Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday September 27 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2019, was 3.75 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 9 percent from September 1, 2018, and up 1 percent from June 1, 2019.

Breeding hog inventory, at 450,000 head, was up 5 percent from September 1, 2018, but down 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.30 million head, was up 9 percent from last year, and up 2 percent from last quarter.

The June - August 2019 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.21 million head, was up 6 percent from 2018. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 190,000 head, up 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.65 for the June - August period, compared to 11.30 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 205,000 sows during the September - November 2019 quarter, up 8 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2019 - February 2020 are 200,000 sows, up 8 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.

Iowa Hogs & Pigs Report

On September 1, 2019, there were 24.9 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. This is the highest inventory on record, up 6 percent from the previous year.

The June-August 2019 quarterly pig crop was 6.13 million head, up 3 percent from the previous quarter but 6 percent below last year. A total of 540,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.35 for the June-August quarter, down 0.10 head from last quarter.

As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 530,000 sows and gilts in the September-November quarter and 520,000 head during the December 2019-February 2020 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2019 was 77.7 million head. This was up 3 percent from September 1, 2018, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2019. This is the highest September 1 inventory of all hogs and pigs since the estimates began in 1988. 

Breeding inventory, at 6.43 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 71.2 million head, was up 4 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter. This is the highest September 1 market hog inventory since the estimates began in 1988.

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

Iowa .................:        24,900     106 
North Carolina ..:         9,500     102 
Minnesota ........:          9,000     105 
Illinois ..............:         5,300       97 
Indiana .............:         4,300      102 
Nebraska ..........:         3,750      109 
Missouri ...........:         3,600       96 
Kansas ..............:         2,080     102 
South Dakota ....:         2,000     116 

The June-August 2019 pig crop, at 35.3 million head, was up 3 percent from 2018. This is the largest June-August pig crop since estimates began in 1970. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.18 million head, down 1 percent from 2018. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.11 for the June-August period, compared to 10.72 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.16 million sows farrow during the September-November 2019 quarter, down 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2018, but up 2 percent from 2017. Intended farrowings for December 2019-February 2020, at 3.11 million sows, are down slightly from 2019, but up 2 percent from 2018.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from the previous year.

Nebraska Corn thanks Hastings farmer Lynn Chrisp for his national service to the industry

The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association extend their appreciation to Lynn Chrisp for serving as the president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Chrisp, a corn farmer from Hastings, spent the last year in the leadership role, which concludes Sept. 30.

“It’s always great to see a farmer from Nebraska at the helm of a national organization,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “Lynn not only served our state’s farmers well during his year as president, but he also was a powerful advocate for all American corn growers.”

Throughout his term, Chrisp dealt with many difficult issues including trade tariffs, challenges with the Renewable Fuel Standard, small refinery waivers and misleading corn syrup advertisements from Anheuser-Busch. He traveled through corn country, Washington, D.C. and around the world advocating for American corn farmers.

“From leading us through the Super Bowl response to visiting the White House on two different occasions, Lynn had the reins during one of the most interesting years in my time at NCGA,” said Jon Doggett, CEO of NCGA. “We’re grateful for his leadership and thankful for the difference he made for corn farmers through it all. Congratulations, on a job well done.”

“While serving in leadership roles often go without recognition, Lynn deserves so much more,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Serving as the NCGA president meant Lynn was often away from his family, friends and from the farm, but he served to improve the corn industry for all farmers. We need more farmers like Lynn willing to engage in key leadership roles. Hats off to Lynn for a job well-done!”

On Oct. 1, Chrisp will advance to NCGA’s chairman position. Kevin Ross, farmer from Underwood, Iowa, will replace Chrisp as president at that time.

State Corn Grower Leaders to Trump: Uphold Commitment to Farmers and RFS

State leaders of corn grower organizations in 23 states today sent a letter to President Trump, calling on him to follow the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. The letter to the President comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s most recent approval of 31 new RFS waivers to big oil companies. The 85 total waivers approved under the Trump Administration amount to 4.04 billion gallons, resulting in reduced corn demand due to lower ethanol blending and consumption and a rising number of ethanol producers slowing or idling production.

The state corn grower leaders urge the President to stop the harm caused by waivers and restore integrity to the RFS by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule.

Full text of the letter is below.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We are writing on behalf of the more than 300,000 corn farmers across the country who are being negatively impacted by a perfect storm of challenges in rural America. The 31 new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies, recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and bringing total waivers issued under your Administration to 85, could not have come at a worse time for agriculture.

Ethanol plants in several states, including Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota and Mississippi have closed or idled. These closures have cost 2,700 rural jobs and impacted demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn. Corn farmers are beginning harvest and continuing to lose markets to deliver their corn. Frustration in the countryside is growing.

Corn farmers are not asking for a special deal. We are simply asking, as we have been for the past two years, that your EPA uphold the law.

To effectively stop the harm caused by RFS waivers, EPA needs to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule. Accounting for waivers in the annual RFS volume process restores integrity to the RFS. It also allows your Administration to continue granting waivers, as allowed by the law, while keeping the RFS whole.

While adding gallons and improving market access for higher blends of ethanol are all policies farmers appreciate and support, future waivers will continue to minimize the RFS, unless your Administration acts to account for waivers beginning this coming year first.

We were pleased to see press reports indicating that, following a meeting with farm-state lawmakers, an agreement had been reached to address the harm caused by waivers. With more than 4 billion gallons waived out of the RFS, we appreciate you listening to our elected representatives about what is needed to restore meaning to the RFS. Farmers across the country are anxiously awaiting the release of more details about this agreement. Ethanol plants will continue to close if you don’t act soon, creating a rippling effect throughout the rural economy.

Corn farmers are appreciative of your past support for agriculture and ethanol. We especially appreciate your efforts to remove the barrier to year-round sales of E15, but EPA’s current use of waivers undermines growth potential for higher blends of ethanol, reduces demand, lowers the value of our crop, and puts the outlook for the rural economy in jeopardy.

Mr. President, we firmly ask that you uphold your commitment to America’s farmers and the RFS.

Dan Nerud, President, Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Jim Greif, President, Iowa Corn Growers Association

Steve Rome, President, Kansas Corn Growers Association
Doug Noem, President, South Dakota Corn Growers Association
Brian Thalmann, President, Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Jeremy Wilson, President, Alabama Soybean and Corn Association
Dave Eckhardt, President, Colorado Corn Growers Association
Rodney Harrell, President, Georgia Corn Growers Association
Ted Mottaz, President, Illinois Corn Growers Association
Sarah Delbecq, President, Indiana Corn Growers Association
Mark Roberts, President, Kentucky Corn Growers Association
Jason Condrey, President, Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association
Lenny Evan Miles, Jr., President, Maryland Grain Producers Association
Matt Frostic, President, Michigan Corn Growers Association
Mike Pannell, President, Mississippi Corn Growers Association
Mark Scott, President, Missouri Corn Growers Association
Jason Swede, President, New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association
Alex Jordan, President, Corn Growers Association of North Carolina
Randy Melvin, President, North Dakota Corn Growers Association
Jon Miller, President, Ohio Corn and Wheat
Elizabeth Hinkel, President, Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association
Wesley Spurlock, President, Texas Corn Producers Association
Doug Rebout, President, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

ELD Mandate Update

NE Cattlemen Newsletter

Previously, livestock haulers were exempt from ELDs through September 30, 2019 (our ELD delay “policy rider” is contained within the government funding bill). Congress has now officially passed a short term spending bill to keep the government open until November 21, 2019. As such, the ELD delay for livestock haulers now runs until November 21, 2019. This delay will buy some needed time as we continue to work on our ultimate Hours of Service fix. The plan going forward is to keep the pressure on Congress to continue delaying the ELD mandate until HOS finally works for hauling livestock.


On Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Vincente Gonsalez (D-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) introduced the Protecting America's Food & Agricultural Act (H.R. 4482), which would authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire more agriculture inspectors in order to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever in the U.S. The bill is a companion to Senate legislation introduced in July by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Western Iowa Energy’s Brad Wilson elected to lead Iowa Biodiesel Board

Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy, has been elected by his peers to serve as the new chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

The board of directors elected Wilson during the Iowa Biodiesel Board and National Biodiesel Board Regional Annual Meeting, September 18 – 19 in Des Moines.

“I look forward to playing an active role in leading the Iowa Biodiesel Board for many reasons, but the most important is the organization’s focus on bringing additional value up and down the entire supply chain, from the farmers and feedstock suppliers through the end user,” he said.

“Iowa is not only the top biodiesel producing state, but a strong leader in driving critical federal policy like the Renewable Fuel Standard and biodiesel tax credit,” Wilson said. “I look forward to stepping up to the challenge this position brings.” 

Wilson, who previously served as IBB’s vice chair, replaces Tom Brooks, general manager of biodiesel producer Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa. He stepped down after serving as chair for three years.

The full slate of officers for the organization is now as follows:
    Chair: Brad Wilson, Western Iowa Energy
    Vice Chair: Doug Lenhart, REG
    Secretary: Reed Herzig, Bayer
    Treasurer: Courtney Lawrenson, AGP

Wilson became president and general manager of WIE in 2016. The multi-feedstock plant recently grew its capacity from 30 to 45 million gallons per year. It employs about 30 people, many with young families in Wall Lake, Iowa, a town of about 800 residents.

Iowa's First Biodiesel Plant Shuttered

The unknown future of the biodiesel tax credit and the endless granting of small refinery waivers has forced one Iowa biodiesel plant to close. W2 Fuel announced earlier this week that it would be shuttering two of its biodiesel plants in Crawfordsville, Iowa and in Adrian, Michigan.

Nearly 50 employees have lost their jobs and demand for millions of bushels of soybeans has been destroyed.

"This is one more example of how the federal policies have an impact on real peoples' lives," said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association.

At full capacity, the Crawfordsville plant produced nearly 10 million gallons of biodiesel. The Adrian plant produced about 15 million gallons per year. That's now a lost market for roughly 16.67 million bushels of soybeans.

"And there's no end in sight until these issues are resolved," Kimberley said.

W2 Fuel CEO Roy Strom testified before the EPA in March, warning the agency and the Trump administration of the harm caused by granting small refinery exemptions.

"To succeed, the biodiesel industry needs signals that allow us to forecast market demand. While the RVO (renewable volume obligation) should be the forecast, the current practice of granting retroactive small refinery exemptions undermines that signal," he said on the record.

Now, almost six months after his testimony, Strom is directing cleanup crews before turning the lights off for good.

"I think if the biodiesel tax credit came back, I would need to see it include 2020 to make a go of it again," Strom said.

The ultimate fix would be a reallocation of lost gallons as a result of the small refinery exemptions and an extension of the federal $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit to producers which blend biodiesel with petroleum.

Only the White House and the EPA can change the demand at this point. And it's up to Congress to pass the biodiesel tax credit extension.

"When the tax credit is up in the air, you're just gambling. Do I want to bet on the tax credit or not? It makes it very difficult to run a business," Strom said.

The biodiesel industry is now running 21 months without the biodiesel tax credit. It's clearly hurting the industry, said Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy and the newly-elected chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

Iowa Participates in USDA’s Multi-State Foreign Animal Disease Functional Exercises

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship participated in a four-day simulation led by USDA APHIS to test current foreign animal disease response plans. The Department was joined by USDA representatives, state organizations and industry leaders to walk through plans that would be put into action in the event of a real foreign animal disease outbreak.

This four-day workshop focused on an African Swine Fever outbreak, which affects feral, production and pet pigs. The top 14 swine producing states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas) participated in a series of exercises and drills specific to African Swine Fever.

“An African Swine Fever outbreak does not represent a human health or food safety threat but it could be devastating to Iowa’s farmers and economy,” said Secretary Mike Naig. “Our first goal is to prevent a foreign animal disease from entering the U.S. and this workshop is one of many steps the Department has taken to prepare. Over the last four days, we’ve worked with USDA, state agencies, legislators, pork industry representatives and 14 other states to test our plans. I want to thank everyone who participated in the exercise. I am pleased with the outcome, we’ve discovered what works well and identified a few scenarios we still need to talk through so we can respond quickly if a real outbreak occurs.”

Each day of the exercise focused on different tactics deployed during an outbreak — detection, containment, eradication and cleaning and disinfection. This allowed the USDA, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, state agencies, industry representatives and producers to put response plans into action to make sure they could be executed quickly and effectively.

African Swine Fever is a highly infectious disease that causes high mortality rates in pig populations. Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine available for pigs. The virus has been detected in countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. The disease has not been found in North America at this time.

The disease is not a threat to human health and is not a food safety issue. The pork industry provides over 140,000 jobs and contributes $36.7 billion to Iowa’s economy.

To learn more about African Swine Fever visit

Corteva Agriscience Sponsors SDSU Precision Ag Facility Expansion

South Dakota State University is the first land-grant university to offer a precision agriculture major, a precision agriculture minor and an engineering for precision agriculture minor, as part of their curriculum. Corteva Agriscience is donating $600,000 to help expand facilities for student learning and engagement with precision ag tools.

“The launch of a precision ag-focused major is a big opportunity for the future of agriculture and can help make a difference in the lives of farmers everywhere,” said Jamie Williamson, Corteva Agriscience Area Leader – Northern Plains. “Precision agriculture is just one in a long list of innovations that help us find the solutions needed to solve the problems of today and anticipate tomorrow’s challenges. Corteva Agriscience is focused on providing farmers with complete solutions, and digital agriculture is a key component to meet the needs of farmers.”

Corteva will receive the naming rights to the Student Atrium of the new Raven Precision Agricultural Building. The hallway will have two naming plates, one at each end, a Corteva logo, as well as a Corteva branded digital display with events and calendars for students.

The Raven Precision Agricultural Building is funded by internal university funds, private support, state appropriations and an approved bond. The effort is part of a $46.1 million precision ag facility expansion designed to support the educational needs of agriculture-related majors.

“This facility will help us continue to create the high-quality workforce that will enable South Dakota State University and Corteva Agriscience to continue leading with a tradition of excellence in agriculture, food and environmental sciences,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean – College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

“We understand there are increasing needs of precision ag education,” Williamson said. “As a champion of responsible agriculture and an industry-leader in digital technology, we look forward to what these capable students and this historic university can accomplish going forward.”

USDA Seeking Comments on Conservation Reserve Program Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the availability of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The 2018 Farm Bill made changes to CRP, and the assessment evaluates those changes as they relate to the National Environmental Policy Act. The assessment only covers programmatic changes that have not been evaluated previously.

The environmental assessment is available to the public for review, and FSA is requesting comments on the proposed alternatives and their potential impacts on the human environment. FSA will incorporate the feedback into the final assessment, as appropriate, prior to a decision.

The assessment can be accessed at: FSA will consider comments received by October 27, 2019 . Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent possible.

Comments may be submitted:
-    By mail at Conservation Reserve Program PEA Comments, c/o Cardno-GS, 2496 Old Ivy Road, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA, 22903
-    Electronically at

McDonalds Testing Beyond Meat in Canada

McDonald's Corp. is getting on the plant-based bandwagon.

The world's biggest fast-food company by revenue said Thursday it is testing Beyond Meat Inc. patties at restaurants in Canada for 12 weeks. Dubbed the "P.L.T." for plant, lettuce and tomato, the sandwich will be on sale at 28 restaurants in southwestern Ontario starting Monday.

Many of McDonald's rivals have already introduced meat substitutes made by Beyond Meat or rival Impossible Foods Inc. Sales of plant-based burgers and other meats from those companies have surged this year.

A few months ago, McDonald's executives said they were watching whether the trend would last and those companies could maintain supply before deciding to add meatless products to the chain's menu.

The small 12-week test in Canada will allow McDonald's to better understand customer demand and the impact on restaurant operations, said Ann Wahlgren, McDonald's vice president of global menu strategy. Beyond Meat honed a patty recipe specifically for the chain, McDonald's said.

Tim Hortons, the coffee-and-doughnut chain owned by Restaurant Brands Inc., introduced Beyond Meat sausage breakfast patties and burgers in Canada this summer. The chain cut back the plant-based burger offering earlier this month, saying demand was better for real beef.

McDonald's has served vegetarian offerings for some time in other markets, including the McAloo Tikki, made of potatoes and peas, in India. It tested a vegetarian burger made by Nestle SA earlier this year in Germany.

In Canada, the P.L.T. will be priced at 6.49 Canadian dollars (US$4.90), McDonald's said. That compares with a retail price at Tim Hortons of C$5.69 (US$4.36).

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