Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tuesday November 12 Ag News


For the week ending November 10, 2019, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 87 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 87 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 74 percent, near 75 last year, and behind 83 for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 96 percent, near 93 last year and 97 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 50 good, and 13 excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 74 percent, behind 83 last year and 86 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 62 good, and 11 excellent.


 Statewide there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 10, 2019 although winter weather moved across Iowa bringing more snowfall to the northern half of the State according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were reports across the State concerning propane shortages slowing corn harvest due to the high moisture content of the crop and the need to dry it down.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus.

Sixty-four percent of the corn crop has been harvested for grain, 9 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Producers in the Northwest, North Central and Southeast Districts have harvested over 70 percent of their expected crop, while the Northeast District fell further behind with just 47 percent complete. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 20 percent.

Ninety-one percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, one week behind average. The South Central District remained the furthest behind at 71 percent complete, but closed the gap as producers in the district harvested nearly one-quarter of their expected crop during the week ending November 10, 2019.

Cattle continued to battle below normal temperatures. There were also reports of cattle grazing in corn fields and some feeding of hay in the State.

U.S. Corn Harvest Moves Ahead 14%, Soybean 10%

The percentage of U.S. corn and soybeans harvested moved ahead by double digits again last week but remained the furthest behind average in a decade as of Sunday, Nov. 10, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report is normally released on Mondays but was delayed this week due to the Veterans Day holiday.

Nationwide, corn harvest picked up speed last week, moving ahead another 14 percentage points to reach 66% as of Sunday. That was still 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 85% but was slightly nearer to normal than the previous week when harvest was running 23 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Meanwhile, soybean harvest moved ahead 10 percentage points last week to reach 85% as of Sunday. That was 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 92%, an improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 12 percentage points behind average.

Winter wheat progress stayed close to normal last week. As of Sunday, 92% of winter wheat was planted, equal to the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 78%, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 81%. Winter wheat condition was estimated at 54% good to excellent, down 3 percentage points from 57% the previous week.

Sorghum harvested reached 88%, ahead of the five-year average of 80%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 62%, also ahead of the average pace of 59%.

Testing for Hay Quality

Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

This year’s spring and summer weather may have affected the feed value of your hay and you won’t know by how much unless  you conduct a forage test.

Nearly every bushel of corn has similar nutrient concentration, but with hay it varies considerably.  The leafiness of the hay, or maturity of the plant when your hay was cut, or even how you handled the hay during raking and baling all can affect its feed value.

This year, weather conditions made things more complicated.   This spring's floods and cool, wet weather caused many folks to delay first cutting or got rain-damaged hay.   Leaf diseases, mature plants, and other factors made much alfalfa lower in quality.   During summer we had periods of hot and very humid weather that often caused plants to burn off their easily digested nutrients at night, leaving us with hay that looks really good but is high in fiber and low in energy.

Grass hay might be even more difficult to predict.   Some fields had fewer seedheads than normal.   This might give higher quality hay, but if harvest was delayed in hopes of increasing yield or if the heat affected grass quality like it affects alfalfa, grass hay quality might actually be lower.   And when growth is stimulated by extra rain, plants use many nutrients for increased tonnage instead of quality.

And think about all the different forages used on prevented planting acres.   Different species harvested late in the year will require a forage test to determine what the protein and TDN levels are.

A forage test can tell you the nutrient concentration in your hay,  but only if the sample you collect accurately resembles your hay.  Nutrient concentration varies considerably in all forages.   That is why it is recommended that hay testing be a regular part of your operation. 

For hay tests to be effective, your sample must accurately represent your hay.   Reaching into a bale and pulling out a random chunk of hay will not give you a good sample.   Nor will gathering a single flake of hay.  The only effective method to sample long hay is by using a core sampler.   If you don’t have one, you can buy one from many agricultural supply stores or catalogs.  

The first thing you need to do is organize your hay into groups that all came from the same field and cutting.   Then use the hay probe to collect one core each from 15 to 20 of the bales.   Collect your sample from the center of the bales.   Then combine all the core samples from this group into one larger sample to send to the lab.

If there is decayed or moldy material that you will discard or your animals will not eat, do not include it in your sample.   That way you will have a sample that is similar to the actual diet of your livestock.   However, if you plan to sell the hay, then you need to include this less desirable material in your sample to accurately represent all the hay to be sold.

This year, just like always, forage testing is important and is the only way that you can find out ahead of time what the feed value is of your hay.

Ricketts Visits World’s Largest Ag Tech Fair to Promote Nebraska’s Products

This week, Governor Pete Ricketts and his trade delegation visited the world’s leading agricultural technology fair.  The fair, Agritechnica, is hosted in Hannover with 450,000 visitors from 130 countries.

Companies headquartered in Nebraska, such as Lindsay and Orthman, and companies with investments in Nebraska, such as CLAAS, use the fair as an opportunity to showcase their products.  At the fair, Gov. Ricketts and the delegation met with several equipment manufacturers.

At Agritechnica, Gov. Ricketts hosted a seminar pitching fair attendees on investing in Nebraska.  Nebraska is home to investments from German manufacturers including CLAAS and Graepel.  During the seminar, Gov. Ricketts highlighted Nebraska’s strength in agriculture, fiscal stability, hardworking people, low energy costs, and other rankings.

Platte Valley Cattlemen meeting is Nov 18

Here we are in the month of November already.  Hopefully, most of you are finishing up on great and successful harvest and can start getting prepared for the winter months.

With that said, it is time for the PVC 2019 Cow/Calf meeting to be held at Wunderlich’s Catering on Monday, November 18th.  Social hour will start at 6pm and the dinner begins around 7pm.  Rosendahl Farms Seed and Feed is sponsoring the social hour.  Also, CPM is sponsoring the meal.  Thank you both for your donations and support.

The speaker for the night is Brent Karstens.  Brent works for Merck.  He will be talking about the importance of implanting calves and the importance of using Safeguard on your cows and calves.

There will also be some information on the progress of the Cattlemen’s Ball that will be held north of Columbus the first part of June.  They still are looking for volunteers for the event so if anyone is interested in helping out, there will be some information on that. 

Nebraska: An Ecosystem in Harmony

You’re invited to join us for the next Heuermann Lecture titled “Nebraska: An Ecosystem in Harmony”. The lecture, featuring Craig Allen, Andrea Basche and Michael Forsberg is hosted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    Craig Allen, Director, Center for Resilience in Working Agricultural Landscape
    Andrea Basche, Assistant Professor, Agronomy and Horticulture
    Michael Forsberg, Co-Founder, Platte Basin Timelapse and UNL Professor of Practice

    John Carroll, Director, School of Natural Resources
    Martha Mamo, Department Head, Agronomy and Horticulture

3:30 pm Lecture, NIC Auditorium
5:00 pm Dinner, NIC Banquet Space
5:30 pm Showing of “Follow The Water” Documentary, NIC Banquet Space
6:30 pm Discussion with Michael Forsberg and team

Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center
2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln, NE

AGP will offer production contracts for Plenish oleic soybeans 2020

AGP will offer production contracts for Pioneer® brand Plenish® high oleic soybeans for 2020.  AGP is contracting soybeans for delivery to its plant in Hastings, NE, or to one of the participating elevators.

Farmers who contract with AGP to grow Plenish high oleic soybeans in 2020 can earn a processor-paid premium of $0.40/bu for a harvest delivery to a designated elevator or $0.45/bu for on-farm storage. Additional program details are available from your local Pioneer sales representative, an AGP soybean merchandiser or at Pioneer.com.

As consumer and food industry demand for healthier ingredients continues to grow, opportunities to maximize soybean profit potential grow with it. Plenish high oleic soybeans offer farmers a value-added product to help meet demand and boost soybean market opportunities.

Governor Kim Reynolds, Secretary Mike Naig Leading Trade Mission to Japan

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig are currently leading a 24-member trade mission delegation to Japan. The mission, which is focused on food and agriculture, is aimed at expanding trade and investment opportunities and is being coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).

In 2018, Iowa companies exported $1.5 billion goods to Japan. Japan is Iowa’s third largest export destination and the leading export market for pork and beef products. Iowa companies exported $537 million in meat products to Japan in 2018. In addition, Japan is the second largest destination for Iowa corn – in 2018, Japan imported $491 million in Iowa corn.

“Our strategy to increase both exports and foreign direct investment is vital to our overall economic development plan,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Leading trade missions such as this opens doors for Iowa by showcasing our products to the global economy and forging personal face to face relationships that last a lifetime. Japan is an important partner with substantial economic power, and we want to encourage Iowa companies to make the most of it.”

The delegation left for Japan on Friday, Nov. 8 and scheduled to return to Iowa on Nov. 14. The itinerary is comprised of stops in Yamanashi — Iowa’s sister state — and Tokyo. Mission highlights include meeting with Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki, hosting a seminar about doing business in Iowa and meetings with existing industry representatives and investment prospects.

“Japan is the largest export market for Iowa’s beef and pork producers. I was excited to be in New York City when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe signed the new trade agreement in September,” said Secretary Naig. “This trade mission is a great way to celebrate our countries’ renewed partnership and explore new opportunities to work together.”

Mission participants include IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham, Iowa companies involved in meat and food processing and representatives from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Sister States. Iowa companies will participate in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs. IEDA has been working with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to identify business prospects for the delegation.

The IEDA’s International Trade Office connects Iowa companies with markets for their products and services, educates Iowa businesses on exporting and assists global companies wishing to establish or expand operations in Iowa. To find out more about these services or other trade missions that the IEDA is planning, please visit iowaeconomicdevelopment.com.

No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand

(AP)  Dean Foods, America’s biggest milk processor, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday amid a decades-long drop-off in U.S. milk consumption blamed on changing trends and a growing variety of alternatives.

The Dallas company said it may sell itself to the Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers.

“Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption,” CEO Eric Berigause said in a statement.

Since 1975, the amount of milk consumed per capita in the U.S. has tumbled more than 40%. Americans consumed around 24 gallons per year in 1996, according to government data. That dropped to 17 gallons in 2018.

An increasing variety of beverages, including teas and sodas, has hurt milk consumption. So have protein bars and other on-the-go breakfasts, which take the place of a morning bowl of cereal.

More recently, health and animal-welfare concerns have also contributed, as more shoppers seek out non-dairy alternatives like almond milk. Oat milk, for example, saw U.S. sales rise 636% to more than $52 million over the past year, according to Nielsen data.

Sales of cow’s milk have dropped an average of 6% per year over the last four years, Nielsen said.

That has hit dairy farms and milk sellers hard, leading some smaller family farmers to quit the business.

It also had an outsize effect on Dean Foods, which derived 67% of its sales from fluid milk last year, according to its annual report. Fifteen percent came from ice cream and just 4% came from fruit juice, iced tea, water and flax-based beverages.

Dean employs 16,000 people and operates 60 processing facilities across the country. On any given day, it is running 8,000 refrigerated delivery trucks on U.S. roads.

The company supplies milk for its own brands, like Dairy Pure, Meadow Gold and TruMoo, as well as store brands. One big blow came last year, when Walmart opened its own milk processing plant in Indiana.

Dean has lost money in eight of its last 10 quarters and posted declining sales in seven of the last eight.

The company said it will continue operating normally while it puts its finances in order under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It has lined up about $850 million in financing from lenders.

Peterson, Conaway Congratulate Farm Bureau on Centennial

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway of Texas released the following statements congratulating AFBF on this accomplishment and their century of dedication to farmers, ranchers, and rural America:

“The American Farm Bureau Federation has a longstanding tradition of advocacy on behalf of agriculture and rural America,” Chairman Peterson said. “Their organization, founded by a grassroots movement, assures the voices of America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities are heard in legislative matters in local and state governments, as well as in Washington, D.C. Because of AFBF’s dedication to being vocal and reliable advocates for the agriculture community, we have introduced H. Res. 45 congratulating AFBF on a century of work on behalf of rural America.”

“For 100 years, the American Farm Bureau Federation has been an unwavering voice and source of support for rural America,” Ranking Member Conaway added. “I had the pleasure of working closely with Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall as we crafted the 2018 Farm Bill, and I could not be more grateful for the Farm Bureau’s lasting commitment to serving America’s farm and ranch families. Congratulations to all the men and women of the Farm Bureau, past, present, and future, on this remarkable milestone.”

NBB Releases New Report on the Importance of the Biodiesel Tax Incentive

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) released a new report, "The Importance of the Biodiesel Tax Credit," showing how the emerging biodiesel industry relies on the combined values of the tax credit and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credits to compete with petroleum diesel in the current market. The report was written by John Urbanchuk, managing partner of ABF Economics.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, comments, "The biodiesel industry's growth has been steady and sustainable over the past 15 years, with support from the biodiesel tax incentive and the RFS. The industry supports more than 65,000 jobs across the United States and $17 billion in economic activity. But at the moment, the RFS -- and the value of RINs -- is being undermined by waivers and flatlined volumes. On top of that, the nearly two-year lapse of the tax credit is compounding economic uncertainty for U.S. producers, endangering jobs and economic opportunities in many states.

"Nine biodiesel plants have already slashed production or closed up, laying off workers in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Dozens more could be forced to do the same in the next few months due to the instability in federal policy. Congress needs to act now to restore the biodiesel tax incentive and help the industry reopen plants and rehire workers."

Urbanchuk writes, "The current uncertainty surrounding reinstatement and retroactivity of the tax credit is a significant disincentive for the U.S. biodiesel industry (blenders and producers) and has constrained industry expansion. Absence of a tax credit and uncertainty is one major reason the industry is operating at only 70 percent of industry production capacity. The uncertainty is forcing some producers to shut down production."

The report examines relative prices and values for biodiesel (B100) and petroleum-based ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) from 2016 to the first quarter of 2019. Biodiesel and ULSD compete for market share within the same applications, the report explains. While biodiesel is higher priced compared to ULSD, it is profitable on average to produce because its value in meeting the RFS standards helps recoup its production cost.

"Over the past several years, while petroleum diesel prices increased, biomass biodiesel prices (B100, Upper Midwest) actually declined," Urbanchuk writes. Higher capacity utilization rates and economies of scale are a few of the factors necessary to lower biodiesel production costs and achieve direct competitiveness.

The report's data demonstrates that with relatively low petroleum diesel prices in 2016 and 2017, the biodiesel tax incentive helped biodiesel compete in the market, which allowed biodiesel producers to expand market share. As ULSD prices rose in 2018, biodiesel's reduced production costs and RFS Renewable Identification Number (RIN) values allowed it to directly compete. That encouraged a continued expansion of domestic U.S. biodiesel production, as the market anticipated a renewal of the tax incentive.

In early 2019, however, falling oil prices and RIN values undercut the profitability of biodiesel.

Urbanchuk writes, "The issue for biodiesel producers is that the prices that determine ultimate profitability (feedstocks) and competitive environment in the fuel market (B100, ULSD, and RINs) are largely unpredictable. Absence of, and uncertainty regarding extension of the biodiesel tax credit significantly increases the risk biodiesel producers face."

According to the report, the tax credit helps the typical biodiesel producer make up the remaining difference between the market price of B100 and ULSD. Blenders who market diesel fuel blends share the tax credit's value -- and risk of policy changes -- with biodiesel producers, according to the report. But the biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of 2017, the report points out.

"This situation forces a biodiesel blender to reduce the transaction price of B100 (the price actually paid by the refiner) in order to remain competitive," the report states. "Blenders have substantial market leverage to pass some or all of this "discount" back to the biodiesel producer, who has to take the transaction price into account when calculating his breakeven and shutdown point."

NASCAR Continues to Validate Benefits of E15 with 15 Million Miles of Performance

Last weekend at the Bluegreen Vacations 500, NASCAR reached a significant milestone, announcing that their drivers have surpassed 15 million miles on Sunoco Green E15, a fuel made with 15 percent American ethanol.

NASCAR adopted E15 in 2011 across its three national series to reduce emissions in the sport, while maintaining the high-performance standard needed by drivers during every race. Growth Energy, the nation’s largest association representing ethanol producers and supporters, launched its American Ethanol program in 2011 in conjunction with NASCAR’s decision to adopt E15.

Following NASCAR’s announcement, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued a statement celebrating this occasion:
“American Ethanol’s partnership with NASCAR has been a fantastic platform to promote the benefits of cleaner-burning ethanol ever since the sport adopted Sunoco Green E15 in 2011. NASCAR fans have now seen the fuel perform flawlessly for 15 million miles under the most demanding circumstances imaginable. Meanwhile, consumers have put E15 to the test for more than 11 billion miles of commutes, road trips, and picking their kids up from school. Whether on or off the track, day after day, mile after mile, E15 continues to be the smart choice for drivers who care about their engines, reducing emissions, and saving money at the fuel pump.”

The benefits of E15 extend beyond the racetrack, as consumers can purchase 15 percent ethanol blends – most commonly labeled as Unleaded 88 at the fuel pump – at more than 2,000 locations in 30 states across the country. Unleaded 88 has more octane than regular unleaded fuel, and costs up to $0.10 less per gallon. Visit Unl88.com to learn more and download the GasBuddy app to find your nearest Unleaded 88 station.

Trade Assistance Payments Disproportionately Benefitted Large-Scale and Southeastern Operations

A government program intended to support farmers and ranchers affected by trade disputes disproportionately benefited large-scale and Southeastern operations, according to a minority staff report published today by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program, known as the Market Facilitation Program, compensated most commodity grain producers based on a single county rate per planted acre. National Farmers Union (NFU) initially expressed concern that the payment disparities among counties would put some farmers at a financial disadvantage, a fact that has been confirmed by today’s report. Although farmers in the North, Midwest, and West have experienced the greatest harm from trade disputes, 95 percent of counties receiving the highest payment rates are based in the Southeast. Even in adjacent counties, payment rates sometimes vary by two to three times.

“Farmers in every county have been affected by withering export markets,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Yet these county payment rates arbitrarily have helped farmers in some counties much more than others. If you’re unlucky enough to live in a county with a low payment rate, you may have received just a third of the assistance that your next-door neighbor got – for no apparent reason at all.”

NFU was similarly worried that the vast majority of trade assistance would flow to the largest operations rather than more vulnerable small- and medium-sized operations; by some estimates, more than half of the first tranche of payments went to just one-tenth of the recipients. Since then, USDA doubled the payment limit for row crops from $125,000 to $250,000 and loosened income restrictions, paving the way for millionaires to claim an even larger share of assistance.

With the number of mid-sized farms already rapidly declining, Johnson was perturbed that MFP would accelerate the alarming trend of farm-level consolidation. “During times of financial difficulty like these, bigger farms with more equity have a cushion to protect them from low prices and bad weather. But smaller operations might not be able to withstand more than a few hard years in a row,” Johnson said. “A successful food system is a diverse food system, with farms of all types and sizes. Unfortunately, USDA’s preferential treatment of larger operations will likely contribute to the ongoing homogenization of American agriculture.”

Flaws aside, these programs are just a temporary solution to the very long-term damage inflicted on the United States’ trade relationships. “Trade assistance payments are not an economically sustainable way for farmers to make ends meet,” said Johnson. “Though assistance payments have proved critical to the immediate financial stability of family farmers and ranchers, their continued success depends on stable markets and fair prices. Farmers work hard to feed, fuel, and clothe America – and they should be able to make a living doing just that. We urge President Trump to work with Congress to establish policies that ensure that farmers no longer have to depend on outside help just to stay in business.”


Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Created 34 years ago through a vote of producers all over the country, the Beef Checkoff launched to add support to the industry through promotion and research to ultimately grow beef demand. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will?  The program started in 1985 with a simple process: pay $1 per head of cattle at the time of sale.  It’s something you may only do few times a year or maybe you do it several times a month.  Most likely it shows up as a line item on your sale barn receipt or you might send in a check through the private treaty program. Did you know those dollars are contributing a larger, multi-faceted program? 

And do you know the journey your dollar takes once it leaves your hand?


When the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order was created, the producers involved wanted the process to be a simple one. The idea of “one head / one dollar” seemed to be the best and fairest way to easily pull together assessments on cattle to fund the state and national programs. At the time, those founding producers had the forethought and experience to understand that the program needed national exposure and reach, as well as “boots on the ground” to provide local experience and feedback from back home. By creating a joint effort between state beef councils and the national office of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the checkoff was assured to have input from producers from all over the country.

When you pay your dollar, it is collected and sent to your state beef council office.  There the money is split: fifty cents to your state, fifty cents to the national office. Why the split?  Because producers desire the efficiency of a national, unified voice and the promotional power of the national Checkoff programs (Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner campaigns, national research, media relations, etc.) combined with the customized support at the local level at home. State beef councils support their states through unique consumer and producer events, information, and outreach.


Before the Beef Checkoff was created, the beef industry’s promotion and research efforts were somewhat fragmented. Multiple organizations were duplicating efforts and there was no central coordinated effort to reach a greater audience of consumers and keep the spotlight on beef in an increasingly competitive protein marketplace. The checkoff was built to bring those organizations together into a unified voice, to improve efficiencies, and to build shareable – yet customizable – resources to increase beef demand.

By coordinating efforts, funding, and ideas, great things have been happening as resources are shared across multiple platforms and audiences. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board office works with national contractors to develop targeted programs and information that can be shared at the state level. State beef councils use their local resources to build programs, create local, targeted campaigns, and develop research for their own particular group of consumers.  Contractors share with states, states share with other states, contractors share with contractors. This unified front creates a powerful web of support for producers and helps to build demand for beef throughout the country. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will?

To be continued…

For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, contact the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at 303-220-9890 or visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com.

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