Saturday, August 24, 2019

Friday August 23 Cattle on Feed, Pro Farmer, & More Ag News

Pro Farmer's National Corn and Soybean Crop Estimates

13.358 billion bu.; Average yield of 163.3 bu. per acre
Corn +/- 1% = 13.492 billion bu. to 13.224 billion bu.; 164.9 bu. to 161.7 bu. per acre

3.497 billion bu.; Average yield of 46.1 bu. per acre
Soybeans +/- 2% = 3.567 billion bu. to 3.427 billion bu.; 47.0 bu. to 45.2 bu. per acre

The national estimates above reflect Pro Farmer’s view on production and yields. They take into account data gathered during Crop Tour and other factors, such as crop maturity, acreage adjustments we’ve made, historical differences in Tour data versus USDA’s final yields, areas outside those sampled on Crop Tour, etc. That’s why the state yield numbers below differ from the Crop Tour figures. For corn, we lowered harvested acreage 217,000 acres from USDA’s August estimate.

Nebraska: 183 bu. per acre. Nebraska won’t make up for all the problems in Illinois. Dryland corn was good, but irrigated corn was not eye-catching. It’s average, and could be susceptible to disease if things stay wet. A normal frost date may cause limited losses.

Iowa: 181 bu. per acre. The crop is good but not great. “It looked better from the road,” was a common refrain during Tour. There were some garden areas in the west, but variability capped the crop’s upside in the rest of the state. Most of the crop should be fine if it avoids new disease threats.

South Dakota: 140 bu. per acre. The Prairie Pothole state is back. Corn needs an additional 50 frost-free days and sunshine to finish.

Minnesota: 167 bu. per acre. Tipback, greensnap and lagging maturity signal smaller yields. There were a lot of factors that nicked the Minnesota corn crop. Like many of the crops we saw, it needs time, heat and sun.

Illinois: 170 bu. per acre. It won’t be the corn-producing powerhouse it usually is. Some of its best acres lost yield potential because they were planted late in less than ideal conditions.

Indiana: 160 bu. per acre. There’s crop potential after rain fell during Tour. The crop still isn’t as good as it could have been, with skips and blank stalks still reflective of the yield drag from the wet spring.

Ohio: 150 bu. per acre. The yield potential measured on Tour is similar to what USDA found. But we’re skeptical the crop will reach maturity before the first freeze. The crop needs rain and several extra weeks at the end of the growing season. USDA is a bit too optimistic about the crop.

Nebraska: 57 bu. per acre. We were pleasantly surprised. The state’s beans were variable, but they worked out to a pretty average crop. Plants were solidly podded and starting to fill. Weather in the weeks ahead will determine bean size. The crop is unlikely to add pods going forward.

Iowa: 55 bu. per acre. The trend of low pod counts continued in Iowa, as the yield factory was again stunted by late planting dates and less-than-ideal soil conditions.

South Dakota: 39 bu. per acre. Pod counts are down sharply and the crop needs sun and time to plump up what beans are there. The crop was pretty clean when we passed through, but high moisture means conditions are ripe for disease.

Minnesota: 42 bu. per acre. Adverse spring planting weather cut the bean factory. Pod counts are unlikely to rise, with few fields showing new blooms. Plants were just starting to fill pods. Warm temps and sunshine are needed to reach full potential.

Illinois: 50 bu. per acre. Pod counts plunged versus the average and much of the Illinois crop will likely perform like double-crop beans. A normal freeze would be devastating.

Indiana: 46 bu. per acre. It’s certainly not a normal crop, but if you add some timely rains and a few weeks to the end of the growing season, the crop may add to the potential we measured.

Ohio: 39 bu. per acre. This year’s crop is essentially double crop beans, with pod counts nearly 40% under last year’s Tour result. Some of the crop was still flowering, so it could, in theory, build on the potential we measured. But it would need an extended season and more rain to do so.


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.19 million cattle on feed on August 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 6 percent from last year. Placements during July totaled 400,000 head, unchanged from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of July totaled 490,000 head, up 7 percent from last year. Other disappearance during July totaled 20,000 head, up 10,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 630,000 head on August 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 3 percent from July 1, 2018, and down 10 percent from August 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 510,000 head on feed, down 10 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,140,000 head, down 6 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 61,000 head, down 6 percent from June and down 8 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 42,000 head, down 35 percent from June and down 19 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 103,000 head, down 21 percent from June and down 13 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 77,000 head, up 7 percent from June and up 4 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 93,000 head, up 3 percent from June and up 16 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 170,000 head, up 5 percent from June and up 10 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 8,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on August 1, 2019. The inventory was slightly above August 1, 2018. This is the highest August 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

On Feed, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % Aug 1 '18)

Colorado .......:                 970                   109      
Iowa .............:                  630                    90     
Kansas ..........:               2,340                   105   
Nebraska ......:               2,190                   94   
Texas ............:               2,760                  101     

Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.71 million head, 2 percent below 2018. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During July, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 360,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 260,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 410,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 385,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 200,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % July '18)

Colorado .......:                    130                   93    
Iowa .............:                      61                    92    
Kansas ..........:                     450                   97      
Nebraska ......:                     400                  100        
Texas ............:                     380                   99       

Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 2.00 million head, 7 percent above 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 71,000 head during July, 13 percent above 2018.

Marketings, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % July '18)

Colorado .......:                  185                   109    
Iowa .............:                     77                   104   
Kansas ..........:                   455                    98      
Nebraska ......:                   490                   107    
Texas ............:                   445                   114    

Nebraska Corn Board provides incentive program to fuel retailers to increase ethanol offerings

The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) is now accepting applications to participate in its Blender Pump Grant Program. Through this program, fuel retailers have an opportunity to receive up to $50,000 to help with the installation of blender pumps capable of offering higher ethanol blends.

“With the allowance of year-round sales of E15, frequently known as Unleaded88, retailers have the unique opportunity to invest in infrastructure to offer consumers a more economical and environmentally-friendly option at the pump,” said Jeff Wilkerson, director of market development with the Nebraska Corn Board.

Blender pumps make it possible for retailers to offer multiple blends of American Ethanol. The grants can be used on the costs of the pumps themselves or other necessary equipment or hardware needed to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. By offering increased ethanol blends, fueling stations have a competitive advantage in the marketplace and are able to better serve motorists driving flex fuel vehicles. This program does not require the retailer to upgrade all pumps in order to qualify. Awarded stations must offer two higher blends of ethanol and maintain these pumps for at least two years.

Common blends of higher ethanol include Unleaded88 (E15) which can be used year-round in all vehicles model year 2001 and newer, E30 (a 30% ethanol blend) or E85 (an 85% ethanol blend). Higher blends of ethanol above E15, such as E30 to E85, are approved for flex fuel vehicles only.

“A retailer’s cost to install a blender pump can vary dramatically, but with this grant program, we can help offset some of the costs, making the conversion process much more economical,” said Wilkerson.

More information on NCB’s Blender Pump Grant Program can be found online at Preference will be given to areas underserved by higher ethanol blends and potential traffic flow. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 11. Approved applicants will be notified by the end of November.

12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Schedule Announced

The 12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference will be held Tuesday, October 29 to Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska and will feature experts from across the country and the state.

“Nebraska wind and solar energy development is going through a remarkable period of growth and expansion,” Conference Chairman John Hansen said. “We have a lot of progress to report, as well as issues and opportunities to consider.”

Sessions on Tuesday will begin with an update from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. Panels will highlight the State of Nebraska’s view of wind energy, how commercial and industry buyers are changing the renewables marketplace, and a policy and legislative update from Nebraska State Senators. Tuesday will also include a luncheon with Nebraska public power CEOs.

Wednesday’s programming will feature sessions regarding the state of the national solar industry, the changing economics of battery storage, and the usage of drones in renewable energy. In addition, there will be a breakout session on decommissioning & repowering, and a panel featuring UNL Renewable Energy researchers.

The conference schedule can be found at Nebraska WSC Conference Agenda. In addition to the scheduled programming, the conference will feature an exhibitors’ tradeshow including governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, vendors, developers, and more.

Conference attendees include private sector developers, public officials, landowners, environmental and wildlife organizations, and public utilities. The general public is also invited to register and attend the Wind & Solar Conference.

Conference Chair John Hansen urges attendees to take advantage of the October 1st Early Bird registration discount. Registration rates are as follows:
       Early Bird Registration (prior to October 1): $125.00
       Standard Registration (October 1-28): $175.00
       Day-of-Conference Registration (October 29-30): $200.00
       Student Registration (anytime): $65.00

The Wind & Solar Conference has a room block at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. The deadline to reserve a room is October 1st, and the reservation includes a $114 per night room rate and free parking. Reservations can be made at Nebraska WSC Registration Information or by calling the Cornhusker Marriott at (402) 474-7474 and referencing the Wind & Solar Conference.

More information and past conference presentations are available on the conference website at Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference

Acklie Charitable Foundation contributes $5 million to Northeast Nexus ag and water capital campaign

The late Duane Acklie fondly remembered growing up as a young boy in Madison County. From selling produce his family grew at his favorite corner on U.S. Highway 81 at the age of 10 to establishing one of America’s largest privately-owned trucking companies with his wife, Phyllis, he understood the importance and the role of education as the couple established a foundation that bears their last name.

Now, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) is supporting a major initiative at Northeast Community College that will its ensure agriculture students have opportunities to succeed in their education as they train to become future employees in Nebraska’s number one industry.

“You here in this room know better than most about the pivotal role Nebraska agriculture plays in not only feeding the world, but in also propelling Nebraska’s economy,” said family member Halley Acklie Kruse in announcing a $5 million gift from the ACF during a kickoff celebration for a capital campaign to construct Northeast’s new Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence. “(Agriculture) does so through exports and providing jobs not only in the fields, but in warehousing, transportation, financing, and service industries. When Nebraska agriculture succeeds, Nebraska thrives. That is why ACF believed it was important to invest in the future of Nebraska’s next generation of farmers, ranchers, and community leaders.”

The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence is a multi-phased project, and funds are currently being solicited through a capital campaign called “Nexus” for $23 million for initial construction of the new center. Northeast has set aside $10 million of its capital funds to help establish the project, while the remainder will be raised privately.

Initial construction planned for the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence includes a new farm site with farm office and storage, large animal handling facility and other farm structures. In addition, the plan calls for a veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at the intersection of E. Benjamin Ave. and Highway 35 in Norfolk. The vet tech building will be located west of the ag complex, while the farm site and animal handling facilities will be behind the tree line that is north of the current complex.

Duane W. and Phyllis Acklie grew up on farms near Madison and Meadow Grove, respectively, and later attended Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College. They went on to establish Crete Carrier Corp., which has grown into a transporter of virtually any product and operates more than 5,000 tractors and over 13,000 trailers throughout the continental United States.

The company’s corporate headquarters are based in Lincoln. The Acklie Charitable Foundation was founded by Duane and Phyllis Acklie and their daughters, Dodie, Laura and Holly. The family has been involved in many business and philanthropic ventures over the years.

Acklie Kruse, ACF vice president and general counsel, said her grandfather spoke of the importance of education and shared his wish that their foundation could be used to help Nebraskans attain quality education.

“I believe that Duane’s desire to support education was, in part, due to his understanding of the transformative role higher education played in his life,” she said. “And for Duane and Phyl, it all started at Norfolk Junior College.”

Acklie Kruse said Nebraska is fortunate to have an institution such as Northeast Community College as a partner in developing the center of excellence and what it will mean for the future of agriculture. She said it was a natural decision for her family to contribute to the campaign after seeing what the center’s role will be in developing a future workforce.

“Northeast has long had a reputation of quality in its agricultural programs, not only throughout Nebraska, but on a national level. Northeast has the dedicated faculty and expertise to teach our next generation farmers and ranchers and the goal of the Nexus campaign is to build the facilities, infrastructure, and technology to match the quality of instruction.”

But Acklie Kruse said it is more than Nebraska’s future; it is also about feeding the world.

“Northeast must prepare the next farmers and ranchers for the innovations and developments of the next eighty years, not only for the success of these individuals and their families, but for the success of our state, and the people of the world who eat from Nebraska’s fields.”

With the Acklie’s contribution to the campaign, Northeast will be naming its new College Farm after the family.

“The Acklie Family College Farm will provide a lasting legacy to the family for their commitment to agriculture in northeast Nebraska,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and the executive director of the college foundation. “We are so proud to name the College Farm in honor of the Acklies, and after the legacy of Duane, Phyllis and their family. What a testament to the strong value Northeast played in their own lives, as well as the college’s value to the community as a whole. This gift will make a strong impact for generations of Nebraskans to come.”

“So, this family history and connection to Madison County and Northeast Community College brings me to where we are today, the Nexus Kickoff,” Acklie Kruse said. “Certainly these family connections played a role in the Acklie Charitable Foundation’s decision to support the Nexus campaign. But, just as the Nexus campaign is about what is next – next for sustainable agriculture, next for Nebraska’s workforce, next for innovation – an important factor in ACF’s decision to support the Nexus campaign was also the consideration of Nebraska’s future.”

Pump and Pantry to Give Away Free E15 Fuel

In celebration of the 150th Nebraska State Fair, Pump and Pantry is giving away free fuel. Fair attendees will receive a coupon good for Super Unleaded 88 (E15) fuel at a discounted rate. The more you spend, the more free fuel you get!

"Many people make the special drive to Nebraska State Fair each year, and this is a way to say thank you for making memories with us," said Nebraska State Fair Executive Director Lori Cox.

The free fuel coupon is good for E15 fuel for $2.15 a gallon, up to 30 gallons. The savings add up:
- Buy 9 gallons of fuel and save $2.61 = 1 gallon free
- Buy 17 gallons of fuel and save $4.93 = 2 free gallons
- Buy 26 gallons of fuel and save $7.54 = 3 free gallons

"We are proud of Pump and Pantry's ongoing support of Nebraska State Fair and to provide Nebraskans with better fuel that costs less," said President of Bosselman Enterprises Charlie Bosselman.

Coupons will be distributed to fairgoers during the Fair while supplies last and will be valid through the end of the fair Sept. 2. Nebraskans can take advantage of the free fuel at 13 Pump & Pantry locations across the state, including three locations in Grand Island.

Super Unleaded 88 is approved to be used all year long for 2001 and newer vehicles. A total of 50 E15 locations are available across the entire state through various vendors. The free fuel coupon is only valid at Pump and Pantry locations.

USDA Determines Irrigation Losses From Tunnel Collapse Are Insurable

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by unusually high precipitation. The Risk Management Agency has determined that since the collapse happened due to a natural cause, it will be an insurable event for ag producers affected by the irrigation disruption.

“I appreciate the Risk Management Agency making the determination that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse is an insurable event. Because of this decision, Nebraska ag producers submitting claims for production and prevented planting losses will have more certainty about how this will be treated under their crop insurance policies. I want to thank Secretary Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for working with Nebraska and Wyoming to mitigate the effects of this irrigation disruption,” said U.S. Senator Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

“This is great news and it’s exactly what we’ve been fighting for since the tunnel collapsed on July 17. The USDA did the right thing by covering this loss and preventing a bunch of bankruptcies in the Panhandle. It’s the honest thing to do. Our farmers have been put through the ringer and still have a long way to go, but this is a huge relief for Nebraska agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

Yesterday, Fischer and Sasse, along with Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking for crop insurance protection for ag producers hurt by the collapse of irrigation canal tunnel. The tunnel transported water to 54,000 acres in Nebraska.


Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman thanked US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the Risk Management Agency for the determination of an insurable event for those affected by the collapse of an irrigation tunnel near Fort Laramie. The tunnel collapsed July 17 cutting off irrigation to more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Wyoming at a crucial time during the growing season.

“The canal collapse has been a devastating event for our farm families in the Panhandle,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Thank you to Secretary Perdue and USDA for working to make this an insurable events. This will help impacted farm families as they work to get back on their feet.”

“Farmers have already faced many hardships this past year,” said Director Wellman. “Hopefully this decision takes some stress off the farmers. Secretary Perdue knows that it’s not just the farmers who lose in situations like this, but the loss of crops ripples through local economies, too. Secretary Perdue’s announcement on this situation creates a positive impact on those affected and on our communities, as well.”

Crews are still working to clear debris and make repairs to restore water to the irrigation tunnel canal.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding USDA Coverage of Crop Losses from Irrigation Tunnel Collapse

“We are extremely pleased and greatly appreciate the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) announcement that federal crop insurance will cover crop losses resulting from the July 17 tunnel collapse that stopped irrigation flows to farms on the Gering-Ft Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska and Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming. This is great news for many farmers who have faced an extremely challenging growing season due to the unfortunate circumstances well beyond their control.”

“Nebraska Farm Bureau was one of many voices that had encouraged USDA to ensure these losses were covered. I want to especially thank Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, RMA Administrator Barbre and his team, the Nebraska Congressional delegation, Governor Ricketts and his administration, including Nebraska Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman, and the numerous others who helped provide critical information and insights to aid RMA in arriving at this decision.”

“This announcement is critical in eliminating the uncertainty that has existed for many of the farmers impacted. We are grateful this piece of what continues to be an ongoing and challenging situation has been positively resolved.”

Smith Pleased by USDA Decision Allowing Crop Insurance Coverage for Tunnel Collapse

Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to allow crop insurance coverage for those impacted by the irrigation tunnel collapse in Goshen County, Wyoming.

“I am grateful USDA has reached the decision to allow crop insurance coverage for producers impacted by the tunnel collapse. Farmers who rely on this water to grow their crops were put in a bind by a natural disaster. This decision provides producers with a much needed tool to recoup their losses.”

Recently, Senators Sasse, Fischer, the Wyoming delegation, and Smith wrote a letter urging USDA to allow for crop insurance protection. The Risk Management Agency, an agency within USDA, announced Friday it had concluded the irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by an insurable cause of loss. Those affected by this disaster will be eligible for crop insurance.


All layers in Nebraska during July 2019 totaled 9.02 million, up from 7.88 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during July totaled 233 million eggs, up from 206 million in 2018. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,585 eggs, compared to 2,613 eggs in 2018.


Iowa egg production during July 2019 was 1.42 billion eggs, up 2 percent from both last month and last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during July 2019 was 57.0 million, down 1 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for July were 2,493, up 3 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year.

July U.S. Egg Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.41 billion during July 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.20 billion table eggs, and 1.21 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.12 billion were broiler-type and 84.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during July 2019 totaled 390 million, down slightly from last year. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,409 eggs, up 2 percent from July 2018.
All layers in the United States on August 1, 2019 totaled 390 million, up slightly from last year. The 390 million layers consisted of 328 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.25 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on August 1, 2019, averaged 77.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from August 1, 2018.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up Slightly

Egg-type chicks hatched during July 2019 totaled 50.9 million, up slightly from July 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.5 million on August 1, 2019, up 3 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 255 thousand during July 2019, up 60 percent from July 2018.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up Slightly

Broiler-type chicks hatched during July 2019 totaled 849 million, up slightly from July 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 698 million on August 1, 2019, up 2 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 8.73 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during July 2019, up 17 percent from July 2018.

New Director of Industry Relations at IBIC

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) is excited to welcome Casey Allison of Nevada, Iowa as our new Director of Industry Relations. Allison will be working closely with beef farmers in and around Iowa as well as key industry leaders to share the value of the beef checkoff investment.

IBIC Chairman Janine Moore comments, “Leading the efforts in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program in Iowa, alongside Iowa State University Extension Beef Center, will continue to be an important aspect. Additionally, establishing relationships with industry professionals, livestock markets and other key stakeholders will be critical. We welcome Casey and have observed her effectiveness serving cattle producers across the state and look forward to her efforts working on behalf of national and state checkoff programs.”

Allison grew up on a diversified grain and livestock operation. She pursued a degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University where she graduated in 2014. Initially, she worked for Tyson Fresh Meats in the hog procurement division. Most recently she served as the Eastern Iowa Membership Coordinator for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA). Still active on the family farm, she recently relocated back to Central Iowa. Allison and her boyfriend, Brandon, raise registered Simmental seedstock.

Allison, who joined the Iowa Beef Industry Council staff on Monday, August 19th, is enthusiastic about carrying on her work in the beef business and expressed, “I am elated to work alongside Iowa cattlemen as we move the needle forward across the supply chain to increase demand for beef. This is a unique opportunity to build upon the relationships and people I met with ICA and team up with IBIC staff to widen the breadth of influence with the state and national checkoff.”

“Casey brings not only an experienced skill set in agriculture but a true passion for the beef industry to serve our producers,” comments Chris Freland, Executive Director of IBIC. “Having Casey working as part of our team with her robust beef background and relationship management experience to advance programming throughout the state of Iowa will be valuable.”

Casey’s Does a 180 on Biodiesel

Casey’s is a household name in the Midwest, always prepared with gas, pizza and friendly people at each of its 2,000 locations in 16 states. In 2019, Casey’s is striving to offer even more. Casey’s General Stores announced it would begin offering biodiesel in 600 stores with an additional 300 to follow throughout the year. Beyond the Bean sat down with Casey’s fuel director, Nathaniel Doddridge, to talk all things biodiesel and the decision for Casey’s to offer a product that significantly supports the price of soybeans.

Why was Casey’s not offering biodiesel until now?

We dabbled in biodiesel a little bit prior to me joining the team two years ago. In the beginning of biodiesel, we had some extremely vocal customers who were just averse to biodiesel. Back in the early 2000s, there was a lot of uncertainty in the customer’s mind. People had a lot of bad memories. It was a handful of customers who had bad experiences with biodiesel that really kept us from expanding, despite how economical it is for us.

What was the decision-making process to start providing biodiesel to your customers?

We didn’t feel like we were getting the return we deserved with traditional diesel. You look at the competitors in the markets, everyone was offering the product. And we were trying to compete at the same price, but we didn’t have the same advantage they did. That’s when we decided biodiesel was something we wanted to bring to the market for our locations. And after some conversations about biodiesel with the National Biodiesel Board and the United Soybean Board, among other organizations, I think that if we align our messages with these organizations to educate customers about the benefits of biodiesel, we’ll be successful.

Do you think you’ll expand your locations offering biodiesel even more?

Right now, we’re starting to cycle over where we implemented it last year. So, we’re at the point now where we can actually look back at what we did last summer and see that it was good. The customers accepted it, and it’s profitable. We have not seen a large portion of our customers resist biodiesel, which is good.

What does biodiesel offer to your customers that tradition diesel does not?

We do feel like there’s a quality product in biodiesel. You’ll notice the biodiesel industry has really increased the quality of its product. They are trying to differentiate themselves from the base diesel products. Then there’s the sustainability of biodiesel over petroleum. We also like giving back to the farmers who are growing the beans and selling the oil. We feel they’re benefitting because they produced it, and they’re getting to put it in their vehicles as a finished product.

What did receiving the Biodiesel Impact Award mean to you and Casey’s as a company?

I think it’s huge for us. I think it finally makes us more relevant in the space for renewable fuels. We’re super appreciative of that award, and we’re happy we finally made the step to offer biodiesel. It seems like it’s getting a lot of buy-in from our customers, from our employees, from our leadership team saying, hey, this has really added value to us.

Casey’s has truly done a 180 on biodiesel — from zero to 900 stores over the next year. Next time you’re seeing those friendly people and picking up your pizza at Casey’s, look for biodiesel at the pump.

NPPC Prevails Against HSUS Attack on Animal Agriculture

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today ruled in favor of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in its appeal to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The court rejected HSUS's attempt to advance an anti-meat activist agenda through an unwarranted suit designed to hurt 60,000 U.S. pork producers and undermine a farm sector critical to rural communities and that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The court rejected HSUS' attempted challenge to the National Pork Board's 2006 federally approved purchase from NPPC of trademarks associated with the organization's "Pork: The Other White Meat" campaign and payments associated with the agreement. While HSUS claimed it and others were injured because proceeds from the transaction were misappropriated by the National Pork Board, the pork "checkoff," the D.C. Circuit found that HSUS and its fellow plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they had suffered harm from the transaction, including the associated payments.

"The dismissal of this case is a win for American pork producers who depend on NPPC's issues advocacy work and the research, education and promotional work performed by the National Pork Board," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, NC and NPPC's president. "The real misappropriation of funds is HSUS's continued efforts to fundraise under false pretenses while using its proceeds to attack farmers dedicated to feeding billions of people at home and abroad."

USDA Details Trade Damage Estimate Calculations

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist has published a detailed accounting of how estimated damage from trade disruptions was calculated for its support package for farmers announced on July 25, 2019. USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist developed an estimate of gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by China, India, the European Union, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels. USDA employed the same approach often used in adjudicating World Trade Organization trade dispute cases.

“Just as we did before, we want to be transparent about this process and how our economists arrived at the numbers they did. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the United States and the world, and they need to know USDA was thorough, methodical, and as accurate as possible in making these estimates. We listened to feedback from farmers on last year’s programs and incorporated many of those suggestions into today’s programs. While no formula can be perfect in addressing concerns from all commodities, we did everything we could to accommodate everyone,” Secretary Perdue said. “For a long time, China and other nations have not provided free, fair, and reciprocal access to U.S. farmers and ranchers and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices. Our support package ensures farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.”

The full description of the Trade Damage Estimation for the Market Facilitation Program and Food Purchase and Distribution Program is available on the website of USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist.

American Soybean Association Statement on Chinese Tariff Escalation

China has announced it will impose an extra 5% tariff on U.S. soybeans starting Sept. 1 and an additional 10% duties on other major U.S. crops also grown by many soybean farmers starting mid-December. These latest details come after China vowed earlier this week that it will retaliate if the U.S. goes through with its plan to broaden tariffs on Chinese goods Sept 1.

Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), spoke on behalf of the association, saying, “ASA has strongly requested an end to the tariffs on U.S. beans for more than a year. This escalation will affect us not because of the increasing tariff on our sales, which have been at a virtual standstill for months, but through time. The longevity of this situation means worsening circumstances for soy growers who still have unsold product from this past season and new crops in the ground this season – with prospects narrowing even more now for sales with China, a market soy growers have valued, nurtured, and respected for many years.”

ASA would like to see both parties - China and the United States- step up, stop tariffs, and find resolution that does not target soy growers trapped in the middle. Real people—Chinese citizens, the American public, and our soybean farmers—are the ones feeling the effects of this trade war.

Another China Tariff Announcement Signals More Trouble

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“China’s announcement of imposing additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports signals more trouble for American agriculture. Farm Bureau is currently assessing the details of this announcement, but we know continued retaliation only adds to the difficulties farm and ranch families are facing and takes the situation in the exact wrong direction.

“The U.S. exported $19.5 billion of agricultural products to China in 2017. Agricultural exports to China were reduced to $9.1 billion in 2018 because of retaliatory tariffs and exports were already down in the first half of this year by $1.3 billion.

“Continuing negotiations is the best way to restore certainty to export markets farmers and ranchers depend on. We need substantive trade agreements that ensure American agriculture can provide an abundant and safe food supply for the world’s growing population.”


U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met in Washington, D.C. this week, continuing negotiations and laying the groundwork for a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in France later this month. The negotiations this week were originally scheduled for just Wednesday and Thursday, but were extended for a third day to Friday to continue discussions.

On Thursday, Lighthizer said the two countries were "getting closer to reach a conclusion." U.S. pork producers are currently at a significant disadvantage in Japan because international competitors have recently entered into trade agreements with the country, including the EU and CPTPP nations.

New Bankruptcy Law Provides Debt Relief

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Farm Bureau is appreciative that the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 is now law. This law relieves some of the uncertainty farmers are facing due to export market disruptions, weather events and declining farm income. It will help family farmers reorganize after falling on hard times by increasing the debt limit for relief eligibility under the Chapter 12 bankruptcy code.

“While this is a sobering reflection of the current state of the agricultural economy, we are grateful to Congress, the President and his administration for their prioritization of reforming our current bankruptcy laws.”

Hesston by Massey Ferguson Introduces 9300 Series RazorBar Rotary Disc Headers

Hesston by Massey Ferguson®, the industry-leading hay equipment brand from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), will introduce the 9300 Series RazorBar™ rotary disc headers for Hesston by Massey Ferguson WR9900 Series self-propelled windrowers to North American producers during Farm Progress Show 2019. The new disc headers are built to optimize crop throughput and quality, helping operators cut and condition more acres in a day.

The 9300 Series includes four models in two cutting widths. The 13-foot headers are the single-conditioner MF9313S and the double-conditioner MF9313D, while the 16-foot headers are the MF9316S and MF9316D. All headers have durable, low-profile RazorBar disc cutterbars for a close, clean cut. The “D” models in both widths feature the industry-exclusive TwinMax™ double-conditioning option for more thorough, uniform conditioning that speeds crop drydown and reduces nutritional losses.

New, easy-to-service belt-drive augers at the ends of the 16-foot headers move the crop quickly to the conditioners, minimizing the chance of double cuts, crop wrapping and buildup. The result is uniform windrows that dry faster and more evenly, enhancing the baler operator’s ability to form a heavy, dense, evenly shaped bale while preserving the quality of hay or forage.

“The new design of the 9300 Series RazorBar disc header is all about moving the crop through the mower conditioner as fast as possible into a perfect windrow behind the machine,” says Matt LeCroy, hay and forage product marketing manager at AGCO. “Research shows that the wider and flatter the windrow, the faster the drydown. The result is higher quality hay and forage for your livestock and your customers.”

Improvements help move more crop faster

Several new design elements help operators of the new MF9316S and MF9316D rotary disc headers take full advantage of the headers’ increased throughput capacity:
-    New belt-drive stub augers at the ends of the header improve crop feeding into the conditioner rolls. Fully enclosed crop conveyers (cages) outside the augers prevent crop wrapping and buildup.
-    Moving the crop quickly from the outside discs to the conditioner means a cleaner cut, less chance for double cutting, better windrow formation and less opportunity for leaf damage.
-    Operators can get to the drive belts for the new auger headers through a new side panel for quick and easy servicing.
-    The innovative new drive-belt system uses self-adjusting spring tensioner so operators can more easily set and maintain optimum belt tension.

All 9300 Series headers build upon the features of the 9200 Series, including the RazorBar disc cutterbar – the strongest and most durable in the industry; large, tandem hydraulic drive pumps for increased throughput and functionality; in-cab adjustable hydraulic roll tension for more consistent crimp; auto knife speed, and steel-on-steel conditioners that crimp instead of crush for better leaf retention and optimum hay quality.

Hesston’s exclusive TwinMax™ advanced conditioning system on the MF9316D and MF9313D is the perfect option for hay producers who prefer the fastest drydown possible. Two steel-on-steel conditioner rolls crimp the stems every 1-2 inches, reducing drying time while allowing leaves to stay healthy and whole, retaining their vital nutrients.

“These new disc headers help producers optimize the quality of their hay at harvest. The higher the quality, the better the feed value and efficiency for livestock producers and the higher the price at market,” says LeCroy. “For more than 70 years, Hesston has been a leader in delivering hay and forage harvesting innovations, and we work hard to ensure hay growers have the tools needed to harvest forage at its highest quality.”

For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment, including the new 9300 Series RazorBar disc headers for WR9900 self-propelled windrowers, or to find a dealer near you, visit

Hesston by Massey Ferguson Introduces MF1316S RazorEdge Pull-Type Disc Mower Conditioner

Hesston by Massey Ferguson®, the industry-leading hay equipment brand from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), introduced the new Model MF1316S RazorEdge™ pull-type disc mower conditioner to North American producers during Farm Progress Show 2019. The new 16-foot, center-pivot mower conditioner is built to optimize crop throughput and quality as well as serviceability, helping operators cut and condition more acres in a day.

The MF1316S replaces the MF1395 as the largest of the heavy-duty, fully welded-frame 1300 Series of RazorEdge pull-type mower conditioners. New, easy-to-service belt-drive augers at the ends of the header move the crop quickly to the conditioners, minimizing the chance of double cuts, crop wrapping and buildup. The result is uniform windrows that dry faster and more evenly, enhancing the baler operator’s ability to form a heavy, dense, evenly shaped bale while preserving the quality of hay or forage.

The unique RazorEdge cutterbar ensures a smooth, clean cut; the industry-exclusive hydraulically tensioned conditioner system on the MF1316S reduces drying time to optimize crop quality; and the optional quick-change knife system, with the only one-handed quick-change tool in the industry, enhances operator convenience and safety.

“The new design of the MF1316S disc mower conditioner improves the machine’s performance for maximum crop throughput and a uniform, quick-drying windrow behind the machine,” says Matt LeCroy, hay and forage product marketing manager at AGCO. “Our goal is to help producers create a wide, flat windrow for fast drydown. The result is higher quality hay and forage for your livestock and your customers.”

Improvements help move more crop faster

Several new design elements help operators of the new MF1316S disc mower conditioner take full advantage of the increased throughput capacity:
-    New belt-drive stub augers at the ends of the header improve crop feeding into the conditioner rolls. Fully enclosed crop conveyers (cages) outside the augers prevent crop wrapping and buildup.
-    Moving the crop quickly from the outside discs to the conditioner means a cleaner cut, less chance for double cutting, better windrow formation and less opportunity for leaf damage.
-    Operators can get to the drive belts for the new auger headers through a new side panel for quick and easy servicing.
-    The innovative new drive-belt system uses a self-adjusting spring tensioner so operators can more easily set and maintain optimum belt tension.

The MF1316S and all the pull-type mower conditioners in the 1300 Series are equipped with the  RazorEdge cutterbar. Its spur gear design provides a thin profile and close cutting without tilting the header to minimize scalping, thereby limiting dirt and debris in the crop to optimize feed value. Operators can remove the gears easily without having to split the cutterbar. Counter-rotating discs provide improved cut quality while minimizing crop streaking.

Each RazorEdge mower conditioner comes factory-equipped with 18-degree “high lift” bottom-bevel Radura™ knives. These sharp, durable knives are created with a special cold-rolled process for a wear-resistant edge that maintains its sharpness longer than ground-edge knives.

“Everything about the MF1316S and the 1300 Series is designed to give operators reliable, trouble-free hay-cutting performance,” LeCroy says. “We strive to always improve on Hesston’s 70-year legacy of delivering hay and forage harvesting innovations, and we work hard to ensure hay growers have the tools needed to harvest forage at its highest quality.”

For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment, including the new MF1316S RazorEdge pull-type disc mower conditioner, or to find a dealer near you, visit

Syngenta completes major expansion at its Nampa, Idaho, R&D and seed production facility

Syngenta today introduced a new $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator – a highly-automated “controlled environment” corn breeding facility – at its Nampa R&D and seed production facility.

The Nampa facility will house the capabilities and capacity to bring choice in traits to corn growers. Customers of the NK® and Golden Harvest® corn seed brands, as well as independent seed companies that license Syngenta technologies through GreenLeaf Genetics®, will benefit from faster access to more hybrids with the latest Agrisure® trait technologies.

According to David Hollinrake, regional director for Syngenta in North America, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will help to shorten product development life cycles and more quickly provide farmers with the corn products they need to be more successful.

“The Nampa Trait Conversion Accelerator is the latest demonstration of how we are putting the farmer first,” Hollinrake said. “Two years ago, we embarked on a five-year, $400 million incremental investment in our North American seeds business, which has enabled us to significantly increase our breeding and product testing capacity and pursue infrastructure projects like the state-of-the-art facility we’re celebrating today.”

Corn growers are currently facing significant economic challenges. Devastating weather events and low commodity prices are making profitability more difficult. To maximize return on investment potential, farmers need elite corn hybrids with the latest trait packages, and Syngenta is delivering on that need.

“Our message for farmers is simple: We’re here for you,” Hollinrake said. “We know it’s tough out there. We’re mindful of that every day. Syngenta is investing in farmers’ success.”

Hollinrake added that Syngenta is balancing its long-term commitment to innovation with a continuing emphasis on products and programs to help farmers improve their return on investment potential every day.

“Syngenta is committed to accelerating innovation. This means developing products that go beyond current limits and providing farmers with unique and meaningful choice,” he said.

Optimizing Trait Conversion to Meet Farmers’ Evolving Needs

When developing corn hybrids that offer agronomic benefits such as insect control, herbicide tolerance and water optimization, scientists employ a breeding technique called trait conversion, which is used to incorporate a desired trait into existing elite germplasm – preserving the performance of the germplasm and adding the benefits of the introduced trait. The Trait Conversion Accelerator will provide the capabilities needed to optimize this crucial process.

According to Trevor Hohls, global head of seeds product development for Syngenta, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will accommodate the majority of Syngenta’s North American corn trait conversion work, which was previously done in open field or semi-controlled environments.

“For us, it's all about developing better products,” Hohls said. “Investments like we're making here in Nampa will enable us to help deliver the traits in our pipeline more quickly and ensure on-time product delivery, to help farmers improve productivity more rapidly.

“At Syngenta, we are working to get closer to the markets and the customers we serve. We are strengthening our collaboration with growers, to partner with them, share data and co-create with them, and build lasting partnerships centered on solving their specific challenges. This will help us to ensure that product development is laser-focused in helping to de-risk farming for our customers.”

The Agrisure traits portfolio is the broadest collection of trait technology in the industry. Syngenta’s continued dedication and investment in R&D — more than $1.3 billion each year — will continue to improve and grow the Agrisure traits portfolio.

Hohls added that the Nampa site was chosen for this investment in trait conversion because it offers an excellent combination of climatic factors (e.g., solar radiation and humidity), as well as access to a highly-skilled workforce.

The Nampa investment reinforces Syngenta’s commitment to an R&D presence in the region and the jobs located there. The site expansion will add more than 10 permanent and more than 10 contract employees by the end of 2019, with additional hires in both categories in 2020.

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