Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wednesday September 11 Ag News

Governor, Agriculture Leaders, UNL Chancellor Say Nebraskans “Win” with USMCA

It’s time for Congress to pass legislation to enact the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) and bring home a “win” for Nebraska agriculture. That’s the message relayed by Nebraska leaders who gathered to call for USMCA passage at Husker Harvest Days, Wed., Sept. 11. The Trump administration has negotiated a trade deal with the two countries, but Congress must act for the provisions of the agreement to go into effect.

The USMCA deal is critical to Nebraska agriculture as purchases by Mexico and Canada account for more than 21 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. The trade relationship with the two countries is also vital to the state’s economy as agriculture trade with the two nations supports nearly 54,000 Nebraska jobs.

The USMCA would replace the more than 20-year-old, North American Free Trade Agreement between the countries, making a good relationship even better. The new deal would maintain market access for Nebraska commodities like corn, soybeans, beef, and pork, while improving access for Nebraska wheat and dairy products. The deal also updates the former agreement to address agriculture biotechnology to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies. In addition, USMCA creates a more rigorous process for establishing trade distorting geological indicators for agriculture products and strengthens science-based measures to protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.

With members of Congress returning from the August recess, the Nebraska leaders urged swift action to secure the USMCA deal.


“A combination of flooding, low commodity prices, and trade negotiations have made for a very tough time for agriculture recently. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical for our country and growing key trade relationships. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do their part by approving the USMCA.”
Governor Pete Ricketts

“USMCA passage is not only important because of the immediate and direct benefits it will bring to our state’s farmers and ranchers, but with the climate we’re operating in today, we need to show the rest of the world that the United States is open for business and we’re serious about getting deals done with our trade partners. The success of Nebraska agriculture relies heavily on our ability to reach the international customers who want to buy Nebraska agriculture products; and there are plenty of them around the world.”
Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president

“Mexico and Canada are key partners with Nebraska’s corn industry. Mexico is our top customer of Nebraska corn and Canada is our second largest export market for ethanol. Once distillers grains, livestock and other agricultural commodities start getting added into the mix, it’s easy to see why USMCA is so important to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.”
Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president

“USMCA is poised to bring improvements to the North American dairy trade by expanding exports and bringing down trade barriers, benefiting America’s dairy farmers and processors. Mexico and Canada are the dairy industry’s number one and number two largest volume international exporters, with Mexico taking 25 percent of all of the United States dairy exports.  USMCA enables the Nebraska dairy industry to continue to export ice cream and butter into those markets, generating more demand and higher pay price for our milk here at home.”
Bob Larson, Nebraska State Dairy Association, board of directors

"Mexico is one of the largest purchasers of both US and Nebraska wheat. A fully implemented USMCA would greatly benefit our state's wheat farmers."
Von Johnson, Nebraska Wheat Board, board of directors

“In today’s trade environment the passage of the USMCA is of great importance. With trade equalization moving forward with Japan and other booming markets around the world the passage of USMCA would increase the momentum to trade with other countries and boost all sectors of our agricultural economy.”
Tim Chancellor, Nebraska Pork Producers Association

“USMCA will benefit U.S. and Nebraska soybean growers as well as the larger U.S. agriculture and food industry.  Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and ag exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA.  Mexico is the number two buyer of Nebraska soybeans and soybean products.”
Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association, president

“Nebraska’s cattle producers have weathered their fair share of storms this past year. Now is NOT the time to pull the rug from under the feet of our state’s largest industry. If access to these top markets were suddenly shut off, our red meat exports would drastically decline. This would pose serious consequences for Nebraska’s economy. We urge Congress to act quickly and get USMCA across the finish line.”
Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen president

“USMCA reinvigorates and modernizes the trade relationships with our neighbors in Canada and Mexico. The agreement also provides critical updates that benefit growers all across the agricultural spectrum. The Nebraska Sorghum Producers Association urges congress to move swiftly forward in passing the USMCA.”
Nate Blum, Nebraska Grain Sorghum

“Nebraska’s own Clayton Yeutter was instrumental in opening up trade with our neighbor Canada when he served as U.S. Trade Representative in the 1980s. I’m proud that our Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at UNL helps educate students and the public about the importance of trade. In 2017, Nebraska ag exports totaled $6.4 billion and translated into $8.14 billion in additional economic activity. Opening up access to our agricultural products is vital to Nebraska’s future.”
Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor


Rural Nebraskans are more optimistic about their current and future situation than they have been in the history of the Nebraska Rural Poll, according to 2019 results.

Despite some of the challenges faced by rural Nebraska this year, 56% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — believe they are better off than they were five years ago, up from 52% last year. This is the highest proportion across all 24 years of the study. Rural Nebraskans’ optimism about their current situation has been increasing the past six years, as the gap has widened between the proportions saying they are better off vs. worse off than they were five years ago.

This optimism was also reflected in their outlook on the future, with 52% believing they'll be better off in 10 years. This was an increase from 49% last year. The gap between those believing they will be better off vs. worse off 10 years from now has gradually widened since 2013. The poll was conducted in the spring, right after Nebraska’s widespread and historic flooding.

“With the unprecedented disasters we have seen this year, the results are surprising but not necessarily out of the ordinary,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “Collective recovery from disasters can create strong feelings of place and pride, as showcased by the ‘Nebraska Strong’ campaign. It remains to be seen whether this uptick in optimism continues as recovery progresses over the next five to 10 years and the agricultural economy continues to languish.”

Rural Nebraskans surveyed have higher levels of satisfaction with many financial items compared to last year. Satisfaction with job opportunities increased from 41% last year to 49% this year, job security increased from 68% to 75%, and satisfaction with financial security during retirement increased from 42% to 48%. Many of these percentages are the highest seen in the past 20 years.

Poll respondents also have positive views of their community. Most rural Nebraskans surveyed rate their community as friendly, trusting and supportive and have a positive attachment to it. Most also say it would be difficult to leave their community.

Despite the overall optimism across the state, Panhandle residents were less positive about both their community and well-being compared to residents from other regions, similar to last year’s findings. Four in 10 Panhandle residents surveyed think they will be better off 10 years from now, compared to 58% of residents in the northeast region. Moreover, 24% expect to be worse off 10 years from now. When assessing their current situation, only 38% think they are better off than they were five years ago, and 23% believe they are worse off. Their pessimism continues when asked about their community: 37% of Panhandle residents say their community has changed for the worse during the past year, and 29% think their community will be a worse place to live 10 years from now.

“Over the last three Rural Polls, the Panhandle has shown more pessimism than other regions of the state,” said Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, extension professor at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. “We’re not sure why this is the case, as many of the social and economic variables are similar. Additionally, when we look at county- and community-level data, we see pockets of optimism among the pessimism — so it’s not consistent across the entire region.”

Burkhart-Kriesel said the loss of Cabela’s, a significant economic driver across the Panhandle, may be one of the key reasons for the pessimism seen in the poll results, but more analysis is needed.

Residents were also asked about community goals this year. According to the poll, younger people are more likely to have goals for their community, know how to reach those goals and be actively pursuing them.

This year’s Rural Poll was sent to 6,260 households in 86 Nebraska counties in March and April. Responses were received through June 10. Results are based on 1,776 responses, a response rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

Midwest Bank joins Northeast’s Ag & Water Nexus Campaign with $250,000 contribution

A bank with several locations across Nebraska has joined the list of supporters of a project to build new ag facilities at Northeast Community College. Midwest Bank President & CEO Doug Johnson has announced a pledge of $250,000 to the Nexus campaign.

“Agriculture has done a fantastic job of evolving, of adapting to change over the years,” Johnson said. “But it will be a challenge going forward. Trying to get students the tools and resources that they can use to help them in that process is important.”

Midwest Bank was founded in Pilger in 1952 by members of the Clyde and Lizzy Cooper family. Today, the Cooper family owns majority interest in banks located in Pilger, Plainview, Deshler, Pierce, Creighton, York, Norfolk, Lincoln and Wisner. In August, Midwest Bank broke ground for a new facility in Norfolk that will serve as corporate headquarters for all 10 bank locations in Nebraska, as well as two Redstone Bank locations in Colorado.

In addition to their banking interests, the Cooper family also supports health, education and recreation in the communities that Midwest Bank serves through the Jim B. & Lillian F. Cooper Foundation. Both grants and scholarships are awarded annually.

“We cannot thank Midwest Bank enough for their support,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation. “Their financial contribution to the Nexus campaign is an investment in the next student, the next farmer or rancher, the next agribusiness employee.”

Kruse also remarked that Johnson has supported the college by serving on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for the past eight years.

Funding for the $23 million project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse at or (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.

The following appointees are unpaid and are not subject to Legislative confirmation:

Corn Development, Utilization, and Marketing Board
Deborah J. Borg, Allen
David D. Bruntz, Friend
Adam M. Grabenstein, Farnam

Nebraska Craft Brewery Board
Nathan Bell, Broken Bow
William Boyd, Hastings
Joshua C. Christensen, Fort Calhoun
James Gillick, Lincoln
Kristine Koch, Lincoln
Zachary Triemert, Omaha
Annette Wiles, Plattsmouth

Grain Sorghum Development, Utilization, and Marketing Board
David A. Junker, McCook
Scott D. Nelson, Axtell
Duane L. Vorderstrasse, Hebron

Nebraska Invasive Species Council
Brent Meyer, Denton
John Thorburn, Holdrege

Nebraska Potato Development Committee
Tyler C. Backemeyer, Kearney
Adam Naslund, Cody
Troy Sorensen, Alliance
Zane Walker, Scottsbluff

The following appointees are subject to Legislative confirmation:

Nebraska Ethanol Board
Timothy L. Else, Belvidere
Jan K. tenBensel, Cambridge

Thank you to the many Nebraskans that give generously of their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go to

NRD Hall of Fame Inductees Announced at Husker Harvest Days

During Husker Harvest Days this afternoon, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) recognized three individuals, who will be inducted into the NRD Hall of Fame later this month.

“Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts projects involve many dedicated individuals working to make the good life great,” said Larry Reynolds, president of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts. “We’re proud to recognize these outstanding individuals for the significant improvements they’ve made to our natural resources, and the NRD Hall of Fame is one small way to thank them.”

Annually, Nebraska’s NRDs nominate and vote for individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the state’s natural resources. Hall of Fame categories include an NRD Board Member, NRD Employee and NRD Supporter. The NRD Supporter includes an individual outside the NRD system who has shown tremendous care and leadership in Nebraska’s ongoing conservation efforts.

2019 NRD Hall of Fame inductees:
    NRD Board Member – James Nelson, Cairo, Nebraska
    NRD Employee – Tom Moser, Hartington, Nebraska
    NRD Supporter – Tom Pesek, Brainard, Nebraska

James Nelson – NRD Board Member

Nominated by the Lower Loup Natural Resources District, Nelson has been on the board of directors since the District’s inception in 1972. His 47 years on the Lower Loup NRD Board make him the only director in the state to serve with the NRD system since day one. Nelson was a key participant in many difficult decisions, including a district-wide moratorium on new irrigation wells and a halt on the expansion of irrigated acres.

“Jim serves on multiple committees within the NRD, which means extra meetings and the devotion of additional time and energy to the District,” said Russ Callan, Lower Loup NRD general manager. “His knowledge of the Loup River system [Nelson’s home is built on the banks] is unmatched, and he is always willing to offer a guided tour on his airboat.”

“We’re on earth for a short time and we need to be stewards of the land and water,” Nelson said. “This award should be given to my family, my wife and four children, who were doing the chores at home while I attended NRD meetings.”

Tom Moser – NRD Employee

Former general manager of the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District, Moser retired in 2016 after 43 years with the NRD, but the impacts of his management decisions continue to be felt in northeast Nebraska. In the late 1970s, Moser coordinated flood-control construction along the Aowa Creek. The project included 50 watershed dams, control of more than 55,000 drainage acres and two multi-purpose structures, which all reduced flood impacts to downstream communities and landowners during March floods.

“Tom is a highly-respected member of the community and District and is recognized for commitment to his family, faith and career,” said Annette Sudbeck, Lewis & Clark NRD general manager. “His commitment to natural resources continues in retirement as he shares his expertise with the board, staff and public.”

Moser was also responsible for the development of the Cedar Knox Rural Water Project, which provided drinking water service to 280 residents in 1981. Today, that project has grown to serve more than 890 rural customers and four communities in northern Cedar and Knox counties. Moser also was a key figure in the creation of the Bazile Groundwater Management Area, which works to eliminate groundwater nitrates in four natural resources districts.

“I consider this recognition as the highlight of my career working in natural resources,” Moser said. “It’s gratifying to spend more than 40 years in a position and feel you’ve done good works. It is quite another thing to be selected for this proud honor by your peers, who think you’ve done a good job as well.”

Tom Pesek – NRD Supporter

Lower Big Blue NRD General Manager Dave Clabaugh believes Pesek’s leadership, character and personality enables him to bring people together and see a project through to completion, which has been invaluable to the state’s water resources.

In 1975, Pesek participated in the review of the Maskenthine Lake project near Stanton, Nebraska, which was the first to receive funding assistance from the Nebraska Resources Development Fund. Since then, Pesek was part of 72 local water resources projects receiving monetary support through the development fund. After 32 years as an advocate for conservation, Pesek retired from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources in 2006.

“Tom has been a valued partner in conservation and played a vital role in planning, funding and construction of conservation projects throughout Nebraska,” Clabaugh said. “True passion for conservation like his comes not from a job, but a desire to preserve and protect Nebraska’s natural wonders long into the future.”

“It truly is an honor to receive this award,” Pesek said. “I enjoyed working with the NRDs, cities and other sponsors on local water resources projects in Nebraska to conserve and wisely utilize the soil and water resources of our state.”

Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the annual NRD Conference dinner banquet in Kearney, Nebraska, Monday, Sept. 23.

Remember to Share Iowa Roads This Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/6/2019

 According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 6, ethanol production averaged 1.023 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 42.97 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 10,000 b/d, or 1.0%, from the previous week and was 0.3% above the same week last year. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 0.6% to 1.024 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.70 billion gallons. This was the lowest level since April and was 3.6% below the average at the same time last year.

Ethanol stocks dropped 5.5% to 22.5 million barrels, reflecting an eleven-week low and 1.7% below the same week last year. This 1.3-million-barrel draw was the third-largest since the beginning of the data set in 2010. Inventories declined across all PADDs except the West Coast (PADD 5) region.

There were zero imports recorded after 26,000 b/d hit the books last week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied surged to 9.807 million b/d (411.9 million gallons per day, or 150.34 bg annualized), up 3.5% from the previous week. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol pared back 2.3% to 930,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.26 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.43%.

Nitrogen, Phosphate Fertilizers Lead Retail Price Declines

Retail fertilizer prices fell for the fourth consecutive week, according to prices tracked by DTN for the first week of September 2019, with nitrogen and phosphate products posting the steepest declines.

All eight of the major fertilizer were lower in price from the month prior, but only five had significant price declines, which DTN considers a price move of 5% or more.

Anhydrous led the way lower, dropping 10% from last month's price. It had an average price of $522/ton, $58/ton lower than last month.

The average UAN32 price was 9% lower than last month at $290/ton, a change of $30/ton. In addition, UAN28 prices decreased 6% from the prior month with an average price of $255/ton, down $17/ton.

MAP decreased 8% compared to last month and was at $488/ton, a $43/ton decline.

Urea prices were down 5% from last month at $408/ton, a $20/ton drop.

The remaining two fertilizers were lower in price, but not significantly. DAP had an average price of $491/ton, down $4/ton, while potash carried a price tag of $387/ton, $8/ton less than last month.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.32/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, one fertilizer's price did drop to being lower in price from a year ago. MAP is now 5% less expensive than last year at this time.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, 10-34-0 is 6% more expensive, UAN32 is 7% higher, potash is 8% more expensive, anhydrous is 9% higher, UAN28 10% more expensive and urea is 12% more expensive compared to last year.

Bolstered by Agrisure Duracade trait European Commission import approval, Golden Harvest announces robust 2020 hybrid lineup

With the European Commission granting Agrisure Duracade® trait (event 5307) import approval in July, corn grain and its derived food and feed products can be used within the European Union (EU).

[11 of the 25 new Golden Harvest hybrids include Agrisure Duracade, which carries a 4.1 Bu/A advantage over non-Agrisure Duracade products based off 2018 Syngenta trials. Photo credit: Syngenta]

In addition to the European Commission approval, Golden Harvest is releasing 25 new corn hybrids for 2020 planting. The latest product lineup equips farmers with 11 hybrids containing the Agrisure Duracade corn rootworm control trait, along with the Agrisure Viptera® and Agrisure Artesian® traits.

"Golden Harvest recognizes farmers need market flexibility and continual genetic advancements to tackle ever-evolving field threats," said Dave Young, head of Golden Harvest marketing. "We are continually pushing new limits to be more farmer-centric, first and foremost."

Proprietary Golden Harvest® germplasm offers elite genetics bred and tested locally. Golden Harvest research efforts have tripled to 80 locations to test hybrids against local stressors, such as soil types, pests and weather patterns.

"Our steadfast R&D focus is gaining national recognition," said Jon Barrett, Golden Harvest corn product manager. "In 2018 Farmers' Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) trial results, Golden Harvest hybrids took home 59 Top 3 finishes."

Coupled with industry-leading Agrisure® trait protection, the 2020 new Golden Harvest hybrids range in relative maturity from 91 to 114 days, with:
    11 Agrisure Duracade hybrids for a unique mode of action to control corn rootworm.
    8 Agrisure Viptera hybrids for the most comprehensive above-ground insect control–the only effective western bean cutworm control trait.
    3 new Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge® hybrids, the most advanced trait stack on the market, for control of 16 above- and below-ground insects, more than any competitor.
    1 new Agrisure Viptera 3330 E-Z Refuge hybrid, the newest above-ground-only trait stack with 3 modes of action.
    8 Agrisure Artesian hybrids offer the most advanced water optimization technology for season-long performance.
    19 hybrids available as E-Z Refuge products, providing a convenient, in-bag seed blend.

In select geographies, Golden Harvest will offer 5 new Enogen® corn hybrids for 33 feed and fuel planting options in 2020. Featuring an in-seed innovation benefiting farmers marketing grain to participating ethanol plants, 2 to 14 hybrids are available in each sales region. In the ethanol market, Enogen grain enhances the ethanol production process by improving process efficiency, while Enogen Feed corn helps deliver more available energy when incorporated into dairy or beef cattle rations.

The Golden Harvest portfolio is available from Golden Harvest Seed Advisors, who combine high-yielding seed options with local agronomic knowledge and field recommendations. To find your local, independent Seed Advisor and gain more information on Golden Harvest corn, visit

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