in Northeast Nebraska
Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Moderate to severe frogeye leaf spot is being reported on soybean in northeast Nebraska and may be occurring in other areas of the state, especially on susceptible varieties. Scouting is advised to determine incidence and severity before making a treatment decision.

Although QoI (formerly called strobilurin) fungicides have historically been most effective in managing the disease, pathogen resistance to products in this class has been widely documented in other states, including four counties each in South Dakota and Iowa.

We suspect pathogen resistance to QoI in at least two Nebraska fields and are currently testing samples. When spraying for frogeye leaf spot, we recommend a product with two or more active ingredients from multiple fungicide classes.

If you believe a fungicide application did not slow the spread of this disease, please contact the author via email at or via Twitter at @tjcksn so a sample can be tested for resistance. Please collect a gallon food storage bag of symptomatic leaves prior to an additional fungicide application, refrigerate the sample, and contact Jackson-Ziems so it can be tested.

Samples also can be sent to the university's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln. Sample forms, the clinic's mailing address, and collection instructions can be found on the site.

Frogeye leaf spot infection can occur at any stage of soybean development, but most often occurs after flowering and is typically in the upper canopy. Initial symptoms are small, dark spots on the leaves. Spots eventually enlarge to a diameter of about ¼ inch and the centers of the lesions become gray to brown and have a reddish-purple margin. Individual leaf spots can coalesce to create irregular patterns of blighting on the leaf.

Ag Sack Lunch Program For State’s Fourth-graders Kicks Off Tenth Year.

The popular Ag Sack Lunch program, designed to increase agricultural awareness among Nebraska young people and their families, returns for its tenth school year.

The program provides a free lunch and an ag-focused learning experience to fourth-graders who come to Lincoln each year to tour the State Capitol Building as part of their educational curriculum.  While they eat their lunches, students hear a presentation about the important role agriculture plays in Nebraska’s economy, as well as the crops and livestock species that are raised in the state.

The sack lunches consist of Nebraska-produced food items to help students appreciate where their food comes from.  They also receive card games called “Crazy Soybean” and “Old Corn Maid,” which include ag facts, to take home to play with their families and friends.

Since the first Ag Sack Lunch program during the 2010-2011 school year, over 45,000 students have participated in the event. Last year the program provided 5,250 lunches.

The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB), the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA), the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB), Nebraska Beef Council (NBC), and Midwest Dairy. 

“Over the last nine years, the Ag Sack Lunch Program has been successful in helping our fourth-graders understand where their food comes from and how Nebraska’s farm production methods help protect the environment while ensuring food safety and promoting animal health,” says Victor Bohuslavsky, NSB executive director. “Participating teachers continue to tell us how their students learn so much from the presentations.”

Pam Schrader, teacher at Lincoln Christian School, says she appreciates that the sponsoring groups continue to offer the Ag Sack Lunch program. “It is a fun way for the kids to receive ag information and relate it to their lunch. It is a really good program and very well worth our time,” she said.

Dianne L’Heureux, teacher at High Plains Community School, agreed. “I am impressed with the way the student presenters control the audience and engage them while they are eating. The students are hungry and enjoy the lunch but they start appreciating where the lunch comes from. So many of the students are not connected to farms anymore they do not think where this food is produced.” 

Ag Sack Lunch invitations have been sent to fourth-grade teachers at 540 elementary schools in 44 eastern Nebraska counties. Reservations for the 2019-2020 school year are limited to 5,250 students on a first-come, first-served basis. These spots fill up quickly, so teachers are urged to sign up as soon as possible—even if their state capitol tour dates have not been finalized yet. Reservations can be placed online at

NE Ext at HHD to Highlight Strategies for Staying Strong

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) and Nebraska Extension are pleased to invite farmers and their families to visit their exhibit at the 2019 Husker Harvest Days (HHD) Agriculture Show September 9-11 near Grand Island. The IANR Exhibit is in the Big Red Building, located on Eighth Street, just east of Central Avenue.

As a part of the University of Nebraska’s 150th anniversary celebration, the exhibits will highlight agricultural innovations that are strengthening Nebraska’s agricultural economy. In addition, given current challenges in agriculture, exhibits will emphasize resiliency and strategies for staying strong. The exhibit building will spotlight nine topics in three areas: farm production, farm personal life, and developing personal skills.

These topics are more diverse than recent HHD shows and include more hands-on experiences. Farmers and their families are encouraged to come with their questions and bring crop and pest samples for identification.

Presentations, enhanced by a wall of video screens featuring further information, will be made every half hour in the university building. Each presentation will be complemented with information about preparing for and recovering from economic or weather-related challenges. The presentations will be followed by an opportunity for questions and more in-depth conversations with the presenter.

Topics include:

Cover Crops – Advantages of incorporating cover crops into farm systems, how to get started, and how to customize your cover crop strategy. Cover crops have been shown to improve farm efficiency and profits by suppressing weeds, increasing the health of soil organisms, reducing soil erosion, and providing forage for livestock.

Maximizing the Efficiency of Center Pivot Irrigation — Information on operating irrigation systems at the proper water pressure and how leakage in the system can affect pressure and uniformity. Repair of irrigation systems following weather-related damage also will be covered.

Keys to Calving Success — A life-size model cow will enhance conversations on cow condition and calving. Presentations will stress the importance of healthy cows, critical stages in the calving process, and timeliness in calf consumption of colostrum. The team will also review how livestock producers can help their herd recover from extreme weather events.

Understanding Risk Management Strategies — Important for farm success, these strategies include knowledge of government farm programs, use of crop insurance, use of farm budgets, and how best to market grain and animals. Presenters will stress the importance of gathering and using good data to make sound decisions and how to use available economic tools to improve profit.

Developing Weather Ready Farms — As many Nebraskans learned this spring, it is critical to be prepared for adverse weather. This program will highlight creation of emergency plans, use of technology in the planning process, and where to find relief after a disaster.

Staying Nebraska Strong — Living through a disaster can be stressful. Learn how to help your farm family stay resilient and mentally, physically, and emotionally strong. Learn about the many wellness resources available throughout the state and how to access them.  

Sustainable And Resilient Landscapes — Maintaining a comfortable living environment is one strategy to reduce stress. The climate of the Great Plains can make it difficult to grow trees, lawns, and gardens that enhance our homes. Learn about creating sustainable and resilient landscapes that reflect local needs. Presenters will also discuss how to respond when extreme weather damages landscape plants.

Lifelong Education and Career Opportunities in Agriculture and Natural Resources —Teams from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture will provide information about their programs and today’s careers. The 4-H College Readiness Team will provide, via virtual reality technology, a look at energy-related careers for production agriculture and other agriculture careers. The director of the Nebraska LEAD program will provide information about CASNR’s adult agriculture leadership program that provides experiences to help farmers gain the skills necessary to respond to the challenges facing agriculture in Nebraska.

It is the sincere wish of Nebraska Extension and the IANR faculty that Nebraska farmers and their families are successful in their endeavors. It is through this wish that we hope to have great conversations about creating Strategies for Staying Strong with a large number of farmers who visit the HHD Show.

Nebraska to Receive $8.5 Million for Bridge Replacement

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and the chairman of the Transportation and Safety Subcommittee, Tuesday announced that the Nebraska Department of Transportation will receive a Competitive Highway Bridge Program grant of $8.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) to replace seven bridges in northeast Nebraska:

"I am proud to announce that northeast Nebraska will benefit from this significant grant. Nebraskans rely on these bridges every day, but too many are in poor shape. Replacing these bridges is crucial to safely connecting our families, local economies, and communities."

The seven bridges are located on three rural state highways near Norfolk. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.

The FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act included $225 million to be awarded by the DoT for a competitive highway bridge program. Eligible applicants are states with a population density of fewer than 100 individuals per square mile, and the funds must be used for bridges on public roads. Nebraska will use this grant to benefit its infrastructure around Norfolk by bundling what would normally be four separate bridge replacement projects into a single and more efficient project.

Secretary Perdue Statement on Beef Processing Facility in Holcomb, Kansas

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan.:

“As part of our continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan., I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action. USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry.

I have spent this summer visiting with cattle ranchers across the country, and I know this is a difficult time for the industry as a whole. USDA is committed to ensuring support is available to ranchers who work hard to the feed the United States and the world.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau Thanks USDA for Continued Efforts to Examine Impact of Holcomb Beef Plant Fire

“Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) would like to thank United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue for his recent announcement of a Packers and Stockyards investigation to examine beef pricing margins following the fire and subsequent shutdown of the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. USDA’s efforts to fully investigate the situation is a positive development in this unfortunate situation,” NEFB president Steve Nelson said.

NEFB sent a letter Aug. 22 to USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach urging USDA to fully “investigate monitor and address concerns steaming from the fire.” NEFB asked the agency to shift additional USDA regulatory staff to other plants as needed and to utilize the Packers and Stockyards Division to monitor any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice in the procurement of livestock

“We are grateful USDA is doing their due diligence in opening this investigation. NEFB would strongly encourage USDA to prosecute any anti-competitive activities if they are found.”

ICA supports Packers and Stockyards Investigation

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association applauds the decision by USDA to utilize its authority via the Packers and Stockyards Division to investigate price changes experienced on both the boxed beef and live cattle side of the cattle market in the weeks following the Tyson Holcomb, KS plant fire on August 9th. 

 As a grassroots organization, ICA takes the input of our members very seriously. Over the past two weeks, cattle producers have expressed concern that changes in the live cattle and boxed beef markets since the fire are unjustified. ICA has been working on behalf of members across the state to provide market certainty via monitoring and fully supports an investigation.

“We recognize that there are market fundamentals at play,” says David Trowbridge, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association President, “But given the extreme effect the current market conditions are having on Iowa’s cattle industry, we believe it is in our members’ best interests to eliminate any doubts regarding the market reaction.”

The Packers and Stockyards Act was signed by President Harding in 1921 to address concerns about anticompetitive activities among meat packers. The Act has been updated by Congress many times since then. Section 202 of the Act states that it is unlawful for packers to “Engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice or device,” or “[E]ngage in any course of business or do any act for the purpose or with the effect of manipulating or controlling prices, or of creating a monopoly in the acquisition of, buying, selling, or dealing in, any article, or of restraining commerce”.

NCBA Statement on Secretary Sonny Perdue’s Call For Investigation Into Cattle Markets Following Kansas Fire

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's call for an investigation into cattle markets following the recent fire at a Tyson beef processing facility in Kansas.

"Today’s announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue demonstrates the government’s understanding of the extreme strain placed on the cattle industry by the plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas.

"We encourage USDA to look at all aspects of the beef supply chain and to utilize internal and external expertise in this investigation. We believe it adds transparency that will help build confidence in the markets among cattlemen and women."    

Benefits of Adding CRP Acres to Grazing Rotation is Pasture Walk Focus

Iowa cattlemen often face limited forage availability when it comes to extending the grazing season. Now, producers may have the option to add grazing Conservation Reserve Program acres to their grazing rotation in the spring and again in late summer.

cow eating CRP grasses.Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Crawford County Natural Resources Conservation Service, Crawford County Cattlemen and Iowa Beef Center are organizing a Crawford County pasture walk to help increase awareness of the CRP Routine Grazing program and the benefits it can have for cattle, the land and wildlife. 

The pasture walk Sept. 11 will be hosted by Joe White, Lyle Rossiter and Clint Von Glan who are partnering to graze CRP acres enrolled in the program. They have seen benefits from the partnership and will share their experiences during the event. Location is 1444 390th St., Westside.

The CRP Routine Grazing Program allows for haying or grazing eligible acres every other year in Iowa at a 25% reduction in payment. Pat Corey with Crawford County NRCS office will share program requirements and offer some best management practices for such land.

Responsibly managing grazing has been shown to diversify plant species, help control weed pressure and provide benefits to wildlife habitat in the CRP acres. In addition, it supplies an alternative forage for the cow herd.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists presenting at the event include extension wildlife specialist Adam Janke who will lead discussions on how successful grazing can positively impact wildlife habitat, and Erika Lundy, extension beef specialist. Lundy said other topics include a temporary fencing demonstration and incorporations of cover crops for food plots and livestock grazing. 

A meal at 6 p.m. will be followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. The meeting and meal are provided at no cost thanks to sponsors, but those interested are asked to RSVP to either the Crawford County Extension office at 712-263-4697 or by emailing Lundy at

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/23/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 23, ethanol production averaged 1.038 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.60 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 15,000 b/d (1.4%) from the previous week. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 0.2% to 1.037 million b/d after seven weeks of consecutive declines. This is equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.90 billion gallons.

In contrast, ethanol stocks shrank 1.6% to an eight-week low of 23.0 million barrels. Stocks declined sharply in the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5) but increased across all other regions.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 9,000 b/d, or 2.65 million gallons for the week. This is the second time this month that imports were logged and the fifth for the year. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied vaulted 2.8% to 9.900 million b/d (415.8 million gallons per day, or 151.77 bg annualized), the second-largest volume on record. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol eased 0.6% to 955,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.64 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to a 16-week low of 10.48%.

Prices for All Fertilizers Move Lower for Second Time in Two Weeks

Large decreases in average retail fertilizer prices were seen during the third week of August 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. This marks the second time in a couple of years that prices have declined in unison, this time in back-to-back updates.

Prices for all eight of the major fertilizer were lower from the prior month, including six fertilizer prices that dropped by double-digit amounts.

Leading the way lower were anhydrous and MAP, down 9% and 7% from last month, respectively. Anhydrous had an average price of $530 per ton while MAP had a price of $495 per ton.

Prices for UAN32 and urea both were down significantly, by 9% and 4%, respectively from one month ago. UAN32 came in at $291 per ton and urea at $413 a ton. UAN28 reported a 6% price drop to $257. The price of 10-34-0 fell by 2% to $475 per ton.

Smaller price drops were reported in potash and DAP. The average price of potash fell from $394 to $387 per ton from last month, while DAP showed the smallest increase of all eight fertilizers dropping from $495 to $491 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.45/lb.N, anhydrous $0.32/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

USDA releases major study on strategic value of inland waterways to U.S. agriculture and U.S. economy

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for releasing a significant new study that quantifies the cost-savings and competitive advantages that would accrue from investing in long-delayed improvements to inland waterways locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River system.

The study, entitled, Importance of Inland Waterways to U.S. Agriculture, addresses the critical connection between the inland waterways and the competitiveness of American agriculture in global markets.  U.S. farmers and agribusinesses, as well as the overall U.S. economy and balance of trade, depend upon and benefit from the inland waterways and its infrastructure, which provide the safest, lowest-cost and most environmentally sustainable and fuel-efficient way to move grain and other agricultural products. 

The study was unveiled this afternoon at a Town Hall Meeting conducted at Mel Price Locks and Dam (St. Louis) by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, accompanied by Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) R.D. James.  The study was produced for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service by Informa Economics.

Highlights of the study include:
•    U.S. farmers enjoy a competitive advantage in global export markets in large part because of the nation’s robust, resilient transportation and infrastructure network that moves corn and soybeans, the nation’s highest yielding crops.

•    Because of its efficiencies and lower costs, the inland waterways system saves between $7 billion to $9 billion annually over the cost of shipping by other modes. These values are based on all goods currently being moved on the water compared to the same volume transported by rail. 

•    Every dollar of waterways activity output results in $1.89 in additional U.S. economic activity directly related to the waterways.  

•    Compared to the status quo, increasing investment in the inland waterways system by $6.3 billion over a 10-year period (through 2029) and $400 million per year thereafter through 2045 cumulatively would grow the waterways' contribution to U.S. gross domestic product by 20 percent (to $64 billion) and increase waterways-related employment by 19 percent - to 472,000 jobs. The study says this option would more than offset the cost of completing all the proposed projects, and would increase the market value of U.S. corn and soybeans by $39 billion. Conversely, reduced investment would decrease the market value of those commodities by $58 billion, the study says.

•    The inland waterways’ infrastructure is aging and needs major rehabilitation and construction to restore its full capability, forestall major disruptions and provide opportunities for growth.  Most locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River System have far exceeded their projected 50-year lifespan. Delays can cost operators and shippers more than $44 million annually.  For corn, delays on the Mississippi River could have up to a $0.24 per bushel negative impact.

•    While the United States currently has a $5.35 per metric ton advantage over Brazil when shipping soybeans on the inland waterways system (from Davenport, Iowa, to Shanghai, China), aging U.S. waterways infrastructure will increase the price to the end-user, lower the demand for U.S. grains and soybeans, and make them less competitive in global markets.

“USDA’s study underscores the inland waterways as a conduit to our nation’s agriculture competitiveness, as well as to overall U.S. economic prosperity. We believe the study makes the case to expedite the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) that would modernize five locks on the Upper Mississippi River and two on the Illinois Waterway to be ready to capitalize on predicted grain shipments, while at the same time improving the health of our marine ecosystems and habitats,” said WCI President and CEO Mike Toohey. “NESP is awaiting Pre-Construction Engineering and Design (PED) funds to be ‘shovel-ready’ for these vital locks,” he continued. 

“We appreciate the leadership of Secretary Perdue and USDA in once again spotlighting the importance of the U.S. inland waterways transportation system to U.S. agriculture’s global  competitiveness and farmers’ bottom lines,” said NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon. “Very importantly, this study quantifies the significant cost of further delays in rebuilding America’s inland waterway infrastructure, and it’s not a pretty picture. Foreign competition from countries like Brazil is only increasing given current trade disruptions, and China is investing aggressively in South America’s transportation infrastructure to the United States’ detriment. 

“The United States simply can’t afford to lag behind any longer,” Gordon continued. “This study is a wake-up call to the White House Office of Management and Budget and Congress to make the PED funding for NESP available this year, and to ensure growing investments are continued and expedited in the tremendous natural resource that America’s inland waterways represent.”

American Dairy Coalition Asks EPA Director Wheeler for Science Review of EPA’s Nitrate Study

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) sent a letter to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler requesting he submit a flawed and damaging 2013 EPA nitrate report to attain the science review it never received. The ADC is concerned for the farmers that have already been severely affected by this so called scientific research study report and believes EPA must stop a dangerous precedence from being set which could impact other farmers throughout the U.S. Director Wheeler was also urged to remove the study from further enforcement action and litigation pending the review.

“It is vital that the administration demonstrate their commitment to maintaining the integrity and transparency of science. The current status of this report sets a very unfortunate precedence for the value of science-based actions and represents a profound opportunity to preserve fundamental principles and standards,” said Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition. “Support for this administration has been strong from the farm community because of positive changes in the EPA. However, the lack of action in carrying out this scientific peer review may cause that support to wane.”

The letter submitted to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler states, “This report, proven false by fifteen national agricultural science experts, was developed without the peer-review required on “influential science information” as the study was categorized. When approached about the error, staff attempted to conceal the failing by falsely claiming the report was not categorized as ‘influential’, but ‘other’, allowing for full discretion in peer reviews.”

The EPA Yakima Nitrate Report began in 2010 and was published in 2012 and 2013. Despite some of nation’s top scientists and agronomists finding the study to be deeply flawed and other government agencies cautioning its use, EPA Region 10 staff still used the study. This led to highly disciplinary enforcement and threats of federal litigation, which has devastated four large dairy farms. Specifically, these four dairies were pressured into signing a very punitive Administrative Order on Consent, resulting in the loss of one dairy and requiring the remaining to spend upwards of $15 million to comply. Further, the report has been used by an Oregon environmental attorney to force extremely costly settlements with a number of Washington dairy farms, resulting in the loss of farms and creating extreme distress within the entire Washington dairy community.

Deepening the concern, the same Region 10 leadership supported the use of $550,000 of tax payer money on public relations and lobbying campaigns against farmers. With this finding in 2016, over one third of the members of Congress were compelled to write EPA Director McCarthy complaining of this action, which prompted an Office of Inspector General investigation that found the campaign did involve state lobbying.

Also, a former senior agronomist with the USDA provided a detailed analyst of the study, finding it to be fraudulent. The documentation may be viewed at . This has been further supported by the conclusions of fifteen prominent agricultural scientists who also deemed the study fraudulent.

REMINDER: ASA Accepting Applications for the Conservation Legacy Awards

Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation and you could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award. The awards recognize farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable.

Are you using a reduced tillage practice on your farm? Do you grow cover crops? Have you taken steps to improve energy efficiency or water quality? These are just a few conservation practices used on some farms today that can help produce sustainable U.S. soybeans. Different regions of the country have their own unique challenges and ways to approach conservation and sustainability. We want to hear your farm’s conservation story!

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability.

The selection process for these awards is divided into four regions – the Midwest, Upper Midwest, the Northeast and the South. One farmer from each of these regions will be recognized at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, and one of these farmers will be named the National Conservation Legacy Award recipient.

Award Winners Receive:
-    An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 27-29, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas.
-    A feature story and video featuring the award winner’s farm and conservation practices.
-    Potential opportunity for the national winner to join other farmer-leaders on an international trip to visit U.S. soy customers overseas.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association (ASA), BASF, Bayer, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent U.S.A.

More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available in the “About” section under “Awards” on the ASA website All applications must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.

Artificial intelligence powers new NK® seed selection tool from Syngenta

Syngenta Seeds today announced the launch of a new digital platform to help farmers maximize profit potential through data-driven seed recommendations. The NK® Seed Analyzer combines artificial intelligence, two decades of agronomic information and a simple user interface, extending the NK brand's focus on innovation by adding value beyond seed.

The adaptability of the platform allows retailers and farmers to proactively plan for weather volatility, soil variability and planting specifications by seeing actual results from numerous sources. The tool complements retailers and agronomists' expertise with 18 years of data at no cost to the user.

"The NK Seed Analyzer represents the best that NK has to offer," said Todd McRoberts, NK agronomy manager. "Using cutting-edge technology, the platform helps to provide clear, unbiased product recommendations that streamline decision-making and deliver customized solutions for any farm."

Historical agronomic information allows users to tailor their seed portfolio based on geographic location, soil productivity, precipitation levels, historic crop stress and performance of products by year and region. Users are able to adjust these factors to understand how a specific corn hybrid or soybean variety would perform under a variety of conditions – information critical to making confident seed selections.

"While you can never control all the factors that affect a growing season, you can set yourself up for the best chance of success by choosing hybrids that perform well in fields like yours, regardless of the weather," said Joe Bollman, NK corn product manager. "The NK Seed Analyzer injects some much-needed predictability into a process that otherwise is anything but predictable."

Although a new addition to the NK toolbox, the NK Seed Analyzer continues a long tradition of innovation for the brand, which this year marks its 135th anniversary. What started as a mail-order seed business became one of the first to create a formal seed research program, the first private company to develop a soybean variety and the first to market Bt seed corn.

Today, backed by award-winning Syngenta research and development, NK breeders tap into the latest tools and data analytics to directly tackle farmers' top priorities. In addition to developing the NK Seed Analyzer, these advancements produced 17 new corn hybrids and 68 new soybean varieties for the 2020 growing season.

"Innovations like our new hybrids, varieties and NK Seed Analyzer reflect our ongoing commitment to delivering technology, genetics and value," Bollman said. "We know it's tough out there right now, so we're going to keep looking for ways to help maximize farmers' and retailers' return on investment."

The NK Seed Analyzer is also another example of how Syngenta is accelerating innovation to address the increasing challenges for farmers and the environment. Supported by Syngenta, NK is investing in technologies that matter to bring about positive, lasting change for more sustainable agriculture.

Initially available through select NK retailers, access to the NK Seed Analyzer will expand in the coming months.

$10 million investment will allow Vive Crop Protection to produce high value products for sustainable agriculture

Vive Crop Protection is pleased to announce the closing of its $10 million financing from existing and new investors, including Middleland Capital and the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (“BDC”) Cleantech Practice. This capital will support commercialization of three new crop protection products and continued field development of Vive’s deep pipeline.

Darren Anderson, CEO of Vive Crop Protection says, “Thanks to the leadership of Vive Executive Chairman Keith Thomas, we were able to close this financing round led by investors who understand the value of Vive’s technology.”

Vive’s patented Allosperse® Delivery System has unlimited potential in the North American and global crop protection markets because it allows agricultural chemicals that were previously incompatible to now be mixed with liquid fertilizer and applied at the right time for maximum benefit to the crop. It also saves farmers time and money by limiting the number of times they need to drive equipment over the field to manage their crop.

In the 2020 crop season, the Allosperse Delivery System will be included in five Vive-branded products and a number of products available through other manufacturers.

“We are delighted to be working with this group of investors because it puts Vive in a strong position for rapid growth in this exciting industry,” says Anderson.

This investment is part of BDC's $700-million, five-year commitment announced in 2018 to help high-potential Canadian cleantech firms with market-ready technology or products meet the capital-intensive needs of scaling and achieving timely growth.

“Vive’s impressive growth and market traction speak to its management’s ability to bring this innovative technology to a market with a challenging sales cycle” said Susan Rohac, Vice President, Cleantech Practice at BDC. “This investment will accelerate Vive’s mission of increasing farm efficiency and productivity while reducing the farmer’s environmental impact.”

Jahangir Bhatti, Director, Cleantech Practice, who led the investment for BDC’s Cleantech Practice, added “Vive’s proprietary Allosperse technology creates a compelling ROI for the farmer by simplifying the pesticide application process. With multiple product launches in the near future, Vive is poised for rapid scale-up as their products have potential to become a critical component of a farmer's operation.”