Thursday, September 5, 2019

Wednesday September 4 Ag News

Nebraska Pork Producers Assoc. throws its support behind Northeast’s Nexus campaign
One of the fastest growing segments of Nebraska agriculture has thrown its support behind a project to build new ag facilities at Northeast Community College. The Nebraska Pork Producers Association has pledged $100,000 to the Nexus campaign.

Al Juhnke, executive director of the Pork Producers, said Northeast Community College is recognized both regionally and nationally as a premiere two-year agriculture education institution.

“That they have recognized the need to upgrade their facilities, to re-evaluate and upgrade their programming and curriculum,” Juhnke said, “I don’t think the timing could be more perfect.”

Dr. Tracy Kruse, Northeast associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the College Foundation, said the support of the Nebraska Pork Producers is important to the Nexus campaign.

“To have a statewide organization like the Pork Producers join our efforts to provide a 21st century farm for Northeast students speaks volumes about the value of this project,” Kruse said. “Agriculture is the largest area of study at Northeast, with about 350 students every year in 12 programs. Northeast is training the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and also the next generation of workers for large livestock operations, cooperatives, fertilizer and seed dealers, and other agribusinesses.”

Juhnke said Nebraska currently has more hogs and pigs than in the mid-1980s. The state now ranks sixth nationally in commercial hog slaughter and seventh in all hogs and pigs. Pork production provides approximately 14,260 jobs in Nebraska, generating $772 million in personal income and $1.14 billion toward Nebraska’s gross state product.

Juhnke said, “Both here in Nebraska and in the Upper Midwest, agriculture is the driver of our economy. And having a facility like this that is upgraded, and new, and shiny, is not only going to draw the students we need but also help us, as an ag industry, to draw the workers that we need.”

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is a grassroots, incorporated, nonprofit organization established in 1961. Its vision is to ensure opportunities for success for Nebraska’s producers of pork, regardless of size or production style, as well as the state’s youth, by enhancing their opportunities for success within the pork industry.

The Nebraska Pork Producers is governed by a four-member executive committee and an 11-member board with two alternate directors. Tim Chancellor of Broken Bow is the current president.

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence 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 call (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.

Husker Harvest Days Showcases the Future of Farming and Ranching

Husker Harvest Days presents more than 600 exhibitors with the latest tractors, equipment, crop protection, seed and additional products and services for farms and ranches and this year’s event showcases the future of farming and ranching. This year’s HHD will be held Sept. 10-12 at its newly updated permanent show site near Grand Island, Nebr.

The recent $7.5 million infrastructure renovation presents 5.5 miles of concrete paved streets in the exhibit area with many added visitor comfort features. The site updates make for an enjoyable visit and the show offers many additional new features this year, too: Beef production seminars, additional combining demonstrations, a new grain handling installation, addition of an International  Visitors Center with export seminars, exhibitors with new technology, products and services – even a movie premiere.

It’s been a tough year for farmers and ranchers and the show is a good opportunity to look forward. The show is designed to bring farmers and ranchers ideas and inspiration to move towards greater productivity and profitability. The latest technology, equipment and management practices are a big part of what draws farmers and ranchers to the show each year.

Field Demonstrations
Field demonstrations are an integral part of Husker Harvest Days and are held each day, weather permitting. Demonstrations planned for this year include corn combining, tillage, haying, precision farming, UAVs (drones) and self-propelled sprayers and mowing.

Combining demos run each day 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – afternoon combining demonstrations are new this year.

UAV Demonstrations

UAV (drone) demonstrations will help visitors see the uses and benefits of checking their cattle operation or crops and the more sophisticated components that can be paired with UAVs. Numerous UAV manufacturers and marketers will be demonstrating and explaining their drones and capabilities throughout each day of the show.

Ride and Drive

Ride and drive areas will also be provided for companies that want to show equipment to potential customers up close and personal. Many brands of tractors, utility vehicles and trucks are part of the demonstration areas.

Irrigation Spotlight

The show is known as "The world’s largest totally irrigated working farm show." For good reason - all of the nation's largest irrigation companies and many irrigation pump, parts and associated equipment manufacturers and distributors are exhibitors at the show.

Feature-filled Event

University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers education programs and demonstrations to help farmers and ranchers stay strong in challenging times. Commodity groups provide new crop and trade information. Health screening services, crop outlook and marketing mini-seminars presented by Farm Futures, succession planning seminars and land value seminars presented by Univ. of Nebraska Extension in the Hospitality Tent. Attendees can connect with the Nebraska Farm Bureau in their exhibit. And there are many additional show features that include entertainment, such as the crafts and artwork available for sale, antique tractors and equipment and preview of "Silo," the feature film.

Benefit Auctions and Food Drive

Two benefit auctions will be held during the show. BigIron Realty partners with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to conduct an auction Sept. 11, details in their show exhibit. Titan Tire hosts a tire  auction Sept. 11 to raise money for Nebraska FFA Foundation; more details on the show website and in the Titan Tire exhibit.

Any Nebraska or Kansas FFA member who brings five nonperishable food items to the show bus entrance will receive free admission to the show. Food is collected and redistributed by Heartland United Way. Student admission sponsors: Farm Bureau, Aurora Cooperative and Farm Progress.

New Show Connection - Mobile Text

Stay on top of all the latest show news – sent to your mobile phone. Subscribe to the Husker Harvest Days mobile text alerts, text HHD19 to 20505 from your mobile phone. The message service is free, your usual phone charges for data use applies.

Plan to attend

Husker Harvest Days is located west of Grand Island, 1-1/2 miles north and 2 miles west of Alda in central Nebraska on Husker Highway. Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for ages 13-17, and ages 12 and under are free. For additional information, visit

Husker Harvest Days includes Free Trees and Conservation Discussion

Questions about trees, erosion, flood control or water quality? Stop in to visit with Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts during Husker Harvest Days Sept. 10-12.

“This is a great opportunity for producers to meet with conservation agencies all in one place and learn more about cost-share programs that can benefit their operation and Nebraska’s natural resources,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts public relations director.

Located in the Natural Resources Hub (39E), Nebraska’s NRDs are stationed with various organizations that offer conservation assistance, cost-share opportunities and producer programs. Attendees can visit with the Nebraska Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Forest Service, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, The Nature Conservancy and Central Platte NRD’s Native Prairie and Pollination Awareness Program.

The Water Well Standards Program (Nebraska DHHS) will also be on site to provide free water testing and screen for nitrates in minutes. Private well owners should bring a cup-size sample of water in a clean container. If you forget your water sample, take-home test strips also are available.

In addition, the Natural Resources Districts will announce three individuals to induct into the NRD Hall of Fame during a press conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent (SE Quadrant, #33). These Hall of Fame inductees have made significant contributions to protect our state’s natural resources through the NRDs. Hall of Fame categories include:
    Natural Resources District Board Member
    Natural Resources District Employee
    Natural Resources District Supporter

During the three-day event, Husker Harvest attendees also will receive a free Colorado Blue Spruce tree seedling from the NRD Conservation Tree Program. All 23 Nebraska NRDs administer tree planting programs to provide trees and shrubs for local landowners. Each district varies, but possible services include: planting, weed barrier installation or weed control, and drip irrigation. Free prairie grass seed will also be available as part of the Native Prairie and Pollinator Awareness Project.

For more information on the Conservation Tree Program and other conservation resources, visit

Sasse: Pelosi Delaying USMCA "Is Cynical and Cruel"

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken champion for Nebraska agriculture and trade, issued the following statement after Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top trade negotiators, doubled down on delaying the USMCA trade agreement.

“Easy for San Francisco elitists to say, but try telling that to hurting Nebraska farmers and ranchers. They’re the best in the world, but they desperately need export markets in both North America and Asia. The problem with China is mainly the intellectual property theft and bad behavior of the Chinese Communist Party. But in North America, the primary problem is Speaker Pelosi. If the vote is scheduled, USMCA will pass -- playing political games with these families is cynical and cruel."

Pastureland Grazing Publication Describes Iowa Grazing Practices

In an effort to help Iowa beef producers remain profitable, Iowa Beef Center conducted several grazing and pasture management programs from 2013 to 2018. IBC extension program specialist Beth Reynolds said objectives for these programs ranged from improving grazing and management techniques for increasing forage productivity while increasing cattle performance to protecting and enhancing water quality, and benefiting soil health.

“To gain information on Iowa’s pasture productivity and grazing rental arrangements, evaluation surveys were distributed to more than 1,000 participants who attended at least one of the IBC’s grazing and pasture management programs during that timeframe,” she said. “Our new publication, ‘Iowa’s Pastureland and Grazing 2013-2018,’ is based on those survey results and gives a snapshot of how Iowa’s cow-calf industry has changed in terms of pasture utilization.”

This six-page publication summarizes the findings of that evaluation to determine the changes in Iowa’s pasture management and to look at the effectiveness of IBC’s various pasture programs.

“The report is packed with information on the state’s pasture availability, pasture rent, cow numbers, stocking density and more,” Reynolds said. “IBC undergraduate intern Samantha Jamison updated the earlier 2007-2012 version of this report to keep the information relevant and up to date.”

The publication is available to download at no charge from the Iowa State University Extension Store,

Reynolds said IBC appreciates the input from past workshop and seminar attendees and hopes all producers will find the information relevant to their operations. All ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialists are available to answer questions and provide information about the report, future grazing workshops or anything related to grazing and pasture management.

Noonan Hired as Regulatory Division Director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced Maury Noonan has been hired as the Regulatory Division Director at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Maury Noonan will oversee the Food Safety and Animal Health and Consumer Protection and Industry Services divisions.  

“Ensuring consumer protection is an important part of the Department’s role within our state,” said Naig. “Noonan brings an extensive agriculture and legal background to our team, making him a great fit to lead these divisions.”

Noonan will oversee day-to-day operations that guarantee consumer protections. This includes animal industry, dairy products control, commercial feed and fertilizer, Iowa Laboratory bureau, meat and poultry inspection, pesticides, agricultural diversification and market development, entomology, grain warehouse, and weights and measures.

Noonan joins the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship after practicing agriculture and environmental law in Iowa and Minnesota. Prior to practicing law, he held positions at the Kansas Department of Transportation and the USDA General Counsel’s office.

He obtained a J.D. from Kansas Law School. Noonan grew up on his family’s farm in Northwest Iowa and remains active with the operation.

NCGA Supports EPA’s Interim Decision on Glyphosate Registration

The National Corn Growers Association recently submitted comments in support of U.S. EPA’s proposed interim registration review decision for glyphosate. EPA is required to review pesticide registrations every 15 years to comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), but may choose to issue interim decisions as needed to account for completed risk assessments and the availability of new data.

“The introduction of chemical herbicides during the second half of the 20th century transformed modern agriculture. Glyphosate, in particular, revolutionized weed control and facilitated the use of no-till practices, which have reduced topsoil erosion and improved soil health,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president from Nebraska. “It is one of the most widely used and comprehensively evaluated herbicides and we appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the sound science behind this product in its interim review decision.”

In the decision at hand, EPA states it is issuing an interim decision to move forward with aspects of the registration review that are complete, including the human health and ecological risk assessments.

Glyphosate continues to be the cornerstone for comprehensive and sustainable weed management, Chrisp noted, though growers understand that a diverse plan is necessary for both season-long control and resistance management.

John Linder, Edison, Ohio, farmer and incoming NCGA First Vice President, discussed the important role glyphosate plays in corn production and the increase in minimum-till practices that benefit soil health with Alexandra Dunn, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, at the Farm Progress Show last week.

EPA is also working with the Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service to conduct an evaluation of glyphosate’s impacts on endangered species, as is required by Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA proposed several minor label changes in the interim decision. EPA hopes these mitigation measures will reduce any potential for off-target movement, especially movement that would impact pollinators, while the ESA review is getting underway. EPA expects to issue its final registration decision for glyphosate once the ESA evaluation is complete.

July U.S. Ethanol Exports Robust Outside of Thinner Sales to Brazil; Global Sales of U.S. Distillers Grains Decrease

Ann Lewis, Research Analyst, Renewable Fuels Association

U.S. ethanol exports decreased 6% to 120.1 million gallons (mg) in July, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). Sales were mixed with exports pressing higher among most larger markets, although shipments to Brazil pared back by 44%.

Canada was the top destination for U.S. ethanol for the third consecutive month. Shipments increased 18% to a 12-month high of 34.8 mg. Exports to Brazil lowered to 15.8 mg, a 12 mg drop, as the country’s sugarcane harvest accelerated. Oman nearly doubled its offtake in July at 12.4 mg, and the Netherlands re-entered the market to buy 11.4 mg. Other top importers of U.S. ethanol included South Korea (9.8 mg, up 44%), Colombia (9.3 mg, up 38%), and the Philippines (9.1 mg, up 112%). Notably, India essentially withdrew from our export market for the first time in three years after taking 21.9 mg of American-made ethanol in June. Total year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol stand at 880.1 mg. This implies an annualized export volume of 1.51 billion gallons  which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.

July shipments of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol were 40.4 mg, a decline of 37% for the lowest volume in ten months. Historically, Brazil has accounted for a significant portion of total monthly foreign sales; however, with exports 38%  lower at 15.8 mg, several countries stepped up imports. Larger markets included the Philippines (7.2 mg), the Netherlands (5.5 mg), and South Korea (5.0 mg).

U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol rallied in July with a 33% boost over June volumes at 71.1 mg—the first time in nine months that sales of denatured fuel outpaced undenatured exports. Top customers were Canada (33.5 mg, up 19% and accounting for nearly half of shipments in July), Oman (12.4 mg, up 97%), and Colombia (9.3 mg, up 56%).

U.S. sales of ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes moderated with 8.6 mg exported in July, down 21%. U.S. shippers exported 7.3 mg of undenatured product (up 2%), with the bulk distributed among Nigeria (3.7 mg), Saudi Arabia (2.6 mg), and Canada (0.8 mg). Turkey (0.9 mg) and Canada (0.2 mg) spoke for most exported denatured product for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes.

The U.S. imported ethanol from Brazil for the fourth time this year, with purchases of 22.8 mg—5% lower than June. Imports from Brazil were larger than exports to the country in July. Total year-to-date imports stand at 70.5 mg, which implies an annualized import volume of 120.9 mg.  If realized, the U.S. would import the largest volume of foreign ethanol in six years.

In July, U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—declined 13% to a five-month low of 834,515 metric tons (mt). Mexico was again the top customer, purchasing 158,364 mt (-3%). DDGS exports to Vietnam softened at 120,136 mt (-4%) following higher sales in June, as did sales to South Korea (108,958 mt, -5%), Indonesia (75,860 mt, -8%), and Canada (60,507 mt, -15%). However, export opportunities expanded in Thailand (62,185 mt, +24%) and Japan (43,119 mt, +26%). Year-to-date exports of U.S. DDGS stand at 6.18 million mt. This implies an annualized export volume of 10.60 million mt.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Decline for Third Straight Week

The average retail price of all eight major fertilizers declined again the fourth week of August 2019, with nitrogen fertilizers setting the pace, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.  This marks the third week in a row all prices have been lower.

Half of this week's price declines were significant, which DTN considers a price change of 5% or more compared to the prior month. Of those, the price of both anhydrous and UAN32 were down 9% at $528 per ton and $290 per ton, respectively.

MAP was 7% lower than a month earlier, while UAN28 was down 6% from last month. The phosphorus fertilizer (MAP) had an average price of $494/ton, and UAN28 was $256/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers were lower in price than the same week in August, but the price moves were less significant. DAP had an average price of $491/ton, down $3; potash $387/ton, down $6; urea $412/ton, down $16; and 10-34-0 $470/ton, down $16.

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

As prices have moved lower in recent weeks, the price of MAP is now lower in price than it was at the same time last year, down 4%.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, 10-34-0 is 5% more expensive, UAN32 is 7% higher, potash is 8% more expensive, both anhydrous and UAN28 are 10% higher, and urea is 13% more expensive compared to last year.

USDA Opens 2019 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

Agricultural producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, two popular safety net programs, for the 2019 crop year. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to these two USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. PLC program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

“The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented. I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead.”

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

Elections and Enrollment

Updated provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill allow producers with an interest in a farm to enroll and elect coverage in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for program year 2019. The election applies to both the 2019 and 2020 crop years. If a 2019 election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2020, the election defaults to the current elections of the crops on the farm established under the 2014 Farm Bill. No payments will be earned in 2019 if the election defaults.

For crop years 2021 through 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm. 

Once the 2019 election and enrollment are completed, producers on the farm for 2020 can complete an enrollment contract for the 2020 crop year beginning Oct. 7, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020. 

Although 2019 enrollment begins Sept. 3, 2019 and must occur first, a producer waiting until Oct. 7, 2019 to enroll is afforded the opportunity to enroll in either program for both 2019 and 2020 during the same office visit. During this time, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that takes effect beginning with crop year 2020. If the owner accompanies the producer to the office, the yield update may be completed during the same office visit.

Web-Based Decision Tools

In partnership with USDA, the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University are offering web-based decision tools to assist producers in making informed, educated decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. Tools include:
    Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator, the University of Illinois tool that offers farmers the ability to run payment estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.
    ARC and PLC Decision Tool, the Texas A&M user friendly tool that allow producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2019 and 2020. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their user name and much of their farm data will already be available in the system.

Crop Insurance Considerations

Producers are reminded that enrolling in ARC or PLC programs can impact eligibility for some forms of crop insurance. Producers who elect and enroll in PLC also have the option of purchasing Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) through the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Producers of covered commodities who elect ARC are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres.

Upland cotton farmers who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the stacked income protection plan (STAX) on their planted cotton acres. To be eligible for STAX coverage, producers must not enroll their seed cotton base acres into the ARC or PLC programs.

USDA Dairy Products July 2019 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.09 billion pounds, 0.5 percent above July 2018 and 2.3 percent above June 2019.  Italian type cheese production totaled 466 million pounds, 0.7 percent above July 2018 and 0.6 percent above June 2019.  American type cheese production totaled 436 million pounds, 1.1 percent below July 2018 but 2.2 percent above June 2019.  Butter production was 143 million pounds, 6.0 percent above July 2018 but 1.5 percent below June 2019.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with July 2018)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 169 million pounds, up 12.4 percent.
Skim milk powder - 36.7 million pounds, down 22.7 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with July 2018)
Dry whey, total - 82.1 million pounds, down 8.9 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 108 million pounds, up 9.1 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.8 million pounds, down 2.6 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with July 2018)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 66.1 million gallons, down 4.2 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 45.5 million gallons, up 7.4 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.96 million gallons, down 6.0 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 2.55 million gallons, down 40.2 percent.

The Cull Cow Market is Looking Up

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Cull cow prices continued their slow increase into September. Prices in the Southern Plains reached their high of the year, so far, at $54.36 at the end of August. That was 12.5 percent higher than a year ago. There is some good reason to think that prices may continue to be above a year ago.

Cow slaughter hit some multi-decade highs in the first few months of the year, largely driven by dairy cow slaughter. After the surge early in the year, dairy cow slaughter has fallen back to year ago levels. Over the last month, dairy cow slaughter has been almost 1 percent below a year ago. For the last two months, only 900 head more have gone to market compared to last year. Normally, dairy cow marketings tend to move higher seasonally after July and that is happening this year as well.

Beef cow culling has lagged behind a year ago over the last two months. Beef cow slaughter over this time period is almost 1 percent below last year. Beef cow culling typically hits it's seasonal peak for the year in the Fall. It's likely some earlier culling this year may have pulled some cows ahead into slaughter. Growing dry condition in the Southern Plains have likely not added to culling numbers, yet.

Total cow slaughter is almost half a percent below a year ago over the last 2 months. As the cow slaughter has declined cow prices have creeped above a year ago. Cow prices broke sharply lower in Southern Plains in July, 2018. Prices fell even lower as culling ramped up in October. The heavy culling during the first half of 2019 may act to reduce potential numbers going to market in the Fall, especially in the dairy side of the industry.

Another factor in higher cow prices and higher cow-beef cutout values is cow weights. Not only has slaughter fallen below a year ago, but weights of those culled cows have been below a year ago. Cow dressed weights have averaged 7.6 pounds less in 2019 than in 2018, and 5.5 pounds less over the last month. So, not only have fewer gone to market, but they have weighed less, as well. The overall effect has been less cow beef production in recent weeks, supporting the 90 percent lean fresh beef price, the wholesale cutout value, and the cull cow price.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for September 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for September 2019, which are effective September 1-September 30, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for September is 1.875 percent, down from 2.000 percent in August.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during September is 2.875 percent, down from 3.000 percent in August.  Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for September are as follows: 1.625 percent with three-year loan terms, down from 1.750 percent in August;  1.625 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 1.750 percent in August; 1.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 1.875 percent in August; 1.875 percent with 10-year loan terms, down from 2.000 percent in August; and 1.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 2.125 percent in August.

“Milk” and “Meat” Labels: The New Identity Crisis

Research IDs confused consumer segment

As legal battles are waged across the country regarding new laws prohibiting the use of words like “milk,” “meat” and “burger” for alternatives versions, new research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) shows that a significant and growing group of health-conscious consumers is confused by the mixed messages they’re receiving about the “real deal” and the substitutes entering the market.      

“Consumers who are actively engaging online about this topic are very independent and highly driven to provide for and protect their families,” said Terry Fleck, executive director of CFI. “With the influx of new labels, they feel they are being duped by ‘big corporations’ into buying unhealthy products.”

While nutritional science tells these consumers that “healthy” includes lean meats and dairy products in moderation, they’re not sure the alternatives offer better health outcomes and are better for people, animals and the planet, said Fleck.  

According to CFI’s Illuminate digital cultural insights tool, which can analyze millions of interactions online in real time, there is a core market of 53 million consumers, nearly one-third of the addressable market, actively engaged in conversations around the standards of identity issue.

This market is predicted to increase by 3.6 percent for the alternative meat topic and by 13.1 percent for the milk alternative topic in the next one to two years. 

The biggest fears and motivators from this segment include:
    Letting science guide their approaches to food and health.
    Fear that the focus on health and wellness isn’t enough to protect themselves and that they will unwittingly consume products that are unhealthy.
    Believing that their health is completely in their control.
    Fear the food they eat is harming the planet and negatively impacting their health.
    Fear that despite efforts to live a life guided by ethics, that they’re not making a difference in the world

“They also want to be seen as putting others’ interests before their own interests and to receive acknowledgement of their sacrifices,” said Fleck. “While they innately want to do the ‘right thing,’ they are often unsure of the best course of action due to confusing or mixed messages around these alternative products.”

It’s a challenging situation for these highly engaged consumers to find themselves in. And the confusion is likely to continue as rules for labeling – the standards of identity – evolve.

In the meantime, Fleck said the food system can take steps to alleviate some of the confusion by not only supporting legislation to more clearly define the rules but by communicating the definitions to consumers in easy-to-understand language.

To help this segment make more confident decisions, provide them with facts on the nutritional pros and cons so they feel equipped to make balanced decisions. And touch on sustainability. How food production impacts the environment is an increasing concern, particularly among younger consumers.

And finally, communicate in a way that illustrates regardless of how food is produced, it’s safe and provides consumers additional choices that align with their values and lifestyles.

For more information on CFI’s Illuminate research, visit

 The Redwood Group, LLC Completes Its Acquisition Of Ceres Commodities, LLC

The Redwood Group, LLC announced today that it completed the acquisition of Ceres Commodities, LLC in Newport, KY.  For over 20 years, Ceres Commodities has supplied premium food grade non-GMO and organic soybeans and other commodities domestically as well as directly into East and Southeast Asian food markets. The Ceres Commodities team's intimate knowledge of the food soy export market complements Redwood's ability to continually supply superior quality product to those markets through its network of non-GMO soybean cleaning facilities.

"We have developed a wonderful relationship with Redwood over the past few years and we look forward to combining our deep customer relationships and logistics expertise with Redwood's existing business. Our customers can continue to expect excellent service as well as the additional value that we can provide to our buyers and suppliers by leveraging Redwood's efficient, customer-focused business model as well as their systems and strong balance sheet," stated Chris Bradley, previous owner of Ceres Commodities, LLC.

"The Ceres Commodities business is an excellent extension of our Lathrop FSG operations. Lathrop FSG offers a closed loop supply chain solution, selling seed to its non-GMO soybean growers, purchasing commodity back from those growers, and then cleaning and packaging products to customer specifications. The acquisition of Ceres Commodities further allows us to manage the supply chain to ensure our customers receive the best quality product when they need it," said Mike Kincaid, President of The Redwood Group, LLC.

The Redwood Group, LLC is an employee-owned supply chain, merchandising and solutions-based company that focuses on food ingredients, feed ingredients, and energy products.  It is headquartered in Mission, KS, with additional office locations in Omaha, NE and Newport, KY, and with specialized cleaning facilities located in Chester, MT, Venango, NE, Lathrop, MO and Pleasant Hill, MO.  Redwood was formed in 2010 with a focus on offering a wide variety of high-quality products and superior customer service.  Redwood purchases and supplies products throughout the United States and Canada as well as imports and exports products to and from customers around the globe.

Syngenta introduces a ‘legend in the making’ with latest AgriPro® brand winter wheat variety for Plains market

The harsh conditions of the western High Plains are no match for the latest winter wheat variety from Syngenta. AgriPro® brand SY Legend CL2, a hard red winter wheat, was bred to deliver consistent yields in tough environments.

The region can experience wide winter temperature swings and drought conditions. SY Legend CL2 has shown to be effective in helping growers manage both of these challenges, offering a high level of drought tolerance and winter hardiness.

The medium-maturity variety also offers excellent leaf disease tolerance, especially important as the western High Plains serves as the disease pathway from Texas to the Northern Plains. Extended green leaf duration allows SY Legend CL2 to maximize grain fill and deliver excellent test weight.

“SY Legend CL2 is the latest example of the strong-performing varieties growers have come to expect from AgriPro brand wheat,” said Greg McCormack, Syngenta key account manager for the Plains region. “Disease, drought and winter weather are common concerns for wheat growers across the High Plains. SY Legend CL2 is showing strength in each of these areas and is even demonstrating better disease tolerance than Brawl CL Plus. We are excited to continue delivering varieties that address the needs of our growers year after year.”

Backed by more than 50 years of wheat breeding expertise, AgriPro wheat varieties are consistent top performers. AgriPro wheat varieties deliver reliable performance, offering best-in-class disease packages, leading agronomics and outstanding yields.

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