Awards Aim to Keep Agricultural Education Teachers in Nebraska
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 10 teachers with funds in support of agricultural education and FFA programs in Nebraska.
“All 10 teachers are committed to making a difference in rural Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re proud to support this year’s winners and their contributions to their classrooms and communities.”
The 10 recipients of the scholarships are
- Kathryn Arp, Bishop Neumann High School (Wahoo);
- Jacob Goldfuss, Sandy Creek Public Schools;
- Kate Grimes, Axtell Community School;
- Blair Hartman, Ansley Public Schools;
- Hannah Horak, Shelton High School;
- Brian Johnson, Litchfield Public Schools;
- Lacey Jo Peterson, Riverside Public Schools;
- Morgan Schwartz, Stanton Community Schools;
- Nicole Sorensen, Minatare High School;
- Macie Wippel, Kearney Public Schools.
Recipients are all agricultural education teachers in their first through fifth year of teaching. Teachers are eligible for increasing awards each year. As the teachers’ impact grows in the classroom, in their FFA chapters, and in their communities each year, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation aims to recognize and support their efforts.
USDA TO SURVEY COUNTY ROW CROPS ACREAGE AND PRODUCTION
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 41 states, including Nebraska, as part of its County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS). The survey will collect information on total acres planted and harvested, and total yield and production of row crops down to the county level.
“The data provided by producers will help federal and state programs support the farmer,” said Nick Streff, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “We hope every producer will take the time to respond if they receive this survey. Producers benefit when there are data available to help determine accurate loan rates, disaster payments, crop insurance price elections, and more. When enough producers respond to surveys, NASS is able to publish data. Without data, agencies such as USDA’s Risk Management Agency or Farm Service Agency may not have information on which to base the programs that serve those same producers.”
Within the next few weeks NASS representatives will contact selected Nebraska growers to arrange telephone or in-person interviews to complete the survey.
NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified as required by federal law.
USMEF Awards Honor Rodibaugh, Carpenter, Cutler
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has announced the recipients of its Distinguished Service Award and Michael J. Mansfield Award. The awards will be presented Nov. 7 at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
The USMEF Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the pursuit of USMEF's export goals. This year's honoree is Danita Rodibaugh of Rensselaer, Ind., a former USMEF chair and longtime advocate for the U.S. red meat industry. Active in the management of a family farm operation that raises pigs, corn, soybeans and wheat, Rodibaugh is a past president of the National Pork Board (NPB) and has held many key industry leadership roles, chairing the Ethics of Pork Production Task Force and serving on the board of directors of both the National Pork Producers Council and Indiana Pork, the NPB Trade Committee and several committees focused on environmental stewardship.
"I really admire the past recipients of the USMEF Distinguished Service Award, and I am humbled to receive such an honor," Rodibaugh said. "I marvel at an organization like USMEF that can work with so many different agricultural sectors and bring them together to accomplish a common goal. Looking back at my time as USMEF chair and as an officer, it's that kind of collaboration that I am most proud of — working jointly and making key decisions together. I was truly blessed to have such an outstanding officer team when I was USMEF chair."
Rodibaugh added that fostering trust was a top priority during her time in the USMEF leadership, not only among the USMEF officers and executive committee, but also the organization's funding sources.
"Enhancing communication between the various sectors allows USMEF to benefit from the expertise each sector brings to the table and to better understand the challenges we all face," she explained. "When that level of trust is established, it helps us educate fellow producers about the value red meat exports deliver and how exports benefit all of U.S. agriculture."
The Michael J. Mansfield Award is presented in honor of the former U.S. Senate majority leader and U.S. ambassador to Japan who helped form the foundation for U.S. trade relations throughout the world. This year's co-recipients of the award, which recognizes individuals whose leadership has helped expand international trade opportunities, are Barry Carpenter, who recently retired as president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), and Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).
Carpenter's 50-year career in the public and private sectors included 37 years at USDA, where he led the Agricultural Marketing Service's Livestock and Seed Division. Carpenter oversaw creation of USDA's beef export verification programs, which were critical to restoring market access for U.S. beef following the nation's first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003. His leadership was also critical in developing video technology for beef yield and quality grading. During his time at NAMI, Carpenter was a highly respected spokesperson for the U.S. meat industry who provided steady guidance on key policy issues and represented the industry on several international governing bodies. His many career honors include Presidential Rank Awards, NAMI's E. Floyd Forbes Award and induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.
"I am overwhelmed at the honor of receiving the Mansfield Award," Carpenter said. "Having worked on trade issues for many years in various capacities, trade is something that I care deeply about, and I never anticipated that I would be honored at this level."
When asked to reflect on the contributions he is most proud of, Carpenter cited USDA's efforts that laid the groundwork for U.S. beef exports' impressive recovery following the BSE-related market closures.
"Coming up with an export verification program that bridged the gap between our government's regulatory food safety scheme and what our trading partners were expecting was just phenomenal," he said. "I don't know how else we could have ever broken that logjam and satisfied the needs of those countries. For some trading partners it obviously worked faster and better than others, but for all practical purposes it was the tool that got us back into all of those markets."
Cutler also has a long history of helping the U.S. meat industry overcome barriers in the international marketplace. Prior to joining ASPI, she had a very accomplished career with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Cutler worked on a wide range of trade negotiations and other initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, serving as USTR's chief negotiator on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and leading the bilateral negotiations with Japan under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
When reacting to the Michael J. Mansfield Award announcement, Cutler was quick to emphasize the team approach that underpinned these advancements in U.S. trade relations.
"I am delighted to be recognized for my efforts, but this award also belongs to the other hard-working negotiators with whom I worked so closely," she noted. "By working as a team, we made important inroads into the lucrative and growing meat markets in Asia."
While Cutler knew that USTR had secured very favorable terms for the red meat sector in KORUS, the remarkable success the U.S. industry has achieved in Korea has exceeded her expectations.
"I am pleasantly surprised that the United States has now become the leading beef exporter to Korea, because this was such a sensitive issue during and after the FTA negotiations," Cutler said. "The KORUS model is a great example of a genuine partnership between the U.S. government and U.S. industry. Trade agreements can open markets by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers, but then it's up to the private sector to take advantage of these opportunities. The U.S. meat industry has done an incredible job of marketing its products in Korea and other international markets."
She emphasized that Korean consumers are benefiting greatly from KORUS because it has made beef and other U.S. agricultural products more affordable.
"In many Asian countries, including Korea and Japan, agriculture has traditionally been one of the most-protected markets in their economy," Cutler said. "As those markets open up and consumers are able to avail themselves of different cuts of meat at competitive prices, consumption increases. At the same time per capita income is also rising in the region, which contributes to more meat consumption."
In addition to receiving the Michael J. Mansfield Award, Cutler will be a featured speaker at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference. On Friday, Nov. 8, she will update USMEF members on the status of U.S. trade relations in Asia and where she sees opportunities to further increase trade and strengthen economic ties with key trading partners.
Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue Slow Slide Lower
Retail fertilizer prices are beginning to sound a bit like a broken record: They're all slightly lower, just like they've been seven of the last eight weeks, according to prices tracked by DTN for the first week of October 2019.
All eight of the major fertilizers were again lower in price from the month earlier. No fertilizer was down a significant amount, which DTN designates at 5%.
DAP had an average price of $476 per ton, down $15; MAP $474/ton, down $14; potash $384/ton, down $3; urea $404/ton, down $4; 10-34-0 $470/ton, down $3; anhydrous $511/ton, down $11; UAN28 $253/ton, down $2; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $1.
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, two fertilizers' prices dropped to being lower in price from a year ago. MAP is now 9% less expensive and DAP is 5% lower from last year at this time.
The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be slightly higher compared to last year. UAN32 is 3% more expensive, both urea and 10-34-0 are 4% higher, anhydrous is 5% more expensive, potash is 6% higher and UAN28 is 7% more expensive compared to last year.
Celebrating a Century of the American Farm Bureau
Zippy Duvall, President
Your American Farm Bureau turns 100 next month, a truly special cause for celebration. All year long we have been celebrating a century of working together for the men and women who grow our food, fiber and energy. This remarkable milestone is a testament to how much stronger we are when we speak with one voice.
A lot has changed in 100 years, but farmers’ and ranchers’ most essential needs and concerns have not. Then and now, we need markets for what we produce, labor to grow and harvest it, infrastructure to transport it, and fair prices to keep our businesses moving forward.
Founded in November 1919, the American Farm Bureau Federation has given all farmers and ranchers a voice in our nation’s capital.
Thankfully, there is a strong, national organization working for those goals. Founded in November 1919, the American Farm Bureau Federation has given all farmers and ranchers a voice in our nation’s capital. Because of the decision 100 years ago to establish the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmers and ranchers are represented when Congress works on a wide range of issues. No matter what they grow or where they grow it, farmers and ranchers come together through Farm Bureau to work for the good of all of agriculture.
On a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to take this organization for granted. It seems as if it always has been here for us farmers and ranchers, and it always will be. But to appreciate something’s true value, you need to imagine how things would be without it. Without Farm Bureau, we would not have federal programs to provide risk management tools to help farmers and ranchers survive volatile ups and downs in the farm economy. Without this great organization, non-farm interests would drown out the voice of farmers and ranchers.
The American Farm Bureau was the first organization to bring groups of grassroots members to Washington, D.C., to influence their members of Congress in favor of farm legislation. Our Farm Bureau forefathers wrote the book on grassroots advocacy and influence, and we’re still proud of our grassroots structure.
We have been standing firm for farmers since day one. In the early days of Farm Bureau, Congress wanted to recess without voting on a farm bill. The American Farm Bureau worked with a “farm bloc” of senators and representatives, however, to stop Congress from recessing until the farm legislation was considered. With that same passion, we continue to band together across Farm Bureau to ensure that Congress, the White House and federal agencies make our farmers and ranchers a priority.
We in Farm Bureau often say that if there wasn’t an American Farm Bureau, we’d have to create one today. Of course, the reality is we do “recreate” Farm Bureau with each new generation of grassroots farm and ranch leaders. Each generation determines where this movement will go next, how engaged they will be and, therefore, how effective and influential Farm Bureau will be. Each generation strengthens Farm Bureau for the next, so that future farmers and ranchers will have a strong, united voice working for them, too.
In an age when it seems that so much is coming and going faster than ever, it is such a blessing to be able to celebrate 100 years as an organization. Much like the farmers and ranchers we represent, we tend to keep our heads down and hands on the plow here at American Farm Bureau, moving forward with the work that needs to get done. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to pause and reflect on our organization’s history and the good work we’ve accomplished together. May God bless us with another fruitful century of Farm Bureau!
Cattlemen Participate in White House Event Spotlighting Federal Overreach
Two members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) today joined President Trump at a White House event spotlighting past federal overreach by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the event, the President signed two Executive Orders that will provide more clarity and transparency to often-daunting and complicated federal regulatory processes.
"Today’s event at the White House demonstrates the effectiveness of our association’s efforts in having meaningful and lasting positive impacts on regulation reforms that benefit our industry, rural communities and family ranching operations," said Nevada public lands rancher J.J. Goicoechea, who participated in this afternoon's West Wing event. "We stand ready and committed to further assist President Trump’s administration in further improvements."
Another NCBA member and public lands rancher who participated in today's event is Kevin Lunny of Point Reyes, California. Lunny was the owner of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which was forced to close in 2015 after a years-long battle with the National Park Service, Interior Department, and radical environmental groups that attracted national attention and outrage.
"As cattle producers we’re humbled to have the opportunity to advocate for our industry at the highest levels," Lunny said. "We applaud this administration for finally giving ranching families a voice, and look forward to working with the President to find solutions to these challenges.”
NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane echoed Goicoechea's and Lunny's comments.
"Time and time again over the past three years, this Administration has proven its commitment to regulatory relief and reform for agricultural producers," Lane said. "Washington needs to help our producers succeed and continue to help feed the world - not actively try to put them out of business. The Trump Administration understands that, and we look forward to continuing our work with them toward that goal."
OCM Applauds U.S. Senators for Probe into JBS Transactions
As reported today in Meatingplace, "U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) formally open a review of the transactions of Brazilian meat-processing conglomerate JBS S.A."
Angela Huffman, Communications and Research Director for the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), offered the following statement:
"The corrupt actions of JBS demonstrate the epitome of unchecked monopoly power. JBS should be stripped of all its U.S. assets. No one should profit from illegal activity. We thank Senators Rubio and Menendez for their courageous action in taking on the largest meatpacker in the world."
For the past year OCM has called out JBS for using ill-gotten influence to take over the beef market in the U.S. Below are a few of JBS' most egregious abuses:
- In November 2018, Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods rescinded its bid for bailout money after a backlash on Capitol Hill over a similar award, but neither JBS nor USDA would rescind their $22 million sweetheart deal.
- This past week it was disclosed that Secretary Perdue had extended an additional $40 million in farmer trade bailout dollars to JBS.
- In a decade-long scheme, the meatpacker bribed more than 1,800 Brazilian politicians, which JBS admitted helped them take over the U.S. beef market. In 2017, JBS was caught exporting rotten meat worldwide and trying to cover up the stench using cancer-causing acid products. In 2018, 12 million pounds of JBS ground beef were recalled and 246 people were sickened in the U.S. due to salmonella poisoning. Evidence shows the salmonella outbreak was caused by JBS’s standard practice of allowing sick dairy cows into the beef supply. In 2018, USDA found JBS had ripped off U.S. cattle producers at three separate slaughter facilities by shorting them on payments for their cattle, and while the JBS abuses were extensive, USDA settled the claims for a mere $50,000 penalty.
- As reported by Reuters, JBS is making money off of the U.S. China trade war.
- A Congressional Research Service report issued in December 2018 indicated 2018 net farm income was down 12% from the previous year. The calculations were inclusive of the farmer bailout payments which had been made due to the U.S. China trade war.
- In spite of these massive payments for pork by USDA to JBS, U.S. hog farmers are still in what the Washington Post has called a tailspin.
- Bloomberg reported last month that U.S. soybean growers are seeing the lowest commodity prices in a decade.
Groups Call out Kansas Livestock Association over Misuse of Funds
The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) has been collecting and expending $10 million dollars per year in violation of state and federal law, according to the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA).
A briefing paper released by the two groups today outlines how KLA has obtained funding through an improperly close affiliation with the Kansas Beef Council, which is charged with collecting $1 a head from every cattle transaction as part of the federally mandated Beef Checkoff Program. The groups also say KLA has refused to release financial information disclosing how these federally mandated funds are spent.
Following a comprehensive review of publicly available records, OCM concluded that these funds are being used to prop up KLA operations by contributing to office rental payments and employee salaries. Co-opting these funds allows KLA to gain undue influence in the legislative arena, although by law checkoff funds can only be used for non-legislative promotion and market-development activities. The briefing paper also explains how as much as $2 million dollars a year is being funneled from KLA to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), KLA’s national trade and lobbying affiliate, in a pay-to-play scheme that unjustly amplifies its legislative activities.
All told, OCM estimates that NCBA receives more than $37 million through similar pay-to-play arrangements with various state affiliates. This money is then used to promote the political interests of its members, which include meatpackers, rather than the interests of the cattle industry as a whole.
Greg Davis of the of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association said, “We support the beef checkoff program, but we strongly object to the way it is being administered, the way it is being collected, and the total lack of transparency and accountability to the cattle producers who are forced to pay the federal tax. For years Kansas Cattlemen’s Association has voiced these concerns, but no one has taken one step to stop this injustice. We can only hope, based on the evidence in this briefing paper, that others in our government will hear our concerns and answer the call to end the taxpayer abuse. It is our fear that if this mess is not cleaned up soon, the majority of cattle producers will be calling for an end to the beef checkoff program.”
Joe Maxwell, Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, said, “It is just unimaginable that the state of Kansas is allowing this taxpayer abuse. A large part of these funds are federal tax dollars collected by this state agency. The state has a responsibility to administer these federally mandated funds, no differently than it does any other federal funds it receives. The state’s family farmers deserve no less.”
OCM and KCA are calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to disqualify the Kansas Beef Council from collecting any further checkoff funds until a complete separation is established from KLA and all associated lobbying activities. If needed, the state legislature should enact legislation setting up a new collection authority that is fully transparent and equally representative of all Kansas cattle producers, the groups say.
Corruption and Misuse of Farmers’ Funds Found in Kansas Beef Checkoff program
Today, farmers and ranchers gathered at the State Capitol to hold a press conference to release the findings of a research paper that highlights the abuses of a federal program administered by a state not-for profit. The Organization for Competitive Markets and Kansas Cattlemen’s Association joined to speak out against the corruption and potential misuse of $10 million of farmers’ hard-earned dollars, at a time when agricultural producers are already struggling because of the disruption of international markets because of trade disputes.
Originally established by the Congress to pool funds for commodity-specific promotion and research, and mandated to be funded directly from farmer dollars, the checkoff programs have expanded far beyond their intended purposes and have become a source of controversy and government abuse. The latest report shows the diversion of money for high salaries and lobbying activities by private trade associations – not activities consistent with the authorizing language in the federal statute that governs the program.
Checkoff dollars appear to have been misused for decades to lobby for policies that are harmful to animals, including a recent plan to roundup and incarcerate massive numbers of wild horses from public lands in the West.
“Once again, ‘Big Ag’ and the so-called National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s scheme that misuses farmers’ dollars to line the pockets of multi-national corporations has been exposed,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “We’re ramping up our efforts to help end the abuses in the corrupt USDA checkoff programs. Checkoff’s shouldn’t be allowed to use the American family farmer’s hard-earned money to put them out of business.”
“I don’t want my hard-earned dollars funneled to a quasi-governmental organization that works against my best interest and represents industrial agriculture’s continued movement toward the monopolization of farming,” said Will Harris, president of the American Grassfed Association. “We’ve farmed the same land since 1866, and I want to ensure that future generations are able to continue to do the same.”
Earlier this year, a very unlikely group of allies – U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – banded together to reintroduce the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, S. 935. The bill doesn’t seek to abolish the checkoff programs, as Big Ag has misrepresented in its attacks against the legislation – but would instead create transparency and accountability and prohibit checkoff funds from being used for lobbying. The OFF Act also would prohibit funds from being used to pay for staff and programs of trade associations that favor multi-national corporations and push small farmers out of business. U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) plans to introduce a similar measure in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Beef Checkoff Program was established in the 1985 Farm Bill. As a result of federal law, the Beef Promotion and Research Act (Beef Act), mandates that every time cattle producer sells a cow; the producer is required to pay a $1.00 federally mandated beef checkoff assessment to the federally designated Qualified State Beef Council in the producer’s state.
Although the Kansas Beef Council, which is actually the Kansas Livestock Association, is designated as a federal Qualified State Beef Council, it does not legally exist as a formal entity. Instead, the Kansas Livestock Association – the state affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) collects the federally mandated beef checkoff assessments and administers the funds.
Because Kansas Livestock Association is a private membership trade and lobbying organization with a complex business model of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, its role as the tax collector has created resentment and hostility among the independent cattle producers who are mandated to pay into the fund.
THE REALITY OF THE BEEF CHECKOFF
Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board
In the few months since I took the helm as CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) – the governing and administrative organization of the Beef Checkoff – there appears to be many misperceptions, false rumors, and misinformation about how the checkoff works and is administered. Let’s look at its history, what the Beef Checkoff can and cannot do, as well as the processes and procedures we have in place to continue to be strong stewards of your checkoff dollars.
THE CREATION OF THE BEEF CHECKOFF
The Beef Checkoff was created through the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 as part of the Farm Bill. It was initiated as an effort driven by producers who saw an important need for more promotion and research to stave off falling beef demand in the late 1970s / 1980s and was designed to be producer driven at both a local and national level. Immediately following its passing, the Beef Promotion and Research Order was created, outlining the detailed rules for governance over the program, funding distribution, contractor requirements, etc. The areas where checkoff funding can be used are clearly defined: promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, and producer communications. Conversely, lobbying or “influencing governmental action or policy” is also clearly prohibited.
Within 22 months, a referendum was conducted among producers throughout the U.S. to vote on the continuation of the program – which was passed by 79% of farmers and ranchers. The Beef Checkoff as we know it came life in 1988. Copies of both “The Act and Order” are available online at beefboard.org/beef-act-and-order, or you can contact our office and we can ensure you get a copy.
The Act and The Order is our rulebook - set in law - that we must follow every day. To ensure all aspects of this law are followed, the USDA is delegated authority by Congress to oversee the Beef Checkoff Program. As part of its oversight responsibilities, USDA reviews and approves our plans, projects, budgets, contracts, processes and procedures, and keeps a watchful eye over our financials, our board, our communications, and our operations. In fact, the Secretary of Agriculture himself appoints all 99 CBB board members, which includes both domestic producers and importers, a process outside of our purview.
CATTLEMEN’S BEEF BOARD
The Act and The Order outlines additional specifics about the governance supporting your checkoff dollars. As noted, they outline the type of activities that can/cannot be funded; define that all efforts must be producer-driven; that the CBB board members must be producers and importers who serve on the national board in a voluntary capacity for 3-year terms; that no member shall serve more than two consecutive terms; and that the number of board members are based on the cattle inventory of each state.
BEEF PROMOTION OPERATING COMMITTEE
Another piece outlined by The Act and The Order is the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. This important group of 20 producers and importers is created by appointed positions from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (10 members) and the Federation of State Beef Councils (10 members). This committee oversees the distribution each year of nearly $40 million of national Beef Checkoff dollars to beef industry contractors to do the work outlined in The Act and The Order. Funding decisions must be made together by both national and state-level decision-makers, with great consideration to the balance between the national and regional needs of producers. No funding decision can be made without approval from at least two thirds, or 14 of the Operating Committee members, so neither the CBB nor the Federation can dictate where funding goes. As such, programs must show great benefit to the industry as a whole to get approved.
BEEF CHECKOFF CONTRACTORS
The Beef Checkoff currently partners with eight national non-profit, beef industry-governed organizations we call contractors. All contractors are vetted, audited, and reviewed regularly by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Each contractor must meet specific criteria to receive Beef Checkoff funding, a process that can take up to a year to facilitate. In fact, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association just became a new contractor this year.
The Act and The Order states that contractors to the checkoff be national non-profit industry-governed organizations that are governed by a board of directors representing the beef industry, and have been active and ongoing for at least two years. All contractors work on a cost-recovery basis, meaning they must do the work outlined in their funding request and then seek reimbursement for their costs. This allows for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to have direct oversight of expenses that use checkoff funds. If expenses are submitted that do not meet The Act and The Order, they are not reimbursed. Thus, the checkoff does not pay for anything it should not. In addition, if a contractor has a lobbying arm, they must prove they have an accounting “firewall” between their checkoff and lobbying dollars. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board works closely with these organizations so that checkoff dollars aren’t used outside of the scope of the Act and Order.
Our eight contracting organizations for Fiscal Year 2020 (Oct. 2019 - Sept. 2020):
American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
Cattlemen’s Beef Board
Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education
Meat Import Council of America
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Livestock Producers Association
North American Meat Institute
United States Cattlemen’s Association
In addition, our contractors work with four subcontracting organizations:
Kansas State University
North East Beef Promotion Initiative
National Institute for Animal Agriculture
United States Meat Export Federation
The Beef Checkoff plays an extremely important role in providing education and driving demand for our beef. Competition is fierce among proteins in the United States and global markets now, so we are proud of our contractors and the work they do every day to ensure beef continues to be the number one protein to consumers everywhere. We have small contractors and large ones; we have contractors with very targeted audiences, and those who reach large swaths of the population. Whether building a promotional campaign, researching nutrition and health, championing handling and safety, or engaging consumers, together they each play an important role in driving beef demand, both here in the United States as well in the international markets.
Visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com for more information on the Beef Checkoff, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Qualified State Beef Councils, and Beef Checkoff contractors.
Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/4/2019
According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Oct. 4, ethanol production expanded 5,000 b/d or 0.5% to 963,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 40.45 million gallons daily. This was the third straight week in which production was below 1 million b/d, and output was 7.4% lower than a year ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed for the sixth week, declining 1.5% to 967,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.82 billion gallons and the lowest average since June 2016.
Ethanol stocks plummeted 8.6% to 21.2 million barrels—the largest weekly draw on record. Inventories were the smallest in over 2 years (since Sept. 2017). Stocks came in 11.6% lower than the same week last year and 1.4% under two years ago. Stocks declined across all PADDs, including a 15.9% decrease in the Gulf Coast (PADD 2).
There were zero imports for the second consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2019.)
The volume of gasoline supplied lifted 3.5% to 9.460 million b/d (397.3 million gallons per day, or 145.02 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol tapered off by 0.7% to 917,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.06 bg annualized.
Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.18%.
Study Reveals Ramifications of Limited Rural Broadband Service on American Farmers
A new study commissioned by the United Soybean Board (USB) reveals the lack of access to broadband in rural areas takes a significant toll on American farmers and the economy.
According to “Rural Broadband and the American Farmer: Connectivity Challenges Limit Agriculture’s Economic Impact and Sustainability,” an alarming 60% of U.S. farmers say they do not have enough connectivity to run their businesses. USB initiated the rural broadband study to better understand how and why farmers currently access the internet, and the implications that access has for farm business decisions, economic viability and overall sustainability.
Data from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service indicates that farming contributes to nearly $133 billion of our country’s gross domestic product. Based on USB’s rural broadband survey, the lack of connectivity negatively impacts farmers responsible for $80 billion of gross domestic product.
“End users ask farmers to deliver a consistent and high-quality crop without adequate internet access and reliable broadband speeds, which undoubtedly impacts their efficiency and sustainability,” says Tim Venverloh, vice president of sustainability strategy for USB.
Other significant findings include:
— 78% of farmers do not have a choice in internet service providers.
— 60% of farmers say the internet service they do have is slow, with most relying on cell signals or hotspots to connect to the internet.
— 40% of farmers have a fixed internet connection, while others rely on satellite connections.
“There’s a clear disparity between connectivity in rural versus non-rural areas,” says Venverloh. “The lack of connectivity, however, extends to farmers past the farm gate. When farmers can’t maximize the functionality of their equipment, particularly in the middle of the field, it has repercussions beyond the farm. More and more of the future is about data and data transfer. The timely dissemination and use of data is becoming more important in a precision ag and decision ag world.”
The results of the qualitative and quantitative research highlight the critical need to improve rural broadband access, which has implications far beyond quality of life (information, communication and entertainment) in addition to the livelihood for rural communities.
“Farmers continually look for ways to improve efficiencies while protecting natural resources," adds Venverloh. "Upwards of 50% of the farmers we surveyed want to incorporate more technology into their operations, but they are held back by limited connectivity. Improving their access to broadband needs to be a priority.”
USB will share survey data with internet service providers, as well as influencer organizations working to tackle policy and technical challenges involved in delivering high-speed broadband access to rural communities.
For background on the study, more than 2,000 primary and secondary farm operators responded to a combination of online and mail-in surveys to participate. Thanks to cooperation from American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Illinois Soybean Association and North Carolina Soybean Producers Association, the report represents a cross-section of U.S. agriculture. Participants included 86% who grow field or row crops such as corn and soybeans; 21% who grow specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables; and 55% who raise livestock. In-depth telephone interviews were also conducted with participants in eight states in July and August 2019.
National Voter Poll Shows Strong Support for RFS, Biodiesel Use
Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) released results of an annual national poll of registered voters designed to measure awareness of and attitudes toward biodiesel and federal policies that support the industry. The results show a candidate's support for policies to promote clean energy, including biodiesel and renewable diesel use, can influence votes.
NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen stated, "Voters are consistent year-to-year in saying they support political candidates who champion federal policies to encourage development and use of cleaner fuels such as biodiesel. Results of our poll indicate that environmental concerns are growing in importance for voters. Biodiesel can deliver environmental benefits to address those concerns today."
Among the respondents, nearly three-quarters (73%) had previously heard some information about biodiesel. More than half (57%) of all respondents agreed that federal policy should encourage use of biodiesel and renewable diesel. When asked if federal policy should support petroleum, 45% said "no," while only 34% said "yes."
When asked about issues that affect their votes, a strong majority of the polled registered voters (81%) indicated that a candidate's position on renewable fuels is important. Overall, 86% of respondents indicated that a candidate's position on clean energy is important or very important to their voting preferences. Further, 85% of respondents agreed that it is important that President Donald Trump keep his promises on the RFS.
Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "President Trump recently renewed his commitment to expand use of biofuels, promising to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard. It's clearly important to voters that the president succeed on that commitment and get American workers in the biodiesel industry back on the job."
When informed that biodiesel is America's first and most widely available advanced biofuel and has demonstrated environmental benefits, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents supported increased use. High percentages of respondents agreed that the government should "stand with American workers, manufacturers, rural economies and businesses" to support a clean fuels industry (83%) and "follow the law to implement an existing mandate that creates jobs and economic development across the country" (82%).
Nearly four of every five respondents expressed support for existing federal programs that encourage increased production and use of advanced biofuels. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of respondents support the federal tax incentive for biodiesel, and 79% support the Renewable Fuel Standard. Additionally, 79% of respondents would encourage local communities and governments to promote use of biodiesel.
Conducted September 18-19, 2019, the poll gathered responses from 1,064 registered voters across the country. The poll was conducted by Moore Information Group on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board. The results of the poll were consistent with prior polling in September 2017 and September 2018.
NAWG CEO Honored with CropLife America Award
On September 28, 2019, NAWG CEO Chandler Goule was named a recipient of the 2019 CropLife America (CLA) Annual Jay Vroom Agricultural Ambassador Award. The award honors a member or an allied organization to CLA who has made a major contribution to public education about pesticides and their contribution to a safe, affordable and sustainable food supply.
“It is a true honor to be presented with an award named after my long-time friend and ally of wheat Jay Vroom,” stated NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “I really appreciate being nominated for the award and to CropLife for bringing awareness to the importance of educating the public on such complicated issues as pesticides.”
The Jay Vroom Agricultural Ambassador Award is an expression of appreciation from CLA and the industry for outstanding leaders who have provided complete, accurate and unbiased information to society about pesticides. NAWG CEO Chandler Goule was presented the award during CropLife America’s 2019 Annual Meeting.
“Between social media and the ease at which information can be spread today, the wheat industry’s biggest hurdle is those who fearmonger and spread fabrications around how farmers use pesticides on their crops,” continued Goule. “I will continue to work to ensure that NAWG remains a leader in educating congressional staff, the public, and its allies on how crop protectants are vital to ensure safe and affordable food supply.”
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