Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wednesday October 30 Ag News


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has entered into an education compact with six other Nebraska institutions to meet the education needs of youth and lifelong learners in northeast Nebraska and contribute to workforce and talent development to support economic growth strategies in agriculture and natural resources.

The Northeast Nebraska Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Compact was signed during a ceremony Oct. 29 at Wayne Junior/Senior High School in Wayne. In addition to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Nebraska, others signing the compact were Little Priest Tribal College, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Nebraska Indian Community College, Northeast Community College, Wayne Community Schools and Wayne State College.

“This compact will leverage the combined strength of the involved institutions to improve college and career readiness, educational attainment, and community and economic vitality and growth in the region,” said CASNR Dean Tiffany Heng-Moss. “I look forward to working with our partners to co-create educational solutions for northeast Nebraska.”

Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Nebraska, said: “Over the past few years, IANR has engaged in many great conversations with the 217,000 people that call northeast Nebraska home. These conversations were critical to shaping our collaborative efforts with compact partners on issues that matter to the success of our students and lifelong learners and the vitality of our communities.”

The goals of the compact include providing education platforms for the continuum of learners in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems that align with career opportunities for an evolving workforce for communities. This will include developing an inventory of formal and nonformal agriculture and natural resources education programming, establishing an open-access database of curricula for K-12 and nonformal learners, and designing education platforms for the continuum of learners that align with labor market demand for agriculture and natural resources.

In response to the increased need for highly qualified K-12 agricultural science and STEM educators, the compact will establish professional-development programs and workshops for nonformal educators, and align STEM teacher preparation programs and curricula with agriculture and natural resources systems. The institutions will establish a northeast Nebraska teacher network program for STEM and ag educators. There’s also an opportunity to leverage partnerships and programming offered by educational entities such as Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Department of Education, Ag in the Classroom, educational service units and Nebraska’s agricultural commodity groups.

The institutions will also explore strategies to remove barriers for learners to seamlessly transfer among post-secondary institutions. This will involve a review of curricula, enhanced collaboration among academic and career advisers, and the creation of pathways that are linked to agriculture and natural resource workforce needs in the area.

Compact partners aim to boost workforce development solutions for agriculture and natural resources industries in the region through several strategies, which include an external labor market demand analysis for the agriculture and natural resources industries in northeast Nebraska. Skills, programming, competencies and credentials offered by the partners will be aligned with the demand in the labor market. Additionally, compact institutions will partner with ongoing workforce development efforts in the region.

“This is about preparing the next generation of problem-solvers, innovators and leaders in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems,” Heng-Moss said.

2019 Research Symposium

Scott Merritt, Nebraska Agri-Business Association

Please join us for this year's annual Research Symposium, co-sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources and the Nebraska Agri-Business Association! There will be eight speakers presenting cutting edge research being performed in the agronomy and agriculture fields. Many of you will find this meeting to be very beneficial in your career.

Research Symposium is on Friday, November 22, 2019, at the Holthus Convention Center in York, NE.  Registration will begin at 8:00 am, with speakers starting at 8:30 am. It will be 2 Crop Management, 2 Pest Management, 2 Nutrient Management and 2 Soil and Water CEU's.

The speakers and topics are:
    Tyler Williams - 2019 Weather Recap and the Impact on Nebraska Agriculture
    Joe Luck - Crop Management
    Amit Jhala - Challenges and Opportunities for Mgt of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in NE
    Amy Schmidt - Benefits and Barriers to Manure Use in Cropping Systems
    Jenny Rees - Cover Crops in Cropping Systems On-Farm Research Update
    Daran Rudnick - Overview of Irrigation scheduling Technologies
    Justin McMechan - Latest Updates on Pest Management
    Michael Kaiser - Effects of Soil Management on Soil Organic Characteristics

The cost of registration covers rolls & coffee, lunch, and all speaker handouts. A registration form is included for you to register for Research Symposium or you can register online at

Please contact Sarah Skirry at or (402) 476-1528 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in York at this year's Research Symposium!

Lindsay Corporation Reports Fiscal 2019 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Lindsay Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended August 31, 2019.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Summary

Revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 were $101.9 million, a decrease of $21.4 million, or 17 percent, compared to revenues of $123.3 million in the prior year fourth quarter. Approximately $18.7 million of the decrease in revenues was attributable to previously announced business divestitures in the irrigation segment that were part of the Company's Foundation for Growth initiative. Net earnings for the quarter were $1.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $5.0 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the same period in the prior year. Net earnings for the quarter adjusted to eliminate (i) costs associated with the Foundation for Growth initiative, and (ii) a valuation adjustment for indirect tax credits in a foreign jurisdiction were $5.8 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net earnings of $4.5 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, for the same period in the prior year.1

Total revenues for the year ended August 31, 2019 were $444.1 million, a decrease of $103.6 million, or 19 percent, compared to revenues of $547.7 million in the prior year. Approximately $78.1 million of the decrease in revenues was attributable to business divestitures in the irrigation segment that were part of the Company's Foundation for Growth initiative. Net earnings for the year were $2.2 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $20.3 million, or $1.88 per diluted share, in the prior year. Net earnings for the year adjusted to eliminate (i) costs associated with the Foundation for Growth initiative, and (ii) a valuation adjustment for indirect tax credits in a foreign jurisdiction were $15.6 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net earnings of $31.6 million, or $2.94 per diluted share, in the prior year.1

"The decrease in irrigation segment revenues for the year and quarter resulted primarily from the business divestitures that were part of our strategy to simplify the business and improve operating margin. In addition, challenging market conditions have persisted in our core irrigation equipment markets," said Tim Hassinger, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Solid fourth quarter results in our infrastructure segment reflect the progress we are making in our strategy to grow the Road Zipper® business."

Lindsay Corporation Announces Quarterly Dividend

Lindsay Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.31 per share, payable November 29, 2019, to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 15, 2019.  At October 24, 2019, Lindsay Corporation had approximately 10.8 million shares outstanding, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNN.

Controversy reigns over Animal RFID, ICON has many concerns

In the face of criticism about a plan to require electronic identification of cattle and bison, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has removed its description of the national livestock identification plan from its website.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service removed the guidance document and factsheet from its website, saying “it is no longer representative of current policy.”

It is not yet clear that the plan has been discontinued, however. Apparently, states can still require electronic, Radio Frequency ID tags. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 10 that it will discontinue providing free metal tags to cattlemen as of Dec. 31. There is no record that plan has been rescinded.  

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska continue to have concerns about the program, which would gradually eliminate the existing ID system and mandate the use of RFID tags for cows and bulls in 2023. The program would have questionable effectiveness, impose substantial costs and burdens, and jeopardize the privacy of business records that are kept by the owners of cattle herds.

ICON learned of the USDA plan in February. Alerted to the situation by veterinarian and ICON member Dr. Don Cain of Broken Bow, ICON notified other independent cattle producer groups, including the Rancher’s Cattlemen Action Legal Fund / United Stockgrowers of America, and initiated talks with the Nebraska legislature’s agriculture committee.

The USDA guidance document stated that USDA would require the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags on all adult cattle and bison moved in interstate commerce, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, thereby affecting all cattle.

In June, ICON resolved to support metal ear tags and/or hot-iron brands as official and primary forms of ID of cattle, and opposed the efforts to make RFID tagging of cattle mandatory. The full text of the ICON resolution is below. 

In a related development, on Oct. 4 R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit against the USDA, claiming the RFID mandate is unlawful on Constitutional grounds. The lawsuit asserts that a “guidance” document cannot legally be used to nullify a 2013 animal identification agreement, because it was a properly adopted regulation authorized by Congress.

On Oct. 8, President Donald J. Trump joined the outcry. He issued executive order 13892 for federal agencies such as the USDA to not use guidance documents to impose legally binding obligations on U.S. citizens. 

Currently, the U.S. cattle industry has highly effective traceability systems that make the U.S. cattle industry’s disease resistance capabilities the envy of the world, say ICON President Jim Dinklage and R-CALF USA Executive Director Bill Bullard.

The 2013 U.S. “Traceability of Livestock Moving Interstate” regulation allows producers to use effective animal identification techniques and devices that have been used for more than 100 years, including brands, tattoos, permanent metal ear tags, group/lot identification and backtags on animals destined for harvest.

NCBA Applauds Introduction of Hours of Service Legislation

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation by U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (D – 2nd Dist., Minn.) and Lloyd Smucker (R - 11th Dist., Penn.) that would provide flexible and common-sense relief from Hours of Service (HOS) rules for agricultural haulers.

The Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act would ensure that the current Hours of Service exemption that applies to the 150-air-mile radius from the source of an agricultural commodity adds the same 150 air mile radius flexibility to the back end of a trip, or the destination.  The bill also clarifies that this exemption would apply in every state year-round, as agriculture and specifically livestock move across this country every day.

“Agricultural haulers – and especially livestock haulers – face very unique challenges that haulers in other industries don’t face, and this bill recognizes that need,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “On behalf of America’s cattle producers, I want to thank Representatives Craig, Smucker, and all the other original co-sponsors for their leadership on this issue and working towards needed flexibility within Hours of Service for our livestock haulers.”

Voluntary Labeling Dilutes Efforts to Fully Restore Mandatory COOL for Beef

In their 2017 country-of-origin labeling (COOL) lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), R-CALF USA and the Cattle Producers of Washington alleged the agency's COOL regulations for imported beef were inconsistent with the long-standing Tariff Act of 1930. The Tariff Act requires imported beef sold in the United States to retain its foreign country-of-origin label to the consumer, such as "Product of Uruguay," unless the beef is substantially transformed in the United States after importation and before sale to consumers.

According to R-CALF USA, however, when the USDA wrote its regulation known as the 1989 Foreign Products Rule, it conveniently omitted the substantial transformation standard. As a result, the USDA determined it has the authority to allow imported beef to be mislabeled as a USA product if it is subject to even minimal processing, such as unwrapping and rewrapping.

Based on its interpretation of the 1989 Foreign Products Rule, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued its Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book that currently allows the mislabeling of foreign beef even when no substantial transformation occurs.

According to R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, "Merely correcting the USDA's inappropriate standard for determining what beef is eligible for a "Product of USA" label will not restore the level of product differentiation that United States cattle producers need to distinguish their superior beef product from foreign beef products in the marketplace.

"For that they need full restoration of mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (mCOOL), and nothing less," he said.

The mCOOL law passed in 2002 sent the 1989 Foreign Products Rule into hibernation for over a decade. The mCOOL law superseded the old rule by requiring imported beef to retain its foreign label through retail sale, meaning all the way to the consumer. It also required all beef processed in the U.S. to be labeled as to where the cattle were born, raised, and slaughtered.

The mCOOL law, therefore, prevented meat merely packaged in the U.S. from being labeled "Made in the USA" and "Product of the USA," and ensured that imported beef would be labeled "Product of Uruguay," "Product of Australia" or the like. Importantly, for beef slaughtered in the U.S., general origin labels were replaced with the more accurate labels denoting where the beef had been born, raised, and slaughtered.  For example: "Born, Raised, and Slaughtered in the United States," or "Born in Mexico, Raised and Slaughtered in the United States."

Bullard said the mCOOL law provided the level of product differentiation that U.S. cattle producers need to effectively compete against cheaper foreign beef by:
-    requiring all packers to inform retailers and consumers as to where beef from cattle slaughtered in the United States was born, raised, and slaughtered.
-    requiring all imported beef to retain its foreign label through retail sale.

"Without these two important elements, U.S. producers will not be able to effectively compete against imported beef," he said.

Bullard said efforts focused only on fixing the interpretation of the 1989 Foreign Products Rule by establishing a voluntary U.S. label for products born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States fall well short of what the U.S. cattle industry needs to effectively compete against imports of both beef and cattle.

"The first insurmountable problem with such an effort is that it establishes a voluntary labeling regime for big meatpackers who have clearly signaled they don't want to differentiate products based on origin.

"The second problem is that it does not require any of the three billion pounds of annually imported beef or the beef from the two million head of imported cattle each year to be labeled as to origin.

"The third problem, and perhaps the most important, is that it redirects the industry's limited resources away from efforts to fully restore mCOOL and may permanently prevent our industry from fully restoring mCOOL for beef."

Bullard said the sudden push to address only the FSIS standard for authorizing voluntary labeling is a classic strategy of divide and conquer.

"R-CALF USA will not be distracted by such an effort and remains steadfast in its strategy to build support for legislation, either stand-alone or within the ongoing USMCA (U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement), to fully restore mCOOL for beef, and we'll stop at nothing less," he concluded.

Most Fertilizer Prices Continue to Fall

While the prices of most fertilizers tracked by DTN continued to fall in the fourth week of October, for the first time in more than two months, the price of one fertilizer increased.  Prior to last week, all eight fertilizer prices had fallen for nine consecutive weeks.

In this latest update, five of the eight prices tracked by DTN continued to fall from the previous month. DAP led the way with a $14-per-ton decrease to $465/ton compared to $479/ton one month ago. Anhydrous saw its price fall from $511/ton to $507/ton in this update.

UAN28's price fell from $254/ton last month to $251/ton, followed by MAP with a drop from $475/ton to $473/ton. The potash price fell by $1 to $383 per ton.

UAN32 reported the only price increase from $289/ton to $291/ton for this update. UAN32's highest price so far this year was $320 at the end of July into early August.

The prices of urea and 10-34-0 remain unchanged at $404/ton and $471/ton, respectively.

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 months, three fertilizers' prices are lower than one year ago. MAP is now 9% less expensive, DAP is 7% lower and urea is a fraction of 1% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining five major fertilizers are slightly higher compared to last year. Potash is 5% more expensive, UAN28, UAN32 and 10-34-0 are all 3% more expensive, while anhydrous is 2% more expensive than one year ago.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/25/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Oct. 25, ethanol production expanded 8,000 b/d or 0.8% to 1.004 million barrels per day (b/d), equivalent to 42.17 million gallons daily and the first time in six weeks that production has topped 1 million b/d. However, production was 5.2% below the same week a year ago and 4.9% below the level two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.2% to 984,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.08 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks pared back 1.2% to 21.1 million barrels, the smallest volume in two years. Inventories were 7.2% lower than the same week last year. Stocks fell across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2).

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 53,000 b/d, or 15.58 million gallons for the week. This was the second consecutive week of imports, up from 28,000 b/d. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market rose 2.0% to a seven-week high of 9.784 million b/d (410.9 million gallons per day, or 149.99 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 0.9% to 936,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.35 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.26%.

ICGA: EPA’s Proposed Rule is a Trick, Not a Treat

Today, Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Jim Greif testified at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing on the supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

 In this proposed rule, the EPA did not implement details that were discussed and outlined by President Trump only eleven days before the rule was released. Farmers and ethanol producers were promised the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would be upheld by reallocating small refinery exemptions based on an average of actual waived gallons from the three previous compliance years. This proposed rule falls short of the RFS statute that provides for 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended. The EPA’s rule would use the Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations which the EPA has historically not followed.

“The language in this proposal is a trick, not a treat,” said ICGA President and farmer from Monticello Jim Greif. “By following DOE suggestions, rather than actual numbers, farmers may only get back half of the demand destruction that EPA actually grants in future years. This means 580 million gallons of biofuel demand will be waived annually that is completely unaccounted for – roughly eliminating the ethanol production capacity of the entire state of Wisconsin. In corn numbers, this means 203 million bushels of corn demand will continue to be eliminated annually – that’s like eliminating all of the corn acres in the entire state of Colorado.”

Quite simply, this proposal destroys corn demand and does not uphold the integrity of the RFS or follow the law. ICGA is urging members to submit a comment through their Call to Action on EPA’s proposed rule before the Nov. 29 comment period deadline.

NCGA to EPA: Good Intentions Don’t Provide Certainty

Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Ethanol Action Team member Brian Thalmann today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the law and accurately account for expected refinery waivers in the 2020 RFS volume rule.

Thalmann testified at an EPA hearing to review the agency’s supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking.

“We’re in the thick of harvest and, quite frankly, I would rather be in the field. But the issue we’re discussing today is too important to corn farmers like me not to be here. I have a simple message - when it comes the Renewable Fuel Standard, we need EPA to follow the law. As farmers, we follow rules put in place by state and federal agencies, including the EPA. We are simply asking EPA to do the same for us,” Thalmann said.

Today’s hearing follows an October 4 announcement from President Trump directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the RFS whole by using the three-year average of renewable fuel gallons actually waived by the EPA to account for waivers going forward. EPA, however, is now proposing to account for waivers based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendations, rather than the actual gallons waived by EPA. EPA has consistently waived nearly twice as much as DOE has recommended.

“Good intentions don’t provide certainty. Without a binding commitment that the RFS will be kept whole, this rule gives EPA free rein to change direction any time,” Thalmann said.

Corn farmers are encouraged to contact the EPA and tell the Agency to follow through on the President’s commitment to farmers and the RFS. The comment period closes November 29.

Growth Energy Calls on EPA to Fix Flawed Proposal

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor testified before U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials at a hearing on the agency’s proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Skor, whose organization represents more than half of U.S. ethanol production, called on EPA to fix this flawed draft proposal and reverse the demand destruction that has shuttered biofuel plants across the heartland.

“As drafted, EPA’s plan fails to accurately account for lost gallons and betrays President Trump’s promise to rural America,” testified Skor. “It cuts the fix we were promised in half, if not more, and destroys what may be our last chance to bring back the ethanol plants that have shut down and help ease the burden facing American farmers.”

To begin repairing the damage, Skor called on the EPA to uphold the president’s commitment to farmers and biofuel workers.

“Midwestern lawmakers and governors have seen the damage firsthand and worked with the president to secure a deal that would start to undo the damage – a deal that would honor this administration’s commitments to farmers, biofuel producers, rural America, as well as small refineries. But instead, the EPA has undercut the president’s promise and has yet again tilted the table in favor of the nation’s largest oil companies – all at the expense of the American farmer.”

Among other changes, she urged regulators to use the rolling average of actual exempted volumes from the three most recently completed compliance years in the final rule, as promised by the administration. She also called on the agency to formally bind itself to the revised methodology for future years and expedite work to remove additional barriers to the sale of E15.

“EPA must fix this rule immediately by properly accounting for exempted gallons and restoring lost demand. American biofuel producers and farmers cannot afford anything less,” concluded Skor.

Growth Energy member and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis shared a similar message with lawmakers yesterday, during a House hearing entitled, "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers." Nieuwenhuis, who also is farmer near Primghar, Iowa, discussed the devastating impact of the EPA’s actions, which forced dozens of plants like Siouxland Energy to idle production or close their doors over the last year.

RFA to EPA: RFS Proposal Fails on Several Levels

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper Wednesday morning told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that its weak proposal to counter the damaging effects of small refinery exemptions from the obligations of the Renewable Fuel Standard would simply not do the job it has been promised to do.

“This proposal fails to reflect the letter and spirit of the president’s commitment to restore integrity to the RFS, fails to assure that the statutorily-required 15-billion-gallon level for conventional biofuels will be met, and fails to restore stability in the marketplace by definitively ending the practice of allowing small refinery exemptions from eroding RFS biofuel demand,” Cooper said in testimony at an EPA field hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

In his testimony, Cooper recounted the impact of the waiver, with lost demand leading to the closure or idling of 19 ethanol plants and the decimation of RIN prices – blending credits that measure the success of the RFS program and the ethanol industry.

“RFA does not oppose the granting of small refiner waivers to any company that can demonstrate it is being harmed by the RFS,” Cooper said. “We do believe this is a high bar, however, particularly as RIN prices have fallen precipitously and EPA itself has concluded the cost of RIN compliance is recovered in the market. Indeed, we believe it highly unlikely any company is being negatively impacted by the RFS today.”

Cooper also explained why the new supplemental proposal won’t succeed. EPA bases on the average of what the Department of Energy has recommended for waivers, not the waivers actually granted—and the formers is significantly less than the latter.

“The problem with this proposal is that EPA has seldom followed DOE’s recommendations in deciding SRE petitions,” he said. “For the 2016-2018 compliance years, DOE on average recommended that 7.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel be exempted from RFS obligations, but EPA actually exempted an average of 12.8 billion gallons–75% more.”

EPA will be accepting public comment on the supplemental proposal until Nov. 29.

ACE urges EPA to stop riding the brakes on the RFS and go back to original deal during public hearing

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings testified today during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed supplemental rulemaking to its proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The proposal seeks comment on “projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions (SREs) on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DoE), including where DoE had recommended partial exemptions.” Despite earlier promises EPA would reallocate SREs in 2020 based on the average of actual gallons waived from 2016 to 2018, the Agency proposed to take this bizarre and never-before mentioned approach which undercounts past SREs and falls short of ensuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending for 2020.

Jennings’ testimony emphasized three areas in which the proposal fell short which will be detailed in ACE’s written comments, including that the proposed rule (1) does nothing to reallocate the 85 SREs from 2016 through 2018 which eroded more than 4 billion gallons from statutory levels; (2) represents a missed opportunity to restore 500 million gallons unlawfully waived from the 2016 compliance year; and (3) betrays the deal on how to ensure at least 15 billion gallons in the RFS for 2020 and beyond.

“For far too long, farmers and renewable fuel producers who have been trying to help EPA successfully implement the RFS have instead encountered an Agency persistently riding the brakes on the program and constraining opportunities to blend more ethanol. To make matters worse, EPA’s recent abuse of SREs recklessly turns the keys to the RFS to refiners who have taken the program on a joy ride.

“ACE members are furious with EPA’s double-standard: when it came to helping refineries escape RFS obligations from 2016 through 2018, EPA rejected DoE recommendations to exercise restraint, but now that EPA must restore volume to the RFS, the Agency is suddenly embracing DoE recommendations because the result will keep a lid on refinery obligations going forward.

“While this proposal is not going to make renewable fuel producers whole for EPA’s prior abuse of SREs, we urge the Agency to take a small step in the right direction by issuing a final rule which reallocates the actual average volume waived from 2016 through 2018 and ensures at least 15 billion gallons for the 2020 compliance year.

“Refineries should no longer be allowed to drive the RFS in the ditch, it’s time for EPA to finally take back the keys to the program.”

NBB Asks EPA to Fully Account for Small Refinery Waivers

Today, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) staff and members testified at the Environmental Protection Agency's public hearing on the Supplemental Notice for Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. NBB made a case that in the final 2020 rule, EPA should account for the impacts of past small-refinery exemptions, properly address the D.C. Circuit's remand in Americans for Clean Energy, and increase advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volume that drive growth in renewable fuel production.

NBB expressed appreciation for the proposal to account for small refinery exemptions in the future but asked that EPA use the best estimate available.

"EPA should change how it accounts for small refinery exemptions in the final rule in order to ensure that the renewable volume obligations are achieved," said Kate Shenk, NBB Director of Regulatory Affairs. "EPA could do so by taking further steps to limit the number of exemptions it grants in the future. Or, it could base its estimate for the number of small refinery exemptions in 2020 on the number of exemptions it has actually granted in recent years."

Kent Engelbrecht, Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and Trade Manager, Biodiesel, at ADM, also stated, "Because this proposal provides no certainty that EPA will follow DOE's recommendations going forward, it leaves the industry skeptical that the rule will prevent the demand destruction that the industry has been experiencing since EPA increased the granting of SREs in 2016. If EPA proceeds with using an average of DOE's recommendations, rather than an average of actual waived gallons, the agency will continue to reduce the applicable volumes, creating an effective volume requirement well below what EPA is bound to ensure."

NBB also highlighted parts of the overall 2020 RFS annual rule that need to be improved.

"The Supplemental Notice does not propose to do anything about small refinery exemptions before 2020. Yet, over 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels has been lost due to small refinery exemptions from 2016 through 2018," added David Cobb, NBB Federal Affairs Director. "This impact has been particularly significant for biomass-based diesel producers because biomass-based diesel can be used to satisfy multiple categories of fuel under the RFS."

House Agriculture Committee Passes CFTC Reauthorization

The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 4895, legislation to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through 2025 by voice vote this morning.

“The bill … helps strengthen our financial market infrastructure and makes it more resilient. It also combats fraud and promotes cooperation among regulators,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. "But it’s even more important to me that we’ve done it in a bipartisan way that sends a strong message to the Senate. The people that look to our markets for integrity don’t care about political wins and losses. They expect us to conduct the business of this Committee.”

The bipartisan legislation improves system safeguards requirements for clearinghouses, trading platforms and swap data repositories; clarifies provisions for relief in the event of a broker bankruptcy;  to strengthen the resiliency of financial market infrastructure; adds whistleblower protections for employees of organizations under CFTC jurisdiction; codifies no action letters that have been in the place making permanent relief for churches, university endowments, and other charitable organizations that use the markets to provide healthcare and retirement plans for their employees; enables further cooperation between the CFTC and international regulatory bodies; establishes an internship program to promote diversity in hiring; and authorizes the CFTC to make an honors program that will help them grow their own talent.

NCBA Applauds Committee Approval of CFTC Reauthorization Bill

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Manager of Legislative Affairs and Market Regulatory Policy Darryl Blakey today released the following statement in response to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee's approval of legislation reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) --

"We're pleased to see that the House Committee on Agriculture took the first step towards getting the U.S. CFTC reauthorized. The committee leadership has come together to move this legislation forward in a bipartisan fashion and having this approach has allowed all parties to be honest in their negotiations to build a constructive and sound legislative product that can equip the Commission for the markets our members face today.

"As a representative of true commercial end-users, NCBA has naturally been a part of this reauthorization process from the very beginning by being one of the first organizations knocking on the doors of Congress in the form of meeting with key offices and sending up a thorough letter of support and ideas for a potential CFTC reauthorization package. This included providing tools for reducing systemic risk, ensuring market integrity for end-users, and delivering regulatory consistency, while also considering the important role derivatives markets play in the ability of farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses to hedge their risks efficiently and effectively.

"Our members are pleased to see that some of our original ideas are in the product today in the form of continued protection for end-users from regulatory burdens, enhancement of the agency’s regulatory tools, and establishing coordination between the Office of the Chief Economist and the Commission to consider a cost-benefit analysis before it’s rulemakings.

"NCBA hopes to continue supporting this legislation as it moves forward in the House, and to working with Congress on getting the CFTC reauthorized because cattlemen and cattlewomen continue to rely on the derivatives markets to manage business risk."

NCBA Statement on Beef Labeling Practices

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President, Government Affairs, Ethan Lane, today released the following statement in response to a letter from U.S. Sens. John Thune (S.D.) and Mike Rounds (S.D.) regarding beef labeling practices:

“NCBA understands that the practices alleged in the letter from Senator Rounds and Senator Thune are a concern to cattle producers and we share a commitment to clear and truthful labeling. In August, in response to a proposal brought forward by our grassroots members, NCBA formed a working group to examine the prevalence of the alleged mislabeling practices. We are in the process of gathering information related to current industry labeling practices so we can fully understand the scope of the issue as we identify solutions that work for the industry.

“In general, NCBA members are opposed to requesting additional government regulation on our industry. Until we understand the scope of labeling practices currently being utilized, any rush to regulate is an irresponsible step that can create unnecessary and burdensome government mandates. NCBA is actively seeking information on beef labeling practices.

“The creation of government policy or regulation is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of the problem and the involvement of many stakeholders. As our industry is fully aware, any rush toward government regulation can create unintended consequences that take years to unwind.”

NGFA commends House lawmakers for voting to support full use of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund 

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) this week commended House lawmakers for passing a bill that would allow for full utilization of fees collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for maintaining U.S. harbors and ports at their authorized depths.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next decade, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act of 2019” (H.R. 4220) would enable $34 billion deposited into the HMTF to be accessed and spent for its collected and intended purpose – namely, dredging U.S. harbors to their constructed specifications.

“The fact that more than $9 billion has been collected and deposited in the HMTF, but gone unspent for its intended purpose, is a fiscal disservice to those that pay the 0.125 percent ad valorem tax on the value of cargo imports,” said the NGFA after the House vote. “H.R. 4220 will allow those dollars to be spent on much-needed dredging at the nation’s ports to help partially restore some of the United States’ comparative transportation advantage, which is essential to capturing export market opportunities that contribute to U.S. economic growth.”

NGFA outlined its support of H.R. 2440, sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in an Oct. 25 letter to the committee’s leadership. NGFA also encouraged its members to send letters to their members of Congress in support of the legislation. Chairman DeFazio referenced NGFA’s support for this legislation as it was debated on the House floor.

Increased Demand for Dark Chicken Meat Creating New Opportunities

Evolving U.S. demographics are shifting consumer preferences from white meat chicken to dark meat, presenting the chicken industry with an opportunity to diversify its profit centers. Advances in mechanical deboning technology have allowed U.S. chicken producers to capture the emerging demand for dark meat while addressing the ever-present labor shortage, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division.

Two key and changing demographic drivers are behind the slow but steady shift in U.S. demand from white chicken meat to dark meat: age and ethnicity. Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers in 2019 as the largest living adult generation in the U.S. As Baby Boomers age, their consumption of meat, including white chicken meat, is declining. Meanwhile, millennials are now hitting their stride in income, spending power and meat consumption. Their generation grew up with international dining options that often feature dark meat as the chicken ingredient of choice.

Latino and Asian populations are growing in the U.S. and dark meat chicken, rather than white meat, is typically used in the cuisines of their cultures. As these populations continue to grow in the U.S., so will the demand for dark meat chicken.

“The shifting consumer demand is driving a corresponding increase in the value of dark meat and the decline in white meat value,” said Will Sawyer, animal protein economist with CoBank. “Since 2000, chicken breast’s share of the value of the bird has dropped from 66% to just 45%, while the value of chicken legs has increased dark meat’s share from 12% to near 30%.”

Advances in whole leg deboning technology have improved yields with half of the labor required of hand deboning. In the face of increasing labor costs and decreasing availability of labor, mechanical alternatives are now financially viable. Chicken processing costs grew approximately 15% in the last decade and continue to grow, largely driven by labor costs that typically account for half the total processing cost. As a result, Sawyer said adoption of this new technology is likely to expand further.

“These trends are helping dark meat grow as an additional profit center for U.S. producers,” said Sawyer.  “A more diversified profit pool including both white and dark meat will help the U.S. chicken industry weather volatility in feed costs, consumer demand and trade.”

The full report, “Evolving U.S. Demographics Give Chicken a New Leg to Stand On,” is available at

NMPF Eager to Work With Congress as House Agriculture Guest Worker Bill Introduced

The National Milk Producers Federation today announced its support for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan immigration bill that advances agriculture immigration reform sponsored by Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA).

The legislation would provide legal status to current agricultural workers and their families and reform the H2A guest-worker visa program to permit year-round agriculture to participate, a crucial need for dairy. The efforts of Chairman Lofgren and Representative Newhouse, both longtime champions for agricultural labor reform, are greatly appreciated by dairy farmers, who cannot wait any longer for action.

“America’s dairy farmers are eager to advance and improve this legislation as it moves through the Congress,” said Mike McCloskey, a dairy farmer and chairman of NMPF’s Immigration Taskforce. “As producers of a year-round product, dairy farmers face a unique labor crisis because our jobs are not seasonal or temporary. From our years of work on these issues, we know first-hand just how hard immigration reform is. But we simply cannot and will not stop working to find a solution. Dairy needs workers for our industry to sustain itself. It’s that simple, and it’s that dire.”

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), thanked the lawmakers for putting forward this essential step for agriculture labor reform, saying the bill is a critical first step in the legislative process.

“We have supported numerous efforts to address dairy’s acute labor needs. Passing legislation in the House is a critical step in the process. We urge the Senate to work with us on this important issue so we can get an ag worker bill across the finish line in this Congress,” Mulhern said. “The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act provides an important starting point for badly needed improvements to agriculture immigration policy. NMPF would like to thank Chairwoman Lofgren and Congressman Newhouse for their bipartisan leadership, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as this important legislation moves forward.”

As the voice of America’s dairy farmers in Washington and a member of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition’s Steering Committee, NMPF has been an active in agriculture labor reform for decades.

Farm Worker Modernization Act an Important Step Towards a Stable and Fair Agricultural Workforce

U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and several other House members today introduced a bipartisan bill to reform the agricultural labor system in the United States. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which is the product of negotiations between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates, includes provisions to both ensure a legal and stable workforce for family farmers and ranchers as well as protect the health and safety of farmworkers.

At National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 117th Anniversary Convention in March, delegates approved a special order of business calling on Congress to “stabilize the current agricultural workforce” through a “flexible, efficient, and compassionate agricultural worker visa program.” Because the proposed bill would achieve both goals, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew applauded its introduction and urged Congress to approve it.

“Many family farmers and ranchers rely on hired farmworkers to help with planting, harvest, milking cows, and other essential tasks. But across the country, it has become exceedingly difficult to find legal, qualified workers. Without a workforce, farmers aren’t able to complete day-to-day work, forcing some to simply leave unharvested crops to rot in the field. This threatens both the viability of American farms as well as consumers’ access to affordable, domestically produced food.

“But we don’t just need a legal and adequate workforce – we need one that is fair. A large number of farmworkers are immigrants, a population that has historically been underserved and overlooked. These hardworking individuals who help us put food on our tables deserve greater protections and a pathway to citizenship.

“National Farmers Union supports this bipartisan effort to address the needs of both farmers and workers, and we urge its swift passage in the House of Representatives.”

Commodity Classic Educational Sessions Focus on Clarity During Uncertain Times

As farmers look to improve their profitability in an unpredictable agricultural environment, the educational sessions at the 2020 Commodity Classic are designed to provide farmers with the clarity and insight they need to make better-informed decisions that can have a powerful impact on their bottom line.

The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme is “See Your Future Clearly.”

More than 40 educational sessions are on the schedule in San Antonio. They will cover a wide range of important topics including soil health, grain marketing, farm policy, farm succession planning, nutrient stewardship, weather trends, mental health, fertility programs, rural broadband access, on-road ag equipment regulations, ag technology, international trade, African Swine Fever and more.

“Every educational session is selected by the Commodity Classic Farmer Committee to ensure the content and the presenters provide high-quality, relevant content that matters to today’s growers,” said Bill Wykes, a farmer from Illinois and co-chair of the 2020 Commodity Classic. “Farmers have been dealing with a lack of clarity over recent months and they need resources to help them refocus their efforts and see beyond the end of the tractor. There is no better place to do that than Commodity Classic.”

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience. Commodity Classic is unlike any other agriculture event, featuring a robust schedule of educational sessions, a huge trade show featuring the latest technology, equipment and innovation, top-notch entertainment, inspiring speakers and the opportunity to network with thousands of farmers from across the nation.

Registration and housing for the 2020 Commodity Classic opens Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10:00 a.m. Central at Early bird discounts on registration end January 9, 2020.

A complete schedule of events is updated continually on the website as well.

Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.  For information, visit

NCBA Supports Effort to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) believes that responsible use of antimicrobial drugs will aid in preserving the future effectiveness of antimicrobial agents against common pathogens in both human and animal species.

In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) set forward a challenge to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR Challenge). Since its launch, the AMR Challenge has been one of the most ambitious global initiatives to combat antibiotic resistance, garnering broad support and engagement from across sectors, states and countries. In response to the CDC’s AMR Challenge, NCBA worked to increase participation in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. By increasing BQA certification numbers, NCBA seeks to ensure beef producers are responsible and judicious in their use of antimicrobial products through every segment of the industry.

Year-to-date, the number of beef producers who have completed certification exceeds 318,000 producers, an increase of more than 73 percent over last year’s number. Today, 85 percent of beef in the United States comes from cattle which have been produced by BQA-certified cattlemen and women. In all, a total of 318,415 producers have completed a BQA training program.

NCBA is proud of the efforts of our beef producing community to take steps necessary to improve and protect our beef supply. The motto of BQA outreach is “The Right Way is the Only Way,” and we stand behind that principle and the industry’s work to supply consumers with the safest, highest quality beef possible. 

USDA, EPA, and FDA Announce Partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, the latest effort in the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative launched by the three federal agencies in 2018.

Through this Memo of Understanding (PDF, 938 KB), USDA, EPA, and FDA will formalize industry education and outreach efforts with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association, the three founding partners of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA). The FWRA represents three major sectors of the supply chain: food manufacturing, retail, and restaurant and food service. The Alliance pursues three goals: reducing the amount of food waste generated; increasing the amount of safe, nutritious food donated to those in need; and diverting food waste from landfills.

“USDA shares many common goals with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, including our belief in the power of teamwork,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We are proud to join this public-private partnership to prompt action throughout the food system.”

“EPA is proud to build upon the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative through this partnership with leaders of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Reducing food loss and waste has many environmental and social benefits. By collaborating with these major segments of the food supply chain, we are making progress toward the national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030.”

“The FDA strongly supports our shared goal of reducing the amount of food that Americans waste through important efforts like today’s agreement,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “The issues of food waste and food safety go hand in hand and we will continue to work with our federal partners and other stakeholders on enhancing our efforts to reduce food waste and do it safely. We are committed to doing all that we can to support safe and sound food policy decisions that are good for our families, good for our communities, and good for our planet.”

Federal officials shared the news today at the 2019 Food Waste Summit, hosted by ReFED, a nonprofit that uses a data-driven approach to combat food loss and waste. At the event, federal officials also recognized the growing cadre of U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, a group of corporations and organizations that have made a public commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their U.S. operations by 50 percent by the year 2030.

In the U.S., more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. Food is the single largest type of waste in our daily trash. In recent years, great strides have been made to highlight and mitigate food loss and waste, but the work has just begun. When food is tossed aside, so too are opportunities for economic growth, healthier communities, and environmental protection – but that can change through partnership, leadership, and action.

The Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative is a collaborative effort (PDF, 579 KB) among USDA, EPA, and FDA to reduce food loss and waste through combined and agency-specific action. Individually and collectively, these agencies contribute to the initiative, encourage long-term reductions, and work toward the goal of reducing food loss and waste in the United States. These actions include research, community investments, education and outreach, voluntary programs, public-private partnerships, tool development, technical assistance, event participation, and policy discussion.

BASF and NRGene collaborate to accelerate crop breeding

BASF and NRGene today announced a research collaboration that includes the adoption of NRGene’s cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology into BASF soybean research projects. The GenoMAGIC™ technology will allow for more comprehensive evaluations to accelerate trait discovery and breeding across diverse crops.

“This collaboration will explore the power of digitalization to improve and accelerate agricultural research, and aligns with our soybean crop system strategy,” said Rick Turner, Senior Vice President Seeds & Traits in BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. “BASF and NRGene are both focused on developing and delivering technologies to support farmers to grow better harvests, protect their crops and deliver more to society in the face of mounting environmental challenges.”

NRGene’s advanced multi-purpose breeding platform is a cloud-based solution for managing the full genomic diversity of species. It can analyze unlimited volumes of genomic data, enabling scientists and breeders to easily relate genomic sequences with beneficial traits, making genomic selection and trait mapping much more productive. Data use is accelerated, making breeding both faster and more cost effective.

“BASF remains committed to providing farmers with the most productive seeds and deploying best-in-class technologies to help unlock their genetic potential,” said Rene van Schaik, Head of Seeds Technologies & Analytics at BASF. “Our focus on data allows us to make better breeding decisions than ever before, and with GenoMAGIC, we expect to provide our research teams with a more comprehensive view to improve their analyses and decisions.”

“We are excited to commence this journey with BASF in soybean,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene’s CEO. “Over the years, we have accumulated a vast amount of data as well as specific competences in soy, which will add value in the collaboration with BASF to make their breeding more productive and efficient.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tuesday October 29 Ag News

Good to be a Pig Farme
By Al Juhnke, NPPA Executive Director

As another October “Pork Month” ends, some observations about Nebraska’s pig farmers are in order. We often get caught up in the challenges our state’s agriculture community faces and fail to look at the positives. Let’s take a moment to examine the plus side of the ledger.

      The Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) has been around since 1961. The organization is alive and healthy. They have a great group of directors and officers leading the way. The board is diverse in production size representation, age of its members, and in gender. The guidance and vision they provide keeps our grower’s Pork Checkoff dollars working for the benefit of all. NPPA is fortunate to have such a good group in place for the benefit of its members.

      The staff at the NPPA office in Lincoln are a truly dedicated group of people. They come to work every day focused on their mission of serving Nebraska’s pork industry. They take their roles in the organization seriously and understand they are making a difference. Also know that this team enjoys what they do. And if you like what you are doing, it isn’t really a job at all, is it?

      Finally, let’s look at the most important group of people involved with the pork industry, the farmers and families that raise our animals. Because of their efforts, Nebraska has more pigs in our barns since the mid-1980’s. The diversification of our farms with the addition of livestock facilities is adding value to our locally grown crops and income to the farm family’s bottom line.

      Our farmers are producing a sustainable, safe, and healthy food product to not only help supply our dinner tables here at home, but also ship over twenty-five percent of what they grow to other countries helping feed the world. They take great satisfaction in what they do and the role they play in the food chain.

      These farmers are our neighbors, our friends, and an integral part of our rural communities. They are good stewards of the land and care deeply about what they do. The positive economic impact to our local areas and the state by our pork producers cannot be understated. The taxes they pay helps take care of our roads, fund our schools, and support law enforcement and fire departments. Our farmers and their workers are proud to be part of our communities and would choose to live no other place.

      Overall, we would say it is a pretty good time to be a pig farmer in Nebraska. The positives far outweigh any negatives that may come along. Our farmers want everyone to know that like the generations that came before them, they love what they do and are going to be around doing it for a long time to come.

Grazing Cornstalks- Do you have a rental agreement?

Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

Having a written agreement can help reduce miscommunication and frustration down the road.  This ensures a better understanding by both parties and serves as a reminder of the terms originally agreed upon.  It increases the likelihood that the relationship will continue in future years. When it comes to rental agreements for grazing corn residue, a number of questions need to be asked and answered up front to avoid disagreements later. UNL Dept. of Agricultural Economics staff have shared the following information.

1. What is the latest start date that residue will be available for grazing?
• Have a written start date with an agreed upon penalty if the corn is harvested late.
• Having this agreement in writing can keep both parties feeling okay about the outcome if weather or equipment issues delay harvest and availability of the residue.

2. What is the latest end date for removing cattle?
• A common frustration that corn farmers voice when renting out corn residue for grazing is that the cattle are not removed in a timely fashion.
• Have a written removal date with an agreed upon penalty if cattle remain longer can keep both parties feeling okay about the outcome even if an unexpected event (such as a snow storm) keeps cattle on the land longer than planned.
• Who is responsible for gathering and removal of the cattle?

3. How will the appropriate stocking rate be determined and how will grazing be priced?
• Using the corn stalk grazing calculator ( to determine stocking rates is a good way to ensure proper stocking rates are utilized. It is important to utilize proper stocking rates to ensure cattle have access to adequate amounts of leaf and husk and that performance is maintained.
• Get your pricing right- by the acre OR by the head.
-Priced on a per acre basis. This type of arrangement is simple to administer but can have negative consequences if the start date, end date, stocking rate and adverse weather policy is not specifically spelled out. Without these items being outlined the crop producer can be exposed to the risk of over grazing and the cattle owner could be exposed to the risk of paying for something he/she can’t use if adverse weather prevents grazing.
-Priced on a per head per day or AUM basis. With this method the cattle owner only pays for actual use. Again the start date, end date, and stocking rate need to be laid out. The duration of grazing is important for the cattle producer when calculating transportation costs into the cost of feeding the cow. The crop producer is accepting the financial risk that the grazing resource may not produce the income they anticipated if the cattle are removed early.
-The plan for heavy snow or ice needs to be included in the pricing agreement, including the emergency feed source and who is responsible for providing it.
-The payment schedule and method should also be agreed upon.

4. Other things that should be outlined include:
• Is there a fence present? If not who is responsible for building the fence? Who is responsible for maintaining fences?
• Is there a reliable water source for the cattle? Who is responsible for providing water and maintaining water during grazing (including breaking ice)?
• Who is responsible for the daily care of the cattle? Inventory counts? Providing minerals and salt? Monitoring animal health? How will treating sick cattle be handled? Will the cattle be commingled with other cattle?
• Who is liable for the cattle getting out? Who is responsible for gathering the cattle if they get out?
• Is the cattle owner required to carry liability insurance for potential damage caused by the cattle? What, if any, indemnification responsibilities does the cattle owner have to the crop farmer for damage caused by the cattle?

This information is intended to provide a list of questions and issues to consider in drafting a lease agreement for grazing corn residue. Obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney is encouraged in developing the actual agreement.

Aggies earn American FFA Degrees

Thirteen freshmen and sophomore students attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis will receive the highest honor in FFA this week.

American FFA Degrees will be awarded Saturday at 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

The Aggie students who are studying agriculture education, animal science, diversified agriculture, agronomy, or veterinary technology at NCTA were active in their high school FFA chapters.

“We are very proud of the leadership and career paths these students have continued into their college programs here at NCTA in Curtis,” said Douglas Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of animal science and agricultural education.

The American Degree represents an FFA member’s commitment throughout their FFA career in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, along with leadership and community involvement.

The students, majors, FFA chapters are:
·         Ethan Aschenbrenner, Scottsbluff FFA, agronomy
·         Tyler Aschenbrenner, Scottsbluff FFA, diversified agriculture
·         Colton Bell, York FFA, agronomy
·         Camryn Evans of DeWitt, Wilber-Clatonia FFA, vet technology
·         Audrey Heinz, Eaton, Colo., Eaton FFA, ag education
·         Emily Kammerer, Sutherland FFA, animal science
·         Jocelyn Kennicutt, Gothenburg FFA, animal science
·         John Lauer, Gothenburg FFA, animal science
·         Kayla Mues, Cambridge FFA, ag education
·         Nina Parry of Genoa, Twin River FFA, vet technology
·         Brittany Pellatz, Plainview FFA, vet technology
·         Aurora Urwiler of Laurel, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge FFA, ag education
·         Camden Wilke of Columbus, Lakeview FFA, animal science

Most of these students will be attending with their FFA chapters or family members to accept their degree although a representative can accept it on their behalf, said Smith, who also serves at the faculty advisor for the NCTA Collegiate FFA Chapter.

NCTA is one of few remaining colleges in the U.S. focusing solely on agriculture production, agribusiness, agricultural mechanics and veterinary technology programs. See for details.

Pro-Ag Seminars to Examine Market Outlook, Trade Impacts, Financial Status of Iowa Agriculture

Before harvest comes to a close, producers, ag lenders and suppliers are already planning ahead for next year. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach economists will offer valuable insight on key factors impacting 2020 operating decisions at 13 Pro-Ag Outlook and Management Seminars to be held across the state in November and December.

Each three-hour seminar includes information on grain price outlook and global factors to watch, livestock prices and margins, as well as farmland operating margins, outlook and trends.

The focus of the program is to provide agribusiness leaders a concise evaluation of current market conditions, expected trends in crop and livestock income potential and management implications. Participants also will gain insight on implications of trade agreements on Iowa producers, and the critical role of land values and interest rates in the stabilization of the agricultural sector.

Speakers will vary by location but will include ISU Extension and Outreach state specialists Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist; Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist; Lee Schulz, assistant professor and livestock economist; and Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist. ISU Extension and Outreach field specialists will also be present at the meetings.

The program takes an in-depth look into the outlook for agriculture in 2020 and provides an opportunity to discuss the current Iowa economic situation with university experts.

Locations and dates
    Waterloo - Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 9 a.m., Hawkeye College, Tama Hall, Room 201, 319-234-6811.
    Sioux City - Monday, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m., Woodbury County Extension Office, 712-276-2157.
    Spirit Lake - Monday, Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m., Dickinson County Extension Office, 712-336-3488.
    Fort Dodge* - Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m., Webster County Extension Office, 515-576-2119.
    Carroll* - Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9:30 a.m., Carroll County Extension Office, 712-792-2364.
    Altoona* - Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m., Polk County Extension Office, 515-957-5760.
    Mason City - Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m., Muse-Norris Conference Center, NIACC Campus, 641-423-0844.
    Cresco - Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 a.m., Featherlite Center, Howard County Fairgrounds, 563-547-3001.
    Greenfield - Monday, Nov. 25, 1 p.m., Warren Cultural Center Auditorium, 641-743-8412.
    Shenandoah - Monday, Dec. 2, 1 p.m., Shenandoah Bricker Meeting Room, 712-542-5171.
    Iowa City* - Friday, Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m., Johnson County Extension Office, 319-337-2145.
    Mt. Pleasant* - Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 a.m., Henry County Extension Office, 319-385-8126.
    Bloomfield* - Friday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m., Pioneer Ridge Nature Area, 641-673-5841.
*Meal included; Altoona location includes lunch and Farm Income Tax webinar in the afternoon.

The sessions are open to the public, however, pre-registration is requested two days prior to the date of the event. Speakers, registration fees and provided meals vary by location. For locations, times and program information, contact the farm management field specialist in your area or visit

Apply by Nov. 1 to Serve on the National Pork Board

The Pork Checkoff's board of directors is accepting applications through Nov. 1 to fill five three-year terms. State pork producer associations, farm organizations or individuals who pay the Pork Checkoff, including pig farmers and pork importers, may submit an application.

"Serving on the National Pork Board is a great opportunity for producers to support the pork industry while helping to plan for a successful future," said Alcester, South Dakota, producer Steve Rommereim, who is the past National Pork Board president and chair of the Nominating Committee. "Not only have I been able to serve producers, I also have learned from so many in our pork industry."

During the National Pork Industry Forum, Pork Act Delegates must rank a minimum of 10 candidates to send to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for approval. The board consists of 15 members, each serving a maximum of two three-year terms. The Pork Act requires that no fewer than 12 states be represented.

The 15 positions on the Checkoff board are held by pork producers or importers who volunteer their time. Any pork producer or importer who has paid all Checkoff assessments due or is a representative of a producer or company that produces hogs and/or pigs is eligible to serve.

The application deadline is Nov. 1, with interviews for each candidate held in Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 10 and 11.

Siouxland Energy Testifies at House Hearing on EPA Demand Destruction

Growth Energy member and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change during a hearing entitled, "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers." Nieuwenhuis, who also is farmer near Primghar, Iowa, discussed the devastating impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) demand destruction on his biofuel plant and the surrounding community.

“Plain and simple: EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS is crippling rural America,” said Nieuwenhuis in his testimony to lawmakers.

“Because of EPA’s actions to help the oil industry’s bottom line at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers, we had to make a hard decision – to idle our plant and shut off a key market for hundreds of local farmers, including myself,” added Nieuwenhuis. “The morning we announced we were idling our plant, I was tasked with delivering the bad news to our 40 employees. The team sat quietly, wondering about their future in the event we would have to permanently close our facility. This was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.”

“The economic crisis created by the EPA’s abuse of SREs started 3 years ago. At first, we couldn’t put a finger on what it was, but the fundamentals in our market seemed off.  It was only after the press started reporting the rapid escalation of SREs being granted behind closed doors at the EPA that we began to understand what was happening to our business.”

Nieuwenhuis also gave his support for the legislation being considered by the subcommittee, H.R. 3006, the RFS Integrity Act of 2019.

“The regulatory attempts by the EPA give us little confidence that we will see the relief we need,” said Nieuwenhuis. “That’s why the agricultural and biofuels industries strongly support H.R. 3006, the RFS Integrity Act, sponsored by Representatives Collin Peterson and Dusty Johnson. This bill would address the EPA’s dismal record on SRE transparency. We have no idea of the specifics used by DOE or EPA in making SRE decisions, and this bill takes care of these basic transparency concerns by setting a reasonable deadline for SRE applications, and giving the public greater insight into this murky process.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, who will testify Wednesday at the EPA’s public hearing on the new proposal, applauded Nieuwenhuis for sharing his story with lawmakers.

“Dozens of biofuel plants, just like Siouxland Energy, have been forced to idle production or close their doors in the past year due to the EPA’s abuse of refinery exemptions,” said Skor. “We need the real fix President Trump promised – not another round of regulatory games. The EPA plan must incorporate a projection of actual exempted gallons, not simply apply out-of-date recommendations. This may be our last chance to restore rural jobs and ease the burden facing American farmers.”

RFA: Refinery Waivers Undermine Renewable Fuels, Rural Economy and Government Transparency

The massive increase in small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard has eroded demand for ethanol and forced numerous plants to idle or shut down, according to testimony today by Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change. Cooper laid out numerous challenges facing the industry as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s abuse of the SRE program.

“EPA’s secretive and underhanded approach to the SRE provision in recent years has destabilized the RFS, reduced the production and use of clean renewable biofuels, increased GHG emissions and tailpipe pollution, and led to lost jobs and economic opportunity in rural America,” Cooper stated in his testimony.

Cooper also stressed the enormous value of ethanol plants to their local rural communities and detailed the harsh effects that closing a plant can have on small towns already facing other economic challenges.

“Ethanol plants serve as vital economic engines for rural communities across the country, providing good jobs, creating value-added investment opportunities for farmers and other rural Americans, and developing new markets for crops produced by local growers,” Cooper said. “We estimate that the ethanol demand loss associated with SREs has led to the layoff or furlough of more than 700 workers in the ethanol industry since the spring of 2018. In addition, more than 2,800 full-time jobs in related industries and sectors have also been affected.”

A recent supplemental proposal by EPA—meant to implement the relief package promised by President Trump in August—does little to allay concerns in farm country, Cooper said. EPA’s supplemental proposal has only led to more confusion and will not likely raise domestic conventional renewable fuels blending to the required volume of 15 billion gallons.

“The EPA incomprehensibly proposed to base its estimates of the gasoline and diesel that would be exempted in 2020 on the historical recommendations for exempted volumes it received from the Department of Energy, rather than the actual exemptions it granted,” Cooper said. “The irony of this proposal is that EPA has never followed DOE’s recommendations in deciding SRE petitions.”

For the 2016-2018 compliance years, he noted, DOE on average recommended that 7.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel be exempted from RFS obligations, but EPA actually exempted an average of 12.8 billion gallons–75% more. “In short, the supplemental proposal fails to provide the necessary assurances that the statutorily required volume of 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel will actually be enforced in full in 2020 and beyond.”

Cooper ended his testimony stating RFA’s support for legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that would help reform the SRE program. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) together with Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and a bipartisan group of original co-sponsors have introduced H.R. 3006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, which would bring badly needed transparency to the SRE process and provide renewable fuel producers and other stakeholders with greater certainty surrounding implementation of the RFS.

Oil Refinery Exemptions Cause a Crisis for the Biodiesel Industry

Today, World Energy Founder and CEO Gene Gebolys testified on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) at a hearing on "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers" before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. Gebolys told lawmakers that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has many options to make up for the demand destruction from past Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers and prevent harm going forward. Small refinery exemptions have destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biomass-based diesel. Nine biodiesel plants across the country have closed or cut production as a result, impacting hundreds of employees and thousands of jobs across the economy.

"When EPA finalizes its 2020 renewable fuel obligations rule by the end of this year, it must fully account for small refinery exemptions, or industry contraction and job losses will continue throughout the biofuels and broader agricultural economy," Gebolys wrote in submitted testimony. "Moreover, the agency must recognize and support the biodiesel industry's ability to grow under the RFS in 2020 and beyond, as Congress intended."

Gebolys is the founder and CEO of World Energy, which owns and operates five biodiesel plants and a renewable diesel refinery -- with total production capacity of over 200 million gallons -- and distribution hubs throughout the United States and Canada.

Gebolys testified that EPA could employ several different methods to properly account for small refinery exemptions in annual Renewable Fuel Standard rules.

"EPA should also move to prospectively grant or deny all small-refinery exemptions for a calendar year before issuing the final RVO rule for that year," he wrote in formal testimony. "This practice would allow all actual exemptions to be accounted for in EPA's existing formula for calculating percentage standards and would enhance transparency for all market participants. EPA can and should require refiners to apply for exemptions with sufficient time to allow EPA to reach a decision by the November 30 statutory deadline each year."

NBB and its members support H.R. 3006, which would direct EPA to set an annual deadline for hardship petitions, as well as other legislative efforts to direct EPA to properly account for small refinery exemptions.

ACE shares technical ethanol information with prospective retailers in developing ethanol market just south of the border

Last week, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty returned to Mexico to speak at the first technical ethanol information forum to be held in Juárez, Mexico, near El Paso, Texas. These forums are a joint effort of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Mexican Association of Service Station Suppliers (AMPES) to inform Mexican petroleum marketers about opportunities in sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline. Lamberty attended four other workshops this year, including one in Tijuana, another border city minutes from San Diego’s fuel terminal. Juárez marks Lamberty’s twelfth USGC/AMPES workshop.

“Like Tijuana, Juárez is one of the top destinations for U.S. ethanol in the short-run because El Paso and Juárez are basically one large metropolitan area, divided into two different countries by the Rio Grande,” Lamberty said. “El Paso has a two-billion-gallon refinery and Kinder-Morgan and Magellan fuel terminals already supply stations in Juárez and other cities in the state of Chihuahua. Ethanol is already in those terminals, and some E10 has already been purchased and delivered to stations in the area.”

In August, Lamberty moderated a panel with USGC’s team in Mexico, and he joined a panel at the Argus Mexico Fuel Markets Summit in Mexico City to discuss the role the U.S. can play in Mexico’s fuel market. As the Mexican government deregulates the petroleum market, retailers are expressing interest in incorporating ethanol blends. Now even Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, has indicated it may be interested in blending ethanol with gasoline.

“Last month, Pemex’s proposed budget for 2020 included $50 million toward reconfiguring terminals to handle ethanol,” Lamberty said. “The original project, which Pemex stopped in 2008, called for 5.8 percent ethanol in Magna (regular) gasoline, and if the same timeline is used, Pemex could be buying 50 million gallons of ethanol a month sometime late next year. Although nothing is certain, this is encouraging news and the USGC team in Mexico is doing a great job helping Mexican “gasolineros” understand adding ethanol is a way for them to make more money while offering customers a cleaner, higher octane fuel at a lower price.”

Lamberty said it’s likely some of Pemex’s large customers are pressing them on ethanol. “When ACE, IRFA and USGC brought some key Mexican fuel marketers to Iowa to give them an up-close look at how easily ethanol can be incorporated into the fuel supply, they wanted to go back and find a way to add ethanol to their fuel slate,” Lamberty said. “Most of those companies buy their fuel from Pemex and Pemex still supplies probably 90 percent of the stations in the country. But, they’re not the only game in town anymore. If their customers ask for ethanol, Pemex will have to find a way to get it to them, and there are plenty of people who can help them add ethanol to Mexico’s gasoline.” 

USDA Establishes Domestic Hemp Production Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the establishment of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. This program, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, creates a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the United States.

“At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have had teams operating with all hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent, and science-based process for states, tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”


Later this week, an interim final rule formalizing the program will be published in the Federal Register that will allow hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs. The rule includes provisions for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes including: requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced; testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements; and licensing requirements. It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own approved hemp production plan.

The interim final rule becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Following publication, USDA invites public comment on the interim rule and the information collection burden. A preview of the rule is posted on USDA’s website.

USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents provide additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.

More information about the provisions of the interim final rule is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

Once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. For information on available programs, visit

Hemp Industry Progresses Thanks to USDA Rule

The Agriculture Department’s hemp program announced Tuesday allows the sector to move forward, according to the American Farm Bureau. Scott Bennett, congressional relations director at AFBF, explained in Newsline that the interim final rule creates much-needed standards for production, testing and licensing.

“This is the long-awaited interpretation from USDA of what Congress passed in the 2018 farm bill as it relates to the legalization of hemp,” Bennett said. “This interim final rule provides clarity to producers on everything from crop insurance, THC testing methods, crop destruction protocols, to interstate commerce.”

Hemp producers should review the rule and provide feedback to USDA. The public can provide comment through the Federal Register for a period of 60 days beginning Oct. 31.

Iowa’s Hemp Program is Under Development

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following response to the USDA’s proposed hemp program rules, which were released today.

“We look forward to reviewing the proposed hemp program rules provided by the USDA,” said Secretary Naig. “We will use this information to refine Iowa’s draft hemp plan before we submit it to USDA for approval. USDA will have 60 days to review and respond to our plan. We are working hard to have Iowa’s hemp program implemented in time for the 2020 growing season.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is also drafting administrative rules that will be released for public comment in the coming weeks.

“In the meantime, we want to caution people that it is not legal to cultivate, grow or distribute hemp in Iowa until the USDA approves our state plan,” said Naig. “We also encourage growers to make sure they have quality seed and a buyer identified before they invest in hemp production.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will continue to post updates about its hemp program to

Bipartisan Lawmakers Agree It’s Time to Pass USMCA

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) and Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) last weekend led a U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group Meeting in which bipartisan lawmakers discussed the importance of passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Reps. Cuellar and McCaul both emphasized how the American economy relies on trade with Mexico and highlighted the need to ensure our trade agreements reflect the modern 21st century economy.

Rep. Cuellar:
“Mexico is a critical partner to the United States and is crucial to our own prosperity. They are not only our economic partner, they are our neighbor and friend. It has been 25 years since we ratified NAFTA, and now it is our time to update this trade agreement to reflect our 21st-century economy… I will continue to work across the aisle to pass the USMCA to improve our relationship with Mexico and strengthen our economy for the American people…”

Rep. McCaul:
“…We had in-depth discussions on the mutual benefits of the USMCA including job growth and protections of intellectual property, and I am hopeful that the House will pass this critical agreement soon.”

The bipartisan call for passage of the agreement follows a call by Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), who publicized her support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) in a speech delivered on the House floor last week. Rep. Axne urged her colleagues to continue working with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to “find agreement on the USMCA soon.” She also emphasized the importance of agriculture to Iowa’s economy and the benefits of USMCA to Iowa farmers.

Rep. Axne:
“I visit each of the 16 counties in my district every month, whether its touring manufacturers, visiting with farmers, or stopping into small businesses. Everywhere I go the message is loud and clear: uncertainty is hurting our bottom line. Agriculture is the backbone of Iowa’s economy; 1 out of every 5 dollars in Iowa is produced from agriculture. Supporting our farmers is neither a partisan nor political issue – it’s simply the right thing to do.”

“Between devastating weather events, ongoing trade wars, and the EPA’s unprecedented abuse of biofuel waivers – our farmers have been put through enough.”

 “They are asking for our help as elected representatives. We must answer their call and get this deal done right and without unnecessary delay. I thank my colleagues for the work that they have done and urge them to expedite negotiations and finalize this agreement soon to make sure we can make lives whole for the people suffering in the state of Iowa and across this country.”

AGCO Reports Third Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE: AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, reported net sales of approximately $2.1 billion for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of approximately 4.8% compared to the third quarter of 2018. Reported net income was $0.10 per share for the third quarter of 2019 and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment and restructuring expenses, was $0.82 per share. These results compare to a reported net income of $0.89 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, of $0.91 per share for the third quarter of 2018. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 3.1%, net sales in the third quarter of 2019 decreased approximately 1.7% compared to the third quarter of 2018. During the third quarter of 2019, AGCO recorded a non-cash adjustment to establish a valuation allowance against its Brazilian net deferred income tax assets of approximately $53.7 million, or $0.70 per share. The adjustment does not affect the Company’s ability to utilize the deferred income tax assets with future taxable income in Brazil.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2019 were approximately $6.5 billion, a decrease of approximately 3.4% compared to the same period in 2018. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 4.8%, net sales during the first nine months of 2019 increased approximately 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018. For the first nine months of 2019, reported net income was $2.77 per share and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment and restructuring expenses, was $3.50 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $2.33 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and costs associated with an early retirement of debt, of $2.58 per share for the first nine months of 2018.

Third Quarter Highlights

    Reported regional sales results(1): North America (1.7)%, Europe/Middle East (“EME”) (1.6)%, South America (14.8)%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) (15.9)%
    Constant currency regional sales results(1)(2): North America (1.4)%, EME 3.2%, South America (14.4)%, APA (12.2)%
    Regional operating margin performance: North America 6.1%, EME 10.6%, South America (2.3)%, APA 6.1%
    Full-year outlook for net income per share maintained
    Repurchases reduced outstanding shares by approximately 1.3 million in the first nine months of 2019

“AGCO achieved solid third quarter results considering a challenging environment of weakening industry conditions and negative currency impacts,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our continued focus on margins supported our third quarter performance, where we experienced sales declines. Price increases as well as cost control initiatives and productivity improvement efforts allowed us to offset the impact of lower sales and production volumes in the third quarter. We are also making significant progress on our growth initiatives through the development and global expansion of our smart-farming and high technology product lineup. While the current market environment is uncertain, the long-term outlook for our industry and for AGCO remains positive with our focus on both operational efficiency and innovative solutions that support productivity on the farm.”

Iowa Farm Bureau’s Health Benefit Cuts Costs Nearly in Half

Spurred by members’ deep concerns about rising health care prices, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in 2018 launched the Farm Bureau Health Plan, helping farmers and others in the state cut their premium costs by as much as 50%.

IFBF worked with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a longtime partner of the group’s, to create a health benefit “that would not be subject to Affordable Care Act requirements, would be less expensive than ACA plans and would not cost taxpayers a dime,” according to IFBF’s Executive Director Joe Johnson.

“We wanted to provide our members with another option. We knew from the start the plan wouldn’t be for everyone, but we thought it would be an option for those Iowans who do not qualify for ACA subsidies,” Johnson explained.

The Farm Bureau Health Plan is available to Iowa Farm Bureau members living in the state who are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or an employer group health plan. Participants in the Farm Bureau Health Plan have three options: two traditional plans with copays, coinsurance and deductibles and a high-deductible plan that offers members the opportunity to fund a health savings account.

All three plans provide free preventative care, affordable copays for primary care physicians and specialists, ER coverage, prescription drug coverage at 65,000 pharmacies and coverage for all Iowa hospitals and 97% of Iowa physicians.

The plans are similar to ACA-compliant plans available in Iowa except that applicants must pass underwriting to qualify for enrollment and they have a $3 million lifetime benefit maximum per covered individual. Also, because the plans are underwritten, they are available for purchase throughout the year, rather than only during limited enrollment periods.

IFB worked with the state Legislature to pass legislation allowing the organization to provide an underwritten health benefit plan to its members. The measure was signed into law by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in April 2018.

“This was a very heavy lift. The plan was not considered to be ‘insurance,’ so it would not be subject to Affordable Care Act regulations,” Johnson explained, emphasizing that IFBF’s members were very active in calling on lawmakers to approve the bill, which they did by a considerable margin.