Saturday, January 30, 2021

Friday January 29 Cattle Inventory, Sheep & Goats, + Ag News


All cattle and calves in Nebraska as of January 1, 2021 totaled 6.85 million head, up 1% from January 1, 2020, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

All cows and heifers that had calved totaled 1.96 million head, down 1% from last year.

Beef cows totaled 1.90 million head, down 1% from last year.

Milk cows totaled 60,000 head, up 3% from January 1, 2020.

All heifers 500 pounds and over totaled 1.96 million head, up 3% from last year.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.47 million head, up 4% from last year.

Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 110,000 head, down 8% from last year.

Calves under 500 pounds totaled 350,000 head, down 5% from January 1, 2020.

All cattle on feed fed for slaughter in Nebraska feedlots totaled 2.72 million head, up 5% from the previous year.

The 2020 calf crop totaled 1.75 million head, down 2% from 2019.


All cattle and calves in Iowa as of January 1, 2021, totaled 3.65 million head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle report. This was down 200,000 head from January 1, 2020. Beef cows, at 890,000 head, were down 15,000 head from last year. Milk cow inventory was up 5,000 head to 220,000 head.

All heifers 500 pounds and over were down 7% to 800,000 head. Heifers for beef cow replacement were up 7% from 2020 to 155,000 head; heifers for milk cow replacement, at 125,000 head, were up 9% from the previous year; and all other heifers were down 13% to 520,000 head.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were down 7% from last year at 1.21 million head. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over remained the same at 60,000 head. Calves under 500 pounds on January 1, 2021, totaled 470,000 head, down 8% 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 January 1, 2020, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from December 1, 2020, but down 9% from January 1, 2020. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 560,000 head on feed, up 4% from December 1, 2020, but down 10% from January 1, 2020. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,170,000 head, up 2% from December 1, 2020, but down 9% from January 1, 2020.

The 2020 calf crop was estimated at 1.03 million head, down 5% from the 2019 calf crop. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots on January 1, 2021 totaled 1.17 million head, down 9% from one year ago.

January 1 Cattle Inventory Down Slightly

All cattle and calves in the United States as of January 1, 2021 totaled 93.6 million head, slightly below the 93.8 million head on January 1, 2020.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 40.6 million head, were slightly below the 40.7 million head on January 1, 2020. Beef cows, at 31.2 million head, were down 1 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.44 million head, were up 1 percent from the previous year.

All heifers 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2021 totaled 20.0 million head, slightly below the 20.0 million head on January 1, 2020. Beef replacement heifers, at 5.81 million head, were up slightly from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.60 million head, were down 2 percent from the previous year. Other heifers, at 9.58 million head, were 1 percent above a year earlier.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2021 totaled 16.6 million head, up slightly from January 1, 2020. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2021 totaled 2.21 million head, down 1 percent from January 1, 2020.

Calves under 500 pounds as of January 1, 2021 totaled 14.2 million head, down 1 percent from January 1, 2020.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 14.7 million head on January 1, 2021. The inventory is up slightly from the January 1, 2020 total of 14.7 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 81.4 percent of the total cattle on feed on January 1, 2021, down slightly from the previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) at 25.7 million head, was slightly below January 1, 2020.  

Calf Crop Down 1 Percent

The 2020 calf crop in the United States was estimated at 35.1 million head, down 1 percent from the previous year's calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2020 were estimated at 25.8 million head, down 1 percent from the first half of 2019. Calves born during the second half of 2020 were estimated at 9.39 million head, 27 percent of the total 2020 calf crop.


All inventory and calf crop estimates for July 1, 2019, January 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020 were reviewed using calf crop, official slaughter, import and export data, and the relationship of new survey information to the prior surveys. Based on the findings of this review, July 1, 2019 all cattle and calves decreased by 0.3 percent. January 1, 2020 all cattle and calves decreased by 0.7 percent and 2019 calf crop decreased by 1.3 percent. July 1, 2020 all cattle and calves decreased by 0.8 percent and 2020 calf
crop decreased by 1.9 percent.  State level estimates were reviewed and changes were made to reallocate inventory estimates to the United States total.


All sheep and lamb inventory in Nebraska on January 1, 2021 totaled 74,000 head, down 4,000 from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Breeding sheep inventory totaled 61,000 head, down 6,000 from last year. Ewes one year and older totaled 50,000 head, down 5,000 from the previous year. Rams one year and older totaled 3,000, unchanged from last year. Total replacement lambs totaled 8,000 head, down 1,000 from last year.

Market sheep and lambs totaled 13,000 head, up 2,000 from last year. A total of 3,000 head were mature sheep (one year and older) while the remaining 10,000 were under one year. Market lamb weight groups were estimated as follows: 3,000 lambs were under 65 pounds; 1,800 were 65-84 pounds; 2,000 were 85-105 pounds; 3,200 were over 105 pounds.

The 2020 lamb crop totaled 65,000 head, down 6,000 from 2019. The 2020 lambing rate was 118 per 100 ewes one year and older, compared with 134 in 2019.

Sheep deaths totaled 3,000 head, down 400 from last year. Lamb deaths totaled 8,000 head, down 1,000 from last year.

Sheep and lambs slaughtered on farm totaled 1,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Shorn wool production during 2020 was 415,000 pounds, down 25,000 from 2019. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 56,000 head, down 5,000 from 2019. Weight per fleece was 7.4 pounds, up 0.2 from 2019. The average price paid for wool sold in 2020 was $0.77 per pound, compared with $0.88 in 2019. The total value of wool produced in Nebraska was 320,000 dollars in 2020.

Milk goats and kids inventory in Nebraska totaled 3,500 head, unchanged from last year.


All sheep and lambs inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2021, totaled 160,000 head according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. The sheep and lambs inventory is up 9,000 head from last year. Total breeding stock, at 114,000 head, was 6% above one year ago. Market sheep and lambs increased 7% from a year ago and totaled 46,000 head. The lamb crop for 2020 increased 4% to 120,000 head. Wool production for the State was 795,000 pounds, with fleece weights averaging 5.9 pounds.

Milk goat inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2021, was 27,000 head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. Iowa ranked third in total milk goats, behind only Wisconsin and California. The inventory was down 7% from January 2020. Total meat and other goat inventory was 38,000 head, an increase of 9% from the previous year.

January 1 Sheep and Lambs Inventory Down 1 Percent

All sheep and lambs inventory in the United States on January 1, 2021 totaled 5.17 million head, down 1 percent from 2020. Breeding sheep inventory at 3.78 million head on January 1, 2021, decreased 1 percent from 3.81 million head on January 1, 2020. Ewes one year old and older, at 2.96 million head, were 1 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs on January 1, 2021 totaled 1.39 million head, unchanged from January 1, 2020. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

The 2020 lamb crop of 3.21 million head was down 1 percent from 2019. The 2020 lambing rate was 108 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on January 1, 2020, unchanged from 2019.

Shorn wool production in the United States during 2020 was 23.1 million pounds, down 4 percent from 2019. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.28 million head, down 1 percent from 2019. The average price paid for wool sold in 2020 was $1.66 per pound for a total value of 38.4 million dollars, down 15 percent from 45.4 million dollars in 2019.

Sheep death loss during 2020 totaled 210 thousand head, down 4 percent from 2019. Lamb death loss was down 5 percent from 388 thousand head to 370 thousand head in 2020.

January 1 All Goats and Kids Inventory Down 3 Percent

All goats and kids inventory in the United States on January 1, 2021 totaled 2.58 million head, down 3 percent from 2020. Breeding goat inventory totaled 2.12 million head, down 3 percent from 2020. Does one year old and older, at 1.57 million head, were down 3 percent from last year's number. Market goats and kids totaled 465 thousand head, down 3 percent from a year ago.

Kid crop for 2020 totaled 1.66 million head for all goats, up 1 percent from 2019.

Meat and all other goats totaled 2.05 million head on January 1, 2021, down 2 percent from 2020. Milk goat inventory was 420 thousand head, down 3 percent from January 1, 2020, while Angora goats were down 10 percent, totaling  117 thousand head.

Mohair production in the United States during 2020 was 589 thousand pounds. Goats and kids clipped totaled 113 thousand head. Average weight per clip was 5.2 pounds. Mohair price was $5.07 per pound with a value of 2.99 million dollars.


Maskenthine Lake and Maple Creek campgrounds to move to online reservations this spring

No matter where you live in Nebraska, you’re never far from a public outdoor recreation area.  Many of these recreational opportunities, such as trails, lakes, parks, and wildlife areas, are built and maintained by Natural Resources Districts (NRDs).  One of the 12 responsibilities of the NRDs is the development and management of recreational park facilities.

Many NRD projects are developed for multiple purposes.  Recreational trails are built atop flood-control levees or along abandoned railroad lines.  Habitat areas and wetlands may be available to hunters and are often preserved for interpretive nature study.  Dams built for flood-control (another responsibility of the NRDs) often develop into recreational areas.  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has built three dams across their 15-counties for flood protection:  the Willow Creek State Recreation Area, southwest of Pierce; Maskenthine Lake, north of Stanton; and the Maple Creek Recreation Area, northwest of Leigh.

At their January meeting, the LENRD board of directors voted to approve a contract with Reserve America to begin accepting online reservations for a portion of the camping sites at Maskenthine Lake and the Maple Creek recreation areas.  LENRD Recreation Area Superintendent, Leonard Boryca, said, “By implementing the online service, we can establish a fair playing field and give everyone an opportunity to either reserve a spot or take advantage of the first-come, first-served option.  We’ve had a number of requests for this service, and we’re excited to give it a try.”  The board also approved the updated rules and regulations for the recreation areas, including the new reservation and cancellation policy.  The new reservation website will be available later this spring.

In other action, the board instructed staff to send non-compliance notification letters to well owners who have not submitted their annual groundwater use reports for all active high-capacity wells.  Flow meters are tools that provide accurate water use data for inclusion into required annual basin reports.  For producers located in a water quality management area, the meters also provide a better understanding of the nitrogen credit received from the irrigation water.  The installation of flow meters and submittal of water-use readings are requirements for the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Area which promotes the development, utilization, and conservation of groundwater, which is another responsibility of Nebraska’s NRDs.

The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans to protect our natural resources for the future.  The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, February 25th at 7:30 p.m.  Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails.

Webinar on livestock traceability to look at impact, costs for producers

A Nebraska Extension webinar, at noon on Feb. 4, will look at the amount that livestock producers are willing to pay for traceability programs.

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has recently closed its comment period on a potential new policy on animal identification and traceability. The webinar will review this policy, how it impacts producers, how much buyers are willing to pay and how much sellers require to be compensated for a voluntary traceability program

Presenters will include Elliott Dennis, assistant professor of livestock marketing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; James Mitchell, assistant professor of livestock marketing and management, University of Arkansas; and Brian Vander Ley, assistant professor and veterinary epidemiologist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Extension Farm and Ranch Management team is based in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics. Webinars in the series are hosted every Thursday at noon and aim to assist producers and other agricultural professionals in their decision-making.

Registration is free at

Nebraska On-Farm Research Network Results Update Meetings 2021

February 25 and 26, 2021

The annual on-farm research results update meetings will be offered in-person and online in 2021! In order to comply with COVID-19 directed health measures, pre-registration will be REQUIRED for everyone attending. We encourage you to register early as each site has an attendee cap to ensure we are complying with dedensifying guidelines.

Nebraska On-Farm Research Network 2021 Annual Results Update

8:30-9:00 Attendee check-in at local facilities
9:00-9:10 Welcome!
9:10-9:30 Leveraging Precision Ag Technologies to ConductReliable On-Farm Research Studies – Dr. Joe Luck, Precision Ag Specialist
9:30-9:40  Introduction to the Nebraska On-Farm Research Results Update Book – Nathan Mueller & Laura Thompson, Extension Educators
9:40-10:45  Local on-farm research results discussions
10:45-10:55   Break
10:55-11:10  Presentation 1: Option A: Update of NRCS Soil Health Demo Farm Projects - Fernanda Krupek OR Option B: Manure and Mulch applications for Crop Production and Soil Properties - Karla Melgar Velis
11:10-11:25   Presentation 2: Option A: Sensor Based Nitrogen Management for Dryland Corn -  Samantha Teten OR Option B: Sensor Based Fertigation - Jackson Stansell
11:25-11:35   Presentation 3: Precision Nitrogen Management Project -Crop Model Based Nitrogen Management - Laura Thompson and Laila Puntel
11:35-11:45   Upcoming research opportunities
11:45-12:15   Group discussion of research topics for their area
12:15-12:25   New On-Farm Research Products
12:25-12:30   Thank you to participating farmers and recognition
12:30   Evaluation and dismissal

2021 Locations

For information about local COVID related protocols and mask requirements, please contact the host of the site you are interested in.

February 25

Beatrice | Gage County Extension Office | 1115 West Scott, Beatrice NE  
York | Cornerstone Event Center | 2400 N. Nebraska Ave., York, NE  
David City | David City Library | 399 N 5th St., David City, NE | *Masks will be required at this site  
Clay Center | Clay County Fair Grounds | 701 N Martin Ave., Clay Center, NE  
Auburn | 4-H Building at the Nemaha County Fair Grounds | 816 I St., Auburn, NE  
Wahoo | Lake Wanahoo Education Building | 655 Co Rd 16, East side of Lake Wanahoo, Wahoo, NE  
Online Only via Zoom

February 26

Norfolk | Madison County Extension Office | 1305 S. 13th Street, Norfolk, NE  
West Point | Nielsen Center | 200 Anna Stalp Ave., West Point, NE  
Wilber | Saline County Extension Office | 306 W 3rd Street, Wilber, NE  
Kearney | Buffalo County Extension Office | 1400 E. 34th (Fair Grounds), Kearney, NE  
Alliance | Knight Museum and Sandhills Center | 908 Yellowstone, Alliance, NE  
Osceola | Polk Co Fair Grounds, Ag Hall | 12931 N Blvd | *Masks will be required at this site  
Clay Center | Clay County Fair Grounds | 701 N Martin Ave., Clay Center, NE  
Seward | Harvest Hall Seward | 1625 Fairgrounds Circle, Seward, NE  
Nebraska City | Kimmel Orchard Education Building | 5995 G Rd., Nebraska City, NE  
North Platte | West Central Research, Extension, and Education Center (WCREEC) | 402 W. State Farm Road, North Platte, NE  
Online Only via Zoom

Click here for more information:  

Nebraska Cattlemen Select Priority Bills for the 2021 Legislative Session

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Board of Directors met this week in Kearney for their annual legislative meeting. NC’s six policy committees researched, discussed and prioritized bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments recently introduced in the Nebraska Legislature that are of interest to Nebraska beef producers.

Under close review and in accordance with NC Policy, the Board of Directors considered and took positions on 113 pieces of legislation and choose five bills and one concept as priorities for this legislative session.

Nebraska Cattlemen Animal Health and Nutrition committee prioritized LB 252 by Senator Williams. Nebraska Cattlemen considers this their Dr. Fox Bill. This bill allows producers a 30-day window to refill prescriptions while finding a veterinarian to provide a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) in the event their prescribing veterinarian is deceased.

The Brand and Properties Rights committee took a supportive stance and priority on LB 572 and LB 571 brought forth by Senator Halloran. LB 572 changes provision to the Livestock Brand Act and LB 571 provides for a backgrounder lot under the Livestock Brand Act. NC also took a position in opposition to LB 641 by Senator Erdman that eliminates registered feedlot provisions under the Livestock Brand Act.

Marketing and Commerce committee supports with the prioritization of efforts aimed at expanding broadband infrastructure and access to underserved areas throughout Nebraska.

Lastly, NC Education and Research Committee passed interim policy to support the development and implementation of Farm-to-table, Beef in school and similar programs that make local producer’s foods available in local schools. With the interim policy, LB 396 by Senator Brandt was prioritized. LB 396 Adopts the Nebraska Farm-to-School Program Act.

“The legislative committee had lots of good, in-depth conversation in regards to over 100 legislative measures. We were able to accomplish all that was needed to take a position on bills that were in-line with Nebraska Cattlemen policy” said Brenda Masek, Chairman of NC Legislative Committee.

For more information about a specific priority for Nebraska Cattlemen, please call the Nebraska Cattlemen office at 402.475.2333.

NeCGA Elects Officers, At-Large Directors

Members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association gathered at the Holthus Convention Center on Thursday, January 21, for their Annual Meeting. Following the Annual Meeting, NeCGA held a regular board meeting and elected officers.

Andy Jobman of Gothenburg was elected as president. Other officers elected include Chris Grams of Upland, vice president and Dave Merrell of St. Edward, secretary. Re-elected to treasurer was Michael Dibbern of Cairo. Dan Nerud of Dorchester moved to chairman. The board is thankful to Dan Nerud for his service as president of the association and to Dan Wesely for his years of service on the executive team.

During the Annual Meeting, NeCGA delegates elected two at-large members to the board. Ethan Zoerb of Litchfield and Dan Wesely of Morse Bluff were elected to serve three-year terms.
“We are very grateful for the volunteer efforts that our grower leadership and officers give on an annual basis,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA. “I look forward to working alongside our leadership team and board of directors in increasing opportunities for our membership in the coming year.”

Former Iowa State Extension Swine Specialist Recognized as Honorary Master Pork Producer

Tom Miller said yes to a temporary parttime position with Iowa State University Extension in December 1999, and finally said goodbye on May 8, 2020. Through his 20-plus year career as a swine extension specialist in southeast Iowa, he became a source of sound science and real-life experience to producers and others in the pork industry. His clientele ranged from farmers interested in manure management to 4-H’ers with swine projects, and every one of them benefited from their interactions with Miller.

This is a big reason why the Iowa Pork Producers Association honored him with the Honorary Master Pork Producer Award during the 2021 Iowa Pork Congress Recognition Banquet Tuesday evening.

Colin Johnson, colleague and swine specialist in southern Iowa, said Miller was a true team player in extension as he supported efforts across program disciplines of swine, farm management, agronomy, ag engineering and 4-H. Prior to becoming a swine specialist, Miller was a pork producer and well-respected for supplying SPF replacement gilts to fellow producers. He volunteered countless hours and days helping with 4-H swine shows at the county and state level, and enjoyed interactions and working relationships with the southeast Iowa extension ag team, a group of ag and natural resources specialists, county and regional extension staff.

Although Miller often joked that his extension swine specialist job helped support his farming habit, he readily admitted that helping people make a positive difference in their lives was the best part of his job.

Former Iowa Pork Industry Center director John Mabry recognized the value of Miller’s positive attitude and ability to work with almost anyone. He said Miller didn’t look for or expect personal gain; he just wanted pork producers to survive and prosper.

Current IPIC director Jason Ross worked with Miller the past few years and said this about Tom, “He was great friend and a wise counsel to many of Iowa’s pork producers and his ISU colleagues. Tom had the ability to anticipate what producers needed to know to help manage their businesses and thrive, and we were fortunate to have him as a part of our team.”

“Congratulations to Tom for a great career with extension and for choosing to work with IPIC and extension to help Iowa swine producers,” he said. “He’s been a great role model for new extension specialists.”

Risk Management Series Planned for Specialty Crop Growers

Specialty crop growers experienced a wild year in 2020, with complications from the drought, derecho and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This trio of events served as a reminder for many growers about the importance of risk management and being prepared for rapid change.

While many specialty crop growers saw increased demand in 2020, they also faced significant changes to their marketing plans and customer base. To help growers prepare for the year ahead, the Small Farm Sustainability program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a webinar series that runs through March 10.

The Specialty Crops Risk Management Webinar Series will cover a new topic each Wednesday, at noon. Topics are listed in the January edition of the “Acreage Living Newsletter” and include risk management for perennial crops and vegetable crops, food safety on the farm, Ag Decision Maker Resources, weather patterns and management tools, farm finance and more.

The goal is to help growers mitigate risk, so they can prevent loss and prepare for changes in the marketplace, according to Ajay Nair, associate professor in horticulture and extension vegetable production specialist with Iowa State.

Nair said the challenges of 2020 underscore the need to think creatively and find solutions that lessen an operation’s exposure to risk.

“Oftentimes the grower knows the risk after it hits, and we want to help them get ahead of the risk, so that if something happens, they know how to handle it,” he said.

Nair will lead the Feb. 3 session on risk management in vegetable crops. He will talk about the ways to manage weed, disease and insect pressure, and how producers can diversify their marketing and financial approach.

He said specialty crop growers should be paying attention to the type and condition of their soil, the crops they choose for the soil, the integration of crops to help manage pests, and the option of using climate-controlled structures such as high tunnels.

Other speakers will cover the types of insurance policies and options available for specialty crops, whole farm revenue protection, and the weather patterns and management tools available.

Kathleen Delate, extension organic specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will lead the final talk, March 10, on risk management for organic production.

Sessions are presented live, with time for question and answer. Register in advance at:

All webinars are free of charge. Sessions will also be recorded and the archive will be available on the Ag and Natural Resources Extension YouTube channel.

ASA Eyes Senate Confirmation Hearings

With Senate confirmation hearings ongoing to solidify the new administration, the American Soybean Association and other industry partners are urging swift confirmation of President Biden’s USDA secretary, EPA administrator and USTR nominees.

Up Next:

USDA secretary nominee Tom Vilsack’s hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2. ASA welcomes Vilsack, a former two-term Iowa governor who served as Secretary of Agriculture for eight years during the Obama Administration, who has a history of supporting biodiesel and biotechnology, among other soybean farmer priorities.

EPA administrator nominee Michael Regan’s hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3. ASA farmer-leaders appreciate Regan’s record of being a fair and effective regulator in North Carolina and welcome his nomination.

On Deck:

ASA and other ag groups this week endorsed Katharine Tai, Biden’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, in a letter this week urging Senate confirmation. In the letter, groups stated Tai is “eminently qualified” and specifically pointed to her track record in building bipartisan support for trade policies.

 US, EU Groups Urge Swift Tariff Removals

The American Soybean Association and several other groups are calling on the Biden Administration and European Commission to immediately remove, or at least suspend, all additional and retaliatory tariffs implemented since 2018 due to disputes over aircraft subsidies and steel and aluminum trade.

In a letter this week to President Biden and President Ursula von der Leyen, the groups underscored the economic hardships faced by their industries—from ongoing tariff uncertainty to COVID-19 impacts—and urged swiftly reestablishing a cooperative trading relationship.

“The ongoing EU-U.S. trade disputes and additional tariffs which continue to plague Trans-Atlantic trade have made a bad situation worse. With the damages we have suffered last year and are still suffering, the current situation cannot be allowed to go on any longer,” groups stated in the letter. “We believe immediate suspension of these tariffs is a necessary and fundamental action, which will provide an economic stimulus at a time when it is needed most.”


On Friday morning, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace setting. Among specifics, it recommends employers implement COVID-19 prevention programs in the workplace, including wearing personal protective gear, maintaining at least six feet of distance where possible and installing barriers where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The National Pork Proudcers Council and the U.S. pork industry are committed to worker safety in plants and on farms. Thanks to numerous prevention efforts, pork packing plants are no longer experiencing widespread COVID outbreaks. Pork processing plants are an essential part of the U.S. food supply chain, and will continue to work to ensure the most affordable, high-quality protein is delivered to consumers here at home and around the globe.

Last month, NPPC, the North American Meat Institute and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association sent letters to all 50 state governors, urging them to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for meat and poultry industry workers, directly after healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals.

Lawsuit Challenging FDA Approval of Novel Genetically Engineered Color Additive That Makes Impossible Burger “Bleed” Moves Forward

Yesterday, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a legal brief in its challenge to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2019 approval of soy leghemoglobin (“heme”), a color additive used to make Impossible Foods’ eponymous plant-based burger, the Impossible Burger, appear to "bleed" like real meat.

The novel heme colorant is produced in genetically engineered (GE) yeast, and is modeled on a protein found in the roots of soybean. The GE heme is actually a color additive preparation that also contains over a dozen yeast proteins. Because GE heme is new to the human diet, and substantial quantities are added to the Impossible Burger, FDA should have required extensive safety testing before approving its use as a color additive, as required by law.

"FDA approved soy leghemoglobin even though it conducted none of the long-term animal studies that are needed to determine whether or not it harms human health,” said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at Center for Food Safety. “This includes studies for cancer, reproductive impairment, and other adverse effects called for by FDA’s Redbook, the Bible of food and color additive testing,” he added. “We find this to be all the more troubling because a number of potential adverse effects were detected in a short-term rat trial: disruption of reproductive cycles and reduced uterine weights in females, and biomarkers of anemia, reduced clotting ability, and kidney problems.”

The law on color additives is clear: Because they offer no substantive benefits, and add only aesthetic appeal, Congress and FDA established an extremely high bar for approval. The agency’s “convincing evidence” standard means that a color additive cannot be approved without the strongest possible evidence of safety, a higher bar than for other food additives. Despite the lack of needed safety tests, Impossible Foods’ products containing GE heme are now widely available in supermarkets across the country due to FDA’s unlawful approval of GE heme as a color additive.

“FDA’s failure to require Impossible Foods to conduct long-term tests called for in the agency’s own authoritative guidelines means it does not have ‘convincing evidence’ that this color additive, consumed by millions, is safe,” said Ryan Talbott, staff attorney at Center for Food Safety. “The approval of soy leghemoglobin must be revoked, unless and until truly convincing evidence proves it to be safe.”

While CFS like many others avidly supports plant-based eating, enthusiasm for meatless products cannot be used as an excuse to skirt food safety laws. FDA’s dereliction of duty has resulted in the premature introduction of Impossible Foods’ products containing GE heme to restaurants and supermarkets throughout the country, and highlights a troubling deregulatory trend which prioritizes corporate profit over public health and safety.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Thursday January 28 Ag News

Interested in Testing Nitrogen Stabilizers on Your Farm?
Javed Iqbal - NE Extension Nutrient Management and Water Quality Specialist
Laura Thompson - NE Extension Educator

Nitrogen fertilizer management is challenging due to several factors that influence fertilizer nitrogen once applied to the soil. One of the primary concerns is the potential of fertilizer nitrogen (N) to be lost to the environment either through ammonia (NH3) volatilization, denitrification, or nitrate (NO3) leaching, which leads to reduced nitrogen availability for the crop.  

In situations with a high potential for N loss, the use of N fertilizer stabilizers (nitrification inhibitors, urea inhibitors, slow-release coated fertilizers) may decrease the N loss while protecting the fertilizer N investment. Currently, there are several products of N fertilizer stabilizers in the market. For example, products with known efficacy for inhibiting urease activity are N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) and N-(n-propyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NPPT). These active ingredients are found in products with tradenames of Agrotain (NBPT) and Limus (NBPT and NPPT). There are also other products that contain NBPT, since it is no longer patent-protected. Products with known efficacy for inhibiting nitrification are dicyandiamide (DCD), nitrapyrin, and pronitradine. Nitrapyrin has long been sold as N-Serve and Instinct, and pronitradine has recently come into the market with the tradename Centuro. Nitrapyrin and DCD are not patent protected and may be found in a variety of products.  

Precision Nitrogen Management On-Farm Research Project provides opportunities to test nitrogen inhibitor products on the grower’s farms. Participation in the on-farm trial will allow growers to evaluate the effect of nitrogen fertilizer inhibitors in enhancing nitrogen efficiency and crop yield on their farm. They will work closely with Nebraska Extension to accomplish the project. All cooperating growers will receive compensation for purchasing fertilizer nitrogen inhibitors, their time, and resource commitments.   

Contact Javed Iqbal or Laura Thompson, or your local cropping systems extension educator if you are interested in testing fertilizer N inhibitors.

February 2021 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

The BeefWatch Webinar Series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered. More information about the BeefWatch Webinar Series can be found on our webpage:

Each webinar will begin at 8:00 PM Central Time. Dates are February 2, 9, 16 and 23.

The focus for this month’s webinar series is “Stocker and Yearling Management” with the following speakers and topics:

February 2, Highlights from UNL Stocker Systems Research
    Dr. Jim MacDonald, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    When, what, and how much should you supplement stockers? Jim will discuss some of the UNL research related to management systems and supplementation of stockers/yearlings.   

February 9, Winter Rate of Gain and Market Timing in Yearling Systems
    Drs. Mary Drewnoski and Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    What winter rate of gain should you target and when is the best time to sell yearlings? Mary and Jay will discuss the economics of winter rate of gain and timing of marketing based on a look at the last 18 years of market data.  

February 16, Using Corn Residue for High-Risk Stockers: Current Experiences
    Dr. Halden Clark, Great Plains Veterinary Education Center
    Halden will discuss experiences with a 2-year pilot project grazing corn residue with high-risk stocker calves.   

February 23, How to use Stockers as a Drought Management Tool
    Logan Pribbeno, Wine Glass Ranch
    This talk will focus on a producer's perspective. Logan will talk about how stockers can fit into a system with cow-calf and how you can use stockers as a drought management tool.  

There is no cost to participate in this webinar series.  

Virtual Healthy Farms Conference to Begin Feb. 6

Plan now to attend the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s Virtual Healthy Farms Conference, beginning Feb. 6. Online registration is available at

The conference dates are Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, and March 6 via ZOOM. All presentations will be followed by a live Q&A session in which all registered attendees may participate. The complete speaker list is available on the website.

Wally Graeber, treasure with NSAS said, “We have a thoughtful lineup of presenting farmers, a great online venue that will create an atmosphere of engaging learning, growing, and appreciating food and farming.”

This year's presentations will be held every Saturday Feb. 6 through March 6, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the following themes:
·       Feb. 6: Direct Marketing in a Pandemic
·       Feb. 13: How Nebraska’s Agriculture Fits into the Global Dynamic
·       Feb. 20: Local Meat Processing
·       Feb.27: Land Access: Connecting the Generations via the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
·       March 6: Creating A Seat at Our Table: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Healthy Farms Conference has been hosted by the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society for over 40 years. The conference combines farmer-to-farmer training with sessions aimed at equipping farmers, aspiring farmers, foodies, and advocates with the skills and knowledge about sustainable agriculture.

Cost to attend the full conference is $15 for students, $20 for individuals, $40 for farms/family households, and $100 for partner organizations and their staff. All registrations are accepted online by visiting the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s website:

 Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference Set for Feb. 11

There are many benefits to utilizing cover crops, such as improved soil health and reduced erosion.  It’s the details of how and what to do that can present challenges. The Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference will provide information to growers who are just getting started with cover crops and to those who are already making cover crops part of their operation.

The conference will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST with in-person check in at 12:30 p.m.

The conference will be webcasted from the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead, NE to other locations. In-person attendance is not available at ENREC due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Registrants can take part online or attend at the following locations with limited seating:
    Beatrice, Southeast Community College (Academic Excellence Building), 4771 W. Scott Rd, Beatrice NE – Limit 30
    Central City, Merrick Co. Fairgrounds, Central City, NE – Limit 50
    Hastings, Adams Co. Fairgrounds, 947 S Baltimore Ave, Hastings, NE – Limit 100
    Holdrege, Phelps Co. Fairgrounds, 1308 Second Street, Holdrege, NE – Limit 50
    North Platte, University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W State Fair Road, North Platte, NE – Limit 28
    Syracuse, Kimmel Ag Expo, 198 Plum St., Syracuse, NE – Limit 50
    York, York County Fairgrounds - 4-H Bldg., York, NE - Limit 25

Topics and presenters include:  Soil Sensing and Soil Health - Kristen Veum, Research Soil Scientist at USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit, University of Missouri-Columbia; Optimizing Your Cover Crop ROI - Rebecca Clay, Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator at Practical Farmers of Iowa; Using Aerial Imagery to Determine Cover Crop Impacts on Cash Crop Growth and Development - Dr. Andrea Basche, Assistant Professor, Agronomy & Horticulture University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Experiences and Economics Using Cereal Rye as a Cover Crop - Chad Bell, Farmer; Pathway toward a Healthy and Resilient Soil to Achieve Optimum Productivity and Environmental Quality: Cover Crops are Key! - Jerry Hatfield, Retired Director, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment; On-farm Research of Incorporating Cover Crop into a 3 Crop Dryland Rotation, Ken Herz, Owner/Operator of Herz Land and Cattle, and Cover Crop Panel - discussion with growers, landowners, and consultants.

Registration and details available at:

There is no fee to attend, but pre-registration is required.  Day-of, walk-in registration will not be permitted. Early registration is encouraged as capacity limitations are in place at each location. Once a location is full, it will no longer be listed as a registration option.

In-person meetings will only be held if local and UNL directed health measures allow and if road conditions are suitable for travel. If a site is cancelled, registrants will be notified via email, phone, or text message.

Facial coverings/masks guidelines may vary based on local directed health measures. For information about the COVID related health measures that will be in place at the meeting of your choosing, please contact the local site host. Contact information for each site host can be found at the web page above.

CCA credits are applied for and pending. Sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Soybean Board.

For more information contact: or 1-402-367-7410

USDA NRCS Local Working Group Meetings Planned Across State

Local Working Groups that provide input on the priorities for many U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs will be holding meetings across the state over the next several weeks. A list of scheduled meetings is available on the Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) website, or by contacting your local NRCS field office.

Meetings include:
Lower Elkhorn - Lower Elkhorn NRD, Norfolk, NE - Feb. 11 - 5:30-7 p.m. via ZOOM
Lower Platte North - Lake Wahahoo Educational Building - Wahoo, NE - Feb. 18 - 1-4 p.m.
Papio - Missouri River - Blair USDA Service Center, Blair, NE - Feb. 24 -  9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Lewis & Clark - Hartington Golf Course, Hartington, NE - Feb. 25 - 12:30 p.m. w/ ZOOM option

The public is invited to attend Local Working Group meetings. Due to COVID-19, some meetings may be held virtually. Those interested in participating may reach out to local NRCS offices for information on how to join.

There is a Local Working Group in each Natural Resources District (NRD). Local Working Group members include Federal, State, county, Tribal or local government representatives. According to Jeff Vander Wilt, acting state conservationist with Nebraska NRCS, these working groups provide local input into how Federal dollars are spent.

“The Local Working Group recommends to the NRCS State Conservationist how conservation programs would be used most effectively in their area. Recommendations can include special target areas, which conservation practices should have cost assistance, or how many dollars could be needed,” said Vander Wilt.

Nebraska NRCS obligates funds to farmers and ranchers through conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). These programs help landowners and operators make natural resource improvements to their land, water, or wildlife. This funding is allocated, in part, according to priorities set by Local Working Groups.

For more information about the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services they provide, visit your local USDA Service Center or

Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.

The following appointees are unpaid and are not subject to Legislative confirmation:

Grain Sorghum Development, Utilization and Marketing Board
Klint G. Stewart, Columbus

Nebraska Potato Development Committee
Chase Engel, Mitchell
Timothy May, Imperial
Matthew R. Ward, North Platte

The following appointees are unpaid and subject to Legislative confirmation:

Nebraska Ethanol Board
Randy L. Gard, Grand Island

Nebraska Natural Resources Commission
Rick Kubat, Omaha

Thank you to the many Nebraskans that give generously of their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go to

Iowa Cattlemen's Association Concludes 2021 Policy Development

On January 26, Iowa cattlemen from across the state participated in a virtual Annual Meeting to adopt policy for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association in 2021. This yearly event, normally held in person as part of the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit, is the culmination of ICA’s policy development process.

“The past year presented many challenges for Iowa’s beef cattle industry. Members ‘took the bull by the horns’ and acted decisively to respond to market disruption, the Derecho, drought conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cora Fox, ICA Director of Government Relations. “All the while, members focused on creating policy to fit the needs and future of Iowa’s beef business in 2021 and beyond.”

Over the course of seven weeks, more than 300 producer members participated in the formal policy development process. ICA hosted two virtual meetings for each of the following committees: Beef Products, Business Issues, and Cattle Production. Members reviewed expiring resolutions, drafted amendments and proposed new resolutions. Grassroots recommendations, determined by members, were presented and ratified during the Annual Meeting. In total, members reviewed more than 30 resolutions that will guide ICA’s work at the local, state and federal levels.

ICA will continue to support their mission to “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education” in 2021 with opportunities for members to get involved. To learn more about the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, programs or upcoming events, visit

Electricity as Weed Management for the Future

The use of electricity to manage herbicide-resistant weeds is the topic of an Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at noon.

The movement to farm more sustainably coincides with developments in technology to produce higher value agricultural products. Levi Lyle, a Washington County farmer, will explain how electricity can be used as an effective weed management tool against herbicide-resistant weeds.

With thousands of acres logged behind the wheel of his Weed Zapper implement, Lyle will share how electricity performs in crops, such as soybean, potatoes, flax, sunflowers and more. Participants will learn about how effectively electricity can terminate waterhemp, giant ragweed, marestail, burdock, foxtail, velvetleaf, thistle, bindweed, and even alfalfa and CRP brome.

“Safety features of the modern high voltage weed-zappers instill confidence in their use as a chemical alternative,” said Lyle. “Prepare to be inspired.”
Webinar Access Instructions

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12 p.m. CST on Feb. 3:
    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: Dial +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; 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. Archived webinars are available at

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

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a culture of conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319) and GROWMARK Inc.

Iowa Pork Producers Name 2021 Youth Leadership Team

Leah Marek, Riverside; Paige Dagel, Sanborn; and Reagan Gibson, Panora, are the 2021 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team. They were selected from the 11 young Iowans who competed for the honor earlier this week.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) sponsors the contest, which includes interviews, speech presentations, and knowledge of pork and pig production. Their previous community
involvement and experience are also considered. The top female contestant is crowned pork queen, and the top remaining contestants, male or female, are named youth ambassadors.
Marek, a freshman at Iowa State University, will reign as the 2021 Iowa Pork Queen. Dagel and Gibson are Pork Ambassadors. Each receives a $4,000 scholarship and plaque noting their award. But according to their predecessors, the most valuable things they will gain are the many growth and leadership opportunities provided by these positions. Over the next year, the IPPA Youth Leadership Team will participate in public activities promoting pork and pig production, from county activities around Iowa to the Iowa State Fair and World Pork Expo.
Leah Marek
Leah Marek is the daughter of Timothy and Heather Marek of Riverside. Her family has a long history in pork production in Washington County, with a current focus on raising show pigs. Marek says she has shown pigs since she could walk. That early interest in agriculture led to her involvement with the Global Youth Institute through the World Food Prize. The combination of those interests is seen in Marek's biology and global resource systems majors at ISU.
Paige Dagel
Paige Dagel, the daughter of Paul and Stacey Dagel of Sanborn, is a freshman at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City pursuing degrees in business and public relations. Dagel says her family's diversified farm operation, including a pig nursery and finishers is the foundation of her passion for the pork industry.
She had served as the O'Brien County Pork Queen in 2020, and took the opportunity to learn about more aspects of the pork industry than what she had experience with on her farm.
Reagan Gibson
Reagan Gibson is the daughter of Jim and Karwyn Gibson of Panora, where Reagan is a senior at Panorama High School. While she hasn't made a final decision on where she will attend college, her career goal is to teach high school ag education.
Her family has a purebred swine operation where Reagan spends time learning more about that business. She is also involved with the Iowa Swine Jackpot Series Junior Board of Directors and her school's FFA chapter. She also spends time tutoring elementary students in math and reading.

Stakeholders From East, West Africa Attend USGC Corn Quality Seminars For First Time

For the first time, stakeholders in markets across East and West Africa attended a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) corn crop quality seminar this month. The virtual format permitted participation across the Middle East and Africa, including by participants in developing markets in Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania.

“This year’s crop quality seminar series allowed the Council to expand its reach and present the findings of the 2020/2021 Corn Harvest Quality Report to participants across the African continent,” said Ramy Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa. “While the Sub-Saharan markets are long-term markets that do not currently import significant volumes of U.S. feed grains, the seminars in North Africa were particularly timely as the feed industry in the region just bought around 800,000 metric tons (31.5 million bushels) of U.S. corn.”

The Council conducted four seminars for customers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region this year, each catered to the specific interests of markets represented. More than 125 grain purchasers, feed millers, poultry and livestock producers and end-users attended virtually, representing more than 18 countries.

In addition to data from the harvest quality report, the seminars featured farm operation reports from farmers in Kansas, Maryland and Michigan. These on-the-ground reports provide a unique perspective of U.S. corn production, handling and processing directly from those growing the grain. Technical presentations also discussed risk management, ocean freight and the nutritional added-value of U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in poultry and livestock diets.

“The crop quality seminars over the last two weeks offered an opportunity for attendees to learn about current quality and availability of U.S. corn and co-products for export,” Taieb said. “These seminars - whether conducted in-person or virtually - provide key insights about the U.S. corn crop that are critical for customers to make adequate purchasing decisions, especially nowadays with a tight supply outside of the United States and an increasing demand for grains all over the world.”

While East and West Africa are home to relatively small poultry industries today, these operations are rapidly growing, which is why the Council is focusing its efforts on supporting the development of poultry industries in these regions. An estimated 15 percent of the global growth in poultry demand over the next two decades is expected in Africa due to increasing population, urbanization and gains in purchasing power.

These changing consumer patterns have resulted in the emergence of large grocery retailers and fast-food chains. These dynamics have also bolstered demand for animal protein, creating significant opportunities for local poultry production to grow in tandem.

The Council is working with poultry industries across the African continent to provide technical training and practical experience necessary to address both short- and long-term production challenges. The inclusion of participants from these countries in programs like the crop quality seminars is the next step of the Council’s mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives in the region.

Farm Credit Statement On Rural Infrastructure Letter Sent To Biden

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose today voiced Farm Credit’s strong support for the Rebuild Rural Coalition’s letter to President Joe Biden, and he called on Congress and the Biden Administration to set aside specific funds for rural infrastructure priorities.

“Our country’s rural infrastructure requires serious and specialized investment. Farm Credit urges Congress and President Biden to dedicate 25 percent of any infrastructure funds specifically for rural communities. Investing in rural infrastructure will help our small towns and rural communities rebuild from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide good paying jobs to support rural families.

“Infrastructure needs in rural America are unique and require targeted solutions. And we’re talking about more than roads and bridges – though those need repair, too. Our rural communities suffer from lack of access to broadband internet, affordable healthcare, reliable electricity, clean and safe drinking water, and available and affordable housing options.

“Modernizing and expanding rural infrastructure is critical to the viability of rural communities – whether they can attract jobs and grow their economy, whether residents have access to life-saving telehealth, whether students can complete homework assignments.

“Rural infrastructure challenges also endanger our agricultural and food supply chains. We saw the significant disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The long-term success and competitiveness of America’s agricultural producers rests with their ability to easily and effectively transport their goods to markets and ports.

“Farm Credit stands ready to help rebuild rural infrastructure. It is a vital part of our mission to support rural communities and agriculture.”

CFAP Provides Lifeline to Farmers and Ranchers

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the USDA suspension of CFAP payments.

“The pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on American agriculture, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program has provided a lifeline for farmers and ranchers across the country. Many growers who previously did not qualify for assistance continue to suffer losses and need the help CFAP provides.

“We recognize the new administration’s desire to review important farmer and rancher assistance programs and we urge USDA to take into consideration our comments on how to improve such programs. We appreciate that CFAP applications will continue to be accepted, and we encourage the swift resumption of distribution of resources to the people who are working to keep America’s pantries stocked.”

In accordance with the White House memo, Regulatory Freeze Pending Review, USDA has suspended the processing and payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program - Additional Assistance and has halted implementation until further notice. FSA local offices will continue to accept applications during the evaluation period.

In the coming days, USDA and the Biden Administration intend to take additional steps to bring relief and support to all parts of food and agriculture during the coronavirus pandemic, including by ensuring producers have access to the capital, risk management tools, disaster assistance, and other federal resources.

Executive Orders Support Farmers' Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Efforts

In accordance with his campaign promise to aggressively address the climate crisis and create new jobs, President Joe Biden today issued several executive orders outlining actions the administration will take to cut greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural resources, invest in renewable energy, advance environmental justice, and protect climate research.

A strong advocate of climate action, National Farmers Union (NFU) welcomed the effort, particularly provisions that will support climate-smart agricultural practices that sequester carbon in the soil and include farmers and other stakeholders in decision making. NFU President Rob Larew issued the following statement in support of the administration’s actions:

“Climate change is an immense, complex crisis with far-reaching consequences. To be successful in our fight against it, we must approach it immediately and from every angle possible – just as President Biden’s economy-wide climate plan intends to do. National Farmers Union is especially encouraged by the administration’s focus on climate-smart agriculture, whose capacity for mitigation and adaptation has been largely overlooked until recently.

“We are also pleased that President Biden has instructed the USDA to solicit input from farmers and other stakeholders as they develop and carry out climate programs; though lawmakers and administration officials are generally well-intentioned, they may not always recognize policies’ unintended consequences. By offering food producers a seat at the table, they can ensure that programs are feasible and beneficial for all parties involved.

“In the coming months, National Farmers Union will hold the administration to this promise and work with them to flesh out policies that provide farmers with the support they need to implement solutions and build resilience.”

NCBA Delivers House Introduction of Bipartisan DIRECT Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today hailed the introduction of bipartisan legislation to create new opportunities for cattle producers and processors to market beef products.
Introduced by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R - At-Large, S.D.)  and Henry Cuellar (D - 28th Dist., TX), the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act of 2021 would allow retail quantities of meat processed under state-inspection to be sold across state lines through e-commerce, providing beef producers and local processors alike with more options to market direct-to-consumers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted an urgent need for our industry to expand opportunities for state-inspected meatpackers. NCBA acted quickly last year, advocating to allow more beef to be safely sold online across state lines. The DIRECT Act will allow cattle producers and smaller beef processors to more easily evolve to meet the growing demand for e-commerce sales,” said NCBA Policy Division Chair and South Dakota rancher Todd Wilkinson. “Thank you to Representatives Johnson and Cuellar for recognizing the shifts in an ever-changing market and introducing this critical legislation."

Currently, many states such as South Dakota and Texas have State Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) as “at least equal to” standards set under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Under the existing framework however, state-inspected products can only be sold interstate if approved to do so under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program (CIS).
The DIRECT Act would amend the retail exemption under the FMIA and PPIA to allow processors, butchers, or other retailers to sell normal retail quantities (300 lbs. of beef, 100 lbs. of pork, 27.5 lbs. of lamb) of MPI State Inspected Meat online to consumers across state lines. Because transactions authorized under the DIRECT Act sales are direct to consumer via e-commerce, sales are traceable and can easily be recalled. The proposal also includes clear prohibitions on export, keeping our equivalency agreements with trading partners intact. The DIRECT Act will allow states operating under the CIS system to ship and label as they are currently.

Effective weed management tops considerations for maximizing soybean yield potential

Soybean growers across the U.S. have been evaluating their 2020 crop yields to make input decisions for next season. Seed selection is often made first; and with more trait options available this year, Syngenta knows growers are facing the challenge of selecting corresponding herbicides that can best protect their seeds’ full genetic yield potential.

Syngenta recently spoke to university agricultural researchers who reinforced the importance of a strong weed resistance management plan and explained the impact such a plan can have on soybean yield potential.

“Having the best crop genetics is like having the keys to a fast car,” said Sarah Lancaster, Ph.D., assistant professor and extension specialist at Kansas State University. “Agronomics and fertility are like the gas in the tank. Having weeds is like having a leak in that tank.”

A key method for maximizing yield potential is to use a combination of cultural and chemical practices to effectively manage weeds and prevent them from going to seed. This means choosing practices such as tillage and narrow-row spacing along with a full-season herbicide program that contains multiple effective sites of action.

Prashant Jha, Ph.D., associate professor and extension weed specialist at Iowa State University, suggests such an integrated strategy that combines herbicide and cultural approaches. “To delay or manage herbicide resistance, integrate some of the cultural strategies, like high seeding rates, reducing row spacing to promote early canopy closure and use of cover crops in integration with herbicide programs. Full rates of herbicides, multiple effective sites of action and a combination of soil residual herbicides are the strategies to go with.”

This year, growers have even more choices to make as new traits are available for planting. “In recent years, new traits have come to market that provide growers even more options for rotating their herbicides to new effective sites of action,” said Pete Eure, Syngenta herbicide technical lead. “The Syngenta portfolio of soybean herbicides can be used regardless of the trait system — from burndown through post-emergence. This gives growers the flexibility to choose their herbicide based on product performance and agronomic value for their specific field, all in combination with sound cultural practices.”

When developing a weed management program, growers should consider the value their inputs make on their bottom line.

“So many folks are focused on cost per acre with weed control,” said Bill Johnson, Ph.D., professor of weed science at Purdue University. “They really need to think about it in terms of cost per bushel.”

In fact, studies indicate that for every day growers are late with their herbicide application beyond the critical period, they lose as much as 1% of their soybean yield*. “There's a period of time, which we call the critical period, when the plant is most susceptible to emerged weeds in terms of yield loss,” said Clarence Swanton, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Guelph, Canada. “The earlier the weeds emerge and the smaller the crop, the greater the impact.”

Eure agreed. “The way to maximize your yield potential is to have the flexibility to use the right products applied at the right time to deliver the best results locally,” he said.

Growers should also anticipate what effect the actions they take now will have on future crop yield, and minimizing herbicide resistance can be a good place to start.

“If weed management is a battle, preventing additions to the soil seed bank effectively reduces the size of the opponent’s forces, giving the farmer the upper hand,” Lancaster said.

To help win the battle against tough and resistant weeds, the Syngenta soybean portfolio includes effective premixes that complement any trait platform. Boundary® 6.5 EC, BroadAxe® XC and Prefix® herbicides each contain multiple effective sites of action with long-lasting residual to give soybeans their best shot at growing in a weed-free field. Prefix, Sequence® and Tavium® Plus VaporGrip® Technology herbicides can provide overlapping post-emergence residual control to help keep soybeans clean through canopy and beyond. Tavium, the market’s first dicamba herbicide premix, recently received a registration extension by the EPA for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday January 27 Ag News

 Farm Bureau President Says Property Tax Relief, Tax Reform Must Remain Priority for Legislature

Property tax relief and tax reform must remain a high priority for the Nebraska Legislature. That was the message delivered by Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue during recent testimony before the Legislature’s Revenue Committee. McHargue’s remarks were made while offering support for LR 22CA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the amount of property taxes that could be collected by K-12 schools, counties, community colleges, and other local political subdivisions.

“The Legislature’s passage of LB 1107 last year was an important step forward in providing property tax relief, but it’s critical our elected leaders know there is still much work to be done when it comes to reducing the property tax burden on Nebraskans,” said McHargue. “From a big picture perspective, it is vital we continue to work toward reforms that better balance the way we fund state priorities like education, while enacting a tax structure that invites growth opportunities not just for farmers and ranchers, but for all Nebraskans.”

LR 22CA was introduced by Revenue Committee Chair Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn at the request of Gov. Pete Ricketts.

“We thank Sen. Linehan and Gov. Ricketts for immediately putting the property tax issue back in front of the Legislature at a time when some may believe the issue has been addressed. LR 22CA is one of several legislative measures that keeps the door open for the much-needed discussions about how we tackle this important issue,” said McHargue. “Nebraska Farm Bureau will continue to be an advocate for taxpayers, and we look forward to working with all of our elected leaders to make property tax relief and tax reform a reality.”

Extension farm and ranch record-keeping course begins March 4

The next session of “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options,” Nebraska Extension’s four-part farm and ranch record-keeping course, will be held virtually on four consecutive Thursdays, beginning March 4, from 10 a.m. to noon Central time each day.

Participants will need an internet connection and should plan on attending each of the four workshop dates.

The course is designed to help farmers and ranchers understand their current financial position and how big decisions like large purchases, new leases or changes in production will affect their bottom line. Participants will work through the financial statements of a case study farm, watch pre-recorded videos, complete assignments and participate in video chats. Upon completion of this program, participants will have a better understanding of how financial records can be used to make decisions and confidently discuss their financial position with their family, business partners and lenders.

The course fee is $20 per participant and class size is limited to 20 people. Register online at by Feb. 25.

This course is hosted by Nebraska Extension and made possible by Annie's Project, which is supported by Farm Credit Services of America in Nebraska. This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2020-70017-32735.


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

Having hay tested for nutrient quality is critical in getting the most out of the feedstuffs you have.  Once the results come back, the next step is understanding what the report you receive means.
The first thing we notice on most feed or hay tests are the results are given in two different groups or columns.  One is labeled along the lines of “as received” or “as fed” and another “dry basis.”  Understanding the difference in these two columns is key to properly using the information provided when feeding.
“As received” represents the analysis of the sample as it was provided.  This is what we will use to figure out rations or how much hay animals need to be provided.  The “dry basis” is the sample after all moisture has been removed and doesn’t accurately represent the sample as it sits in the yard.
So why bother with “dry basis” if we don’t use it to figure feed amounts?  Because when it comes to comparing feeds and finding the correct ratios in a ration, we need to compare things on an equal playing field.
For example, let’s say you and I both cooked up a large amount of rice, then scooped out one cup as a comparison.  Since the volume was the same, we might assume they were equal, but if I cooked my rice with ½ cup of water to every cup of dry rice and you added 1 cup of water to every cup of dry rice, the actual end result will be different weights, densities, and nutritionally.  Comparing hay stored outside to a bale kept under a roof is not fair, so we even things out by using a dry matter comparison.
Now that we have a firm grasp on the “as received” and “dry basis” columns, we can take a look at rest of the feed report next time.


This year Central Valley Ag will host virtually via zoom a three-part series over the course of February 2-4th. Each day a brief meeting will be held from 1:00-1:30 PM where they will cover a new topic each day. Sign up to participate by using the registration links beneath each meeting below.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 @ 1:00-1:30 PM | Marketing Plan Best Practices
    At CVA, we've worked with some of the best grain marketers over the years. Join us as Grain Specialists Caleb Pelster, James Droescher, Ross Schindler, and Rachel Steffen share best practices on how to build a successful grain marketing plan.​

Wednesday, February 3, 2021@ 1:00-1:30 PM | 2021 Market Outlook
    It's been a wild 12 months in the grain industry. Join us as Grain Sales Manager, Luke Beckman, discusses market fundamentals and provides you with ideas on how to navigate the grain markets in 2021.

Thursday, February 4, 2021 @ 1:00-1:30 PM | Big Picture Thinking
    What do the next 3-5 years have in store for agriculture? How is CVA positioning to help you take advantage of the opportunities and mitigate the risks? Join us as CVA CEO, Carl Dickinson and SVP of Agronomy, Nic McCarthy discuss the changing dynamics in global agriculture.


 Senator Fischer Stands up for Trump WOTUS Rule

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined 25 of her Senate colleagues in a resolution calling for the Senate not to eliminate the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule.

“The 2015 WOTUS was a massive government overreach that came at the expense of our families, communities, and businesses – which is why I long advocated for its repeal. The new, more flexible WOTUS rule has helped put Nebraskans back in charge of our state’s precious water resources. I urge my Senate colleagues and the Biden administration not to punish hard-working Americans with these burdensome regulations,” said Senator Fischer.

More information:

In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized a rule that greatly expanded the definition of federally regulated Waters of the United States for Nebraska’s agriculture and business communities. Now, President Biden signed an executive order that would roll back the Trump Administration’s executive order which began the process of rescinding Obama’s WOTUS rule and could lead to the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule released in April of 2020.

Senator Fischer has been a leader in efforts to stop the 2015 WOTUS rule and applauded the Trump Administration’s rescinding of the rule. After the Obama administration announced WOTUS, Senator Fischer chaired a field hearing by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Lincoln regarding the rule. She also helped introduce the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would have required the Obama administration to consult states and stakeholders before imposing federal regulations on state-owned water resources, as well as the Defending Rivers from Overreaching Policies (DROP) Act. This bill targeted the flawed science used by the EPA to expand the definition of water.

Market Development Team Aims to Boost Demand for Corn

Nearly 70-percent of annual corn demand is covered under the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Market Development Action Team (MDAT) portfolio. From exports to animal agriculture to new uses of corn, the team is focused on growing and driving demand for America's corn farmers.

"This team had a lot of wins in 2020, and we will continue that momentum into our planning for 2021 and beyond," said MDAT Chair and Iowa farmer Bob Hemesath. "I look forward to leading the team and tackling the challenge that faces us -- how to grind more corn. Our team's portfolio includes initiatives like the Consider Corn Challenge, which we will be announcing details on our third open-innovation challenge soon; the Cattlemen's Education Series, a virtual program that focuses on issues that impact cattle producers such as protein and energy supplementation; and Trade School, a joint venture with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), in which we are able to give our members the tools they need to be able to better talk to members of Congress about the importance of trade, just to name a few."

The team's 2021 priorities include increasing demand for U.S. Animal Agriculture exports; supporting research into corn and corn co-product use within animal feed; identifying new & support existing industrial uses of corn; and supporting development of trade policy that opens markets, removes trade barriers and advances international demand for corn and corn products.

Iowans Can Apply Now for 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grants

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is now accepting applications for the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. To qualify, the grants must be used to support projects that raise awareness about and increase demand for specialty crops grown in Iowa.

“Specialty crop block grants are a win-win for producers, distributors and consumers,” said Secretary Naig. “The programs they support help strengthen local distribution channels, which gives specialty crop producers more markets to sell their products, and they make it easier for consumers to buy protein and produce grown right here in Iowa.”

Eligible specialty crops include both fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Successful grant applications should explain how projects will improve specialty crop production through marketing and promotions, research and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops, and addressing local, regional and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. All projects must have an educational component. Preference will be given to projects that have the potential to significantly expand, enhance and improve production and demand.

Iowa agencies, universities, institutions, producers, industry associations and community-based organizations are eligible to apply. Single organizations, institutions and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners. Grant applications for projects that directly benefit a particular product or generate a profit for a single organization, institution or individual will not be awarded.

Awardees may receive up to $24,000 and projects can have a duration of up to 30 months.

Proposals must be received by the Iowa Department of Agriculture on or before 4 p.m./CT on March 11, 2021. For more information, visit the Specialty Crop Block Grant program website.

The Department is establishing a review committee to help evaluate and make recommendations on the submitted grant proposals. Those interested in participating in the review committee should be knowledgeable about specialty crops and/or have grant writing or grant management experience, and be able to devote the time to complete the review process. Additional information about reviewer responsibilities, meeting dates and an application form can also be found at Applications to participate in the Review Committee are due Feb. 11, 2021 by 4 p.m./CT.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 1/22/2021

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending January 22, ethanol production decreased 1.3%, or 12,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 933,000 b/d—equivalent to 39.19 million gallons daily and a 14-week low. Production remained 9.3% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate was unchanged at 938,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.38 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked 0.1% lower to 23.6 million barrels, which was 2.6% below a year-ago. Inventories drew down across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, scaled back by 3.4% to 7.83 million b/d (120.08 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 10.9% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 0.9% to 785,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.03 bg annualized. This was 10.1% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of November 2020.)

Urea, MAP, Anhydrous Lead Retail Fertilizer Complex Higher

Average retail prices for all eight of the major fertilizers were higher the third week of January 2021 compared to last month, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. The trend of all eight major fertilizers' prices being higher has been seen on and off again in the last couple of months.

Three of the fertilizers were up a significant amount, which DTN designates as 5% or more. Urea was up 7% compared to last month with an average price of $387 per ton. Also higher were MAP and anhydrous, which were both up 5% from last month. MAP had an average price of $563/ton, while anhydrous was at $482/ton.

Of the remaining five fertilizers, the average price of DAP, potash and 10-34-0 each increased by 4%. DAP had an average price of $493/ton, up $19/ton; potash was $379/ton, up $14/ton; and 10-34-0 was $481/ton, up $18/ton.

The average price of UAN28 was $215/ton, an increase of $5/ton from the prior month, while UAN32 was $251/ton, $1/ton more expensive than last month.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.38/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

With retail fertilizer prices moving up over recent months, most fertilizers are now higher in price from a year ago, but there are a few exceptions. Potash is 1% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 2% higher, urea is 8% more expensive, DAP is 19% higher and MAP is 29% more expensive compared to last year.

Three fertilizers are lower. Anhydrous is 1% lower, while both UAN28 and UAN32 are 9% less expensive from last year at this time.

Registration for 2021 Special Edition Commodity Classic Now Open

Registration for the 2021 Special Edition of Commodity Classic is now open at The 2021 Commodity Classic will be delivered digitally March 2-5, 2021.

The registration fee is waived for the first 5,000 farmers, thanks to the generous support of sponsors.  All other registrants and farmers after the first 5,000 will be charged $20. The registration covers all online educational sessions and events as well as access to all archived sessions through April 30, 2021.

In October 2020, Commodity Classic announced that it was pivoting to a digital event due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Commodity Classic, originally scheduled for San Antonio, Texas, in early March, is the Silver Anniversary of America’s largest farmer-owned, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience.

The digital experience will focus on providing top-quality educational sessions and farmer networking opportunities that are hallmarks of Commodity Classic.  A list of educational sessions is available at—and that list will continue to grow over the next few weeks.

Attendees will have a wide variety of educational sessions from which to choose on a range of topics including soil health, grain marketing, biologicals, global weather forecasts, pest management, and stress management.

Participating companies will showcase new products, services and innovation through a variety of online presentations, educational sessions and interactive discussions. An impressive lineup of agriculture thought leaders, top-yielding farmers, agribusiness representatives, and Commodity Classic association leaders will also be featured.

To stay up to date on registration information, event schedule, speakers, educational sessions and other event details, sign up for email updates at

Premier Sponsors of the 2021 Special Edition of Commodity Classic are AGCO, Bayer, Case IH, Corteva AgriScience, John Deere and United Soybean Board/Soy Checkoff.

Champion Sponsors are BASF and Syngenta.  Key Sponsors are Kubota/Great Plains, New Holland, Pioneer, Precision Planting and Valent.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Court Seeks Status Report on EPA Compliance with Order on Renewable Volumes

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit a status report every 60 days “on its progress in complying with the court’s remand” stemming from the July 2017 ruling in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA. The 2017 ruling required EPA to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of 2016 renewable fuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  

Today’s order from the D.C. Circuit was in response to a motion filed in December 2020 by biofuel and farm organizations, in which the groups asked the court to enforce its 2017 decision by requiring EPA to fully restore the 500-million-gallons that were inappropriately waived from the 2016 RFS requirements. While the court denied the motion, the groups welcomed the court’s requirement that EPA provide status reports every 60 days on its progress in responding to the court’s decision.

The coalition, which includes Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers, issued the statement following the court’s announcement today:    

“While we are disappointed by the court’s order on our motion, we are glad to see that the court is holding EPA accountable by requiring it to submit a report every 60 days on the status of the court’s remand on the improper waiver. This time of transition provides EPA the opportunity to move boldly and address prior missteps when it comes to the need for a low-carbon future for our nation’s fuel supply; adjusting quickly for the court-ordered remand would do just that. America’s biofuel producers, rural communities and farm families look forward to working with EPA and the Biden administration to make progress on restoring integrity and growth to the RFS.”  

In the July 2017 ruling in the case Americans for Clean Energy et al. v. EPA et al., the court invalidated the EPA’s improper waiver of 500 million gallons in the 2016 RVO rule and ordered EPA to revisit the rule. The court held that EPA’s interpretation of the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver provision “runs contrary to how the Renewable Fuel Program is supposed to work.” To date, EPA has failed to complete any proceedings to reconsider the 2016 RVO and has not restored the 500 million lost RIN gallons.

Growth Energy Statement on Biden Executive Order to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government

Following today’s sweeping executive order focused on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad, creating jobs, and restoring scientific integrity across federal government signed by President Biden, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement:

“This executive order is another reminder of how inextricably linked addressing climate change is to our economy, and we're eager to help President Biden’s administration deliver on his promise to unleash biofuels as a key solution to climate change and restore economic opportunity for rural America.

“Ethanol plays a critical role in reducing the impact of the transportation sector on climate and achieving net-zero emissions. Just this week groundbreaking research led by David MacIntosh, Chief Science Officer of Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard, found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46% lower than gasoline, and last week, analysis by the Rhodium Group concluded that biofuels must be in the mix if we are to attain net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Importantly, ethanol is a homegrown, ready solution now that improves air quality by replacing toxic fuel additives and dramatically reduces emissions of pollutants that most adversely impact our most vulnerable communities. We need to quickly transition to fuels that burn cleaner, pollute less, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while brining farmers into the fold of addressing climate change and helping the rural economy. We look forward to partnering with the President and his Administration to do just that with biofuels.”

Farmer and Rancher Input is Critical for Climate Success

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall commented today on President Biden’s executive order calling on USDA to collect input from farmers and ranchers on climate-related federal programs.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation appreciates that President Biden has committed to seek input from America’s farmers and ranchers as the administration works on new climate solutions. It’s crucial that as new strategies are implemented our leaders listen to the people who will be affected the most. While the president has invited us to the table, we’d like to invite him to the table we’ve already set through the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). Co-chaired by AFBF, FACA has outlined more than 40 recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy. We stand ready to work with the administration on science-based, voluntary and market-driven programs. American agriculture already leads the world in climate-smart practices, but we are always looking for new ways to improve. We must ensure a healthy environment while creating income and job opportunities for rural America.”

The Executive Order outlines broad goals without details of how they will be achieved. AFBF will be closely monitoring federal implementation efforts to ensure all proposed policies and programs are responsible, fair-minded and enable farmers, ranchers and rural America to thrive.

Cattle Producers to Work with Biden Administration to Demonstrate Cattle Production is a Solution to Climate Concerns

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today issued the following statement in response to the Executive Orders from the Biden Administration addressing climate change and sustainability in the U.S. agriculture sector:

"NCBA looks forward to working with President Biden and his Administration as they recognize the positive role agriculture plays in addressing climate concerns. U.S. cattle producers use advanced technologies, genetics and grazing management to make their herds the most sustainable in the world," said NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. "We appreciate the outreach and opportunity to provide feedback, demonstrating U.S. cattle producers are the model for global, sustainable beef production. As the administration works to carry out today’s executive orders, NCBA remains committed to ensuring that cattle producers have the resources and freedom they need to continue producing the world’s most sustainable beef."

Growth in the Number of Certified Organic Operations Continues in 2020

Farmers and consumers choose the organic option for many reasons. Our goal at the National Organic Program is to protect that choice by taking the profit out of fraud and ensuring organic integrity from farm to table, so consumers trust the organic label. One measure of that trust is continued growth in the number of farms and businesses receiving USDA organic certification.

USDA has released the annual count of certified organic operations calculated from the USDA National Organic Program - Organic INTEGRITY Database.

The number of certified organic operations worldwide grew to 45,578 in 2020 with 28,454 — more than 62 percent — located in the United States. California remains the leader domestically with more than 5,000 certified operations. The Great Lakes Region, Pacific Northwest, and Iowa continue to round out the top ten.
The federal organic regulations currently require certifiers to annually submit a set of basic facts regarding all certified operations to the Organic Integrity Database. The database also includes many optional fields, like acreage, that can aid in oversight and enforcement.

ADM Reports Fourth Quarter Earnings of $1.22 per Share, $1.21 per Share on an Adjusted Basis, Affirms Earnings Growth Expectation for 2021

-    Q4 net earnings of $687 million; adjusted net earnings of $684 million
-    Q4 adjusted EPS up 49 percent excluding prior-year impact of retroactive biodiesel tax credit
-    Full-year reported EPS of $3.15; record adjusted EPS of $3.59
-    Expect growth in operating profit and EPS in 2021

ADM today reported financial results for the quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

“I want to thank our team, which performed exceptionally well during truly unprecedented times to deliver four straight quarters of year-over-year adjusted segment operating profit growth in 2020, along with solid returns and record full-year adjusted EPS of $3.59,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Around the globe, ADM colleagues demonstrated their resourcefulness, creativity and commitment by keeping our work environment safe from COVID-19, maintaining our operations and serving our customers. The team delivered on our strategic objectives, maintained a solid balance sheet, managed a wide variety of risks superbly, and showed the strength of our diversified and global value chain.

“Our Ag Services and Oilseeds team delivered outstanding results in 2020, crossing the $2 billion profit mark by capitalizing on our unparalleled and flexible global footprint to meet strong demand. With continued strong global demand for grains and oilseeds as well as meal and oils, we are confident in another outstanding performance from Ag Services & Oilseeds in 2021.

“In Carbohydrate Solutions,” Luciano continued, “the team achieved higher full-year results, demonstrating the power of our diversified product portfolio by pivoting quickly and effectively to meet incremental demand for industrial starches, retail flour and high-grade alcohol. The Carbohydrate Solutions business is well positioned to generate solid profit growth in 2021 as lockdown impacts dissipate.

“Our Nutrition business continued to harvest investments, lead in consumer growth trend areas, and partner with customers to deliver new products and solutions in 2020, driving 37 percent annual operating profit growth. Based on our current organic growth plans, we expect the Nutrition team to deliver solid revenue expansion and profit growth in 2021.

“For ADM, based on the continued delivery of drivers under our control and improving market conditions as the year progresses, we expect strong growth in segment operating profit and another record year of EPS in 2021. I am extremely proud of our team’s performance: Our momentum is strong, and our future is bright.”

USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans for Several Thousand Distressed Borrowers Due to Coronavirus

Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets or wage garnishments, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice; and USDA will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop judicial foreclosures and evictions on accounts that were previously referred to the Department of Justice. Additionally, USDA has extended deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers. In addition, for the Guaranteed Loan program, flexibilities have been made available to lenders to assist in servicing their customers.

Today’s announcement by USDA expands previous actions undertaken by the Department to lessen financial hardship. According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers—approximately 10% of all borrowers—are eligible for the relief announced today. Overall, FSA lends to more than 129,000 farmers, ranchers and producers.

“USDA and the Biden Administration are committed to bringing relief and support to farmers, ranchers and producers of all backgrounds and financial status, including by ensuring producers have access to temporary debt relief,” said Robert Bonnie, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary. “Not only is USDA suspending the pipeline of adverse actions that can lead to foreclosure and debt collection, we are also working with the Departments of Justice and Treasury to suspend any actions already referred to the applicable Agency. Additionally, we are evaluating ways to improve and address farm related debt with the intent to keep farmers on their farms earning living expenses, providing for emergency needs, and maintaining cash flow.”

The temporary suspension is in place until further notice and is expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides several different loans for producers, which fall under two main categories:
    Guaranteed loans are made and serviced by commercial lenders, such as banks, the Farm Credit System, credit unions and other non-traditional lenders. FSA guarantees the lender’s loan against loss, up to 95 percent.
    Direct loans are made and serviced by FSA using funds from the federal government.

The most common loan types are Farm Ownership, Farm Operating, and Farm Storage Facility Loans, with Microloans for each:
    Farm Ownership: Helps producers purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, construct a new or improve an existing farm or ranch building, pay closing costs, and pay for soil and water conservation and protection.
    Farm Operating: Helps producers purchase livestock and equipment and pay for minor real estate repairs and annual operating expenses.
    Farm Storage Facility Loans are made directly to producers for the construction of cold or dry storage and includes handling equipment and mobile storage such as refrigerated trucks.
    Microloans: Direct Farm Ownership, Operating Loans, and Farm Storage Facility Loans have a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche-type operations.

Contact FSA

FSA encourages producers to contact their county office to discuss these programs and temporary changes to farm loan deadlines and the loan servicing options available.

USDA Debt Relief Will Help Keep Farmers in Business

To ease mounting financial pressures, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it will temporarily suspend past-due debt collections and foreclosures for farmers borrowing under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs while also offering flexibilities under the Guaranteed Loan Program. Additionally, the agency plans to halt foreclosures and evictions that are already underway. Approximately 12,000 farmers, representing 10 percent of Farm Service Agency borrowers, will be eligible for this assistance.

The announcement comes as a relief to National Farmers Union (NFU), which has been pushing legislators and administration officials to provide family farmers and ranchers with the support they need to withstand the added challenges caused by the pandemic. In a statement, NFU President Rob Larew lauded the action, saying that it will be particularly beneficial to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers:

“With so many factors beyond their control, farmers know to be prepared for a bad year here and there. But it hasn’t just been just one bad year because of the pandemic – it’s been five bad years because of trade wars, climate change, and stubbornly low prices. Even the most established farmers may not have the reserves to cope with this kind of enduring financial strain – and beginning and historically underserved farmers almost certainly do not.

“As a country, we really can’t afford to lose these farmers. The agriculture industry has already experienced rapid consolidation over the last several decades, to the detriment of rural communities and national food security. The pandemic could have accelerated this trend – but fortunately, the USDA’s ongoing support will likely prevent the worst-case outcome. By suspending debt collections and foreclosures, the agency will help struggling farmers stay on their land and continue growing food for their fellow Americans.”