Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Wednesday November 6 Ag News

2019 NeFB Silver Eagle Award Honors Dr. Terry Klopfenstein, Pioneer in Beef Nutrition

Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected Dr. Terry Klopfenstein, Emeritus Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), as the 2019 recipient of, its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. The award will be presented to Klopfenstein on Dec. 10 at the 2019 Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Kearney.

“Terry Klopfenstein, Ph.D., was a pioneer in using corn byproducts from the ethanol and sweetener industries to supplement cattle feeding,” said Steve Nelson president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. “Dr. Klopfenstein’s research laid the groundwork for distillers’ grains to become a key feedstock that has greatly lowered the cost of production for Nebraska's beef producers and is now labeled as a co-product of the ethanol industry.”

Dr. Klopfenstein was raised on his family’s farm in Ohio and worked around animals and cattle throughout his childhood. He began his tenure at the University of Nebraska in 1965 after completing his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Ohio State University. Dr. Klopfenstein held the University of Nebraska Wagner Professorship from 1989 to 2007. He mentored hundreds of graduate students in his 47-year career at the UNL, many of whom are recognized as excellent nutritionists. He takes pride in his work with students.

“Klopfenstein’s mother was a teacher who began her career when she was 18 years old. Growing up, his father taught him the importance of higher education because he never had the chance to further his education during the Great Depression. Terry instilled the same motivation for knowledge in his students, making them a priority in his career. Because of the need for well-trained feedlot managers, the Feedlot Management Internship was initiated in 1988 and 174 students have completed the program. His love of teaching has extended well beyond the classroom. Widely known for his research, Klopfenstein has authored 247 referred articles, 484 abstracts, and 507 technical publications,” Nelson said.

Klopfenstein has received multiple honors including the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS), American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award, USDA Superior Service Award, and the Morrison Award from the American Society of Animal Science, American Society of Animal Science Distinguished Teacher Award. He also was inducted into the Ohio State Animal Science and College of Ag Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Hall of Ag Achievement. Klopfenstein has been active with many industry organizations, including serving as president for the Federation of Animal Science Societies and the American Society of Animal Science

“Terry has been passionate, dedicated, determined, and devoted to improving beef nutrition in the agriculture industry. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service to Nebraska agriculture; his years of accomplishments makes him more than qualified to receive Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. We thank him for his service to agriculture students and the farmers and ranchers of Nebraska,” Nelson said.

Terry and his wife Nancy live in Lincoln and have eight children, 25 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren. He has been a Lancaster County Farm Bureau member for 31 years and for many years continues to assist Nancy with writing letters to elementary school students about what life is like on the farm and ranch as a part of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Ag Pen Pal Program.

Norfolk firm commits to Northeast’s Nexus project

A Norfolk area firm with a strong commitment to service in the community has pledged $50,000 to the Nexus agriculture campaign at Northeast Community College.

Jared Faltys of McMill CPAs & Advisors said the firm is pleased to strengthen the community through giving back.

“Donating to the Nexus project is just one way that we do this. Giving back to clients and communities is firmly rooted in company culture,” Faltys said. “Every one of our employees receives encouragement and support to participate in professional, charitable, and nonprofit associations. Our professionals donate their time and expertise, too, often as advisory or board members.”

McMill team members volunteer with more than 15 local organizations, and host a summer camp each year to help young students learn about business and finances.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation, thanked McMill CPAs & Advisors for the generous gift.

“This firm has a history of supporting the community,” Kruse said. “We are so pleased that they are including the Nexus project at Northeast in their philanthropy.”

The Nexus project is a capital campaign to raise money to update aging agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

“Agriculture is one of the industries that McMill CPAs & Advisors specializes in,” Faltys said, “and creating a new generation of students who are passionate in agriculture encourages growth in the industry and in northeast Nebraska. We know Northeast Community College produces quality graduates for our area as many of our team members are alums. We are excited to be a small part of creating the next generation of early adopters and leaders in agriculture.”

Kruse said, “Agriculture is the bedrock of Nebraska’s economy. One out of every two jobs in this region is tied to agriculture. For businesses in this area to be successful, having a strong agricultural economy is vital.”

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility, other farm structures for livestock operations, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

NA-BA 2019 Ag Update 

You're invited to this year's annual Ag Update sponsored by the Nebraska Agri-Business Association. There are a total of 13 speakers with five on the first day and eight on the second day.

Ag Update is at the Holiday Inn Southwest in Lincoln and will start with registration at 12:30 pm on Thursday, December 5, 2019, continuing all day Friday, December 6, 2019 with registration beginning at 8:00 am.

The speakers and topics for Thursday are:
    Conor Ward - 2018 Farm Bill and Program Update (PD .25)
    Jeremiah Schultz - EQIP Source Water Protection Initiative (PD .25)
    Nathan Mueller - Winter Wheat Works Initiative (CM 1)
    Katja Koehler-Cole - Cover Crops and Soil Health (CM 1)
    Keith Berns - Carbonomics (CM 1)

The speakers and topics for Friday are:
    Thomas Hunt - Our Newest Nebraska Insect Pest: The Soybean Gall Midge (PM 1)
    Tim Pearson - Drone Technology and Imagery (CM 1)
    Robert Wright - Crop Insect Pest Update (PM 1)
    Mike Zwingman - Metrics of Nutrient Use Efficiency (NM 1)
    Al Dutcher - Climate Update (SW 1)
    Tamra Jackson Ziems - Headlines in Corn and Soybean Diseases (PM 1)
    Rich Russel - Management of Soil Health for the Future (NM 1)
    James MacDonald - Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative (SW 1)

Your registration includes rolls & coffee and lunch on Friday.  Please contact Sarah Skirry at or (402) 476-1528, if you have any questions, or check out their web site at  They hope to see you in Lincoln at this year's Ag Update!

National Pork Board Study Defines China’s Growing Need For Protein

A new report from the National Pork Board digs into the growing short- and long-term protein needs facing China and how U.S. pork can position itself to meet that demand. The new report, Pork 2040: China Market Assessment, also reveals the impact that African swine fever (ASF) is having on both China’s short- and long-term protein needs and how the Chinese pork industry and supply chain will change as a result.

The research study was conducted by Gira, a global research firm, using Pork Checkoff dollars and funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Services Emerging Markets Program (EMP). It outlines critical insights that exporters of U.S. pork can use now to position themselves for long-term success in the Chinese market.

“Pork is a critical part of the Chinese diet with per capita consumption nearing 88 pounds* per person per year,” said Norman Bessac, vice president of international marketing for the Checkoff. “This report will help exporters position U.S. pork as the supplier of choice, thereby building value for all U.S. pork producers.”

According to the report, pork consumption in China peaked in 2014 and will continue to see a slow decline as the Chinese population grows to its highest level in 2030. As the availability of other proteins – specifically fish, chicken and beef – increases along with increased disposable income, consumers will look to diversify center-of-the-plate protein options.

According to the research, U.S. pork is poised to help fill the urgent short-term protein needs that ASF is creating in China due to the decrease in China’s domestic pig population. However, by 2025 Chinese pork production will have rebounded, and farms will have had time to rebuild and become more modern. The report outlines key steps that pork exporters can take now to increase exports to China in the short-term and defines a strategy to meet long-term demands. A few highlights from the report include:
    Short-term – With the current ASF outbreak, the U.S. export industry will need to work hard to capitalize on the potential market share it can garner. The demand in the short term will be for pork cuts, variety meats and carcasses. Exporters also should use the benefit of time to build loyalty with both Chinese processors and consumers.
    Long-term – As 2025 approaches and Chinese domestic production rebounds, Chinese pork will replace most of the import growth seen during the ASF outbreak. However, U.S. exporters can use these next five years to build customer relationships, value around their products and to differentiate themselves as a preferred supplier in the long-term.

“The Pork Checkoff is committed to adding value for pork producers,” said David Newman, a pig farmer representing Arkansas and president of the National Pork Board. “One of the ways to build value is to expand U.S. pork exports in developed and emerging markets. This market research and future studies will help key decision-makers to define and develop these markets.”

The Pork Board has also created a free marketing toolkit, which includes ideas that U.S. pork exporters can use to build their business in China. The full report is available at The Pork Checkoff collaborated with the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Pork Producers Council on the Pork 2040 study.

September Beef Export Volume Steady with 2018; Pork Exports Higher Year-over-Year

September exports of U.S. beef were steady with last year in volume but export value trended lower, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports were above year-ago levels in September but pulled back from the large totals posted in June, July and August.

September beef exports totaled 109,799 metric tons (mt), essentially even with last year, valued at $661.3 million (down 4%). Through the first three quarters of the year, beef exports were 2% below last year's record pace in both volume (991,325 mt) and value ($6.1 billion).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $318.54 in September, up significantly from the previous month but still 5% below last year. The January-September average was down 3% to $310.77. September exports accounted for 14.6% of total U.S. beef production and 11.9% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.8% and 12.4%, respectively, last year. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports accounted for 14.3% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.

September pork exports increased 13% from a year ago in both volume (202,248 mt) and value ($532.2 million). These results pushed January-September export volume 5% ahead of last year's pace at 1.9 million mt, while value increased 2% to $4.89 billion.

Pork export value averaged $49.98 per head slaughtered in September, up 3% from a year ago. For January through September, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.50. September exports accounted for 25.1% of total U.S. pork production, slightly higher than a year ago, and 21.7% for muscle cuts only (down slightly). January-September exports accounted for 26.3% of total pork production and 22.8% for muscle cuts, both up slightly from a year ago.

"While red meat exports face obstacles in some key markets, global demand dynamics are strong and we see opportunities for significant growth in the fourth quarter and into 2020," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Progress is being made on market access improvements and this makes for a very positive outlook going forward."

Beef export trend to Japan highlights need for tariff relief

Beef exports to leading market Japan continue to reflect the tariff rate gap between U.S. beef and its competitors. September exports were 14% below last year in both volume (24,041 mt) and value ($148.3 million). For the first three quarters of the year, exports to Japan were 4% below last year's pace in volume (241,739 mt) and 5% lower in value ($1.51 billion). The decline was steeper for beef muscle cuts, which were down 10% in volume to 192,676 mt, valued at $1.22 billion (down 9%). Beef variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues and skirts) have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 26% in volume (49,063 mt) and 15% in value ($290.8 million). While these items also face higher tariffs compared to competitors' products, the rate is 12.8% versus 38.5% for U.S. muscle cuts.

"Japan is still delivering excellent value for U.S. beef producers, but tariff relief cannot come soon enough," Halstrom explained, referring to the recently signed U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which is being discussed and considered for approval by the Japanese Parliament. "With a level playing field, the U.S. beef industry will move a wider range of products to our loyal customers in Japan and will definitely capitalize on emerging growth opportunities."

Beef exports to South Korea continue to build on last year's record performance, as September exports climbed 11% from a year ago in volume (21,267 mt) and 6% in value ($151.6 million). For January through September, exports reached 195,557 mt (up 8%) valued at $1.36 billion (up 10%). Korea surpassed Japan as the top value market for U.S. beef muscle cuts, reaching $1.36 billion through September (up 10% year-over-year). Muscle cut volume to Korea increased 9% to 185,288 mt. Korean customs data (January through October) indicate U.S. beef accounts for 56% of Korea's beef imports this year, up from 53% last year.

Fueled by strong demand for variety meat, September beef exports to Mexico were slightly above last year in volume (19,464 mt) and 2% higher in value ($91.2 million). Through the first three quarters of the year, exports to Mexico reached 175,992 mt, down 1% from a year ago, while value increased 5% to $820.7 million. Mexico is the leading destination for beef variety meat, and September was an especially strong month, as variety meat exports climbed 26% from a year ago in volume (9,018 mt) and 51% in value ($26.4 million). While January-September variety meat exports were steady year-over-year in volume (71,522 mt), value jumped 16% to $192.5 million.

January-September highlights for U.S. beef include:

-    Beef exports to Taiwan remain well ahead of last year's record pace, climbing 10% in volume (47,868 mt) and 6% in value ($427.3 million). In just nine months, exports to Taiwan have already surpassed all full-year totals posted before 2018.
-    Led by impressive growth in Indonesia, beef exports to the ASEAN region were 31% ahead of last year's pace in volume (44,481 mt) and 15% higher in value ($214.5 million). Exports to Indonesia soared 74% in volume (16,984 mt) and were 42% higher in value ($60.5 million). Demand for beef variety meat increased at an even more rapid pace in Indonesia, jumping 83% in volume (9,207 mt) and 78% in value ($18.4 million).
-    Strong September results in Central America pushed beef exports 8% above last year's pace in volume (11,351 mt) and 13% higher in value ($64.6 million), led by strong growth in Guatemala and Panama.
-    Although volume slowed in September, beef exports to the Dominican Republic remained on a record pace, increasing 39% from a year ago in volume (6,594 mt) and 32% in value ($53.2 million).

Rebuilding effort continues for U.S. pork in Mexico; exports to China/Hong Kong moderate

Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but not yet to the record-large, pre-tariff levels posted in 2017 and early 2018. September exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year in volume (56,467 mt), but value increased 7% to $97.6 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports were down 10% in volume (529,776 mt) and 9% in value ($919.4 million).

"Although the U.S. industry has made rebuilding pork demand in Mexico a top priority, there is definitely a lingering effect from the retaliatory duties, which were in place for nearly a full year," Halstrom said. "While it is a great relief to once again move pork to Mexico duty-free, ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would certainly help the psychology of the market and bolster our major customers' confidence in the U.S. supply chain."

Although dramatically higher than a year ago, September pork exports to China/Hong Kong pulled back from the large totals posted over the previous two months as China's domestic pork supplies felt increasing pressure from African swine fever (ASF). September volume was 51,192 mt, up 158% from a year ago, while value increased 123% to $115.6 million. For January through September, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 47% in volume (407,514 mt) and 25% in value ($833.5 million).

"Obviously we are anxious to learn the details of the phase 1 agreement between the U.S. and China and hopeful that it removes obstacles for U.S. pork," Halstrom said. "Exports to China/Hong Kong are improving, but certainly not to the level that could be achieved if U.S. pork returned to normal tariff levels and if the U.S.-China agreement addresses non-tariff barriers as well."

The U.S. pork industry stands to benefit significantly from the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which will bring tariffs on U.S. pork in line with those imposed on major competitors such as Canada and the European Union. Japan remains the leading value destination for U.S. pork, but September volume was down 8% to 27,812 mt and value fell 5% to $116.2 million. Through September, exports to Japan trailed last year's pace by 6% in both volume (278,352 mt) and value ($1.14 billion).

January-September highlights for U.S. pork include:

-    While September exports slowed to mainstay market Colombia and to the region as a whole, pork exports to South America were still 24% above last year's record pace in volume (114,535 mt) and 26% higher in value ($287.9 million). Chile has been South America's growth pacesetter in 2019, with exports climbing 60% in volume (33,992 mt) and 53% in value ($97.6 million). The U.S. is now Chile's largest pork supplier and opportunities continue to expand as more Chilean pork is exported to China.
-    A strong September performance pushed pork exports to Central America 16% above last year's record pace in volume (67,982 mt) and 19% higher in value ($165.1 million). Exports trended higher to Honduras, the largest Central American destination for U.S. pork, and Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have achieved excellent growth in 2019.
-    Exports to Oceania continue to reach new heights, climbing 37% from a year ago in volume (85,557 mt) and 33% in value ($243 million), with impressive growth in both Australia and New Zealand.
-    While ASF has impacted pork production in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam but more recently spreading into the Philippines, lower domestic prices have affected the ASEAN region's demand for imports. U.S. shipments to the ASEAN dropped sharply in September and through the third quarter trailed last year's pace by 15% in volume (41,905 mt) and 23% in value ($95 million). However, pork and hog prices have started to trend higher in Vietnam, and the European Union's pork exports to Vietnam were record-large in August, suggesting potential for larger U.S. exports in coming months.

September lamb exports trend higher

Exports of U.S. lamb increased 22% year-over-year in September to 1,435 mt, while value improved 9% to $1.77 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports were 31% above last year's pace at 12,061 mt, while value increased 13% to $19.3 million. Lamb muscle cut exports were 9% lower than a year ago in volume (1,652 mt) but increased 2% in value ($10.2 million). Markets showing promising muscle cut growth included the Dominican Republic, Panama and Guatemala.

CHS Reports Fiscal Year 2019 Net Income of $829.9 Million

CHS Inc., the nation’s leading agribusiness cooperative, today reported net income of $829.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2019. The results reflect an increase of $54.0 million -- or 7 percent -- compared to fiscal year 2018.

Key financial drivers for fiscal year 2019 include:
•        Consolidated revenues of $31.9 billion for fiscal year 2019 compared to $32.7 billion for fiscal year 2018.
•        Net income of $829.9 million for fiscal year 2019 compared to $775.9 million for fiscal year 2018.
•        Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business, primarily driven by favorable purchasing of Canadian crude oil.
•        Increased equity earnings from investments, including a $53.5 million increase related to CF Nitrogen. In addition, the CF Nitrogen investment distributed $186.5 million of cash to CHS Inc. in fiscal year 2019.
•        Acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution, LLC, that was not previously owned by CHS.
•        Pressure on the volumes and margins of grain and agronomy products, including increased costs of operations due to ongoing weather- and trade-related issues.
•        A combination of recoveries on previously recorded reserves, impairment charges and gain contingencies, which more than offset additional reserves and impairment charges taken during the year.

“We are pleased with our results on behalf of our owners in fiscal year 2019. We focused on our priorities, built on our strategies, continued to improve our control environment and leveraged the strength of our supply chain to deliver value to the farmers and co-ops that own us,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “Improving customer experience and innovations led to better results including increased diesel production at our refinery in McPherson, Kansas. Our acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution that we previously didn’t own expanded our distribution channels and grew market access in agronomy.

“When flooding made major riverways impassable, we leveraged our supply chain to reposition fertilizer to ensure our cooperatives and customers had the crop nutrients they needed for spring planting,” he said. “We identified new markets for our owners’ grain to help them navigate the difficult trade situation. And we began construction on a fertilizer storage facility in North Dakota and a grain shuttle loader in Minnesota. In each of these, the driving force was to be our customers’ first choice.

“We know the headwinds agriculture faced in fiscal year 2019 have carried over to fiscal year 2020, and CHS feels those same challenges. No one, however, feels them more and understands the impact more than the farmers and cooperatives that own us,” Debertin continued. “We remain focused on delivering value to our owners and creating connections to empower agriculture. And we’re committed to continuing to raise our owners' voices to policymakers and elected officials and identifying opportunities to continue to build our business, leveraging our supply chain and helping our owners navigate fluctuating markets.”

Fiscal Year 2019 Business Segment Results
Pretax earnings of $618.2 million represent a $166.1 million increase versus the prior year and reflect:
•        Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business driven primarily by favorable pricing on heavy Canadian crude oil, which is processed by our refineries in Laurel, Montana, and McPherson, Kansas.
•        Positive resolution of a gain contingency.
•        The increase was partially offset by gains associated with the sale of the Council Bluffs pipeline and terminal and 34 Zip Trip stores located in the Pacific Northwest during fiscal year 2018 that did not recur during fiscal year 2019.

Pretax earnings of $43.0 million represent a $31.3 million decrease versus prior year and reflect:
•        Poor weather conditions - including flooding during the spring of 2019 that prevented and delayed planting of crops - and ongoing global trade issues between the United States and foreign trading partners resulted in generally decreased margins and volumes across most of our Ag segment.
•        The decrease was partially offset by gains associated with fiscal year 2019 acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution that CHS previously did not own.
•        The net positive impact of recoveries on previously recorded reserves and impairment charges more than offset additional impairment charges taken during fiscal year 2019.

Nitrogen Production
Pretax earnings of $72.9 million represent a $34.1 million increase versus prior year and reflect:
•        Improved market pricing of urea and UAN, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen, of which CHS has partial ownership.

Corporate and Other
Pretax earnings of $81.5 million represent a $24.5 million decrease versus prior year and reflect:
•        A gain from the sale of CHS Insurance during fiscal year 2018 that did not recur in fiscal year 2019.
•        The decrease was partially offset by higher earnings from our investment in Ventura Foods, LLC, and from our financing business.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/1/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Nov. 1, ethanol production expanded for the sixth consecutive week, up 10,000 b/d or 1.0% to 1.014 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 42.59 million gallons daily. Conversely, production was 5.1% below the same week a year ago and 4.1% below the level two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.2% to 996,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks popped up 3.7% to 21.9 million barrels following two weeks of declining volumes. However, inventories were 5.5% lower than the same week last year. Stocks built across all regions (PADDs).

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded after 53,000 b/d hit the books the prior 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 dropped 6.5% to 9.145 million b/d (384.1 million gallons per day, or 140.19 bg annualized). Refiner/ blender net inputs of ethanol narrowed, down 2.0% to 917,000 b/d—equivalent to 14.06 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.09%.

NBB Applauds House Democrat Letter Pleading for Action on Tax Extenders

Today, Reps. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Kendra Horn (D-OK), and 38 other Democratic members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), urging them to make extension of expired tax incentives an urgent legislative priority before the end of the year. On behalf of its member companies, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked the Democratic Representatives, especially the freshman members, and emphasized that renewing the biodiesel tax credits before the end of the year is crucial to reviving production, reopening production facilities, and saving jobs.

"Extending the biodiesel, alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, and second-generation biofuel producer tax credits are especially important to the regions we represent," the Representatives write. "Participants up and down the supply chain are experiencing hardship as a result of this lengthy lapse in the credits."

NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik added, "The biodiesel industry thanks Representatives Finkenauer and Horn for leading the effort and drawing attention to the economic situation facing advanced biofuel producers. We thank the many other Democrats who represent biodiesel producing states for insisting that their leaders make this a legislative priority before the end of the year.

"Nine biodiesel producers – in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan and Texas – have been forced to close, cut production, and lay off workers. That's because blenders count on Congress to renew the tax credit and demand a discount on the price of biodiesel. As a result, producers have taken a loss for nearly two years now. The entire industry needs Congress to act before the end of the year and renew expired tax extenders."

In addition to Reps. Finkenauer and Horn, NBB thanked Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Sean Casten (D-IL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), T.J. Cox (D-CT), Angie Craig (D-MN), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bill Foster (D-IL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Jim Himes (D-CT), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ben McAdams (D-UT), Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Max Rose (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS-), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

Seven Fertilizers Report Price Drops

Prices dropped for seven of eight fertilizers tracked by DTN in the first week of November, as prices continued their downward trend of the past few months.

DAP continued to lead the way in price declines since last month, this time dropping $12 per ton to $464. DAP is now 8% less expensive than one year ago. Anhydrous showed an $8 per ton drop in price to $503, down only fractionally from one year ago.

Four fertilizers tracked by DTN showed $2 drops in price including MAP at $472. MAP has seen the largest price drop during the past year, down 11% from one year ago.

Urea fell from $404 to $402 per ton and is down 1% from a year ago. UAN28 dropped $2 to $251 and is 3% less expensive than one year ago. 10-34-0 recorded a $2 drop to $468, and is 2% less expensive than one year ago. Potash reported the smallest price drop of $1 to $383. Potash is down %5 from one year ago.

The price of UAN32 reported the only increase in this update from $289 to $291 per ton. However, UAN32 is 2% less expensive than a year ago.

Researchers address challenges in livestock pain mitigation

A pig or a cow can’t tell someone when its injured or in pain, but researchers are identifying ways to measure not only when an animal is in pain, but also what measures can be taken to help alleviate that pain. Abbie Viscardi, a research assistant professor in the anatomy and physiology department at Kansas State University, focuses primarily on validating non-invasive tools for pain assessment and pain alleviation of food animals on-farm to improve animal welfare. She shared her work at the 2019 U.S. Animal Health Association annual meeting, held last week in Providence, R.I.

Pain is defined as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” Viscardi’s emphasis is on the sensory experience of pain, which results in changes to an animal’s behavior and physiology. The emotional experience of pain is difficult to measure with present technology.

Sources of pain for animals can include castration, tail docking, dehorning/disbudding or branding. Pain can also be associated with production or natural interaction between animals, including lameness, abrasion, the process of giving birth, or infectious diseases.

Challenges in pain management

A number of factors create challenges in terms of pain management for farm animals:
  - Pain is difficult to recognize and some animals have instinctive mechanisms that inhibit their ability to exhibit pain
  - Time delay between drug administration and onset of activity would slow down processing procedures or lead to inadequate analgesia at the time of a painful procedure
  - Drug administration (routes and frequency) can be difficult on-farm
  - Cost of drugs can be prohibitive
  - Meat and milk withholding periods are often necessary
  - Only one analgesic is approved for use by FDA in the U.S. to alleviate pain

The last factor is particularly important because at the present time, just one analgesic is approved for pain, and it is labeled to address pain associated with foot rot in cattle. The Food and Drug Administration states, “We [FDA] recommend that this indication be based on the control of clinical signs of pain associated with a disease. We encourage the use of validated methods of pain assessment in the target species.” In other words, the FDA wants researchers to determine effective ways to assess pain before it will recommend products to deal with it.

“Obviously, animals can’t self-report so we look at assessment tools,” Viscardi said. These include behavior, facial grimace analysis, plasma cortisol, infrared thermography, algometery (pressure tolerance at the surgical site), and pressure-mat analysis, among others.

Products are being tested for their efficacy and potential use for pain mitigation. In addition, there is the possibility that pain can be eliminated through immune-castration and genetic selection (sexed semen).

“We can look at behaviors associated with a painful event,” Viscardi said. “We can measure activity levels and monitor how often they’re eating. It’s as simple as setting a camera up and observing behavior but it’s also labor intensive and can be subjective.”

Some studies have shown pain management options in livestock are effective, but others have been inconclusive. Viscardi said it’s difficult to give a recommendation to producers or veterinarians when researchers aren’t in agreement on whether or not a drug is effective.

Progress is being made, however. The Pain Mitigation Assessment Protocol Working Group is working to establish a research protocol to reliably evaluate efficacy of pain mitigation interventions in nursing male piglets during castration. This partnership with FDA, the National Pork Board and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians is a good first step to finding viable solutions for pain mitigation.

The Trump Administration Continues To Streamline And Modernize EPA

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to streamline and modernize the review of permits by the agency’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) while providing more flexibility to regulated parties, states and tribes, and the public. Under this proposal, interested parties would be empowered to choose the option for resolving a permit dispute that is best suited to their needs.

The Agency’s proposal aims to facilitate speedy resolution of permit disputes—either through alternative dispute resolution, a hearing before the Board, or more timely judicial review. EPA proposes several additional reforms designed to streamline the current administrative appeal process and to provide appropriate checks and balances on how the EAB exercises its delegated authority. The Agency is seeking broad input through the public comment process on these proposed changes.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have made the Agency more accountable to the public and with this proposal we are continuing to build on that success,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency now works more collaboratively with the states and tribes than it did 27 years ago and the EAB’s new role will reflect this reality.”

The proposal’s key elements are designed to simplify the review process, expedite permitting, and allow parties who would like to challenge EPA’s permits in court to do so more quickly. The proposal builds on the Board’s successful voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program that, to date, has resolved over 90 percent of cases that have gone through the program without litigation. The EAB’s ADR program promotes faster resolution of issues and more creative, satisfying and enduring solutions. The proposal provides parties challenging EPA’s permits with options to resolve their disputes, including ADR or a traditional appeal before Board. All parties would have a voice, and if they do not unanimously agree on the path forward, the permit becomes final and can be challenged in federal court without going through additional administrative process within the EPA.

The proposal also seeks to clarify the scope and standard of EAB review; remove a provision authorizing participation in appeals by amicus curiae; and eliminate the EAB’s authority to review Regional permit decisions on its own initiative in the absence of an appeal brought by an interested party. EPA also includes new deadlines for EAB action and other provisions to promote internal efficiency.

Finally, EPA also proposes to set twelve-year terms for EAB Judges in lieu of the indefinite terms currently in place; a new process to identify which EAB opinions will be considered precedential; and a new mechanism by which the Administrator, through the General Counsel, can issue a dispositive legal interpretation in any matter pending before the EAB.

These EAB reforms are in line with the Trump Administration’s efforts to reform and modernize EPA which include:
-    A directive to end the controversial “sue and settle” practice which removes the ability of third party groups to circumvent the regulatory process and require the Agency to engage in actions without public comment.
-    Reforming EPA’s science advisory committees, to ensure independence, geographic diversity, integrity. 
-    Implementing EPA’s Lean Management Systems and creating the Office of Continuous Improvement which measures progress made on 400 metrics and provides accountability to the public.
-        Realigning the Agency’s regional offices to ensure clarity and consistency in the Agency’s functions from Headquarters to the local level.
-        EPA also took steps to modernize and clear out our FOIA backlog. The steps the Trump Administration has taken will bring EPA into compliance with federal law and continue to be responsive to the public despite a 400% increase in FOIA requests since January 2017.


The EAB was created in 1992 to hear administrative appeals. At that time, the number of EPA-issued permits was increasing. Over the past 27 years, the Board’s role in permit appeals has changed as more states and tribes assumed permitting authority under EPA’s statutes. This has dramatically reduced the number of EPA-issued permits and, in turn, the number of permits appealed to the EAB.

Nutritionists: Plant-Based Meat’s Health Halo a Nothingburger

Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom placed a full-page ad in The New York Times showcasing quotes from nutrition and medical professionals on plant-based meat’s healthiness—or lack thereof. At a time when 76% of Americans think “plant-based” foods are healthy, CCF is pointing to experts who urge caution about fake meat.     

Companies that manufacture meat analogues are trying to latch on to clean eating trends by calling their products “plant-based.” In reality, these ultra-processed products, which can have dozens of ingredients, don’t grown on vines—they’re made in factories. As one dietitian puts it, “It’s not like you’re eating vegetables.” The National Institutes of Health recently found ultra-processed foods cause weight gain.

The ad, which can be found here, is the latest addition in CCF’s campaign to raise awareness of what’s in “plant-based meat.” Additional information, such as blogs and an ingredient comparison tool, can be found at Additional ads have run in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post.

CCF managing director Will Coggin commented: “The fake meat industry has tried to play down the ultra-processing of these products by comparing them to yogurt or apple pie. But there’s a big difference between homemade baked goods and Frankenfoods created in labs.”

Western Hemisphere Ag Leaders Support Science-Based Standards

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney issued the following statement Tuesday following the Inter-American Board of Agriculture's endorsement last week of a resolution emphasizing the need for science-based agricultural regulations to facilitate global agricultural trade.

"We have an opportunity to support the agricultural producers in the Western Hemisphere -- and across the world -- by committing to science-based standards and policies that ensure the quality and safety of our food while also facilitating international trade. I'm pleased that we've come together as neighbors across the hemisphere in support of this resolution, which lays a foundation for continued cooperation that will benefit agriculture in the Americas and beyond.

"This resolution addresses pesticide maximum residue levels, or MRLs, which are too often used as a barrier to trade. We heard firsthand this week how missing and misaligned pesticide MRLs can harm farmer livelihoods, contribute to food waste, and decrease food security. On the other hand, transparent and predictable establishment and adoption of MRLs helps farmers access the full range of tools and technologies they need to combat pests and allows them to engage in international trade.

"The United States is pleased to join with our IABA partners in endorsing this resolution supporting collaborative actions to reduce the impact of non-tariff barriers on trade, with particular emphasis on the agricultural exports of developing countries."

The IABA is the governing board of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which is comprised of 34 Western Hemisphere countries committed to achieving agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation.

NMPF Highlights Dairy’s Resilience, Honors Farmer Leaders at Annual Meeting

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern highlighted the resilience of U.S. dairy farmers in a challenging economic and policy environment, pledging that dairy would speak with one voice on crucial issues in remarks at NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the United Dairy Industry Association and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board.

“Resilience against hardship has always been a fact of life in dairy,” Mulhern said. “We know that if we embrace change while holding true to our values, we will win.”

NMPF’s portion of the conference was highlighted by bylaws changes that bolster its position as the premier organization for U.S. dairy farmers. The biggest U.S. dairy-farmer group also honored longtime leaders who have helped build today’s industry.

At its annual meeting in New Orleans, the organization added the chairman of its Small Cooperative Caucus, Jimmy Kerr of Cooperative Milk Producers Association based in Blackstone, Virginia, to its now 15-member Executive Committee, ensuring that cooperatives of all sizes have a voice in the organization’s thought-leadership body. The Executive Committee, that was formed earlier this year, enhances the geographic and size diversity the organization needs in its governance structure.

“NMPF represents a broader range of dairy farmers and interests than any other industry organization,” Mulhern said. “Committing to diverse leadership makes our united voice is the strongest it can be. Brighter times lie ahead for dairy, and we are ready to advance in a wide range of areas that serve all of our members.”

The meeting, NMPF’s main policy conference of the year, featured discussions of the state of the dairy industry and economy, with remarks from the organization’s chairman, Missouri dairy farmer Randy Mooney, and presentations from NMPF staff on issues ranging from immigration to the fight against inappropriate labeling of plant-based products. It also named new members to its Board of Directors, including:
    James Jacquier, Agri-Mark Inc.
    Harold Howrigan, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
    David Kyle, Foremost Farms USA
    Joey Fernandes, Land O’Lakes
    Sonia Fabian, Lone Star Milk Producers.

NMPF also recognized four dairy leaders with “Honorary Director for Life” designations for their service to NMPF and the broader dairy community:
    Adrian Boer, Northwest Dairy Association
    Cornell Kasbergen, Land O’Lakes
    Neal Rea, Agri-Mark
    George Rohrer, Dairy Farmers of America.

Raven Industries Acquires Smart Ag

Raven Industries, Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D., announced that it has acquired Smart Ag Inc., a technology company that develops autonomous farming solutions for agriculture. This acquisition is part of Raven Autonomy, the company's strategic growth platform to become the industry leader in autonomous agriculture solutions, announced earlier this week. Complementing the company's Applied Technology division, a leading technology provider in the precision agriculture industry, this acquisition will be integrated into the division's business and technology portfolio with the intent to create autonomous solutions for the precision ag market.

"The acquisition of Smart Ag is part of a bold, company-wide strategy for Raven," commented Dan Rykhus, Raven Industries president and CEO. "It is a key investment in Raven Autonomy, one of our two strategic growth platforms. Autonomy in agriculture is the future of farming, and this acquisition, coupled with our existing precision agriculture solutions, solidifies our position as a technology leader within this market."

As part of Raven Autonomy, the company plans to deliver autonomous solutions for agriculture that will enable both its OEM partners and ag retailers to be successful. Now more than ever, OEMs need to deliver premier precision ag solutions in order to compete. Raven Autonomy will deliver on this great challenge; its technology will enable large-scale ag retailers to augment their operations, allocate resources smartly and reduce labor dependency. Along with the company's recent agreement to acquire majority ownership in DOT Technology Corp., the acquisition of Smart Ag brings perception and path planning capabilities to the company's leading technologies in precision ag operations.

Smart Ag, headquartered in Ames, Iowa, was founded in 2015 to solve the growing labor crisis in production agriculture. Today, Smart Ag is offering aftermarket retrofit kits to automate farm equipment as well as a platform to connect, manage and safely operate autonomous agricultural machinery. Smart Ag's technology stack is easy to use and modular for scalability. In addition to its proven, proprietary technology, Smart Ag brings an established dealer network and a skilled development team to Raven.

Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition acquires assets of Rangen, Inc., significantly expanding in aquaculture, livestock nutrition sectors

Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition, LLC, an industry leader in the delivery of nutrients to the livestock, pet food and aquaculture industries, today announced the acquisition of the assets of Rangen, Inc., a privately held, 90-plus year-old aquaculture and general feed production company with production facilities in Buhl, Idaho, and Angleton, Texas.

"We're excited to welcome another well-established business with a strong industry presence to Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition," said Andrew Loder, President of the Nutrition division of Wilbur-Ellis, a leading international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal nutrients, and specialty chemicals and ingredients.

"Rangen is a strategic fit for Nutrition. It significantly expands our aquaculture business, immediately giving Wilbur-Ellis a nationwide platform from which to expand in one of the fastest-growing markets in the global feed industry," Loder said. "The acquisition also benefits the Company's livestock, pet and companion animal offerings by expanding our branded and custom-formulated feed options. We have been very impressed by the focus of Rangen employees on innovation, and their laser focus on helping customers succeed."

The aquaculture business includes the production of high-quality feed for fish – including trout, salmon and shrimp – which helps to meet growing consumer demand for healthy foods that are high in protein. Aquaculture also is environmentally sustainable, since feed is converted to fish production far more efficiently than other species, significantly reducing the resources required.

Rangen employs approximately 80 full-time employees at its headquarters and plant operations. The acquisition includes two plants in Buhl, Idaho, which manufacture aquaculture and general feed products, as well as an aquaculture feed plant in Angleton, Texas.

Rangen employees will join Wilbur-Ellis, continuing in their roles at their current locations. "Our Nutrition division has been an industry leader for nearly a century," said Wilbur-Ellis President and Chief Executive Officer John Buckley. "Through our diverse product lines, excellent service and innovation, we have positioned ourselves to be the provider of choice for customers and suppliers. As Rangen becomes a trusted brand of Wilbur-Ellis, we're taking the next step in growing the Nutrition business with value-added products and services in diversified end markets."

Rangen was founded in 1925, with its aquaculture division established in 1950. Rangen President Chris Rangen noted: "Throughout our history, a major advantage has been the experience, knowledge and customer commitment of Rangen employees. As this business becomes part of Wilbur-Ellis, I know these same strengths will propel the business to even greater growth. That's good for employees and the customers they serve."

Loder added: "We're extremely pleased to welcome Rangen employees to Wilbur-Ellis. We're a family-owned company that is about to celebrate our 100th anniversary. But as proud as we are of our history, we're focused on the future – and an organization like Rangen and its team will help us maintain our deep commitment to safety and deliver on our ambitious growth, value and innovation goals. With our combined strengths, we will achieve our vision of being the innovative leader in the marketing and distribution of animal nutrients."

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