Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tuesday September 3 Ag News


For the week ending September 1, 2019, there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 78 adequate, and 11 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 8 short, 77 adequate, and 14 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 17 fair, 56 good, and 21 excellent. Corn dough was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 95 for the five-year average. Dented was 54 percent, behind 70 last year and 66 average. Mature was 1 percent, behind 8 last year and 7 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 16 fair, 64 good, and 15 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 98 average. Dropping leaves was 1 percent, behind 14 last year and 10 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 68 good, and 19 excellent. Sorghum headed was 97 percent, near 100 both last year and average. Coloring was 27 percent, well behind 73 last year and 67 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 17 poor, 24 fair, 50 good, and 6 excellent. Dry edible beans setting pods was 95 percent. Dropping leaves was 12 percent.

Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 12 fair, 66 good, and 19 excellent.


Iowa farmers had mostly dry field conditions and below normal temperatures during the week ending September 1, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included wrapping up fungicide and insecticide applications and harvesting hay. There were a few comments of farmers starting to chop corn silage.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 26 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Areas in 12 counties within the east central and southeast Iowa districts were rated as D1 moderate drought according to the August 29, 2019, U.S. Drought Monitor. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 25 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Eighty-six percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, 12 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. One percent of corn had reached maturity, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 62 percent good to excellent. Ninety percent of the soybean crop has started setting pods, 18 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Three percent of the crop has started coloring, 11 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 60 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 64 percent, 9 days behind average. Pasture condition rated 45 percent good to excellent. Livestock experienced little stress this past week.

Corn, Soybean Conditions Lowest Since 2013

Corn condition improved just 1 percentage point last week, while soybean condition remained unchanged. Development of both crops continue to be well behind normal.

As of Sunday, Sept. 1, the U.S. corn crop was rated 58% in good-to-excellent condition, up 1 percentage point from 57% the previous week. That is the lowest good-to-excellent condition for this time of year since 2013.

Corn's current condition rating is 10 percentage points behind last year's good-to-excellent condition of 67%.  Corn development continues to lag behind the average pace. Nationwide, corn in the dough stage was estimated at 81%, up 10 percentage points from 71% the previous week but 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%.  Corn dented was 41%, up 14 percentage points from the previous week, but far behind last year's 73% and 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 63%.  Corn mature was pegged at 6%, 14 percentage points behind last year and well below the five-year average of 13%.

Soybean condition was left unchanged with a good-to-excellent rating of 55%. Like corn, that is the lowest rating since 2013.  The portion of the soybean crop that was blooming was 96%, 2 percentage points higher than last Monday's report. However, this time last year blooming was considered complete, and that coincides with the five-year average. Soybeans setting pods reached 86% as of Sunday, 10 percentage points behind the average pace of 96%.

Spring wheat harvest continued to pick up steam, jumping 17 percentage points from the previous week to reach 55% as of Sunday. Despite the big jump, that was still well behind last year's 86% and 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 78%.

Sorghum heading reached 92% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 95%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 52%, behind the average of 64%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 24%, behind the average of 33%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 21%, 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 22%. Oats were 84% harvested, behind the average of 91%.

Cotton setting bolls was 97%, near the five-year average of 96%. Cotton bolls opening was at 36%, ahead of the average of 27%. Cotton condition was rated 48% good to excellent, 7 percentage points higher than last year's 41% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 21%, 6 percentage points behind the average of 27%.

Farm Bureau Estimates Tariff Related Losses Cost Nebraska Farmers Nearly $1 Billion in 2019

A new analysis by the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the ongoing retaliatory tariffs imposed by countries on U.S. agricultural exports will cost Nebraska producers $943 million in lost revenues in 2019. The projected losses would be in addition to tariff related losses in farm level income estimated between $695 million to $1.026 billion in 2018. The “Nebraska Farm and Ranch Losses from Retaliatory Tariffs 2019 Estimates” analysis was conducted by Nebraska Farm Bureau Senior Economist Jay Rempe as a way to provide an assessment of losses independent of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) assistance available to farmers to offset trade associated losses.

“We appreciate the Administration’s ongoing support for America’s farm and ranch families through MFP assistance, but this analysis shows just how critical it is that we resolve the prolonged trade conflicts that have created the tariff pressures,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president, Sept. 3.

The new analysis utilizes USDA data to estimate tariff related losses on a statewide per-commodity basis, as well as estimate total commodity losses on a per-county basis.

“The analysis shows that Nebraska soybean and corn growers will likely see the greatest cumulative losses. Soybean producers as a group are projected to lose out on nearly $589 million from retaliatory tariffs and corn producers are estimated to lose roughly $251 million,” said Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau senior economist. “Pork producers are projected to see $40 million in losses, while sorghum and wheat growers will collectively experiences losses in the mid-$20 million range. Alfalfa growers are estimated to experience $9 million in losses, while dairy producers will likely lose out on roughly $3 million and dry bean growers collectively will miss lose $2 million due to retaliatory tariffs.”

Export losses of beef, hides and skins, ethanol, and other byproducts of Nebraska’s processing industries were not included in the analysis, but according to Rempe, losses in those areas would also impact producers bottom lines.

“Counting tariff losses for beef, ethanol, and other byproducts could easily push Nebraska farmers and ranchers’ collective losses from trade tariffs over the $1 billion mark,” said Rempe.

In terms of trade related losses estimated on a county-by-county basis, Cuming County is the most impacted county with estimated trade losses exceeding $48 million. Custer, Dawson and Lincoln Counties followed with losses exceeding $32 million, while Platte County experienced losses of nearly $30 million.

“If you divide the total trade losses in Cuming County by population, we’re talking a loss of $5,300 per-person. That’s substantial when you think about how those monies would be spent in a local community and subsequently flow into our broader economy,” said Rempe.

The analysis also looked at the overall impact of trade associated losses to the state’s broader economy, projecting a total income loss to Nebraska’s economy of $1.16 billion due to retaliatory tariffs.

“This analysis shows how important trade is for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and our state. It’s vital we eliminate trade barriers and secure trade deals that allow farmers and ranchers to work freely to capture, develop, and grow international markets. Congressional passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, securing a bi-lateral deal with Japan, and progress on the China front would be very good places to start,” said Nelson.

The full analysis, including the county-by-county breakdown is available at

Bazile Groundwater Management Area to host cover crop seeding demonstration Sept. 20th

     Are you looking for another alternative when planting cover crops?  Does the harvest season time-crunch limit your ability to fully capitalize on the long-term benefits of using cover crops?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’ll want to attend the field demonstration on Friday, September 20th near Creighton.

     The Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) project team, along with the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, have teamed up to demonstrate an additional seeding option for producers using a high-clearance applicator.

     BGMA Extension Educator, Jeremy Milander, said, “With the high clearance applicator, cover crops can be planted before harvest and the seed to soil contact will improve germination success as compared to aerial seeding.  It is hypothesized that the pre-harvest planting of cover crops will allow for earlier germination and growth, which ultimately means greater biomass production.”  He added, “This early growth will help to armor the soil and the grower may also be able to improve germination by capitalizing on late season precipitation or crop irrigation events.”

     The high-clearance applicator is equipped with a pneumatic seeding unit and in-the-row drop nozzles.  This concept allows for the late-season application of seed into a standing crop; but will eliminate some of the seed loss or drift that can sometimes occur when applying cover crop seed using an aerial method.

     Do you want to see it for yourself?  The project team has secured 3 demonstration plots located within the Bazile Groundwater Management Area.  Don’t miss the seeding demonstration on Friday, September 20th at 10:30 a.m. at the Jim Fuchtman farm, east of Creighton.  Meet at Midwest Seed of Creighton at 53105 HWY 59.  Stop by and watch the machine in action.  Lunch will be served at Midwest Seed after the demonstration.

     The other cooperating producers with demonstration plots are Albert Friedrich of Plainview, NE, and Garrett, Mark, and Scott Carpenter of Creighton, NE.

     Cover crops prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, sequester excess nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the water infiltration and water-holding capacity, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits.  Contact your local NRD office for more information.

NC Seeks Nominees for YCC

Young Cattlemen’s Conference Nominees are now being accepted for the Class of 2020.  YCC has been a Nebraska Cattlemen tradition for many years. The Nebraska Cattlemen want to identify and educate leaders to help guide and strengthen the beef industry. This is important to the future of Nebraska’s agriculture to help ensure that Nebraska remains the global epicenter of the beef industry.

The conference helps emerging leaders understand the industry structure, issues management, product research and marketing and teaches them how to become effective communicators. Young Cattlemen’s Conference program is a two-year commitment. Dates for the 2020 class are January 21-23, 2020 (Lincoln) and January 26-28, 2021 (Lincoln) with a summer/fall meeting in each year.

Deadline for nominations is Monday, October 28. Nominee will be required to fill out an application that will be reviewed by the selection committee.  The YCC Class of 2020 will be announced on November 15, 2019.

This program is made possible by a generous sponsorship from Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.

For more information contact Bonita Lederer, 402-450-0223 or

Thirteen Nebraskans Headed to Washington, DC for National Farmers Union Fall Fly-In

Thirteen Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) members are headed to Washington, DC for the National Farmers Union Fall Fly-In September 8-11, 2019.  They will join Farmers Union members from around the country as they work together to contact all 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators and visit with them about key issues facing agriculture. There are 380 Farmers Union members from around the nation registered to attend the 2019 National Farmers Union Fly-In.

Nebraskans attending include NeFU officers President John Hansen, Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth, Board of Director Mary Alice Corman and husband Richard of Edgar, and District 7 President Art Tanderup and wife Helen of Neligh. Members attending include Leo Hoehn of Gering, Camdyn Kavan and Midwest Regional Agency Insurances Business Specialist Jennifer Larabee of Lincoln, Julie Hindmarsh of Fremont, Jeff Downing, Midwest Regional Agency Insurances General Manager of Elkhorn, and Midwest Regional Agency Insurances Agent Nicole Johnson and Laura Thomas of Omaha. The six women and seven men will split into teams as they meet members and staff from other states in addition to meeting with the Nebraska Congressional delegation.

“There is no substitute for farmers and ranchers sitting at the table with our elected members of Congress.  We will focus on strengthening the farm income safety net, climate smart practices and expand biofuels, restoring competition to the ag economy, and improving the USMCA and other trade issues. America’s farmers and ranchers are facing the worst farm crisis since the 1980’s.  Something needs to change,” said NeFU President John Hansen.

The Fly-In begins Monday morning with briefings from USDA officials, and presentations from a variety of government officials Monday afternoon.  Tuesday and Wednesday teams will meet with Representatives and Senators and their staffs. 

“Our Fly-In delegation is a good mix of grain and livestock producers as well as three members of our insurance team as we cover a wide range of interests and issues facing rural Nebraska,” said Hansen.

“On top of seven years of low ag commodity prices, agriculture has been hit hard by blizzards, floods, late and prevented plantings, sinking exports and retribution tariffs. The best way for our elected officials to understand the size and scope of the financial hardship farmers and ranchers face every day is to talk directly with farmers and ranchers themselves,” Hansen concluded. 

Sasse Statement on USMCA Vote

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken champion for Nebraska agriculture and trade, issued the following statement regarding news that Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top trade negotiators, said that consideration of the USMCA trade agreement would likely “seep into next year.”

"Our farmers and ranchers are bleeding. Speaker Pelosi's key trade negotiator just said that approving the USMCA treaty is probably going to 'seep into next year.' It's easy to say that in Connecticut or San Francisco -- they ought to come to Nebraska and look our farmers and ranchers in the eye. This isn't political to a lot of moms and dads who are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Madame Speaker, schedule the vote."

Free Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this September

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at five sessions across the state in September. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Grand Island — Thursday, September 5
    North Platte — Thursday, September 12
    Lexington — Thursday, September 19
    Norfolk — Wednesday, September 25
    Valentine — Thursday, September 26

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

BigIron Auctions to hold charitable online and onsite auctions during Husker Harvest Days

BigIron Auctions is proud to announce that it is once again teaming up with Graham Tire to conduct a charity auction at Husker Harvest Days to benefit the Nebraska FFA. The company is also holding an online auction with proceeds supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and closes on Sept. 11, 2019.

This is the fourth year BigIron has hosted the auction for the Nebraska FFA, which typically raises more than $40,000 and goes towards helping them fund projects and activities throughout the school year. A variety of new Goodyear and Titan tires will be included in this year’s auction. To participate in the live auction on September 11 at 11 a.m., sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number. The auction is located at the Graham Tire lot #628.

In addition, more than 10 years ago, BigIron held its first annual charitable auction at Husker Harvest Days benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. To date, BigIron has raised more than $500,000 for the organization. It is continuing the tradition this year, hosting an online charitable auction which will close on Sept. 11, 2019. A list of auction items can be found on the BigIron website.

“BigIron is committed to continuing to help raise money for these deserving organizations,” said BigIron co-founder Mark Stock. “We’re proud to be partnering with Graham Tire again on the Nebraska FFA fundraiser and conducting another online auction to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital during Husker Harvest Days. We hope the money raised from these auctions will make a big difference in both organizations and the people they serve.”

BigIron Seminars

BigIron is also conducting seminars at its lot #1133 for farmers who are considering retirement or getting out of the business or are interested in liquidating equipment.

Tues., Sept. 10, 10 a.m.
If you are a farmer considering retirement, this seminar is for you:
·       Senior partner and advisor from Trinity Financial Group, Klaus Steinke, will answer the top questions he routinely fields from prospective retirees.
·       Co-founder of BigIron Auctions & Realty, Ron Stock, will discuss the best way to get the greatest return from your biggest assets – land and equipment.

Wed., Sept. 11, 10 a.m.
Whether you’re considering getting out of the business, or just getting rid of unused equipment, you won’t want to miss this event. Co-founder of BigIron Auctions & Realty, Mark Stock, has decades of experience in the auction industry, and will discuss:
·       How you can get the most from your used equipment.
·       When selling assets, why online, unreserved auctions are the way to go.

There will be time at the end of each presentation for us to answer your questions.

Support any Nebraska FFA Chapter with I Believe in the Future of Ag

September marks the official start of the ninth annual I Believe in the Future of Ag fundraising campaign. This campaign serves as an outlet for local FFA chapters to receive donations for innovative projects in their classrooms, leadership programming, community service projects and field trips to advance agriculture education in their schools.

This year,, Aurora Cooperative, BigIron Auctions, Central Valley Ag, DEKALB/Asgrow and Hoegemeyer Hybrids committed $20,000 each to the campaign. Other sponsors, contributing $10,000 each, include: Bayer CropScience, CoBank, Country Partners Cooperative, CPI, Farm Credit Services of America, Farmers Cooperative, Frontier Cooperative, GrainBridge, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Pinnacle Bank, Producers Livestock and Valley Irrigation.

These corporate partners provide support for an educational campaign for FFA and agricultural education in Nebraska and support fundraising efforts at the local level. “Local FFA chapters and agriculture education chapters play an integral role in growing and developing future leaders in agriculture and in our communities. I see this campaign as a very important tool to help those chapters have the resources they need to grow leaders and build communities,” says Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.

Donors to the I Believe in the Future of Ag campaign choose which chapter they support. One hundred percent of each local donation will be sent back to the designated chapter at the end of the campaign and a portion of the $35,000 challenge matching pool will be distributed to participating chapters. To donate to a local FFA chapter contact your local FFA advisor or go online to

ACE leadership keynotes NEB-hosted training event for fuel retailers interested in adding E15, higher ethanol blends

As the first summer of nation-wide approved E15 use winds to an end, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) continues its efforts to ensure retailers understand their hands are no longer tied by red tape preventing them from offering lower priced, higher octane E15 fuel to their customers all year. As a former fuel retailer himself, ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty heads these efforts at the organization, working directly with retailers and connecting them with their peers. Last week, Lamberty keynoted a fuel retailer workshop hosted by the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) for marketers from across the state who wanted to learn more about the benefits and ease of offering E15.

“Events like this remind me of the ‘old days' when I was traveling around the country helping fuel marketers understand the facts about ethanol and the math of E10,” Lamberty said. “Back then, marketers were concerned because ethanol was new, and they were unfamiliar. Today, although retailers have been handling ethanol blends for decades without problems, they’ve also been pounded with anti-ethanol mythology about higher blends by folks trying to roll back gains ethanol has made in the marketplace. Through workshops, trade shows and our website, ACE connects prospective higher ethanol blend marketers with their peers who saw through the misinformation campaigns, added E15 and flex fuels, and made more money than they’ve ever made before.”

The one-day event included testimonies and a question and answer session with fuel retailers Randy Gard, COO of Bosselman Enterprises, owner of the Pump & Pantry convenience store chain, and Phil Smith with Aurora Coop.

“Retailers in the audience had the opportunity to ask Randy and Phil questions about higher ethanol blends and get straightforward answers from people who have already implemented the fuel successfully,” Lamberty added. “Learning from the experiences of other retailers goes a long way in making the decision of whether to offer new fuel easier, and in the end, helps sell more ethanol.”

The event agenda also included the Nebraska State Fire Marshal for the Fuels Safety Division walking through the steps to take before adding blends E15 and higher, as well as information on proper labeling of fuel dispensers, state policies supporting ethanol sales, and financial resources for expanding infrastructure.

Today, there are nearly 1,800 retail locations in 31 states selling E15. And, since the EPA approved the sale of E15 year-round, the number of retail locations selling E15 is growing and fuel retailers are seeing new customers and improved profits. While this market will continue to grow over the long-term, ACE is keeping pressure on the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency to find an immediate and meaningful solution to recent decisions which have closed 20 ethanol plants and threaten the upside potential of year-round E15.

Iowa Manure Applicator Certification Program Continues

Now in its 21st year, the Iowa manure applicator certification program continues to train and certify the state's manure applicators on the best ways of handling, hauling and applying livestock manure.

Three programs were offered this year, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Nearly 1,300 confinement site applicators attended the Confinement Site Manure Applicator Certification trainings, required for producers who have more than 500 animals in confinement. Currently, there are more than 1,960 certified confinement applicators in Iowa.

Some 2,218 commercial applicators attended the Commercial Manure Applicator Certification workshops. There are currently 605 certified commercial manure applicator businesses in Iowa, compared to 562 last year.

The Dry Manure Application Certification workshops drew 120 applicators during five workshops held in February.

The certifications are part of the requirements of Iowa legislation passed in 1998, intended to educate, train and certify the state's manure applicators about the best ways to handle, haul and apply livestock manure.

Dan Andersen, assistant professor and extension agriculture engineering specialist at Iowa State, said the program continues to evolve, with new training opportunities and a focus on practical, hands-on lessons that benefit farmers and protect resources.

"The manure applicator certification program offers a lot of value to our state," Andersen said. "I think we're doing a good job of managing manure as a resource, but there's always room for improvement."

In recent years, Andersen and the other Iowa State staff involved have tried to make the training more farmer-inclusive, in ways that include their own experiences and concerns, and provide more "peer-to-peer learning opportunities."

The cost for the commercial applicator certification is $200, and the cost for the confinement site applicator certification is $100.

Andersen said that while some applicators may see the certification as a burden, most understand it helps to keep them current and in compliance with the latest practices.

"Most of them do see the value in the program and certification," he said. "I think they understand that we have to do things right."

Next year's in-person training will be held in January and February, with video and online opportunities year-round.

More information about the program and nutrient management is available on ISU Extension and Outreach's Iowa Manure Management Action Group website.

Additional partners include the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa Commercial Nutrient Applicators Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Environmental Council, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Highlights From the August 2019 Farm Income Forecast

USDA Economic Researc Service

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to increase $4.0 billion (4.8 percent) to $88.0 billion in 2019, after increasing in both 2017 and 2018. In inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars, net farm income is forecast to increase $2.5 billion (2.9 percent) from 2018. If realized, in inflation-adjusted terms, net farm income in 2019 would be 35.5 percent below its peak of $136.5 billion in 2013 and below its 2000-18 average ($90.1 billion).

Net cash farm income is forecast to increase $7.6 billion (7.3 percent) to $112.6 billion. Inflation-adjusted net cash farm income is forecast to increase $5.8 billion (5.4 percent) from 2018, which would be 4 percent above its 2000-18 average ($108.3 billion). Net cash farm income encompasses cash receipts from farming as well as farm-related income, including government payments, minus cash expenses. It does not include noncash items—including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income of operator dwellings—reflected in the net farm income measure above.

Cash receipts for all commodities are forecast to decrease $2.4 billion (0.6 percent) to $371.1 billion (in nominal terms) in 2019. Total animal/animal product receipts are expected to increase $0.9 billion (0.5 percent) but fall 1.3 percent when adjusted for inflation. Increases in milk and hog receipts are expected to be nearly offset by declines in broiler and chicken egg receipts. Total crop receipts are expected to decrease $3.3 billion (1.7 percent) in nominal terms from 2018 levels following expected decreases in soybean receipts. Direct government farm payments are forecast to increase $5.8 billion (42.5 percent) to $19.5 billion in 2019, with most of the increase due to higher anticipated payments from the Market Facilitation Program.

Total production expenses (including operator dwelling expenses) are forecast to increase $1.5 billion (0.4 percent) to $346.1 billion (in nominal terms) in 2019. Spending on feed and hired labor is expected to increase while spending on seed, pesticides, fuels/oil, and interest are expected to decline. After adjusting for inflation, total production expenses are forecast to decrease $4.6 billion (1.3 percent).

Farm business average net cash farm income is forecast to increase $8,400 (11.4 percent) to $81,900 per farm in 2019. This would be the first annual increase after 4 consecutive years of declines. Every resource region is forecast to see farm business average net cash farm income increase by 5.6 percent or more. All categories of farm businesses except poultry are expected to see average net farm income rise in 2019.

Farm sector equity is forecast up by $46.1 billion (1.8 percent) in nominal terms to $2.67 trillion in 2019. Farm assets are forecast to increase by $59.8 billion (2.0 percent) to $3.1 trillion in 2019, reflecting an anticipated 1.9-percent rise in farm sector real estate value. When adjusted for inflation, farm sector equity and assets are forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2018. Farm debt in nominal terms is forecast to increase by $13.7 billion (3.4 percent) to $415.7 billion, led by an expected 4.6-percent rise in real estate debt. The farm sector debt-to-asset ratio is expected to rise from 13.31 percent in 2018 to 13.49 percent in 2019. Working capital, which measures the amount of cash available to fund operating expenses after paying off debt due within 12 months, is forecast to decline 18.7 percent from 2018.

Median Income of Farm Operator Households Forecast To Increase in 2019

Median farm household income is forecast to reach $74,768 in 2019, an increase of 3.7 percent in nominal terms; in inflation-adjusted terms, it is a 1.9-percent increase. The total median income of U.S. farm households increased steadily over 2010-14, reaching an estimated $81,637 in 2014 (in nominal terms). Median farm household income then fell 6.0 percent in 2015 and continued to decline slightly through 2018. The 2017 and 2018 declines occurred despite an improvement in sector incomes as a whole and sharply higher income for households with commercial farm operations. However, only 10 percent of U.S. farm households operate commercial sized farms. The median farm household is more likely to operate intermediate or small farms, categories where farm-sourced income dropped in 2018 with no appreciable increase expected in 2019.

Farm households typically receive income from both farm and off-farm sources. Median farm income earned by farm households is estimated at -$1,840 in 2018 (nominal terms) and is forecast to increase slightly to -$1,644 in 2019. In recent years, slightly more than half of farm households have had negative farm income. Many of these households rely on off-farm income—and median off-farm income is forecast to increase 2.2 percent from $65,841 in 2018 to $67,314 in 2019. (Because farm and off-farm income are not distributed identically for every farm, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.)

FY 2020 Exports Forecast Up $2.5 Billion to $137.0 Billion; Imports at $129.0 Billion

USDA Economic Research Service

U.S. agricultural exports are projected to reach $137.0 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, up $2.5 billion from the revised forecast for FY 2019. This anticipated increase is primarily driven by higher exports of pork, beef, soybeans, and horticultural products. Pork exports are forecast at $6.3 billion (up $800 million from FY 2019) as a result of higher volumes and unit values, partially resulting from the repeal of Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs and an increase in global pork demand due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic. Beef and veal exports are forecast at $7.8 billion (up $300 million from FY 2019) on higher volumes and unit values. Horticultural exports are forecast up $500 million to $35.5 billion with higher sales of food preparations, beer, and mixed seasonings. Soybean exports are forecast to rise $400 million to $16.8 billion on higher volumes. Cotton exports are forecast up $100 million to $5.8 billion. Grain and feed exports are unchanged. Exports to Canada and Mexico are forecast at $21.5 billion (up $400 million from FY 2019) and $19.8 billion (up $500 million), respectively. Agricultural exports to China are forecast at $7.5 billion, an increase of $200 million from FY 2019, on higher expected pork sales.

U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2020 are forecast at $129.0 billion, $300 million lower than FY 2019 primarily due to decreases in horticultural product imports. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to increase by $2.8 billion in FY 2020 to $8.0 billion.

For FY 2019, the export forecast of $134.5 billion represents a reduction of $2.5 billion from May’s projection, mainly due to reductions in exports of corn, soybeans, and other oilseeds. The import forecast is raised by $300 million to $129.3 billion.

2019 National Farm Safety and Health Week promotes research to practice

Agriculture is known as one of the most dangerous industries in America and abroad. According to NIOSH approximately 2,050,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the US in 2017. NIOSH reported that in 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers.

National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized during the third week of September for seventy-five years, since 1944. AgriSafe has organized activities to support awareness for agricultural health and safety professionals and producers alike in conjunction with organizations such as the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS). The 2019 theme is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear,” which focuses on the importance of safety on the farm as well as America’s rural roadways. The goal of the week is to remind us that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize the issues that are faced in the agricultural community. During September 15-21, 2019, our free webinars will share information on tractor safety, safeguarding the youth, communicating hazards, opioid use, and women’s health issues such as hazard communications, ergonomics and reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes. These topics are a significant threat to producers and their families. Timely information will be shared by field experts in a format that is accessible to all.

Daily Themes include
Monday‐ Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety;
Tuesday – Farm Health & Opioid/Suicide Prevention;
Wednesday – Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture;
Thursday – Confined Spaces in Agriculture; and
Friday‐ Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture

For more information on National Farm Safety and Health week, visit

AgriSafe is an international 501©3 organization representing health and safety professionals who strive to reduce health disparities found among the agricultural community. Our mission is to support a growing network of trained agricultural health and safety professionals that assure access to preventative services for farm families and the agricultural community.

Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.39 million tons (180 million bushels) in July 2019, compared with 4.73 million tons (158 million bushels) in June 2019 and 5.37 million tons (179 million bushels) in July 2018. Crude oil produced was 2.09 billion pounds up 15 percent from June 2019 and up 2 percent from July 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.51 billion pounds during July 2019 increased 7 percent from June 2019 and increased 6 percent from July 2018.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 145,547 tons in July 2019, compared with 125,124 tons in June 2019 and 165,007 tons in July 2018. Canola crude oil produced was 122 million pounds, up 13 percent from June 2019 but down 19 percent from July 2018. Canola once refined oil production, at 102 million pounds during July 2019, was down 7 percent from June 2019 and down 25 percent from July 2018.

Cottonseed once refined oil production, at 34.0 million pounds during July 2019, was down 16 percent from June 2019 and down 20 percent from July 2018.

Edible tallow production was 80.8 million pounds during July 2019, down 8 percent from June 2019 but up 7 percent from July 2018. Inedible tallow production was 310 million pounds during July 2019, down 9 percent from June 2019 but up 5 percent from July 2018. Technical tallow production was 89.5 million pounds during July 2019, up 9 percent from June 2019 and up 16 percent from July 2018. Choice white grease production, at 93.3 million pounds during July 2019, decreased 15 percent from June 2019 but increased 4 percent from July 2018.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 508 million bushels in July 2019. Total corn consumption was down less than 1 percent from June 2019 and down 5 percent from July 2018. July 2019 usage included 91.3 percent for alcohol and 8.7 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 5.11 million bushels, up 49 percent from June 2019 and up 55 percent from July 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 451 million bushels, was down 1 percent from June 2019 and down 6 percent from July 2018. Corn consumed in July 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.4 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.99 million tons during July 2019, up 1 percent from June 2019 but down 6 percent from July 2018. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.20 million tons in July 2019, down 7 percent from June 2019 and down 10 percent from July 2018.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 300,572 tons during July 2019, up 5 percent from June 2019 but down 6 percent from July 2018. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 252,084 tons in July 2019, up 1 percent from June 2019 but down 4 percent from July 2018.

Growth Energy, USGC, and RFA Comment on New Brazil Tariff Rate Quota

Brazil announced it has raised the quota on U.S. ethanol imports under the tariff rate quote (TRQ) up from 600 million liters per year to nearly 750 million liters per year. The TRQ regulates the threshold of ethanol that can be imported into Brazil without triggering a 20 percent tariff. Following this announcement, Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council, and Renewable Fuels Association released statements:

Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy:
“We appreciate the U.S. government's efforts to raise the TRQ, however we are disappointed that Brazil did not remove their tariff completely to allow a fully open market. Brazilian ethanol continues to have virtual tariff-free access to the U.S. and puts U.S. ethanol producers at a disadvantage at a time when they need it most. We will continue working with U.S. government officials, the Brazilian government, and our allies to truly open the ethanol market and build a strong trade relationship for decades to come.”

Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council:
"We are very disappointed Brazil did not fully consider the vast information we and the U.S. government provided them showing the detrimental and negative impact this TRQ has on Brazilian consumers by raising prices at the pump. We will actively encourage review of this policy, which inhibits trade between our countries and hinders the development of a robust global ethanol marketplace.  Free and reciprocal fair trade between the world’s two largest ethanol producers should be a model for other countries to follow.  Instead Brazil is showing other countries a path to construct barriers to trade, which will hurt all consumers in the short, medium and long terms."

Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association:
“Brazil’s decision to maintain its protectionist trade barrier against U.S. ethanol is extremely disappointing and represents a major setback in our relationship with the Brazilian sugar and ethanol industry. The token increase in the quota does nothing to provide relief to Brazilian consumers who face higher fuel prices because of Brazil’s discriminatory policy. Not only is the U.S. market wide open to ethanol imports from Brazil, but our Renewable Fuel Standard actually incentivizes imports by characterizing sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel. But there is nothing ‘advanced’ at all about the unfair and unlevel playing created by Brazilian trade barriers. In light of Brazil’s action, it may be time for U.S. policymakers to reconsider our open-door trade policy regarding sugarcane ethanol.”

Throughout the World, Convenience Stores Are a Rapidly Growing Venue for U.S. Red Meat

The desire for work-life balance and pre-packaged meals requiring little or no kitchen time is leading consumers around the world to a surprising new destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner: the neighborhood convenience store.

And we're not just talking about beef jerky and pepperoni sticks.

Convenience stores are offering a wide selection of entree and full meal options that are winning over customers and creating more demand for U.S. red meat. For every gourmet hot dog sold in a South Korean GS25 store, every bowl of beef noodle soup ladled from a 7-Eleven hot food counter in Taiwan and every pork sausage sandwich pulled from a shelf in a Mexican Oxxo outlet comes another trade opportunity for the U.S. beef and pork industries.

Working to stay a step ahead of the competition for this rapidly growing sector, The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) uses funding from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board to promote U.S. beef and pork — especially processed beef and pork items, but also raw material for further processing — as the centerpiece of convenience store fare in several international markets.

"Just as important as promoting existing products, we are developing brand new ideas for packaged meals and protein snack items featuring U.S. beef and pork that fit well with consumer trends in each individual market," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "USMEF recognizes the scope of this opportunity and the enormous demand that is driving it. As the convenience store sector has taken off in various parts of the world, suppliers realize they need products to help meet the demand for these meat snacks and packaged meals. The trend is toward high-quality meat, and that is definitely an advantage for U.S. beef and pork."

Halstrom said USMEF staff around the world report encouraging developments in this sector, including the fact that convenience stores in many Asian markets not only offer high-quality food but allocate considerable shelf space to beef and pork items such as pre-packaged lunch boxes and beef bowls.

Solid data supports USMEF's pursuit of a larger share of the bustling global convenience store market.

According to a 2019 report by Euromonitor, which tracks retail sales and maintains a category dedicated specifically to convenience stores, per capita spending on foodservice products at convenience stores increased 14% worldwide between 2013 and 2018 and is projected to increase another 11% by 2023. South Korea has led the way, experiencing a whopping 142% increase in per capita convenience store foodservice spending from 2013 to 2018 with another 47% increase projected by 2023.

Japan, Taiwan, the ASEAN region and Mexico are other fast-growing markets identified by Euromonitor, while a USDA report suggests China's convenience store chains, which have historically focused on lower-priced processed foods, are beginning to expand premium and imported food offerings. This trend is likely to continue as younger Chinese consumers shift away from traditional retail outlets.

These numbers lend further perspective to the Euromonitor data: In 2018, the average American spent $44.50 on foodservice items at a convenience store, which ranks fourth globally. Japanese consumers ranked first with an average of $240.80, followed by Taiwan at $80.70 and Norway at $72. The average Korean spent only $39.70 last year — good for fifth place on the list. But projected growth puts Korean spending at $58.40 by 2023. If these projections hold true, Korea would move ahead of the U.S., which is expected to reach $54.60 by 2023.

Even in less-developed markets, spending is on an impressive trajectory. In Thailand, for example, the average consumer forked over $28.80 on convenience store foodservice items in 2018 (good for No. 6 on Euromonitor's list), but the amount is projected to exceed $50 within the next five years.

"Obviously there is tremendous potential for U.S. beef and pork in the convenience store sector, but competition is intense, so we must focus our efforts on identifying ways to highlight the advantages of U.S. products," said Halstrom. "The quality and consistency that U.S. beef and pork deliver in processed products are really what set us apart. USMEF staff on the ground in these markets are doing a great job of conveying this message to distributors and their clientele, and this puts more U.S. beef and pork at the center of the world's convenience store offerings."

Following is a glimpse of some of the markets where the convenience store trend is strongest, along with USMEF's promotional efforts in these destinations:

Though it is by far the leader in per capita spending on foodservice products at convenience stores, Japan still has room for growth. Euromonitor indicates spending increased 16 percent between 2013 and 2018, and is expected to rise another 7 percent by 2023.

A pioneer of sorts in the pre-packed, ready-to-eat meal game, Japan's convenience stores often resemble a supermarket/restaurant combination. There are more than 20,000 7-Eleven stores in Japan, competing with major chains Lawson and Family Mart.

Both beef and pork are well-utilized in Japan's convenience store offerings, which range from bento boxes, to beef bowls, to sandwiches to noodle dishes.

USMEF has long promoted the use of U.S. beef and pork to importers that supply Japan's convenience stores and this experience has helped the U.S. red meat industry improve efficiency when supplying specific cuts and processed products.

Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF director in Japan, said spreading the word about U.S. beef and pork's presence in convenience stores has been made easier with social media. USMEF often partners with chains to distribute promotional messages through social media platforms. Food bloggers, who have great credibility with consumers, play a significant role in showcasing U.S. beef and pork items sold at convenience stores.

In Mexico, demand has increased for convenience foods and prepared meals due to population shifts toward urban centers and more women entering the workforce.

According to Euromonitor, per capita spending on convenience store food items rose 24% between 2013 and 2018, to $8.90, and is expected to expand another 12% over the next five years. Euromonitor also reported that the packaged food market in Mexico is expected to reach $53.5 billion by 2022. High-growth categories in this forecast include processed meat and seafood snacks and "ready" meals — pre-packaged sandwiches, entrees and side items.

Oxxo is the largest convenience store chain in Mexico with more than 17,000 locations throughout the country, and USMEF is working behind the scenes with companies that supply Oxxo stores. For example, USMEF has conducted educational seminars and trainings to the processing companies that supply hams and sausages for sandwiches sold by Oxxo, as well as by Mexico's 7-Eleven convenience stores. The trainings emphasize the quality and consistency of U.S. pork and beef and introduce distributors to new product options.

"One of the hottest trends in convenience stores across Mexico is the emergence of uniform sandwiches and meal items," said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. "Until recently, if you bought a sandwich at a convenience store here, you really had no idea what you were going to get. That is no exaggeration. But the consistency of U.S. ham, for example, has made sandwiches more reliable. That may not sound like a big thing in the U.S., but in Mexico it has made a huge difference that the consumer definitely notices. For them, consistency is the key. It doesn't matter when or where you buy the product, it must be exactly the same."

Along with promoting the consistency and quality of U.S. products currently offered in Mexico's stores, USMEF is also working to develop new products. Rodriguez said USMEF is focusing on consumers who use convenience stores as a foodservice option for lunch. There are very few options for healthy items, he noted, so developing salads that include a side item of U.S. pork or beef will fill a large void in the convenience sector.

South Korea
There were only about 10,000 convenience stores in South Korea in 2007, but that number tripled over the next decade. Recent growth has been even more aggressive.

"With lifestyle changes among Koreans coupled with a growing number of single households, convenience store expansion accelerated rapidly and by the end of 2018 there were more than 40,000 stores in the country," said Jihae Yang, USMEF director in Korea.

Korea's home meal replacement (HMR) market more than doubled between 2011 and 2018 and the meal kits — a supermarket and wholesale chain store item now offered by convenience stores — continue to gain popularity.

"Continuous lifestyle changes for Koreans have created great demand for convenience foods," said Yang. "The popularity of meal kits is driving demand for meat products, so USMEF has been working hard to demonstrate how U.S. pork and beef work well as centerpieces of these kits. Koreans are looking for quick meals that require no preparation, and we are coming up with new ideas and new products to meet this demand."

A recent example of this strategy was USMEF's launch and promotion of a ready-to-eat corn dog at convenience stores across Korea.

"In the past, items like corn dogs were sold in the refrigerated food section of convenience stores, and customers would have to microwave them at the stores before eating them," said Yang. "But we worked with stores to introduce more items that are cooked and served hot, so consumers could come in, pick out an item and eat it with no preparation."

Another development is the protein snack boom among Korean millennials.

"Convenience stores in Korea have aggressively touted snacks made with sausage and processed meat ingredients," said Yang. "Protein snacks are mostly dominated by pork, often manufactured from mixed pork ingredients from U.S. and the EU, as well as domestic pork. But USMEF has launched premium brands of U.S. processed pork products that have been very well-received by consumers who are looking for something that really stands out among numerous sausage items."

Beef is in the mix, too. USMEF teamed with Korea's second-largest convenience store chain and a U.S. red meat supplier to launch a cube steak promotion aimed at Korean consumers who pick up their lunches at convenience stores. The "Cube Steak Lunch Box" is offered at GS25 convenience stores, a chain with 12,500 locations in Korea. It is perfect for students and workers looking for healthy meal options for their hectic lives.

"The healthy lunchbox is a great way to conveniently and inexpensively put high-quality protein in the diets of people who don't have time to prepare their own lunches," Yang said. "It creates yet another avenue to increase Koreans' consumption of U.S. beef."

Recent data showed there are nearly 11,000 convenience stores in Taiwan, or one for every 2,222 people. This is the second-highest density worldwide, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs. Taiwan trailed only South Korea (one store for every 1,452 people) and was ahead of Japan (one store for every 2,248).

Besides 7-Eleven (5,281 outlets as of mid-2018) and Family Mart, the other major convenience store chains in Taiwan are Hi-Life and O.K. Mart.

Taiwan's 7-Eleven stores have been labeled as "food heaven" by the country's consumers.

"You can pick up a ready-to-go meal, something like pork chop rice or beef noodle soup, or grab something from the refrigerated case and heat it up in the in-store microwaves," said Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan. "Consumers in Taiwan are looking for quick meal solutions but want something fresh. So convenience stores have stepped up their selection of these offerings, along with popular protein snacks including beef sticks of many different flavors and spices, beef jerky and other items made with processed meats."

USMEF-Taiwan has strategically promoted U.S. beef and pork by partnering with the convenience store chains.

"If a chain is going to launch a campaign to sell a specific product that contains red meat, we make sure that we show them how the quality of U.S. product improves the item's appeal," Sun explained. "USMEF also helps chains make their customers aware of this fact, which really expands our reach."

A recent USDA GAIN Report described China's convenience store sector as 100,000 strong and "one of the most rapidly developing retail models in China, with sales of more than $28 billion in 2017." Meiyijia, Family Mart, 7-Eleven and Lawson are the top chains, with locations spread across the country.

While the sector has traditionally focused on lower-priced processed foods, several chains are increasing their premium and imported food offerings.

In its 2019 report, Euromonitor showed per capita spending on convenience store foodservice items in China increased 50% between 2013 and 2018 and projected a 67% increase by 2023.

Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China, said consumers in many regions of China still buy meat and other foods at traditional markets. In more urban settings, modern supermarkets and butcher shops are more prevalent.

However, retail trends are changing with a new generation.

According to statistics from Family Mart, younger Chinese consumers are a major force in the convenience store market, with those born in the 1980s and 1990s accounting for 88.4% of total customers. Statistics from 7-Eleven indicate that consumers aged 20 to 40 make up 88% of its customer base.

Both companies report that most of their customers in China are office workers.

"Younger people are more concerned about time and less inclined to go through a long process when shopping for food," said Liang. "We've seen this happen in other Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea, where people want quick and easy meals instead of spending time going to the market. Chinese consumers are looking for these same options."

USMEF's strategy is increase awareness of U.S. beef and pork and help a new generation of Chinese consumers develop a taste for U.S. products as they expand their shopping options.

"Convenience stores satisfy an important demand from young working parents who often face lengthy commutes and do not have much time to cook at home," said Liang. "Parking and traffic have led customers to cut back on the time they spend shopping in markets, and we believe convenience stores in China will become an important outlet for U.S. red meat."

South America
Once concentrated only in urban areas, convenience stores are becoming more and more popular in South America, especially in Colombia and Peru. South American convenience store chains have been reluctant to offer ready-to-eat meals, but Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America, said the Mexican chain Oxxo is expanding rapidly in the region, creating potential for future partnerships.

Meanwhile, USMEF has been working on strategies for other players in the convenience store sector.

"In Peru, we approached Tambo, which has 300 convenience stores, to introduce a 'Power Breakfast' campaign that includes a U.S. beef liver sandwich or liver empanada," explained Julca. "We were planning a big launch of that campaign during the second quarter of this year, but the company that owns the chain went through some changes. So we are now in a holding pattern, but still hoping to promote U.S. beef liver items as a convenience food soon."

Consumer demand for convenience has not skipped Southeast Asia, where there are roughly 73,000 convenience stores across the region. According to Nielsen's recent report "What's Next for Southeast Asia?" convenience stores are increasing by 10% year-on-year. In addition, the number of mini-market stores in the region, which currently stands at 50,000, is growing by nearly 5% annually.

Euromonitor reported that per capita spending on foodservice products in convenience stores rose 87% in Malaysia between 2013 and 2018 and is projected to increase another 139 percent over the next five years. The Philippines saw a 93 percent jump the past five years and is expected to achieve another 81% growth by 2023.

Convenience stores in the region have moved from providing impulse products such as snacks, beverages and tobacco, to competing against quick-service restaurants by expanding their range of ready-to-eat food items.

Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the region, said consumers — especially busy young professionals — are seeking food sources that are close to home and easy to access, boosting the number of convenience stores and mini-markets.

"Every country has its own needs and wants, and the convenience element will expand differently across the region," said Yin. "As with restaurants and supermarkets, USMEF's goal is to introduce and promote U.S. products that help these retailers differentiate themselves from their competition."

Young Cattle Producers Can Get More Out of 2020 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio

A fun, rewarding and engaging opportunity is available for college students wanting to attend the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 2-7, 2020. A team of interns – who are vital to the success of the largest annual meeting in the U.S. beef cattle industry – will gain first-hand experience and be able to interact with leaders of every segment of the cattle and beef industry.

Up to 18 interns will be selected for this opportunity. They will be assigned to help many different staff members and attendees with meetings and events and should be prepared to handle a wide range of responsibilities, from setting up the indoor arena, assisting at committee meetings and Cattlemen’s College to posting on social media and contributing in the NCBA booth.  NCBA will strive to provide students time to maximize industry networking.

Students must be able to work Feb. 2-7 in San Antonio. They must be at least a junior-level college student at an accredited university at the time of application. Preferably they will have a background in, or working knowledge of, the cattle and/or beef industry, and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students should be well-versed in all areas of social media.

Interested students must complete a Student Internship Application and send college transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a resume. Deadline for applying is Oct. 11, 2019.

The Value of Helping Hands

Laurie Munns, Chairman, Federation of State Beef Councils

Each of us benefits from assistance from others now and then. Perhaps a neighbor helps with harvest; maybe we get a ride into town to fix a flat tire or help getting our cows in at roundup. For many state beef councils, assistance is more than a bonus; it’s a necessity.

There are 44 Qualified State Beef Councils, and they play a key role in the Beef Checkoff across the country. For one thing, they are responsible for collecting the $1-per-head national Beef Checkoff, remitting 50 cents of each dollar to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for use in national and international beef demand-building programs. They use the other 50 cents at the discretion of their boards, under the guidelines of the Beef Promotion Act and Order.

The make-up of these boards varies. Some are appointed; some are elected. They are truly local self-help organizations, managed and overseen by the beef and cattle community in their state. Many of them pre-date the existence of the national Beef Checkoff, first instituted in 1986. There are more than 700 board members of state beef councils in the United States.

The volunteer boards make decisions about their half of the dollar, which can include investing in demand-building national and international programs or conducting beef promotion, education and research programs in their own states. Implementing the in-state programs requires a lot of resources. Even though they have a large responsibility, many state councils are very small. They might only have a part-time director and if they’re fortunate one staffer, depending on the budget and the wants of the board.

Among the functions of the Federation of State Beef Councils is the support of participating state beef councils that need it. This include state councils of any size that want special assistance with a project, or smaller state councils that don’t have the infrastructure for conducting fully-developed in-state programs. Maybe they want help with their IT systems or have human resources questions that need to be addressed. Perhaps they require graphic design for brochures or billboards they want to create. Maybe it’s communications assistance with outreach to producer or consumer audiences, or participation in consumer surveys to build stronger and more precise in-state campaigns.

Possibly they want to discuss joint efforts with executives of other state councils, or brainstorm ideas that are successful in other states that might be effective with their own consumers, foodservice or retail outlets, dietitians or other thought leaders. 

The bottom line is that for a state beef council of any size, fully implementing a valuable in-state beef promotion, education and research program is difficult. For a small council, it can be daunting.

The Federation of State Beef Councils helps fill that void. It has an experienced staff that provides IT, graphic design, research and communications functions to state beef councils. It also assists in coordinating state efforts on a national level, and can supply or supplement information, materials and efforts in ways that will give a state beef council more impact.

Since 1963 the Federation of State Beef Councils has brought state beef councils together, at the same time helping them be more successful on their own. A cornerstone of the Beef Checkoff, this state/national partnership gives state beef councils of all sizes a beneficial leg up.

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