Friday, August 16, 2019

Thursday August 15 Ag News

Northeast to launch multi-million-dollar Nexus capital campaign

Northeast Community College is ready to launch a major initiative that will impact its agriculture programming for years to come.

College administrators, campaign representatives and others will gather at Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on Thursday, August 22, to kick-off the Nexus capital campaign to raise funds to construct new agriculture facilities on the Northeast campus in Norfolk. A news conference will begin at 10 a.m.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the college foundation, said college supporters and the general public are encouraged to attend the event to learn more about the $23 million project.

“The end goal of this campaign is to give our agriculture students opportunities to learn in state-of-the-art facilities and replace the current buildings on the college farm that were erected in the early 20th century. Investing in the Agriculture and Water Center of Excellence will help ensure that Northeast Community College continues to be responsive to the ever-changing needs of agriculture, its communities, and businesses.”

Kruse said a seven figure lead gift to the campaign will be announced during the event.

In addition to Kruse, other speakers will be Mary Honke, co-interim college president, campaign co-chairs Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, and Russ Vering, of Scribner, and leading supporters of the Nexus project.

Also, a sixth generation farmer, nationally known advocate for agriculture, and radio show host will share his support for community colleges and the future of agriculture during the news conference. Trent Loos is the host of Rural Route, a one-hour radio show aimed at bridging rural and urban America.

The Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex is located at the intersection of E. Benjamin Avenue and Highway 35 – one mile east of the main Northeast campus - in Norfolk.

The event is open to the public.

Town hall to feature USDA Secretary of Ag

As part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s 150th anniversary celebration, Chancellor Ronnie Green will host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for a public town hall discussion during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

Open to fair attendees, the event is 11:30 a.m. Aug. 23 in the Raising Nebraska exhibit hall on the state fairgrounds. The building is the site of the Raising Nebraska exhibition, which highlights agriculture and agribusiness across the Cornhusker State. The exhibit is a joint effort of the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair.

Former two-term governor of Georgia, Perdue became the 31st agriculture secretary on April 25, 2017. Reared on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia, Perdue has been a farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian and state lawmaker.

During the town hall, the secretary will take questions from farmers, agricultural stakeholders and others in the audience. He will be available for questions from reporters following the event.

The university and state fair both began in 1869. Perdue’s appearance is among a number of special state fair events in honor of the joint celebration. Others include an Aug. 24 lecture on Nebraska football history by Mike Babcock, and a Sept. 1 pep rally featuring the Cornhusker Marching Band and spirit squad. A Nifty 150 ice cream developed by the UNL Dairy Store will be available throughout the fair.

Field Day on August 30 to Showcase Local Value of Soil Health

Positioning your farm to become more resilient to extreme weather includes focusing on long-term soil health. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and Nebraska Extension in Dodge County will be hosting a Soil Health Demo Farm Field Day on Friday, August 30 at 8:30 am, 3 miles south of Snyder at the Lennemann Farm.

Area landowners and farmers are encouraged to attend this field day to gain a better understanding of soil health and conservation practices than can help improve soil health over time.

Speakers will discuss the following topics during the field day from 9:00 to 11:30 am:
·    Welcome – Brach Johnson (NRCS Soil Conservationist) and Bill Lennemann (Demo Farm Producer)
·    NRCS Soil Health Demonstration Farms – Aaron Hird (NRCS Soil Health Specialist), Andrea Basche (UNL Assistant Professor), and Fernanda Souza Krupek (UNL Graduate Student)
·    Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District and NRCS Cost Share Programs – Curt Becker (LENRD Projects Manager) and Brach Johnson (NRCS Soil Conservationist)
·    Winter Wheat Production in Eastern Nebraska – Nathan Mueller (Nebraska Extension Educator)
·    Demo Farm Walk and Talk
·    Forage Crop Options and Value in Crop Rotations – Daren Redfearn and Mary Drewnoski (Nebraska Extension Specialists)

The field day starts at 8:30 am with registration at the demo farm which is located 3 miles south of Snyder on Highway 79 and ¼ east on County Road G. Donuts, juice, and coffee will be served. The demo farm field day will run from 9:00 to 11:30 am on Friday, August 30.

The field day is free and pre-registration is highly encouraged to ensure all attendees have some breakfast and resources. To get more information and to pre-register, visit or call the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775.

$65,000 Awarded Through Local Chapter Grant Program

Thirteen Nebraska FFA chapters or FFA members were awarded funds through the Nebraska FFA Foundation local chapter grant program.

This program, in its third year, supports Nebraska agricultural education classrooms, FFA programs and individual student entrepreneurship Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Funds are provided by the Nebraska FFA Foundation and its general fund donors.

The grant recipients for 2019 are:
-    Bayard: $10,000 Greenhouse
-    Franklin: $8,000 Plasma Table
-    Bishop Neumann: $1,000 SawStop Table Saw
-    Sutton: $700 Greenhouse Repairs
-    Minatare: $2,000 Plasma Cutter and TIG Welder
-    Wood River: $8,000 Greenhouse
-    Axtell: $8,000 Greenhouse
-    Norris: $2,700 Welder Replacement
-    Chase County: $9,175 Welding Updates
-    McCool Junction: $1,250 Animal Learning Barn Supplies- Camera and Generator
-    Waverly FFA Member: Audrey Sorensen: $4,175 Pond Improvement SAE Project
-    Rock County: $5,000 Welding Updates
-    Sutherland: $5,000 Greenhouse

“Our board worked many years to develop sustainable funding to provide this program. The board knew that there were many programs in need of more financial support to develop career-ready students in agriculture, and awarding $65,000 will give students in these schools some of the resources necessary to reach their full potential,” said Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.

Many of these grant recipients will be showcased on the Nebraska FFA Foundation website and social media throughout the next couple years. Applications for the 2020 Local Chapter Grant Program will open in April.

Annual Nebraska FFA Foundation Auction to be Held on September 11 at Husker Harvest Days and Online

Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., will be hosting a tire auction for the Nebraska FFA Foundation at Husker Harvest Days on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. In its seventh year, the 2019 auction will include a variety of tires on-site and online only bidding for a John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Floatation Tires.

“We are so grateful for the support of Titan Tire, Graham Tire and the several John Deere dealers in the state for supporting the Nebraska FFA Foundation in this way. They, along with the bidders understand the value that this contribution makes for Nebraska FFA members," says Stacey Agnew. “These funds mean sustainability for the growing number of FFA chapters, members and advisors across the state.”

To participate in the live auction on Wednesday, September 11 at 11:00 am sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number to bid in person or you can bid online. To learn more about the online bidding, information coming soon.

To participate in the online only auction for the John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Flotation- information coming soon.

The list of tires, gator information and details about the live auction and online only auction are available at

ACE’s annual ethanol conference kicks off in Omaha

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 32nd annual conference kicked off in Omaha, Nebraska, today with a welcome from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and updates from ACE leadership.

“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” Governor Ricketts said.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion of gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”

“The agriculture and ethanol industries have been weathering challenging market conditions, as we convene for the 32nd annual ACE conference, and there are headwinds to confront ahead,” Kristensen said. “With uncertainty surrounding the RFS and trade negotiations, we must engage in meaningful dialogue to find ways to increase demand for ethanol in our fuel supply domestically with E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as in markets around the globe that are beginning to recognize ethanol’s high octane and environmental benefits in renewable fuels policies.”

With EPA finally allowing year-round E15 use, Jennings acknowledged this positive development, but pointed out the good news is being undermined by the bad and encouraged the ACE conference crowd that now is the time to stand up and speak out against the clear harm the administration’s actions have had on the industry. “EPA continues to mismanage the RFS with a refiner-win-at-all-costs approach to small refinery exemptions, and, when you throw in trade wars for good measure, it constrains our ability to expand the use of ethanol here at home and around the world,” Jennings said. “We’ve come to the conclusion we cannot merely play defense on the RFS and hope trade wars subside. We need to turn the page, to go on offense. We need a new vision for how to increase demand for ethanol and break free from the status-quo.”

“Combining ethanol’s high octane and low carbon strengths into a new growth strategy not only allows us to go on offense, it gives our champions in Congress something to be for as the discussion about climate change begins to ramp up in Washington,” Jennings added. “ACE members have what it takes to make things happen.”

Lamberty addressed the current market environment and where to see the silver lining with low ethanol prices. “Some of the biggest gains we’ve made in the history of the U.S. ethanol industry happened during times when we had the lowest prices,” Lamberty said. “This time around, however, with domestic markets barricaded by EPA policy and oil company contract language, low U.S. ethanol prices caught the attention of marketers in other parts of the world and more ethanol was exported from the U.S. than ever before.”

Ricketts Urges EPA to Strengthen Commitment to Renewable Fuels

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts addressed the 32nd annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference in Omaha.  During his remarks, he discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent decision to exempt 31 small refineries from fulfilling their Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” said Governor Ricketts.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”

Each year, several small refineries petition the EPA for temporary exemptions to their RVOs.  The EPA exempted fewer than 10 small refineries annually under the RFS for 2013-2015.  However, in recent years the EPA has been much more willing to grant exemptions.  Under the 2018 RFS, 40 small refineries sought exemptions and 31 received them. 

Rural Mainstreet Index Drops to Lowest Level in Two Years: Trade War Having Negative Impacts

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell below growth neutral for the only the second time this year. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, the RMI for August indicated negative growth for the region.     

The overall index slumped to 46.5 from 50.2 in July. This is the lowest reading for the index since October 2017. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral, and an RMI below the growth neutral threshold. 50.0, indicates negative growth for the month.

“The trade war with China and the lack of passage of the USMCA (NAFTA’s replacement) are driving growth lower for areas of the region with close ties to agriculture.  Despite a $16 billion federal government support package coming soon, a drop in farm income is negatively affecting the Rural Mainstreet Economy,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Three of four bankers reported the trade war was having a negative impact on their local economy.

As stated by Jeffrey Gerhart, CEO of the Bank of Newman Grove in Newman Grove, Nebraska, “Trade wars have been and will continue to be a drain on our ag economy”

“Despite the negative impact of tariffs and the trade war, only 28.2% of bankers support cutting tariffs on imported goods from China,” said Goss.

Farming and ranching:
The farmland and ranchland-price index for August improved to a still weak 46.3 from July’s 45.6. This is the 69th straight month the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0. 

The August farm equipment-sales index dropped to 30.3 from July’s 37.9. This marks the 72nd straight month the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. “The dismal economic outlook for farm income continues to decimate agriculture equipment sales in the region,” reported Goss.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August fell to 44.4 from July’s 47.9. The state’s farmland-price index slipped to 43.5 from last month’s 44.0. Nebraska’s new-hiring index slumped to 46.8 from July’s 56.3. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.1% compared to a stronger 1.3% for urban areas of the state. But there is some optimism among bankers. John Nelsen, branch president of FirsTier Bank in Holdrege, said, “If we happen to win the trade war, we will have a very positive impact on our local economy. We need to play it out.”

Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa sank to 46.2 from July’s 49.9. Iowa’s farmland-price index improved to 46.1 from July’s 45.4. Iowa’s new-hiring index for August fell to 51.8 from 61.6 in July. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Iowa have experienced job losses with a reduction of 0.4% compared to a much stronger 1.4% for urban areas of the state.

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

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

USDA Using Flexibility to Assist Farmers, Ranchers in Flooded Areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced it will defer accrual of interest for all agricultural producers’ spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to help the wide swath of farmers and ranchers affected by extreme weather in 2019. Specifically, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or for two months, until November 30, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019. For any premium that is not paid by one of those new deadlines, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of the policy.

“USDA recognizes that farmers and ranchers have been severely affected by the extreme weather challenges this year,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I often brag about the resiliency of farmers but after a lifetime in the business, I have to say that this year is one for the record books. To help ease the burden on these folks, we are continuing to extend flexibility for producers with today’s announcement.”

RMA Administrator Martin Barbre added, “This administrative flexibility is not unprecedented but is a move RMA takes seriously and only under special circumstances like we’re experiencing today. Growers typically have some crop harvested and cash flow to make their billing date, but with so many late planted crops, this year will be an anomaly.”

America’s farmers and ranchers have been especially challenged throughout the 2019 crop year, struggling through severe flooding and excessive moisture conditions across the grain belt and in many other rural communities, with some areas also dealing with extreme heat and drought. Such weather conditions are expected to take a serious toll on acres planted, crop yields, and crop quality as harvest begins. One of the largest operating costs for producers is crop insurance premiums paid to their Approved Insurance Provider. Many spring crop insurance premiums are due to be paid before October 1.

Without the interest deferral, policies with an August 15 premium billing date would have interest attach starting October 1 if premiums were not paid by September 30. Now, under the change, policies that do not have the premium paid by November 30 will have interest attach on December 1, calculated from the date of the premium billing notice.

Earlier this summer, USDA announced a series of flexibilities to reduce stress on producers affected by weather, including: providing more time for cover crop haying and grazing by moving the start date from November 1 to September 1, 2019; allowing producers who filed prevented planting claims then planted a cover crop with a potential for harvest to receive a $15 per acre Market Facilitation Program payment; holding signups in select states for producers to receive assistance in planting cover crops; and extending the crop reporting deadline in select states. USDA also will provide producers with prevented planting acreage additional assistance, which will be announced in the coming weeks, through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.


With harvest beginning in some states and right around the corner in others, National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that following pesticide labels is critical right through the end of the season.

In particular, it’s important to pay close attention to preharvest interval requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure that any potential traces of the product left behind are at levels that will not cause disruptions in trade.

Every pesticide has a maximum residue level (MRL) specific to each crop for which it is labeled. MRLs are a measurement of acceptable pesticide residues, set far below toxicological safety limits, for every product treated with pesticides.

They provide a standard to help ensure that food treated with pesticides is safe for consumption and ultimately verify that farmers have used crop protection products correctly. Especially in international markets, if shipments are tested and the MRL for one or more pesticides is exceeded that delivery may be rejected. While this is a rare situation, NCGA encourages farmers to continue to use responsible application practices to reduce any potential barriers to U.S. corn reaching destinations around the world.

ASA Biotech Working Group Talks Regulatory Updates, Issues

The American Soybean Association's Biotech Working Group (BWG) met in Louisville, Kentucky last week to discuss a wide range of issues impacting the biotech and farming industries.

Participants heard an overview of a USDA-APHIS proposed rule to update biotech regulations from American Seed Trade Association (ASTA); discussed emerging issues in the EU surrounding maximum residue limits; and heard reports from the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and United Soybean Board (USB).

A report from USSEC provided information on international market development efforts for U.S. soy and an update on biotech approval systems in soy importing countries. The United Soybean Board gave an update on several soybean checkoff-funded programs, including efforts to improve the compositional quality and nutrient density of U.S. soybeans.

BWG provides the forum where overarching biotechnology issues like educational needs and market access barriers, are discussed and addressed by technology providers and U.S. soybean growers. The group includes representatives from industry biotech trait providers, along with farmer-leaders and staff from ASA, USB and USSEC.

The Biotech Working Group will gather again for a meeting next winter.

Southeast Asia Conference Highlights U.S. Farmers’ Commitment To Growing the Region

U.S. farmers and their customers in Southeast Asia celebrated decades of working together and the potential for continued partnership and growth during the 2019 Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference in Singapore last week.

The conference was co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS).

It brought together 200 guests from 11 countries including major value chain players like importers and exporters of feed grains, oilseeds and co-products; representatives from bulk and container grain transportation; U.S. and local government; and industry representatives. Overall, 79 importer participants represented 61 companies from seven countries and 43 exporter participants represented 18 U.S. organizations. Seven U.S. corn and soybean grower leaders and attended in addition to 11 FAS members representing seven countries.

“We got to see firsthand what the Council does to build markets for us in Southeast Asia. We sat down with buyers and heard their needs and concerns, and we got a better understanding about how trade works,” said Dennis McNinch, chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission and leader of USGC Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-team), who spoke during the conference. “Not only did we learn about the opportunities for trade, but we also learned about our competitors in these key markets.”

Conference proceedings as well as significant time for side meetings and networking allowed those gathered to share information about the latest market movements and new and emerging uses for both U.S. soybeans and U.S. feed grains, including corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and sorghum.

“U.S. soybean farmers have been impacted by export uncertainty and trade tensions. And while aid in the short-term is helpful, our farmers need stability and long-term solutions,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC chief executive officer. “We are working to provide that stability by building demand and expanding global market access for U.S. soy products, aside from China. This means building on existing relationships abroad and investing in new ones in evolving and growing markets. Southeast Asia is a great example of where we see a future for U.S. soy, building on our shared legacy between USSEC and USGC and in an area where there is continued growth.”

U.S. corn and soybean growers traveled to Singapore for the conference to provide their on-the-ground perspectives on the 2019 crop. Grower leaders McNinch; Jacob Parker, North Carolina farmer and director for the United Soybean Board (USB); and Brian Kemp, Iowa farmer and a director for the American Soybean Association (ASA) shared their challenges this growing season due to a wet spring but highlighted their conservation practices and precision technology used to produce sustainably-grown products for international customers.

“Each growing season is different, and every year comes with its own challenges. Over the past year, we have faced fluctuating markets and a complicated planting season, but our commitment to producing sustainable and reliable soy has never wavered,” Parker said. “I know this firsthand as a farmer, and I hear it from my neighbors. American farmers are all working hard in our fields to make sure we can continue to deliver a high-quality product to our customers.”

In addition, industry speakers discussed global supply and demand outlook for corn, soybeans and co-products, the impact of climate change, foreign animal diseases and disruptive technologies. Representatives from USSEC and USGC also touched on growth opportunities for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and soybean products in Southeast Asia.

“Southeast Asia is a 116 million ton feed market and growing, and the region’s coarse grains and co-product imports have grown to more than six million metric tons,” said Manuel Sanchez, USGC regional director for Southeast Asia. “This region buys one of every three metric tons of DDGS exported out of the United States - a statistic that alone tells the story about why we’re here doing this work.”

The conference also included several panel discussions and presentations specific to agricultural trade in Southeast Asia, including port developments, opportunities for bulk and container shipping and grain storage in sub-tropical and tropical regions.

“Southeast Asia is a growing portion of the world economy with an increasing population that is improving diets and energy usage. Several countries in this region hold strong potential for importing U.S. corn in all forms,” said Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn Commission chief executive officer, who also spoke during the conference. “Storing corn in tropical environments requires certain management practices, and a recent study commissioned by the Council and funded in part by Kansas Corn brought additional knowledge for competing in these markets. The findings of this research, conducted by the IGP Institute at Kansas State University in cooperation with a Malaysian grain handler, were also introduced during the conference to share this knowledge with end-users throughout the region.”

Meetings like the Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference allow the Council and USSEC members to connect, learn from each other and facilitate trade. These events contribute to the shared belief that exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability.

RFA to Australia: Choose Ethanol, Not Petroleum Reserve

In a letter sent today, the Renewable Fuels Association encouraged Australia’s energy minister to strongly consider U.S. ethanol imports as a cleaner, more affordable alternative to purchasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. According to RFA, opening the Australian market to ethanol imports would be good for the continent’s economy and air quality, and would help spur more rapid development of a domestic biofuels industry.

The letter, from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, cited news reports of Australia’s request for access to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve “as a hedge against potential oil supply disruptions that appear increasingly likely given the volatile situation in the Strait of Hormuz.” Ethanol is a better option to protect Australian consumers from supply shocks, Cooper said.

Cooper wrote that part of the challenge Australia is facing with renewable fuels growth— biofuels represent less than 2 percent of the country’s liquid transportation fuel supply—is the result of the 5 percent tariff and customs tax of A$0.401 per liter for ethanol imports. “These severe measures have made fuel ethanol imports generally uncompetitive with gasoline and domestically produced ethanol,” Cooper wrote in his letter to Angus Taylor, Australia’s Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction.

“Removing or at least significantly reducing the tariff and custom tax barriers to imported ethanol does not necessitate a complex negotiation with the U.S. government over our Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Cooper added. “Nor will it take much time. U.S. ethanol is available today for export to Australia. … U.S. ethanol can provide near-immediate relief to your transportation fuel supply shortage with the added benefit of providing Australia with a tangible demonstration of its commitment to carbon reduction.”

Increasing ethanol use makes  more sense than tapping into more petroleum imports, Cooper also wrote, especially since Australia is a seeking to reduce its carbon footprint as a party to the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. When it comes to carbon reduction, ethanol is the clear winner over fossil fuels.

Bayer PLUS Rewards Offers Expanded Product Portfolio With Greater Flexibility, More Transparency

For the 2020 crop season, Bayer announces the new Bayer PLUS Rewards program, offering expanded options of crop protection products to choose from, more flexibility and more cash incentives than ever before.

The new program brings together a broader portfolio of high-performance products, including seed, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, to help farmers make the most of every acre planted. In addition, Bayer PLUS Rewards provides farmers with incentives for purchasing the seed and crop inputs they rely on to grow their crops and maximize their profit potential. The program also increases transparency by offering participants a timely look at incentives earned, along with more control over how incentives are redeemed.

“We’re working with retailers to provide growers the opportunity to choose from a broad portfolio of products. Bayer PLUS Rewards is driven by smart agronomic decisions, and we’ll continue to work with our growers and retailers to put the right product on the right acre,” says Leticia Goncalves, U.S. Crop Science Country Division Head for Bayer. “Our broad portfolio, combined with rewards, will provide our loyal customers the flexibility to choose products that will provide them the greatest chance for success on their farms. These are tough times in agriculture and Bayer is proud to offer support to farmers through Bayer PLUS Rewards.”

Bayer PLUS Rewards replaces the Roundup Ready PLUSÒ program, as well as Bayer Innovation PlusÔ, for the 2020 season. Bayer PLUS Rewards offers farmers a full agronomic solution for every acre of their farm. Starting with any two qualifying products, farmers begin earning $3/A, building additional cash back on every subsequent qualifying product they purchase. Additionally, farmers have the opportunity to earn $2/A on any Roundup® brand agricultural herbicide when paired with another qualifying herbicide, plus an additional $2/A when XtendiMaxÒ herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology is paired with a Roundup herbicide and an additional qualifying herbicide. Once earning from either base incentive option, farmers have the opportunity to earn $.50/A on additional Bayer products, expanding the already vast product options that qualify for rewards.

“Bayer PLUS Rewards offers unprecedented flexibility with numerous ways for farmers to keep not only yield-robbing weeds in check but also other pests at bay from planting to harvest with Bayer’s complete seed and crop-protection portfolio,” says Julio Negreli, Bayer Crop Protection Marketing Lead. “Wherever and whatever they farm, U.S. farmers can find the best products for their operations within the Bayer PLUS Rewards portfolio, while choosing how to use their rewards.”

As part of Bayer PLUS Rewards, customers will have access to a portal which provides a snapshot of purchase history, along with up-to-date incentive totals and redemption options. Bayer PLUS Rewards participants can control how and when they redeem incentives by choosing a “cash-out” option early in the season, once a minimum incentives total is achieved. They can also work with their retailer to direct incentives toward future seed or chemistry purchases.

Enrolling is simple. Farmers can visit to activate their account, register for the program and read more about Bayer PLUS Rewards. Those who have a valid Tech ID associated with their operation will receive details by mail in the coming weeks. Once signed in, they’ll begin earning rewards on their purchase history from a robust portfolio of products.

2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics focuses on accelerating innovation in corn hybrid development

Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS today launched the 2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, a competition that seeks analytical approaches to improve complex crop breeding processes. Data analytics, mathematics and statistics students, as well as professionals worldwide are invited to enter by Jan. 21, 2020. Using real-world crop data, entrants are tasked to develop models that can predict the performance of potential corn products.

Now in its fifth consecutive year, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is a collaborative effort between Syngenta and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The competition brings together experts in mathematics, computer science and analytics, emphasizing the importance of cross-industry collaboration necessary to feed a growing population with limited natural resources. The Syngenta Crop Challenge gathers the best minds across many disciplines to solve the world’s biggest agricultural challenges.

“The Syngenta Crop Challenge gives data analytics experts the opportunity to use their skills to address real challenges, such as the growing global food demand and changing environment,” said Gregory Doonan, head of novel algorithm advancement, Syngenta. “Scientists at research and development organizations like Syngenta are working to accelerate innovation in plant science by breeding plants with the most resilient, highest-yielding genetics. This competition provides a forum for students and experts in data analytics, mathematics and statistics to contribute to improving crop productivity and help feed the world.”

The deadline for entries is Jan. 21, 2020. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on the rigor and validity of the process and the quality of the proposed solution. Finalists will be announced in March and will be given the opportunity to present their submissions at the end of April during the 2020 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in Denver, Colorado, where the winners will be announced. The winner will be awarded $5,000; the runner up will receive $2,500; and the third place team will receive $1,000.

Established in 2015, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is supported by Syngenta and hosted by the Analytics Society of INFORMS. It is funded by prize winnings donated by Syngenta, in connection with the company’s win of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in 2015.

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