Thursday, November 19, 2020

Wednesday November 18 Ag News


As the 2020 growing season comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine year-end off-farm grain and oilseed stocks.

“These surveys are the largest and most important year-end surveys conducted by NASS,” explained NASS’s Northern Plains Director Nicholas Streff. “They are the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States as well as grain and oilseed supplies. Data from the survey will benefit farmers and processors by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial year-end business decisions and begin planning for the next growing and marketing season.”

“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county-level yields which have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency may use the data in administering producer programs and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Streff. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2019, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to an insufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Streff continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on January 12. These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at 800-582-6443.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the December Hogs and Pigs Survey. This end-of- year survey is the most  comprehensive gathering of quarterly data on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions in every state.

“According to the most recent Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report in September, there were 79.1 million hogs and pigs in the United States,” said Nicholas Streff, NASS Northern Plains Regional Director. “The December survey and resulting report will continue to provide important indicators for the industry of what changes are occurring – if any.”

NASS will mail the questionnaires to all producers selected for the survey in late November. To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS interviewers will contact producers who do not respond by mail or online to conduct a telephone interview.

The data gathered in this survey allow NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry over the course of the year. The information is used by all sectors of the industry, including producers themselves, to help make sound and timely business decisions.

NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on December 23. All NASS reports are available online at For more information, call the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office at (800) 582-6443.

Nebraska Extension Master Gardener volunteer program goes virtual for 2021

Nebraska Extension is accepting applications for its 2021 Master Gardner Volunteer training program. The 2021 training will take place virtually.  

The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program is a horticulture-related volunteer training program based in many counties and has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Volutneers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in horticulture, environmental, and landscape-system related topics. It was designed for individuals interested in learning more about gardening and landscape practices, or who have a passion for giving back to the community by sharing science-based horticulture information.

Working through their local Extension office, the trained volunteers use these unique skills, to participate in horticulture and landscape projects within their communities. More specifically, they provide education about sustainable horticultural practices while developing valuable partnerships within the community and leveraging the resources of Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Participants are required to complete 40 hours of class training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. The initial training curriculum covers topics such as plant science, botany, insects, weed and wildlife management, pesticide safety, soils, turfgrass, and whole landscape system management.  

Volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering. Volunteer tasks may involve answering phones at a county Extension office, giving horticulture presentations to community organizations, assisting 4-H clubs with garden projects, judging horticulture exhibits at county and state fairs, participating in community garden projects, writing a garden column for the local paper and more.

Class times, location, and cost vary across the state but are generally offered February through May. The 2021 trainings will be presented virtually.   

Volunteer applicants should be at least 19 years old, with a passion for plants, gardens, and an excitement for learning more about your landscape system. Volunteers need to be willing to commit to the training and volunteer process and meet all requirements for yearly recertification.

For more information about the Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, find a training location coordinator near you, or learn to complete an application form, visit  

Upcoming Nebraska Farmers Union Virtual Convention Agenda Highlights Announced

“107 Years of Service” is the theme for the 107th annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention.  John Hansen, NeFU President said, “For the past 107 years, the focus of our general farm organization has been to serve the needs of family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. For the first time ever, in order to conduct the necessary elections and business of the organization, and keep our members safe, we will be doing our convention virtually via ZOOM.  Instead of holding our convention in Kearney as scheduled, our convention will be held in farm homes across the state.”  

NeFU delegates and members will elect Board of Directors from Districts 1 and 5.  Incumbents Al Davis is running for re-election for District 1, and Camdyn Kavan is running for District 5 to replace retiring Director Ben Gotschall who announced he is moving to Maine to serve as the Dairy Manager at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Freeport. The final district caucuses to field potential additional candidates and all elections will be held Friday morning between 11:00 am and noon.

In addition to electing officers, three delegates and alternates to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention will be elected.  The 2019-2020 NeFU policy will be extended for one year. Urgent time sensitive policy issues can be sent to the NeFU Board of Directors for consideration.

Hansen said he hopes NeFU members will take advantage of this new virtual opportunity to attend their state convention. “Since it is virtual, there will be no transportation time or costs, lodging, meal, or registration costs.”  Registration is at the NeFU website: The latest information will be on the website. “We are still doing the organization business including elections, but we have condensed the usual two full day schedule down to one short day. In addition to hearing from NFU President Rob Larew Friday after lunch, the convention will feature the always popular State Senator panel with Senators Brandt, DeBoer, Quick, and Walz. We start late and end early to allow time to do morning and afternoon chores,” Hansen said.

NeFU Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth noted “The safety of our members was our primary concern which is why we moved to a virtual event. Thanks to the pandemic, people everywhere including rural Nebraska have learned how to use ZOOM or some sort of platform to conduct business. As people get more comfortable with this technology, it makes it easier for rural Nebraskans to participate when long distances are not a factor. This pandemic has shown the light on the need to improve the accessibility and capacity of high speed internet broadband. This could be a positive that comes out of this pandemic.”

NeFU President John Hansen concluded, “The good news is that since our virtual convention will be practicing extreme social distancing, we won’t need to wear our masks to be safe.”  

National Biodiesel Board Virtually Elects New Governing Board

The National Biodiesel Board members met virtually this week to elect new Governing Board leaders from across the biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain. NBB’s new leadership will help the development and success of the industry, reflecting the member-driven and member-focused values of the trade association.

“As the national trade association for the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, it is critical that we are led by a strong team of advocates from all sectors of the industry,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “As we see consumers and policymakers leading the shift to cleaner transportation and heating fuels, NBB’s Governing Board will continue to play a critical role in our goal to double our production and become a 6 billion gallon a year industry by 2030.”

NBB members voted to fill eight board member spots for two-year terms:
    Troy Alberts, Ag Processing Inc.
    Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board

    Tom Brooks, Western Dubuque Biodiesel, LLC
    Tim Keaveney, Lake Erie Biofuels DBA HERO BX
    Mike Rath, Darling Ingredients Inc.
    Rob Shaffer, American Soybean Association
    Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
    Paul Teta, Kolmar Americas Inc.

Kent Engelbrecht, Tim Ostrem, Ryan Pederson, Harry Simpson, Paul Soanes, Chad Stone, and Dave Walton continue to serve on the board. The board elected Chad Stone to continue serving as Chairman, Mike Rath as Vice Chairman, Rob Shaffer as 2nd Vice Chairman, Ryan Pederson as Treasurer, and Troy Alberts as Secretary.

The NBB Governing Board reflects the wide range of member companies in the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry from soybean growers to feedstock processors to producers.

NBB also extended its thanks to retiring Governing Board members Jeff Lynn and Bob Morton.

“We sincerely thank Bob and Jeff for their time and dedication over the years to biodiesel and renewable diesel,” says Rehagen. “We appreciated their ability to represent our members’ interest and advocate for our industry in critical moments, leading us to growth and success. NBB will miss their devoted leadership but we know they will continue as strong advocates for growth in our industry.”

Crop Marketing Strategies Webinar Planned for Nov. 19

A free, one-hour webinar on crop marketing strategies will be presented Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, and Ed Kordick, farmer education program manager with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, will discuss topics related to the current crop in storage to be marketed.

Specifically, they will discuss the current corn and soybean supply and demand, and the price outlook; local basis trends and future price carry; cost of grain ownership; and crop marketing strategies, tools and market planning.

“Participants will better understand the importance of tracking their own local basis and calculating cost of ownership for bushels being stored,” said Johnson. “Also, we will discuss the multitude of crop marketing resources available on the ISU Extension and Outreach Ag Decision Maker website.”

The Ag Decision Maker is holding crop marketing webinars on a monthly basis and most sessions are free. Additional farm management opportunities are also being offered, and include the annual Pro-Ag Outlook and Management webinars, which will be held daily the week of Dec. 7. The Pro-Ag registration is $20 for the week.

Pre-registration for the Crop Marketing Strategies webinar is required. To register and review additional webinars, visit the Ag Decision Maker webinar site

November 2020 Dairy Market Report Now Available

Government dairy donation purchases, along with the differing dynamics of retail vs. food-service sales, continue to be the main movers of domestic demand and prices for dairy products as the end of 2020 draws near. Cheese prices rose again in October, capping the second major cheese price run-up of the pandemic, as a second round of government purchases stoked demand. This ended at the beginning of November, when daily cash market prices of both blocks and barrels dropped sharply for more than a week as markets anticipated federal purchases winding down.

Bright spots for dairy in the year’s first three quarters of data include increases in total sales of fluid milk, yogurt and butter, which have been buttressed by strong retail demand. Cheese, meanwhile, has seen mixed progress in commercial use year-to-date, with use that’s been higher for American-type cheese but slightly lower for other types. Export growth has also been strong for dry skim milk, whey products and other than American-type cheese, which has offset the drop in its domestic use. The DMC margin dipped a toe below $9.50 per cwt in September, due to strengthening corn and soybean meal prices that followed modest, but steady declines for the year to that point.

Read the report here:  

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/13/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 13, ethanol production scaled back by 1.5%, or 15,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 962,000 b/d—equivalent to 40.40 million gallons daily. Production remained 6.9% below the same week last year. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate rose for the sixth consecutive week, up 1.3% to 960,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.72 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked up 0.2% to 20.2 million barrels, which was the highest volume since August and 1.5% below a year-ago. Inventories built across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, slumped 5.8% to 8.26 million b/d (126.60 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 10.2% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 2.5% to 813,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.46 bg annualized and a 22-week low. This was 12.5% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded after 68,000 b/d hit the books the prior week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2020.)

Two K-State studies focus on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in domestic cats, pigs

Two recently published studies from Kansas State University researchers and collaborators have led to two important findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Domestic cats can be asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2, but pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.

"Other research has shown that COVID-19-infected human patients are transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to cats; this includes domestic cats and even large cats, such as lions and tigers," said Jürgen A. Richt, the Regents distinguished professor at Kansas State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "Our findings are important because of the close association between humans and companion animals."

There are about 95 million house cats in the U.S. and about 60 million to 100 million feral cats, Richt said.

Richt is the senior author on the two recent collaborative publications in the journal Emerging Microbes & Infections: "SARS-CoV-2 infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats" and "Susceptibility of swine cells and domestic pigs to SARS-CoV-2."

Through their in-depth study at the K-State Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, at Pat Roberts Hall, the researchers studied susceptibility to infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats. They found that domestic cats may not have obvious clinical signs of SARS-CoV-2, but they still shed the virus through their nasal, oral and rectal cavities and can spread it efficiently to other cats within two days. Further research is needed to study whether domestic cats can spread the virus to other animals and humans.

"This efficient transmission between domestic cats indicates a significant animal and public health need to investigate a potential human-cat-human transmission chain," said Richt, who is also the director of the university's Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, known as CEEZAD, and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, known as CEZID.

For the study involving pigs, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2-infected pigs are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and do not appear to transmit the virus to contact animals.

"Pigs play an important role in U.S. agriculture, which made it important to determine the potential SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in pigs," Richt said. "Our results show that pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of SARS-CoV-2."

The BRI has provided the high-security laboratories for Richt and collaborators to study SARS-CoV-2. It is a biosafety level-3 and biosafety level-3 agriculture facility that houses important multidisciplinary research, training and educational programs on pathogens that affect animals, plants and insects, as well as food safety and security.

Richt and his collaborators plan further studies to understand SARS-CoV-2 transmission in cats and pigs. They also plan to study whether cats are immune to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection after they have recovered from a primary SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"This research is important for risk assessment, implementing mitigation strategies, addressing animal welfare issues, and to develop preclinical animal models for evaluating drug and vaccine candidates for COVID-19," Richt said.

The research has involved other K-State researchers from the department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine: Natasha N. Gaudreault, Jessie D. Trujillo, David A. Meekins, Igor Morozov, Daniel W. Madden, Sabarish V. Indran, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Taeyong Kwon, Bianca L. Artiaga, Konner Cool, Wenjun Ma and Jamie Henningson, also director of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Other researchers involved include Mariano Carossino and Udeni B. R. Balasuriya from Louisiana State University; William C. Wilson with the U.S, Department of Agriculture's Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit; Adolfo García-Sastre with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Heinz Feldmann with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  

DAP Prices Close in on 2019 Levels; Most Other Fertilizers See Minor Price Changes

Retail fertilizer prices continue to be generally mixed, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the second week of November 2020.

The prices of five of the eight major fertilizers were down from last month, but none were lower by a significant amount, which DTN designates as 5% or more. Urea had an average price of $358/ton, down $1; 10-34-0 $455/ton, down $2; anhydrous $422/ton, down $2; UAN28 $208/ton, down $1; and UAN32 $248/ton, down $1.

Three fertilizers were slightly higher in price compared to last month, but again none were up a sizeable amount. DAP had an average price of $454/ton, up $9; MAP $486/ton, up $11; and potash $333/ton, up $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

Prices are mostly lower than a year ago with one lone exception. MAP is 5% more expensive than last year.  The remaining seven fertilizers are all lower than a year earlier. DAP is 1% lower, 10-34-0 is 4% less expensive, urea is 8% lower, potash and UAN32 are both 13% less expensive, anhydrous is 15% lower and UAN28 16% less expensive from last year at this time.

Growth Energy Applauds Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act of 2020

Today, U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) introduced the Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act of 2020 to encourage low-carbon fuel production and increase production of cellulosic biomass into renewable fuels.   
This legislation would expedite the approval process at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for low-carbon biofuel pathways, an issue which has stalled technological progress for years. Cellulosic technologies can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 100% or more, providing even more effective, low-cost alternative petroleum products which are more expensive and pollute the air.   

“We applaud Representatives Bustos and Hagedorn for introducing this legislation to streamline pathways for low-carbon biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Unnecessary delays have stalled progress on the biofuels industry’s ability to harness clean energy from agricultural residue, corn fiber, and waste. We know that cellulosic technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% or more, providing options for negative-emissions liquid fuels and providing a low-cost alternative to petroleum-based aromatics that poison our air and threaten our health.”   

“This important legislation will help clear the deck on long-overdue approvals and jumpstart growth in these innovative technologies at a time when revitalizing rural communities has never been more important.”   

The Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act of 2020 is the House companion to the previously introduced S.3986 by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

October Milk Production in the United States up 2.3 Percent

Milk production in the United States during October totaled 18.6 billion pounds, up 2.3 percent from October 2019.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,977 pounds for October,
37 pounds above October 2019.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.39 million head, 43,000 head more than October 2019, and 14,000 head more than September 2020.

Milk production in Iowa during October 2020 totaled 457 million pounds, up 3% from the previous October according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during October, at 219,000 head, was the same as last month and 2,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,085 pounds, up 45 pounds from last October.

Model Filter System Removes Antibiotics from Wastewater

A model for an economical filter system that can remove antibiotics from wastewater has been designed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of California-Riverside (UCR) collaborators.

Microbiologist Mark Ibekwe with the ARS Agricultural Water Efficiency and Salinity Research Unit in Riverside, California, and UCR soil chemist Daniel Ashworth constructed the prototype system using four layers of natural materials: gravel, sand, soil, and biochar in a column 50-cm tall and 12-cm diameter.

They used the laboratory-scale model to remove four antibiotics: amoxicillin, cefalexin, sulfadiazine, and tetracycline at various levels of efficiency. These four antibiotics were selected for testing in the scale model because they are among the most common in wastewater treatment plant effluent. Conventional wastewater treatment plant systems are relatively effective at removing nutrients and bacteria but can be somewhat ineffective at removing antibiotics.

The effectiveness of the laboratory-scale system varied with the antibiotic being evaluated. It successfully removed 98 percent of the tetracycline, followed by 91 percent of cefalexin, 81 percent of amoxicillin and 51 percent of sulfadiazine. The antibiotics had initial concentrations of 10 ppb, comparable to levels that have been seen in municipal wastewater.

Amoxicillin and cefalexin removal were largely controlled by chemical degradation in the gravel layer, while sulfadiazine was largely removed by a combination of chemical and microbial degradation in the soil mixed with biochar layer. Tetracycline was primarily removed by chemical reactions with water (hydrolysis) in the gravel layer.

"These results show the importance of using layers of different materials to target different antibiotics rather than expecting one layer and material will be able to do the job." said Ibekwe.

Increasing the time it takes for the water stream to pass through the column also improved removal efficiency, especially for amoxicillin and cefalexin. In this design, the simulated wastewater enters at the bottom of the column to saturate the bottom layer and then is pumped up through the column to flow out through the top.

A "full-size" scale-upped version of the researchers' filter system—one that might serve a small-town wastewater treatment plant—would be about 2 meters tall and 50 cm in diameter, according to Ashworth. Of course, you could use multiples of the columns to serve a larger need and the footprint would still be relatively small, which is one of the powerful features of this system, Ashworth added.

There are some existing systems that can remove antibiotics from wastewater, but these tend to be very expensive or require much more space. This research was published in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering.

USDA Opens Registration for the 2021 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Registration is now open for the 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), the largest annual meeting and premiere event of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The two-day Forum will take place on Feb. 18-19, 2021. Due to COVID-19 and current restrictions on large gatherings in the Washington, D.C. area, USDA will hold the 2021 Forum virtually for the first time and registration will be free for the event.

The 2021 Forum, themed “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience,” builds on USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, launched earlier this year to align USDA’s resources, programs, and research toward the goal of increasing U.S. agricultural production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050. The Forum will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers and 30 breakout sessions developed by agencies across USDA. Topics covered include the food price outlook, innovations in agriculture, U.S. and global agricultural trade developments, and frontiers in sustainability and conservation. In addition, the USDA Chief Economist will unveil the Department’s latest outlook for U.S. commodity markets and trade, and discuss the U.S. farm income situation.

The 2021 Forum’s program will be announced in early December.

About USDA’s Outlook Forum

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum began in 1923 to distribute and interpret national forecasts to farmers in the field. The goal was to provide the information developed through economic forecasting to farmers so they had the tools to read market signals and avoid producing beyond demand. Since then, the event has developed into a unique platform where key stakeholders from the agricultural sector in the United States and around the world come together every year to discuss current and emerging topics and trends in the sector. More than 1,800 people attended the 2020 Forum.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum, which is organized by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist together with other USDA agencies, is independent of commercial interests and aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports well-functioning open markets.

Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down 4%

Thanksgiving celebrations will look different for many Americans this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gatherings are likely to be fewer and farther between, with social distancing and perhaps even remote family get-togethers. One tradition that continues this year is the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual cost survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

Farm Bureau’s 35th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 remains affordable at $46.90 or less than $5.00 per person. This is a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91.

“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday,” he explained.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs less than last year, at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.21 per pound, down 7% from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.

Year-to-Year Price Comparison

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines include whipping cream and sweet potatoes. Foods showing modest increases this year included dinner rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pumpkin pie mix. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $18.01, down slightly from last year.

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, potatoes and frozen green beans. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $13.21, to $60.11. This updated basket of foods also declined slightly in price (4%) compared to 2019.

Although it’s difficult to predict if panic purchasing will again become a concern due to the pandemic, “Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country,” Newton said.

Farmers’ perseverance in continuing to produce food throughout the pandemic despite the challenges of volatile markets has been recognized by the public, according to recent AFBF public opinion research. Nearly nine in 10 adults (88%) trust farmers, a 4% increase from AFBF’s June 2020 polling. Further, the #StillFarming campaign tells the stories of farmers and ranchers still hard at work during the pandemic – and the challenges they are overcoming to feed America and the world.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using more than 230 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers were encouraged to check prices online using grocery store apps and websites due to the pandemic. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Farmers Earn 11.9 Cents of Thanksgiving Food Dollar, NFU Farmer's Share Shows

For every dollar Americans spend on their Thanksgiving dinner this year, farmers and ranchers will earn approximately 11.9 cents, according to National Farmers Union (NFU). This marks a slight decline from 2019, when farmers claimed 12.15 cents of the Thanksgiving food dollar.

Though farmers’ increasingly small share of food expenditures could be blamed on dropping commodity prices in years past, that isn’t the case this Thanksgiving; after cratering during the pandemic, prices for many agricultural products have mostly recovered. Instead, the shift can be attributed to higher grocery bills. In the last 12 months, the food prices have risen nearly 4 percent, far outpacing the 1.4 percent rate of overall inflation.

The rise in food prices couldn’t come at a worse time for American families, who are experiencing elevated rates of unemployment and food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. “Ordinarily, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with our loved ones and enjoy a big meal,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “But for many Americans, the typical, food-filled get-together won’t be possible, and not just because of public health concerns. With millions out of work and no additional government support in sight, the cost of traditional holiday foods may simply be out of reach for some families.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, NFU has been pushing legislators to expand the nutrition safety net in order to offset an abrupt rise in food insecurity. Congress took some steps to do so with the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which added $15.5 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in order to accommodate more participants and facilitated the redistribution of surplus food from farmers to food banks. In the subsequent eight months, however, most of the CARES Act funding has been spent, and there has been little progress towards securing additional support for nutrition assistance programs.

“As cases continue to rise across the country and safety measures are put in place, it’s clear that we have a long ways to go with economic recovery,” said Larew. “In the meantime, it is a moral imperative that we ensure every single American has access to the food they need. By far the most cost-effective and efficient way legislators can achieve that is by expanding SNAP benefits.”

Even though consumers are paying 4 percent more for food, almost none of that is being passed on to farmers and ranchers. Instead, it’s being captured by the processors, packers, distributors, and retailers in between. Nowhere has this been more evident than the meat sector; retail beef prices have increased more than 10 percent over the last 12 months, but ranchers are earning essentially the same amount for cattle as they were a year ago.

The disparity is largely due to the overwhelming market power held by the largest beef packers, Larew indicated. “Lax antitrust enforcement has allowed just four corporations to take over 85 percent of beef slaughtering and packing in the United States. As a result, those companies are able to manipulate farmers’ and consumers’ prices to their advantage – and, as we’ve seen again and again, they do just that,” he said. “The key to ensuring farmers a fair price isn’t charging consumers astronomical prices ­– it’s breaking up these companies and restoring competition to the market.”

The Farmers’ Share is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and price points of common grocery food items at Safeway supermarket. The farmer’s share of retail turkey sales is reported by the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, as national data on farm prices for turkey does not reflect the amount turkey growers receive.

Accelerating a Generation Syngenta Scholarship opens for tomorrow’s ag leaders

Agricultural students in post-secondary education are eligible to compete for up to $15,000 in total scholarship awards through the Accelerating a Generation Syngenta Scholarship Program.

Syngenta invites eligible university students to apply for six regional awards of $2,500 each, now offered in partnership with the National FFA Organization. Students can apply by visiting the FFA Scholarship Portal.

“Agriculture thrives by continually engaging passionate people and training them to lead our industry. We look forward to hearing about what drives the passion of our applicants and how they plan to inspire others to establish roots in the ag industry,” said Vern Hawkins, Syngenta regional director, North American Crop Protection.

University students and incoming freshmen pursuing bachelor’s or associate degrees in crop-related agricultural disciplines are eligible to compete for the Syngenta scholarships. Applicants must be U.S. residents enrolled as of fall 2021 in an accredited agriculture program at a land-grant university. FFA membership is not required.

“During this challenging time, supporting our future ag leaders is essential to our industry’s continued advancement. We encourage all eligible students to apply for the scholarship,” said Pam Caraway, communications manager at Syngenta.

Syngenta will grant scholarships to winners in six regions of the country, which include all U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia. Scholarship recipients will be announced in spring 2021. Each winner will have the opportunity to designate an agriculture-related non-profit organization to receive a $500 donation from Syngenta.

FFA-member entrants will have one additional week beyond the application deadline to turn in supplemental FFA materials. For more information about the scholarship, visit the FFA Scholarship Portal.

Bayer Introduces Delaro Complete Fungicide After Federal Approval

Bayer is proud to announce the launch of the new Delaro® Complete Fungicide product that offers precision customers can trust to stop even the toughest of diseases. The new formulation offers three modes of action (MOAs) for consistent disease control, higher yield potential and improved plant health to keep operations moving forward for corn and soybean growers across the U.S.

Delaro® Complete is a premium fungicide application that acts as a protective barrier against key corn and soybean diseases under diverse environmental conditions. The distinctive chemistry combination of Delaro® Complete reliably boosts its ability to increase grain fill, drought tolerance, canopy closure and standability for corn and soybeans, resulting in a higher level of protection for growers in core corn and soybean growing regions.

Ray Lello, Corn and Soybean Fungicide Product Manager shares, “Delaro® Complete has all the key attributes of Delaro® Fungicide plus more consistent disease activity, better resistance management and higher yield potential than its predecessors. We are excited to provide growers with another innovative, high-performing solution as part of Bayer’s robust crop protection portfolio.”

2019 Corn and Soy Performance

Recent trial data demonstrated the use of Delaro® Complete consistently increased yield potential for both corn and soybeans compared to untreated crops. The addition of its third active ingredient, Fluopyram, an SDHI, also consistently resulted in a yield advantage over Delaro® Fungicide. Growers demand fungicide brands that deliver dependable disease control and improved plant health, resulting in increased yields. This new formulation marks a key milestone for Bayer to offer growers a best-in-class premium fungicide.

“Adding Delaro® Complete to a disease management program can help growers improve their plant health and overlapping modes of action to control key diseases, including increased activity on gray leaf spot in corn, and white mold and brown spot in soybeans,” says Randy Myers, Agronomic Solutions Manager. “Through a variety of environmental conditions, corn and soybean growers across the U.S. can rest assured that their operations are protected against even the toughest diseases and will continue to move forward.”

Delaro® Complete is included in the Bayer PLUS Rewards program1 – a broad portfolio of high-performance products designed to provide growers with flexibility and rewards on eligible purchases all season long.

Tyson Foods Reports Strong Fourth Quarter And Fiscal 2020 Results Company Remains Focused On Worker Health And Safety, Long Term Growth

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein with leading brands including Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair, today reported the following results:

Fiscal 2020 Highlights
    GAAP EPS of $5.86, up 6% from prior year; Adjusted EPS of $5.64 (52-week basis), up 3% from prior year
    GAAP operating income of $3,114 million, up 10% from prior year; Adjusted operating income of $3,116 million (52-week basis), up 5% from prior year
    Total Company GAAP operating margin of 7.2%; Adjusted operating margin of 7.4% (52-week basis)
    Generated approximately $3.9 billion of operating cash flows
    Results negatively impacted by approximately $540 million of direct incremental expenses related to COVID-19

Fourth Quarter Highlights
    GAAP EPS of $1.90, up 88% from prior year; Adjusted EPS of $1.81 (13-week basis), up 50% from prior year
    GAAP operating income of $1,012 million, up 68% from prior year; Adjusted operating income of $961 million (13-week basis), up 40% from prior year
    Total Company GAAP operating margin of 8.8%; Adjusted operating margin of 9.0% (13-week basis)
    Liquidity of $3.2 billion at October 3, 2020
    Reduced total debt by $690 million
    Results negatively impacted by approximately $200 million of direct incremental expenses related to COVID-19

“Our business performed well and delivered strong fourth quarter and full-year results,” said Dean Banks, President & CEO of Tyson Foods. “Our team members, agricultural partners, and customers have shown resilience. This has enabled us to maintain and accelerate our efforts to provide global consumers with a safe and accessible food supply.”

“While we will continue to face pandemic-related challenges in fiscal 2021, we’re settling the business down to be focused on executing our long-term strategy while generating strong returns for shareholders. I’m excited for the opportunities ahead for this great company, and am certain we have the people, products, and strategies in place to drive future growth.”

Farmobile Works with The Fertilizer Institute to Advance Data Collection for Variable Rate Technology and 4R Initiatives

Farmobile LLC, Agriculture’s Independent Data Company™, today announced that The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the leading voice of the fertilizer industry, is supporting through outreach the advancement of agronomic and machine-collected data for ag retailers seeking to take advantage of Variable Rate Application technology, 4R practices and sustainable agriculture for growers.

The topic is being explored during the virtual 2020 Sustainable Ag Summit, November 18-19, 2020. Farmobile joins TFI and Luckey Farmers Cooperative to discuss the value of real-time data to benefit farmers, ag retailers and environment during the concurrent technical session.

With the supply chain’s growing interest in a more sustainable food, fiber and fuel supply, best practice initiatives like TFI’s 4R Nutrient Management (4R) program are focused on increasing production and farmer profitability, enhancing environmental protection and improving overall sustainability. In order to unlock the next generation of agricultural production and enable growers to take advantage of emerging markets, retailers must be able to write fertilizer recommendations faster and provide a system of record to scale variable rate technology (VRT) practices so that the right amount of the right fertilizer hits the right spot in the field, every time.

“At TFI, we’re always looking ahead to future opportunities and challenges in the fertilizer industry. Nutrient management is both,” said Peyton Harper, senior manager of stewardship and sustainability for The Fertilizer Institute. “Real-time data-collection provides visibility and generates ground-truthed yield maps, which can improve VRT accuracy which is very beneficial in a robust 4R system.”

Farmobile’s data collection enables growers and ag retailers to capture all of the layered data involved in the growing of a crop, serving as a robust system of record from a crop’s planting through its applications and all the way through harvest. Farmobile automatically converts second-by-second raw agronomic and machine data, collected across a mixed fleet of farm and application equipment,  into a uniform data set. Available for 24/7 exports or API streaming, the data (permissioned by users) creates a system of record that captures how a field was farmed and fertilizer applied.

“Using Farmobile to enhance the speed and quality of data collection allowed us to expand Variable Rate Application acres which, in turn, is helping us to surpass our 4R goals. Our state (Ohio) had a goal of a minimum of 35 percent of acreage being 4R certified,” said Andrew Gladden, IT manager of Luckey Farmers, Inc. “With Farmobile and their ability to track variable rate application, we not only hit 35 percent — we’re aiming for 70 percent going forward, and looking forward to the improved profitability that comes with it.”

As is the case with Luckey Farmers, Inc., nutrient management mandates are both an opportunity and a challenge for farmers and a strong, comprehensive data backbone is needed to meet these goals effectively, while increasing profitability.

“Farmobile was formed to help growers get the most value from the data they’re generating in their operations, and nutrient management is no exception,” said Bradford Warner, vice president of business development and sustainability, Farmobile. “Whether growers are trying to get ahead of potential future regulations or looking to provide proof of stewardship to grow their profitability and care for their land, Farmobile’s technology collects the right data across machine makes and models at the right time, and processes it into insights to be delivered with the right farm management systems, such as Agworld, with this scenario.”

Those interested in learning more about how Farmobile and TFI are working to promote the use of data to serve as a system of record in nutrient management, should attend the joint panel discussion with Luckey Farmers’ Andrew Gladden at the virtual Sustainable Ag Summit, November 18-19, 2020.

Farmers find measurable improvements in corn portfolio after R&D investment

Major investments and an enhanced breeding strategy are producing tangible results in the Golden Harvest® corn portfolio. New heights in bushels per acre arrive just as farmers seek new ways to maximize their profit potential in the 2021 growing season.

The key to these improvements is a commitment from Syngenta to spend $1.4 billion every year on global research and development, supporting the company's seeds, traits, digital and crop protection businesses – and the customers they benefit.

"Golden Harvest and Syngenta Seeds have really doubled down on making sure every new corn hybrid in our portfolio is helping deliver yield, standability and consistency to support farmers' profit potential," said Drew Showalter, Syngenta strategic corn marketing manager. "As results roll in from across the U.S., we can see this strategy is working."

Meeting farmers' needs

In addition to the annual global R&D spend, Syngenta also has made an incremental $400 million investment in the company's U.S. seeds business across a five-year period.

One impact of this investment is the construction of a $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator in Nampa, Idaho. With advanced breeding technology and climate control technologies, the accelerator – which opened in 2019 – is bringing traited hybrids to market faster than ever.

Golden Harvest also overhauled the organization's process for determining which hybrids will be brought to market. Along with two years of extensive testing before being brought to market, all new Golden Harvest hybrids now undergo enhanced screening processes to determine each product's ideal field conditions.

"The Golden Harvest corn portfolio has really evolved the past couple of years," said Showalter. "Today, products like Golden Harvest corn G10L16, which provides industry-leading yield throughout the Corn Belt, and Golden Harvest corn G10D21, which has outstanding roots and stalks for season-long standability, showcase how this investment is meeting farmer needs in a tangible way."

Farmers seeking locally relevant Golden Harvest performance data can sign up to attend a free virtual harvest report. Presented through Dec. 3, 2020, these events feature Golden Harvest agronomists' insights on yield results and how they can help farmers plan for success in 2021. A complete schedule, as well as information on how to sign up, can be found at

Industry-leading traits

In addition to the brand's strong genetic portfolio, the 2021 growing season will see the introduction of more Golden Harvest hybrids with industry-leading Agrisure® traits than ever before. Of the 2021 Golden Harvest corn portfolio:
    Almost half of the hybrids contain the Agrisure Viptera® trait, the most comprehensive above-ground insect control, and the only effective western bean cutworm control trait.
    About one-third feature the Agrisure Duracade® trait for above- and below-ground insect protection and best-in-class corn rootworm control.
    More than a quarter offer Agrisure Artesian® technology, the most advanced water optimization technology for season-long performance.

The Golden Harvest portfolio is available from Golden Harvest Seed Advisors, who combine high-yielding seed options with local agronomic knowledge and deliver a Service 365 year-round commitment to doing whatever it takes to yield results for farmers. These Seed Advisors also provide access to Enogen® corn, including Enogen Feed hybrids that help improve farmers' profit potential by helping to provide more available energy to feedlot or dairy cattle.

Buzzworthy News: Honey Ranks As Americans' #1 Preferred Sweetener

The sweetener made by Mother Nature claims the number one spot among Americans as their most preferred sweetener. The ranking, revealed in the National Honey Board Consumer Attitudes & Usage Study 2020, asked consumers to choose their favorite from among several common sweeteners, including white sugar, brown sugar, several non-calorie sweeteners, raw sugar, monk fruit, and maple syrup. Honey came out on top for the first time.

According to consumers, honey rates above other sweeteners in attributes like 'natural,' 'unprocessed,' 'good for the environment,' 'organic,' 'good source of antioxidants,' and 'flavorful.'

Honey volume in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1986, from 339 million pounds to 603 million pounds in 2020, according to data from the USDA/ERS. The data also show honey per capita consumption has grown from 1.79 pounds per person in 2015 to 1.83 pounds per person in 2020.

"Honey popularity continues to rise as consumers make conscientious decisions about food," said Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board. "Honey fits perfectly with consumers' desire to know where their food comes from and their preference for foods that are unprocessed. Consumers know that honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers -- you can't get closer to nature than that."

The tracking study, fielded in June 2020, comprised an online quantitative survey of 2000 people identified as the primary shopper in their household. The survey is balanced to age and ethnicity as reflected in the Census.

Pioneer Brand Corn and Soybean Product Performance Drives Long-term Business Advantages for Farmers

With 2020 harvest results rolling in, Pioneer® brand corn and soybean products are winning the majority of competitive on-farm trials. The consistent yield advantages can be measured in bushels per acre and by potential farm income advantage.

“Pioneer is pushing past boundaries to achieve consistently higher yields year over year in corn and soybeans compared to other seed brands, leveraging our research, product development and rigorous testing,” said Judd O’Connor, President, U.S. Commercial Business, Corteva Agriscience. “Even in some of farming’s toughest years, Pioneer best-in-class genetics and traits continue to drive yield gains.”

Pioneer provides value-added, boots-on-the-ground customer service, which is strengthened by the combination of industry-leading genetics, seed treatments, crop protection solutions, digital tools and new product traits.

Pioneer® Brand Qrome® Products, Optimum® AQUAmax® Hybrids Lead Corn Revolution
The top 40 most popular Pioneer brand corn products by sales volume delivered an average 4.2 bu/A yield advantage1 over the competition in more than 17,000 on-farm comparisons. Two outstanding technologies, Pioneer® brand Qrome® products and Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids, significantly contributed to the Pioneer advantage this year.

In its first year available at large volumes across the U.S., Qrome products are dominating with a 7.7 bu/A yield advantage over competitive SmartStax® technology, which equates to a $31.142 advantage per acre.

Qrome products across all maturities have demonstrated superior yield advantages against competitors this year, including:
    Pioneer® P1828Q™ brand corn with a 10.8 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0421Q™ brand corn with a 10.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0507Q™ brand corn with a 10.4 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0075Q™ brand corn with a 9.9 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P1185Q™ brand corn with an 8.7 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0622Q™ brand corn with an 8.4 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P1366Q™ brand corn with a 7.5 bu/A yield advantage

“The Corn Revolution is continuing to build and we are already seeing the benefits of our commitment,” said Geoff Graham, Vice President of Plant Breeding, Corteva Agriscience. “We’re focused on the local adaptation of our hybrids through the right mix of science and technology, and local breeding footprint. We can bring global science down to the local level, which has led to improved product performance for farmers. With the tools available to us today, we can screen almost 20 times more candidates in our pipeline than we did even a decade ago.”

With key native traits that improve root systems and silk emergence, Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids excel at managing drought stress. These hybrids are bred to perform in limited and optimal water environments.

Highly resilient in challenging conditions, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids shined in 2020, and out-performed the competition in a variety of local environments. In yield levels below the 150 bu/A threshold, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids had a 6.3 bu/A advantage. Between 150 and 200 bu/A, these hybrids offered growers a 4.6 bu/A advantage, and above 200 bu/A, they provided a 4.5 bu/A advantage.

Part of the success of the Corn Revolution can be attributed to advancements in seed treatments. Lumialza™ nematicide seed treatment, a biological nematicide, provides more than 80 days of root protection in upper, middle and lower root zones against plant parasitic nematodes. By expanding the bio-barrier, it not only shields roots but also cooperates with beneficial organisms in the soil, contributing to a 3.7 bu/A yield advantage3 under low nematode pressure.

Proven Yield Performance Driven by the Power of Pioneer in Every Soybean
The power of the Pioneer® brand soybean portfolio continues to grow and consistently perform year-over-year thanks to a continued investment in research and development. In nearly 2,300 on-farm comparisons, the top 40 Pioneer brand soybean products by demand are winning the yield battle 66% of the time, with a 2.2 bu/A yield advantage4, resulting in a more than $22 income per acre advantage5. The 100 bu/A mark was topped more than 105 times in 2020 with 38 varieties across 12 states.

Pioneer® brand A-Series soybeans continue to provide industry-leading yield performance for farmers throughout the U.S. In more than 4,200 on-farm comparisons, Pioneer brand A-Series soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology or the LibertyLink® gene hold a 2.3 bu/A yield advantage6 against all competitors, winning 67% of the time.

Leading the way are varieties in a wide range of maturities:
    Pioneer® P21A81L™ brand soybeans with a 6.9 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P31A95BX™ brand soybeans with a 4.9 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P28A42X™ brand soybeans with a 4.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P47A64X™ brand soybeans with a 4.5 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P25A54X™ brand soybeans with a 3.0 bu/A yield advantage

Pioneer maintained its consistent yield advantage from last year while adding new Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans. Enlist E3 soybeans have shown strong yield performance versus competitive varieties with the Enlist E3 soybean trait, including:
    Pioneer® P26T23E™ brand soybeans with a 3.4 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P32T26E™ brand soybeans with a 2.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P30T99E™ brand soybeans with a 2.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P28T14E™ brand soybeans with a 2.2 bu/A yield advantage

“The success we are seeing with Enlist E3 soybeans is the result of rigorous testing for performance and stability using the nation’s largest localized research and on-farm testing program,” said Jeff Thompson, Global Soybean Research Lead, Corteva Agriscience. “We have an elite team of product agronomists and crop protection specialists to support the Enlist™ weed control system and can answer any questions from our customers.”

Farmers continue to get the most out of their soybean seed investment with protection from Lumisena® fungicide seed treatment. Offering best-in-class protection against Phytophthora, the most common soybean disease, Lumisena fungicide seed treatment provides a 4.0 bu/A yield advantage7 over traditional metalaxyl-based treatments in areas considered high pressure locations.

“The performance of Pioneer brand soybeans demonstrates that we have the elite varieties that farmers need for their operations to be more profitable,” Thompson said. “Whatever herbicide trait technology you choose, our products consistently outperform the competition. We are committed to developing elite genetics, demonstrating product performance through our unmatched testing, and delivering customer success.”


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