Saturday, September 14, 2019

Friday September 13 Ag News

Randy Pryor, Extension Educator, Saline County

   I was surprised at Husker Harvest Days working on farm policy questions in the UNL building, that a few farm operators had not signed up yet for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. The 2019 trade assistance mirrors the 2018 assistance of direct payments to producers due to commodity price losses with trade negotiations.

   The MFP payments are paid on a per acre planted basis and half is paid now.  The payments vary in Nebraska from $15 per acre on prevented planting acres to a high of $74 per acre.  Saline County is $63 per acre and Gage and Jefferson are $61 per acre.  The deadline to sign-up for MFP is December 6.  A second and third installment of payment could come later, with maybe an announcement in December if trade losses and lower commodity price condition continue.  There are tax implications in which year additional MFP would be paid.  This is a big deal because for Saline County alone, MFP with 604 paid applications as of the first week in September, amounted to 6.2 million dollars for crops and $75,000 to livestock.

   The Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill are now open for enrollment through March 15, 2020. Producers have to make a decision between the programs for the 2019 and 2020 crop years, but will then face a new decision every year starting in 2021. The programs are largely consistent with how they were implemented in the 2014 Farm Bill, but a few program changes and a definite change in ag outlook could substantially change the decision ahead for producers.

   Extension will hold educational meetings across the state in the November and December timeframe.  I suggest attending one of those meetings before signing up for this program.  It also allows farm operators to further analyze the market situation.  Take a look at the Farm Bill Update handout used at Husker Harvest Days at:  There are some key changes on how the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) are calculated.  There is also an opportunity to update PLC yields which impacts certain payments.

   Ask for FSA-156EZ form from the FSA office for each of your FSA farm numbers.  This can be sent electronically to you and verifies the base crops, your farm base acres and PLC yields that are on file.  Pay close attention to your PLC yields because you have an opportunity to update those.  We cannot update base acres this go around.  Calculate your past proven yield, simple average, from 2013-2107 using crop insurance or farm records.  For corn, soybeans and milo, multiply your average yield times 81%.  For wheat, multiply the average yield by 87.903%. If your yield calculation is higher than what is on the FSA-156EZ form, then it is a no brainer to update your PLC yield.  It can mean extra income for you when enrolling in the PLC program when national prices fall below the PLC reference prices. You do not have to enroll in the program to update yields.

   There are two online decision tools that are available to make an informed two year decision and then annually.  All you need is the FSA-156EZ form, however, if you have irrigation, it’s too early.  We need to wait until this form has your Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) to run the decision tools.  All HIP will be re-calculated for the new Farm Bill which hasn’t been done yet.

   Dryland farms can be analyzed now with the Texas A&M program at:  This decision computer aid characterizes probabilities of different levels of expected FSA payments. These characterizations are based on 500 possible future realizations of market prices and county yields.  It is very easy to run.  Click on the average numbers on the output to see the entire output summary.  The decision tool developed by Illinois is not ready yet, but an excellent video update on the Farm Bill and the decision tool is available at:

   My advice is wait for the educational meetings after harvest this year, then make your appointments for the two-year decision.  More information needs to come from USDA on some important details.  Go ahead and analyze now if you will be able to update your PLC yields.  You can ask for a copy of your 156EZ forms to prepare.  If you have irrigation, wait to ask for the 156EZ form after the historical percentages are prepared. Dryland farmers can use the Texas A&M decision tool available online now and irrigators can use the tool once HIP is known.  The 2019 Program Election/Enrollment deadline is March 15th. If everyone waits to sign-up until late next year, it’s increasingly difficult for FSA offices to conduct an orderly signup.  For more information visit

Late Season Soybean Diseases Widespread in Areas of Nebraska

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Record rainfall during August and continued wet conditions into September are much to blame for the flush of diseases Nebraska’s soybean crop has been experiencing. The following describes some of the more common diseases diagnosed by the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in samples from across Nebraska.

Sudden Death Syndrome

Sudden death syndrome (SDS), caused by the fungus Fusarium virguliforme, develops during cool, wet growing seasons. The fungus may infect roots early in the growing season, but foliar symptoms develop during R3 or later. Heavy rains during flowering promote foliar symptom development, as well as the presence of soybean cyst nematode. Symptoms include interveinal yellowing and necrosis on leaves that quickly turns brown. Leaves may defoliate within several days after symptom development. Foliar symptoms are accompanied by severe root rot. The inside of lower stems may be discolored, while the central pith remains white. Sometimes cobalt blue fungal growth may be visible on symptomatic roots.

SDS-resistant soybean varieties may reduce foliar symptoms by up to 80% and should be utilized as the best management practice for SDS. Some seed treatment fungicides may be effective, as well, especially when used in combination with resistant varieties. Management of soybean cyst nematode is also recommended because the nematode can cause SDS to develop earlier and become more severe in fields where both are present. Crop rotation with corn is not effective for management because the fungus can survive on corn kernels and other debris.

Frogeye Leaf Spot

Frogeye leaf spot is caused by the fungus Cercospora sojina. The fungus survives in infested crop debris and seed. Symptoms are small, irregular gray to brown lesions with dark borders. Disease is favored by warm temperatures and high relative humidity. In fields where there is a history of severe frogeye leaf spot disease, disease-resistant soybean varieties should be used and, when possible, the field should be rotated to a non-host crop.

Foliar fungicides can be very effective at managing the disease, especially when applied at R3-R5. However, resistance to the QoI fungicides (formerly called strobilurins) is becoming increasingly common in other states, including South Dakota and Iowa. If you have observed reduced control of frogeye leaf spot after a foliar fungicide application, please notify us in Nebraska Extension. Products containing active ingredients from multiple classes may be necessary to achieve adequate control. Product combinations with up to three modes of action are currently available.

Brown Stem Rot

Brown stem rot, caused by the fungus Phialophora gregata, infects roots and lower stems. The pathogen affects water and nutrient movement in the plant. Like SDS, infection may occur early, but leaf symptoms don’t develop until the reproductive stages. Plants may develop brown stems toward the base and lodge. Leaf symptoms may include interveinal chlorosis similar to SDS. One diagnostic feature of this disease is brown discoloration with stacked “disk-like” tissue in the center (pith) of split stems. Wet soils early in the season and moisture stress later support disease development. Planting resistant soybean varieties and crop rotation are important for management of brown stem rot.

White Mold

White mold is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. The disease is common in many areas of the state and is supported by frequent moisture and cooler temperatures. Initial infection is through senescing flower petals. Narrow row spacing, which supports early canopy closure and higher relative humidity in the canopy, supports disease development. Dead plants may appear singly or in patches in the field with white fungal growth evident in and on the stems. Infected stems may become bleached and stringy. Stems and seed pods may also contain hard, black fungal structures (sclerotia) that resemble rat droppings. Sclerotia fall to the ground during harvest and survive for years until field conditions are favorable for sporulation and infection of susceptible crops again.

Grass crops, like corn, grain sorghum, and small grains, do not develop white mold; however, crop rotation is not helpful for reducing disease because of the longevity of the fungus in sclerotia. Fungicides can effectively control the disease when applied during flowering in fields with a history of white mold and favorable conditions. Fungicides are most effective when applied at flowering and are less effective when applied once symptoms are visible on the plant. Planting in 30-inch rows (instead of narrow drilled rows) helps to promote air movement in the canopy and a reduction in relative humidity.

Bacterial Blight

Bacterial blight is caused by Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. glycinea. Bacterial blight is very common in soybean fields this year because of the frequent rainfall and high relative humidity. Leaf symptoms usually start in the upper, younger leaves because they are most susceptible. Small, irregular shaped reddish-brown lesions are surrounded by yellow haloes. Lesions may fall apart, giving leaves a tattered appearance. The bacteria survive in crop debris and seed. Disease is favored by rainstorms, high winds, and hail, as well as cooler temperatures.

Identification and Management

Accurate diagnosis is critical for effective crop disease management. Symptoms of some of these and other diseases can appear very similar, but management strategies vary greatly.

Nebraska Corn Internships Announced

Over the last several years, Nebraska Corn has provided real-world experiences and opportunities for college interns. These students work directly with Nebraska Corn cooperating organizations including the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Corn Growers Association.

Each year, Nebraska Corn offers several internship opportunities. Six of the internships are located outside of the state and the other two are located in the offices of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, both in Lincoln, Nebraska. All eight opportunities are paid internship experiences. Applications for these internships are now available at  Descriptions and applications deadlines can be found below.

2020-2021 Internship Opportunities

Communications and Outreach Internship
Host: Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: May 2020 – May 2021
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

**New Option for 2020**

International Relations Internship (Deadline quickly approaching!)
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Jan. 2020 – May 2020 (with option to continue for a full year)
Application Due Date: Oct. 4, 2019

Communications and Market Development Internship (Deadline quickly approaching!)
Host: Nebraska Corn Board
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: September 2019 – May 2020
Application Due Date: Sept. 20, 2019

Communications and Market Development Internship
Host: Nebraska Corn Board
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: May 2020 – May 2021
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

Marketing and Communications Internship
Host: National Corn Growers Association
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Duration: Summer 2020
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

Public Policy Internship
Host: National Corn Growers Association
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Summer 2020
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

Promotion and International Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Meat Export Federation
Location: Denver, Colorado
Duration: Summer 2020
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

International Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Summer 2020
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

International Agricultural Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: Summer 2020
Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019

Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options

Making decisions for your farm and ranch can be stressful. However, having good financial records can help make the decision making process easier.

To help farmers and ranchers improve their record keeping and decision making, Nebraska Extension will be holding “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options” courses across the state. Each “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options” course is a series of four, three-hour sessions that will teach farmers and ranchers how to analyze their financial documents. The course fee is $20 per participant; class size is limited to 20 people per location.

This course is designed to help farmers and ranchers understand their current financial position and how big decisions like large purchases, new leases or changes in production will affect their bottom line. Upon completion of this program, participants will have a better understanding of how financial records can be used to make decisions and confidently discuss their financial position with their family, business partners, and lenders.

Chadron August 13, 15, 20, 22 at the Dawes County Extension Office (250 Main St. #8) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

O’Neill October 1, 3, 15, 17 at the Holt County Extension Office (128 N 6th St # 100) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Fullerton October 8, 10, 15, 17 at the Nance County Extension Office (304 3rd Street) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

North Platte November 4, 5, 13, 14 at the West Central Research & Extension Center (402 W State Farm Road) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ord December 12 & 13 at the Valley County Fairgrounds (801 S St) from 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

This course hosted by Nebraska Extension. Annie’s Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America in Nebraska.  Additional Public Info at

Saunders County Livestock Association

September 16 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm   
6:00 p.m. Social
7:00 p.m. Dinner
Business Meeting to follow
Cody Weitzenkamp of Commodity Solutions & Company will talk about livestock and grains.
    Saunders County Fairgrounds
    4-H Building
    Wahoo, NE

Japanese feed corn millers learn about U.S. value chain in mission to Nebraska, Iowa and Washington

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Board and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will soon bring a Japanese trade team of feed milling professionals to the United States. While here, the team will visit Nebraska, Iowa and Washington to better understand the U.S. corn marketing system and pave the way for continued growth in grain, ethanol and co-product sales to the country.

The team of five, including feed milling decision makers, are in the United States to see firsthand U.S. corn, co-products and ethanol production, meeting directly with U.S. suppliers and exporters.

“Prospective corn buyers from any country want to experience every point in the value chain. That’s why the Council strives to bring buyers together with sellers to facilitate trade around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “Japan has been a longstanding trading partner with the U.S. and is our second largest buyer of grains in all forms. We are excited to educate these newer, less-experienced Japanese feed corn millers, showcase major production facilities and farms in our country and demonstrate just how proud we are of the corn quality in the U.S., so we can continue to cement these relationships for U.S. farmers and Japanese end-users for years to come.”

Japan ranks as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest market for U.S. barley and the ninth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS.

Japan more than doubled U.S. ethanol imports to 934,000 gallons (331,000 bushels in corn equivalent) in 2017/2018, the most since 2010/2011. Using information provided by the Council, the Japanese Ministry of Economy (METI) modified its policy in 2018 to allow U.S. corn-based ethanol in the market based on technological advancements that raised the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction level of U.S. corn-based ethanol and allowed near-term imports of ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) made with nearly 100 million gallons of ethanol.

“Nebraska has a long-standing tradition and reputation of producing quality ag products,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We’re appreciative of Japan’s business and we’re working to strengthen this relationship well into the future. I’m excited for this group to be in our great state.”

During their time in Iowa and Nebraska, participants will visit a corn farm operation, grain elevator with a rail terminal, ethanol plant and feed mill before flying to Washington to stop in at an export terminal where they will see how grain is sampled and goes through grain inspection before making its way to Japan.

Fischer Statement on Suspension of Further Chinese Tariffs on Soybeans and Pork

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after China announced it will suspend tariff hikes on U.S. soybeans and pork:

“It’s good to see recent purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and this morning’s announcement that China will not be adding additional tariffs for U.S. imports of soybeans and pork. This is positive news for Nebraska’s farmers and producers. However, our producers still face significant trade uncertainties. I will continue to push for passage of USMCA, which will bring more opportunities to our state.”

NPPC Statement on China Market Access

This morning, Chinese media reported that it was suspending the imposition of punitive tariffs on U.S. pork imports. The following is a statement from National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C.:

"If media reports are accurate, this is a most welcome development. The Chinese have placed punitive tariffs of 60% on most U.S. pork products, bringing the effective tariff rate on most U.S. pork to 72%.

"According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork has shaved $8 off the price of every hog sold in the United States for well over a year. Most of our competitors face only a 12% tariff on their pork exports to China. Pork is somewhat unique given that it is the most important protein consumed in China, accounting for a significant part of the consumer price index.

"Additionally, pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. When you consider that China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world, the importance of this market to U.S. pork producers is clear. U.S. pork exports could single handedly make a huge dent in the trade imbalance with China. We are hopeful that this apparent gesture of goodwill by China leads not only to more sales of U.S. pork, but that it contributes to a resolution of U.S.-China trade restrictions."

Beef Resources for Family and Consumer Science Teacher Programs

Family and Consumer Science teachers at the Beef for Strength exhibit received beef toolkits, recipes and posters for classroom lessons.

120 Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teachers visited the Beef for Strength exhibit during the 2019 Iowa Family and Consumer Science Educators Conference held in Ames, Iowa on August 6, 2019. Teachers received a beef toolkit with beef recipes, beef posters and educational resources for classroom beef lessons. Attendees prepared a beef jerky trail mix as a portable protein snack idea for students.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) sponsored a sports nutrition dietitian speaker to present to interested teachers during a break-out session. The sports dietitian shared the importance of protein, including beef and beef recipes, to fuel strength, sports performance and recovery. 

“It’s a great opportunity to provide new science-based beef nutrition and culinary resources to FCS teachers to improve their understanding of beef’s role in a healthful diet,” stated Rochelle Gilman, RD, Director of Nutrition and Health for IBIC.

IBIC offers grants for Family and Consumer Science teachers, which allows teachers to purchase beef to use in cooking lessons focusing on beef cuts, cooking and nutrition. Over $13,000 was awarded to Family and Consumer Science programs during the 2018-19 school year to more than 6,300 middle and high school students who benefited from the Beef Grant Program. Many teachers commented that without the beef grants, they would be unable to teach a specific beef cooking unit with their students. 

One teacher commented regarding the beef grant, “Without Iowa Beef Industry Council’s generous grant, I would not have been able to teach a specific unit on cooking with beef in my foods classes, as it is not in the budget. The students were surprised that they could make a beef dish that was so yummy, easy, and yet made with something other than ground beef.”

Iowa Farmers Union Meet with Lawmakers, USDA Officials in D.C.

Iowa Farmers Union members joined nearly 400 farmers, ranchers and fishermen from across the country in Washington, D.C., this week, for the National Farmers Union Fall Legislative Fly-In. The annual event allows Farmers Union members to meet directly with lawmakers, USDA leaders and other administration officials to discuss issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

"As a farmer-led organization, grassroots advocacy and education build the core of Iowa Farmers Union," said IFU President Aaron Heley Lehman. "The annual NFU Fly-In is a great opportunity for our members to share stories personal to them with both the Iowa and national delegation of lawmakers. Our members are able to give lawmakers a firsthand look at the impacts of their policy and see the challenges impacting real people living in rural areas. Given the many hurdles facing the agricultural sector, it is our job to bring a reality check for lawmakers to Washington D.C. Ultimately, we hope that our personal interactions with lawmakers will encourage them to prioritize policies supporting family farmers and ranchers and rural communities."

Iowa members met with lawmakers to advocate for legislative priorities that will affect their operations and communities, including strengthening the farm safety net, supporting climate smart practices and biofuels, restoring competition to the agricultural economy, and improving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement and resolving ongoing trade disputes.

Before their meetings, NFU Fly-In participants attended a briefing at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Food Safety National Program Leader Dr. Jodi Williams, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Gregory Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs Ted McKinney, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Deputy Administrator Bill Beam, and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Chief of Staff Keith Gray addressed the group.

Additionally, a number of industry experts and agricultural policy specialists spoke to attendees about the farm economy, corporate consolidation, international trade, and biofuels.

"In early September, most farmers are busy harvesting, planting winter crops, and attending to livestock," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "The fact that nearly 400 are here this week to advocate better food and agricultural policy speaks volumes to how exceptionally challenging things are right now in farm country. And given the current circumstances, it is more important than ever that legislators are hearing directly from family farmers and ranchers about the issues they're dealing with. We hope that long after Fly-In attendees return to their farms, their elected representatives will use these conversations to write policies that bolster rural America and family farm agriculture."

Remember to Share Iowa Roads This Fall

There is an increase in farm vehicle traffic on Iowa roadways during harvest. So, it is not surprising that this is the time of year when there are also more agricultural collisions on highways and county roads.

The two most likely types of collisions with farm equipment are left-turn and rear-end collisions. The left-turn collision happens when the farm vehicle is about to make a wide left turn to align with a gate or small entry road. The motor vehicle behind begins to pass without understanding the farm vehicle was preparing to make a left turn.

The rear-end collision is common because farm equipment and motor vehicles travel at different speeds. When a car traveling 55 mph approaches a tractor traveling 15 mph, the distance gap between these two types of vehicles disappears in about five seconds – hardly enough time to react and brake.

This is a shared responsibility of both farm equipment and motor vehicle operators, according to Charles Schwab, Iowa State University professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering with extension and outreach responsibilities.

Farm equipment operators must be sure to mark their equipment for road travel and signal their turning intentions. Motorists must take extra caution during this time of year, looking for turn signals and slowing down as soon as they see a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem.

More information about sharing the roadway is available in the ISU Extension and Outreach Publication “Safely Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles” (AE 3540).

This year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week theme is “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear.” So as Iowans shift into high gear or road gear from Sept. 15-21 to observe National Farm Safety and Health Week, let’s all do our part to keep Iowa roadways safe.

National FFA Announces Record Membership of Over 700,000

The National FFA Organization is answering the need for more highly skilled graduates to fill job openings in the field of agriculture, and nowhere is this more evident than in the organization’s growing membership. The organization announced a record-high student membership of 700,170, up from 669,989 in 2018. The top six student membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow as membership continues to increase. This year, the organization has more than 100,000 Latino members, 45 percent of the membership is female with 52 percent of the membership being male. Females hold more than 50 percent of the leadership positions. FFA chapters can be found in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities.

“FFA is providing future leaders, and our membership growth reflects continued enthusiasm for agriculture as well as agricultural education,” National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl said. “FFA prepares our student members for careers in agriculture while working to ensure the security of our country's food, fiber and natural resources systems for years to come. Through real-world experiences, agriculture educators are helping students develop the technical knowledge, skills and problem-solving capabilities to be the industry's leaders of tomorrow.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.

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