Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tuesday September 17 Ag News

Fall Application Deadlines Near for Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska reminds producers of approaching application deadlines for purchasing risk coverage for some crops through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).

NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass and more. Coverage varies by county and by crop, so producers who are interested should contact their FSA county office for more information.

Upcoming application deadlines for NAP coverage for the 2020 production season in Nebraska, include:
    Rye, triticale and wheat: Sept. 30, 2019
    Alfalfa, mixed forages and grass: Nov. 15, 2019
    Apples, aronia berries and grapes: Nov. 20, 2019

“Natural disasters that are considered eligible causes of loss for NAP include floods, drought, freeze, hail, and excessive moisture, among others,” said FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner. “Given the variability of weather in Nebraska, we want to remind producers of the availability of NAP as a potential tool for risk management in 2020.”

NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Buy-up coverage is available in some cases. NAP can protect against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for buy-up levels of NAP coverage from 50 to 65 percent of expected production in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Buy-up coverage is not available for crops intended for grazing.

For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. Premiums apply for buy-up coverage.

Producers qualifying as beginning, underserved, or limited resource farmers or those who can meet eligibility requirements as a military veteran are eligible for the basic level of NAP coverage at no cost and have the potential for reduction in the cost of buy-up premiums.

To learn more about NAP visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center, visit

Iowans should prepare for propane needs this fall

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged ag businesses, farmers, rural residents and other Iowans that use propane to consider taking steps to ensure adequate propane supplies this fall and winter.

“As of the first week of September, propane inventories were significantly higher than what they were at this time last year and just shy of the five-year average high,” Naig said. “Due to the late planting season across the state, Iowans need to be aware of the length of time and amount of propane that will be needed this fall.”

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report on September 8, 60 percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond with four percent mature, 11 days behind the five-year average.  These figures were 87 and 28 percent, respectively, a year ago.  The later crop maturity in large portions of the state will likely mean a steady demand for propane use for grain drying throughout the fall months.

Actions that farmers and other propane users can take now in order to prepare for this fall and winter include:
      • Confirm propane supplies for grain drying, livestock facilities, homes and machine sheds are full going into the fall season.
      • Take advantage of early buy/booking programs
      • Consider expanding on-site capacity at facilities and homes
      • Communicate early and regularly with propane suppliers

Propane production has continued to increase across the country over the summer months and exports were down in August. Those two factors have helped to boost late summer supplies. It is estimated that just over a million more barrels of propane is currently being stored in the Midwest and about 21 million barrels more in the Gulf Coast region compared to this time last year.

The increase in supply means prices have decreased since last year. The latest average for propane in Iowa is $1.11 per gallon, down 15-cents from fall 2018. Nevertheless, it is important for users to be prepared as fall and early winter weather patterns approach. With the chance of export pressures to increase this fall, ensuring adequate supplies on hand now can help avoid any possible unforeseen spikes in demand later this year.

As of September 6, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports propane stocks in the Midwest “PADD 2” region at 26.9 million barrels. That is up from 25.8 million barrels a year ago. EIA reports that U.S. propane stocks as of that same date at 97.8 million barrels compared to 74.6 million barrels a year ago. Higher supply levels are attributed primarily to increased production levels and lower August export pressures.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues to work with a number of Iowa agriculture organizations and the Iowa Propane Gas Association (IPGA).  The IPGA and the state propane suppliers work towards communicating the supply and demand for this vital agricultural energy resource.

USDA Modernizes Swine Slaughter Inspection for the First Time in Over 50 Years

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection and bring it into the 21st century. For the first time in more than five decades, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is modernizing inspection at market hog slaughter establishments with a goal of protecting public health while allowing for food safety innovations.

“This regulatory change allows us to ensure food safety while eliminating outdated rules and allowing for companies to innovate,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “The final rule is the culmination of a science-based and data-driven rule making process which builds on the food safety improvements made in 1997, when USDA introduced a system of preventive controls for industry. With this rule, FSIS will finally begin full implementation of that program in swine establishments.”


The final rule has new requirements for microbial testing that apply to all swine slaughterhouses to demonstrate that they are controlling for pathogens throughout the slaughter system. Additionally, FSIS is amending its meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for market hog establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS).

In the final rule, FSIS amends the regulations to require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. The final rule also allows market hog establishments to choose if they will operate under NSIS or continue to operate under traditional inspection.

FSIS will continue to conduct 100% inspection of animals before slaughter and 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated by Congress. FSIS inspectors will also retain the authority to stop or slow the line as necessary to ensure that food safety and inspection are achieved. Under the NSIS, FSIS offline inspectors will conduct more food safety and humane handling verification tasks to protect the food supply and animal welfare.

NPPC Welcomes New Swine Inspection System, 'Reflecting a 21st Century Industry'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) finalized today its New Swine Inspection System (NSIS).

"We applaud the USDA for introducing a new inspection system that incentivizes investment in new technologies while ensuring a safe supply of wholesome American pork," said National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a producer from Lillington, N.C. "The U.S. pork production system is the envy of the world because we continuously adopt new practices and technologies, while enhancing safety, quality and consistency. This new inspection system codifies the advancements we have made into law, reflecting a 21st century industry."

The NSIS, which has been piloted at five pork processing plants, was developed over many years of research and evaluation and recently received the endorsement of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, highlighting the strong science-based approach used in designing the program.

"The U.S. industry has long been a global leader in offering the highest quality, safest and most affordable pork to consumers here at home and abroad. We are proud of our record and welcome this program to further modernize our production process," added Herring. 

Taiwan Prepares to Buy U.S. Ag Products

The U.S. ag industry could expand its relationship with another Asian trading partner while the Chinese and American governments try to work out a deal.

Taiwanese officials, led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Chen Junne-Jih, will be in the United States this week to meet with representatives from the U.S. grain and meat industries. The Taiwanese representatives will sign a letter of intent to purchase $3.6 billion of American ag goods.

Soybeans, corn, wheat and beef will be included in the trade package, reports indicate.

Taiwan is using the diplomatic landscape between the U.S. and China to secure more trade.

"Undeniably, the U.S.-China trade dispute has affected U.S. agricultural exports, and the deal (with Taiwan) is beneficial not only to U.S. farmers, but also to Taiwan, as our nation is now in a better bargaining position in terms of prices," Chen said, the Taipei Times reported.

The U.S. has seen an uptick in the amount of ag exports to Taiwan.

Between 2008 and 2018, ag trade to Taiwan has increased by 15 percent from US$3.4 billion to US$3.9 billion annually, the USDA says. And the country ranks ninth among U.S. ag export markets.

Whether the US$3.6 billion in ag exports is in addition to the 2018 figure is unknown at this point.

Taiwan hopes to position itself as a reliable trading partner for the U.S. ag sector.

Drought Causing Planting Delays for Brazil's Corn, Soybean Crops

Brazil's soybean planting season for the 2019-20 harvest is officially underway, but there might not be too many planters out in the fields just yet as conditions are extremely dry.

Weather forecasts call for practically bone-dry conditions in most of Brazil's growing regions for at least the next two weeks, and this stands to threaten not only the soybean crop but the heavily exported second corn harvest, as well.

The farmers in the top soybean and corn producing state in the country's Center-West, Mato Grosso, cannot start planting soybeans until Sunday. But down south, No. 2 grower Parana's soybean planting window opened on Wednesday.

Brazil is the world's top exporter of soybeans, and most of those shipments go to China, the largest buyer. Beijing has been keeping an extra close watch on Brazil's soybean market ever since the U.S.-China trade war began last year.

But the timely sowing of soybeans in Brazil may be even more important for the second-crop corn, or safrinha, which is planted immediately after the beans are harvested. More than 70% of Brazil's total corn is safrinha and it is primarily used for export, while the first-crop corn is consumed domestically.

Brazil's safrinha corn competes directly with the United States for export competition, and the recent record Brazilian harvest priced the U.S. product out of the global market. Brazil's corn exports hit record levels in the last two months, while U.S. shipments slid to six-year lows for the period.

Farm Bureau Marks National Farm Safety and Health Week

The American Farm Bureau is reminding everyone in agricultural communities about their role in staying safe on the farm and ranch during National Farm Safety and Health Week (Sept. 15-21).

The theme of the week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear.”

“The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network will be sharing resources with county and state Farm Bureaus and joining the conversation about farm safety and health on social media throughout the week,” said Maggie Good, assistant director of member engagement at AFBF.

Resources include a series of free webinars coordinated by the AgriSafe Network on topics such as tractor safety, ergonomic safety for farm women, opioid use, safeguarding children and youth, and preventing agricultural injuries. Visit for details and to register.

Additional information, including a social media kit, is available on the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety website,

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