Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday December 30 Ag News

Dry conditions can affect water quantity

Keeping groundwater clean and safe for citizens across the 15-county district is a top priority for the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD).  Maintaining groundwater quantity is just as important, especially during dry conditions.

After the drought of 2012, the LENRD board made the decision to establish allocations on groundwater pumping for irrigation wells located in areas where the aquifers experienced acute in-season groundwater level declines. “Each year, the board determines the annual groundwater allocation amounts for the upcoming year for the Quantity Management Subareas,” said, Brian Bruckner, LENRD assistant general manager. “We use these allocations to manage the resource, providing a level of protection for all users.”

The board voted to establish the 2022 allocation amounts at:  18 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, and 14 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Eastern Madison County Quantity Subarea, and 17 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 12 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, and 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Wayne County Quantity Subarea.

The board also approved the adjusted LENRD Subdistrict Boundaries delineated by the data provided by the 2020 U.S. Census update.  Slight adjustments to the boundaries were necessary due to the population changes in some portions of the district.

In other action, the board voted to accept the bid of $9,663.75 to place riprap along the west shoreline at the Maple Creek Recreation Area, just west of Leigh. They also instructed staff to prepare bidding documents for the Willow Creek Streambank Stabilization Project downstream of the Willow Creek State Recreation Area, southwest of Pierce.

The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, January 27th at 7:30 p.m.  Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails.

Biden Announces Appointments for USDA

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden appointed the following individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

John Berge, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nebraska

A western Nebraska native who grew up on a corn and wheat farm north of Lisco, Nebraska, John Berge has served as the General Manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD) in Scottsbluff, Nebraska since 2013. In 2009, Berge was appointed White House Liaison to the Department of Agriculture by President Obama where he was the principal liaison between the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. Subsequently, Berge was appointed the Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations where he managed all operations of that office. He was a member of the Sub-Cabinet and Senior Policy Group, and coordinated all interactions with members of Congress and other elected officials and USDA officials. Mr. Berge also served as the Deputy Administrator for Field Operations at the USDA Farm Service Agency, and as the Executive Director of the National Food and Agriculture Council at USDA.

Earlier in his career, Berge served as the Executive Director of the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Additionally, he served on the staffs of U.S. Senators Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Ben Nelson. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, holds a Certificate in Climate Change and Energy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and is completing a Master of Applied Science program in Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He, his wife Kerri, son Theodore, and daughter Bridget live in Gering, Nebraska.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly.

Nebraska Farmers Union Applauds John Berge’s Appointment to Head the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) applauds the appointment of John Berge to head the Nebraska USDA (FSA) Farm Service Agency. Farmers and ranchers depend on federal farm programs to help them pay their bills and operate their farms and ranches.    

NeFU President John Hansen said, “We know John Berge well. He has a vast background in farm policy, the legislative process, USDA administrative and organizational policies and structure, and Nebraska agriculture and natural resources. In addition, NeFU believes Berge’s experience as General Manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District and familiarity with western Nebraska agriculture and its natural resources, crops, climate and production challenges are a valuable asset.”

Hansen noted, “NeFU worked closely with John Berge in his previous positions as legislative staff for U.S. Senators Exon, Kerrey, and Nelson. Berge’s extensive knowledge and experience with USDA at both the state and national levels will allow him to hit the ground running.”

John Berge previously served as State Executive Director of Nebraska FSA under the Clinton Administration from 2000-2001. From 2009 to 2013, during the Obama Administration, Berge served in the Washington, DC USDA in a wide range of positions including  USDA White House Liaison, Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, Executive Director of the National Food and Agriculture Council, and Deputy Administrator of the Farm Service Agency.

“Not only does John Berge know how the USDA administrative system works, he knows who to call to get it fixed when it does not work as it should. We are excited about the prospect of putting Berge’s extensive background to work on behalf of Nebraska agriculture. We commend President Biden for his appointment of John Berge to lead the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency.”

Hansen said “Now that the appointment of our state FSA Executive Director and one member of the FSA State Committee have been made, we are hopeful that the appointments of the remaining four FSA State Committee members will be made soon by the Biden Administration. Nebraska Farmers Union is very pleased with the appointments of John Berge as Executive Director of Nebraska FSA, Roy Stoltenberg to the State FSA Committee and Kate Bolz to head USDA Rural Development. They are all top notch appointments.”   

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Scholarship Applications

The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) 2022 scholarship applications are now available online.  NCF offers scholarships to qualified youth in Nebraska who have an interest in the beef industry. These scholarships are provided through contributions received by NCF.

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.

Beef State Scholarship Application – CLICK HERE

Numerous other scholarships with a $1,000 minimum, awarded on the basis of academic achievement, beef industry involvement and goals/quality of application from memorial funds

NCF Scholarship Application – CLICK HERE

NCC Foundation Scholarship Program

The Nebraska Co-op Council is now accepting applications for its scholarship program. The Scholarship Program began with the 1993/94 academic year.  Since that time 220 scholarships totaling $282,600 have been awarded to students.  The funding for scholarships comes from investment income/interest from the Foundation’s scholarship endowment account.

Colleges included in the Scholarship Program are:
    UNL College of Ag Sciences & Natural Resources – students majoring in agribusiness or agricultural economics
    Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) at Curtis – students majoring in agribusiness or ag production systems
    UNK – upperclass students majoring in agribusiness

Student eligibility is restricted to sons/daughters of a parent/legal guardian who has been an active member, director, or employee for at least the prior three years of a cooperative which has been a member in good standing of the Council for at least five years. Scholarship committees at UNL, NCTA, and UNK make the selection of recipients based on criteria established for each scholarship. The Foundation only verifies local cooperative affiliation and Council membership requirements.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2022/23 academic year.  The link for students to complete/submit an application can be found in our website at  The deadline to submit scholarship applications is April 15, 2022 with recipients to be announced in mid-June 2022.

Siouxland Chamber hosts Iowa Legislative Forum

Friday, January 7, 2022
8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Siouxland Chamber of Commerce
101 Pierce St., Sioux City, IA
(In-person or Zoom)

A bipartisan panel of Siouxland legislators from the Iowa House and Senate will provide an overview of their agendas going into the 2022 session, preview key issues likely to be taken up by the Iowa legislature, and answer your questions. The event is hosted by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.  Please register below if you would like to receive the Zoom link.

Register online here...

NEW Cooperative Hosts Successful Hams for Hunger Campaign

Earlier this month, NEW Cooperative Inc. held the 5th Annual Hams for Hunger Event. Since 2017, NEW Cooperative has donated over 10,000 hams to the in-need population.  

Throughout the week of Dec. 10th, NEW Cooperative delivered 2,600 hams to 27 local food pantries in 22 towns in NEW Cooperative’s trade territory. The area served is from Monona County in western Iowa, north to Dickson County and east to Wright County, encompassing 19 counties in Iowa.

“NEW Cooperative members raise grain and livestock to feed the world. We feel it is important to help the in-need population with a ham to ensure a high-quality holiday dinner.” stated Gary Moritz, NEW Cooperative’s Communications Director. “The hams donated are purchased from Webster City Custom Meats. The hogs are raised and processed locally and fed with local corn grown by NEW Cooperative’s farmers and now the hams are feeding our communities. The perfect example of agriculture coming full circle.”

NEW Cooperative, Inc. is a farmer-owned grain, agronomy, energy and feed cooperative headquartered in Fort Dodge, Iowa. As a leading agriculture retailer, NEW Cooperative is focused on being an innovative and efficient provider of today’s agriculture markets and services to over 8,000 members throughout their 60 locations in Iowa.  

The NEW Cooperative Foundation is the charitable giving entity of NEW Cooperative, Inc. The Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that are dedicated to youth and education, human services, and civic purposes that further enhance the quality of life in our member’s local communities.  

December 2021 Dairy Market Report Now Available

The rapid evaporation of growth in dairy cows, milk and milk solids production dropped all three into negative territory during October. These supply-side effects have dominated the dairy situation recently and will continue to do so well into the coming year. Domestic consumption growth of all milk and dairy products has been somewhat sluggish in recent months, but U.S. dairy exports during the first ten months of 2021 have set a new volume record of 17.6 percent of U.S. milk solids production, well above this measure’s second-highest year, 2020 at 16.3 percent.

The drop in production is being felt most in dry skim milk products, and to a lesser extent in butter and dry whey production. Cheese production remains the preferred channel for available milk. Product stocks are being drawn down and prices rising, as production trends change.

See the full report here....

The Andersons, Inc. Declares Increased Cash Dividend for First Quarter 2022

The Andersons, Inc. has announced a first quarter 2022 cash dividend of 18 cents ($0.18) per share payable on January 21, 2022, to shareholders of record as of January 3, 2022. This three percent increase from the company's fourth quarter 2021 cash dividend of seventeen and one half cents ($0.175) per share reflects strong cash flow and operating performance.

This is The Andersons' 101st consecutive quarterly cash dividend since listing on the Nasdaq in February 1996.

Founded in 1947 in Maumee, Ohio, The Andersons, Inc. is a diversified company rooted in agriculture that conducts business in the commodity trading, biofuels, and plant nutrient sectors. Guided by its Statement of Principles, The Andersons strives to provide extraordinary service to its customers, help its employees improve, support its communities, and increase the value of the company.

Wednesday December 29 Ag News

 Private Pesticide Training Schedule Set for 2022

The 2022 private pesticide applicator training dates, times, and locations have been set, with sessions beginning in early January and continuing through early April at sites throughout Nebraska.

Notification letters will be sent out by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to applicators whose license will expire in 2022. The cost of the training is $50, payable the day of the training.

Private pesticide licenses also can be obtained by completing an online course. Pesticide applicators can purchase access to the online course after Jan. 1 via a link that will be posted on the Pesticide Safety Education Program site. Cost of the course is $50. Call 402-472-1632 with any questions about this training.

For any questions about the scheduled training sessions, please contact local Nebraska Extension county offices.

There will be changes in the process year, both for first-time license applicants and those applying for recertification.

First, applicators' new licenses will be tan in color and have the words "General Agriculture" and the code 00 printed on them.

Second, applicators who use soil fumigants must pass the commercial Soil Fumigation (category 01A) exam to receive this certification.

Also, applicators who use non-soil, structural or rodent burrow fumigants will be required to pass the commercial Non-Soil/Structural Fumigation (category 11) exam to receive this certification. These additional categories are not required for applicators who use rodent burrow baits or smoke cartridges.

Training manuals are available for purchase on the UNL Pesticide Safety Education Program site, or call 402-472-1632 for more information. Applicators who want to add these categories to their license are encouraged to purchase the study manuals as soon as possible and review the literature prior to taking the exam(s).

Third, applicators attending any training session will need to provide proof of identification at the training site, such as a driver's license.

Fourth, physical copies of the extension publication EC130, "The Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska," will no longer be provided at the trainings. However, every trainee will be provided with access to a digital copy of EC130. Copies of the 2022 guide may be ordered online.

Locations and dates for 2022 private pesticide training sessions, along with other resouces, can be found here:  

Crop Production Clinics Begin Jan. 5

Beginning Jan. 5, the 2022 Nebraska Crop Production Clinics will feature live presentations and present research updates and information tailored to regional crop issues and grower interests. Sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the programs will be held in-person on nine days throughout January, with the final clinic offered via Zoom on Jan. 28.

Session topics will include crop production, insect management, pesticide safety, disease management, soil fertility, water management, weed management, and agribusiness management and marketing.

Pesticide applicator recertification training will also be available.

Clinic dates and locations are as follows:
Jan. 5 -- Gering Civic Center, Gering
Jan. 6 -- Mid-Plains Community College -- South Campus, North Platte

Jan. 11 -- Northeast Community College, Norfolk
Jan. 13 -- Holiday Inn Express, Beatrice

Jan. 19 -- C3 Hotel & Convention Center, Hastings
Jan. 21 -- Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center (ENREEC), Ithaca

Jan. 25 -- Younes Conference Center, Kearney
Jan. 26 -- Holthus Convention Center, York

Jan. 28 -- Virtual via Zoom

Individual clinics will be customized to address topics specific to that area of the state, allowing growers to get research-based information on the issues they face locally.

Visit the Crop Production Clinics 2022 website for the most up-to-date information.

Registration is available online for each location. Pre-registration is required and costs $80.

Certified Crop Advisor credits will be available in these areas: crop production, nutrient management, integrated pest management, water management and professional development.

Pesticide Applicator Recertification: The clinics will offer commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators a venue to renew their licenses in the General Standards, Ag Plant and Demonstration/Research categories.

The crop production clinics also will serve as a venue for private pesticide applicators to renew their licenses.

Contacts are:
- Chris Proctor, clinics coordinator and extension educator, 402-472-5411.
- Registration questions can be directed to Connie Hansen, 402-472-8747.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Reviews 2021 Top Ag Stories, Looks Ahead to Leading Issues in 2022

Nebraska’s agricultural economy rebounding this year and the subsequent property tax relief tied to the economy are among the top agriculture stories of 2021, according to Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB). Also making the list is the move to expand broadband, calls for sweeping changes to the cattle markets, and NEFB’s work to halt a proposal that would devastate family farms.

“It’s no secret that we’ve seen progress in prices for most commodities over the past year and we know that when Nebraska agriculture does well, our state’s economy does well,” said Mark McHargue, NEFB president. “Increased state revenue numbers mean property taxpayers who have been seeking relief will receive a big ‘win’ through the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive Act, getting back a tax credit equal to 25 percent of their property taxes paid to schools when they file their 2021 tax return.”

The Property Tax Incentive Act established in 2020, which grew from $115 million in the first year to $548 million this year, allows Nebraskans to claim an income tax credit based on the property taxes paid to K-12 schools. But, according to McHargue, the work on tax reform is not done and one of the most impactful things the Legislature can do in 2022 is to build upon that property tax relief.

In addition to increased funds for property tax relief, boosting e-connectivity is essential to modern agriculture, according to NEFB. This year, Nebraska Farm Bureau was instrumental in securing $40 million over the next two years for the expansion of broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the state.

“Agriculture and rural Nebraska will not reach its full potential without access to reliable, high-speed broadband. Much of the technology that allows farmers and ranchers to improve across the board, including minimizing our environmental footprint, relies on e-connectivity” said McHargue. “For many of our rural communities, access to health care and educational and business opportunities can only be gained through quality broadband and rural Nebraska can’t afford to be left behind,” said McHargue.

Federal proposals to increase taxes on Nebraska family farms, ranches, and businesses also made the list of top issues. Discussions in Washington, D.C. this year centered around the spending bill, Build Back Better, which Nebraska Farm Bureau opposes as it would ramp up capital gains, estate (death), and corporate taxes, including a proposal to eliminate “stepped-up basis” tax provisions.

“Preserving stepped-up basis is vital to ensure the next generation of farmers and ranchers can continue to feed, clothe, and fuel the world. Eliminating this important tool would subject many farm and ranch families to a new tax burden, forcing some to sell portions of their farm or ranch to pay the tax bill, further consolidating agriculture,” McHargue said.

Nebraska Farm Bureau expects the outcome of key elections, specifically the governor’s race, to top the list for the news cycle in 2022.

“It’s important for Nebraska’s next governor to understand the importance of agriculture to our state’s economy and the importance of keeping farmers and ranchers on the land. We know rural Nebraska’s voice is shrinking, which is why Nebraska Farm Bureau held a gubernatorial candidate forum in early December. We wanted to make sure our members had a chance to get to know the candidates so they can make informed decisions in this important election,” McHargue said.

Looking ahead at other issues in 2022, Nebraska Farm Bureau predicts growing Nebraska’s livestock sector will be a major news item for state and national levels.

“Nebraska’s economic development is directly tied to protecting and growing our state’s livestock sector. The cattle industry is the largest segment of that sector, highlighting the need to reform the way cattle are marketed in the United States. Which is why we continue to call on Congress to take up and pass Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer’s Cattle Market Transparency Act, which will provide needed reform to the cattle marketplace,” McHargue said.

With a series of cyberattacks on food processors and agriculture cooperatives making headlines in 2021, Nebraska Farm Bureau sees the issue of cybersecurity to continue to be front and center. According to McHargue, farmers and ranchers want to ensure that officials at the state and federal levels take necessary action to secure and protect data.

McHargue also pointed out the importance of international trade to the bottom line for Nebraska farmers and ranchers, calling on the Biden administration to focus efforts on trade policy in 2022.

“Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.28 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production. It is critical the administration work to enact new trade agreements to create new market opportunities for Nebraska farm and ranch families,” McHargue said.


New premium chicken integrator, Pure Prairie Farms Inc., completed its long-anticipated purchase of a former Simply Essentials chicken processing plant this month. The former plant at Charles City, Iowa, which previously closed in August of 2019, is a state-of-the-art retail tray-packaging facility and features air-chill technology, an under-represented and underserved attribute in the market. In addition to organic offerings, additional product features include all natural, highly trimmed products, made from chicken flocks in which antibiotics have never, ever been used, and that have been fed a vegetable- and grain-based diet. All told, Pure Prairie Farms is well-poised to capitalize on the growing desire for premium poultry products, as U.S. consumer demand rises to a forecasted 113 pounds of chicken consumed, per capita, in 2021.

"Everyone that's come together in this effort has a passion for the chicken business," said Brian Roelofs, Pure Prairie Farms' president and chief executive officer. "It's been a long journey, and we are excited to bring this state-of-the-art plant back to life. Not only for everyone involved, but for the greater community of Charles City. It's now the place we call home," Roelofs added.

According to Roelofs, Pure Prairie Farms represents the cooperative efforts of local farm partners, investors, and executives who bring bench strength in Midwestern poultry and a deeply committed team. Not only will the company's ownership make-up include the executive group and farm partners, alike—a unique combination in the chicken industry—but Pure Prairie Farms plans to further differentiate itself from industry giants as it focuses on the value of relationships. "Through the entire process, which has been years in the making, we've remained steadfast in our commitment to growers as partners. We look forward to building an even stronger team as we work together, as one, to offer unmatched chicken experiences and value for one another," Roelofs said.

Along with Roelofs, executive positions include poultry industry veterans of former Minnesota-based GNP Company, before it was purchased in 2016. These include Brad Vokac, vice president of sales and marketing, and Eva Wiechmann Miller, vice president of supply chain for Pure Prairie Farms. George Peichel, chief financial officer, and Anita Janssen, vice president of strategic initiatives, round out the company's top leadership, both having previously held executive positions with former Iowa-based chicken company, Prairie's Best Farms.  

"Our intent is to become an employer of choice and for Pure Prairie Farms to share its prosperity with the greater Charles City community. Through the experience of our team and appreciation for people, we are 100 percent committed to further building relationships through stewardship, integrity, cooperation, and excellence, together," Roelofs concluded.

Pure Prairie Farm's premium quality chicken products, for all segments, will initially focus distribution efforts in the upper Midwest. Through immediate improvements made, Roelofs expects the integrated system, including the Charles City facility, to become fully operational by spring of 2022. For sales information, customers can contact the Pure Prairie Farms sales team at

Founded in 2021, Pure Prairie Farms, Inc. is a company committed to delivering premium quality and organic chicken products to retail, deli, and foodservice segments. All natural, air-chilled, and highly trimmed, offerings come from chickens raised under strict animal welfare standards, with no antibiotics ever, and fed a vegetable- and grain-based diet (no animal byproducts). Owned and operated by experienced midwestern poultry leaders and family farm partners, it's through community support, farmer involvement and ownership that Pure Prairie Farms contributes to the health and wellbeing of its rural communities; and to generations of family farmers for years to come. The company's state-of-the-art, tray-packaging facility is in Charles City, Iowa.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 12/24/2021

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending December 24, ethanol production expanded by 8,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 0.8%, to 1.059 million b/d, equivalent to 44.48 million gallons daily. Production was 13.4% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic but 0.7% less than the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production volume increased 0.6% to 1.072 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.43 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks remained principally unchanged at 20.7 million barrels. Stocks were 12.0% below the year-ago level and 1.7% less than the same week in 2019. Inventories built across the East Coast (PADD 1) and Midwest (PADD 2) but thinned across the other regions.
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, jumped 8.2% to 9.72 million b/d (149.07 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was the largest volume since July as well as 19.6% more than a year ago and 8.5% above the same week in 2019.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 3.2% to 910,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.95 bg annualized and a nine-week high. Net inputs were 11.2% more than a year ago and 2.9% above the same week in 2019.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the ninth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2021.)

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Climb

Retail fertilizer prices for the third week of December 2021 continued to move higher, albeit at a slower pace.  The percentage higher moves are not as much as they have been in recent weeks. In fact, all of the moves were in the single-digit range, something that hasn't happened since the second week of September 2021.

Only three of the eight major fertilizers are showing a significant move higher. DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or greater.  Leading the way higher is anhydrous, which was up 9% from a month prior. The nitrogen fertilizer's average price was at $1,424/ton, which continues to be an all-time high in the DTN data.  10-34-0 was 5% more expensive compared to last month. The starter fertilizer's average price was at $791/ton.  Urea was 5% more expensive compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $910/ton, which was also an all-time high.

The remaining five fertilizers had just slight price increases compared to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $862/ton, MAP $932/ton, potash $807/ton, UAN28 $583/ton (all-time high) and UAN32 $679/ton (all-time high).  Potash topped the $800/ton level for the first time since the fourth week of June 2009, when the price was $815/ton. The all-time high price for potash is $896/ton which was seen the first week of November 2008.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.99/lb.N, anhydrous $0.87/lb.N, UAN28 $1.04/lb.N and UAN32 $1.06/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all fertilizers have increased significantly with several having well over 100% price increases.  10-34-0 is now 71% more expensive, MAP is 74% higher, DAP is 82% more expensive, potash is 121% higher, urea is 151% more expensive, UAN32 is 171% higher, UAN28 178% is more expensive and anhydrous is 208% higher compared to last year.

Share of Income Spent on Food in U.S. Dropped 10% in 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession in 2020, the share of U.S. consumers' disposable personal income spent on food decreased 10.1 percent from the previous year to 8.62 percent, the lowest share in the past 60 years. DPI is the amount of money that U.S. consumers have left to spend or save after paying taxes.

The share of DPI spent on food in the United States was relatively steady over the last 20 years, decreasing from 9.95 percent in 2000 to 9.58 percent in 2019. Consumers spent 1.4 percent more of their incomes on food at supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse club stores, supercenters, and other retailers (food at home) from 2019 to 2020, while they spent 22.2 percent less of their incomes on food at restaurants, fast-food places, schools, and other places offering food away from home over the same period.

Changes in the shares of income spent on food in 2020 resulted, in part, from pandemic-related closures and restrictions at food-away-from-home establishments, as well as from the largest annual DPI increase in 20 years. The increase in DPI was driven by additional Government assistance to individuals in 2020, including stimulus payments to households and increased unemployment insurance benefits.

The data for this chart come from the Economic Research Service's Food Expenditure Series data product. See also the Amber Waves article Average Share of Income Spent on Food in the United States Remained Relatively Steady from 2000 to 2019, published in November 2020.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tuesday December 28 Ag News

– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

As humans, we often like to try and compare things to average or normal.   Was the precipitation received within the expected normal range?  Were temperatures for a particular season outside of normal? Was our pasture or hay production in the range we consider normal?
Taking this time to look back on last year is beneficial, but resist the temptation to compare things to normal.  Very rarely, do things in the ever-changing world of agriculture really meet average or normal.
Depending on where you live in Nebraska, 2021 may have been too dry or just right.  Even if we stick to one location, depending on the time of year, temperatures may have been too cold or too hot.  Nature is never static.  If it were, our job as producers would be much easier.  As it is, we lay out our plans then inevitably have to adapt as Mother Nature throws one curveball after another our way.  Did anyone foresee the late season army-worm menace we dealt with this year?
Producers work in a dynamic system that seldom repeats itself.  In doing so, we learn to be adaptive, to build resilience into our production and planning, and try to spread our eggs out amongst several different baskets.  When you take time to look back this year on the challenges and successes, try to see where adapting to a problem worked or how a bit more flexibility next year could keep an issue from arising.  Leave the normal and average comparisons out.

Central Valley Ag Delivers Value

Central Valley Ag continues to give back to member-owners, demonstrating the cooperative spirit. Recently, CVA’s Board of Directors approved the distribution of patronage to its member-owners. A total payout of $18.0 Million was approved based on Central Valley Ag’s continuing success. $10.8 Million will be returned in cash, while the remaining $7.2 Million has been allocated as non-qualified equity to be returned in a future year.

“I am proud of CVA’s performance, and our ability to deliver these payments to our patrons,” said Carl Dickinson, CEO of Central Valley Ag. “We truly appreciate the business of our member-owners and are excited to share in the success of the cooperative.”

Patronage is calculated based on volume during CVA’s fiscal year. Fiscal Year 2021 began September 1, 2020 and ended on August 31, 2021. Checks were mailed to patrons on December 16, 2021.

CVA is also passing through $8.73 million in Section 199 Tax Deductions to the members who marketed their grain through Central Valley Ag. 199 Notifications were mailed to qualifying patrons on December 16, 2021.

The success of Central Valley Ag is a result of its member-owners support, Board of Director's vision, and the employee's dedication to excellent customer service.


In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey about 41,000 cattle operations nationwide to provide an up-to-date measure of U.S. cattle inventories.

“This information helps producers make timely, informed business decisions and plan for herd expansion or reduction. It also helps packers and government leaders evaluate expected slaughter volume for future months and determine potential supplies for export,” said Upper Midwest Regional Director Greg Thessen. “Obtaining the current count of cattle will serve as an important decision-making tool for the entire agriculture industry.”

During the first two weeks of January, Iowa producers will have the opportunity to report their beef and dairy cattle inventories, calf crop, death loss and cattle on feed information. To make it as convenient as possible for producers to participate in the survey, NASS offers the option of responding via the Internet, mail, or telephone interview with a NASS representative.  NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

Survey results will be published in the Cattle report to be released on January 31, 2022. These and all NASS reports are available online at  

USDA Invests Nearly $5 Million in Wetland Mitigation Banks

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded nearly $5 million in grant funding for the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP), a grant program that supports the development of mitigation banks for the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location.

The awarded funding adds to the more than $12.4 million that has been provided to 13 partners in 11 states since 2016. This year's awards prioritized projects in states with large amounts of wetlands as well as large numbers of producers with wetland determination requests.

"The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program supports critical wetland restoration and protection while also expanding options for farmers and ranchers," said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Terry Cosby. "Wetlands provide valuable ecosystem functions, including wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge. These projects allow us to collaborate with states, local governments and other qualified partners to restore, create and enhance wetland ecosystems."

Awarded projects include:
- $846,000 for Magnolia Land Partners, LLC in Nebraska

- $581,000 for Magnolia Land Partners, LLC in Illinois
- $516,000 for Wisconsin DNR
- $496,000 for Corblu Ecology Group, LLC in Georgia
- $992,000 for Minton Environmental Consultants, LLC in Missouri
- $575,000 for Wildlife Mississippi
- $875,000 for North Dakota Agricultural Mitigation, Inc.

The WMBP helps agricultural producers comply with wetland conservation provisions and conserve ecologically important wetlands by allowing for off-site mitigation through the purchase of credits from wetland banks established and run by local partners.

NRCS awarded the first WMBP grants in 2016 and so far, 21 wetland bank sites have been established through the program, totaling 313 acres. Several more sites have been secured and are in various stages of the restoration process. States with awarded projects include Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.

Wetland mitigation banks are helping producers across the country. In Georgia, NRCS has partnered since 2016 with Corblu Ecology Group, LLC, an environmental consulting firm, to develop multiple mitigation bank sites to sell credits to producers statewide. In Ohio, NRCS funded the restoration and development of a thirty-acre mitigation bank in the Otter Creek Watershed, creating habitats for wildlife and migratory birds.

Awardees may use WMBP funding to support mitigation bank site identification, development of a mitigation banking instrument, site restoration, land surveys, permitting and title searches and market research. WMBP funding cannot be used to purchase land or a conservation easement.

American Farm Bureau Honoring County Farm Bureaus at Convention

The American Farm Bureau Federation will honor 18 county Farm Bureaus at its 103rd Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, Jan. 7-12. The selected winners participated in the County Activities of Excellence program and demonstrated a commitment to offering quality programming to their counties. Attendees can learn more about these winning programs, and several of last year’s winning programs, during the trade show at convention.

Among the winners:

    County Connections Grant, Lancaster. Offered grant money to other county Farm Bureaus to assist in funding member leadership development projects.

“These county Farm Bureaus are leading through innovation to support and engage with their local communities despite the challenges brought on by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.

Herbicide-resistant weeds? K-State researcher hopes to crush them

A Kansas State University researcher in western Kansas says he may have an innovative way to kill weeds commonly found in farmer’s fields: simply put, he wants to crush ‘em.

That’s right, says Vipan Kumar, a weed scientist at the Agricultural Research Center in Hays: He’s studying a method known as Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC) in which weed seed is literally pulverized by a rolling cage mill that is fitted to the back of a combine during harvest.

“This system,” Kumar said, “is designed to destroy weed seed so that it becomes non-viable for the next year.”

HWSC is a method first advanced in western Australia, known as a region where weeds have developed widespread resistance to common herbicides. A version of the rolling cage mill was actually developed by an Australian grower who had become frustrated with other weed control methods.

Current versions are also now being manufactured in Canada. Kumar is cooperating with weed scientists at Iowa State University and the University of Arkansas to find out just how effective a system that crushes weed seeds will work in Midwest and High Plains crop fields.

“We don’t know much yet; not much data exists in the United States,” Kumar said. “We conducted a preliminary test this fall in a grower’s field, and the seed crusher did a decent job of crushing Palmer amaranth seeds in a milo field that was heavily infested with pigweed.

“I’m hoping that this will be a good fit for wheat and soybean folks, as well, and that they can make good use of it in terms of integrated weed management.”

Kansas farmers routinely face such nemeses as Palmer amaranth and other pigweeds, feral ryegrass and kochia, which have developed varying degrees of resistance to herbicides. Because of that – plus the rising cost of chemicals and other inputs – farmers will need options for managing weeds.

“Longer term from a weed science standpoint, HWSC is one type of technique farmers need to bring into their management system if they want to mitigate the resistant weeds on the farm,” Kumar said. “There is no silver bullet; you won’t resolve all your problems with this method, but it can play a critical role in integrated weed management if you combine it with other methods of weed control, and you are making weed management plans for the next 4-5 years rather than an annual basis.”

To date, the roller cage system is likely cost-prohibitive for farmers – manufacturers currently are producing the system for about $75,000 – and using the system will require a combine to pull at 80-100 horsepower. But Kumar anticipates the price for the system will come down over time as the technology is perfected and use becomes more widespread.

“As a researcher, we can show growers if it’s going to work or not,” Kumar said. “Over the next couple of years, we will create data from Kansas fields; we already have data from Iowa where we found that this system destroys more than 90% of waterhemp seed, using the same unit from the same manufacturer that we are using.”

He anticipates that K-State’s research also will dig deeper into the economics, factoring in the cost of equipment, potential yield increases and decreased use of herbicides.

Kumar, who is part of a national core of scientists that go by the acronym GROW (Getting Rid Of Weeds), has also studied the benefits of another HWSC known as chaff lining, in which crop chaff and weeds are funneled into narrow rows behind a combine. The residue is left to over-winter, causing the weed seed to decay, or the thin row can be destroyed with fire.

He has teamed with weed scientists from Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa and Arkansas on two, multi-state grants funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The researchers will explore the effectiveness and relevance of chaff lining and the seed crusher as part of integrated weed management in the High Plains’ no-till dryland crop production systems.

RFA Ends Landmark 40th Year Growing Even Stronger

The Renewable Fuels Association closes out its yearlong 40th anniversary celebration this week with a fitting milestone, welcoming more than 20 new members in 2021.

“For four decades strong, RFA’s member companies have worked together to move the renewable fuels industry forward,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Whether innovating new technologies, shaping policies and regulations, or opening new markets, RFA’s members remain at the forefront of the low-carbon bioeconomy. This record of achievement was underscored in 2021, as RFA saw a record number of new member companies join the association. We welcome them to the team and look forward to working together to chart the industry’s course for the next 40 years and beyond.”

New producer members include Calgren Renewable Fuels, Gevo, Heron Lake BioEnergy, LanzaJet, Lincolnway Energy and Mid America Bio Energy. New associate members include Antea Group, Booster, Chase Nedrow, Clariant, Corn Marketing Program of Michigan, Cozairo, Data Gumbo, EcoEngineers, Farmers Business Network/Gradable, Honeywell, Navigator CO2 Ventures, Next Wave Energy Partners, Sorghum Checkoff, StepOne Tech America, and Terracon.

RFA’s 40th anniversary activities included a series of profiles telling the stories of several industry pioneers who were involved in the beginnings of the industry, such as Ron Miller, Bruce Heine, Bob Reynolds, Bob Dinneen, Randy Doyal, and Kelly Davis. At its annual membership meeting in late September, RFA also released a poster timeline of the industry highlights, showing how the association has been the driving force behind all the major developments that helped grow the U.S. ethanol industry.  

Bayer Halts Roundup Talks After U.S. Supreme Court Inquiry

Bayer AG said it’s halting discussions to settle further claims over its Roundup weedkiller after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled interest in the company’s effort to end thousands of suits alleging the product causes cancer.

According to Bloomberg News, Bayer is “encouraged” by the court’s call to hear the views of the Solicitor General on its case challenging a $25 million award to Edwin Hardeman, a California man who says decades of exposure to Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the Leverkusen, Germany-based company said in a statement on Monday.

The company argues that federal approval of Roundup’s label meant Hardeman’s suit -- and others like it -- couldn’t go forward.

The pace of resolutions had already slowed considerably over the past year. When Bayer initially announced its Roundup settlement plans in June 2020, it said it had agreements to resolve about 94,000 cases out of 125,000 total claims from consumers and farmers. Last month, the company said it had settlements or was close to reaching deals for 98,000 cases in all. Bayer hasn’t updated the 125,000 figure concerning the total number of Roundup cases in the past year and a half.

Monday December 27 Ag News

Testing your private well water is important

Water that looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink. If your water comes from a well, annual testing is an important part of maintaining a safe source of drinking water. Regular testing helps well owners identify contamination problems and make informed decisions about how the water will be used, especially if it’s being consumed by humans and animals.

David Miesbach, groundwater section supervisor with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, said, “The only way to tell if your drinking water is safe is by having it tested by a certified laboratory. Harmful bacteria are invisible to the naked eye.”

The quality of a water source may change over time or sometimes suddenly. Annual testing will help the owner track these changes.

“Frequent water testing will identify unsafe water,” Miesbach said. “Certain chemical contaminants that are sometimes found in a water source can cause long term health problems that take years to develop.”

If a well owner has a treatment system in place, yearly checkups are also needed to ensure the system is treating the water to a satisfactory level. “The upper limit for nitrate is 10 milligrams per liter in drinking water,” added Miesbach. “Your local health department can assist in selecting the appropriate test kit for your well and can refer you to a certified laboratory in your area.”

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is also able to test your domestic well water. “We recently started working with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to test domestic wells for nitrate, pesticides, uranium, and arsenic,” said Julie Wragge, LENRD information and education specialist. “It’s so important to know if your water is safe.”  Contact the Lower Elkhorn NRD, in Norfolk, if you’re interested in getting your well water tested.

Even those who get their water from a municipal source should be aware of nitrate levels in their drinking water, said Wragge.  “If you don’t own a private well, it’s still very important to know what’s in your water. Contact your city office or visit their website to find out what they test for and what they do locally to protect the resource.”


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Making, transporting, and feeding hay is a large investment in time, equipment, and money. How can you reduce loss of hay during feeding to make that investment go further?
There are many ways to feed hay, with each method impacting waste differently. If hay is fed unrestricted, cattle can waste 45 percent of the hay they are provided. Limit feeding hay so only what is required is fed, will significantly reduce waste right away. Studies show that cattle fed daily versus fed every four days, needed 25% less hay. That’s a huge amount, but labor and equipment cost slightly increased.
A common and usually labor efficient method of feeding is to feed hay directly onto the ground by unrolling bales, distributing ground hay or loose hay, and bale pod grazing. With any of these methods, there should only be enough feed distributed or available for one day.
Bale pod grazing might be another consideration. Bales are spread out across a field or pasture and temporary fence is used to confine animal access to one or several bales. When it’s time for more hay, the producer moves a fence instead of moving a bale. The losses will depend on herd size, however, because this relates to limiting feeding or limiting access.
Limiting access by physical barriers is another way to decrease hay loss. Bale rings, racks, fences, feed bunks, bale pod grazing, or another form of limited access can all decrease waste. These methods work by reducing trampling and animal ability to lay down on the hay. The most effective physical barriers have solid side bottoms. This prevents the hay being pulled out onto the ground. While these methods are effective, they require the purchase of additional equipment which for large herds or changing feeding location can add significant time and money.
No matter the improved method, reducing fed hay losses will improve the return on the hay investment.

NeCGA Call for D.C. Leadership Mission Candidates

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association is seeking candidates to participate in the Washington D.C. Leadership Mission. Held annually since 1986, this program has provided an opportunity for growers to interact with elected officials while also giving an in-depth look at the work of the association inside the Beltway. The mission is a great opportunity for members who are looking to get more involved in the association—and a great introduction to new members.

In 2022, the mission will be from February 28 through March 4. Attendees can expect to visit with their elected officials, the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains Council, and other cooperators. This is also a great chance for attendees to visit with members from across the state and form lifelong friendships. Spouses who are interested in learning more about the association are also encouraged to attend. The deadline to apply is January 5th, 2022.

If you or someone you know would be interested in being a part of this program, visit their website for applications and more information

Motor Fuels Tax Rate Set for Jan. 1 to June 30

The Nebraska motor fuels tax rate for Jan. 1 through June 30, 2022, will be 24.8 cents per gallon, down from 27.7 cents per gallon. The components of the future and current rates include wholesale, variable, and fixed rates.

Future: (Jan. 1 - June 30, 2022) - Current: (July 1 - Dec. 31, 2021)

Wholesale Tax Rate 8.5 cents per gallon - 7.5 cents per gallon

Variable Tax Rate 0.0 cents per gallon - 3.9 cents per gallon

Fixed Tax Rate 16.3 cents per gallon - 16.3 cents per gallon

Total 24.8 cents per gallon  - 27.7 cents per gallon

The wholesale tax rate is set depending on the wholesale price of fuel. The variable tax rate is set to meet legislative appropriations. The fixed tax rate is set by statute.  The petroleum release remedial action fee is not included in the state motor fuels tax and remains unchanged at 0.9 cents per gallon on motor vehicle fuels and 0.3 cents per gallon on diesel fuels.

Statistical information regarding motor fuels tax receipts can be found on the Nebraska Department of Revenue's (DOR) website under Motor Fuels, and Statistics.

Current and historical motor fuels tax rates per gallon can also be found on DOR's website under Motor Fuels, and Fuel Tax Rates. For questions about the motor fuels tax, please contact Motor Fuels Taxpayer Assistance at 800-554-FUEL (800-554-3835) or 402-471-5730.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Thursday December 23 Cattle on Feed, Hogs & Pigs, & more Ag News

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.58 million cattle on feed on December 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2% from last year. Placements during November totaled 490,000 head, up 7% from 2020. Fed cattle marketings for the month of November totaled 455,000 head, up 10% from last year. Other disappearance during November totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 610,000 head on December 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service  - Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from November and  unchanged from December 1, 2020. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 475,000 head on feed, up 1 percent from last month but down 12 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,085,000 head, up slightly from last month but down 6 percent from last year.  
Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during November totaled 94,000 head, down  19 percent  from  October  but up  15 percent  from last  year.  Feedlots with a  capacity of  less  than  1,000 head placed 62,000 head, down 9 percent from October and down 33 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 156,000 head, down 15 percent from October and down 10 percent from last year.  
Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during November totaled 92,000 head, down 12 percent from October but up 2 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 55,000 head, up 8 percent from October and up 10 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 147,000 head, down 5 percent from October but up 5 percent from last year.

United States Cattle on Feed Down Slightly

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, 2021. The inventory was slightly below December 1, 2020.

On Feed, by State (1,000 hd  -  % Dec 1 '20)

Colorado .......:               1,140          101                  
Iowa .............:                 610            100                  
Kansas ..........:               2,480            99                  
Nebraska ......:               2,580           102               
Texas ............:               2,880           99                 

Placements in feedlots during November totaled 1.97 million head, 4 percent above 2020. Net placements were 1.91 million head. During November, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 565,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 485,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 405,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 296,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 130,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements by State  (1,000 hd - % Nov '20)

Colorado .......:                     160            97             
Iowa .............:                        94           115                
Kansas ..........:                      435           105                 
Nebraska ......:                      490           107                   
Texas ............:                      445           110                   

Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.87 million head, 5 percent above 2020. Marketings were the highest for November since the series began in 1996. November 2021 included one additional day of slaughter compared to last year. Other disappearance totaled 61,000 head during November, unchanged from 2020.

Marketings by State  (1,000 hd - % Nov '20)

Colorado .......:                   165           110              
Iowa .............:                    92            102                   
Kansas ..........:                   455           107                 
Nebraska ......:                   455           110                  
Texas ............:                   400           100               


LINCOLN, Neb. December 23, 2021 - Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2021, was 3.60 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was down 5% from December 1, 2020, and down 1% from September 1, 2021.  
Breeding hog inventory, at 440,000 head, was up 7% from December 1, 2020, but down 4% from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.16 million head, was down 7% from last year, and down 1% from last quarter.  
The September - November 2021 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.28 million head, was up 3% from 2020. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 195,000 head, up 3% from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.70 for the September - November period, compared to 11.70 last year.  
Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 190,000 sows during the December 2021 - February 2022 quarter, up 6% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for March - May 2022 are 195,000 sows, up 3% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.


On  December  1,  2021,  there  were  23.8  million  hogs  and  pigs  on  Iowa  farms,  according  to  the  latest  USDA,  National Agricultural Statistics Service - Hogs and Pigs report. Inventory was down 1 percent from the previous quarter and down 3 percent from the previous year.  
The September-November 2021 quarterly pig crop was 5.95 million head, up 3 percent from the previous quarter but down 6 percent from last year. A total of 520,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.45 for the quarter and a record high.  
As of December 1, producers planned to farrow 490,000 sows and gilts in the December 2021-February 2022 quarter and 500,000 head during the March-May 2022 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Down 4 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2021 was 74.2 million head. This was down 4 percent fromDecember 1, 2020, and down 1 percent from September 1, 2021.   Breeding inventory, at 6.18 million head, was up slightly from last year, but down slightly from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 68.0 million head, was down 4 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from last quarter.

Pig Inventory

by State                     (1,000 hd  -  % Dec 1 '20)

Iowa .................:      23,800.0       97   
Minnesota ........:       8,900.0        95   
North Carolina ..:       8,000.0        91   
Illinois ..............:       5,350.0        98   
Indiana .............:       4,350.0        98
Missouri ...........:       3,450.0        92   

The September-November 2021 pig crop, at 33.7 million head, was down 4 percent from 2020. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.01 million head, down 5 percent from 2020. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.19 for the September-November period, compared to 11.05 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.94 million sows farrow during the December 2021-February 2022 quarter, up slightly from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, but down 8 percent from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for March-May 2022, at 3.01 million sows, are down 1 percent from the same period one year earlier, and down 4 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 47 percent of the total United States hog inventory, down 1 percent from the previous year.

Record High Total Red Meat and Beef Production in November

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.80 billion pounds in November, up 2 percent from the 4.69 billion pounds produced in November 2020.

Beef production, at 2.38 billion pounds, was 5 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.86 million head, up 6 percent from November 2020. The average live weight was down 5 pounds from the previous year, at 1,382 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.6 million pounds, 5 percent below November a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 33,000 head, down 6 percent from November 2020. The average live weight was up 1 pound from last year, at 242 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.41 billion pounds, up slightly from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.1 million head, up 1 percent from November 2020. The average live weight was down 3 pounds from the previous year, at 291 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.0 million pounds, was up 12 percent from November 2020. Sheep slaughter totaled 195,100 head, 8 percent above last year. The average live weight was 122 pounds, up 4 pounds from November a year ago.

By State:  (million lbs.  -  % Nov '20)

Iowa ..............:     790.6            104       
Kansas ...........:     537.4            106       
Nebraska .......:     686.2            102       

January to November 2021 commercial red meat production was 51.0 billion pounds, up slightly from 2020. Accumulated beef production was up 3 percent from last year, veal was down 18 percent, pork was down 2 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down slightly.

NePPA Schedules Secure Pork Supply Planning Meetings

Wanting to have a better understanding standing of what the Secure Pork Supply (SPS) is and help to write your SPS plan. Join the Nebraska Pork Producers Association for one of the meetings. Each meeting will start with an overview of SPS and the importance of it, the rest of the day is to help producers with their biosecurity plans for the SPS plan. Feel free to come when you can to get some one on one help.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 9:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.
Coleridge Community Center
Coleridge, NE

Wednesday, February 16, 2022 9:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.
Nielsen Community Center
200 Anna Stalp Ave, West Point, NE 68788

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 9:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.
Holthus Convention Center
3130 Holen Ave, York, NE 68467

You can register ahead of time by filling in the registration at the NePPA web site... found here:  

Woodbury County farmer Greg Jochum elected to represent District 4 on Iowa Farm Bureau State Board of Directors

Greg Jochum of Salix was elected to serve as an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) board member, replacing Brent Johnson of Calhoun County, who was recently elected IFBF president. Jochum was elected to a three-year term to represent District 4, comprised of 11 counties in west central Iowa: Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Calhoun, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon and Guthrie.

Jochum grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa, and as a trained agronomist, is heavily involved in conservation efforts, working with other farmers to plant and maintain conservation reserve program (CRP) land and seeding cover crops.  Jochum previously held several positions with the Woodbury County Farm Bureau and recently completed a term on the statewide resolutions committee.  Jochum has been an active leader with Farm Bureau, previously serving as IFBF’s Young Farmer Committee chair and on the Legacy Planning Committee, a statewide taskforce that shaped IFBF’s strategic plan including a new mission statement and core values.    

“Farm Bureau is the strongest farm organization in Iowa, and it’s my honor to serve the members of District 4," says Jochum. "I look forward to helping carry out its mission and serving farmers in my district."

Jochum is a graduate of South Dakota State University, and he and his wife, Krista, have three daughters and a son.  

Iowa Corn Crop Fair Series Presents ISU Extension Marketing Seminar

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and ISU Extension & Outreach-Page County will host a Marketing Seminar as part of the Iowa Corn, Crop Fair series in Clarinda, Iowa on Wednesday, January 12 at the Ice House Restaurant beginning at 6 p.m.

“Crop fairs give ICGA members access to information they might not get elsewhere,” explained Adam Bierbaum, District 7 ICGA Director who chairs the Grassroots Network, Membership & Checkoff (GNMC) Committee. “Each crop fair is customized to include topics to fit each region of the state, with opportunities for farmer-to-farmer learning and a chance to interact with subject area experts on a variety of topics including legislative policy, conservation, market development and risk management.”

Supper will be provided to attendees starting at 6 p.m. with the program to follow at 6:30 p.m. Speaker Tim Christensen, Farm Management Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will cover increased input costs impacting production, building a pre-harvest marketing plan, market outlook and livestock risk protection (LRP) for cattle producers.

“With higher input and land costs, it is more important than ever that producers understand the marketing tools available to help protect their investments. This meeting will highlight tools and strategies for grain and cattle producers to reduce market risk,” shared Christensen.

RSVP by Monday, January 10, 2022 to Dee Dino, ISU Extension-Page County at 712-542-5171 or Kristen Akers, Iowa Corn at 515-229-9981.

Congress Preps for 2022 WRDA Reauthorization

 Now that the bipartisan infrastructure package has been signed by President Biden, ag and transportation groups are shifting focus to next year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

Both the U.S. House and Senate are beginning to gather requests for the 2022 WRDA. To inform the process, bipartisan stakeholder meetings related to proposals that may be submitted to members of Congress have begun. On Dec. 16, the American Soybean Association participated in one of the first stakeholder meetings to provide input for the 2022 reauthorization. The organization was very involved in the reauthorization of the 2020 WRDA Bill, as the soy community relies on the U.S. inland waterway system to maintain competitiveness with Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of soybeans. Learn more about ASA’s WRDA priorities here

National Corn Growers Association Voices Support for Sen. Chuck Grassley

As a leading advocate for corn growers in Iowa and nationwide, Brooke Appleton of the National Corn Growers Association today voiced her support for Senator Chuck Grassley, a lifelong family farmer, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and fierce fighter for Iowa's farmers and biofuels producers.

"Senator Grassley has been a tireless champion for policies important to corn growers. From the Renewable Fuel Standard, to farm bills, to tax issues, and trade priorities – we remain grateful for the Senator’s support and leadership," said Brooke Appleton, NCGA’s Vice President, Public Policy.

"Iowa is the number one corn-producing state in the nation, so the support of our corn growers is very important to me. Agriculture is the beating heart of Iowa's economy. From ethanol to distillers grain and other value-added products, corn growers help feed and fuel the world. As a family farmer, being the voice of Iowa agriculture in the United States Senate is a personal passion of mine," said Senator Chuck Grassley.

The Grassley farm in New Hartford, Iowa grows corn and soybeans. Grassley has championed Iowa agriculture at every turn, from the farm bill safety net to expanding access to and production of corn ethanol. Recently, Grassley led the effort to support biofuel producers who had to shut down production during the pandemic. USDA just announced it would make $800 million available to the industry.

CGB and MN Soybean Processors Announce Plans to Build State-of-the-Art Soybean Processing Plant in North Dakota

CGB Enterprises, Inc. Minnesota Soybean Processors have announced a joint venture for the construction of a state-of-the-art soybean processing plant near Casselton, North Dakota. North Dakota Soybean Processors, LLC, jointly owned by CGB and MnSP, will own and operate the new facility, which is expected to crush 42.5 million bushels of soybeans in the first year, providing a more competitive and viable market within North Dakota for production that previously left the state.

“This is an exciting project that has been in the works since 2019,” said Steve O’Nan, Senior Vice President, CGB Soybean Processing. “This state-of-the-art soybean processing plant is a commitment to North Dakota agriculture. Its strategic location will produce soybean meal for the livestock industry and food grade soybean oil to service the rising demand of food users and also the renewable fuel industry.”

“We are pleased to partner with CGB to build this facility that will complement our current operations in Brewster, MN. The combination of these assets well positions us to meet demand, domestically and globally, for meal and oil, while providing a consistent, competitive market for locally grown soybeans for local farmers,” said Jeramie Weller, General Manager, Minnesota Soybean Processors.

“This soybean crushing facility is another landmark investment in North Dakota agriculture, one that will add tremendous value for our soybean growers, create quality jobs and benefit all North Dakotans through greater economic activity and tax revenue that supports essential services and critical infrastructure,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “Investments like this put more money in the pockets of our farmers by expanding local markets while also building connections between our ag and energy industries for further value-added activity. We’re grateful to our highly productive soybean growers, North Dakota Soybean Processors, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, North Dakota Department of Transportation, City of Casselton, Casselton Economic Development, Cass County Commission, The Harvest Group, Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC and everyone whose dedication and hard work on this project made today’s announcement possible.”

Groundbreaking on the soybean processing plant is slated for this spring, with plans to have the facility fully operational in 2024, subject to various federal, state, and local permitting, infrastructure, and incentive approvals. The project is expected to create 50 to 60 new jobs once fully operational.

“This is an exciting day for North Dakota agriculture with the announcement of intent to build a state-of-the-art soybean processing plant near Casselton,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “It is a unique opportunity to add value right here, provide a local market for North Dakota soybeans and boost economic growth in our state.”

“This is not only an important project for Cass County and the community of Casselton, but the economic ripple effect of this soybean facility will resonate throughout the agriculture community, bringing new market options to growers throughout the Red River Valley”, said Cass County Commission Chair, Chad Peterson.  “For this reason, the County is committed to partnering to improve roads and critical infrastructure which provides the foundation for significant private investment. A plant of this size will become a huge revenue producer and employer and will provide a significant ROI for County taxpayers.”

CGB has an existing Soybean Processing plant in Mt. Vernon, IN that was built in 1997 and recently underwent a significant expansion to increase its soybean processing capabilities in Southwest Indiana. The company has additional grain elevator assets strategically located throughout the U.S. with access to rail, truck and barge transportation, as well as other complementary businesses within the agriculture and transportation industries.

MnSP has an existing Soybean Processing facility located in Brewster, MN that started crushing soybeans in 2003 and added a Biodiesel refining facility in 2005. MnSP’s goal, along with the assistance of its members, is to provide a high quality feed product for America’s producers as well as providing a high quality renewable fuel source.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Wednesday December 22 Ag News

 DARI LLC Receives Midwest Dairy CAPS Support in the Development of Innovative Fluid Milk Solutions to Consumers

DARI LLC a Midwest based firm backed by Tuls Dairies, a Nebraska based dairy, has received a grant from Midwest Dairy through the 2021 Cooperative and Processor Support (CAPS) program for the market development of their new flavored milk product. This grant money will be used by DARI LLC to further create a deeper appreciation with parents as to the nutritious value a whole, lactose free, no-sugar added flavored milk can provide to their children.

“We appreciate the support and confidence Midwest Dairy has shown in our marketing efforts in the launch of this product,” commented TJ Tuls, Co-Founder of DARI LLC and Co-Owner of Tuls Dairies. “It is through these types of cooperative efforts we can work together as an industry to create lifelong lovers of milk.”

Kids are not getting enough of the key nutrients they need to establish a strong foundation for growth and health. Recent data shows 40% of kids between the ages of 3-11 do not get enough calcium, 50% do not get enough potassium and 80% do not get enough vitamin D. An attractive, whole milk, lactose free beverage would be a great food to improve these numbers. In addition to these nutritional deficits, kids are also loading up on sugar with significant consequences. National averages show 13.9% of kids, ages 2-5, and 18.4% of kids, ages 6-11, are struggling with childhood obesity, which often follows most of them into their early teens creating both physical and emotional challenges.

“We are passionate about the value that milk can bring to a balanced diet for kids and how it can address the nutritional deficits we are seeing in the country. We also have a passion for our cows and passion for the consumers who drink our milk” remarked Todd Tuls, Co-Founder of DARI LLC and Co-Owner of Tuls Dairies. .

The CAPS program was established in 2021 and facilitated by Midwest Dairy. The purpose of the program is to support processors, farmer-owned cooperatives and dairy food/beverage manufactures to drive demand and trust for dairy products. Through this approach, Midwest Dairy strengthens dairy’s role in the food and beverage marketplace by fostering innovation to increase consumer demand for dairy products.

“We are excited that the first year of the CAPS program has been successful. The program enables Midwest Dairy to support processors working to bring new and innovative technologies and dairy products to the marketplace.   Innovation is key to growing consumer confidence and demand for dairy products. By bringing programs like CAPS to our processors, we advance our commitment to dairy farmers in creating a sustainable future for the industry.” – Bob Lefebvre, Vice President Agricultural Affairs Midwest Dairy

Farm to Table Task Force Makes Recommendations to Iowa Legislature

A diverse group of local food experts from across the state submitted a set of recommendations to the Iowa Legislature that are intended to improve the farm to table supply chain.

The Farm to Table Task Force commissioned during the 2021 state legislative session and led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach met over the last several months.

The charge was to identify strategies to improve the farm to table supply chain in Iowa, with a special focus on increasing sales to institutional purchasers, including schools. The task force consisted of 12 local food experts representing farmers, distributors, food pantries, small scale processors and customers.

“To meet this charge, it was important to understand our state’s challenges and strengths within the farm to table supply chain, to then be able to confirm priorities,” said John Lawrence, Iowa State University vice president for extension and outreach.

Staff from IDALS and ISU Extension and Outreach also connected with additional partners across the state to listen and understand challenges, successes and potential recommendations for the local and regional food system.  

The task force began meeting in September, and in under four months its members produced five key recommendations that were shared with the Legislature in early December. The task force met three times throughout the fall of 2021, of which public comment was allowed at the end of each session.

“I want to thank the task force members and all the stakeholders who provided input during this process,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “The recommendations from the task force will help develop and grow markets for Iowa producers while also helping to strengthen our local and regional food systems. We look forward to continuing to work on building this important market into the future.”

Recommendations from the task force include:
-    Improving sales of local foods to institutions, including farm to school and early care efforts, by increasing the efficiency of local food distribution and awareness of local options for institutional buyers.
-    Developing and supporting expanded processing opportunities for local foods.
-    Researching and increasing support for local food farming and scaling up local food agriculture.
-    Revitalizing and expanding the Local Food and Farm Advisory Council.
-    Increasing the usage of the Farm to Food Donation Tax Credit and exploring other food donation programs.

The Task Force also determined which of these recommendations would require legislative action, funding needs, and potential timeline for implementation.

Task Force members included:
    Secretary Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; Co-Chair.
    John Lawrence, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Co-Chair.
    Jan Libbey, One Step at a Time Gardens.
    Bob Howard, Country View Dairy.
    Corinne Rowe, Rowe’s Red Cows.
    Penny Brown Huber, Prairie Rivers of Iowa.
    Darrell Goering, Milo Locker.
    Steve Winders, Loffredo Fresh Produce.
    Jason Grimm, Iowa Valley RC&D; Grimm Family Farm.
    Kelly Foss, Des Moines Farmers Market.
    David Smigo, Cornell College Dining; Bon Appetit.
    Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, Harlan CSD Food Service; Farm Table Delivery.
    Matt Unger, Des Moines Area Religious Council.
    Aaron Lehman, Iowa Farmers Union.

The full report is available online

Skyrocketing Fertilizer Costs Show Need for 'Fairness for Farmers'

In the face of skyrocketing fertilizer costs, the Iowa Farmers Union calls for renewed action to address anti-competitive behavior in agribusinesses.

"Now more than ever we need drastic action to address monopolistic behavior that hurts farmers and consumers alike," said Aaron Lehman, Iowa Farmers Union president. "Price increases in fertilizer are far above and supply and demand issues. The companies in control of the industry are simply finding a way to take a bite out of farmer profitability."

In just a year, potash prices have increased by 129%, urea prices are up 143%, and anhydrous ammonia prices are up 208%.

The Farmers Union "Fairness for Farmers" project details the massive damage done to farmers, rural communities, and consumers resulting from the unprecedented concentration of economic power in agribusiness. To learn more or get involved in the movement, visit

Iowa Learning Farms Webinar: Manure Spill Prevention and Response

The Iowa Learning Farms and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation webinar taking place Jan. 5 at noon will feature Kevin Erb, director, Conservation Professional Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension.

Erb has more than 29 years of experience working with for-hire manure applicators and nutrient management and leads Wisconsin extension’s education, training and outreach programming for for-hire manure applicators. His manure related research and projects include manure spills and incidents, reducing the impact of heavy manure equipment on rural roads and low-cost GPS systems for knowing where you are in the field when applying manure. He has also been responsible for creating more than 20 intentional manure spills (as training exercises) across the Midwest.

In the webinar, “Root Causes of Manure Spills: 15 years of Oops, Oh Crap!, and ‘how the heck did that happen???’,” Erb will offer a real-world overview of accidental manure spills that happen every year during transport, application and storage. Noting that spills will occur, Erb will provide insights into why they happen and steps to prevent them. He will also discuss educational programs that help operators take steps to not only reduce spill chances, but reduce the environmental harm when an accident does occur.

“Accidental manure spills happen,” said Erb. “It’s what you do next that makes the difference between a minor inconvenience and being the lead story on the 6 o’clock news. We want operators to recognize spills, take immediate action to contain and clean up, and only then get back to the fields to continue with applications. I am eager to share our research that helps us know why spills happen, which is the first step to preventing problems. For example, simple steps such as visually inspecting tankers and storage regularly or understanding the correlation between manure spills and stop signs – and why the majority of accidental valve openings occur within one-tenth of a mile of an intersection, can mean the difference between a good day and the makings of a very bad day.”

Participants in Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinars are encouraged to ask questions of the presenters. People from all backgrounds and areas of interest are encouraged to join.

Webinar Access Instructions
To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CST Jan. 5:
    Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser:
    Or, go to and enter meeting ID 364 284 172.
    Or, join from a dial-in phone line: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923, with meeting ID 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for. Those who participate in the live webinar are eligible. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

NFU Disappointed EPA Did Not Include a Pathway to Higher Level Blends of Ethanol in EPA's Final Rule on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Passengers Cars and Trucks

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks without including requirements that could have increased the use of ethanol. The rule updates GHG Emissions standards through Model Year 2026.

“The EPA missed an opportunity by not including a pathway to high octane fuels, like higher level blends of ethanol, in the final rule,” said Rob Larew, NFU President. “NFU has long advocated for increased use of biofuels due to their tremendous environmental benefit and the much-needed market alternatives and economic stability biofuels provide to America’s farming and rural communities.”

“We are disappointed that the benefits of high octane fuels continue to be ignored and urge the administration to include it in the next rule making for Model Year 2027 and beyond,” added Larew.

NFU has long felt this rulemaking presented an opportunity for a pathway to higer level blends of ethanol. In June 2020, NFU, along with a broad coalition of ethanol, agriculture, and public interest groups, filed a legal challenge against the EPA’s for its Safer Affordable Fuel Efficiency Vehicle Rule (SAFER) on the grounds that it ignored the efficiency and health benefits of higher ethanol blends and failed to realize the promise of increased octane in gasoline.

USDA Cold Storage November 2021 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on November 30, 2021 were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 8 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 117 percent from last month and up 8 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on November 30, 2021 were down 17 percent from the previous month and down 18 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 16 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 53 percent from last month and down 26 percent from November 30, 2020.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on November 30, 2021 were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 5 percent from November 30, 2020. Butter stocks were down 24 percent from last month and down 16 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on November 30, 2021 were down 8 percent from last month and down 12 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 2 percent from last month and down 2 percent from a year ago.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 12/17/2021

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending December 17, ethanol production slackened by 36,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 3.3%, to 1.051 million b/d, equivalent to 44.14 million gallons daily. Production was 7.7% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic but 3.0% less than the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.7% to 1.066 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.34 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks drew down for the first time in five weeks, decreasing 0.9% to 20.7 million barrels. Stocks were 10.6% below the year-ago level and 3.6% less than the same week in 2019. Inventories thinned across all regions except the West Coast (PADD 5).
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, shrank 5.1% to 8.99 million b/d (137.76 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 12.0% above a year ago but 3.4% below the same week in 2019.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 0.3% to 882,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.52 bg annualized. Net inputs were 10.0% more than a year ago but 6.0% below the same week in 2019.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the eighth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2021.)

Three Fertilizers Continue Significant Price Increase Trend

Retail fertilizer prices continued to rise the second week of December 2021, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. There are signs, however, that the climb may be slowing somewhat.

Only three of the eight major fertilizers showed a significant move higher; DTN designates a substantial move as anything 5% or more. This is the first time since the third week of September 2021 that fewer than five fertilizers were appreciably more expensive.

Anhydrous led the way, up 16% from a month prior. The nitrogen fertilizer's average price was at $1,420/ton, which continues to be at its all-time high in the data DTN has collected since November 2008.

10-34-0 was 7% more expensive compared to last month. The starter fertilizer's average price was at $790/ton.

Urea was 5% more expensive compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $901/ton, which was also an all-time high.

The remaining five fertilizers had just slight price increases compared to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $858/ton, MAP $935/ton, potash $796/ton, UAN28 $579/ton and UAN32 $663/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.98/lb.N, anhydrous $0.87/lb.N, UAN28 $1.03/lb.N and UAN32 $1.04/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all fertilizers have increased significantly, with several fertilizers having well over 100% price increases.  10-34-0 is now 71% more expensive, MAP is 79% higher, DAP is 84% more expensive, potash is 121% higher, urea is 149% more expensive, UAN32 is 162% higher, UAN28 175% is more expensive and anhydrous is 215% higher compared to last year.

Massachusetts Delays Effective Date of Question 3

Following approval by the Massachusetts Legislature, Gov. Charlie Baker today signed into law a compromise measure delaying until Aug. 15, 2022, implementation of the state’s Question 3 initiative to prohibit the sale of pork that doesn’t meet new prescriptive animal production standards. The National Pork Producers Council, which worked tirelessly to secure this much-needed solution for pork producers and the entire pork supply chain, applauded the legislative relief.

The 2016 ballot initiative – similar to California’s Proposition 12 – will ban the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with Massachusetts’ new standards. It applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders. Nearly all pork currently produced in the United States fails to meet Massachusetts’ arbitrary standards.

“Question 3, like Prop. 12, lacks any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and only will inflict economic harm on America’s pork producers and even jeopardize the well-being of their animals,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “We’re grateful the legislature listened to our concerns and delayed implementation of Question 3 so that at least producers in and outside the state can have more time to consider their options and continue to supply pork to Bay Staters.”

In addition to delaying the initiative’s implementation, the compromise measure requires the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to write rules and regulations for the law, in consultation with the state’s attorney general – who originally was given authority – within six months.

NPPC has pointed out that, like California’s 2018 ballot initiative, Question 3’s supporters claimed it would improve animal welfare and food safety. But the measure’s requirements will have no effect on either and may negatively affect both, according to numerous studies on animal housing.

“Pork producers with decades of experience using various housing systems know it’s not the type of housing that affects the health and well-being of pigs but the individual care – the animal husbandry – that’s given to them day in, day out,” Sorenson said. “These ballot measures actually make it harder and more dangerous to practice good animal husbandry.”

NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take their case against California’s Prop. 12. The agricultural organizations are challenging the constitutionality of one state imposing regulations that reach outside its borders, arguing that it stifles interstate and international commerce.

USDA Issues Final Rule on the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a final rule that amends the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order included in the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order governs the American Lamb Board.

The final rule published in the on Federal Register on Dec. 22, 2021, requires market agencies to collect and remit assessments to the American Lamb Board when lamb sales occur at market agencies. The final rule will not increase assessment rates.

Enforcement of the final rule will begin on March 22, 2022. The final rule is available for review at For more information contact Jason Julian, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, at or (202) 731-2149.