Friday, September 13, 2019

Thursday September 12 Ag News


Based on September 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn crop is a record forecast at 1.79 billion bushels, up slightly from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area harvested for grain, at 9.65 million acres, is up 4 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 186 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 287 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is down 12 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from a year ago.

Sorghum for grain production of 15.3 million bushels is down 4 percent from a year ago. Area for harvest, at 165,000 acres, is down 3 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 93 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.21 million tons, down 14 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 43,200 acres, is down 2 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 28.1 tons per acre, down 3.8 tons from a year ago.

Dry edible pea production is forecast at 648,000 cwt, down 28 percent from a year ago. Area for harvest, at 27,000 acres, is down 45 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 2,400 pounds per acre, up 560 pounds from last year.

Special Note
All forecasts in this report are based on conditions as of September 1, 2019 and assume normal weather for the remainder of the growing season. Data were not adjusted to account for any potential departures from normal between now and harvest.


 Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.52 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 191 bushels per acre, unchanged from the August 1 forecast, but down 5 bushels per acre from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.6 million acres. An estimated 13.2 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 493 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 54.0 bushels per acre, down 1.0 bushel per acre from the August 1 forecast, and 3.0 bushels per acre lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested.

The forecasts in this report are based on September 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of October 1, will be released on October 10.

USDA: Corn Production Down 1 Percent from August Forecast

Soybean Production Down 1 Percent

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.8 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 4 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 168.2 bushels per harvested acre, down 1.3 bushels from the previous forecast and down 8.2 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 82.0 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but up less than 1 percent from 2018.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.63 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 20 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 47.9 bushels per harvested acre, down 0.6 bushel from the previous forecast and down 3.7 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans is forecast at 75.9 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but down 14 percent from 2018.

USDA World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates - Sept 12, 2019

This month’s 2019/20 U.S. corn outlook is for reduced production, lower corn used for ethanol, and slightly higher ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.799 billion bushels, down 102 million from last month on a lower yield forecast. Corn supplies are down from last month, as a smaller crop more than offsets larger beginning stocks due to lower estimated exports and corn used for ethanol for 2018/19. Corn used for ethanol for 2019/20 is lowered 25 million bushels. With use falling more than supply, corn ending stocks are up 9 million bushels from last month. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $3.60 per bushel.

This month’s 2019/20 foreign coarse grain outlook is for virtually unchanged production, with fractionally lower trade and stocks relative to last month. Ukraine corn production is lowered, as dry conditions during the month of August reduce yield prospects for filling corn. EU corn production is unchanged, as reductions for France and Germany offset increases for Bulgaria and Romania. Barley production is raised for Russia, Ukraine, the EU, and Kazakhstan, but lowered for Australia and Canada.

Major global coarse grain trade changes for 2019/20 include barley export increases for Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia, with a partly offsetting reduction for Australia. For 2018/19, corn exports for Brazil are raised for the local marketing year beginning March 2019, based on record large shipments during the month of August. Foreign corn ending stocks for 2019/20 are lower relative to last month, mostly reflecting declines for Brazil, Ukraine, Mexico, Paraguay, and Chile.

OILSEEDS: U.S. oilseed production for 2019/20 is projected at 110.2 million tons, down 1.3 million from last month with lower soybean and cottonseed production partly offset by a higher peanut forecast. Soybean production is projected at 3.6 billion bushels, down 47 million on a lower yield forecast of 47.9 bushels per acre. Soybean supplies are reduced 2 percent on lower production and beginning stocks. With soybean crush and exports unchanged, ending stocks are projected at 640 million bushels, down 115 million from last month.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2019/20 is forecast at $8.50 per bushel, up 10 cents. The soybean meal price is projected at $305 per short ton, up $5.00. The soybean oil price forecast is unchanged at 29.5 cents per pound.

Changes for 2018/19 include higher U.S. soybean exports, higher crush, and lower ending stocks. Exports are increased 45 million bushels based on official trade data through July and indications from August export inspections, which were record high for the month. With crush raised 20 million bushels, ending stocks for 2018/19 are projected at 1.0 billion bushels, down 65 million.

This month’s 2019/20 global oilseed outlook includes lower production, increased trade, and reduced stocks relative to last month. Global rapeseed production is at a 3-year low, mainly reflecting lower production for the EU on both area and yield. Australia’s production is also lowered this month due to dry weather conditions in New South Wales and Queensland. Soybean production is down slightly this month as lower U.S. production is mostly offset by higher output for India, Canada, and China.

Major global oilseed export changes for 2019/20 include higher rapeseed and soybean exports for Canada. For 2018/19, soybean exports for Brazil are lowered based on lower-than-expected shipments during the past few months. However, higher-than-expected exports by Argentina and the United States, particularly to China, are offsetting. Global soybean ending stocks for 2019/20 are lower as reduced stocks for Argentina and the United States are partly offset by higher stocks for Brazil, Iran, and India.

WHEAT: The 2019/20 U.S. wheat supply and demand outlook is unchanged this month but there were offsetting by-class changes for wheat exports. The projected season-average farm price is $4.80 per bushel, down $0.20 on NASS monthly prices reported to date and expectations for cash and futures prices for the remainder of the marketing year (MY). Global wheat prices are expected to be restrained for the rest of the MY on greater 2019/20 exportable supplies for several major U.S. competitors compared to last year.

The global outlook for wheat this month is for lower supplies, reduced consumption and exports, and higher ending stocks. Supplies are reduced primarily on lower production forecasts for Australia and Kazakhstan on continued dry conditions. Australia’s production is lowered 2 million tons to 19.0 million, mainly on the second consecutive year of drought in New South Wales and Queensland. Kazakhstan’s wheat production is lowered 1.5 million tons to 11.5 million on further deteriorating conditions, and this would be its lowest output since 2012/13. This reduction in global production is tempered by higher carry-in stocks, which results in global supplies less than 1 million tons lower this month. World exports are decreased by 1.8 million tons to 180.8 million on reductions for Australia and Kazakhstan. Global consumption is lowered 1.9 million tons, led by declines for Indonesia, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. Despite a reduction this month in global supplies, 2019/20 ending stocks are projected record large at 286.5 million tons with China comprising 51 percent of the total.

The forecast for 2019 total red meat and poultry production is lowered from last month as reduced beef, pork, and turkey production forecasts more than offset higher broiler production. Beef production is reduced from the previous month primarily on slower expected pace of fed cattle slaughter and lighter carcass weights in the fourth quarter. The pork production forecast is reduced on the current rate of slaughter in the third quarter and slightly lighter carcass weights. USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be released on September 27 and provide information on producer farrowing intentions into early 2020. The turkey forecast is reduced on lower expected third- and fourth-quarter production. The broiler production forecast is raised on recent production data and continued growth in average bird weights for the remainder of the year. The 2019 egg production forecast is raised slightly on hatchery flock data.

For 2020, the total red meat and poultry forecast is raised from the previous month on higher expected beef and broiler production. Beef production is raised from last month as higher expected first-half 2020 marketings support higher fed cattle slaughter in 2020. First-half carcass weights are also expected to support increased beef production. The broiler production forecast is raised from the previous month on expectations of a higher proportion of heavy bird weights. Pork, turkey, and egg production forecasts are unchanged from the previous month.

Beef import and export forecasts for 2019 are reduced, reflecting recent trade data; however, no changes are made to the forecasts for 2020. The 2019 and 2020 pork export forecasts are raised from the previous month on recent trade data and expectations of continued strong global demand for U.S. pork products. The 2019 broiler export forecast is adjusted higher reflecting recent trade data, but no change is made to the 2020 export forecast. No changes are made to the 2019 and 2020 turkey trade forecasts.

The cattle price forecast for 2019 is lowered on current prices and expectations of continued price weakness; the 2020 forecast is also reduced. Hog price forecasts are reduced slightly for 2019 and first-half 2020. The 2019 broiler price forecast is raised on recent price strength, but no change is made to 2020 price forecasts. Turkey price forecasts are unchanged for both 2019 and 2020. The 2019 and 2020 egg price forecasts are raised from last month on strong demand that is expected to carry into the next year.

The milk production forecast for 2019 is raised as stronger growth in milk per cow more than offsets forecast lower cow numbers. For 2020, the milk production forecast is reduced from the previous month on slower expected growth in dairy cow numbers; however this is partly offset by slightly higher forecast milk per cow. The 2019 and 2020 fat basis import forecasts are lowered on recent trade data and expectations of slower butterfat imports. Fat basis export forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are reduced from last month on weaker expected global demand for U.S. butterfat products. The 2019 skim-solids basis import forecast is raised from the previous month on higher-than-expected imports of milk protein concentrates and a number of other dairy products. This strength is expected to carry over into 2020 and the 2020 skim-solids basis import forecast is raised. The skim-solids basis export forecast for 2019 is reduced from last month on weakness in a number of dairy products, but the 2020 skim-solids basis export forecast is raised primarily on expected strong global demand for lactose.

For 2019 and 2020, cheese, nonfat dry milk (NDM), and whey prices are raised from the previous month, but the price forecast for butter is reduced. The 2019 and 2020 the Class III price forecasts are raised from last month on higher cheese and whey prices. The 2019 and 2020 Class IV price forecasts are lowered from the previous month as lower forecast butter prices more than offset higher NDM prices. The 2019 all milk price is forecast raised to $18.35 per cwt, and the all milk price forecast for 2020 is raised to $18.85 per cwt.

Nebraska Beef Council September Meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a conference call at the NBC office in Kearney located at 1319 Central Ave. on Monday, September 23rd, 2019 beginning at 1:00 p.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will review a draft of the FY 2019-2020 Marketing Plan.  For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at 

Save a Life: Use a Tractor with Rollover Protective Structure

Agriculture remains the deadliest industry in the United States, based on the number of deaths per 100,000 workers. A leading cause of these fatalities is rollovers of tractors without rollover protective structures (ROPS). Even more heartbreaking is knowing that the majority of these accidents are preventable.

Sept. 15-21 marks the 76th observance of National Farm Safety and Health Week, and this year’s National Farm Safety Week theme, “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear,” gives Iowans an occasion to tune up their farm safety approach by upgrading basic safety equipment like ROPS on older tractors.

“Moving and positioning large bales, using front-end loader attachments, mowing roadside ditches, and cleanup of brush or trees are a few high fatality risk activities for using non-ROPS tractors,” said Charles Schwab, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering with extension and outreach responsibilities at Iowa State University.

Schwab said that 99 percent of Iowa tractor overturn related deaths can be prevented by ROPS. Rollover protection structures (ROPS) are designed and tested to keep the tractor operator in a safe area during an overturn event.

Tractors manufactured since 1985 come with ROPS as part of their original equipment. However, there is still concern because tractors last a long time and many of the older models still have not been retrofitted with ROPS.

Choosing to operate a tractor without ROPS is gambling with your life, according to Schwab.

During a recent poll, 81 percent of Iowa farmers reported at least one tractor without ROPS on their farm.

“The good news is that about 19 percent of Iowa farmers have ROPS on all of their tractors,” said J. Arbuckle, associate professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State University.

Some of the reasons Iowa farmers have not considered retrofitting ROPS on older tractors were because they did not have hired help or children operating tractors, considered themselves as having enough experience to operate the tractor safely, or because their non-ROPS tractor is seldom used.

The poll also indicated that the biggest motivator for having ROPS on a tractor is because it came with ROPS.

Arbuckle and Schwab both agree that it is positive that Iowa farmers accept ROPS that come with tractors. However, they also agree there is plenty of work ahead in getting all tractors equipped with rollover protection.

EPA, U.S. Army Repeal 2015 Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Ending Regulatory Patchwork

At an event in Washington, D.C., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced that the agencies are repealing a 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The agencies are also recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.

“Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration’s overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide.”

“Today, Administrator Wheeler and I signed a final rule that repeals the 2015 Rule and restores the previous regulatory regime exactly how it existed prior to finalization of the 2015 Rule,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “Before this final rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Rule. This final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 Rule, which is more familiar to the agencies, States, Tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public while the agencies engage in a second rulemaking to revise the definition of ‘waters of the United States.’”

Today’s rule is the first step—Step 1—in a two-step rulemaking process to define the scope of “waters of the United States” that are regulated under the Clean Water Act. Step 1 provides regulatory certainty as to the definition of “waters of the United States” following years of litigation surrounding the 2015 Rule. The two federal district courts that have reviewed the merits of the 2015 Rule found that the rule suffered from certain errors and issued orders remanding the 2015 Rule back to the agencies. Multiple other federal district courts have preliminarily enjoined the 2015 Rule pending a decision on the merits of the rule. In this action, EPA and the Army jointly conclude that multiple substantive and procedural errors warrant a repeal of the 2015 Rule. For example, the 2015 Rule:
    Did not implement the legal limits on the scope of the agencies’ authority under the Clean Water Act as intended by Congress and reflected in Supreme Court cases.
    Failed to adequately recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of states to manage their own land and water resources.
    Approached the limits of the agencies’ constitutional and statutory authority absent a clear statement from Congress.
    Suffered from certain procedural errors and a lack of adequate record support as it relates to the 2015 Rule’s distance-based limitations.

With this final repeal, the agencies will implement the pre-2015 regulations, which are currently in place in more than half of the states, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice. The final rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

In December 2018, EPA and the Army proposed a new definition—Step 2—that would clearly define where federal jurisdiction begins and ends in accordance with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent. In the proposal, the agencies provide a clear definition of the difference between federally regulated waterways and those waters that rightfully remain solely under state authority.

Additional information is available at:

 Fischer Applauds Trump Administration Repeal of WOTUS

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the Trump administration announced the final repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, ending the regulatory patchwork that would have negatively impacted all Nebraskans:

“I have long been an advocate for eliminating the 2015 WOTUS, which represented an unprecedented overreach by the federal government at the expense of families, communities, and businesses. Nebraskans own the water in our state, and we take great care of this precious natural resource. After years of fighting WOTUS through legislative efforts, I’m pleased to see the Trump administration end this harmful rule once and for all. ”

More information on the Waters of the United States rule:

In 2015, the Obama administration implemented a rule that sought to clarify which waterways and wetlands are regulated as “waters of the U.S.” under the 1972 Clean Water Act. This regulation allowed the federal government to expand its jurisdiction to nearly all water in Nebraska and across the country. Legal action blocked the rule in 27 states, including Nebraska.

Today’s announcement by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler marks the end of step one, which serves as a final repeal of the Obama-era WOTUS rules and once again brings all 50 states under the same regulation. Step two, which is expected by the end of 2019, will provide a definition of “waters of the U.S.”

Fischer championed several legislative efforts to stop the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule. In March 2015, she chaired a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Lincoln, Nebraska, to hear firsthand from Nebraskans about the negative effects of the rule.

Sasse Statement on WOTUS Repeal

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for Nebraska agriculture, issued the following statement after the EPA announced that the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule will be repealed.

"This is another step forward and a win for Nebraska farmers and ranchers. It’s great news for anyone who understands that the federal government doesn’t need to be regulating puddles and ditches. President Obama’s EPA was crazy to try this and President Trump’s EPA is right to repeal it."

Smith Applauds WOTUS Repeal

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Trump administration finalized the repeal of the Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS:

“The repeal of President Obama’s overreaching WOTUS rule is great news for our country and gives states back the power to regulate their non-navigable waters, as the law says they should. I have fought this troubling regulation since its inception. I thank President Trump and the administration for their commitment to reining in the federal government and repealing this rule.”

Under the Clean Water Act, as enacted in 1972, the EPA’s jurisdiction is statutorily limited to navigable waters. Regulation of non-navigable waters is the responsibility of the states. In 2015, the Obama administration instituted a new regulation to vastly expand EPA’s jurisdiction to include virtually all water flows, from ditches to prairie potholes, even on private land.

After the enactment of the 2015 rule, Congressman Smith led the fight against it, authoring a bill repealing WOTUS which made it to President Obama’s desk in 2016 before being vetoed.

Nebraska Coalition Hails Repeal of 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

A wide ranging Nebraska-based coalition made up of farmers, homebuilders, businesses, bankers, general contractors, golf course managers, electric systems, and local government agencies is praising the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer repeal of the 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) Rule. The agencies’ action is a key step forward to bringing an end to a four-year battle in which the groups worked to stop a regulation representing one of the largest expansions of federal authority over private land in U.S. history.

“This is a landmark victory for private property owners and those who support private property rights. This is also a major win for states, including Nebraska, who had argued the WOTUS Rule had gone too far in attempting to infringe upon states’ rights to manage waters under their jurisdiction,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

The 2015 WOTUS Rule would have redefined the definition of “waters of the U.S.” under the federal Clean Water Act, and in the process, expanded the scope of waters subject to federal regulation, as well as expand powers to regulate land and land features that collect and convey waters.

“Today’s announcement is a result of Nebraskans working together. There is no doubt the repeal of this rule would not have happened if not for the work of our coalition, its partners, our national counterparts, and the efforts of our elected leaders,” said Bryan Slone, President of Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“We thank the administration and greatly appreciate the work of Governor Ricketts, Nebraska Attorney General Peterson, Congressmen Fortenberry, Bacon, and Smith, as well as the efforts of Senator Fischer and Senator Sasse in preventing Nebraskans from feeling the impacts of this misguided regulatory effort,” said Dean Edson, Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.

In light of the massive pushback, President Trump signed an executive order in 2017 to start the process for repealing the 2015 Rule. As a part of the rollback, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a replacement regulation for the 2015 WOTUS rule in December of 2018. The new rule is currently under development following a public input period that ended earlier this year. Separately, several legal challenges, including one with involvement by the state of Nebraska, had been filed against the 2015 Rule.

“We continue to provide support and input to the agencies as they develop a more common- sense approach to provide protections for U.S. waters that won’t infringe on individual rights or those of local and state authorities,” said Larry Dix, Nebraska Association of County Officials executive director. “We’re committed to being part of a positive solution. The repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule is a critical piece of the puzzle as we work with the agencies on a better path forward.”

Common Sense Nebraska is a Nebraska-based coalition consisting of organizations and entities that have come together in response to EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” proposal which would harm both rural and urban Nebraskans through expansion of EPA’s powers and authorities under the federal Clean Water Act. The coalition’s purpose is to build awareness and understanding of the EPA proposal and the impacts it would have on Nebraskans.

Ricketts Commends EPA for Repealing Burdensome WOTUS Rule

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts praised President Donald J. Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their decision to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2015 rule pertaining to the Clean Water Act.  The 2015 rule had stretched the bounds of the EPA’s authority beyond its constitutional scope by expansively defining “Waters of the United States ” (WOTUS).

“The Obama Administration overstepped its legal authority and needlessly burdened states with its ‘waters of the United States’ rule in 2015,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “I’m pleased that the EPA, under President Trump, has restored the simpler and clearer definition that existed prior to the 2015 rule change.  This decision removes regulatory impediments to economic growth while preserving our country’s commitment to the wise stewardship of water resources.”

The 2015 rule had taken authority away from states, transferring it to the federal government.  The EPA’s repeal of the rule acknowledges that states have primary responsibility to regulate their own water resources. 

Naig: Repeal of the 2015 WOTUS Rule is a Positive First Step

Today, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response to the EPA's announcement that the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule will be repealed.

"Today's announcement by the Trump administration is a positive first step in providing regulatory clarity for Iowa's farmers, manufacturers and agribusinesses," said Secretary Naig. "I will continue working with our federal partners to ensure the final rule gives producers the freedom to operate using standard farming practices and implement conservation practices without the fear of fines and penalties."

Secretary Perdue Statement on EPA WOTUS Announcement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking another step to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

“Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” Secretary Perdue said. “Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.” 

Cattlemen Applaud Finalization of WOTUS Repeal

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's finalization of repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:

“Cattle producers are the nation’s original environmental stewards – we work hard to ensure that our natural resources remain pristine and to implement conservation practices to protect our water resources. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.

“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over. Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to farmers and ranchers, and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.”

NPPC Applauds EPA's Actions to Finalize New WOTUS Rule

The National Pork Producers Council applauded today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repealing the previous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and laying the groundwork for a new final rule.

The previous WOTUS rule was issued by the Obama administration in August 2015, giving EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams that farmers use for drainage and irrigation. Most importantly, it also covered lands adjacent to waters such as farm fields. Prior to the 2015 rule, EPA's jurisdiction over waterways – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – included "navigable" waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters.

"We're pleased the EPA is moving towards a common sense WOTUS rule that works with—not against—farmers to protect our nation's waterways," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "The previous WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. Today's action will remove the threat that the 2015 WOTUS rule posed for our ability to efficiently grow the amount of food needed by people around the globe, while providing regulatory certainty to our farmers and businesses. We look forward to working with this administration to finally implement a new WOTUS rule," he added.

NPPC had opposed the 2015 WOTUS rule because it was overly broad and had significant technical flaws, including the process that EPA used to develop the rule, which violated basic due process and long-standing procedural protections. On Aug. 21, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia remanded the rule to EPA to redraft, stating that the Obama-era WOTUS rule itself violated the Clean Water Act and that the Obama administration's procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were clearly in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. 

NMPF Applauds WOTUS Repeal

The National Milk Producers Federation applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to repeal the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. This decision eases regulatory burdens and aims to provide greater clarity for farmers in the future.

Signed February 28, 2017, the Executive Order, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States Rule’,” initiated the process to review and revise WOTUS. A notice to permanently repeal the 2015 rule followed, which led to an open public comment period that ended August 13, 2018. The decision to repeal re-codifies the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 rule and provides certainty while regulatory agencies work to revise the definition.

Citing the many ambiguities and uncertainties of EPA’s then-proposed rule, NMPF urged the EPA to rethink it in 2014. In its analysis, NMPF found that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal did not meet the requirements of various Supreme Court rulings that were the catalyst for the 2015 regulation.

NMPF is pleased to see the 2015 WOTUS rule officially repealed and remains committed to working with the EPA as they draft the new WOTUS definition.

ASA Sees WOTUS Repeal as Step Towards Regulatory Certainty

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in June 2017 that it would repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and today has followed through on that promise. EPA along with the Department of the Army announced the repeal of the 2015 rule that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, under the Clean Water Act.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) views this move as a significant step towards greater regulatory certainty for soybean farmers, with ASA president Davie Stephens, soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky, commenting, “We agree with the goal of assuring clean water, but in reality, the proposed rule was an unworkable and impractical regulation, especially for farmers and ranchers. Creeks, streams and ditches on our land were unduly subjected to a broad, one-size-fits-all regulatory definition that made no sense for individual farms and went beyond the intent of Congress. This is great news for soybean and other farmers.”

EPA is developing a new rule that protects waterways while still offering a workable solution for farmers, and that considers comments submitted by ASA and other impacted stakeholders. Until a new rule is finalized, jurisdictions will return to the regulatory framework that was in place prior to the 2015 WOTUS rule nationwide, putting an end to the state-by-state patchwork of regulations.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final rule to repeal the harmful 2015 definition of "waters of the United States.”

The National Corn Growers Association will be reviewing the repeal rule and is encouraged that we are one step closer to ensuring farmers have the clarity and certainty they have long-sought to effectively implement stewardship practices on their operations.

NCGA and state affiliates have been working to balance environmental protection efforts while sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world. The Soil Health Partnership and Field to Market are both proactive efforts to help farmers fully utilize sustainability tools.

NCGA has also been active in the ongoing WOTUS rulemaking process, submitting comments as part of the organization’s participation in the Agricultural Nutrients Policy Council (ANPC) and the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC).

Farm Bureau: A Victory for Clean Water and Clear Rules

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Farmers and ranchers share the goal of ensuring clean water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable. It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.

“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious. We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land. Farm Bureau’s multi-year effort to raise awareness of overreaching provisions was powered by thousands of our members who joined with an array of allies to achieve this victory for clear rules to ensure clean water.”

Pork Checkoff Moving Remittance Payments Into Online System

The National Pork Board announced today plans to migrate Pork Checkoff remittances to its online platform. The online Checkoff remittance system is designed to significantly reduce the processing time, paper and other expenses for the Pork Board, while also providing pork producers flexibility with payment options, improve operational efficiencies and create cost savings.

“Our expenses for collecting and reconciling manual payments run about $150,000 annually,” said Calvin VandeKrol, vice president of finance for the Pork Board. “That includes bank fees, postage, paper, printing and several hours of staff time each month. By migrating remittances to the online platform, we’re saving producer Checkoff dollars that can be redirected to other, more critical work related to our research, promotion and education efforts.”

“Producers around the country have told us loud and clear they want today’s Pork Checkoff to move at the speed of business,” said Bill Even, CEO of the Pork Checkoff. “The online reporting system reduces processing costs and time on both sides of the transaction, and provides greater transparency and accountability.”

With the online system, there are three ways to report and submit payments:

ACH Payment – Producers can file their report and pay online with an ACH withdrawal from your checking account.  This is the most widely accepted and most efficient method of payment.

Paystub – Producers will file their report online and print a paystub to mail in with their check. This provides the option of forgoing an ACH withdrawal, and works well for producers that have a separate department that cuts accounts payable checks. It still allows the producer to track and report on prior payment information through the online system.

“Zero Reporting” – This option is to be used when a sale has not occurred for the period and no Checkoff remittance is owed.

Producers not currently using the system, which has been available since 2017, will need to register before they can begin using the secure system. During the month of September, the Pork Board will mail letters to those producers who need to register so they can establish their login credentials. Producers may also register at or call 1-800-456-7675 to sign up.

Dairy Leaders Join Agriculture Groups at Capitol to Underscore Importance of USMCA

After traveling across the country in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Farmers for Free Trade Motorcade for Trade made a final stop today in front of the U.S. Capitol, where the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) joined other agriculture groups and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle at a rally to tout the trade benefits of USMCA. USDEC and NMPF are both members of Farmers for Free Trade and have been actively involved in this motorcade campaign, which included stops at multiple dairy farms.

Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC, addressed the rally and touted the improvements USMCA makes to NAFTA. In addition to other agriculture sector benefits in the agreement, USMCA includes several provisions that will greatly benefit the U.S. dairy industry: USMCA secures the valuable relationship U.S. dairy shares with Mexico while establishing new protections for common cheese names and makes important changes to Canada’s trade-distorting dairy policies, while also opening new opportunities for U.S. dairy exports to Canada.

“USMCA provides a much-needed upgrade to the trade rules, securing a brighter future for the export of American-made food and agricultural products to our North American neighbors,” Vilsack said. “The positive impacts of this trade deal will be felt throughout the economy, as increased exports help drive jobs tied to food and agriculture production across the heartland. Moreover, the passage of USMCA will send a clear message that the U.S. values robust, rules-based trade with our allies and will give the U.S. the momentum necessary to execute a productive trade agenda that delivers positive benefits for America.”

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, said, “Restoring certainty to our trade relationships and bolstering the prospects for dairy exports by passing USMCA will bring important benefits to the dairy farmers and rural economies that rely on these export markets,” said Mulhern. “America’s farmers are counting on Congress and the Administration to work together to secure passage of USMCA, and soon.” Mulhern previously participated in a Motorcade for Trade event held at a dairy farm in Wisconsin.

Under USMCA, U.S. dairy exports will ultimately increase by more than $314 million a year, according to the International Trade Commission. And the U.S. dairy industry
estimates that over the first six years of implementation, USMCA will bolster dairy farm revenue by an additional $548 million.

Pork Producers Urge Congress to Ratify USMCA and Support Measures to Prevent Foreign Animal Disease

Congressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA), allowing the U.S. pork industry to maintain zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets, remains a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). More than 120 pork producers from across the country helped spread this and other messages on Capitol Hill this week during NPPC's Fall Legislative Action Conference (LAC).

"Last year, Canada and Mexico took over 40 percent of the pork that was exported from the U.S. and they are expected to be a large percentage this year as well," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "USMCA will strengthen our strong economic ties with our North American neighbors. Preserving zero-tariff pork trade in North American market is especially important as U.S. pork producers are struggling as a result of retaliatory tariffs in China. We asked our representatives to do all they can to push for swift ratification of USMCA," he added.

During the Fall LAC, NPPC members also discussed the need for continued vigilance to prevent any foreign animal disease outbreaks in the United States. The U.S. pork industry fought hard to secure funds in the 2018 Farm Bill for a Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank to quickly contain and eradicate an outbreak and prevent catastrophic financial losses for the agriculture economy. NPPC appreciates that USDA has begun work on establishing the bank and urges the agency to move expeditiously, given its importance. Additionally, members discussed the critical need for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen defenses against African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases.

"The United States is not currently prepared to effectively respond to an FMD outbreak," said Herring. "While we hope we never use it, the vaccine bank needs to be up and running to ensure we have another layer of protection should there be an outbreak. It's critical that USDA acts quickly and follows through on implementation of the Farm Bill as intended by Congress," he added.

During the fly-in, NPPC members also urged members of Congress to support moving regulatory oversight of gene editing in animals from the Food and Drug Administration to USDA, and ensuring that any new regulations related to the buying and selling of livestock, including the new GIPSA rule in development, don't restrict pork producers' rights to enter into contractual business relationships.

NFU Honors 26 Congressional Champions of Family Agriculture with Golden Triangle Award

National Farmers Union (NFU) proudly recognized 26 outstanding U.S. Senators and Representatives who have demonstrated leadership and support at the federal policymaking level for family farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.

The Golden Triangle Award, the family farm organization’s highest legislative honor, was presented to each recipient this week during NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In.

“The Golden Triangle Award recognizes farm and food champions in Congress that display outstanding leadership on the issues that are important to both our industry and our organization. We’re appreciative of their insight and devotion to securing the nation’s food supply for the good of both American family farmers and consumers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

The 2019 recipients of the Golden Triangle Award are:
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado
U.S. Senator Cory Booker, New Jersey
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio
U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Pennsylvania
U.S. Representative Angie Craig, Minnesota
U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, Illinois
U.S. Representative Tom Emmer, Indiana
U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
U.S. Senator John Hoeven, North Dakota
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
U.S. Representative Ann Kuster, New Hampshire
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont
U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack, Iowa
U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan, New Mexico
U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, California
U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, Minnesota
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, Maine
U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Minnesota
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Michigan
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Montana
U.S. Senator John Thune, South Dakota

The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union organization: education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and dedication to improving the livelihoods of family farmers and ranchers.

Farmers Union Board Calls on Administration to Strengthen Agricultural Markets

In a pair of unanimously approved resolutions, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors called on the administration and Congress to address mounting financial difficulties that have been exacerbated by recent policy decisions. Specifically, they urged the resolution of ongoing trade disputes, the enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard, (RFS), and the strengthening of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) before final passage.

By most metrics, the farm economy is in a slump, and it has been for six years now. The farmer’s share of the consumer food dollar is at an all-time low. Prices for many commodities are below the cost of production. Farm debt is at its highest level in almost 40 years. And median farm income has been negative since 2014.

Recent actions by this administration have added to family farmers’ and ranchers’ troubles. An international trade war has eroded international markets, while the undermining of biofuels programs has harmed domestic markets. Both have added to the oversupply of many American farm products and depressed prices even further.

In order to relieve these unnecessary market pressures, the Board compelled the administration to end its “erratic and destructive actions,” work to rebuild international and domestic markets, restore America’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, and reverse policies that have undermined the Renewable Fuels Standard. “Until these actions are corrected and the markets rebound,” the resolution reads, “we urge the administration to work with Congress to fundamentally reform and significantly strengthen the existing farm safety net.”

Though USMCA makes some progress towards rebuilding international markets, it requires further improvements before final ratification, per the second resolution. To provide needed protections to American family farmers and ranchers, the agreement should strengthen labor, environment, and enforcement provisions; rectify language related to prescription drugs; strengthen anti-dumping protections for agricultural goods; and re-establish Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) authority.

“USMCA must meet these standards—currently it falls short,” the resolution states. Because negotiations are still in progress, NFU’s Board is withholding conclusive judgement until the final agreement is released.

 National Farmers Union Board of Directors Resolution on USMCA

Access to export markets is critical for U.S. family farmers and ranchers. Agricultural exports account for about 20 percent of U.S. farm income, and farmers and ranchers rely on these sales to maintain commodity prices and boost revenue. Canada and Mexico are the leading export markets for U.S. agricultural products—a strong U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement would help to maintain those important relationships.

For farmers and rural communities to remain strong, they need more than high exports. Thus, trade agreements must not be limited to regulating domestic support levels, export subsidies and market access. Every trade agreement must address differences in labor standards, environmental standards, health standards, and other trade distorting policies, and provide for the strong enforcement of those standards. Further, trade agreements must not limit U.S. sovereignty or prohibit Congress from enacting policies that it deems in the best interest of U.S. citizens.

The blessing of excess agricultural production should not be used to as a weapon to depress agricultural product prices in neighboring countries. Selling excess production at prices below the full cost of production is dumping and should not be allowed. Neither NAFTA nor USMCA has dealt with the issue of dumping. Both Canada and Mexico’s excess livestock production has been used to depress domestic livestock prices for U.S. livestock producers. U.S. white corn has been dumped into Mexico causing the collapse of the price of their staple crop. Dumping uses excess production to become a price depressing weapon.

The renegotiation of NAFTA was the perfect opportunity to use U.S. leverage to regain the use of U.S. Country of Origin labeling authority because it was Canada and Mexico who used the WTO process to take away the ability of U.S. food producers to identify and differentiate their food products in their own domestic marketplace. That effort was not made. The United States is the world’s largest food producing nation and the world’s largest cash-driven market. When the U.S. lost Country of Origin Labeling authority, the rest of the world including Mexico and Canada, kept authority to label their own products. Both U.S. food consumers and U.S. food producers must have the right to honest and transparent labeling so U.S. consumers can make an informed food buying decision.

USMCA must meet these standards—currently it falls short. Provisions that limit the actions Congress can take to reduce prescription drug prices must be rectified to allow for future reductions in health care costs. The increasing cost of health care, a top concern among National Farmers Union members, is eating into already shrinking farm revenue. Farmers are increasingly dependent on off-farm employment to make ends meet, but many rural manufacturing and other jobs have moved to foreign markets with cheaper labor and lower environmental standards. Labor, environment, and enforcement standards must be strengthened to help to keep jobs in rural communities.

On behalf of nearly 200,000 member farmers and ranchers across the country, National Farmers Union Board of Directors’ final judgement on the passage of USMCA depends on the strengthening of labor, environment, and enforcement provisions; rectifying language related to prescription drugs; strengthening of anti-dumping protections for agricultural goods; and re-establishing Country of Origin Labeling authority.

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