Thursday, November 5, 2020

Wednesday November 4 Ag News

 Nebraska Livestock Stabilization Program Closed

Due to an overwhelming response, the Livestock Producers Stabilization, Restaurants and Bars Stabilization, and Licensed Personal Service Business Stabilization programs are no longer available.

However, grants are still available for specific entities such as movie theaters, hotels, convention centers, centers of worship and charitable organizations. Nebraska official said they are encouring these groups to apply for funds as soon as possible, as they expect the remaining dollars to be claimed quickly. To apply for available grants, please visit

These grants will help keep the people of Nebraska, and the economy, moving ahead as during the COVID-19 virus.

USDA Co-hosts Free Webinar on Nov. 12 on Livestock Risk Management

The Extension Risk Management Education Program and U.S. Department of Agriculture are hosting a webinar on Nov. 12 for agricultural producers and professionals focused on livestock risk management. The webinar is free to attend and will provide information on livestock markets, price risk, and risk management options available through USDA.

“We strongly encourage farmers and ranchers to attend this webinar,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “The information that will be presented here will be invaluable to livestock producers who have an interest in the various risk management tools available to them through USDA.”

“I brought my experience as a rancher with me when I came to USDA, and I know firsthand the challenges that America’s livestock producers face,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach said. “This livestock risk management webinar is just one example of our efforts to offer timely resources to cattle producers and others in the U.S. fed beef supply chain so they can make informed business decisions. USDA remains dedicated to addressing the concerns and strengthening the interests of livestock producers through forward-thinking actions that balance every segment of the nation’s livestock industry with the direction of today’s marketplace.”

The webinar is scheduled for 2-3 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, November 12. Producers can register at

In addition to Northey and Ibach, other speakers include:
    Brad Lubben, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center – introduction and moderator
    Shannon Neibergs, Washington State University and the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center – livestock economics and moderator
    Elliott Dennis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – price risk management concepts, tools, and considerations
    Brandon Willis, Ranchers Insurance (Utah) and former USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator – insurance products, sales, and service

The webinar is a collaboration between USDA and the Extension Risk Management Education program, a USDA-funded program that provides regionally-based competitive grants for producer-focused educational projects. Learn more at

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, November 17, USDA will host the first in a series of four evening webinars from 7-9 p.m. Eastern with guest speakers from three regional USDA Cattle and Carcass Training Centers (CCTCs), the CME Group, and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). These webinars are designed to assist cattle producers, feeders, and others in the U.S. fed beef supply chain who want to better understand the reporting, delivery, and grading of feeder cattle, live cattle, and carcasses, particularly relating to CME live cattle futures. The webinars are free, but registration is required...


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator
Any farmer worth their salt knows the importance of fertilizing a crop for optimal production.  Often, this common knowledge stops at row crops or high value hay like alfalfa.  Could a look at your fertility improve pasture and grass hay production next year?
Soil sampling now, before the ground freezes can help with planning this winter and give time to develop a fertility plan if our soil tests show fertilizer is needed.  Hay ground should be the first location to consider testing, as plant material is constantly harvested and moved to another location, slowly depleting of the major nutrients needed for plant growth.
Two other factors to consider are weed control and available moisture during the growing season.  Pastures that are weedy may benefit more by addressing grazing practices and controlling weeds rather than fertility.  In these situations, additional nutrients are used by the weeds and can make matters worse.
When it comes to production, especially for native grass hay and pastures, moisture is the most limiting factor, not fertility.  You can apply all the fertilizer in the world, but doing so in a drought won’t help plants grow.  Fertilizer applications on dry land areas, especially for nitrogen, should be based on expected moisture.
In Nebraska, the main fertility focus should look at the primarily at phosphorus and potassium.  In areas of the state with sandy, low organic soils, sulfur should also be included.  Finally, keep an eye on soil pH.  Differences in soil pH play a big role in nutrient availability.  In pastures, nitrogen is nearly always used in the year it is applied. However, other nutrients can remain for a few years between applications, so a 2 or 3 year testing rotation is often enough.

Iowa State hosting Ag Chem Dealer meetings this December

Sprayer cleanout to minimize tank contamination will be the featured topic at the 2020 Ag Chemical Dealer Update meetings sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

These meetings will also feature a short crop disease and insect update covering topics like Sudden Death Syndrome in soybean, tar spot in corn and corn rootworm.

The Ag Chem Dealer Update meetings will be held near Ames on Dec. 8 and in Iowa City on Dec. 15. Each location will offer a morning session from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and an afternoon session  from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Meetings are approved for Certified Crop Adviser credits. In addition, the meetings offer Iowa Commercial Pesticide Applicator recertification in categories 1A, 1B, 1C and 10 for calendar year 2020. Recertification is included in the meeting registration. Attendance at the entire meeting is required for recertification.

Registration is $70 and is open until noon the day prior to the meeting. Pre-registration is required, as attendance will be limited to ensure social distancing can be maintained. No walk-in registrations will be accepted, and all attendees and staff will be required to wear a face covering.

Visit for program details or to register online. For additional information, contact an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist hosting the meeting. The deadline to register for the Ames event is Dec. 6 at midnight. The deadline for Iowa City is Dec. 13 at midnight.

House Ag Chairman Collin Peterson Loses to GOP Challenger

Representative Collin Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota, the chairman of the Agriculture Committee who has represented his large agrarian district for three decades, lost his re-election bid early Wednesday, handing Republicans a pickup in the House.

Peterson, 76, had bucked political trends for years, winning re-election in a rural district that was increasingly shifting toward the Republican Party. Michelle Fischbach, 55, a former lieutenant governor who vowed to “fire” Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon arriving in Washington and sought to tie the congressman to his party’s left flank, finally ended his run, according to The Associated Press.

“It really is the death knell for the moderate rural Democrat,” said Tim Lindberg, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Morris. “It was clear he knew he was in trouble.”

President Trump won the district by 31 points in 2016, and Republican strategists had theorized that should Mr. Peterson face tough competition during the president’s re-election year, they could flip the seat.

His defeat underscored a growing divide between suburban areas that are increasingly aligning with Democrats and the white working-class rural districts that are shifting ever more sharply toward Republicans.

Farm Bureau Thanks Rep. Collin Peterson for His Service

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson was defeated in the race for Minnesota’s 7th District. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says...

“We at the American Farm Bureau Federation would like to express our thanks to Rep. Peterson for his decades of service in the House of Representatives. Throughout his years on the House Agriculture Committee, especially his years as the committee’s chairman, Congressman Peterson has been a leader for rural America on such important issues as the farm bill, regulatory reform and new trade deals. He made it clear through his work that his politics are grounded in farmers, livestock producers and rural America. That will be his legacy.”

Majority of Fertilizer Prices Continue to Decline

A two-month-old trend continued in the final week of October: A majority of retail fertilizer prices declined, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.
At $447 per ton, the average retail price of MAP is $18 higher than at the same time month. (DTN chart)

Six of the eight fertilizers tracked by DTN experienced slight declines, while one fertilizer recorded a 4% increase and another a 2% increase.

Potash had an average price $332 per ton, down $6; urea $358/ton, down $4; 10-34-0 $456/ton, down $1; anhydrous $424/ton, down $1; UAN28 $209/ton, down $3; and UAN32 $249/ton, down $1.

Of the two remaining fertilizers that had higher prices, MAP saw its average retail price increase by $18/ton, or about 4% from last month, to $477/ton.

The price of DAP was about 2% higher, up $9/ton to $448/ton.

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.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/30/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending October 30, ethanol production scaled 2.1% higher, or 20,000 barrels per day (b/d), to a 32-week high (since March 20) of 961,000 b/d—equivalent to 40.36 million gallons daily. Still, production remained 5.2% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.0% to 938,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.38 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked 0.4% higher to 19.7 million barrels, which was 10.1% below year-ago volumes. Inventories built across all regions except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, declined 2.4% to 8.34 million b/d (127.79 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 8.8% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 2.0% to 836,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.82 bg annualized. This was 8.8% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 29,000 b/d, or 8.53 million gallons for the week and a seven-week high. This also marks the eleventh time in fifteen weeks that imports were reported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2020.)

September U.S. Ethanol Global Sales Moderate while U.S. DDGS Exports Leap to 5-Year High

Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst, Renewable Fuels Assoc.
U.S. ethanol exports in September decreased 23% to 77.2 million gallons (mg), which is 20% lower than a year ago. Shipments across the border to Canada declined 11% to 32.1 mg, equivalent to 42% of total U.S. ethanol exports. Sales to India shot up 30% to 13.6 mg. Shipments to Colombia (6.5 mg, -24%) and Peru (4.8 mg, -14%) tapered from August while Finland (4.1 mg, up from zero) and Switzerland (4.1 mg, +83%) were more active. Mexico (3.9 mg), Saudi Arabia (3.3 mg), and the Philippines (2.6 mg) were other sizable customers of U.S. ethanol. Brazil was noticeably absent from our export market. Global year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 982.6 mg, or 11% less than this time a year ago.
The U.S. imported 16.9 mg of cane ethanol from Brazil, half as much as in August. Year-to-date imports total 110.1 mg.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—surged 14% in September to 1.16 million metric tons (mt), the largest monthly volume in five years. Strong sales to Asia—Vietnam (124,735 mt, -5%), Japan (a record 114,940 mt, +724%), and South Korea (101,761 mt, -8%)—thrust Mexico (94,589 mt, -32%) from our top DDGS export market to the fourth largest. Turkey (86,187 mt), Indonesia (67,024 mt), and Egypt (56,285 mt) were other larger customers. Worldwide U.S. DDGS exports for the first eight months of the year were 8.24 million mt, trailing just 1% behind last year at this time.

Growth Energy Statement on 2020 Election Results

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement on the 2020 Election Day results:

“Across the heartland, we saw ethanol champions run and win on their support for biofuels. In the lead up to this election, few issues were agreed upon, but one thing remained true – candidates on both sides of the aisle, incumbents and challengers, recognized ethanol’s role as the engine of the rural economy and a vital tool against climate change. On behalf of Growth Energy, I congratulate the winners of last night’s election and thank those champions that have stood with us but did not prevail in their race. We look forward to educating newly elected lawmakers and continuing to work with our allies in Congress to advance biofuels’ role in our nation’s clean energy policy.”

Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement is "Shameful," Farmers Union Says

The United States today formally exited the Paris Climate Agreement, three-and-a-half years after President Donald Trump pledged to do so, citing “lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

One hundred and eighty-nine countries have ratified the historic agreement so far, which aims to keep “a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” That leaves just eight countries – including the United States – as outliers.

A strong advocate for climate action, National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed support for the deal when it was finalized at the end of 2015. Since then, the need for such an agreement has become even clearer, as catastrophic hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters have become more commonplace. As such, the group was displeased by President Trump’s decision to withdraw, a sentiment NFU President Rob Larew reiterated in a statement released today:   

“It’s hard to explain just how disappointing and dangerous the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is. Climate change is a global crisis, and it requires a united, global effort to address. The fact that one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world is shirking its moral obligation to mitigate climate change is a slap in the face for nearly every other country that has agreed to the terms of the agreement.

“This decision not only undermines critical climate action and makes our planet more vulnerable to increasingly frequent and severe weather extremes, but it also comes at great cost to the American people. Many of the actions that would have helped the United States meet its goals under the agreement would have created thousands of new jobs, stimulated economic growth, and revitalized rural communities. As the nation struggles to recover from the pandemic, this is a particularly painful missed opportunity to regain jobs and support family-owned businesses.

“In addition to the economic and environmental consequences, by willfully rejecting science and turning our backs on the rest of the world, the United States is sacrificing its credibility and reputation as a global leader.

“The good news is that it isn’t too late to revoke this shameful mistake. Though there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to who will be leading our country in 2021, whomever it is, we urge them to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and recommit our nation to climate leadership.”

The Andersons, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Results

The Andersons, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE) announces financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.

Third Quarter Highlights:

    Company reported a net loss attributable to The Andersons of $1.1 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, and adjusted net loss of $2.4 million, or $0.07 per diluted share.
    Adjusted EBITDA attributable to the company was $46.2 million for the quarter, up 21 percent year over year.
    Trade reported pretax income of $5.9 million and adjusted pretax income of $6.9 million on improved merchandising results.
    Ethanol reported pretax income attributable to the company of $1.1 million as margins improved

"We continued to make good progress during the quarter toward reaching our vision to be the most nimble and innovative ag supply chain company in North America," said President and CEO Pat Bowe. "The integration of Trade and Ethanol is going well and is being modeled after the successful integration of Lansing Trade Group last year. While we will always be vigilant about costs, we are looking forward to placing more emphasis on profitable growth and extraordinary customer service in 2021 and beyond."

"Our results for the third quarter were solid in light of the current economic environment," continued Bowe. "Trade, Ethanol and Plant Nutrient all recorded improved results year over year. Trade led the way with better merchandising income as the fall harvest got off to a good start. Ethanol's results were much improved, notwithstanding large non-cash mark-to-market charges. Plant Nutrient's results improved substantially year over year in a quarter in which that business is usually seasonally weak. Finally, Rail continued to feel the negative impacts of weak railcar demand."

Liquidity and Cash Management

"We continued to generate strong operating cash flows and manage capital expenditures during the third quarter," said Executive Vice President and CFO Brian Valentine. "We were able to reduce total long-term debt by more than $60 million. We remain very focused on overall liquidity, including expense and cash management."

In addition to the $30 million in 2020 expense reductions announced in May, about half of which it expects to be permanent, the company also anticipates that the business restructuring announced in August will result in further annual general and administrative cost reductions of approximately $10 million beginning in early 2021.

The company has spent $69 million net of proceeds from asset sales on capital projects through September and still expects to spend approximately $100 million in 2020 after averaging more than $200 million over the last three years. This reduction prudently preserves working capital and supports the company's continued strong financial position.

Third Quarter Segment Overview

Trade Records Higher Results Driven by Improved Merchandising Income

The Trade segment recorded improved pretax income of $5.9 million and adjusted pretax income of $6.9 million for the quarter compared to a pretax loss of $2.1 million and adjusted pretax income of $0.4 million in the third quarter of 2019. The difference in reported and adjusted income in both periods was attributable to stock compensation expense associated with the 2019 acquisition of Lansing Trade Group.

A large majority of the year-over-year improvement came from commodity merchandising, which earned pretax income that was more than 80 percent higher year over year. The performance of the segment's assets improved due to strong corn and soybean sales despite earning less income from wheat. The business also continued to benefit from the successful integration of Lansing and Thompsons Limited, portfolio optimization and other cost-cutting efforts.

Trade's third quarter adjusted EBITDA was $22.3 million, up approximately 8 percent over third quarter 2019 adjusted EBITDA of $20.7 million.

While merchandising opportunities continue to be good, the resulting income will not likely fully offset the lack of carry in the corn and soybean markets into 2021 due to the significant increase in futures prices and narrowing spreads since early August.

Ethanol Remains Profitable on Improved Margins Despite Mark-to-Market Charge

The Ethanol segment reported pretax income attributable to the company of $1.1 million in the third quarter compared to the similar amount it earned in the same period in 2019.

Improved crush margins were the primary driver of significantly improved performance by the group's five plants. However, the segment recorded a non-cash mark-to-market charge of $6.2 million due to increases in corn and DDG prices late in the quarter.

Production volumes in the quarter were higher year over year due to higher yields at The Andersons Marathon Holdings (TAMH) plants and ELEMENTTM operating for the entire quarter. Board crush margins were roughly 12 cents higher than in the third quarter of 2019. The third-party ethanol trading business also posted comparatively better results due to improved margins and higher volumes.

Ethanol recorded EBITDA attributable to the company of $11.1 million in the third quarter of 2020, up from 2019 third quarter EBITDA attributable to the company of $3.9 million. The results of three of the five ethanol plants were not consolidated in 2019.

Plant Nutrient Results Improve; Rail Breaks Even

The Plant Nutrient segment improved its results year over year, recording a pretax loss of $5.4 million in the third quarter compared to a pretax loss of $7.4 million in the same period of the prior year. This was the sixth consecutive quarter that the segment posted improved year-over-year results. Plant Nutrient's current quarter EBITDA was $2.2 million compared to 2019 third quarter EBITDA of $0.9 million. While tons sold were unchanged, the improvement was driven by slightly better margin per ton and continued disciplined working capital and expense management.

Rail recorded a third quarter pretax loss of $0.1 million compared to $3.1 million of pretax income in the same period of the prior year. Its third quarter 2020 EBITDA was $12.5 million compared to its third quarter 2019 EBITDA of $16.1 million. The leasing business accounted for the majority of the shortfall due to lower lease rates and fleet utilization year over year; repair revenues and margins also fell.

Provision for Income Taxes Includes CARES Act Benefits

The company's income tax provision included additional CARES Act tax benefits of approximately $4.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share in the current quarter and now totals benefits of approximately $14.8 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, year to date. As with the impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and CARES Act benefits recognized in the first half of 2020, the company has excluded the current quarter benefits from its adjusted net income. This quarter's additional benefits are expected to result in cash refunds of nearly $8 million, bringing the total expected CARES Act refunds to approximately $39 million. In addition, the company's reported effective income tax rate is substantially impacted by the income or loss earned by the noncontrolling interests and may result in highly variable effective tax rates in future periods.

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