Thursday, September 19, 2019

Wednesday September 18 Ag News

Cuming County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
    Monday, September 23
    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Join our Cuming County Annual Meeting at the Indian Trails Country Club (1128 County River Rd, Beemer, NE 68716).  Guest Speaker will be Bruce Rieker, NeFB VP of Gov't Relations.

Knox County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

    Sunday, October 6
    6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Join our Knox County Annual Meeting at the Z's Lindy Country Club (53891 890 Way S, Bloomfield, NE 68718).

Dodge County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

    Thursday, October 24
    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Join our Dodge County Annual Meeting at  the Office Bar & Grill (121 N Main St, Hooper, NE 68031).

Fertilizer Prices Still Trending Lower

Fertilizer prices continue to erode, but the pace of decline slowed, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the second week of September 2019. It's the fifth consecutive week that the price of all eight fertilizers fell.

One difference, however, is that only one price dropped significantly, which DTN considers a price change of 5% or more.  The price of anhydrous was down 5% from last month's price at $516/ton, a $27 decline.  MAP prices dropped 4%, to $482/ton, a decline of $21/ton.

The remaining six fertilizers were all lower in price than last month, but their moves were fairly slight. DAP had an average price of $486/ton, down $7; potash $385, down $2; urea $407/ton, down $6; 10-34-0 $471/ton, down $4; UAN28 $253/ton, down $5; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, the price of two fertilizers fell below last year's prices. MAP is now 7% less expensive and DAP is 1% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. UAN32 is 4% more expensive; 10-34-0 is 5% higher; potash, anhydrous and UAN28 are all 6% more expensive; and urea is 7% higher compared to last year.

NCBA Announces Leadership Changes

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced two significant leadership changes today.

The NCBA Executive Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association confirmed Colin Woodall to serve as the association’s new Chief Executive Officer. Woodall, who was named this morning after an exhaustive national search, managed NCBA’s efforts in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. Since joining NCBA in 2004, Woodall has been instrumental in ensuring the interests of NCBA members and the beef community, are well represented in the nation’s capital.

“Colin has served NCBA members for 15 years, and in that time, he has done a great deal for beef producers everywhere. Much of his work and many of the victories registered by NCBA in Washington, D.C., is the result of his ability to build coalitions and bring people together across political divides,” said NCBA president Jennifer Houston.

Houston expressed confidence that the same talents that made Woodall a success in the nation’s capital will translate to Woodall’s responsibility to lead NCBA’s work as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.

“In his new role as NCBA CEO, there is no doubt that Colin will be an outstanding advocate for the Beef Checkoff and the essential work being done to build consumer demand,” said Houston. “Colin’s passion for the beef community has made him one of the most effective advocates in American agriculture and I’m excited that he will now be applying that same passion to the work NCBA is conducting on behalf of the Beef Checkoff.”

Originally from Big Spring, Texas, Woodall graduated from Texas A&M University. Following graduation, he worked both as a grain elevator manager and sales manager for Cargill at several locations in western Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle before moving to Washington, D.C., to work on Capitol Hill. 

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to lead NCBA and to serve the beef community as the next CEO of the association. American beef producers are the best people I know and although our industry faces many challenges, I am confident we can overcome them,” said Woodall.

Ethan Lane was also named today to serve in the role of Vice President, Government Affairs. In his new role, Lane will guide NCBA’s policy efforts in Washington, D.C., where he has extensive experience advocating on behalf of cattle producers. Lane has been serving as Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands. In that role, Lane has been a driving force in many of NCBA’s most important policy wins. His leadership skills and extensive political experience make him an effective choice to lead NCBA’s Washington, D.C., office and the association’s ongoing policy efforts.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to lead NCBA’s office in Washington, D.C., and I’m fully committed to representing the policy priorities of NCBA members across the nation” said Lane. “By standing together, cattle producers have shown they can push back the burdensome impacts of government over-regulation and protect the interests of NCBA members for future generations.”

Lane, is a fifth-generation Arizonan, with 18 years of experience in natural resource and land use issues. Prior to his tenure with PLC and NCBA, he owned and operated a consulting firm specializing in natural resource issues.  


National Corn Growers Association State Executives, representing eleven state associations travelled to Washington, D.C. this week to urge members of Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and continue the education effort on NCGA’s Low Carbon/High Octane proposal. The State Executives also pressed lawmakers to use their influence with President Trump regarding potential Administrative actions to mitigate the effects of RFS waivers.

“Having representatives of NCGA’s state affiliates in Washington provides lawmakers and their staffs with a first-hand account of the importance of USMCA and ethanol policy to corn farmers,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “This week was also an opportunity for the State Executives to meet with members of Congress who may not have corn farmers in their district but whose votes will be needed to get USMCA across the finish line.”

Passage of USMCA remains NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019. USMCA will solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some certainty to farmers facing a perfect storm of challenges. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.

Taiwan Goodwill Mission Members Sign Agreement To Continue Purchases of U.S. Corn, DDGS in 2020/2021

Members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Goodwill Mission visited Washington, DC, this week as part of their biennial pledge to continue purchasing U.S. corn and U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) between 2020 and 2021.

Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday committing to purchase 5 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 500,000 tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), extending their stable buying commitment for another two years. The signing ceremony was held at the U.S. Capitol.

The members of the Goodwill Mission also signed letters of intent to purchase soybeans and wheat. The team is part of a long-term effort to maintain economic ties between Taiwan and the United States.

Taiwan has grown into a top 10 market for U.S. corn, a goal achieved with the support of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) work with the feed and livestock industries there since 1973.

The Goodwill Mission has been organized by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) every other year since 1998 and allows Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. The Goodwill Mission also provides education on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and co-products as well as reconfirms the commitment by the United States to serve as a long-term, reliable supplier for Taiwan.

“The recurring Goodwill Mission continues to demonstrate the commitment the two partners have to continued purchases and heightened confidence in U.S. agricultural products,” said USGC Chairman Darren Armstrong. “The programs we’ve worked on together have allowed the Council and our partners in Taiwan to develop the agricultural industries and improve the lives of all our citizens. We are very thankful to continue this healthy trading relationship with Taiwan.”

Armstrong participated in the Wednesday signing ceremony on behalf of the Council and U.S. corn and DDGS producers.

The Taiwanese delegation was also honored Tuesday at a reception in Washington with government officials and representatives of the agriculture industry, sponsored jointly by the Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other agricultural trade associations.

While in the United States, the Taiwanese representatives will visit Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Nebraska they will sign additional purchasing memoranda with each state. During their travels, participants will tour farms and elevators, meet with local producers, agriculture groups and policymakers and learn about the U.S. agricultural value chain.

Taiwan is the eighth largest market for U.S. agricultural products, led by U.S. grains, with a total value of $4.3 billion dollars in 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Taiwan purchased 3.21 million metric tons (126 million bushels) of U.S. corn at a value of $593 million in 2018, with U.S. corn holding a 76 percent market share.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/13/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 13, ethanol production averaged 1.003 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 42.13 million gallons daily. Output receded by 20,000 b/d (-2.0%), from the previous week and was 48,000 b/d (4.6%) below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 0.5% to 1.019 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.62 billion gallons. This was a 21-week low and 3.6% below the average at the same time last year.

In contrast, ethanol stocks grew 3.3% to 23.2 million barrels. A large majority of the increased stocks occurred on the East Coast (PADD 1), where stocks had been running a sizable deficit to 2018 for the past three weeks.

Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were 11,000 b/d, or 3.23 million gallons for the week. This was the third time in four weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied slumped by 8.9% to 8.939 million b/d (375.4 million gallons per day, or 137.03 bg annualized), the lowest level since mid-February. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol reduced by 2.7% to 905,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.87 bg annualized and the lowest volume in 28 weeks.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.22%.

August Milk Production in the United States up 0.2 Percent

Milk production in the United States during August totaled 18.3 billion pounds, up 0.2 percent from August 2018. Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,962 pounds for August, 19 pounds above August 2018. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.32 million head,
71,000 head less than August 2018, and 2,000 head less than July 2019.

IOWA:  Milk production in Iowa during August 2019 totaled 435 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous August according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during August, at 216,000 head, was the same as last month but down 4,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,015 pounds, up 20 pounds from last August.

Conaway Calls on Pelosi, House Democrats to Stop Blocking Trade Aid for Struggling Farmers, Ranchers

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following statement concerning House Democrats’ attempts to deny USDA the funds necessary to make Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Farm Bill payments to farmers and ranchers via the CCC:
“House Democratic leaders are not listening to their own rank and file members and continue to hold vital aid for our farmers and ranchers hostage by blocking replenishment of the CCC. I had not waded into this issue publicly because I had hoped that cooler heads would prevail. They have not. I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey to stop using our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural communities as pawns in your fight with the president. Fully fund USDA so it can do its job. It is no surprise that China would try to hold our farmers and ranchers hostage so it could continue to cheat on its trade commitments, but we should not expect the leaders of the United States House of Representatives to use rural America as a bargaining chip.”

Saturday, The Washington Post reported that House Democrats were proposing to strip USDA of funding needed to pay trade aid to U.S. farmers and ranchers hit by unjustified retaliatory tariffs by China. The Continuing Resolution to keep the government open is delayed right now because House Democrats have been playing games with USDA’s ability to make trade aid and Farm Bill payments. As The Washington Post article reports, House Democrats planned to deny any new funding for USDA to do its work, which would not only prevent USDA from paying trade aid but also Farm Bill support. After House and Senate Republicans strongly objected to this tactic, House Democrats shifted gears to try and sharply cut funding for USDA and attach so many strings that USDA could not do its job. Yesterday, Republican Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including the Senate Majority Leader, wrote to Speaker Pelosi and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey calling on them to fully fund USDA as Congress has always done. House Republicans fully agree with their Senate colleagues. House Democratic leadership should abandon their efforts to inflict undue harm on America’s farmers and ranchers.

Roberts, Stabenow Announce Livestock and Poultry Hearing

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow Tuesday announced the Committee will hold a hearing titled, "Perspectives on the Livestock and Poultry Sectors."

It will take place Sept. 25 beginning at 10 a.m. in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Those expected to testify at the hearing include:
- Jennifer Houston, president, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and East Tennessee Livestock Center, Sweetwater, Tenn.
- Ron Kardel, vice chairman, National Turkey Federation, and West Liberty Foods grower, Walcott, Iowa
- Dr. Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and head, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
- Burton Pfliger, past president, American Sheep Industry Association, and Roselawn Legacy Hampshires, Bismarck, N.D.
- Trent Thiele, president, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and KMAX Farms, LLC, Elma, Iowa
- Shane Eaton, Member, United States Cattlemen's Association, and Eaton Charolais, Lindsay, Mont.

The hearing will be webcast live on

USDA Must End NRCS Abuses

Farmers and ranchers are being denied due process as part of an abuse of discretion by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, according to a scathing ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The ruling is highlighted in a letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to enact much-needed reforms in the agency.

The letter focuses on the case of an Indiana farm owned by David and Rita Boucher, and Mrs. Boucher’s 17-year saga of unfair treatment at the hands of the NRCS staff. The Bouchers removed nine trees on 2.8 acres and NRCS, in turn, demanded they plant 300 trees per acre as compensation.

The court found that NRCS wrongly accused the Bouchers of harming a non-existent wetland on their property but made no effort to correct the record even after the accusations were shown to be groundless. The NRCS judgment made the farm ineligible for a wide variety of government programs, creating a roadblock for the Bouchers to obtain the loans and crop insurance necessary to stay in operation.

“The USDA repeatedly failed to follow applicable law and agency standards,” the court wrote. “It disregarded compelling evidence showing that the acreage in question never qualified as wetlands that could have been converted illegally into croplands. And the agency has kept shifting its explanations for treating the acreage as converted wetlands. The USDA’s treatment of the Bouchers’ acreage as converted wetlands easily qualifies as arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”

The Bouchers are not the only victims of NRCS regulatory abuse, as noted in the letter and as previously conveyed to USDA by AFBF.

“The wrongs identified by the Seventh Circuit are systemic throughout NRCS and representative of the experience of countless farmers,” AFBF wrote. “We hope that you find this case as shocking and troubling as does the Seventh Circuit.

“USDA’s implementation of its conservation compliance programs transcends politics: the Bouchers’ battle began in the beginning of the Bush presidency and continued through the Obama and Trump administrations. The unanimous judges on the Seventh Circuit were appointed by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Obama. And the actions by USDA were not limited to a few individuals, but were endemic through all levels of review and appeal.”

AFBF is calling on Secretary Perdue to accept the Seventh Circuit decision and compensate Mrs. Boucher for costs incurred in her fight against the federal government. More broadly, the letter urges USDA to view its finalization of the Interim Final Rule as an opportunity to correct the problems identified in the ruling.

The letter explains, “In reality, affected farmers typically have been unable to challenge the agency’s decisions because they simply cannot afford to lose eligibility or the costs of a fruitless appeal. Generally, farmers follow the direction of the agency to avoid ineligibility instead of appealing.”

Additionally, AFBF is asking USDA to:
-    Retrain National Appeals Division judges and agency directors in how to provide a fair and balanced hearing;
-    Require USDA to provide the entire record or decisional documentation to the farmers at the time of alleged compliance violation;
-    Allow the farmer and his or her counsel to call NRCS technical staff as witnesses in the appeal;
-    Accept evidence provided by the farmer as true, absent substantial evidence to the contrary; and
-    Compensate the farmer for legal fees when the farmer wins an appeal – i.e., when the farmer is forced to incur costs as a result of an incorrect decision from NRCS.

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