Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Monday December 30 Ag News

Report says Phase One Trade Deal Signing May Happen This Weekend

Reports surfaced early on Monday that the Chinese Vice Premier will lead a delegation to Washington, D.C., to sign the Phase One trade deal. A source close to the situation tells the South China Morning Post that Liu (Lou) He will fly to Washington on Saturday to sign the agreement. The source said the U.S. extended the invitation and Liu has accepted. Beijing and Washington haven’t confirmed the trip yet.

China is already buying larger amounts of U.S. agricultural products, including soybeans, which was a big part of the agreement for U.S President Donald Trump. The possibility of making the deal official this weekend will mean increased purchases by China, as well as a partial end to the trade war that’s dominated headlines for the past 18 months. China’s soybean imports from the U.S. recently hit a 20-month high at 2.6 million tons, the highest number since March of 2018, when the trade war between the world’s largest economies began to pick up steam. Reports of higher food prices in China will likely mean a need for increased imports of U.S. agricultural goods in the months ahead to bring down those prices.



Iowa Farmers Using Cover Crops Can Sign Up for Crop Insurance Discounts until Jan. 15, 2020


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reminds farmers who planted fall cover crops that the deadline to sign up for a $5 per acre reduction on their 2020 crop insurance premiums is quickly approaching. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will accept applications until Jan. 15, 2020.

Farmers and landowners can sign up online at apply.cleanwateriowa.org. Fall 2019 cover crop acres enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost-share programs are not eligible. Farmers who received prevent plant payments in 2019 are still eligible for the discounted insurance premiums.

“Cover crops offer multiple benefits to farmers and landowners; they are proven to reduce nutrient loads, improve soil health and can be used for livestock grazing,” said Secretary Naig. “This program is just one of many options farmers can use to implement innovative conservation practices on their land.”

The insurance premium reductions will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agent to maintain eligibility.

This is a joint, three-year demonstration project administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa. More than 1,200 farmers have applied for this program and planted 300,000 acres of cover crops in the past two years.

Farmers are encouraged to visit their local USDA service center offices to learn about other funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.



U.S. Soy Leads the Way in Sustainable Global Aquaculture


What do U.S. soybean farmers and global aquaculture have in common? Quite a bit, actually, especially in helping to make fish farming more sustainable and scalable.

Working towards Sustainability in Global Fish Farming

For nearly 30 years, the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) aquaculture program, funded by the soybean checkoff, has provided critical training and technical knowledge for global aquaculture — ranging from small family fish farms in Asia to large international operations that provide fish for your local supermarket and large global retailers like Costco and Walmart.

Beginning in the 1990s, the program worked to transition Chinese fish farms from manure-based feed to formulated pellet feed, and over the years has provided training to improve feed and farming methods that improve food safety and sustainability, while lessening environmental impact.

Four Areas of Focus Help to Shape Sustainable Aquaculture

In aquaculture, USSEC focuses on four areas: feed, technology advancements, aquaculture investment, and sustainability. USSEC works to optimize and demonstrate the value of U.S. Soy through all of these efforts. Let’s take a look at each.

Feed: USSEC’s technical experts work with feed mills and farmers to develop feed formulations, feed demonstrations, and best feed practices. USSEC’s partnership with business and academia on the International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database provides valuable training for feed formulators. And aquafeed formulation research made possible by soy industry support is archived for public use.

Technology Advancements:  Hatchery improvements, genetic/breeding advancements, and the In-pond Raceway System (IPRS) technology transfer ensure better fish health and safety, water conservation, less environmental impact and higher yields. USSEC holds educational field trips and seminars to share best practices of successful farms.

Aquaculture Investment:  U.S. Soy’s renowned Aquaculture Investment Workshops promote investment in aquaculture infrastructure in Latin America so that industry can expand to meet global demand.

Sustainability:  All of the U.S. Soy aquaculture program’s initiatives are based on making global aquaculture more sustainable. The U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) allows for soy feed ingredients to be certified sustainable, and USSEC works closely with aquaculture sustainability certification programs such as BAP and ASC so that the SSAP is accepted as a standard for sustainable soy.

U.S. Soy: A Sustainable Alternative

High quality U.S. soybeans help to increase the affordability and sustainability of the world’s supply of healthy, farm-raised seafood and can replace much of the fishmeal in feeds for many farmed species, thus reducing the pressure on wild fish resources.



U.S. Farm Exports to Philippines Hit Record


The United States has seen a lot of benefits from the Philippines’ growing demand for imported agricultural products. The USDA’s Foreign Ag Service says agricultural exports to the Philippines will reach a record of $3 billion by the end of this year as shipments continue to arrive. The U.S. currently commands 28 percent of market share in the nation, making it the largest supplier of agricultural products. Last year, the Philippines was the 11th-largest market for U.S. ag exports. The top five products included soybean meal, wheat, dairy products, pork and pork products, as well as poultry.

Last year, ag exports to the Southeast Asian nation reached a record of $2.9 billion. U.S. soybean meal was the highest-value export, worth $884 million in 2018. USDA data shows that “While sales were down four percent from January to October year-on-year, Manilla officials still expect a record $3 billion as shipments picked up ahead of the holiday season.” U.S. food and beverage products alone will reach a record $1.2 billion by the end of 2019, which amounts to more than 29,000 container trucks.



EPA Receives 16 Requests for 2019 Small-Refinery Exemptions

Todd Neeley, DTN

Just as the biofuels industry in the United States continues to lament the EPA's latest Renewable Fuel Standard action that by most accounts falls short of industry expectations when accounting for small-refinery exemptions, the agency has received additional waiver requests for 2019.

According to the latest numbers on EPA's RFS dashboard, the agency has received 16 SRE requests for 2019. Those requests come at a time when the price of renewable identification numbers, or RINs, continue to be low. One of the major reasons cited by refiners for making exemption requests, is the exorbitant costs of compliance with the RFS.

From 2016 to 2018, the EPA has granted an average of 28 small-refinery exemptions per year and received an average of 33.

One of the major concerns the biofuels industry has is the retroactive nature in which the EPA has granted small-refinery exemption -- requests for a given year typically are made at the close of that compliance year.

In the most recent finalized RFS proposal the agency opted to use the U.S. Department of Energy's estimate for SREs of about 700 million gallons per year, in attempt to account for exemptions in 2020.

The industry thought it had a deal with the White House that would have used a three-year rolling average of actual gallons exempted in 2016 to 2018, or about 1.35 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons.



USB Sets Goals for 2020


United Soybean Board CEO Polly Ruhland recently announced her group’s priorities for the year ahead. 2020 goals will include improving farmer profitability by focusing in on meal, oil, and sustainability. One of the things they’re researching this year is to prove the amino acid profile, as well as how valuable it can be to livestock producers that feed soy to their animals. That’s why they’re looking further into both their meal and protein quality improvements in the soybean.

Another area of focus for USB is enhancing and communicating the sustainability of soy. Improvements in technology over the years have allowed soybean farmers to grow more soybeans and use fewer acres of land to do it. They want the public to know that the sustainability of soy can help the planet and put profit into a farmer’s operation at the same time. Another 2020 objective is to focus their research on the benefits of soybean oil, more specifically in high oleic soybean oil. The objectives were highlighted this month during the United Soybean Board meeting in December.



Jim Beam Fined for Bourbon Spill


(AP) -- Jim Beam was fined $600,000 earlier this month after a July warehouse fire sent a nearly 23-mile plume of alcohol into the Kentucky and Ohio rivers, killing fish.

The distiller agreed to the fine in a Dec. 6 order from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, The Courier-Journal reports. Jim Beam will also reimburse the state agency $112,000.

The July 3 fire was started when lightning struck a massive barrel warehouse near the Woodford-Franklin County line. The blaze sent flames shooting into the night sky that could be seen for miles and generated so much heat that firetruck lights melted. About 40,000 barrels of aging whiskey were destroyed, with the runoff pouring into nearby Glenns Creek and then downstream into the rivers.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources found dead fish along 62 miles (100 kilometers) of Glenns Creek and the Kentucky River. There were also dead fish in the Ohio River, but Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura has described the impact there as "negligible."

In a Friday comment to the newspaper, Beam Suntory, the Chicago-based spirits company that owns Jim Beam, said, "While we were able to minimize impacts to the surrounding environment and wildlife ... we recognize the regrettable and unavoidable impacts of the incident and have been committed to doing what we can to restore the environment. That includes making payments to the state to compensate for time spent, resources utilized and costs to supplement the local fish population."



Syngenta celebrates 40 years of Seedcare innovation


Growers rely on seed treatments to prepare for each season’s unique challenges. In an effort to meet this need, Syngenta and its legacy companies have been at the forefront of seed treatment research for 40 years. Since the introduction of Concep®, the first sorghum seed safener, in 1979, the company has developed novel active ingredients and crop-specific seed treatment recipes across all major crops.

“Helping growers protect their seed investment has always been one of our core goals,” said Ross Weikel, head of Syngenta Seedcare. “Each year, we look for new, innovative ways to help crops get a healthy start. And with four decades of experience, we’re never short on thoughtful solutions.”

This year, that history of innovation has continued with the EPA registration of Saltro® fungicide seed treatment, which offers protection against sudden death syndrome and nematodes. It is the latest in a long line of research-driven solutions. In 1982, Apron®, the first seed treatment fungicide to offer protection against downy mildew, entered the market. Eleven years later, the company introduced Maxim® seed treatment fungicide, the first seed treatment to be labeled “reduced-risk” by the EPA. Syngenta also developed Avicta®, the first seed treatment nematicide, in 2006. The company is not showing any signs of stopping either.

“Even in times of lower commodity prices, seed treatments still have a high potential return on investment, especially with early planting,” Weikel said. “From diseases and insect pests to unpredictable weather, growers don’t know what challenges they’re going to face during the growing season. We’re providing solutions that can help, no matter the situation.”

With its industry-leading portfolio, product development and support capabilities, Syngenta Seedcare always puts customers first. “We offer a three-pillar approach around product, application and service,” said Ravi Ramachandran, Ph.D., head of the Syngenta North America Seedcare Institute in Stanton, Minnesota. “We’re the only company offering this level of service to our customers.”



ASPCA Invites Public to Detox from Factory-Farmed Food for One Week

ASPCA News Release

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) announces its second Factory Farm Detox, a week-long consumer challenge to eliminate factory-farmed foods and replace them with more humane and sustainable alternatives including those with a meaningful welfare certification and plant-based products. This January, consumers are encouraged to participate in a Monday-through-Sunday detox during the week of their choosing—joining a community of advocates who are fed up with the animal cruelty, pollution and injustices occurring on factory farms.

The Factory Farm Detox was created to raise awareness about the negative impacts of the industrial operations that raise over 95 percent of farm animals across the U.S. in unacceptable conditions not aligned with consumers' values. Often referred to as concentrated or confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), factory farms are industrial facilities on which large numbers of animals are confined in unnatural conditions that prioritize the production of meat, eggs or dairy at the expense of animals' welfare, the environment, workers, consumers, rural communities and farmers.

"Every food purchase is a vote for how animals should be raised, and consumers have the power to show that there is no market for farm animal cruelty," said Kara Shannon, Senior Manager, ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare Department. "The Factory Farm Detox provides consumers with the tools to make informed purchases, cutting through misleading claims and helping people support farmers who are actually raising animals in more humane systems."

Participating in the Factory Farm Detox is as simple as not buying meat, eggs or dairy from factory farms where animals are caged, crowded and lacking access to environmental enrichments. During the Detox, participants can opt for products bearing meaningful animal welfare certifications, including Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World, Certified Humane, and Global Animal Partnership (GAP) 2+ or plant-based products.

Factory Farm Detox participants will receive everything they need to succeed including:
-    A text-based helpline staffed by animal welfare experts to help you find more humane food
-    Label guides for meat, eggs and dairy and a list of welfare-certified brands
-    Encouraging emails with guidance along the way
-    Discussion starters, shopping tips and help for dining out
-    Inspirational advice from former New York Times' food writer Mark Bittman and chefs including Bill Telepan, Naama Tamir and more

Over the past year, the ASPCA has worked with small farmers, large producers, independent businesses and large corporations to help them pursue more humane animal husbandry practices and source from higher welfare farms and ranches, making it even easier for consumers to shop responsibly. Among these, Whole30® became the first dietary program to commit to comprehensive animal welfare standards with additional new commitments from Chop't Creative Salad Co., ButcherBox, Serenity Kids, and more.



Saturday, December 28, 2019

Friday December 27 Ag News

Increased Ag Trade Deals at the Top of Nebraska Corn’s Christmas List

As 2020 approaches, many farmers across the state are breathing a collective sigh of relief as one of the most challenging years in recent memory is drawing to a close. Extreme weather throughout 2019, stagnant farm incomes, EPA’s waivers to oil refiners and trade disputes have led to a year of uncertainty for the agricultural industry. Fortunately, as 2019 wraps up, there have been positive movements on the trade front, which corn farmers are hopeful will lead to a productive 2020.

Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) paving the way for increased market access to two of the largest customers of Nebraska’s corn and corn-related products. In fact, total Nebraska ag exports to Canada and Mexico equate to $1.46 billion, with corn exports totaling over $402 million, ethanol at $96 million and distillers grains at $27 million.

“We’re glad the House was able to work in a bipartisan way to do what was good for American agriculture,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and farmer from Friend. “We’ve been waiting for this agreement for a long time, so we’re looking forward to its rapid approval by the Senate in early-January.”

The NCB and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) are pleased with the ratification of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Japan is the No. 2 buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. The agreement reduces U.S. corn imports for all purposes to a zero-level tariff and includes a staged tariff reduction for U.S. ethanol and corn. U.S. feed and food corn, corn gluten feed and distillers grains will continue to receive duty-free market access.

Finally, Nebraska’s corn industry is encouraged by a potential trade agreement with China. The U.S. and China recently announced “Phase one” of an agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs. In return, U.S. officials say China will purchase significantly more American agricultural products.

“The trade landscape has been perplexing for some time, but I think we’re beginning to see real progress,” said Dan Nerud, president of the NeCGA and farmer from Dorchester. “I’m hopeful recent agreements will all be positive for our ag industry in Nebraska and can also be used as templates for future agreements with other partners.”

NCB and NeCGA are thankful and appreciative for our state’s congressional delegation for their continued support of fair and free ag trade.



BACK TO THE FUTURE

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist


               As the year ends, it helps to look back at the good and bad of this year’s production and learn what might be done better next year.

               For example, did you take an extra late cutting of alfalfa last fall because of good September and October growth?  I’ll bet that hay was super quality, so either sell it for a premium price or use it only for special feeding situations.  This coming spring, though, it may grow a little slower at first.  If so, let it start to bloom before cutting.

               Did your pastures or hay fields receive flood damage?  Many of these sites need reseeding.  Carefully consider what you will plant and then obtain the seed.  Then make sure you, your planting equipment, and the field is ready when planting time comes.

               Even without flooding, remember how wet and cool it was last spring?  Maybe you ran out of hay and damaged pastures by grazing muddy fields.  Extra hay, sacrifice pasture areas, or rapid movement through multiple paddocks may reduce problem damage if it happens again.    

               With all the rain last year, you may have had plenty of grazing available all season or even extra for winter grazing.  You probably could have had even more grazing available if you planned ahead.

               More likely this year, though, it will be drier.  Normally, when do your pastures run out?  Mid-summer?  Late summer?  Fall?  You have plenty of options among annual forages to fill any gaps – forages like sudangrass, pearl millet, oats, and turnips.  Plant, and use these temporary feeds when your other pastures are stressed so you have plenty of grazing for your cattle.  And maybe your regular pastures will bounce back quicker as well.

               We all can do better next year than we did this year.  One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to look back to learn what we hope to do better in the future.  Have a Happy New Year.



2nd Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Gala


Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) invites everyone to attend our 2nd Annual NC Gala on January 11th, 2020 at Kirk’s Nebraskaland in Lexington, Nebraska beginning at 6:30pm CST. The evening will be filled with great food, entertainment and fundraising for the Nebraska Cattlemen Political Action Committee. Please consider sticking around after the program for the live band.

During the program there will be an auction. A few of the items being auctioned off are listed below:
    UNL Basketball Tickets
    Party Package
    BBQ Package
    Bruning Farms Sale Packet
    4 Tickets to NCAA World Series
    Gourmet Beef Dinner for Six in Friend
    Wall Hanging
    1 ton Alfalfa Pellets
    $100 Gift Card to the Fort – Columbus
    Cookie Package
    Wine Bottle Holder (includes 3 bottles of wine)

A huge thank you to all those who have donated to our NC Gala auction. You won’t want to miss this fun event, please mark your calendars for January 11th! Tickets can be purchased by calling (402) 475-2333 or at any Bruning Bank Location. You may also purchase tickets online at: https://nebraskacattlemen.org/event/nc-gala/.

The NC State PAC helps ensure the interests of beef producers are maintained in Nebraska. The aim of the NC State PAC is to support candidates who champion the beef industry by making decisions about laws and regulations that enhance the business climate for profitable beef production in Nebraska and foster opportunities for expansion. NC will always be judicious with our contributions to support the strongest candidates regardless of party.

This event is sponsored by Neogen and the beef meal donated by Lone Creek Cattle.



USMEF Looks to Expand Pork Opportunities in Hong Kong


The U.S Meat Export Federation is planning to fill the fresh pork supply shortfall in Hong Kong with U.S. chilled pork. The African Swine Fever Virus caused the number of live hogs coming into Hong Kong from China to drop by fifty percent, with the numbers running below 2,000 head per day. “This has caused a shortage of local, fresh pork, and the fresh pork product that is available is being sold at much higher prices,” says Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. He says the opportunity could benefit the U.S. industry in both the short and long term, as more Asian consumers get used to chilled pork. “The opportunity for more pork supplies has never been better,” Haggard adds. It does take a bit more time shipping to Hong Kong than it does to Japan and Korea. Also, the wet market vendors in the country will need to be taught the proper way to handle the vacuum-packaged chilled product. “The product will initially be sold in supermarket chains,” Haggard says. “More than 100 supermarkets in Hong Kong are selling U.S. chilled pork, along with some of the city’s traditional wet markets.” Haggard says this is the largest chilled pork distribution that USMEF has ever seen, calling it, “satisfying to see it finally come to fruition.”



Iowa Cattlemen's Association Sets 2020 Policy


In December, Iowa cattlemen from across the state gathered at the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit to determine policy priorities for 2020. This annual event is where the Association’s grassroot policy development takes place and policy for the following year is set to guide the direction and priorities of ICA.

ICA’s three policy committees (Business Issues, Cattle Production, and Beef Products) each met to take up interim policies, discuss new policy ideas, and review resolutions and directives that were scheduled to sunset this year. Together we reviewed, amended, and enacted more than 40 policies! The recommendations from the policy committees were presented and ratified the following day at the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting.

The Policy Committee Meeting was led by Policy Committee Chairs: Mark Putney (Business Issues), Mike Schwarck (Cattle Production), and Tom Hiler (Beef Products), with the support and input from Vice-Chairs Bob Butcher (Business Issues), Matt Winters (Cattle Production), and Will Longinaker (Beef Products).

A big thank you to Mark and Bob as they finish their time as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Business Issues Committee. Your efforts to help guide policy development, inform membership, and lead ICA are appreciated.

Business Issues

In the Business Issues Committee discussion, members supported new policy focused on amending the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Master Manual to restore flood prevention and protection of property as top priorities. This policy specifically addressed concerns related to the regulation and management of the Missouri River, which remains top-of-mind for many of our producers who experienced flooding in the western part of the state earlier this year.

Much of the Business Issues Committee discussion was centered on anaerobic digestion and manure management best practices. These innovative policy recommendations, brought forth by ICA member Bryan Sievers, support the research and development of anaerobic digestion systems and similar technology, equitable monetization of dairy and beef cattle manure, and stewardship of our resources.

Cattle Production

The Cattle Production discussion began by reinstating current policy, including support for continuation of the 2019 Green/Gold Tag Task Force. This task force includes representation from the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA), the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), and producers. The purpose of this task force is to assess the efficacy of the current preconditioned, green tag, and gold tag programs, while considering potential improvements. We look forward to continuing this important discussion on into the new year.

Next, the discussion shifted to traceability. Per a directive, ICA has established a Traceability Task Force to list and weigh the pros and cons related to an animal disease traceability (ADT) system. Many members representing various sectors of the beef cattle industry have been actively engaged in this task force. The main focus of this task force is ADT, but other value-added opportunities have been discussed. Questions about technology, implementation, information management, and cost have been raised by members. The work of this task force will remain a priority for ICA due to rising concern surrounding foreign animal disease and potential for outbreaks.

Most of the Cattle Production Committee meeting was focused on cattle marketing, and more specifically, market transparency and negotiated cash trade. The Feedlot Council, comprised of 9 active producer-members from across the state, have held numerous meetings this fall to address cattle marketing concerns of Iowa cattlemen. ICA staff have diligently worked to provide members with access to information and opportunities for grassroots input. In October, ICA held five listening sessions throughout the state. These listening sessions were focused on market transparency and negotiated cash trade. ICA staff provided historical context, current policy, and potential policy solutions to participants. Most importantly, we dedicated time to hear your thoughts.

The listening sessions, in conjunction with an online survey to all members, helped inform the Feedlot Council meeting discussion on Dec. 4. Members discussed current cattle marketing issues, and reviewed a variety of policy proposals. The Council came to a consensus on a few new policy proposals, which were ultimately introduced to membership at Leadership Summit.

The first significant change included the introduction of a new directive to “examine programs that would provide an economic incentive for cash negotiated fed cattle sales.” Current ICA policy encourages membership as well as NCBA to require all major cattle feeding regions to market 50 percent of more of their cattle on negotiated cash trade, with the ultimate goal of increasing price discovery. While the Iowa/Minnesota region consistently trades over 50 percent negotiated cash, other regions, such as Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma rarely exceed 10%.

The second policy change focused on increasing transparency in formula transactions, specifically by changing Livestock Mandatory Reporting requirements.

A third policy proposal supported adjustment of reporting regions that are utilized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 requires USDA AMS to publish mandatory data on meat and livestock price trends, contracts, and supply and demand conditions to provide market transparency to the public, all while protecting the identity and transactions of reporting entities. In order to maintain confidentiality for said entities, the Livestock Mandatory Reporting program uses a confidentiality rule, also known as the 3/70/20 rule.

According to USDA AMS, the rule is as follows:
-  At least three reporting entities need to provide data at least 50 percent of the time over the most recent 60‐day time period;
-  No single reporting entity may provide more than 70 percent of the data for a report over the most recent 60‐day time period; and
-  No single reporting entity may be the sole reporting entity for an individual report more than 20 percent of the time over the most recent 60‐day time period.

Some states/regions do not meet these parameters, and therefore do not report out to the public. To help address this issue and improve market transparency, ICA supports combining Colorado and Wyoming for price reporting, and adding South Dakota and Illinois to the Iowa/Minnesota regional market.

The fourth policy proposal supports an 11:00 am daily report from USDA-AMS providing the average carcass weight of cattle harvested the previous day. This policy reflects current reporting that occurs in the swine industry, with a much greater volume of harvests in any given day.

Beef Products

The Beef Products Committee meeting, led by Tom Hiler, began by reinstating policies focused on food safety and consumer education.

When the opportunity presented for additional feedback from membership, engaged members brought forth discussion focused on Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL). ICA staff provided brief context regarding MCOOL and current ICA policy, which supports the repeal of MCOOL that occurred in 2015. This lively discussion ultimately led to a proposal to establish a directive for the ICA Board of Directors to develop a task force to assess the potential market impact of MCOOL.



Former Co-Op Managers in IA Indicted for Blending Oats & Soybeans


Two former co-op officers in Sioux Center, Iowa, were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit fraud for blending oats and soybeans, then making false statements to USDA officials.

According to an indictment filed on December 19 in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Kenneth Ehrp and Calvin Diehl both worked at a cooperative in Sioux Center, with Ehrp serving as the general manager and Diehl as the assistant general manager.

The two are accused of knowingly blending oats into soybeans and then hiding the fact from USDA inspectors from 2011 to April 2017. The practice of mixing grains is prohibited unless the grain is marked as “mixed grain” or unless the administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration grants an exemption. During the times relevant to the indictment, soybeans were more valuable than oats, with soybeans worth $9.69 and oats worth $2.39 on March 31, 2017, as an example.

Documents said the two would instruct employees to layer soybeans on top of oats in storage bins and in trucks. Furthermore, Diehl reportedly told a worker on April 10, 2017, to “blend oats at all times.” He also said to a warehouse examiner that he didn’t know why a pile of oats was next to a pile of soybeans at a satellite facility.

Around March 22, 2017, Ehrp and Diehl supervised workers who buried oats at the bottom of delivered truckloads only for the customer to discover and then reject the grain, according to the indictment.

Around March 30, 2017, Diehl is also said to have said the co-op only had 5,007 bushels of oats when they actually had more.

On two separate occasions around April 25, 2017, and March 31, 2017, Ehrp caused the cooperative’s controller to make a false statement, reporting that the property was overvalued. The indictments said this was done to influence the actions of a lender on a revolving operating loan.

Ehrp was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and two counts of making false statements. Diehl was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and one count of making false statements.

Ehrp served as the CEO and general manager of Farmer’s Cooperative Society of Sioux Center until April 28, 2017. He then sued the co-op on in March 2019 for $634,458.41 in past wages and to maintain his life insurance policies. The lawsuit is ongoing.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 12/20/2019


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Dec. 20, ethanol production expanded by 19,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.8%, to 1.083 million b/d—equivalent to 45.49 million gallons daily and a 28-week high. The four-week average ethanol production rate continued its rise for the tenth consecutive week, up 0.6% to a five-month high of 1.070 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.40 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks narrowed by 1.5% to 21.5 million barrels. Inventories were 7.2% lower than the same week last year. Stocks declined in all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2). Gulf Coast (PADD 3) stocks are the lowest in six months.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the second straight week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market settled 1.1% lower to 9.303 million b/d (390.73 million gallons per day, or 142.61 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol scaled up 2.9% to 938,000 b/d—equivalent to 14.38 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.64%.



EPA Announces $1.5 Million to Reduce Diesel Engine Emissions


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Midwest Region (Region 7) will accept diesel emissions reduction proposals requesting up to $1.5 million from eligible applicants in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $44 million across the country in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funding to eligible applicants.

DERA funding implements projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation's existing fleet of older diesel engines.

"Modernizing our nation's aging fleet of diesel-powered vehicles is an important part of the Trump Administration's plan to further reduce harmful emissions and guide counties and states from nonattainment into attainment," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "Our hope is that through these upgrades and ongoing efforts, communities will continue to see improved health outcomes for their residents, ensuring all Americans breathe cleaner air."

Diesel-powered engines move approximately 90% of the nation's freight tonnage, and today nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives, and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines.

EPA is soliciting applications nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating at goods movements facilities in areas designated as having poor air quality. Those applicants in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska can contact Greg Crable, Region 7 air program, at (913) 551-7391 or crable.gregory@epa.gov.

Applicants may request funding to upgrade or replace diesel-powered buses, trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and nonroad equipment with newer, cleaner technologies. Priority for funding will also be given to projects that engage and benefit local communities and applicants that demonstrate their ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.

EPA anticipates releasing a separate Tribal DERA grant funding opportunity in early 2020.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Thursday December 26 Ag News

Preparing the Cow Herd for Cold Weather
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County


Moisture, high winds, and cold temperatures increase the cow's energy requirements. Cows in an optimal body condition score (BCS 5 to 6) are better able to withstand adverse environmental conditions. As a risk management strategy as we go into the winter, reduce the number of BCS 4 cows and increase the number of BCS 5 cows in your herd.

Another management strategy is to provide cattle with an area that provides wind protection. The lower critical temperature of a beef cow is the lowest temperature a cow can be exposed to before she needs to have metabolic changes to cope with cold stress.

Usually what happens metabolically is cows begin to shiver. These processes require extra energy. Lower critical temperature for beef cows is influenced by hair coat condition (dry or wet/muddy), body condition (thin, moderate, fleshy) and hair coat description. 

As hair coat changes from summer to winter, BCS changes from thin to fleshy, and hair coat changes from wet to dry, the lower critical temperature decreases which means cows can withstand harsher conditions without an increase in energy needs. Energy requirement increases about 1% for each degree of cold stress. As an example, cows that have a heavy winter hair coat that is dry and are in condition score of 5 have a lower critical temperature of 19°F.

Let's say, for the next week if the temperature next week is going to be 5°F and the wind at 15 mph, then the wind chill index is -10° F. At those environmental conditions, the energy needs of the herd increases by about 30%.

If the total digestible nutrients (TDN) requirements of the cows are 12 pounds of TDN per head per day for this week, you would consider bumping the ration to 15.5 lb/hd/day. This is an increase in 3.5 pounds of TDN per head per day. If grass hay is 57% TDN, that's an increase of about 6 lb/hd/day on a dry matter basis.  However if, the hay is 88% dry matter, that would mean each cow receives an additional 7 lb/hd/day. If these cows were being fed 24 lb/hd/day under current conditions, could they eat 31 lb/hd/day during the harsh weather conditions? For a 1200 pound cow, this calculates to about 2.3% of her body weigh on a dry matter basis to maintain body condition.

Be very careful if you plan to use grains (corn) to increase the energy density of the diet during severe conditions as you may do more harm than good. Feeding more than 2-3 lb/hd/day of corn to cows on a forage based diet will decrease fiber digestion. When cows are on a forage-based diet and supplemental energy is needed, consider the use of high energy, non-starch feed stuffs such as distillers grains and soy hulls to meet cow energy requirements. It is not advisable to change rations daily, but if is predicted that weather conditions will be severe over a period of time then ration changes may be warranted.



CVA Announces Jeremy Lee as SVP of Grain


Central Valley Ag (CVA) is pleased to announce Jeremy Lee as Senior Vice President of Grain. He will be responsible for leading the grain division of CVA, focused on providing the best markets to local producers in the challenging grain marketing environment. Lee comes to CVA from Mid-South AG of the Lawrence Group in Wilson, Arkansas. where he held the position of CFO/COO.

Central Valley Ag’s grain division has access to every major market west of the Mississippi, allowing them to provide competitive bids to patrons. Lee will lead the Grain Specialists at CVA. They are the frontline grain buyers for the company and help customers find the best way to sell their grain.

“Jeremy has a very diverse background in agriculture serving coops, banking, and private ag companies,” said Carl Dickinson, CEO of Central Valley Ag. “I am very excited to have him join our leadership team. He is a terrific entrepreneurial leader that shares the values of our cooperative.”

“I’m very excited to join the CVA team,” said Lee. “I look forward to working with the grain division to continue providing outstanding service and marketing opportunities for CVA patrons.”

Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and financial management from the University of North Dakota. He started working at CVA in early December.



CVA Hosts Annual Meeting


Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) recently hosted its Annual Meeting at the Holthus Convention Center in York, Nebraska, on November 25, 2019, for member-owners to review the fiscal year. CVA reported $8.7 million in Total Profit from $1.4 billion in total sales for their fiscal year 2019, ending on August 31, 2019.

“I am really proud of the job our employees did,” said Carl Dickinson, CEO/President of Central Valley Ag. “This was an extremely difficult year with floods, rain, and many challenging conditions for the entire industry.” Despite those challenges, CVA reported an over $9.0 Million increase in working capital from 2018.

“CVA has built a balance sheet to withstand the difficult times in agriculture, ensuring your cooperative will be there to serve future generations of producers,” said Dave Beckman, CVA Board Chairman.

The cooperative also invested $42.6 Million in several capital improvement and expansion projects to better serve patrons. “We’re here to add value and help our farmers in their operations – both in easing their workload, reducing the stress. To ultimately make more profits, raise more bushels,” said Dickinson. “It’s about us getting up every day in an ever-changing world and saying, “What do we need to do to add value today?”.”

At the meeting, CVA announced the election of Dave Beckman, Pat Wemhoff, Randy Johnson, Ron Benson, Mark Philips and Jacob Porter to serve on their Board of Directors.

Three new associate board members were announced at the meeting:
    Grant Schmidt - Henderson, NE
    Derek Applebee - Akron, IA
    Ryan May – Hunter, KS

CVA relies on its Board of Directors to position the cooperative for future success and profitability for member-owners. CVA’s Board of Directors is made up of local agricultural producers who are recognized for their industry expertise, as well as economic and community development skills.

“Serving on the CVA Co-op Board prompts me to take a wider view of agriculture, which I value and enjoy,” said Jacob Porter, CVA Board of Director from Mankato, Kansas. “It’s exciting to be a part of, and I believe producer-owned cooperatives are necessary for a healthy marketplace for agricultural inputs and products.”



Feedlot Forum Explores Marketing Challenges, Expectations


Feedlot Forum 2020 will be held Jan. 14, 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m., at the Terrace View Event Center, Sioux Center. The event marks the 17th year for the program co-hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Beef Center, the Sioux, Lyon and Plymouth County Cattlemen's Associations, and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association.

Feedlot Forum is an opportunity for feedlot producers and allied agribusiness professionals to receive the latest information on beef production and marketing. The program features several industry-leaders as speakers, agribusiness sponsor displays, a steak dinner and a $10 beef certificate for attendees.

"The feedlot industry has had its share of challenges, including restricted processing capacity, high export tariffs and plant proteins competing for the center of the consumer's plate," said Beth Doran, beef program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. "Coupled with these challenges, the consumer also has expectations. They want assurance that their beef is produced with attention to animal stewardship and environmental sustainability, and that it is nutritious and high quality."

Keynote speakers and their topics are:
- Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability, JBS USA, presenting "Customer Expectations of Today."
- Greg Hanes, Cattlemen's Beef Board CEO, "International Customer Expectations and Your Checkoff."
- Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen's Beef Association CEO, "NCBA's Role in Marketing Issues."
- Andrew Gottschalk, R.J. O'Brien and Associates senior vice president and HedgersEdge.com LLC president, "Herd Expansion Ends, What's Next?"

Attendees will also hear brief updates on the Iowa Beef Industry Council's efforts to increase consumer demand and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association's efforts to maintain market access for Iowa feedlot operators.

"Marketing has expanded beyond the farm gate to include not only state and national venues, but now an expansive international focus," Doran said. "The goal of this forum is to help today's producer learn what it will take to be competitive in the future."

The forum features 26 agribusiness sponsor displays with the latest in cattle products, technology and services, all of which are available to cattle producers.

Registration for Feedlot Forum 2020 is $25 per person with a discounted price of $10 for students. Registration is due to the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office (400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700, Orange City, IA 51041) no later than Jan. 9.

For more information, contact Doran at 712-737-4230 or doranb@iastate.edu.



Plant Engineering Research Breakthrough Could Boost Productivity

USSEC

Photosynthesis research from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service has been gaining global attention. The work of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Ef´Čüciency (RIPE) has been featured by Reuters, BBC, Science Daily, The Japan Times and many others.  The study is part of an international project to boost global food production sustainably.

Changing the way crops like soybeans, rice and wheat process sunlight has the potential to increase yields by 40 percent, according to the researchers’ report published in the journal Science.

These crops, along with fruits and vegetables, use the C3 photosynthesis process, which has a natural “glitch” or inefficiency in the use of energy as resources.

“We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” said principal investigator Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Science and Crop Sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology in a press release. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands—driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets.”

Researchers inserted genes from bacteria, green algae and other plants into tobacco plants, shortcutting the C3 photosynthesis process. Two years of replicated field trials found that these engineered plants developed faster, grew taller, and saved enough energy to increase productivity by 40 percent in real-world conditions.

According to Paul South, lead author and a research molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service, “Photosynthesis is nearly identical in plants, so we expect that benefits observed in tobacco will result in changes to food crops.”

The team is now translating these findings to boost the yield of soybeans, rice, potatoes, and other crops.

“It takes 10 to 15 years for technologies like this to undergo rigorous regulatory approval process, which examines engineered crops for health and environmental impacts. Thus, it is all the more urgent to invest in these types of technologies today,” said South.

According to Timothy Searchinger, lecturer at Princeton University and senior fellow at the World Resources Institute who authored a recent report on sustainable food systems, the latest findings provide “important, promising work as it may open up new ways to expand crop yields.”

Many innovations in agriculture, come with costly intellectual property rights, but RIPE and its sponsors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are committed to ensuring that smallholder farmers, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, will have royalty-free access to all of the project’s breakthroughs.  According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, smallholder farmers provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in those regions.



Fertilizer Prices Continue to Move Lower


Average retail fertilizer prices continued to shift lower the third week of December 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

All eight of the major fertilizers were lower in price from a month earlier, but none were considerably lower. DTN designates a significant price move as 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $444 per ton, MAP $460/ton, potash $378/ton, urea $377/ton, 10-34-0 $469/ton, anhydrous $487/ton, UAN28 $239/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.41/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are mixed in price from a year ago. Both MAP and anhydrous are now 14% less expensive, DAP is 13% lower, UAN28 is 10% less expensive, UAN32 is 9% lower, urea is 7% lower and 10-34-0 is 3% less expensive from last year at this time. In addition, potash is 1% higher more expensive compared to last year.




USDA Announces Pilot Insurance Coverage for Hemp Growers


USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced a new crop insurance option for hemp growers in select counties of 21 states in 2020.  The pilot insurance program will provide Actual Production History (APH) coverage under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) for eligible producers in certain counties in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The MPCI coverage is for hemp grown for fiber, grain or CBD oil for the 2020 crop year. It is in addition to the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection coverage available to hemp growers announced earlier this year.

“We are excited to offer coverage to certain hemp producers in this pilot program,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “Since this is a pilot program, we look forward to feedback from producers on the program in the coming crop year.”

The 2018 Farm Bill amended the Controlled Substances Act to address how industrial hemp is to be defined and regulated at the federal level, and those modifications cleared the way for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to offer policies for it. The Farm Bill defines hemp as containing 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry-weight basis.

To be eligible for the MPCI pilot program, among other requirements, a hemp producer must comply with applicable state, tribal or federal regulations for hemp production, have at least one year of history producing the crop, and have a contract for the sale of the insured hemp. Producers also must be a part of a Section 7606 state or university research pilot, as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, or be licensed under a state, tribal or federal program approved under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) interim final rule issued in October 2019. The MPCI provisions state that hemp having THC above the federal statutory compliance level will not constitute an insurable cause of loss. Additionally, hemp will not qualify for replant payments or prevented plant payments under MPCI.

In addition, beginning with the 2021 crop year, hemp will be insurable under the Nursery crop insurance program and the Nursery Value Select pilot crop insurance program. Under both programs, hemp will be insurable if grown in containers and in accordance with federal regulations, any applicable state or tribal laws, and terms of the crop insurance policy.

More information on the MPCI pilot will be available in 2020. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents.



Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Monday December 23 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News

NEBRASKA HOG INVENTORY UP 6 PERCENT

Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2019, was 3.75 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 6 percent from December 1, 2018, but unchanged from September 1, 2019.

Breeding hog inventory, at 440,000 head, was unchanged from December 1, 2018, but down 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.31 million head, was up 6 percent from last year, and up slightly from last quarter.

The September - November 2019 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.22 million head, was down slightly from 2018. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 190,000 head, down 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.70 for the September - November period, compared to 11.45 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 190,000 sows during the December 2019 - February 2020 quarter, up 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for March - May 2020 are 190,000 sows, down 5 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.



IOWA HOGS & PIGS REPORT


On December 1, 2019, there were 24.8 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. Inventory is up 5 percent from the previous year, and is a record December 1 inventory.

The September-November quarterly pig crop was 6.02 million head, down 113,000 head from the previous quarter and 6 percent below last year. A total of 530,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.35, equal to last quarter.

As of December 1, producers planned to farrow 520,000 sows and gilts in the December 2019-February 2020 quarter and 520,000 head during the March-May 2020 quarter.



United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent


United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2019 was 77.3 million head. This was up 3 percent from December 1, 2018, but down slightly from September 1, 2019.   Breeding inventory, at 6.46 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 70.9 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, but down slightly from last quarter.

The September-November 2019 pig crop, at 35.1 million head, was up 2 percent from 2018. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.17 million head, down 1 percent from 2018. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.09 for the September-November period, compared to 10.76 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.13 million sows farrow during the December 2019-February 2020 quarter, up 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and up 5 percent from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for March-May 2020, at 3.15 million sows, are up slightly from the same period one year earlier, and up 3 percent from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from the previous year.



Cuming County Farm Service Agency Announces County Committee Election Results

Cuming County U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that Cassandra Guenther of Bancroft was elected to represent her local administrative area (LAA) during the recent county committee election.

“County Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA,” said Sarah Beck, County Executive Director. “They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers. All recently elected county committee members will take office in January 2020 and will be joining the existing committee.” 

Every FSA office is served to by a county committee made up of local farmers, ranchers and foresters who are elected by local producers. Nearly 7,800 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office.

County committee members impact the administration of FSA within a community by applying their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and eligibility.

County committee members impact producers through their decision making and help shape the culture of a local FSA office. They also ensure the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties and are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. Members conduct hearings and reviews as requested by the state committee, ensure underserved farmers, ranchers and foresters are fairly represented, make recommendations to the state committee on existing programs, monitor changes in farm programs and inform farmers of the purpose and provisions of FSA programs. They also assist with outreach and inform underserved producers such as beginning farmers, ranchers and foresters, about FSA opportunities.



Organic Grain Production Topic of January 30 Workshop


An organic farming workshop on January 30 will assist growers who are seeking information on what is required to grow organic corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum and forage crops.

Nebraska Extension Educator, Keith Glewen says this program is geared for those individuals who wish to learn more about the components of successful organic grain production.  He says, “Extension professionals across Nebraska have experienced an uptick in the number of questions pertaining to organic grain production. Therefore, we are providing this educational program as an attempt to answer questions and provide additional information as it relates to getting starting in this growing industry”.

The “Starting an Organic Grain Farming Operation – What You Need to Know” workshop will take place on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, Nebraska from 9 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The workshop features speakers experienced in various facets of organic crop production and marketing.  Nebraska Extension Educator, Gary Lesoing says, “The presenters have a wealth of experience with organic farming. They will provide important information about the transition to organic farming and tools for success for farming organically.”

Topics and presenters include:  The Mental Transitioning from Conventional to Organic Farming - Dave Welsch - Certified Organic Farmer since 1993, Milford, NE; Organic Certification- From Application to Certification Decisions - Clayton Blagburn, Certification Specialist, OneCert Organization Inc., Lincoln, NE; Organic Grain Marketing - Alex Wolf, Scoular Organic Grain Manager, Omaha, NE; and The Importance of Cover Crops in an Organic Rotation - Jim Starr, Joel & Jim Starr Partnership, Hastings, NE.  Joel Gruver, Associate Professor of Soil Science and Sustainability Ag – Western Illinois University will speak on two topics - Farming System Strategies for Success in Organics and Weed Management in Organic Row Crops.

The program will conclude with a speakers panel with the opportunity to interact with those directly involved in organic grain farming.

There is no fee to attend, but must pre-register by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 to ensure resource materials are available and for meal planning purposes.  Seating is limited.  Registration and more information available at:  https://enrec.unl.edu/neborganicgrainprogram

Sponsored by Nebraska Extension and the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.



USMCA will hurt Nebraska ranchers


The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska continue to oppose the pending U.S.- Mexico-Canada trade agreement because it will open the doors to more burdensome supplies of beef in the U.S. beef market.

Not only that, because there is no country-of-origin label provision in the agreement, packers can import Canadian and Mexican beef into the U.S., process and market it as a product of the United States.

The USMCA trade agreement will also heighten the annual beef trade deficit. The average annual trade deficit in cattle and beef products with Canada and Mexico has been $1.4 billion during the years of NAFTA (1994-2018), according to the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund – United Stockgrowers of America, citing information from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

The size of trade deficit flies in the face of President Trump’s efforts to Make America Great Again.

The United States imports more beef than any other country in the world, ICON President Jim Dinklage said.

“At times, the U.S. is a net import beef country, meaning that we import more live and raw unprocessed beef than we export,” Dinklage said. “Packers can bring in beef from other countries, depress the U.S. market, and then falsely label it as U.S. beef. It’s a sweet deal for them, but a raw deal for ranchers. Live feeder calf markets are down $150-$200 per head from last year.”

Congress could soften the detrimental impact of U.S beef imports by requiring country-of-origin labels. The labels would allow consumers to know where their beef comes from.

Since NAFTA was enacted, 20% of America’s cattle producers, 25% of U.S. livestock auction yards, 48 meatpacking plants and 75% of all U.S. cattle feedlots have gone out of business, according to R-CALF / USA.

The USMCA has not yet been ratified by the U.S. Senate. It can still be modified, similar to the way that stronger labor standards, enforcement mechanisms, and improvements to environmental protection were added to the agreement before it came up for a vote Dec. 19 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

ICON urges cattlemen to call their senators and tell them not to support the USMCA unless it requires country of origin labels for beef.



NE Agri-Business Assoc. 2020 Soil School

February 5th and 6th, 2020
Quality Inn and Conference Center, Grand Island, NE

                                   
Soils School 2020: An Advanced Topics Shortcourse, co-sponsored by the  Institute Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Agri-Business Association will be on February 5th and 6th  at the Quality Inn and Conference Center in Grand Island, NE.

Soils School 2020 has been specifically designed for employees to go into depth about the topics of soil.  Leading experts from the University of Nebraska will be presenting the latest up-to-date information.

The price for registration is $300.00 for NeABA and $400.00 for non-members. The registration fee includes lunch for both days, breaks, and handouts.  Please contact us at the Association Office with any questions at 402-476-1528 or at info@na-ba.com.  To register online, go here.... www.na-ba.com.



Free Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this January


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

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

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Norfolk — Friday, January 3
    Fairbury — Friday, January 10
    North Platte — Thursday, January 16
    Norfolk — Wednesday, January 22
    Valentine — Thursday, January 23

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



AGP Commends Passage of Biodiesel Tax Incentive


Ag Processing Inc a cooperative (AGP) commends Congressional leaders for passage of a five-year extension of the federal biodiesel tax incentive, which was signed and enacted into law by President Trump late on Friday of last week.  Passage of the extension, included as a component of the FY 2020 government funding package, was the result of many biodiesel producers and stakeholders working together at the grassroots level and in Washington, DC to support this vital industry.  The $1.00/gallon biodiesel tax incentive, which expired in 2017, was extended retroactively for 2018 and 2019 and will be in place for calendar years 2020, 2021, and 2022.  

AGP’s Chief Executive Officer Keith Spackler welcomed the extension and said “We want to thank our Congressional supporters for their efforts to move this five-year extension forward at a time of uncertainty for the biofuels industry.  AGP has long supported biodiesel and its importance to farmers, AGP, and AGP’s cooperative member-owners cannot be overstated.  We look forward to the positive impact the extension of the biodiesel tax incentive will have on soybean prices and U.S. biodiesel production.”  

Troy Alberts, Senior Vice President for Refined Oils and Renewable Fuels and a member of the National Biodiesel Board’s Governing Committee, spoke about the market dynamics of the biodiesel industry and AGP’s leading presence, as both a biodiesel producer and feedstock provider.  “The multi-year extension will support and provide certainty for AGP’s integrated soybean processing platform and improve demand for soybean oil used in the production of biodiesel.  Soybean oil is currently the primary feedstock for the industry.”  Alberts also noted the important role the biofuels industry has in supporting farmers, rural American jobs, and providing cleaner-burning fuels for the environment.



NEBRASKA CHICKENS AND EGGS


All layers in Nebraska during November 2019 totaled 9.13 million, up from 8.31 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during November totaled 225 million eggs, up from 203 million in 2018. November egg production per 100 layers was 2,469 eggs, compared to 2,444 eggs in 2018.

IOWA:  Iowa egg production during November 2019 was 1.42 billion eggs, down 3 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during November 2019 was 58.0 million, up 1 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for November were 2,443, down 4 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year.

November Egg Production Up 4 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.50 billion during November 2019, up 4 percent from last year. Production included 8.32 billion table eggs, and 1.17 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.09 billion were broiler-type and 87.9 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during November 2019 totaled 402 million, up 2 percent from last year. November egg production per 100 layers was 2,364 eggs, up 2 percent from November 2018.
                                   
Total layers in the United States on December 1, 2019 totaled 403 million, up 2 percent from last year. The 403 million layers consisted of 341 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.55 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on December 1, 2019, averaged 78.6 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from December 1, 2018.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 2 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during November 2019 totaled 47.9 million, up 2 percent from November 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.9 million on December 1, 2019, down 5 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 198 thousand during November 2019, down 18 percent from November 2018.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 4 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during November 2019 totaled 795 million, up 4 percent from November 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 709 million on December 1, 2019, up 2 percent from a year ago. Leading breeders placed 8.17 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during November 2019, up 3 percent from November 2018.



Yersinia Infections Taking Advantage of Beef Cattle

Russ Daly – South Dakota State University Extension Veterinarian


Of all the germs associated with cattle illnesses during the challenging summer and fall, a pathogen that’s not one of the usual suspects has been identified in several cases of cattle death losses in Eastern South Dakota.

Historically, the bacteria Yersinia pseudotuberculosis has been found in a wide variety of animal species, but only rarely associated with disease. Cattle, sheep, goats, deer, dogs, and cats are some of the animals the germ’s been found in. Because it’s so common, yet apparently not very dangerous by itself, many consider it to be an opportunist – a germ that only causes illness in animals debilitated from other reasons. As it turns out, the environmental conditions present in much of the area have likely contributed to its emergence, also.

Yersinia pseudotuberculosis was identified in three cases from different farms across eastern South Dakota submitted to the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab during November, 2019. Veterinarians had been called out by producers to investigate cattle that quickly went downhill after the sudden onset of illness.

The most common sign in affected animals in each case was severe diarrhea, resulting in rapid weight loss and death. The sick cattle included beef cows on pastures and 2 separate groups of 8-month old and 4-month old Holstein calves. Numbers of sick animals within groups ranged from 7 out of 100, 15/200, and 16/60.

When veterinarians performed necropsy examinations on the dead animals, the findings were similar across these geographically-separated animal groups. Inflammation in the small and large intestines and enlarged lymph nodes in the gut were consistent findings.

The clinical signs, as well as the necropsy findings, had veterinarians thinking about another, more common infection that causes diarrhea and death losses in cattle: Salmonella. But cultures at the lab were negative for this germ. The diarrhea in the cow herd had vets thinking about Johne’s Disease – but animals usually don’t die so rapidly from Johne’s Disease. The identification of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis was the common thread.

Another common thread, however, was that animals in all 3 of these cases had other health issues, notably pneumonia. In one of the cases, calves had been dealing with chronic pneumonia prior to the onset of the diarrhea. In the cases submitted to the diagnostic lab, the pneumonia present in the animals was not severe enough to cause illness, let alone death. But it did illustrate that affected cattle were dealing with other infections at the time they succumbed to the Yersinia infection.

The environments these animals resided in likely played a role, too. The beef cow herd was still grazing a pasture that had been flooded this summer and fall. One of the Holstein groups was housed in a bedded pack that was extremely wet and manure-filled. While many intestinal germs thrive in warm weather, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis prefers wet, cold conditions. Therefore, its growth can outstrip that of other germs on cold wet pastures or bedded packs this time of year.

It’s also worth pointing out that Yersinia pseudotuberculosis can make people sick also, causing symptoms similar to food poisoning. It’s always important to take cleanliness precautions after working with cattle, especially sick ones.

Fortunately, veterinarians got good responses when they used certain antibiotics to treat sick animals on the affected farms. Since no vaccine exists for Yersinia infections, prevention has to focus on other methods. While wet pastures might be hard to avoid in certain areas, keeping bedding clean and dry will diminish the environmental growth of this germ. Taking steps to decrease draining illnesses such as pneumonia will also help cattle to avoid this opportunistic germ.

It appears that these Yersinia infections are another gut-punch from Mother Nature after a summer and fall of wet, cool weather. It’s worth keeping this illness in mind as you care for your cattle this fall and winter and enlisting the aid of your veterinarian when this – or any other illness – is suspected in your cattle.



USDA Cold Storage November 2019 Highlights


Total red meat supplies in freezers on November 30, 2019 were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 2 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 7 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 6 percent from the previous month but up 13 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 14 percent from last month and up 40 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on November 30, 2019 were down 10 percent from the previous month but up 1 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 42 percent from last month and down 17 percent from November 30, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on November 30, 2019 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 2 percent from November 30, 2018.  Butter stocks were down 23 percent from last month but up 17 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 6 percent from last month and down 7 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 3 percent from last month and down 1 percent from a year ago.



USDA Report Affirms Feasibility of Dealer Trust 


A Dealer Statutory Trust would improve the recovery of livestock sellers in a dealer payment default while also allowing commerce to continue as usual, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report released December 20.

In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress instructed USDA to examine the feasibility of establishing a livestock Dealer Statutory Trust and provide a report within one year. Based on its analysis of industry data, public input, and experience with the livestock industry, USDA finds that it would be feasible to implement a livestock Dealer Statutory Trust.

Under current law, farmers, ranchers, and livestock auctions have been devastated when livestock dealers default on payment. The sellers often do not have the ability to get the livestock back for which they were not paid and recover little from the dealer’s bond. While the Eastern Livestock default, which cost livestock sellers tens of millions of dollars, is the best-known example of this, the USDA report analyzes 82 additional dealer defaults occurring from October 1, 2013 – June 30, 2019.

A Dealer Statutory Trust would give unpaid sellers of livestock the legal right to reclaim livestock or, if they have been resold, proceeds from livestock in the unfortunate event of a livestock dealer payment default. The USDA report finds existing statutory trusts in other segments of agriculture (sales of livestock to packers as well as poultry, fruit, and vegetables sales) are effective in improving financial recoveries and similar results could be expected under a livestock Dealer Statutory Trust.

“We appreciate the in-depth analysis of USDA on this important issue,” said Livestock Marketing Association President Tom Frey. “These findings will be helpful as we work with Congress in 2020 to get livestock auctions and producers the increased certainty and predictability of payment they deserve.”

Creation of a Dealer Trust is supported by the livestock industry, including the Livestock Marketing Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, United States Cattlemen’s Association, American Sheep Industry Association, and American Farm Bureau Federation. Prior to the 2018 Farm Bill calling for the USDA report, the bipartisan Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act, which would have created a Dealer Statutory Trust, was introduced in the House and Senate.

Additional key findings in the USDA report include:
-    A Dealer Statutory Trust could improve sellers' chances of obtaining full recoveries.
    Under a Dealer Statutory Trust, livestock purchase payments made to sellers within 90 days before a dealer files bankruptcy would not be considered preferential transfers and could not be reclaimed from sellers.
-    Establishment of a livestock Dealer Statutory Trust would likely have little effect on buyer and seller behavior in livestock markets. In general, commerce would continue as usual.
-    Implementation of a livestock Dealer Statutory Trust would be unlikely to significantly impact credit availability or lender behavior.



Registration Open for Cover Crops Conference


Registration is open for the Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Conference, Feb. 11-12 in Kansas City, Mo.

The event will be at the KCI Expo Center, says Charles Ellis, University of Missouri Extension field specialist in agricultural engineering. Ellis also serves on the MCCC board of directors. Twelve states and one Canadian province belong to the council.

Ellis says the conference will have sessions on both row crop and cattle operations due to the large number of producers in the Kansas City area producing both grain and livestock.

Event sponsors include MU Extension, K-State Research and Extension, University of Nebraska Extension and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Speakers include faculty from MU, University of Nebraska, and Kansas State University, as well as cattle producers and representatives from NRCS and cattle companies. Sessions include:
- Selecting and Managing Cover Crops
- Weed and Herbicide Interactions Using Cover Crops
- Incorporating Cover Crops in Cattle Operations
- Cover Crop Environmental and Economic Benefits
- Cash Crop Interactions With Cover Crops
- Farmer Panel Discussion

Sessions will look at using cover crops in row crop production, livestock and grazing, as well as environmental and economic issues. Details are available at mccc.msu.edu/about/meetings. The meeting is open to the public.

Register online at cvent.me/E5WdBD or mccc.msu.edu/about/meetings. Learn more about MCCC and cover crops at mccc.msu.edu.



Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Wraps Up 2019 by Reaching Consumers more than 1 Billion times with Content Showcasing Real Beef and Real Farmers and Ranchers


 Two years after it was relaunched, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand has had a reach of more than 1 billion consumers with drool worthy and informative digital marketing and social media content. Funded by the Beef Checkoff and developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand aims to inspire families to explore their culinary talents with nutritious and delicious beef, while connecting consumers with stories of the farmers and ranchers who raise real beef. 

Today, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand is reaching more consumers more frequently and more effectively than ever before. According to market research, when people are aware of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., they are more likely to eat beef more often and feel good about purchasing and preparing beef for their families

“For a brand to have a reach of more than 1 billion in today’s crowded marketing environment is a major milestone,” said Laurie Munns, a cattle rancher from Hansel Valley, Utah and Federation Division Chairman, at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “This achievement also demonstrates the equity of the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand and its ability to continue to meet the needs of today’s discerning consumers. It’s clear that consumers want more information about beef’s great taste, its powerful nutrition profile and the hardworking farmers and ranchers that raise the beef they eat.”

Since the introduction of the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand more than 25 years ago, NCBA has continued to evolve marketing strategies and adapt to changing media landscapes. This evolution included a shift away from television advertising to focus on digital marketing efforts. Specifically, during the past two years, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand has developed and executed several successful integrated digital marketing campaigns. A few highlights include:

Rethink the Ranch

Introduced in 2017 in conjunction with the relaunch of the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand, this campaign featured the people behind beef.  From farm to plate and everything in-between, this video series gave consumers a look inside the lives of real farmers and ranchers and how they continue to produce more high-quality beef more sustainably than ever before.

Nicely Done, Beef

This ongoing campaign highlights beef’s greatest assets - it’s pleasurable eating experience, the amazing people who raise beef and the nutrients beef provides. These messages are delivered through a consistent “nicely done” creative wrapper, with various ads communicating everything from “Nicely done, beef. You prove that meat substitutes are just that. Substitutes.” to “Nicely done, beef. You build strong muscles. No protein shake required.”

The Right Way

Lunched in October, this recent campaign from Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. introduces consumers to the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, a  Beef Checkoff-funded voluntary program ensuring  U.S. beef is produced under stringent animal care standards, resulting in safe, high-quality meat.

Drool Log

To celebrate the holiday season, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. put a spin on the iconic Yule Log with a new mouthwatering video. The two-hour long video features a beautiful prime rib roast cooking to perfection on a rotisserie over an open flame. 

Chuck Knows Beef

In addition to these, and many other creative and informative, campaigns, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. created the first all-knowing beef virtual assistant, Chuck Knows Beef in 2018. Powered by Google Artificial Intelligence, Chuck can serve up recipes and answer a variety of beef-related questions – from nutrition, cut and cooking information to how beef is raised. Chuck can be accessed on a computer or smart phone at ChuckKnowsBeef.com or through Amazon Alexa or Google Home smart devices.

As consumers continue to have an interest in where their food comes, the nutrients it provides and how to prepare it in new and innovative ways, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand will serve as an informative, convenient and mouthwatering resource. Thanks to these ongoing efforts, consumers can continue to feel good about choosing beef for the center of their plates.

To learn more about Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. and see the brand’s latest marketing campaigns, visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

 

Full-Page Ad: Fake Meat or Dog Food.... Can you tell which is meant for human consumption?


Today, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom placed a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times questioning if the everyday consumer can tell the difference between the ingredients found in dog food and “plant-based” meats. This is the latest in a series of print and video ads raising awareness about fake meat.

Despite 76% of Americans believing fake meat is healthy, these products are ultra-processed synthetic imitations. According to the NOVA classification system, ultra-processed means “formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes.” The National Institutes of Health found that ultra-processed foods can cause weight gain and overeating, which can contribute to a motley of health problems.

Over the last six months, CCF has run ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other publications to debunk the “plant-based” myth. In addition, CleanFoodFacts.com provides helpful tools and content that helps consumers better understand what’s in fake meat.



Court Approves Dean Foods Debtor-in-Possession Financing

Dean Foods Company announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas has entered a final order granting the Company authority to access the full amount of its $850 million in debtor-in-possession ("DIP") financing. The Company had previously received interim approval from the Court to access up to $475 million of the DIP financing. The Court also granted all other relief sought, including providing final approvals for certain other of the Company's "First Day Motions" intended to support the business.

Eric Beringause, president and chief executive officer of Dean Foods, said, "We are pleased to have received final Court approval of our DIP credit facility. I can't thank our employees enough for their continued dedication and hard work, and our suppliers, customers and other partners for their support and patience as we move through this process. We remain focused on providing customers with an uninterrupted supply of high-quality dairy products."

As previously announced, Dean Foods and all of its wholly owned subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy code on Nov. 12.

Additional information is available on the restructuring page of the Company's website, www.DeanFoodsRestructuring.com.



USDA Grants Mr. Claus Movement Permit in U.S.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a movement permit to Mr. S. Nicholas Claus of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited. The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 7 p.m. December 24, 2019 and 7 a.m. December 25, 2019, through or over any U.S. border port.

“With a growing world population, Mr. Claus will have his busiest Christmas yet. At USDA, we want to ensure we are not hindering Mr. Claus’ important work of spreading Christmas Cheer for all to hear,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Ease of access into the United States for Mr. Claus and his nine reindeer will ensure that children all over the country – including my own fourteen grandchildren – will wake up on Christmas morning with joy and filled with the spirit of the season. USDA issued this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees to help ensure a smooth trip on Christmas Eve night.”

In addition to the normal disease testing requirements, flying reindeer must undergo additional tests to ensure they will be able to safely handle significant changes in altitude and temperature throughout their journey, and are fit for landing on rooftops. On this year’s health certificate, the accredited veterinarian noted that one of the reindeer named Rudolph was positive for “red nose syndrome,” however, it was also explained that this is normal for him and not an animal health concern. The veterinarian also verified the reindeer have been vaccinated against any diseases they could encounter on their trip around the world.

At the request of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, APHIS also completed a courtesy welfare and humane treatment check of the reindeer facility. Mr. Claus and his staff passed with flying colors.

They will arrive pulling a wooden sleigh with jingling bells attached, filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Port personnel will clean and disinfect the runners and underside of the sleigh at the time of entry, and will also conduct a short visual inspection of the reindeer. Mr. Claus will also have his boots disinfected and will thoroughly wash his hands. These measures are intended to prevent the entry of any livestock diseases the team may encounter during deliveries to farms around the world prior to entering the United States.

“It would be a disaster for Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited, if my reindeer were to unintentionally bring in foot and mouth disease along with all the gifts,” explained Mr. Claus. “Why, something like that could put me out of business. That’s why we work all year to keep the reindeer healthy and take all possible precautions before and during our trip.”

Mr. Claus has also provided an advance list of what port personnel should expect upon their arrival. This includes a variety of food items, all of which come from approved locations and none of which pose a threat to U.S. animal or plant health.



Saturday, December 21, 2019

Friday December 20 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News

NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED DOWN 5 PERCENT

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.48 million cattle on feed on December 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 5 percent from last year. Placements during November totaled 520,000 head, unchanged from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of November totaled 475,000 head, down 3 percent from last year. Other disappearance during November totaled 15,000 head, down 5,000 head from last year.



IOWA CATTLE ON FEED REPORT


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 690,000 head on December 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 5 percent from November 1, 2019, but down 1 percent from December 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 580,000 head on feed, up 9 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,270,000 head, up 7 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during November totaled 110,000 head, down 4 percent from October but up 4 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 120,000 head, down 2 percent from October but up 20 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 230,000 head, down 3 percent from October but up 12 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during November totaled 76,000 head, down 17 percent from October and down 27 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 66,000 head, down 1 percent from October but up 14 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 142,000 head, down 11 percent from October and down 12 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 8,000 head.



United States Cattle on Feed Up 2 Percent

   
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on December 1, 2019. The inventory was 2 percent above December 1, 2018.

Cattle on Feed By State

                           (1,000 hd   -   % Dec 1 '18)

Colorado .......:          1,100          109                 
Iowa .............:            690             99            
Kansas ..........:          2,430          103               
Nebraska ......:          2,480           95                 
Texas ............:          2,930          109                

Placements in feedlots during November totaled 2.09 million head, 5 percent above 2018. Net placements were 2.03 million head. During November, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 620,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 500,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 423,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 310,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 130,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 110,000 head.

Placements by State

                             (1,000 hd   -   % Nov '18)

Colorado .......:          185           132                   
Iowa .............:          110           104                  
Kansas ..........:          415           104              
Nebraska ......:          520           100            
Texas ............:          465           103                 

Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.81 million head, 3 percent below 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 65,000 head during November, 19 percent below 2018.

Marketings by State

                             (1,000 hd   -   % Nov '18)

Colorado .......:          150           103                   
Iowa .............:           76              73                
Kansas ..........:           395           103                   
Nebraska ......:           475            97                
Texas ............:           390            91            



Nebraska Pig Farmers “Pay It Forward”


Food is essential. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. But for some, it can be a luxury. During the holiday giving season between “Giving Tuesday” and Christmas this year, the pork industry called on its friends to come together to “pay it forward” with pork through the Hams Across America program.

The program was created in 2016 to draw attention to the way pig famers serve their communities year-round through food bank donations, raising funds and preparing meals for those in need. Or, as the name suggests, giving a holiday ham to neighbors and community outreach services. Hams Across America has grown rapidly, and in 2018 this program raised more than a half million pounds of donated pork nationwide–or about 2.2 million servings!

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association continued its commitment to the program in 2019 by donating approximately 2,700 pounds of ham to organizations across Nebraska. In the past, donations have gone entirely to the Lincoln and Omaha areas, but due to the generosity and matching funds provided by the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Nebraska distribution was expanded to include Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Columbus, Fremont, Norfolk and Broken Bow.

NPPA President Tim Chancellor enthusiastically supported Hams Across America activities and even donated half of the Broken Bow hams himself. “These organizations do so much to fight hunger in our Nebraska communities,” he said, “that it feels terrific to offer an assist by donating some of the high-quality pork products we produce here in Nebraska.”

The hams were purchased through Sam’s Club in Omaha, and Cedar Hollow Hams and Hy-Vee in Grand Island. The National Pork Board’s pork trailer was on hand in Omaha December 19 to help distribute the hams there and to help raise awareness for the promotion.



NeCGA Elects Officers


Members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association gathered at the Ramada Inn in Grand Island on Tuesday, December 17, for their Annual Meeting. Following the Annual Meeting, NeCGA held a regular board meeting and elected officers.

Dan Nerud, of Dorchester, was re-elected as President. Other officers re-elected include Andy Jobman of Gothenburg, Vice President; Chris Grams, of Upland, Secretary; and Dan Wesely of Morse Bluff, Chairman. Elected to Treasurer was Michael Dibbern of Cairo. The board is thankful to Tom Nathan of Meadow Grove, for his years of service as Treasurer for the organization.

During the Annual Meeting, NeCGA delegates elected two at-large members to the board. Steve Ebke, of Daykin, and Carl Sousek of Prague, were re-elected.

“We are very grateful for the volunteer efforts that our grower leadership and officers give on an annual basis,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA. “I look forward to working alongside our leadership team in increasing opportunities for our membership in the coming year.”



Nebraska Corn Dissatisfied With Final RVO Rule


The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) are disappointed today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule, which sets biofuel blending requirements as part of the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). NCB and NeCGA contend the rule paves the way for small refinery exemption (SRE) waivers to further erode RFS volumes and destroy demand for America’s biofuel industries and our nation’s farmers.

“The EPA really blew it this year,” said Dan Nerud, president of NeCGA and farmer from Dorchester. “EPA’s blatant disregard for the law while issuing refinery waivers was appalling, so we really hoped the Administration was going to right this wrong. Fifteen billion gallons of conventional biofuel looks good on paper, but EPA has shown us time and time again they can’t be trusted. This was not the deal President Trump promised us on Oct. 4. He said farmers were going to be very happy. We’re not happy.”

In the rule released today, the EPA used a three-year average of waivers recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE) in coming up with its 2020 waiver estimate, rather than an average of actual gallons waived by the EPA. However, the EPA has historically ignored DOE’s recommendations when issuing waivers and granted substantially more.

“I’d like to say I can trust EPA will follow through with their rule, but the agency continues to side with the oil industry,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the NCB and farmer from Friend. “Additionally, they failed to account for a court remand requiring them to reallocate 500 million gallons of biofuel. Ultimately, the RVO rule today will only be good news if EPA actually follows DOE recommendations, and we’ll be keeping a close eye to ensure they do.”

“Our corn grower members banded together and urged the EPA and our Administration to uphold the law and restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard, but the EPA came up short, said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA and NCB. “We will continue to work with the Administration and the EPA to ensure they uphold their commitment to corn farmers. We need the EPA to follow through and blend at least 15 billion gallons as per the law. We’ll be monitoring this carefully to hold the EPA accountable.”

Additionally, Nebraska Corn will push EPA to follow through with its promises to provide biofuel infrastructure funding and update outdated E15 labeling requirements.



EPA ruling on 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations undermines ethanol industry


The Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) is disappointed in the final rule setting the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for ethanol for 2020 issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Dec. 19. The rule sets conventional ethanol demand for next year at 15.8 billion gallons and not at the 16.34 billion gallons necessary to immediately move the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market and incentivize industry growth.

“The EPA missed a big opportunity to restore market faith that there will be 2020 ethanol demand at the levels laid out in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) law,” said Roger Berry, NEB administrator. “We appreciate that the EPA increased the RVO by .8 billion gallons of conventional ethanol, but there is no evidence this addition will ultimately reflect the number of lost 2020 gallons given the EPA’s historical practice of granting retroactive Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) without reallocation. This ruling also does not set safeguards into place that will ensure SREs are only granted to refineries who truly prove economic hardship.”

Since 2017, the EPA has granted roughly 40 percent more waived gallons than the annual average of about .8 billion that were recommended to have been waived by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

“The EPA has now had its say on next year's ethanol demand volumes,” Berry said. “We are going to work with our political champions and industry peers to ensure that the EPA does not grant more than .8 billion in SREs for 2020, so that there will be a solid 15 billion gallons of stable conventional ethanol demand next year. That outcome will help restore confidence and growth in the ethanol industry, and we look forward to seeing improvement as soon as possible."

“We are cautiously hopeful that the EPA will start strictly following DOE’s recommendations, as Secretary Perdue told me in person last week that 15 billion gallons of conventional corn ethanol truly means 15 billion gallons,” said Nebraska Ethanol Board Chairman Jan tenBensel.  



Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Announces Availability of Youth Scholarships


The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) is accepting applications for scholarships from qualified youth in Nebraska who have an interest in the beef industry. These scholarships will be awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year and are provided through contributions received by the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Applications are available on the Nebraska Cattlemen website (www.nebraskacattlemen.org) or can be obtained by calling the NCF office at (402) 475-2333.

The Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship awards a $10,000 scholarship to an outstanding college junior, senior or graduate-level student. Eligible students must be residents of Nebraska and be enrolled in a Nebraska college or university pursuing a beef industry-related degree. The scholarship will be awarded based on student need, Nebraska beef industry involvement (past achievements and future plans) and academics. Students will be required to complete the written application (due in the NCF office by February 14, 2020) and finalists will be invited to an final interview with the selection committee.

NCF offers numerous other $1,000 minimum scholarships, awarded on the basis of academic achievement, beef industry involvement and goals/quality of application. This application is due into the NCF office by March 16, 2020. Scholarship recipients must be a high school senior or college student, have a “C” or higher grade point average, and be enrolled or intending to enroll full time in a college or university that offers a bachelor degree, an approved vocation or trade school, or a state accredited junior college. Refer to the application for complete selection requirements.



Nebraska Cattlemen Hires Stohs as Controller


Nebraska Cattlemen would like to announce the recent hire of Kyle Stohs as Controller. Kyle originates from Odell, Nebraska, most recently residing in Lincoln while working for a public accounting firm. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting, and continued to earn his Master of Business Administration. Along with an exceptional academic career Kyle has kept to his roots in Odell where he operates his cow herd and enjoys hunting.

“I am beyond excited to continue my accounting career at Nebraska Cattlemen.” said Stohs “I look forward to working for an organization that shares the same passions as myself.”

“I am very pleased to announce Kyle Stohs as the newest addition to the Nebraska Cattlemen family. Kyle’s exemplary education achievements and previous work experience, coupled with being a beef producer, make him a perfect individual to serve as NC’s controller.” – Pete McClymont, Nebraska Cattlemen Executive Vice President.



NDA SUBMITS HEMP PLAN TO USDA FOR APPROVAL


Today the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) submitted a state hemp plan for approval to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA will have 60 days to review the Nebraska hemp plan before either approving it as is or suggesting changes to comply with federal standards.

For more information on the Nebraska Hemp Program and to view the Nebraska state hemp plan proposal that was submitted to USDA, visit NDA’s website at nda.nebraska.gov/hemp.



2019 IBIC Beef Quality Assurance Award Winners


At the 2019 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit, the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) recognized Steve Rehder of 3-R Feedlots Inc., Bruce River, Katy Lippolis and Sheldon Livestock Sales Inc. for the 2019 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards. The four recipients exemplify continual improvement for the beef industry by encouraging their fellow producers to implement BQA practices and leadership involvement in Iowa’s cattle industry. BQA practices, such as low-stress handling, thorough record-keeping and judicious antibiotic use show the beef industry’s daily commitment of proudly producing safe, wholesome and healthy beef.

Steve Rehder of 3-R Feedlots from Hawarden, Iowa, is the 2019 BQA Feedyard Award Recipient. Owned and managed by Steve Rehder alongside his son Trent and wife Shari. Rehder raises hogs and manages a feedlot where they finish multiple turns of cattle a year. He was an early adopter and participant when feedlot assessments were first implemented and has been steadfast in the utilization of BQA principles on the farm. Furthermore, he’s a hands-on leader and has assisted with planning for the Sioux Co. Feedlot Forum since the early 2000s, served as the President of the Sioux Co. Cattlemen’s Association multiple times and co-chairs the Sioux County Carcass Contest. A committed leader that has chaired the Iowa Beef Industry Council Board of Directors twice and currently serves on the Federation of State Beef Councils.

Bruce River of Maquoketa, Iowa, was the recipient of the 2019 BQA Cow-Calf Award. Bruce and his wife Chris have two sons, Peyton and Carter. Both sons grew up playing an active role in the day-to-day activities on the farm. Peyton has since returned to the family farm and Carter resides in Nashville where he works in finance and accounting. Bruce and his family manage their cows utilizing pasture and a dry lot system. The calves are retained on the farm and finished out through the family’s feedlot each year. They’re diligent managers that keep comprehensive records and have been longtime users of the CHAPS cow record-keeping systems and utilize a performance monitoring system in the feedlot. They’re proactive in implementing BQA principles, in particular, low-stress cattle handling practices. Bruce has been a valuable contributor in producer roundtables and extension think tanks--a few examples of his industry leadership. River is an outstanding producer that emulates best management practices the beef community is continually striving to uphold.

The 2019 recipient of the BQA Educator Award was Katy Lippolis. Before assuming her current role as Iowa State Beef Cow-Calf Specialist and Assistant Professor, she completed a master’s program in beef systems management at Colorado State University where she became more deeply involved in information and research on beef cattle, including serving as the coordinator of the Colorado Beef Quality Assurance Program. Lippolis then attended Oregon State University for a doctoral program which solidified her interest in improving calf and feeder cattle performance through management and nutrition, specifically during weaning. Over the past two years, we have seen the demand for BQA trainings drastically increase and through a partnership with the Iowa Beef Center and their staff, the call to action has been answered. She was instrumental in the planning and preparations for the Regional Stockmanship and Stewardship event hosted in Ames this past summer. We are most thankful for her diligence in sharing of BQA programming here in Iowa, with her Iowa State students and producers alike.

The 2019 recipient of the Marketer Award was awarded to Sheldon Livestock Sales Incorporated. Their strong presence in the ag community is manifested through three barn locations in Iowa and South Dakota. Sheldon Livestock has been a strong supporter of the BQA program and has been proactive in working alongside their ISU Region 1 Beef Specialist, Beth Doran, to help increase customers’ awareness and accessibility to the BQA program. They have hosted multiple training sessions and have been accommodating in helping producers navigate the process. Additionally, they were one of the first barns to help develop and host ICA preconditioned feeder calf sales, health, age and source verified program. Livestock auction markets are a vital cog in the supply chain that enables Iowa’s ag economy to continue functioning and help drive a robust ag economy in the state.

 “The Beef Quality Assurance program strives to build beef’s demand by maximizing consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, we show our end users, consumers, that we care and we are capable,” said Casey Allison, Director of Industry Relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council and State BQA Coordinator. “The BQA awards are a way for the National Beef Checkoff Program through the Iowa Beef Industry Council to recognize the outstanding men and women in Iowa who put great tasting beef on our consumers’ plates each and every day. It is imperative that we recognize the education and application of these practices and stewardship that is involved within the beef industry daily. This year’s award recipients are a testament of our beef farmers caring for their land and livestock while being involved in their local communities. Through their leadership and implementation of BQA on their operations, the future of the Iowa beef industry is bright.”



Wine Taste May Have Untapped Potential in Iowa


Grape and wine producers in Iowa and across the Midwest have a few challenges that some more popular grape-growing regions do not.

Namely, the threat of cold winters, late frost springs and hot, humid summers – factors that can play into grape production and flavor. But Iowa’s potential in the wine industry is as unique as the state, which is to say, there is much opportunity for quality wines to be made in Iowa.

Aude Watrelot, assistant professor of enology and extension enology specialist at Iowa State University, is in the process of studying how different factors, including winemaking and chemistry, affect our sense of taste and what can be done to improve the taste perception of Iowa wines.

“I’m here to help the winemakers from Iowa and the Midwest region improve their wine quality,” said Watrelot, a native of France who started with Iowa State in August.

Watrelot earned her Ph.D. in France and completed postdoctoral research at California State, Fresno, and the University of California, Davis, where some of the most popular wines in the United States are produced. But she said that every region is unique, and she sees strong potential for Iowa wines.

For Iowa, that means embracing what the state has, and overcoming the challenges.

“I think we should not compare ourselves to what we already know about wine from another region,” she said. “You can find really good wine in Iowa that is unique to this part of the country.”

Watrelot’s optimism is supported by her research, which focuses on understanding the relationships between viticultural winemaking practices, grape and wine chemical composition, molecular interaction, taste and perception.

Her current research includes a focus on how to manage the concentration and composition of polyphenols in cold-hardy grapes and wines and a focus on how grape tannins interact with salivary proteins, which influences the level of astringency (dryness) experienced when drinking red wine.

Watrelot’s work was featured in a December article in The Conversation, an international news service that features articles written by researchers.

“Basically, the more tannin there is in a wine, the more astringent it will be,” she writes. “When you take a sip, the large tannin molecules interact with proteins from your saliva. They combine and form complexes, reducing the number of salivary proteins available to help lubricate your mouth. It leaves your mouth with a dry sensation – like if a snail were to lose its mucus layer, it would dry out.”

The desired “dry” mouthfeel can be a bit more challenging with Iowa grapes, because the varieties grown here must first be resistant to cold harsh winters, and hot humid summers, which results in wines with lower amounts of tannins.

Watrelot is in the process of assembling her own lab, where she is researching ways to improve the finished wine quality, and also ways to evaluate wine scientifically, to be as close as possible to the human perception.

In addition to her lab work, Watrelot said she is excited about the workshops and outreach opportunities available to Iowa wine producers.

A wine microbiology workshop to learn about microbiological lab techniques for winemaking will be held Jan. 8, at Iowa State.  http://www.aep.iastate.edu/micro/

For the latest events and information, visit the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute online. The website has up-to-date resources for grape and wine producers https://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/, and timely articles about the wine industry.



SENATE BILL INTRODUCED TO CODIFY CCP REGULATION

NPPC Newsletter

This week, legislation was introduced that codifies one of NPPC's top accomplishments of 2019: an agreement reached earlier this year between the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure Cell-Cultured Protein (CCP)—produced from cultured cells taken from pigs and other livestock—is regulated on terms that ensures a level playing field.

Senate Bill 3053, introduced by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), would ensure the agreement between the two agencies has the force of law. The Meat and Poultry Inspection Act clearly indicates that CCP should be under the oversight of USDA's Federal Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). FDA will have a role in ensuring that ingredients used in the manufacture of CCP products are safe. When it comes to making products from these cells, only FSIS has the capability to provide continuous, risk-based inspection and apply strict labeling standards that will ensure consumer awareness of what CCP is and how it's produced.

Thanks in part to the efforts of the National Pork Producers Council, on March 7, 2019, the FDA and USDA's FSIS signed a formal agreement to regulate CCP. The agreement was designed to leverage the expertise of both agencies to protect the country's food supply and provide safe and accurately labeled products. It's critical that product names and label claims protect the investments livestock farmers have made to establish a definition of meat protein that is widely understood by consumers.

WHITE HOUSE APPROVES PROPOSED CHANGES TO GIPSA RULE
The White House Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday approved USDA's changes to its Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules, clearing the way for release of the proposal. Earlier this year, USDA indicated its intention to develop new GIPSA rules in compliance with the Congressional direction in the 2010 Farm Bill. 

NPPC opposes any new GIPSA regulations that interfere with pork producer rights to freely enter into contractual business relationships or otherwise restrict producers' ability to sell and packers' ability to buy livestock. The U.S. pork sector is highly competitive and pork producers are the most innovative sector of the overall agricultural economy. 



Broadband Map Fix Will Reveal Needs


The House of Representatives passed Farm Bureau-backed legislation that will improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps to better identify needs.

The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act (H.R. 4229) requires broadband providers to report more specific data to create a significantly more accurate and granular National Broadband Map. With more precise data, federal agencies can target funding to areas that need it most.

“Broadband is a necessity and many rural areas still don’t have access to it or are underserved.  With limited funding, it’s critical we target resources where they are needed most,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “Farm Bureau thanks members of the House who worked diligently to pass this legislation and who are committed to delivering broadband access to rural communities. We strongly encourage the Senate to take up this issue without delay.”

Current broadband coverage maps are inadequate because they rely on census block data to determine which areas are covered. Census blocks are too large in rural and remote locations to accurately determine need. If even one household in a given census block is reported by a provider as being served, then the entire block is considered served. Census blocks larger than 2 square miles comprise more than 64% of the U.S. land area, so every rural area is impacted by this problem in some way.

In addition to creating more accurate maps, the bill requires the FCC to establish an audit process that ensures internet service providers are providing accurate data used to create the maps. It also would create a user-friendly process to challenge the data.



Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Hosts “Roast & Toast” Influencer Event


Eleven food influencers gathered in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Culinary Center, funded by the Beef Checkoff, for “Roast & Toast with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” to learn how to prepare the perfect roast just in time for the holiday season. Bravo Top Chef finalist and winner of Beat Bobby Flay, chef Carrie Baird, was the guest of honor, teaching the influencers how to prepare a flawless roast.

During the event, the attending influencers, popular with consumers for their food and lifestyle blogs and social media profiles, were not only treated to a hands-on beef roast cooking demonstration by chef Baird, they also learned about beef and wine pairings and enjoyed appetizers from the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. recipe collection including:
-    Bao Beef Buns
-    Beef Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic-Feta Spread
-    Mini Merry Meatballs
-    Spicy Korean Beef & Cucumber Appetizer

The evening wrapped up with a family style dinner, allowing for further networking among the influencers and providing time for the influencer team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, to further engage with the influencers and discuss all things beef.

Rounding out the event were four cattle producers. The ranchers provided a unique perspective into beef and the people who raise it as they shared their story as beef advocates and gave a personal look into the beef industry.

“Events like “Roast & Toast” present a great opportunity for cattle producers to interact with chefs and influencers and address common misconceptions about the cattle industry,” said Buck Wehrbein, NCBA Federation Division Vice Chairman. “Food influencers are excited to share the high-quality beef they know and love with their large consumer following, but often have questions about where their food comes from. Events like this one help close the knowledge gap and put faces to the farmers and ranchers raising real beef.”

In addition to hosting the “Roast & Toast” event to inspire influencers and their content, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is keeping the craveability of beef at the top of the mind for consumers this holiday season with the roll out of roast-inspired content. Efforts include a spin on a classic yule log with the Beef Drool Log, a two-hour video featuring a prime rib roast cooking to perfection on a rotisserie over open flame, as well as a “12 Days of Roastmas” series on social media and a Holiday Entertaining recipe collection featured on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.