Friday, November 8, 2019

Friday November 8 Ag News


Based on November 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn crop is forecast at 1.77 billion bushels, down 1 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.75 million acres, is up 5 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 182 bushels per acre, down 10 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 282 million bushels, down 13 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is 11 percent below 2018. Yield is forecast at 57 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Sorghum production is forecast at 13.7 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 140,000 acres, is 18 percent below 2018. Yield is forecast at 98 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels from last year.


 Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.52 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 192 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October 1 forecast but down 4 bushels per acre from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.5 million acres. An estimated 13.1 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 484 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 53.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October forecast but 3.0 bushels per acre lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested.

The forecasts in this report are based on November 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production estimates will be published in the Crop Production – Annual Summary report which will be released January 10, 2020.

Corn Production Down 1 Percent from October Forecast

Soybean Production Down Slightly

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.7 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 5 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 167.0 bushels per harvested acre, down 1.4 bushels from the previous forecast and down 9.4 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but up slightly from 2018.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.55 billion bushels, down slightly from the previous forecast and down 20 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 46.9 bushels per acre, unchanged from the previous forecast but down 3.7 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans in the United States is forecast at 75.6 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but down 14 percent from 2018.

USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Update, November 8, 2019

COARSE GRAINS:  This month’s 2019/20 U.S. corn outlook is for lower production, reduced use, and smaller ending stocks.  Corn production is forecast at 13.661 billion bushels, down 118 million from last month on a 1.4-bushel reduction in yield to 167.0 bushels per acre.  Feed and residual use is down 25 million bushels based on a smaller crop and higher expected prices.    Exports are reduced reflecting the slow pace of early-season sales and shipments.    Corn used for ethanol is down 25 million bushels based on September data from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report and weekly ethanol production data as reported by the Energy Information Administration for the month of October.  With supply falling more than use, corn ending stocks are lowered 18 million bushels from last month.  The season-average corn price received by producers is raised 5   cents to $3.85 per bushelbased on observed prices to date. 

Global coarse grain production for 2019/20 is forecast 1.8 million tons lower to 1,394.9 million.  This month’s    2019/  20 foreign coarse grain outlook is for larger production, increased trade, and lower stocks relative to last month.  Foreign corn production is forecast higher as increases for several African countries,  as well as Russia and Turkey,   more than offset declines for Mexico, Ukraine, and the EU.    For Mexico, production is lowered as area for summer season corn is expected to be the lowest on record.  Yield forecasts for Russia and Ukraine are raised and lowered, respectively, based on observed harvest results to date.

Corn exports are raised for Brazil and Russia, with reductions for the United States and Mexico.  For 2018/19, corn exports for Brazil are raised for the local marketing year beginning March 2019, based on shipments observed through October.  For 2019/20, corn imports are raised for Vietnam, Colombia, Japan, and South Korea.    Partly offsetting,  are reductions for Iran, Egypt, Malaysia, and Turkey.  Foreign corn ending stocks are lower relative to last month, with declines for Brazil, Iran, Mexico, China, and Argentina that are partly offset by small increases for several African countries.  Global corn ending stocks, at 296.0 million   tons,  are down 6.6 million.

OILSEEDS: The U.S. soybean outlook is for slightly lower production, reduced crush, and higher ending stocks. Soybean production is forecast at 3.55 billion bushels, down less than 1 million on fractionally lower yields and unchanged harvested area. Soybean crush is reduced 15 million bushels to 2.11 billion on lower-than expected early-season crush and reduced soybean meal export prospects. With reduced crush, soybean ending stocks are projected at 475 million bushels, up 15 million.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2019/20 is forecast at $9.00 per bushel, unchanged from last month. The soybean meal price forecast is also unchanged at $325.00 per short ton. The soybean oil price is forecast at $0.31 per pound, up $0.01 from last month on sharply higher reported prices through October.

The foreign oilseed supply and demand forecasts for 2019/20 include lower production, crush, and stocks, compared with last month. Foreign production is forecast at 463.6 million tons, down 3.4 million on lower soybean, cottonseed, sunflowerseed, and rapeseed production. Soybean production for India is reduced 2.0 million tons to 9.0 million on lower yields resulting from excessive late-season rainfall. Soybean production is also reduced for Canada on lower yields. Other production changes include lower sunflowerseed production for Argentina and lower rapeseed production for Australia and the European Union. Foreign soybean crush changes for 2019/20 include reductions for India, China, and Canada. Foreign soybean ending stocks for 2019/20 are reduced with lower projections for Argentina, Canada, and India only partly offset with higher forecasts for Brazil and Egypt.

 WHEAT: The outlook for 2019/20 U.S. wheat this month is for smaller supplies, reduced domestic use, and lower stocks. Wheat supplies are decreased 42 million bushels, based on updated production estimates for the States resurveyed following the NASS Small Grains Summary, issued September 30. Adjustments to production in these States, where significant acreage remained unharvested in early September, lowers production estimates for Hard Red Spring wheat, White wheat, and Durum with most reductions occurring in North Dakota and Montana. Estimated seed use is reduced 7 million bushels to 61 million, reflecting a projected 2020/21 all wheat planted acreage of 45.0 million. Food use is lowered 5 million bushels to 955 million, primarily based on the NASS Flour Milling Products report, issued November 1. Projected 2019/20 wheat stocks are reduced 30 million bushels to 1,014 million. The season-average farm price is reduced $0.10 per bushel to $4.60, based on NASS prices reported to date and expectations for cash and futures prices the remainder of the 2019/20 marketing year.

The global outlook for wheat this month is for higher supplies, increased exports, fractionally greater consumption, and higher ending stocks. Supplies are raised with increased production forecasts for the EU, Russia, and Ukraine more than offsetting reductions for Argentina and Australia. EU and Russia production forecasts are raised to 153.0 and 74.0 million tons, respectively, on updated harvest results. Australia’s production is lowered to 17.2 million tons on further damage from the continent’s severe drought and is now forecast lower than last year’s drought-affected crop. Argentina’s production is reduced to 20.0 million tons on dry conditions but remains record large. World exports are raised by 1.0 million tons to 180.7 million on increases for the EU, Russia, and Ukraine more than offsetting reductions for Argentina and Australia. Global consumption is nearly unchanged at 755.2 million tons, which is 3 percent greater than last year. With global supplies rising more than consumption, 2019/20 ending stocks are raised to a record 288.3 million tons with China comprising 51 percent of the total.

LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, AND DAIRY: The forecast for 2019 total red meat and poultry production is raised from last month on higher beef, pork, broiler, and turkey production. Beef production is raised from the previous month on higher expected slaughter of both fed and non-fed cattle. The pork production forecast is raised on both higher hog slaughter and slightly higher carcass weights. The broiler production forecast is raised as hatchery data points to larger supplies of birds available for slaughter in the fourth quarter. Turkey production is raised on higher-than-expected third-quarter production and higher expected supplies of birds in the fourth quarter. Egg production is reduced on lower reported hatching egg production in the third quarter which more than offsets higher-than-expected table egg production. However, no change is made to the fourth-quarter production forecast.

For 2020, the total red meat and poultry forecast is increased from last month as higher broiler and turkey production more than offsets a lower beef production forecast. The pork production forecast is unchanged. Broiler and turkey production forecasts are raised as the increase in production late this year is forecast to carry into late 2020. The beef production forecast is reduced on a slower expected pace of gains in carcass weights. A slightly slower pace of feedlot marketings also contributes to the reduced production forecast. The 2020 egg production forecast is unchanged from the previous month.

Beef and pork trade for 2019 are adjusted to reflect third-quarter reported data; the forecasts for the fourth-quarter 2019 and for 2020 are unchanged from last month. The 2019 broiler export forecast is lowered as weaker-than-expected third quarter exports further dampen expectations for shipments in the fourth quarter; no change is made to the 2020 forecast. Turkey export forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are unchanged.

The cattle price forecast is raised for fourth-quarter 2019 based on recent data; no change is made to the 2020 forecast. The 2019 and 2020 hog price forecasts are reduced on current price weakness. The 2019 broiler price forecast is raised from the previous month on current prices. The price strength is carried into early 2020, but increased production in the later part of 2020 is expected to pressure prices; the 2020 annual price forecast is unchanged. The 2019 and 2020 turkey price forecasts are unchanged from the previous month. The egg price forecast for 2019 is increased on current price strength, but the 2020 forecast is unchanged.

The milk production forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are raised from the previous month as stronger growth in milk per cow more than offsets a slower expected recovery in the cow inventory. The 2019 fat basis import forecast is raised on recent trade data; the 2020 import forecast is unchanged. The fat basis export forecast for 2020 is lowered as higher domestic cheese prices are expected to affect the competitiveness of U.S. cheese in international markets. The skim-solids basis import forecast for 2019 is reduced on lower imports of milk protein products. The 2020 forecast is unchanged. The 2019 skim-solids basis export forecast is raised on stronger sales of nonfat/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP). The 2020 forecast is unchanged as weak exports of cheese and whey products offset higher expected NDM/SMP sales.

Cheese and nonfat dry milk (NDM) price forecasts for both 2019 and 2020 are raised from last month on strength in demand. For both 2019 and 2020, butter and whey prices are lowered on current price weakness which is expected to carry into 2020. The 2019 Class III and Class IV price forecasts are raised as the higher cheese price more than offsets the lower whey price. The 2019 Class IV price is raised as the higher NDM price more than offsets a weaker butter price, but for 2020, the lower butter price outweighs the higher NDM price and the Class IV price is reduced. The 2019 all milk price forecast is raised to $18.60 per cwt; the 2020 all milk price is forecast unchanged at $18.85 per cwt.

Drier, Colder Weather Now, but Storms Likely in Late November

Al Dutcher - Associate Nebraska State Climatologist

Harvest activity across the state has made great strides over the past two weeks due to a lack of significant moisture chasing producers out of their fields. Nebraska Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 60% of the corn crop had been harvested as of Sunday, Nov. 3, an increase of 16 percentage points from the previous week. The soybean harvest is virtually complete at 94%.

Our saving grace during the month of October revolves around two major storm systems that dropped significant snow and rain accumulations to our north, south, and east. The first storm blanketed the Dakota’s with up to two feet of snow the second weekend of October. The second major event occurred the final weekend of October and brought widespread snow to the front range of the Rockies before heading northeast and slamming the central and eastern Corn Belt with heavy rain and wet snow.

In east central and southeast Nebraska, the first measurable snowfall for most locations occurred 14 days later than last year. However, looking at Figure 1, it is apparent that October 2019 has delivered more cold air into the region than we experienced in 2018. Whether this means anything is certainly up in the air, but it does indicate that cold air following fronts this fall are stronger at this point of the season than we experienced last fall.

Over the next two weeks, numerical weather models are in good agreement with each other and point to a drier- and colder-than-normal pattern for Nebraska. It appears this period will be dominated by an upper air trough over the eastern half of the country, with ridging over the southwest, southern Great Basin, and the Southern Rockies. Any precipitation events that occur will originate from the northwest, usually the source of fast-moving systems with dry snow, high winds, and cold temperatures.

As we enter this weekend, a beautiful fall day is in store for Saturday, as temperatures should reach the low 60s south to upper 50s north. A very strong cold front moves through the state on Sunday, bringing high winds, clouds, and possibly a brief snow flurry to light snow. Accumulating snowfall will likely be confined to the Dakota’s and Minnesota. This Arctic air looks to hold through the middle of next week, with Monday and Tuesday set to see highs in just the 20s and 30s. Temperatures may briefly move into the 40s Wednesday, before another cold front brings temperatures back into the 30s on Thursday.

By next Friday, weather models indicate that temperature will begin to moderate and approach the 50s due to the western U.S. upper air ridge pushing eastward. Another surge of Arctic air is forecast to move into Nebraska a week from Sunday (Nov. 17), but it is presently not expected to push as far south or last as long as next week’s event. By Tuesday, November 19, the western U.S. ridge expands eastward in response to a strong storm system entering the west coast of United States.

This system will need to be watched closely as there are signs that a stormy pattern will develop for the western U.S. during the final two weeks of November. If the models are correct, this heavy precipitation event should bring an end to the significant wildfire threat across the northern two-thirds of California. It usually takes about a week for upper air troughs to move from the west coast into the central U.S, so the last full week of November could be stormy across the central High Plains if the models have the correct interpretation of the jet stream pattern.

Bottom line, precipitation will be minimal to non-existent for most of the state over the next two weeks, but temperatures will be well below normal for most of this period. Arctic air usually means a dry air mass, so if corn moisture can continue to decrease under these conditions, much of the remaining corn across the state stands a decent chance of being harvested before inclement weather arrives.

What is certain is that with next week’s cold temperatures, soil surfaces in the Dakota’s, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will likely freeze, which could help support combines where fields have been too muddy to harvest. The biggest question for these producers will be if the ground remains frozen or thaws out after warmer air arrives across the region the third full week of this month.

End-of-Season Issues Focus of Ag Land Management Webinar Nov. 18

Nebraska Extension’s final Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar of the year will focus on end-of-season topics, including county-level cash rental rates, closing out 2019 leases while preparing for 2020, and resources for flood-related prevented plant acreage.

The free session is open to everyone and will be held live on Monday, Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m., at The recorded webinar will be archived there, along with past sessions.

Jim Jansen, an agricultural economist, and Allan Vyhnalek, a farm and ranch succession specialist, will lead the webinar. Both are Extension educators in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

They will provide an overview of the 2019 Cash Rental Rate Survey, conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, and discuss prevented planting considerations for Farm Service Agency programs and crop insurance. The importance of landlord/tenant communication during the winter months and tips for leasing also will be discussed.

There will be time for participants to ask questions at the end of the session. Questions also may be submitted in advance at

The Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar series offers management advice and insight for Nebraska landowners, agricultural producers, and others with an interest in agricultural land.

The next Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar will be Monday, Feb. 17, 2020.


Keith Berns, chair, has scheduled a meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force for Tuesday, November 19, 2019. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, 301 Centennial Mall South, 4th Floor, Lincoln, NE 68509.

Task Force members will be discussing next steps in developing a healthy soils initiative and action plan for the state of Nebraska.

For an agenda and more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341 or visit

Applications Available for the 2020 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2020 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program. The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a yearlong program for college students who are interested in learning more about the industry and becoming better advocates for agriculture. Each year up to 10 students are selected to participate in the program.

Throughout the year, students will take part in three seminars and a summer tour. The first meeting covers state and federal policies affecting the corn and soybean industries. The second meeting will focus on the role of checkoff programs in promoting corn and soybeans. The final meeting gives the students a glimpse of advocacy and leadership opportunities after they graduate. Meetings will take place in the Lincoln, NE area. The summer agribusiness industry tour will include different areas of the industry including, manufacturing, production, and processing. These stops will hopefully give students more insight into potential jobs and internships in the industry.

During the program, students are also asked to spend time promoting the state’s corn and soybean grower associations and checkoffs at promotional events such as Husker Harvest Day and Soybean Management Field Days. Following the completion of the program students will be recognized at the annual meetings of the corn and soybean associations, and each will be presented a $500 scholarship to help them with school expenses. Funding for portions of the program is provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

“The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a great way for college students to get an introduction to the agricultural industry. Past ambassadors have gone on to internships and jobs from connections made during this program. It is important to the association that we support programs like this,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA).

Applications for the Corn and Soy Ambassador Program can be found on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association website, Applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 22, 2019.

Statement on Local Television Programming Bill

Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“We greatly appreciate Sen. Deb Fischer and Congressman Adrian Smith for their work to introduce the “Western Expanded In-State Television Access Act” in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives. This important legislation would ensure that satellite television subscribers in 16 of Nebraska’s western counties would have the ability to access in-state broadcast programming. No matter where you live in our state, you should have the ability to access broadcast coverage of local news, weather, and information on what’s happening at the State Capitol. This bill would address a long-standing issue for many Nebraskans.”

Fuel for Performance | Sports Nutrition Videos

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) has teamed up with a certified sports dietitian to produce eight sports nutrition video tips. The purpose of the videos is to provide athletes and those individuals interested in improving training and physical activity performance with credible information from an expert in the field of sports nutrition.

Ellen Davis, RD, CSSD, LD, is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) and a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee.  As a former athlete, Ellen discovered the value of treating food as fuel.  Her role at Hy-Vee is to help athletes and individuals develop realistic fueling plans to assist in achieving their personal wellness and athletic goals.

The short videos feature optimal nutrition and practical tips to fuel for recovery and performance, including the importance of beef’s role in providing a complete protein and nine essential nutrients. The video tips focus on food ideas, that showcase snacks and meals for optimal nutrition, including a recipe demonstration for beef breakfast egg muffins and beef jerky trail mix. Davis covers topics including the importance of protein for building and repairing muscles, when and what to eat before and after training and pre-workout fueling foods.

To view the sports nutrition video tips, click here...   

Free 'Recipes' Tell Farmers How to Start Growing Cover Crops

Farmers who want to start growing cover crops can turn to "recipes" on the Midwest Cover Crops Council website.

Free downloadable PDFs tell how and why to add cover crops into a corn-soybean rotation, says Charles Ellis, University of Missouri Extension field specialist in agricultural engineering. Ellis serves on the council's advisory board.

The site has recipes for Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota. Download the publications at

"Planting a cover crop ahead of a soybean cash crop is often the easiest way to introduce cover crops into your rotation," Ellis says.

One of the Missouri recipes, MU Extension publication MX81, looks at cereal rye, which proves to be a good choice before soybean because typical fall conditions in Missouri provide a suitable planting window for that cover crop, he says. But Ellis discourages cereal rye before corn for beginning cover crop growers because it requires changes in corn nitrogen management and other adjustments.

Instead, the council suggests a two-way mix of oats and radishes for spring termination or a two-way mix of oats and crimson clover for better erosion control and living roots in the spring before corn. MU Extension publication MX82(opens in new window) details how to do this.

The cover crop recipe guides tell how to plan for cover crops, choose corn and soybean hybrids, and purchase seed. They also explain crop sensitivity to selected hybrids and effects of residual herbicides. The simple three-page guides tell what field work must be done in fall and spring for best results and provide details such as seeding rates and nutrient applications.

In addition to step-by-step suggestions, the guides offer links to resources. Ellis and Rob Myers, MU adjunct associate professor of plant sciences, and other MU faculty and MCCC council members contributed to the guides.

Revolutionary IVF Process to be Showcased at Cattlemen’s College in San Antonio Feb. 5

A live look at innovative in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology will be on display when the 27th Cattlemen’s College is held in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 4-5, immediately prior to the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. Cattlemen’s College is conducted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association producer education team and sponsored by Zoetis.

Called “Taking the Mystery Out of IVF,” the session will use ultrasound-assisted technology to collect eggs from a cow without the use of ovary stimulating hormones. The presentation will be conducted by Michael Bishop, Ph.D., director of strategy for Vytelle, and Bruno Sanches, DVM, Vytelle chief operating officer.

“With Cattlemen’s College we’re always in search of innovative, interactive ways of providing education that’s both captivating and helpful to cattle producers,” said Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education. “This session really fits that bill, as it takes a process that’s three decades old and modernizes it to give cattlemen and women a chance to see beef cattle reproduction in a new light.”

The session is just one of 18 that will be offered during the College, in six flights. The topics cover Building and Protecting Your Business, Let’s Talk Bulls, Maintaining a Healthy Herd, Trends in Genetic Selection, Here’s the Beef, and Practical Nutrition Management. Sessions are taught by experts in their respective cattle and beef fields.

Cattlemen’s College kicks off the “Deep in the Heart” Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Feb. 5-7, featuring many of the annual elements cattle producers have come to love and some new and unique ones they have come to expect – including other educational opportunities on the NCBA Trade Show floor. There will be a Learning Lounge with “lightning sessions” where attendees can gather educational tips, a Stockmanship and Stewardship demonstration arena and surprising new events, such as a Drone Drive, Chutes & Scales Showdown and Table Talks, where producers can interact with others in roundtable discussions.

In addition, meetings of NCBA, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation will be held, and there will be motivational speakers, music and entertainment, fellowship, CattleFax Outlook presentation, industry awards, an NCBA Invitational PBR Bull Riding event and much more.

Registration for both the Cattlemen’s College and 2020 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show is now open, and prices will go up in December, so make your preparations soon. Information about registration and the programs can be found at

NGFA urges STB to improve proposed rule designed to correct egregious rail carrier charges 

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) on Nov. 6 submitted a detailed 22-page statement to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) urging that it make significant changes to its Oct. 7 proposed policy statement that is designed to encourage Class I rail carriers to amend their demurrage and accessorial practices and charges to make them commercial fair, as well as reciprocal if they are the cause of delays that trigger such charges.

While commending the agency for developing the draft policy statement and conducting an exhaustive May 22-23 public hearing that demonstrated rail carriers’ egregious demurrage and accessorial practices, the NGFA said its “strong preference” was that the STB utilize its statutory authority and precedent to determine proactively that specific railroad practices are unlawful and direct that they amend their tariffs accordingly. The NGFA’s preferred approach would allow rail customers to submit “show-cause” filings or petitions to the STB calling on the agency to declare that a given carrier had not complied and order that the railroad take corrective action. NGFA said “this would be a much more accessible, cost-effective and timely approach than the STB issuing general policy guidelines” to be fleshed out only through formal complaint proceedings.

“The NGFA is disappointed by the (STB’s) proposal not to establish bright-line rules to govern the commercial fairness, commercial achievability and reciprocity of rail carriers’ demurrage and accessorial tariffs,” the statement read. “As has been amply demonstrated, the Class I railroads have little interest or incentive to be forthcoming or altruistic in amending their demurrage and accessorial policies voluntarily to conform with even the best principles and guidance developed by the agency….[T]here is very little prospect that the current situation will improve in any demonstrable way unless significant improvements are made to the (STB’s) proposed approach.”

If the STB retains its current proposed approach of issuing policy guidelines, the NGFA urged that it make the following specific improvements:

•    Propose rules or otherwise adopt a streamlined and abbreviated procedural schedule for resolving demurrage and accessorial complaints brought by shippers and receivers so that a decision is rendered in no more than 45 days, with a separate 15-day timeline for deciding disputes involving incorrect invoicing and dispute-resolution tariff terms, conditions and practices.

•    Establish an advisory committee to provide input to the STB on implementing the agency’s general principles on demurrage and accessorial practices.  Such an advisory committee would help enable continued monitoring of changes made by railroads to their demurrage and accessorial rules, practices and charges that may warrant modification or updating of the STB’s general principles.

The NGFA also recommended that the STB make significant refinements of its proposed policy guidance to address railroad practices that are not commercially fair, reciprocal or achievable by agricultural facilities. These improvements are outlined here.

The NGFA’s statement was supported by four other national agricultural organizations: the Agricultural Retailers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers’ Association and Pet Food Institute.

Growth Energy Participates in USDA Trade Mission to West Africa 

Last week, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Global Markets Craig Willis participated in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to West Africa, led by USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky. Willis was joined on the trade mission by representatives from Growth Energy member companies Archer Daniels Midland, Green Plains Inc., and Marquis Energy.

From October 28-31, the trade delegation met in Ghana and Nigeria with commodity groups and buyer delegations from Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal, including Nigeria Cassava Growers Association National President Segun Andewumi. These meetings gave the group greater insight into the countries’ market dynamics and the potential for ethanol-blended fuel in the region.

Following the trade mission, Willis stressed the value of these opportunities to meet one-on-one and advocate for the economic and environmental benefits of ethanol for these nations.

“These trips are so important because they are the beginning of long relationships,” Willis said. “During these initial meetings, you get to hear first-hand where the bottlenecks are and the regulatory barriers they’re facing for ethanol to come to Nigeria and Ghana. We now have an opportunity to take back what we’ve learned from experts in these countries and work to figure out how to open these markets and bring ethanol to these two countries.”

According to a recent report by USDA, both Ghana and Nigeria have seen growth in their ethanol usage over the past five years, despite not yet employing it for fuel use. In 2018, the U.S. accounted for nearly 48 percent of Nigeria’s ethanol imports – 21 million gallons – and the agency expects that number to grow as Nigeria’s auto fleet expands. Ghana’s imports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel use have also increased dramatically since 2014, from $19,000 to over $5.5 million. As the country seeks to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, phase out toxic additives in its fuel, and reduce dependence on foreign oil, ethanol has the potential to help Ghana achieve its goals.

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