Friday, November 29, 2019

Friday November 29 Ag News

Reinke Recognizes Grossenburg Implement with Gold Pride Award
Reinke Manufacturing, a global leader in irrigation systems and technology, has recognized Grossenburg Implement in Wayne with a Gold Pride award in recognition of the company’s marketing year success. The organization was honored during Reinke’s annual convention in Charlotte.

“I want to congratulate Grossenburg Implement on receiving this award,” said Reinke Vice President of North American Irrigation Sales Mark Mesloh. “Reinke appreciates the dedication they have shown to the growers in their area. We are very proud to work with them and have them representing Reinke.”

Reinke dealerships from across the United States and Canada gather each year to attend the company’s sales convention. This year, Reinke dealers met in Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Charlotte. The awards recognized select Reinke dealers for their hard work, commitment to the higher standards of being 100% Reinke Certified and for their dedication to sales and marketing efforts throughout the past year.

The Reinke Pride awards are determined as part of an incentive program that distinguishes superior achievement levels according to an evaluation based on a dealership’s exterior and interior housekeeping and maintenance, indoor and outdoor displays, safety, retail environment, merchandising, professionalism, promotions, event participation and market share.

Nebraska farmers to receive $466 million in trade aid payments

(AP) — Iowa farmers are set to receive the most government payments to offset damage from the U.S.’s ongoing trade war with China.

The Des Moines Register reports Iowa farmers will receive $767 million in payments from President Donald Trump’s $16 billion trade assistance program this year. The Agriculture Department announced a second round of payments under the program earlier this month.

The USDA shows that the other states getting the most federal assistance in this year’s program are Illinois, at $707 million; Minnesota, at $519 million; Texas, at $497 million; Kansas, at $474 million; and Nebraska at $466 million.

Iowa Soybean Association board president Tim Bardole said the additional payments will help but won’t solve all the problems farmers are having this year.

“I don’t know of any farmers who aren’t short of money right now,” said Bardole, who farms near Rippey, Iowa. “It’s definitely helpful, but it’s not a cure for the issues at hand.”

The ongoing trade disputes have largely cut off U.S. farmers from the Chinese market, which has dramatically reduced exports especially for soybeans.

Last year, U.S. farmers received about $8.6 billion in assistance during the first year of the trade war as part of a $12 billion aid package.

Iowa farmers received $987.7 million in last year’s agriculture bailout, second only to Illinois growers, who received $1.1 billion.

Harvest and Propane Transportation Waivers Extended

Gov. Kim Reynolds extended two proclamations relating to the transportation of grain and the hours of service for the delivery of propane.

The governor signed a proclamation extending her Sept. 30, 2019, proclamation that allowed vehicles transporting corn, soybeans, hay, straw, silage and stover to be overweight (not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight) without a permit, for the duration of this proclamation.

This proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa (excluding the interstate system) and those which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code § 321.463 (6) (b), by more than 12.5 percent, do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges.

This proclamation extends the suspension of provisions relating to the transport of grain to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2019. See the proclamation here.

The governor also signed a proclamation today extending her Oct. 31, 2019, proclamation that temporarily suspended certain regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for the delivery of propane.

Early winter weather conditions, late harvest, and high demand for petroleum products throughout the Midwest have resulted in low supplies of propane. The proclamation temporarily suspends provisions of Iowa Code § 321.449 pertaining to hours of service for crews and drivers delivering propane.

This proclamation extends the suspension of provisions relating to hours of service for propane delivery to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 14.

Food Bloggers Learn To Prepare the Perfect Steak -

Nine social influencers attended a “BEefTogether” Steak Night, thanks to a partnership between the New York and the Iowa Beef Industry Councils, funded by the Beef Checkoff. This evening event focused on hosting with beef, including how to cut, cook and present the perfect steakhouse-style steak. Food Bloggers from throughout the Rochester area joined New York Beef Council (NYBC) staff and award-winning Chef Victor Ramirez, owner of Madison Bistro in Wampsville, NY.

“Cooking with beef does not have to be intimidating! Filet Mignon, a cut of beef well known as a staple on steakhouse menus can be prepared at home to wow a crowd”, shared Jean O’Toole, Executive Director of NYBC, “With the new knowledge from today’s event attendees understand how to cut, season and cook a steak to perfection. Post evaluations of the event revealed that 100% of attendees would recommend this opportunity to their colleagues, and every attendee gave the program 5 out of 5 stars.

The group learned about beef’s unique flavor profile and how to elevate steaks by engaging the fifth taste, umami. Chef Victor, winner of the 2019 NYBC Best NY Steak Competition, led attendees through the steps of developing compound butter with sundried tomatoes, blue cheese and fresh parsley. He also created a black garlic and fresh thyme compound butter for dinner.

NYBC Director of Producer Communications and Influencer Outreach, Katherine Staiger noted, “This event provided the opportunity to engage directly with key influencers to deliver a unique experience while they learn about beef’s unique flavor profile and how easy it is to enjoy beef with family and friends.” These influencers have a large social network and strong rapport with their followers. Their voices as beef advocates provides a direct link to thousands of consumers who may have questions about beef production, processing, or cookery. Therefore, arming bloggers with beef skills and information will help them to share the beef story.” The goal of the NYBC is to serve as the premier source of beef information to the influencers in our region.

Sasse to EPA: Give Nebraska Producers Certainty and Transparency

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse wrote to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, urging the EPA to revise its supplemental proposed rule in accordance with the President’s goal of blending a minimum of 15-billion gallons of renewable fuels.

Sasse urges the EPA to give Nebraska producers certainty and transparency, now. He also noted that the agency’s proposed three-year rolling average is not what was agreed to by the President in a recent White House meeting in which Sasse was a participant.

Sasse’s letter is available here and found below.

The Honorable Andrew Wheeler

I write regarding the supplemental proposed rule the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released on the standards for 2020 renewable fuels and biomass-based diesel volume obligations for 2021.

Thank you for participating in the meeting with the President and Senators at the White House to discuss this matter. At this meeting, it was clear the President embraced the goal of blending a minimum of 15-billion gallons of renewable fuels into the transportation fuel market and that the three-year rolling average of small refinery exemptions granted be reincorporated into the annual volume obligations.

The supplemental proposed rule reflects and represents a core discrepancy from the discussion that took place at the White House meeting. In the proposed rule, EPA will use a Department of Energy (DOE) estimate of the small refinery exemptions. It is my understanding that while the EPA has received this data from DOE in the past, the agency has never adhered to the estimate, functionally ignoring the DOE recommendation. Nor was the use of this estimate agreed to by the President or other parties during this Oval Office meeting. More generally, the EPA’s proposed reliance on projected estimates rather than actual number of gallons waived is specifically frustrating to many in my state.

There is a consistent message I hear day after day from Nebraska producers: give me certainty and transparency from the EPA and we can succeed. The renewable fuels volume obligations set by the EPA each year should endeavor to be responsive to this modest request.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse

Ricketts Submits Comment to EPA, Calls on Agency to Fulfill RFS Promise

This week, Governor Pete Ricketts submitted an official comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed rule to set renewable fuel volumes for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The EPA’s decision to exempt oil refineries from their renewable volume obligations for compliance years 2016-2018 decreased demand for ethanol by more than 4 billion gallons.  In his comment, the Governor emphasized that the unprecedented number of exemptions granted by the EPA has caused unpredictability in the ethanol market.  He also expressed that the EPA’s actions have adversely affected the corn growers and ethanol plants who count on the steady demand for their products that a stable RFS provides.

“A strong biofuels market is essential at this time when farmers and biofuels producers are navigating the continued cyclical downturn in agriculture, combined with record weather-related challenges and ongoing impacts to the industry from trade uncertainty,” wrote Gov. Ricketts.  “We need to have confidence in the EPA and White House that the RFS will guarantee at least a net 15 billion gallons of ethanol demand for compliance year 2020 as soon as possible.”

Governor Ricketts is a past chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.  In multiple conversations with the EPA, he has repeatedly called on the agency to honor its pledge to guarantee the full demand for ethanol established by the RFS.  In addition, he has urged the EPA to restore the gallons of ethanol demand that have been lost in recent years due to oil refinery exemptions.

NEB submits final comments asking EPA to uphold RFS

The Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) has submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed supplemental rulemaking to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

On Oct. 15, the EPA released the details of its RVO proposal, which fails to ensure the RFS is upheld and continues to allow the EPA to blatantly abuse Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs). Despite earlier promises from the Trump administration that the EPA would reallocate SREs in 2020 based on the average of actual gallons waived from 2016 to 2018, the agency’s proposed approach fails to account for its previous shortfalls and does not ensure 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending will occur in 2020.

“Many farmers have had it! Multiple ethanol plants have stopped production. In addition, months of unfruitful promises from the EPA and Trump administration have left the ethanol industry where we started ­– suffering,” said Jan tenBensel, NEB Chairman and a farmer from Cambridge, Nebraska.

This tumultuous battle has caused a lot of distress throughout the industry, impacting ethanol producers, farmers, and investors eager to see the success of ethanol, which will in turn improve air quality and boost the economy. NEB maintains that it wants to see the EPA make up for the destruction that has occurred and to set safeguards into place that will ensure SREs are only granted to refineries who truly prove economic hardship.

“We need to have a relationship with the oil industry, which is what the RFS was intended to be when it was established many administrations ago,” said NEB Administrator Roger Berry. “We do not want to see the demise of the oil industry. Our world has not yet reached a point where we can be independent of oil. What we want is to work with them to make a sustainable future powered by a healthier fuel. If we continue to ignore the dire need to clean up our air with the addition of biofuels in our fuel, we are going to put ourselves into a world of hurt. This goes beyond pocketbooks for us. The success of the ethanol industry is important for the future of the world we ALL live in – not just farmers, ethanol producers, and environmentalists.”   

Regardless of the EPA’s decisions, the NEB urges the public to continue supporting ethanol. There are many simple ways to do this:
·         Submit your own comments to the EPA.

·         Create demand by continuing to use ethanol and asking others to as well. Buy flex fuel vehicles. If you are a dealership, sell more flex fuel vehicles.

·         Share with friends and family how and why you support ethanol. Are you a corn farmer? Do you work in an ethanol plant? Do you fill up with ethanol? Ask us for a free ethanol performs bumper sticker!

·         Stay in the know. The ethanol industry is not going away. There is constant policy work being done to see its success, and there are organizations working to increase its availability. Read up on ethanol regularly and become an advocate.

·         Educators – make ethanol part of your curriculum by exploring agriculture, science, and clean air initiatives.

·         Ethanol producers – work with fuel retailers to make selling higher ethanol blends easier.

·         Fuel retailers – empower your patrons to help our environment and economy all while saving a few bucks by simply filling up with higher ethanol blends at the tanks. You can do this by educating your employees and patrons about the benefits of ethanol, and selling ethanol blended fuels.

NBB Asks EPA To Properly Account for Small Refinery Exemptions

On Wednesday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standards. NBB urges EPA "to properly account for small refinery exemptions, address the remand of the 2016 standards, and increase the 2021 biomass-based diesel volume."

NBB welcomes EPA's proposal to estimate 2020 and future small refinery exemptions in the formula for setting Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). In its comments, NBB calls it a positive and necessary step to ensure that future small refinery exemptions do not continue to destroy demand for biomass-based diesel. However, NBB points out that EPA's proposal falls short in several ways.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President for Federal Affairs, states, "On October 4, President Trump, the EPA and USDA jointly pledged to account for small refinery exemptions in the RFS annual rule and ensure that the biomass-based diesel volume is met. On October 15, however, EPA proposed action that would significantly underestimate future exemptions and fall short of ensuring that RVOs are met."

NBB encourages EPA to use the best possible estimate of future small refinery exemptions -- specifically, a three-year average of the gallons EPA actually exempted. "Unfortunately, the proposal uses an average of past exemptions recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE) rather than an average of actual volumes waived," NBB writes. "Because EPA has ignored DOE's recommendations in each of the past three years, that methodology would only account for about half of the annual impact of recent small refinery exemptions."

NBB also points out that EPA does not propose to do anything about small refinery exemptions before 2020. "Over 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels has been lost due to retroactive small refinery exemptions for compliance years 2015 through 2018. This impact has been particularly significant for biomass-based diesel producers because biomass-based diesel RINs can be used to satisfy multiple obligations under the RFS," NBB writes. "Despite having the means to do so, EPA has not proposed to do anything in the Supplemental Notice to address this massive loss of renewable fuel demand."

In the comments filed today, NBB reiterates its requests that EPA raise the 2021 biomass-based diesel volumes and the 2020 RVOs to include the 500 million gallons the D.C. Circuit Court recognized (in ACE v EPA) were improperly waived in 2016. "Increasing the RVO by 500 million gallons would not only be achievable by BBD and other renewable fuels, it would assist in reviving production, reopening production facilities, and saving jobs," NBB writes. "The BBD industry can still achieve higher volumes if EPA properly accounts for small refinery exemptions and increases the renewable volume obligations and account for the ACE gallons."

Growth Energy Calls on EPA to Deliver Real Biofuel Fix -

Growth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to uphold the president’s commitment to farmers and biofuel workers by fixing a flawed proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In formal comments to the agency, Growth Energy calls on regulators to fully account for biofuel demand lost to oil industry exemptions in the final biofuel targets for 2020.

“Unfortunately, the current proposal fails to provide the certainty and stability that America’s farmers and biofuel producers need to rebuild after years of demand destruction,” said Skor. “It offers a solution based on outdated and inaccurate estimates, potentially keeping billions of gallons of biofuels off the market. The president has committed to upholding the integrity of the RFS, and communities across the heartland are counting on EPA to keep that promise by accurately accounting for lost gallons.”

In its comments to EPA, Growth Energy calls on regulators to account for a rolling average of actual exempted volumes from the three most recently completed compliance years, and provides detailed instructions on how EPA should execute these directives:
-    EPA’s projections should rely on the agency’s actual history of adjudicating small refinery exemptions (SREs) applications to be more accurate over time.
-    EPA should use the most recent data available when setting volume requirements, which for 2020 would be data from 2016, 2017, and 2018.
-    EPA should begin issuing partial SRE relief where appropriate—a practice that will better enable EPA to implement the SRE provision of the statute without undermining the RFS program’s overarching renewable energy mandate.
-    EPA should disclose additional data and analyses regarding SRE decisions to provide needed public insight into EPA’s decision-making process.

The EPA’s public comment period on the proposal ends on November 29.

RFA Urges EPA to Respect Congressional Intent and President Trump’s Commitment on the RFS -

For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the choice should be clear and simple when it comes to implementing blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard: Just follow the law. That was the Renewable Fuels Association’s message in comments submitted today to EPA responding to the agency’s supplemental proposal for 2020 renewable volume obligations.

RFA’s comments highlight the fact that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to “ensure” that the RFS volumes specified by Congress are fully enforced. By issuing dozens of small refinery exemptions and refusing to reallocate the lost volume, EPA has failed to comply with this legal obligation in recent years.

“The congressional intent is indisputable and unambiguous, and the law is clear,” according to RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Unfortunately, the EPA has forsaken the law in recent years by failing to ensure the congressionally directed renewable fuel volume requirements are enforced. EPA issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the statutory renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4.04 billion gallons.”

While EPA’s supplemental proposal takes a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough in ensuring that the congressional RFS volumes are fully enforced. “If past is prologue, EPA’s proposal could result in the 15-billion-gallon requirement sliding backward to a requirement for just 14.4 billion gallons in 2020,” according to the comments.

RFA said the agency can get the RFS back on track and uphold President Trump’s commitment to farmers by fully redistributing renewable fuel blending requirements that are waived due to small refinery exemptions.

“We strongly urge EPA to ensure the law is upheld and the president’s commitment is honored,” the comments state. “This can only be achieved if EPA finalizes an approach that uses the three-year average of actual exempted volumes—not the three-year average of the Department of Energy’s recommendations—as the basis for projecting exemptions in 2020 and beyond.”

The comments also underscore the devastating impacts of SREs on the renewable fuels industry. “It is an undeniable fact that the surge in SREs has caused demand loss and economic hardship for U.S. ethanol producers,” Cooper wrote. “At least 20 ethanol plants have been temporarily idled or permanently closed since early 2018 when EPA began to massively expand the volume of SREs.”

Adopting a redistribution methodology based on the three-year average of actual exemptions would help "stop the bleeding” and get ethanol producers back on their feet after one of the worst years in the industry’s history, Cooper said.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/22/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Nov. 22, ethanol production increased 26,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 2.5%, to 1.059 million b/d—equivalent to 44.48 million gallons daily. The four-week average ethanol production rate rose by 1.4% to 1.034 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.85 billion gallons, but was still 2.1% lower than the year-ago level.

Ethanol stocks shrank an additional 1.2% to 20.3 million barrels, the lowest volume since January 2017. Inventories were 11.6% lower than the same week last year. Stocks declined in all regions except the Gulf Coast (PADD3) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 36,000 b/d, or 10.58 million gallons for the week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market ticked 0.1% higher to 9.204 million b/d (386.6 million gallons per day, or 141.10 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol also increased 0.1% to 930,000 b/d—equivalent to 14.26 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.51%.

USMEF Statement on European Parliament's Approval of U.S.-EU Beef Access Agreement

On Nov. 28, the European Parliament voted to approve a plan granting the United States a country-specific share of the European Union's duty-free high-quality beef quota. The agreement, which was signed and announced in August, is detailed in this press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:
Approval by the European Parliament keeps this agreement on track for implementation in early 2020, which is outstanding news for the U.S. beef industry and our customers in Europe. Lack of capacity in the duty-free quota has been a source of frustration on both sides of the Atlantic, and a U.S.-specific share of the quota will help ensure that U.S. beef can enter the European market 52 weeks per year, without delay or interruption.

The European Union is one of the highest value destinations in the world for U.S. beef, and consistent access will not only benefit U.S. producers and exporters, but also European importers and their clientele. USMEF thanks USTR and USDA for negotiating this agreement and securing its approval, which will bolster the U.S. industry's efforts to expand the European customer base for U.S. beef.

Fertilizer Prices Continue Lower

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of November 2019 continued mostly lower. This lower trend in prices has been in place for several months now.
Potash prices tracked by DTN continue to move lower. A fertilizer stock analyst says supplier inventories are high but strong demand will speed usage. (DTN Chart)

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were lower in price from the month earlier, although once again none were considerably lower. DAP had an average price of $456/ton, MAP $466/ton, potash $381/ton, urea $387/ton, anhydrous $496/ton, UAN28 $245/ton and UAN32 $284/ton.

The remaining fertilizer, 10-34-0, was slightly higher from last month with an average price of $472/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.44/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are mixed in price from a year ago. MAP is now 12% less expensive, DAP is 9% lower, urea is 5% less expensive, anhydrous is 4% lower and both UAN28 and UAN32 are 1% less expensive from last year at this time. In addition, 10-34-0 is 3% more expensive and potash is 4% higher compared to last year.

Deere Announces Net Income of $3.253 Billion for Year

Deere & Company reported net income of $722 million for the fourth quarter ended November 3, 2019, or $2.27 per share, compared with net income of $785 million, or $2.42 per share, for the quarter ended October 28, 2018. For fiscal 2019, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $3.253 billion, or $10.15 per share, compared with $2.368 billion, or $7.24 per share, in 2018.

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 5 percent in both the fourth quarter and full year of 2019 to $9.896 billion and $39.258 billion, for the respective periods. Net sales of the equipment operations were $8.703 billion for the quarter and $34.886 billion for the year, compared with respective totals of $8.343 billion and $33.351 billion in 2018.

"John Deere's performance reflected continued uncertainties in the agricultural sector," said John C. May, chief executive officer. "Lingering trade tensions coupled with a year of difficult growing and harvesting conditions have caused many farmers to become cautious about making major investments in new equipment. Additionally, financial services results have come under pressure due to operating-lease losses. At the same time, general economic conditions have remained favorable. This has supported demand for smaller equipment and led to solid results for Deere's construction and forestry business, which had a record year for sales and operating profit."

Company Outlook & Summary

Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2020 is forecast to be in a range of $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion.

"Despite present challenges, the longer-term outlook for our businesses remains healthy and points to a promising future for Deere," May said. "We are particularly encouraged by the adoption of precision technologies and believe we are well-positioned to be a leader in the delivery of smarter, more efficient and sustainable solutions to our customers. At the same time, we are committed to the successful execution of our strategic plan and have initiated a series of measures to create a leaner organizational structure that can operate with more speed and agility. We're confident these steps will lead to improved efficiencies and help the company focus its resources and investments on areas that have the greatest impact on performance."

EPA's Wheeler Urges Americans to Fill Bellies, Not Landfills, this Thanksgiving

As America celebrates Thanksgiving this week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler reminds U.S. families and communities to be mindful about finishing, donating, or simply cutting back on the amount of food they prepare to help prevent food waste this holiday season.

“This week, millions of Americans will gather for Thanksgiving to share a traditional family meal,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “One way to act on the gratitude we feel this holiday season is to use food without waste. By wasting less and feeding people instead of filling landfills, we’re preserving our environment, caring for those less fortunate, and supporting our local communities.”

There are many ways to reduce food waste during the preparation and storage of meals. Just as we donate food before Thanksgiving, it can make sense to consider donating excess unopened or unused food afterwards as well to those in need. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2018, about over 37 million Americans money or lived in food insecure households (didn’t have enough food during the year to meet the needs of all their members). Additional information about how to reduce food waste at the source or donate excess food is below.

Thanksgiving Food Waste Reduction Prep Tips
-    Create your shopping list with your menu and number of guests in mind.
-    Shop your refrigerator and pantry first. Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.
-    Be mindful of ingredients and leftovers you will need to use. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish with your favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
-    Plan an “eat the leftovers” night after your big meal. Casseroles, stir-fries, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use Thanksgiving ingredients and leftovers. Search for websites that provide suggestions for using leftover holiday ingredients.
-    Befriend your freezer. Freeze extra food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to use or eat in time.
-    Consider donation of unused, non-perishable food items.

Food Recipient Organizations

If your organization hosted an event with excess prepared but unserved food, you may consider partnering with a food recipient organization. Remember to make arrangements in advance for potential drop-offs or pick-ups of excess food. The following sites contain tools that allow users to search for food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that may be interested in accepting wholesome, excess food:
-    Feeding America’s Find Your Local Foodbank has a map of Feeding America member food banks.
-    Food Pantries allows you to search food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.
- allows you to search food pantries by zip code and shows the search results on an interactive map.
- allows you to search homeless shelters and services by city.
-    Find a Food Pantry allows you to search food pantries by zip code or address.


Facts about food waste:
-    EPA estimates that more food (over 76 billion pounds) reaches landfills and combustion facilities than any other material in everyday trash, constituting 22% of discarded municipal solid waste.
-    Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.
-    Food waste not only impacts landfill space and emissions, it hurts the economy. The USDA estimates the value of food available but not eaten at the retail and consumer level to be over $161 billion.
-    Food waste consumes 21% of all fresh water globally.

EPA’s Efforts:

In October 2018, EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the USDA signed a formal agreement to align efforts across the federal government to educate consumers, engage stakeholders, and develop and evaluate solutions to food loss and waste.

EPA has taken significant measures to highlight the need to reduce food waste nationally, including working with President Trump and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to successfully designate April 2019 as “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month” in order to place more national attention on this important issue.

In April 2019, Administrator Wheeler and leadership from USDA and FDA convened a summit at EPA bringing state and local stakeholders together to form partnerships with leading food waste reduction non-governmental organizations. At this event, over 30 governmental organizations signed onto a new pledge in which state, local, tribal and territorial government organizations solidify interest in working with the federal government to continue to build upon existing efforts back home to reduce food loss and waste. Also at the summit, EPA announced $110,000 in funding for food waste management and infrastructure projects (to expand anaerobic digestion capacity) in Wisconsin, Vermont, and Washington. EPA also opened a Small Business Innovation Research Grants program solicitation in 2019, which included “preventing food waste” as a topic.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tuesday November 26 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Pushes EPA to Keep Promise, Uphold RFS

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep its promise as it relates to protecting the integrity of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS program was established by Congress in 2005 to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector to reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil. The boost to renewable fuels, farmers, and the renewable fuels sector from the RFS has been a tremendous success for the country and the rural economy, yet in recent years, the EPA has significantly expanded the amount of biofuel blend waivers issued to small oil refineries, undercutting the integrity of the RFS and significantly lowering the amount of biofuels blended into the U.S. fuel supply. The actions have subsequently diminished demand for corn and ethanol, contributing to the slowed agriculture economy.

“The amount of small refinery exemptions issued by EPA has skyrocketed since 2016, with EPA most recently announcing 31 waivers for the 2018 RFS compliance year alone. During that span, EPA exempted more than 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel obligations to the detriment of our farmers, renewable fuels partners, and consumers looking for a more affordable and environmentally friendly fuel alternative,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “In October, EPA and the administration promised they would work to address the situation regarding the issuance of small oil refinery exemptions, yet EPA’s official proposal to remedy the situation falls short of what was promised.”

The EPA’s pending proposal does not change the proposed RFS blend volumes for 2020 or 2021, but instead proposes adjustments to the way annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. EPA and the administration’s initial announcement hinted the agency would project the volume of gasoline and diesel that would be exempt in 2020 from small refinery exemptions based on a three-year rolling average of exemptions. While the three-year average would not totally reallocate lost gallons, it was viewed by Farm Bureau and many biofuel supporters as a step in the right direction. However, the actual EPA proposal is substantially different than what was promised, with the proposal designating the three-year rolling average be based on relief recommended by the Department of Energy, not on actual exemptions granted.

“This is a major point of contention, as there is often a disconnect between how many gallons are recommended by the Department of Energy to exempt through full or partial exemptions and what the actual exemptions end up being. Rather than simply making good on promises made by the president and the EPA that the RFS target of 15 billion gallons be met, it appears the EPA moved the goal post again, with this proposal leading the RFS to backslide to just 14.4 billion gallons of biofuel in 2020,” said Nelson. “To ensure accurate accounting for the waivers in 2020 and beyond, and to keep the promise, EPA must use the rolling average of actual exemption volumes from the three most recently completed compliance years.”

In pushing EPA to meet its promise, the organization thanked the agency and the administration for its work to make E-15 fuel available year-round.

“We recognize and appreciate the work of the agency and administration on biofuels in other areas, but this proposal fails to account for the real harm caused by the EPA from the excessive use of small refinery waivers. Expansion of markets for renewable fuels is a Nebraska Farm Bureau policy priority and critical to both farmers and consumers. It’s imperative EPA respect the original intent of Congress and provide certainty to the renewable fuels marketplace,” said Nelson.

EPA is accepting public comments on the proposal through November 29. Those looking to comment on EPA’s proposal can do so by visiting and clicking the “Take Action” button.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Market gurus say to make profits you must buy low and sell high.  What market gives you that opportunity today?  The stock market - no - it's the hay market!

               High rainfall in many areas produced high yields of both grass and alfalfa hay this year.  Combine that with high carryover from last year plus lots of crop residues available and you get an abundance of forage for this winter. And when winter forage is abundant, hay prices go down.

               All this rain also led to some poor hay making weather which has resulted in a shortage of really high quality alfalfa.  As a result, some alfalfa growers in Nebraska are receiving over 200 dollars per ton for superior quality dairy hay and over 150 dollars for good grass hay.

               But why should you care?  You don't have any extra alfalfa or grass hay.  You plan to use all your hay for your own cattle.

               Well, just think about this.  Suppose someone offered you 150 dollars per ton for your better alfalfa.  Could you find other hay nearby that you could make work for your animals that would only cost you around 100 dollars?  If you can, maybe you can sell high, buy low, and pocket the profits.

               So, how do you find these buyers?  It may take some work.  You could post notices at truck stops, place ads in newspapers and magazines, or set up a sign by your driveway.  But, there are more effective ways to contact buyers.  One is to place your hay on a computer listing in the dairy states.  Maybe an even better way is to work with hay dealers or become a member of a marketing group, like the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association, to take advantage of all their market connections.

               You may need some luck and do some work to be able to buy low and sell high.  Smart operators look for these opportunities.

U.S. Pork Can Reduce Overall U.S. Trade Deficit with China by Nearly Six Percent

Securing zero-tariff access to China for U.S. pork would be an economic boon for American agriculture and the country, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Based on an analysis by Iowa State University (ISU) Economist Dermot Hayes, NPPC says unrestricted access to the Chinese chilled and frozen market would reduce the overall trade deficit with China by nearly six percent and generate 184,000 new U.S. jobs in the next decade. NPPC today launched a digital campaign to spotlight the importance of opening the Chinese market to U.S. pork as trade negotiations continue.

"Were it not for China's tariffs that are severely limiting access to American goods and other restrictions, including customs clearance delays, U.S. pork could be an economic powerhouse, creating thousands of new jobs, expanding sales and dramatically slashing our nation's trade deficit. China's actions would unleash tremendous benefits to U.S. pork producers, our nation and Chinese consumers who rely on this essential protein," said Hayes.

According to Dr. Hayes' analysis, U.S. pork sales would generate $24.5 billion in sales if U.S. pork gained unrestricted access to the world's largest pork-producing nation over 10 years.

"The U.S. pork industry is missing out on an unprecedented sales opportunity in China when it most needs an affordable, safe and reliable supply of its favored protein," said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. "The United States is the lowest-cost producer of pork in the world, but with 72 percent tariffs we are not nearly as competitive as Europe, Brazil, Canada and other nations."

Pork is a staple of the Chinese diet and a major element of the country's consumer price index. China's swine herd has been devastated by African swine fever, a disease affecting only pigs with no human health or food safety risks, reducing domestic production by more than 50 percent and resulting in a mounting food price inflation challenge for the country.

NPPC has launched a digital communications campaign to broaden awareness for the unique opportunity for U.S. pork in China.


The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) released the 2020 edition of its popular “Alfalfa Variety Ratings - Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistant Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” - a useful tool for hay and dairy farmers, extension specialists, agri-business personnel or anyone involved in the production of alfalfa.    

NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings is a publication unlike any other in providing an extensive listing of alfalfa varieties and their corresponding ratings for fall dormancy, winter survival, bacterial wilt, aphanomyces, leafhopper, and a host of other pests. The publication also includes other ratings such as grazing tolerance and standability to provide you the information you need to make educated decisions about the alfalfa varieties which will perform best in a given environment. All varieties listed in the Alfalfa Variety Ratings publication can be purchased in the United States for the 2020 production year.

     The 2020 edition of NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings features 182 alfalfa varieties from 17 marketers and has been verified with the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and the National Alfalfa Variety Review Board (NAVRB).

     If you’d prefer an electronic option, try NAFA’s searchable, online Alfalfa Variety Ratings database where you can make the process of narrowing alfalfa varietal choices even easier. Available at, NAFA’s searchable database allows you to search for varieties using up to 23 different parameters like variety name, marketer, fall dormancy, winter survival, disease resistance, and insect resistance. NAFA has made finding the perfect variety as effortless as possible.

NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings publication is available in the November issue of Hay & Forage Grower magazine or by visiting NAFA’s website at

NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings is a must-have for anyone involved in the production of alfalfa – be sure to get yours today!

FY 2020 U.S. Exports Forecast Up $2.0 Billion to $139.0 Billion; Imports at $132.0 Billion

USDA Economic Research Service

U.S. agricultural exports in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 are projected at $139.0 billion, up $2.0 billion from the August forecast, driven by higher soybean, pork, and dairy export forecasts. Soybean exports are up $1.2 billion to $18.0 billion as a result of higher unit values. Pork exports are raised $400 million, largely due to demand from China. Dairy product exports are up $300 million to $5.8 billion as volumes and unit values are expected to strengthen. The beef export forecast is reduced $200 million, reflecting lower unit values. Overall livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast at $31.9 billion, $500 million higher than the August projection. Cotton exports are raised by $300 million to $6.1 billion from higher unit values. The grain and feed export forecast is lowered $600 million to $29.5 billion due to strong competition facing wheat and corn. Horticultural exports are unchanged at $35.5 billion. Agricultural exports to China are forecast at $11.0 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion from August, on higher expected soybean, and pork sales.

U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2020 are forecast at $132.0 billion, up $3.0 billion from the August forecast, primarily due to expected increases in fresh fruits and grain products. Fresh fruit imports are raised $1.7 billion to $15 billion, largely due to increased deliveries of avocados, berries, and melons from Mexico.

RFA Review of 2020 Vehicle Models Reveals Good News for E15, Bad News for Flex Fuels

A new analysis of vehicle owner's manuals and warranty statements by the Renewable Fuels Association reveals that nearly all new 2020 automobiles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15). However, RFA’s annual review also shows automakers are offering far fewer model year 2020 flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).

According to the RFA analysis, manufacturers responsible for 95 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales unequivocally approve the use of E15 in their model year 2020 automobiles. For the first time ever, BMW models will carry the manufacturer’s approval to use E15; in fact, the BMW Group approves the use of up to E25 in its 2020 models, including its line of Mini automobiles.

“As this analysis shows, virtually all new cars, SUVs, and pickups are approved by their manufacturers to use E15, a lower-cost, higher-octane, cleaner-burning fuel available today at more than 1,900 retail stations in 30 states,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “RFA has worked diligently with the automakers over the past decade to ensure a smooth market transition to E15, and we are thrilled that each year more manufacturers recognize the benefits of E15 to their customers. We are especially pleased that beginning with the 2020 model year, BMW now approves not just E15—but up to E25—in its new vehicle offerings.”

For the ninth consecutive year, all new General Motors vehicles are clearly approved to use E15, while Ford has explicitly endorsed E15 in eight straight model years. Among major manufacturers, only Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo—representing less than 5 percent of U.S. sales collectively—do not include E15 as an approved fuel in their owner's manuals.

RFA estimates that nearly 97 percent of the registered vehicles on the road today are legally approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use E15, and almost half of those vehicles also carry the manufacturer’s endorsement to use E15. In 2011, the EPA approved the use of E15 in cars and light-duty trucks built in 2001 or later. However, automakers did not start including E15 as an approved fuel in owner's manuals and warranty statements until 2012, the year E15 was first sold commercially.

Meanwhile, automakers continue to dramatically curtail production of FFVs. Only two automakers—Ford and General Motors—are offering FFVs in model year 2020. Just 16 models will be available as FFVs in 2020, with six of those models available only to fleet purchasers. That’s down from more than 80 different models from eight manufacturers being available to consumers as recently as 2015.

“It is frustrating and disappointing to see automakers hitting the brakes on FFVs, especially at a time when more consumers are actively seeking out E85 and other low-carbon flex fuels,” said Cooper, pointing out that E85 sales in California have quadrupled since 2013 and doubled in just the last two years. “EPA has failed to maintain meaningful incentives for FFV production, and the auto industry has responded by abandoning this low-cost, high-impact technology. Not only do flex fuels like E85 save drivers money at the pump, but they also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful tailpipe pollution. Rather than encouraging more petroleum use, our lawmakers, regulatory officials, and automakers should be taking definitive actions to put more—not fewer—FFVs on the road.”

As RFA advocates for more FFVs on the policy and regulatory front (such as with this correspondence to EPA on its recent FFV credit guidance to automakers), it also encourages drivers to make their voices heard—not just with political officials, but with the auto industry itself. One way to do that is by signing this online grassroots petition asking automakers to offer more models designed to run on “high-octane, low-carbon ethanol blends such as E20, E30 and E85.”

At present, there are more than 4,800 gas stations selling E85 and other flex fuels, and more than 1,900 selling E15.

 ACE urges EPA to get RFS back on track

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted comments today to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed supplemental rulemaking to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

ACE CEO Brian Jennings detailed three areas in which the proposal falls short in ACE’s written comments, including the proposed rule (1) does nothing to reallocate the 85 Small Refinery Exemptions (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.

ACE’s comments underscore that this proposal does not reflect the original deal, and rather, “in a classic bait and switch, EPA’s proposal brazenly attempts to paper over the fact that actual waived SRE volumes from 2016 through 2018 were double what the Agency is proposing to reallocate for 2020.”

This is another example of EPA’s double-standard with the RFS. “…when it came to helping refineries escape RFS obligations, EPA rejected Department of Energy (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 blending obligations going forward.”

The written comments reinforce this point by referencing direct quotes from interagency review documents posted on which reveal email exchanges between Trump administration officials about the deal reached with the President. An October 11 interagency reviewer commented to EPA that “the alternative is inconsistent with the WH decision last week to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020…”

In addition to ACE’s specific comments about the 2020 volume and accounting for future waivers, Jennings’ remarks highlight the radical changes made to the EPA’s handling of SREs with explicit evidence that the Trump administration acknowledges this departure from the norm. The comments also provide data on how the issuance of numerous retroactive SREs impacts the RIN marketplace, and mentions ACE and its allies court challenges to the mismanagement of the SRE provision. The comments conclude by urging EPA to finalize a rule that reallocates the actual average volume waived from 2016 through 2018 and ensures at least 15 billion gallons for the 2020 compliance year.

Growth Energy Welcomes The Andersons as Newest Producer Plant Member

Growth Energy, the world’s largest ethanol trade association, announced the addition of The Andersons, Inc. as its newest producer plant member. This addition brings Growth Energy’s membership to a total of 103 producer plant members and 8.7 billion gallons represented out of the total U.S. annual ethanol production.

Founded in Maumee, Ohio, in 1947, The Andersons is a diversified company rooted in agriculture, conducting business across North America in the grain, ethanol, plant nutrient, and rail sectors. It co-owns ethanol plants in Albion, Michigan; Logansport, Indiana; Greenville, Ohio; Denison, Iowa; and Colwich, Kansas, which have a combined production capacity of more than 545 million gallons a year. The company’s Colwich facility, which operates under the entity ELEMENT, LLC, and is a partnership with ICM, Inc., opened in August 2019 and is expected to be the most efficient dry mill ethanol plant in the U.S.

In her statement, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor welcomed The Andersons to the association:

“We are extremely proud to now represent The Andersons among our growing and diverse membership,” said Skor. “The story of The Andersons is a familiar one to many across the heartland — where innovation, hard work, and enduring relationships serve as the foundation of the company’s success. As the U.S. ethanol industry has grown, The Andersons has been a pivotal player for nearly 20 years, working to expand homegrown ethanol and increase its accessibility at the pump. We look forward to continuing our work with The Andersons and utilizing its diverse agricultural expertise as part of our association.”

Jim Pirolli, president of The Andersons Ethanol Group, emphasized the company’s excitement in joining Growth Energy:

“The Andersons is excited to join Growth Energy and its other members in supporting policy for a pro-ethanol market environment and boosting the accessibility of high-ethanol blends at the pump,” said Pirolli.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Monday November 25 Ag News


For the week ending November 24, 2019, there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 17 short, 79 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 87 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 93 percent, equal to last year, and near 96 for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 2 poor, 22 fair, 53 good, and 21 excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 90 percent, near 94 last year, and behind 96 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 17 fair, 62 good, and 16 excellent.


 Rain and recent snow melt across Iowa delayed harvest and other fieldwork progress as farmers were held to 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 24, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Propane shortages across the State remain an issue as farmers try to dry their corn due to high moisture content.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus.

Eighty-six percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, 10 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Producers in the Northwest, North Central and Southeast Districts have harvested 90 percent or more of their expected crop, while harvest in the Northeast and South Central Districts were below 80 percent complete. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 19 percent.

Livestock producers have been feeding hay and continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks. The increase in temperatures this past week reduced stress on livestock.

USDA: 16% of Corn, 6% of Soybeans Left to Harvest

When farm families gather around the table for Thanksgiving later this week and say what they're thankful for, one thing some farmers won't be listing is a finished harvest. As of Sunday, Nov. 24, 16% of the corn crop and 6% of soybeans were still in the field, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, the corn harvest slowed again last week, moving ahead 8 percentage points to reach 84% complete as of Sunday, 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%.

Soybean harvest also slowed last week, inching ahead only 3 percentage points to reach 94% as of Sunday. That was 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.

Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 87% as of Sunday, still 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 90%. Winter wheat condition held steady at 52% good to excellent. That was slightly below last year's good-to-excellent rating at the same time of 55%.

Sorghum harvested reached 97%, ahead of the five-year average of 92%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 78%, also ahead of the average pace of 74%.

NASS announced last week it will continue to issue its weekly Crop Progress reports beyond the originally scheduled end date of Nov. 25. The agency said in a news release that it will evaluate the harvest progress for all crops each week to determine how long to continue the report.

UPDATE: Tyson Holcomb Plant to Resume Harvest Operations

Tyson Fresh Meats announced on Monday, November 18, that reconstruction of the company’s beef slaughter plant at Holcomb, Kansas – idled for repairs since a fire on August 9 – is nearing completion, and “efforts to resume harvest operations will begin the first week of December, with intentions to be fully operational by the first week of January.” Tyson Fresh Meats group president Steve Stauffer said in the release, “Our team is ready to begin the process of ramping back up, recognizing that there will be testing and adjustments over the first few weeks to ensure equipment functionality while maintaining our commitment to team member safety and food safety.”

The release also stated that, “since the fire, cattle have been diverted to the company’s other beef facilities”, a fact that is in agreeance with observations from and conversations with NC Market Reporting members located near / shipping cattle to Tyson’s three facilities in the NC-MRS trade area (Lexington and Dakota City, Nebraska & Joslin, Illinois.) In addition, NC-MRS did confirm a few live sales in Eastern Nebraska this week that were scheduled to ship to the Holcomb, Kansas plant during the week starting December 2.

NE Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin commented, “We are encouraged to see official communication from Tyson that the Holcomb facility will be coming back on line soon, and we are hopeful that this may help restore some amount of bargaining leverage for cattle feeders in Nebraska and throughout the plains and Midwest – who’ve borne the brunt of the industry’s financial impacts associated with the August 9th fire. The reopening of the Holcomb plant should result in more aggressive cash market participation from Tyson moving forward not only in Nebraska, but also the remainder of the Midwest.”

Free Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this December

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at five sites across the state in December. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Norfolk — Friday, December 6
    North Platte — Thursday, December 12
    Fairbury — Thursday, December 12
    Norfolk — Wednesday, December 18
    Valentine — Thursday, December 19

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Ag Economist David Kohl to Speak Dec. 9 in Bruning

Nationally known agricultural economist David Kohl will lead off the 2019-2020 Farmers and Ranchers College series. He'll present on "Agriculture Today: It Is What It Is. What Should We Do About It?" from 1 to 4 p.m. December 9 in the Bruning Opera House.

Kohl is an agricultural economics professor emeritus in the area of agricultural finance and small business management at Virginia Tech University

Other programs in the series are
  - January 28, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – “Partners In Progress Beef Seminar,” part of the Cow/Calf College at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) near Clay Center. Registration is at 9:30 a.m.

  - March 2020 – “Strategies for Family Farming Success in the Shark Tank” with Ron Hanson, UNL Harlan Agribusiness Professor Emeritus. It will be held at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. Other details are still being finalized for this program.

All the programs are free; however, registration is appreciated for a meal count. Please call the Nebraska Extension office in Fillmore County at (402) 759-3712 at least one week prior to the program to reserve your spot.

Blood Orange Pictures to Bring ‘SILO’ to the Nebraska Power Farming Show.

Blood Orange Pictures, a New York-based film and television production company, will screen SILO at the Nebraska Power Farming Show (P2 East) December 11th, 2019 5:00pm-6:30pm. SILO is the first ever feature film to address the very real threat of grain entrapment faced by agricultural communities across the country.

Inspired by true events, SILO follows a harrowing day in an American farm town. Disaster strikes when teenager Cody Rose gets entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin. As the corn turns to quicksand, family, neighbors and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations.

SILO aims to both entertain and educate audiences in an effort to build empathy and bring community members closer together. The filmmakers have partnered with prominent nonprofits and companies such as the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Sukup Manufacturing Company, Grinnell Mutual and Turtle Plastics.

The film's unique distribution strategy, The SILO Community Screening Campaign, puts community first and addresses the challenge of bringing high-quality, independent film to rural audiences. The filmmakers are working with community organizers to host SILO screening events in all 50 states.

“Grain entrapment is such an important safety issue for farmers. We are excited to help raise awareness of this dangerous threat to farmers by hosting the film SILO at the Nebraska Power Farming Show.” - Cindy Feldman, Nebraska Power Farming Show

SILO is produced by Samuel Goldberg and Ilan Ulmer and is directed by Marshall Burnette. The script was written by Jason Williamson, and stars Jim Parrack, Jeremy Holm, Jill Paice, Jack DiFalco, Chris Ellis and Danny Ramirez.

For more information, please visit

Nebraska Ethanol Board Dec. 11 board meeting to be held in Lincoln

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will hold a board meeting in Lincoln on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be in the Olive Branch Room, lower level of the Cornhusker Marriott (333 S 13th St.). Highlights of the agenda is as follows:
    Budget Report
    Fuel Retailer Update & Nov. 13 Norfolk Workshop Recap
    E30 Demonstration Update
    Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
    Environmental, Health & Safety Summit Review
    Marketing Programs
    State and Federal Legislation
    Election of Board Officers for 2020

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Farm Service Agency Announces Disaster Assistance for Crop Losses Through WHIP+ Program

Milk Loss Program for Dairy Producers Also Open for Applications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska announced that agriculture producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019 can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus (WHIP+). Nebraska FSA offices across the state are ready to accept applications.

“Nebraska farmers have had a challenging year,” said Nancy Johner, FSA State Executive Director in Nebraska. “WHIP+ may be able to assist those who have faced significant losses.”

WHIP+ Eligibility

WHIP+ is available to producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). A list of qualifying counties is available at Also, producers with losses in counties that did not receive a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+ but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster event.

“In Nebraska, disaster losses must have been a result of floods, tornadoes, snowstorms or wildfires, and related conditions that occurred in 2018 or 2019,” said Johner.

Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage is available, excluding crops intended for grazing. Because grazing and livestock losses are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA, those losses are not eligible for WHIP+.

Both insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for WHIP+, but all producers who receive WHIP+ payments will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP coverage for the next two available, consecutive crop years after the crop year for which WHIP+ payments were paid.

WHIP+ Payments

WHIP+ payment amounts will be determined using a formula that includes several factors: expected value of the crop, how much of the crop was actually harvested, and crop insurance coverage and payments issued on those crops. At the time of sign-up, producers will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records.

Producers with WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100 percent of their calculated value. Producers with WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50 percent of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50 percent after January 1, 2020, if sufficient funding remains.

WHIP+ Prevented Planting

FSA will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, NAP producers and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to January 1, 2019.

An application deadline has not yet been established for the WHIP+ program.

Additional Loss Coverage

The Milk Loss Program will provide payments to eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market because of a qualifying 2018 and 2019 natural disaster. In Nebraska, qualifying natural disasters for this program include floods, tornadoes, and snowstorms.

Applications for the Milk Loss Program are being accepted through Feb. 1, 2020.
Eligible producers can receive payments at a rate of 75 percent of the market value of the milk that was dumped. The payment formula takes into consideration normal milk marketings for the impacted dairy operation, fair market value of the milk, and promotion and hauling fees, among other factors.

Producers also are reminded of the availability of the On-Farm Storage Loss Program. This program assists those who suffered losses of harvested commodities, including hay, stored in on-farm structures in 2018 and 2019.

For More Information

Additional information about the WHIP+ Program, the Milk Loss Program, and the On-Farm Storage Loss Program can be found at or by contacting your local USDA Service Center.

 Seaboard Triumph Foods gives Blessing Bags to impoverished children in the Sioux City Community School District

Seaboard Triumph Foods (“STF”) made Blessing Bags for 60 children who are homeless, poverty-stricken or facing true hardship with the help of the Sioux City Community School District. The Blessing Bags provide each of those children and their families with essential supplies and holiday gifts they may not have otherwise been able to purchase on their own.

“The concept of the Blessing Bags was created to help students right here in our community who may be facing extreme hardship including homelessness or death of a parent, some at a very young age, by providing essential supplies and support,” says Frank Papenberg, vice president of Seaboard Triumph Foods.

The Blessing Bag contains a personalized gift for the holidays and draw string bag filled with a fleece blanket, hand and foot warmers, a journal with markers, a hygiene kit, a water bottle filled with snacks, a flashlight, additional treats, and pencils.

Each public elementary, middle and high school in Sioux City was given the opportunity to nominate two student families. The anonymous nominations were submitted to the Sioux City Public Schools Foundation and included a gift wish from each member of the family. All submitted nominations were accepted by STF, and Blessing Bags were made for every child in that family.

“As a past educator myself, I know first-hand how much the Blessing Bags will mean to these kids and their families, and I’m thrilled to help lead the Blessing Bag project,” says Laurie Kuchera, executive administrative assistant. “It’s true when they say we rise as a community by lifting others.”

Area student leaders helped make the 60 Blessing Bags with Seaboard Triumph Foods staff. Distribution of the Blessing Bags will take place the first part of December before Christmas break.
“We are extremely thankful for the partnership with the Sioux City Public Schools Foundation and the support from the Sioux City Community School District in helping make the Blessing Bags concept a reality,” says Tori O’Connell, communications specialist for Seaboard Triumph Foods.


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to EPA’s supplemental proposed rule for the 2020 volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

Rather than addressing the impact of waived renewable fuel gallons based on exemptions actually granted by EPA, the proposed rule would use a three-year average of Department of Energy (DOE) recommended waivers. By using DOE recommendations, not actual waived gallons, EPA’s proposal to redistribute any future waived gallons is half of what President Trump previously committed to farm-state Senators.

“EPA’s proposal does not ensure sufficiently accurate projections for waived gallons and, therefore, will continue to shortchange the RFS when waivers are granted,” NCGA President Kevin Ross wrote. “Farmers are once again asking EPA to uphold the law and the integrity of the RFS.”

Since early 2018, EPA has granted 85 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 RFS compliance years, totaling 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.

More than 1900 corn farmers have submitted comments to the EPA urging they follow the law and uphold the President’s commitment to farmers and the RFS.

Proposed Rule Betrays Promise to Rural America, Farmers Union Says

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s supplemental proposed rule to compensate for the ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs) “fails to accurately account for the lost gallons and betrays President Trump’s promise to rural America,” according to National Farmers Union (NFU). In comments submitted today, NFU President Roger Johnson urged the agency to account for all 4 billion gallons worth of demand lost to SREs and to establish provisions to prevent the future abuse of waivers.

“On the campaign trail and now as president, Donald Trump has sworn his allegiance to family farmers and ranchers and promised to uphold policies that ensure their prosperity. But actions speak louder than words ­– despite those promises, his EPA has repeatedly and deliberately undercut the American biofuels industry, prioritizing the needs of multibillion-dollar oil corporations at farmers’ expense.

“President Trump then vowed to offset all harm caused by the mishandling of small refinery exemptions – yet another promise that he hasn’t kept. Though this supplemental proposed rule would make up for some of the lost demand, it does not go nearly far enough. Rather than calculate renewable volume obligations based on the actual exemptions granted, EPA has inexplicably proposed using a much lower number that would cut hundreds of millions of gallons from the 2020 targets alone.

“At a minimum, EPA must recalculate its obligations and it must reallocate all 4 billion gallons lost to exemptions since Trump took office. Further, we strongly urge the agency to prevent future abuses by providing greater transparency on both the criteria and the process for granting small refinery exemptions.”

Small Refinery Waivers Must be Based on Actual Exemptions

A proposed rule to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard fails to account for the real harm caused by the agency’s excessive use of small refinery exemptions over the past three years, the American Farm Bureau Federation warned Monday.

“In recent years, the number of small refinery exemptions has increased dramatically, which is problematic because it means refiners blend fewer gallons of renewable fuels into gasoline,” AFBF said in recent comments on the proposal.

Between 2013 and 2015, EPA granted no more than eight small refinery waivers per year. The current administration retroactively approved 19 waivers for 2016, granted 35 waivers in 2017 and another 31 in 2018 – ultimately exempting more than 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel obligations over the past three years.

The organization also took issue with the percentage of exemption applications that have been approved since 2016. Before the current administration took office, EPA approved between 50% and 62% of the applications. Under this administration, EPA approved 95% of the exemptions requested in 2016 and 2017 and 74% of the petitions in 2018 – after prolonged pushback from key agriculture and biofuel industry stakeholders.

“These decisions have had significant impacts on struggling farmers, who have watched the demand for corn grown for ethanol drop as the renewable fuel volume obligations diminish with each exemption granted. It is alarming that the agency will continue down this path as farmers are facing extreme weather challenges, trade headwinds and a rural economy nearing its breaking point,” Farm Bureau said.

The main problem with EPA’s proposal is that it bases the projected volume of gasoline and diesel that would be exempt in 2020 on the three-year rolling average of relief recommended by the Department of Energy, rather than the three-year rolling average of actual exemptions.

“This is problematic because DOE’s projections for the volume of biofuels that will be exempted are often much lower than actual exemptions,” Farm Bureau explained.

Farm Bureau is also calling for the inclusion of language in the final 2020 renewable volume obligations that binds EPA by regulation to use the three-year rolling average of actual exemptions in all future renewable volume obligation rulemakings, not just 2020.

Replacing Aromatics with Biofuels Would Improve Public Health Outcomes, Decrease Fuel Costs

In a letter sent today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem ­– the Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition ­– urged President Donald Trump to enforce Section 202 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 by reducing and eliminating toxic carcinogenic aromatics from gasoline. To achieve this, the governors suggested that aromatics be replaced with biofuels, which are higher octane, burn more cleanly, and far better in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and public health.

Because of its aforementioned benefits, National Farmers Union (NFU) is a longtime proponent of higher-level blends of ethanol. NFU President Roger Johnson thanked Governors Walz and Noem in a statement and advised the administration to adopt their recommendations.

“There are so many reasons to use biofuels: they improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower pump prices, develop new markets for American farm products, create good jobs rural Americans, stimulate local economies, and establish energy independence. Aromatics, on the other hand, are highly toxic, expensive, carbon intensive, and energy inefficient. We applaud Governors Walz and Noem’s efforts to replace aromatics with biofuels, and we strongly urge the Trump administration to follow suit.”

Argentinian Farmers Have a Third of Soybeans Planted

Argentinian soybean planting had been completed in 31.3% of the projected planted area of 17.7 million ha for the 2019-20 crop year (November-October) as of Wednesday due to sufficient rainfall across the northwest, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange, or BAGE, said Thursday. This is 1.7 percentage points lower than at the time last year due to a spell of dry weather in late October that delayed sowing, BAGE said in the report.

The planting area increased only 0.1 million ha in the latest week as some farmers have shifted from corn to soybean.

Argentinian farmers are increasingly shifting from corn to more liquid soybean crops, which are cheaper to plant and bring much-needed US dollar inflow into the country, amid a domestic economic slowdown, reports SP Global.

In both the core and northern regions of La Pampa and west of Buenos Aires, good climatic conditions for planting have enabled accelerated soy seeding, BAGE said. However, the pace of planting in the south of Cordoba and San Luis has lagged behind the national average because of dry weather in October, it added.

Soybean planting requires sufficient rain to retain soil moisture for crop development. Unfavorable weather, such as dry spells, can decrease Argentina's total soy production and export forecasts.

According to the USDA, Argentina -- the world's third largest soybean producer and exporter -- is projected to produce 53 million mt of soybeans in the current crop year, down 4% year on year, and export 8.8. million mt, down 3% over the same period.

Agriculture Must Be Central to an Economy-Wide Climate Policy

As they consider policies and legislation to curb the effects of climate change, federal lawmakers should both recognize the capacity of American family farmers to mitigate and build resilience to climate change as well as enact funding mechanisms to help them do so.

In written comments to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson urged the panel to include recommendations in its pending report that support carbon sequestration on agricultural land. To do this, lawmakers must strengthen the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) voluntary, incentives-based conservation programs; ease on farm energy production and encourage biofuels development; establish new climate-friendly markets for commodities and farm goods; and fund necessary climate research. Congress can fund these programs by enacting a cap-and-trade or similar system.

Johnson reiterated the comments' sentiments in a public statement:
“Agricultural soils hold immense potential to sequester the atmospheric carbon that’s rapidly accelerating climate change. Any successful solution to the climate crisis must strive to fully realize that potential. But the management practices necessary to such a solution are neither free nor simple. Farmers need financial and technical assistance to implement climate friendly practices on their operations, and they should be rewarded for the valuable public service they are providing. To ensure that farmers are appropriately compensated for carbon sequestration activities, we urge the establishment of a funding mechanism like a carbon credit trading system.”

Farmers Union members, numbering 200,000 family farmers and ranchers and rural residents, have long been concerned with the current and future consequences of climate change on agricultural livelihoods and global food security. At the organization’s 117th annual convention in March, Farmers Union delegates passed a special order of business calling for “immediate and decisive action” to help farmers mitigate and adapt to this crisis.

Origin of Livestock Proposed Rule Comment Period — Open Now

On October 1, 2019, the National Organic Program (NOP) reopened the public comment period for the Origin of Livestock proposed rule originally published in 2015. The comment period is open for 60 days: October 1 - December 2, 2019.

The proposed rule would change the requirements related to origin of livestock under the USDA organic regulations. NOP received 1,580 public comments during the original comment period in 2015. USDA will consider all public comments in developing a final rule. This includes public comments from 2015 and from this new comment period.

You do not need to resubmit public comments provided on the 2015 proposed rule. We welcome new or updated comments.

Reopening the public comment period gives people a chance to submit comments who did not do so in 2015. It also allows people to submit updated information, if needed, to inform USDA's development of a final rule.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday November 22 Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.45 million cattle on feed on November 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 5 percent from last year. Placements during October totaled 670,000 head, up 3 percent from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of October totaled 480,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during October totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 660,000 head on November 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 3 percent from October 1, 2019, but down 6 percent from November 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 530,000 head on feed, up 10 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,190,000 head, up 6 percent from last month but down 4 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 114,000 head, up 39 percent from September and up 7 percent from last year. Feedlots, with a capacity of less than 1,000 head, placed 122,000 head, up 44 percent from September and up 63 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 236,000 head, up 41 percent from September and up 30 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 92,000 head, up 31 percent from September but down 1 percent from last year. Feedlots, with a capacity of less than 1,000 head, marketed 67,000 head, down 16 percent from September but up 26 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 159,000 head, up 6 percent from September and up 9 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 7,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.8 million head on November 1, 2019. The inventory was 1 percent above November 1, 2018.

On Feed: By State  (1,000 hd  -  % Nov 1 '19)

Colorado ......:               1,070          105              
Iowa .............:                 660            94                
Kansas ..........:               2,430          103             
Nebraska ......:               2,450           95            
Texas ............:               2,870          107      

Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.48 million head, 10 percent above 2018. Net placements were 2.42 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 600,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 540,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 517,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 475,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 230,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 115,000 head.

Placements By State  (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '18)

Colorado ......:                     240           123         
Iowa .............:                    114           107         
Kansas ..........:                    460           114         
Nebraska ......:                    670           103        
Texas ............:                    530           114         

Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.88 million head, 1 percent below 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 59,000 head during October, 14 percent below 2018.

Marketings By State  (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '18)

Colorado ......:                      155           103          
Iowa .............:                       92            99           
Kansas ..........:                      400           101        
Nebraska ......:                      480           100         
Texas ............:                      435           101        

Lunz named 2019 AG-ceptional woman of the year

A Wakefield woman has been recognized for her contributions to agriculture.

Lisa Lunz was honored as the AG-ceptional Woman of the Year at the Northeast Community College
AG-ceptional Women’s Conference on the Northeast campus in Norfolk on Friday. The announcement was made during a video tribute that was played during the opening session of the 11th annual conference. The video was sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America and produced by the Northeast Agriculture Department and District 25 Productions, LLC. 

“Lisa is very deserving of this recognition. She makes a difference wherever she goes,” said Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science at Northeast Community College and conference director. “Her ability to listen to all sides and solve problems brings about meaningful change in agriculture, education, and life in general.”

A special selection committee made up of professionals from agricultural businesses and operations is assembled each year to select the winner from a very competitive group of nominees.

Lunz was nominated by Jan Frenzen, of Fullerton, a past Ag-Ceptional Woman recipient. She said Lunz is dependable, dedicated and trustworthy.

“Lisa Lunz is truly an AG-ceptional woman who has dedicated her life to agriculture, making an impact on the local, state and national level in the agriculture industry, and perhaps more importantly, helping bridge the disconnect between agricultural producers and consumers.”

In accepting the award on Friday, Lunz said every woman in agriculture is exceptional because they all play a role.

“I am proud to have watched as that group (of women) has grown and those voices have grown. And groups like Common Ground have given women a chance to have a voice. … I encourage you to continue to support our industry and talk about what we do.”

She also spoke of how faith, family and friends have been instrumental in her life.

“When you plant that seed in the spring, you have to have faith that you will have a bountiful harvest in the fall. I am also so proud of my family in how they have supported me because they had to do a lot while I was gone.”

Lunz and her husband, Jim, farm in a part of northeast Nebraska where they both were raised. Their operation is described as “unique” in that Lisa Lunz is responsible for planting, caring and harvesting the soybeans on their land, while Jim Lunz does the same thing with their corn production. They are good stewards of the environment as they have no-tilled their land for over 20 years.

Frenzen describes the couple as servants of agriculture as they host area fourth grade students and tour groups in order to teach them the basics of agriculture and provide first-hand information about the industry.

(Lisa’s) work with these groups has helped provide the link in the chain between farmers and consumers and building that trust in today’s food system. She has hosted several soybean trade teams, participated in international soybean trade missions and has been an advocate for soybean production,” Frenzen said. “Telling the agriculture story is something Lisa has a passion for.”

Lunz was the first female to chair the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff Board. She has also held other leadership positions on the board during her 12-year tenure, including chair of the Soybean Research Committee and a stint as secretary. In 2018, she was named Soy Promoter of the Year by the Nebraska Soybean Association, and was recognized by the Nebraska Agribusiness Club with its Public Service to Agriculture award.

As an active alumni member of Nebraska Lead, a two-year leadership development program for Nebraskans involved in agriculture, Lunz has assisted by being part of the candidate selection committee. She has also served as a board member of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, which has been instrumental in the organization’s efforts to build a connection between agriculture producers and consumers. In addition, Lunz is an active member of the Ag Builders advisory group for the University of Nebraska’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and serves on the Farm Advisory Board for the Haskell Ag Lab at Concord.

Frenzen said Lunz’s involvement with soybean education programs, ag sack lunch programs, Common Ground and Ag Pen Pals demonstrates that she is “always looking out for the best way to continue to tell our story and make that connection.”

In 2018, Lunz was elected to the Dixon County Board of Supervisors and was selected by fellow board members to serve as chairperson. She has also served as president of the Wakefield Board of Education and was a Four-H leader for ten years.

Lisa and Jim Lunz have three children and two grandchildren.

Nebraska Corn reminds Nebraskans to contact the EPA in support of the RFS

Nebraskans have until Nov. 29 to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to insist the law is upheld regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association stress this may be the last chance to convince the EPA to reverse course and account for all gallons of ethanol the agency waived through excessive refinery waivers.

“We’re calling upon everyone, not just farmers,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “It’s a complicated issue, but ultimately one that impacts everyone in our state. From the farmers who grow our corn, the rural areas benefiting from local ethanol plants, the livestock feeders who utilize distillers grains, the motorists who have economical options at the pumps, all the way to our citizens who like to breathe clean air. Everyone needs to step up and demand the EPA follows the law and chooses farmers over the oil industry.”

Ethanol advocates were encouraged in June when President Trump announced his administration planned to lift the outdated restrictions on the sales of E15 (a 15% ethanol blend) allowing for the fuel to be sold year-round. However, as the E15 rule was finalized in August, the EPA issued 31 additional small refinery waiver exemptions to big oil companies, such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, releasing them from their RFS obligations. Additionally, the EPA has routinely provided these refineries full exemptions, opposed to the partial relief the Department of Energy has recommended.

“We were encouraged by an announcement from President Trump on Oct. 4 when he stated he was working with our ethanol champions in Congress, such as Sen. Deb Fischer, to fix the mess and uphold the RFS,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. President Trump even took to Twitter and said ‘the farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for ethanol.’ However, days later EPA released their plan, which was a complete slap in the face.”

The EPA has since tinkered with President Trump’s intentions in its annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) process. The RVO determines how much biofuel oil refiners will blend into the motor fuel mix. Nebraska Corn was hopeful the RVO would account for all waived ethanol gallons granted by the EPA. However, EPA’s proposal is only half full and only accounts for the recommended gallons the Department of Energy proposed during the waiver application process, which are substantially less.

“Promises were made and promises need to be kept,” said Nerud. “In only three years, the EPA granted 85 exceptions to oil refineries, which destroyed over 4 billion gallons of biofuel demand. This equates to nearly 1.4 billion bushels of corn demand. We can’t remain silent on this.”

The public comment process only takes a couple of minutes and closes Friday, Nov. 29. Comments can be submitted electronically by visiting

Tissue Sampling Data Reveals Trends in Nebraska Crop Health

Many Nebraska farmers struggled with weather challenges this season, but those who had a well-planned, comprehensive fertility program are seeing the benefits as harvest wraps up. Tissue sampling conducted by WinField United in 2019 revealed that in-season plant stress may have limited nutrient availability to plants, which likely affected yield potential. The insights gained from those samples can help improve the efficiency and precision of nutrient applications all season long.

Nebraska corn deficient in key nutrients

Nebraska farmers submitted nearly 1,700 corn tissue samples for analysis by WinField United in 2019. Based on sampling data, more than 60% of corn was deficient in zinc, magnesium and boron across the state. A majority of the samples were also deficient or responsive for manganese, nitrogen and sulfur.

In-season stress likely contributed to nutrient deficiencies

Environmental conditions and in-season stress made nutrient availability a struggle for crops this season. As harvest began, the effects of nutrient deficiency were witnessed in some cornfields in the form of uneven ear height, poorly pollinated corn ears and weak stalks. In-season tissue sampling gave farmers a real-time snapshot of crop fertility, allowing for adjustments that helped protect yield potential. 

The WinField United sampling database includes more than 600,000 data points that help identify nutrient trends based on geography, soil type and environmental conditions. Based on the analysis, WinField United recommends that farmers tissue sample and reevaluate fertilization plans annually and throughout the growing season. While trends can be recognized across the state, each field and season is different, so plants should be tested to ensure proper fertilization. Factors that can affect nutrient availability to plants include soil type and pH, crop rotation, planting population and environmental conditions.

Using the analysis from samples taken in 2019, farmers can identify how nutrient deficiencies and unbalanced nutrient ratios may have impacted their yield potential. Those insights can help inform fertilization strategies for 2020. Supplementing soil nutrients will be incredibly important to overcome some of the nutritional challenges crops faced in 2019. Work with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer to evaluate crop health and develop fertility programs specific for your acres.

Governor’s Office Issues Executive Order to Suspend Weight Limits on Transportation of Propane

On Thursday, the Office of the Governor issued an executive order to provide emergency relief on account of regional heating fuel (propane) shortages.  The order suspends weight limits (up to 90,000 pounds gross weight) for motor carriers hauling critically needed heating fuels on all highways within Nebraska, excluding the interstate system.  The executive order is effective immediately and will remain in place through December 15, 2019.  Drivers exceeding the usual weight limits must carry a copy of the executive order to document that they are providing direct support to the State of Nebraska during the emergency period.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has notified the State of Nebraska that stocks of residential heating fuels have been lower than the five-year average in the Midwest for more than three consecutive weeks.  The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy has determined that the residential heating fuel situation is currently not serious in Nebraska, but will continue to monitor it.  However, more extreme shortages in surrounding states have increased the need to transport heating fuels through Nebraska.

Earlier this fall, the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Midwestern Service Center and Western Service Center issued an emergency declaration providing regulatory relief to commercial transporters of heating fuel.  That declaration permitted drivers to work extended hours in order to meet the urgent need for heating fuels in the region.  Thursday’s executive order supplements that act by easing hauling weight restrictions for carriers operating in Nebraska.

With Governor Pete Ricketts traveling out of state, Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley officially issued the executive order in his capacity as Acting Governor under the State’s emergency management laws.


All layers in Nebraska during October 2019 totaled 9.27 million, up from 8.10 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during October totaled 233 million eggs, up from 207 million in 2018. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,511 eggs, compared to 2,553 eggs in 2018.

U.S. October Egg Production Up 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.61 billion during October 2019, up 3 percent from last year. Production included 8.41 billion table eggs, and 1.20 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.11 billion were broiler-type and 88.0 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during October 2019 totaled 397 million, up 1 percent from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,422 eggs, up 1 percent from October 2018.
Total layers in the United States on November 1, 2019 totaled 398 million, up 1 percent from last year. The 398 million layers consisted of 336 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.6 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.56 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2019, averaged 78.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from November 1, 2018.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Down 5 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during October 2019 totaled 52.4 million, down 5 percent from October 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.9 million on November 1, 2019, up 6 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 199 thousand during October 2019, down 27 percent from October 2018.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 3 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during October 2019 totaled 815 million, up 3 percent from October 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 674 million on November 1, 2019, up 4 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 7.53 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during October 2019, up 4 percent from October 2018.

USDA Cold Storage October 2019 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2019 were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 10 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 8 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 13 percent from last month and up 72 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2019 were down 7 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 25 percent from last month and down 11 percent from October 31, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2019 were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 2 percent from October 31, 2018. Butter stocks were down 18 percent from last month but up 3 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 21 percent from last month but down 8 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 3 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.


A House bill to provide congressional funding for more U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural inspectors got a boost this week when four additional lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors. U.S. Reps. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) and Josh Harder (D-Calif.) joined colleagues in support of H.R. 4482, by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas).

There are now 15 lawmakers who support the bill, including five original co-sponsors. The bill authorizes $222 million over three years to enable CBP to hire 240 new agriculture specialists and 200 new agriculture technicians each fiscal year until the shortage is filled. The bill also authorizes 60 new canine teams over the next three years. Rep. Vela's legislation is a companion to a Senate bill that recently passed by unanimous consent in that chamber.

IFBF encourages diversified ag ideas to keep farming sustainable

The latest U.S. Agriculture Census shows Iowa farmers continue to work within narrow—and sometimes negative—margins and a recent Iowa State University report concludes the same, with 44 percent of Iowa farmers reporting they struggle to pay their bills. But, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) continued commitment to help farmers find new ways to add additional income to their balance sheets is bringing groundbreaking ideas to members who attend the 2019 IFBF annual meeting in Des Moines, Dec. 3-4.

A special breakout session, “Non-traditional crop and livestock,” on Dec. 4, will feature a panel of three farmers who have found opportunities in agriculture outside of Iowa’s most well-known commodities. “It used to be that farming was a person’s primary job, but now more than half of all farmers in Iowa have a primary occupation off the farm—for young farmers, those 35 years and younger, it’s 64 percent. This provides an opportunity to explore what other types of agriculture are in Iowa that can add to a farmer’s bottom line,” said Amanda Van Steenwyk, IFBF farm business development manager. “Iowa is more agriculturally diverse than many realize and bringing these farmers in to talk about their challenges and successes can ‘plant a seed’ for others to find ways to expand their family farms to be more financially sustainable.”

Among the panelists is Ken Iverson of Red Barn Hemp in Oregon. Iowa’s 2019 legislative session paved the way for up to 40 acres of industrial hemp to be grown in Iowa. As regulations are being reviewed, Iowa farmers still have many agronomic and marketing questions related to this crop. Iverson has been growing industrial hemp since 2016 and has been instrumental in CBD oil extraction practices used throughout the hemp industry.  

Knowing land and capital can be difficult to come by, panelist Kate Edwards of Johnson County, Iowa found success as an organic vegetable farmer, raising a variety of foods on her 10-acre farm. Her business—Wild Woods Farm—serves over 200 local families through community-supported agriculture, a model in which customers pay a fee upfront and later reap the benefit of Edwards’ harvest.

With more food choices available than ever before, Steve Howe of Fremont County has raised outdoor, antibiotic-free hogs for the past 14 years. Farmers continue to use antibiotics judiciously to treat sick livestock on their farms, but there is a segment of grocery shoppers who want to eat pork products raised a certain way; Howe’s livestock are able to fill that need.

To learn more about this year’s panels and annual meeting events, visit

Beef At Iowa Corn-Fed Food Blogger Tour

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) partnered with the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association this fall for the 2019 Iowa Corn-Fed Food Blogger Tour. The event brought together some of the country’s top food bloggers to experience Iowa’s agricultural industry firsthand. The ten bloggers attending this year’s tour came from all over the United States; New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Louisiana.

With little-to-no experience in production agriculture, this group came with an open mind and willingness to learn about how cattle are raised in Iowa. “Food bloggers are an extremely important group for the beef checkoff to connect with. They have thousands of loyal followers that view them as a trusted source for information,” commented Rochelle Gilman, RD, Director of Nutrition and Health for IBIC.

Throughout the event, the Iowa State Beef Checkoff hosted a pasture walk for bloggers at Justin and Corrine Rowe’s farm in Madison County, Iowa. The group received a firsthand look at a cow-calf operation and gained valuable insight from the family on their day-to-day responsibilities on the farm. The Rowe’s provided each blogger with a picture book that highlights the family’s beef farm throughout the year and the different responsibilities that accompany each season. Following the pasture walk, bloggers engaged in conversation during a Q&A session with the Rowe’s and enjoyed a delicious beef dinner. Corinne shared her take on the event, “I found interacting with the bloggers during the pasture walk and at dinner to be very insightful. There was great discussion and I was able to answer their burning questions in a more personalized manner. This event has allowed me to connect with these bloggers and interact with them through social media since their visit.”

After the event, the bloggers took their experiences during the tour and shared their new-found knowledge with their followers. Collectively, this group of ten individuals influences the purchasing decisions of over 3.5 million people through the use of Facebook and Instagram.

Laura Fuentes, blogger from Louisiana said this about the tour, “One reason why it is important for farmers to work with food influencers is that you can change consumer perception as an industry.” Many bloggers shared photos and videos of the beef pasture walk and have included several beef recipe posts following the tour.

“Not only was this event able to leave a positive impression of the beef industry in these third-party influencer’s minds, but IBIC was able to catalyze future partnerships and create connections that will allow for us to be a trusted resource in the future,” shares Kylie Peterson, Director of Marketing and Communications for IBIC.

Legislation to Preserve Family Farms Introduced in Congress

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today announced its strong support for the “Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019.” Introduced by U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D - 20th Dist. - Calif.) and Jackie Walorski (R - 2nd Dist. - Ind.), this important bipartisan legislation would expand IRS Code Section 2032A to allow more ranchers and farmers to take advantage of the special use valuation and protect family-owned businesses from the devastating impact of the death tax.

NCBA President Jennifer Houston said that ranchers and farmers are very appreciative of the death tax relief that was passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), but that many cattle producers are either still vulnerable to the death tax or will be vulnerable when the TCJA exemption limits revert back in 2026.

“America’s beef producers should never be forced to sell any of their family’s farm, ranch or business due to a death of a family member,” Houston said. “NCBA is committed to the fight to defend family ranches and farms and has long advocated for sound policies that will preserve family-owned beef operations for generations to come. I applaud Representatives Panetta and Walorski for their leadership and dedication to protecting future generations of agricultural producers who seek to preserve a multigenerational legacy by maintaining a family-owned business.”

In the Tax Reform Act of 1976, Congress recognized the disproportionate burden of the death tax on agricultural producers and created Section 2032A as a way to help farmers keep their farms. However, the benefits of Section 2032A have been stymied over the years as the cap on deductions has failed to keep pace with the rising value of farmland. The Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019 increases the maximum amount allowed under the exemption from $750,000 to $11 million (indexed for inflation), thus reviving a critically important tool in the toolbox for farm and ranch families across the U.S. If enacted, this legislation will provide a permanent solution to an issue that has long plagued our nation’s cattle producers.


China's top trade negotiator has invited U.S. officials to Beijing for further trade talks. The invitation was made during a phone call late last week, inviting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to China. U.S. negotiators have indicated a willingness to meet, but it's unclear if the two sides can do so before next Thursday, China's preferred deadline. As previously announced, an interim trade deal between China and the U.S. would include a pledge for China to buy $40 billion-$50 billion in U.S. agricultural products, . 

ADM Opens Livestock Feed Plant in Vietnam

Archer Daniels Midland Company celebrated the opening of its latest livestock feed plant, located in Hoa Mac, Ha Nam province, Vietnam.

The new facility joins a growing list of investments by ADM in Vietnam, marking its fifth plant dedicated to animal nutrition in the country, reflecting the company’s commitment to be the go-to partner for livestock, aquaculture and companion-animal customers around the globe.

“We are very proud of our new facility in Hoa Mac, which will allow us to better serve our customers as we continue to improve our operations,” said Matthieu Garnier, ADM’s operations vice president for Animal Nutrition.

The new facility is strategically located near northern Vietnam’s key farming region and close to port facilities.

Built on 4.6 hectares of land, the new facilities include a production area, three warehouses for storing raw materials and finished goods, offices, and a loadout bay with ample space for customer trucks.

AgriEdge from Syngenta integrates Simplot Advisor recommendation tool

Syngenta and Simplot Grower Solutions are working together to increase efficiencies for growers through software integration. Growers can now pull recommendations from Simplot’s centralized agronomic data hub, Simplot Advisor®, and insert them directly into the Land.db® software provided with AgriEdge®, Syngenta’s whole-farm management system.

This integration is set up through a grower account within Simplot Advisor to protect the data privacy of individual growers, working with their advisors or retail partners, and reduces the burden of time spent on data entry via Simplot Advisor.  Now growers who use Simplot Advisor can pull that agronomic recommendation data directly into Land.db to convert to work orders and records. Using this technology may help result in increased efficiencies from planning through harvest.

“We’re happy to announce this integration with Simplot Advisor to help empower our growers,” said Shane Taylor, marketing manager of Digital Ag Solutions at Syngenta. “We strive daily to find ways to save our growers time in their operations and become more profitable.”

Growers interested in this new integration should contact their Syngenta representative or visit for more information.