Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Tuesday June 29 Ag News


The new Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has developed several resources for producers considering selling carbon credits. A publication released this week offers a checklist of questions that farmers, ranchers and landowners — along with their attorneys — should ask before signing a carbon contract and entering a market that has many unknowns.

Interest in carbon markets has grown in recent years as industry and government have sought to address environmental and sustainability goals. They are voluntary, incentive-based markets. In agriculture, producers are typically the sellers and are paid for using management practices that sequester carbon, creating carbon credits. These could include tillage practices, fertilizer practices and land retirement, among others. Aggregators representing collective groups of firms then purchase these credits to offset their own carbon emissions.

Carbon contracts between producers and aggregators are still very new and have little to no standardization, according to Dave Aiken, professor and agricultural law specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

“It’s like the Wild West out there, and every company is going to have a different contract,” he said. “These can be quite complicated, so it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge to figure it out on your own.”

The new checklist, authored by Aiken, offers 11 questions covering topics such as payment considerations, contract length, carbon sequestration practices and more. It defines the standard carbon credit trading unit as one metric ton of carbon sequestered in soil, which Aiken estimates to be valued around $5 per ton. He noted that some estimates predict an increase to as much as $170 per ton in the next several years — a figure he describes as a “slim possibility” — which is indicative of the uncertainties and interest surrounding carbon markets right now.

“Some carbon credit aggregators may be willing to pay a substantial bonus to get producers to sign up with their program, creating the mirage of an ag carbon credit bonanza,” Aiken said.

The checklist highlights the importance of involving a lawyer before signing a contract because of the likely long-term period of the agreement, the potentially complicated fine print about getting out of the contract, and the specific rights that the aggregator will have on the land. Other unknown factors that should be considered include the verification process for carbon sequestration and the ability of tenants to sell carbon credits.

While there seems to be a lack of clarity and uniformity surrounding carbon markets, a group of senators in April reintroduced the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which seeks to break down barriers to participation and create standards for carbon markets in U.S. agriculture. Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer is among the bipartisan group of lawmakers co-sponsoring the legislation.

Aiken noted that the bill would have the U.S. Department of Agriculture do a few important things to create transparency for this emerging market.

“One is to set the standards for determining how to tell how much carbon has been stored each year,” he said. “The other thing would be to maintain a list of all the groups that are buying these carbon contracts, so if a farmer wants to find out about them, they can go look through the different groups that are on there, what they’re offering, and maybe find one that can work for them.”

Aiken said that creating this checklist, along with other resources on carbon markets, is important because of heightened visibility for the issue in the ag industry and the need for producers and landowners to carefully consider what they are agreeing to.

“If somebody offers you a carbon contract, read through it, and if there is anything at all that you don’t understand or that you’re not clear about, you’re going to have to take it to a lawyer,” he said. “The lawyer will be able to help you work though all of that so you know what your options are and what could happen with the contract, if things go good or bad.”

For the checklist and more ag carbon resources from the Center for Agricultural Profitability, visit


– Todd Whitney, NE Extension
Bluegrass can be a common weed in irrigated alfalfa lowering forage quality and shortening stand longevity.  Fortunately, there are several ways to control these pesky plants such as maintaining thick alfalfa stands; properly managing irrigation; and using herbicides (as a last resort).
High-density alfalfa stands can be effective toward competing with bluegrass for sunlight,
moisture and nutrients.  However, it is important to time irrigation so the upper several inches of fields are dry at harvest. Then, delay irrigation until significant alfalfa regrowth is initiated. Unlike alfalfa that has a deep root system, bluegrass is shallow rooted and will not compete well with the alfalfa if the topsoil is dry.  Conversely, early irrigation, following harvest, may allow bluegrass to out compete the alfalfa for available surface moisture; since bluegrass basal leaves help it grow more rapidly after alfalfa is cut.  Once alfalfa gets some regrowth, it will compete well with the bluegrass.
If thick stands and water management are adequate, then herbicides like Select Max®; Arrow-Post®; Prowl H2O-Post®; Chateau® or Roundup WeatherMax® might be cost effective to weaken or kill bluegrass.  Apply any one of these immediately after harvest.  RoundUp® herbicides can be used on alfalfa with Round-up Ready® genetics. Select Max® may work the best herbicide for non-Roundup Ready alfalfa varieties and is safe for all alfalfa fields.
Bluegrass is a problem in many irrigated alfalfa fields, but it does not need to be.  You can control it.

Nebraska Soybean Board to meet

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) will hold its next meeting on June 30 – July 1, 2021 at the Younes Conference Center located at 416 Talmadge Street, Kearney, Nebraska.

Among conducting regular board business, the Board will review FY22 proposals and other new opportunities. The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for public discussion. The complete agenda for the meeting is available for inspection on the Nebraska Soybean Board website at

Explore Beekeeping workshops scheduled

Three free beekeeping events are set for Nebraskans focused on getting a start in the industry. These workshops in Scottsbluff, West Point, and Grand Island are hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Explore Beekeeping” will be presented in both English and Spanish.
    Scottsbluff: Friday, July 9, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. MT, Centennial Park - Gazebo, 400 E. 20th St.
    West Point: Thursday, July 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. CT, Neligh Park, Log Cabin/330 Center Building.
    Grand Island: Thursday, July 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. CT, Ashley Park - Picnic Shelter, 220 W. Capital Ave.

“If you’re curious about beekeeping, join this training to learn about bee biology, how the hive functions as a system, costs to start beekeeping, and how to begin,” said Kirstin Bailey, senior project associate for the Center for Rural Affairs.

Registration is required one day in advance; contact Bailey by emailing or calling or texting 402.870.2390. For more information on these and other events, visit

 Smith Hosts Ways and Means Meeting Opposing Stepped-up Basis Repeal

Representatives Adrian Smith (R-NE), Ranking Republican on the Select Revenue Subcommittee, and Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady (R-TX), hosted a meeting today titled “Democrats’ Supercharged Death Tax Targets Family-Owned Businesses and Farms, Costing 1 Million Jobs.” The meeting provided committee members an opportunity to hear from agriculture producers and small businesses about the real negative impact the Biden Administration’s proposal to repeal stepped-up basis would have on the next generation of farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers.

Don Batie, a Third District farmer from Dawson County, spoke to the toll repealing stepped-up basis would have on passing his farm, which has been in his family since an initial Homestead Act claim was made in the 1870s, to the next generation. To see Batie’s testimony, click here.

"Stepped-up basis ensures family-owned farms, ranches, and small businesses carry on to the next generation, creating jobs and economic opportunity everywhere, particularly in rural America,” said Smith. “I appreciate Don taking time today to share his story with our committee, illustrating the importance of this part of the tax code to families across our state who have farmed and ranched for generations.”

“The preservation of stepped-up basis is of vital importance to Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. Dawson County Farm Bureau member Don Batie did an exceptional job of sharing his family’s story to the House Ways and Means Committee today,” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau President. “As Don clearly explained, without stepped-up basis his family would have been exposed to a substantial tax burden that would have likely led to the selling of pieces of the farm that has been in his family for 148 years. The death of a family member does not give the federal government the right to take a substantial portion of what farm and ranch families have spent, in many cases, several lifetimes building. While some have continued to claim the loss of this tax provision only affects the super-rich, Mr. Batie’s story highlights the actual truth…farmers, ranchers, and rural communities would be devastated by this administration’s scheme to take what doesn’t belong to them.”

Iowa Farmers are Encouraged to Update the Hay and Straw Directory

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship offers a free directory to connect farmers who sell hay or straw with local producers who are interested in purchasing it. Organizations associated with promoting and marketing hay and straw can also access the free, online tool. The Department encourages users to update their listing every year.

Anyone can view the hay and straw directory, but only Iowa sellers are included on the list. Interested farmers can sign up here

NPPC Urges Administration to Appeal Damaging Court Ruling Before Aug. 31 Deadline

A federal district court ruling striking down faster harvest facility inspection speeds allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) goes into effect tomorrow, June 30, 2021. The Biden administration has until the end of August to file an appeal. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urges the administration to appeal this damaging ruling – which will quickly lead to increased pork industry concentration and packer market power – and seeks waivers for the impacted plants until a longer-term solution, acceptable to all industry stakeholders, is realized.

The ruling eliminates 2.5 percent of pork packing plant capacity nationwide and will result in $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers this year alone, according to an analysis by Iowa State University Economist Dr. Dermot Hayes. Last week, more than 70 lawmakers sent letters asking Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to appeal the court decision.

“While we are disappointed the Biden administration has not appealed the court ruling, there is still time for the government to act by appealing the decision and providing waivers that allow the six impacted plants to continue operating at NSIS line speeds until a new rule can be developed,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “NPPC continues to urge the administration to appeal before the ruling inflicts irreversible damage to small hog farmers and seismic changes to our entire sector.”

NSIS, initiated during the Clinton administration and evaluated at five pilot plants over 20 years, was approved for industry-wide adoption in 2019. NSIS modernized an inspection system that had remained unchanged for more than 50 years. Ironically, at a time when the United States is seeking to increase much-needed pork harvest capacity, the court order will reduce plant capacity at six plants running at NSIS line speeds by as much as 25 percent and prevent other plants from increasing harvest capacity. The five original plants, which had been running at NSIS inspection line speeds over the life of the program, have been safely operating for more than 20 years.

NGFA publishes new firefighting manual for grain facilities

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) published a new guide for operators of grain handling facilities and firefighters to develop grain handling facility firefighting procedures.

Contents of the NGFA Firefighting Manual: A Guide for Operators of Grain Handling Facilities and Fire Department Officials are primarily intended to address planning for and fighting fires in grain elevators. However, the information has significant applications for feed mills, processing plants, flour mills and other facilities that store and handle bulk agricultural commodities. Chemical fires, which have applications for fertilizer and chemical plants, also are addressed in the guide.

“Each grain handling facility is unique in its layout, design, construction, operations, equipment, and personnel, and requires a tailored firefighting plan,” said NGFA Director, Safety, Education and Training Jim Seibert. “The firefighting plan should be a mutual effort between the facility’s management and the fire officials of the district in which it is located. It would benefit both facility management and fire officials to read and be familiar with the contents of this entire manual, since the information conveyed in each chapter affects both parties.”

NGFA announced the publication of its new firefighting manual to members during NGFA’s 125th annual convention on June 2-4. The publication of the firefighting manual, which had not been updated since 1987, is part of the Association’s 125th anniversary celebration of “Transforming America’s Harvest.” Throughout the year, NGFA is focused on projects that contribute to creating a culture of safety in every facility and farm where grain is handled to potentially save lives that are tragically lost in grain-related incidents every year. Read more about NGFA’s 125th anniversary initiatives here.

This new firefighting manual complements a robust suite of safety training materials available at

New USDA Resources to Promote Reduction of Food Loss and Waste

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new resources to inform consumers on how to reduce food waste during the July Fourth holiday and beyond.

According to USDA research, the average family of four wastes nearly $1,500 worth of food each year. And the food that goes in the trash winds up in a landfill where it creates methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

In a one-minute video, USDA’s Food Loss and Waste Liaison Dr. Jean Buzby demonstrates different ways to prevent food waste. The video messages and visuals are also available as a soundbites & b-roll package to allow customized storytelling about preventing food waste. In addition, an infographic is available in two formats, Easy Steps to Prevent Food Waste (PDF, 97.8 KB) and Easy Steps to Prevent Food Waste (PNG, 76.0 KB) presenting streamlined steps to reducing food waste at home.

On July Fourth and all summer long, USDA encourages consumers to use four simple steps to reduce food waste at home.
    Plan ahead – Before you go to the grocery store or order online, make a list so you don’t buy more than you need.
    Serve smart – portion control is good for your waistline, and good for reducing plate waste.
    Love your leftovers – Pack leftovers in small portions in shallow containers, mark the contents and date, and refrigerate or freeze immediately.
    Compost, don’t trash – Food in landfills produces harmful methane. You can recycle your food scraps in a home compost bin or at a local compost center.

Learn more about food loss and waste prevention at

USDA Seeks Nominees to Serve on the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee. The committee meets no less than once annually to advise AMS on the programs and services it delivers under the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA). Meetings are held virtually or in a hybrid style with participants having a choice whether to attend in person or virtually. Recommendations by the committee help AMS better meet the needs of its customers who operate in a dynamic and changing marketplace. The nomination period will be open for 45 days from the publishing date of the notice in the Federal Register.

All nominations need to be sent to The nomination application is available on the Grain Inspection Advisory Committee webpage on the AMS website.

The notice and instructions on how to submit an application were published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2021.

For more information, contact Federal Grain Inspection Service Chief of Staff  Kendra Kline at  

CHS demonstrates commitment to innovation with investment in Grand Farm

CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, has announced its commitment to agricultural innovation through financial support for and participation in Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative, Horace, N.D. The 130-acre Grand Farm Innovation Site, located 10 miles south of Fargo, N.D., features demonstration fields and research plots that will eventually surround an innovation center and collaboration spaces for agricultural startups and entrepreneurs.

CHS involvement with Grand Farm began in early 2020, in conjunction with becoming a founding partner in Plug and Play Fargo, which accelerates ag tech startups and helps attract them to the region. Other Plug and Play founding partners include Bremer Bank, Microsoft Corp. and The OCP Group.

Partnering with Emerging Prairie, an organization that works to energize communities in North Dakota, Grand Farm will provide spaces and opportunities for agricultural technology companies and researchers to test ideas and find solutions for existing or emerging farm and ag industry challenges.

"Collaboration is at the center of what Grand Farm is about, bringing together startup entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies including CHS, university researchers and farmers," says David Black, CHS enterprise strategy and chief information officer. "Working together will help accelerate technological innovation on the farm, the cooperative system and throughout agriculture.

"CHS brings an on-farm perspective to the innovation process, which we hope will result in technologies that improve farming, from agronomy and farm management solutions to supply-chain and marketing advances," he adds. "This is one example of the connections we are creating to empower agriculture."

Grand Farm partners with industry experts from CHS, North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota and the USDA Agricultural Research Service to identify research projects. CHS is also operating crop production test plots at the innovation site.

Events are scheduled at Grand Farm Innovation Site through the summer, including grower roundtables, field days, innovation days, farm tours and day-long conferences on topics including the carbon market and autonomous equipment operations. For more information, visit

Case IH Updates Puma Series Tractor Lineup to Boost Productivity, Power

Case IH is launching enhancements to its Puma® series tractor lineup to provide operators with greater efficiency, convenience and operational flexibility. These updates include longer service intervals and new styling features for greater productivity and a more comfortable in-cab experience. Case IH announced updates to Puma models 185 to 240 in October 2020 — and now Puma models 150 and 165 incorporate these productivity-enhancing updates.

“Producers need innovations that help them get more done in less time — and this Model Year 2021 Puma series tractor lineup will help them do just that,” said J.E. Cadle, mid-range tractor marketing manager. “Puma series tractors have always been recognized as multipurpose machines built to provide a wide range of efficient solutions. Now, with longer service intervals and improved styling based on customer feedback, the new Puma models will provide operators with even greater productivity.”
Longer service intervals, less fuel

Case IH Hi-eSCR2 emissions technology offers producers greater productivity with reduced fuel, improving engine responsiveness and durability while lowering emissions. All Model Year 2021 Puma series tractor models deliver longer service intervals for maximum uptime: 750 hours for engine oil and 1,500 hours for transmission fluid.

“Our new Hi-eSCR2 emissions technology is a game-changer in terms of productivity,” Cadle said. “With less time spent on maintenance and better fuel economy, these efficiencies can truly help operators save time and money.”

Styling features designed with operators in mind

Feedback based on extensive customer input has led to new styling features that include an updated hood and enhanced LED work lighting, providing a uniformly lit work area. In turn, these improvements help producers gain in-field precision while remaining comfortable in the cab.

“Customer-oriented updates to Puma series tractors are all about creating an improved operating experience,” Cadle said. “From better lighting that helps operators stay efficient in all field conditions to a redesigned hood that maximizes visibility, these improvements will provide operators with the tools they need to get the job done comfortably.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Monday June 28 Ag News + Crop Progress Report


For the week ending June 27, 2021, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6% very short, 25% short, 65% adequate, and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6% very short, 32% short, 61% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1% very poor, 2% poor, 15% fair, 58% good, and 24% excellent.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 2% poor, 14% fair, 64% good, and 19% excellent. Soybeans blooming was 23%, near 25% last year, but ahead of 14% for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3% very poor, 9% poor, 30% fair, 48% good, and 10% excellent. Winter wheat harvested was 1%, equal to last year, and near 3% average.

Sorghum condition rated 0% very poor, 1% poor, 18% fair, 61% good, and 20% excellent. Sorghum headed was 1%, near 5% last year and 4% average.

Oats condition rated 2% very poor, 6% poor, 37% fair, 47% good, and 8% excellent. Oats headed was 94%, ahead of 89% last year and 88% average.

Dry edible beans emerged was 92%, near 93% last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3% very poor, 8% poor, 58% fair, 28% good, and 3% excellent.


 Much needed precipitation limited Iowa farmers to 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 27, 2021 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field activities included spraying post emergence herbicides and harvesting hay.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 12% very short, 30% short, 52% adequate and 6% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 18% very short, 42% short, 37% adequate and 3% surplus. While precipitation fell across the State during the week, amounts received varied widely with northwest Iowa still reporting over two-thirds of topsoil moisture short to very short. In contrast, districts in the southern one-third of Iowa rated 60% or more of subsoil moisture adequate to surplus.

Farmers reported crops benefitted from the rain but more moisture is needed, especially in the northern two-thirds of the State. There were scattered reports of damaging hail and high winds throughout Iowa. Iowa’s corn condition rated 60% good to excellent.

Soybean emergence was virtually complete. Across the State, 19% of soybeans were blooming, 6 days ahead of the five-year average. There were scattered reports of soybeans setting pods. Soybean condition was rated 58% good to excellent.

Oats headed or beyond reached 84% with 23% turning color, 4 days ahead of normal. Iowa’s oat condition rated 57% good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 7% complete, 4 days behind the 5-year average. Wet conditions slowed progress in some areas. Hay condition improved to 55% good to excellent, 6 percentage points above last week.

Pasture condition also improved slightly to 40% good to excellent. Some feedlots were muddy after recent rainfalls.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress: Conditions Vary by Region

After several weeks in a row of falling, corn and soybean conditions stabilized somewhat nationwide last week, though conditions in Northern regions of the country continued to decline, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

Nationwide, corn condition was rated 64% good to excellent as of Sunday, June 27, down just 1 percentage point from 65% the previous week. That is the 10th lowest good-to-excellent rating for corn in 12 years, only higher than in 2012 and 2019.  Corn silking was rated at 4%, equal to last year but slightly behind the five-year average of 6%. The most silking was reported in Texas and North Carolina.

With a wide swath of rains moving across south-central and eastern parts of the soybean belt last week, the nation's soybean crop managed to hold on to a good-to-excellent rating of 60% for the second week in a row. As with corn, that puts this year's current rating at the 10th-lowest good-to-excellent rating for soybeans in the past 12 years.  NASS said 96% of soybeans were emerged and 14% of the crop was blooming as of Sunday, a little ahead of the five-year blooming average of 11%.

The crop conditions story was completely different for the spring wheat crop, as the major spring-wheat-producing states again missed out on significant rainfall last week.  After falling 10 percentage points in the June 21 report, spring wheat conditions tumbled another 7 percentage points last week, sliding from 27% good to excellent the previous week to 20% good to excellent as of Sunday, June 27. That remains the lowest rating for the crop since 1988.  The hot, dry conditions in those parts of the country also continued to rapidly push spring wheat to maturity, with 48% of the crop heading, 9 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 39%.

Meanwhile, the winter wheat harvest continued to accelerate last week, moving ahead 16 percentage points during the week to reach 33% complete as of Sunday. That is 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 40%.  Winter wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 48% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 49% the previous week.

Start Scouting for Potato Leafhoppers in Alfalfa

Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist

Potato leafhoppers have the potential to injure alfalfa in Nebraska every year and have been reported recently in southeast Nebraska. They don't overwinter in Nebraska but rather are brought in on southerly winds. Generally they are a second and third cutting pest.

If you have not yet started to scout for potato leafhopper, now would be a good time to begin.

These small (1/8 inch long), bright green, wedge-shaped insects may cause severe damage to alfalfa. This feeding results in a distinctive yellow or purple triangle shape at the leaf tip. First year, spring planted alfalfa fields are particularly attractive to and vulnerable to potato leafhoppers, as are fields planted last year. In older fields, these insects are usually a problem on second and third cuttings.

Resistant varieties provide fairly good protection from potato leafhoppers, but alfalfa in the seedling stage may still be damaged. All fields should still be scouted, as large numbers of leafhoppers may still cause a problem, even in resistant variety fields.

Treatment Thresholds and Insecticides

Treatment decisions are based on numbers captured by a sweep net. (A sweep net is the only reliable way to scout for potato leafhoppers.) There do not have to be many to cause a problem.

Many insecticides are registered for control, and all will provide good results when applied properly. Commonly used insecticides include Mustang, Warrior, Baythroid, and Lorsban, or products with the same active ingredients.

Refer to the UNL Extension Circular 130 for a list of suggested insecticides.


The new Center for Agricultural Profitability in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources began operating June 28 with the unveiling of a new website and slate of informational events.

Approved in March and housed in the Department of Agricultural Economics, the center will work to improve the economic viability of the agricultural sector in Nebraska and beyond. It focuses on research, extension outreach and education related to profitability and supporting informed decision-making and management choices to keep farmers and ranchers financially healthy. It will also offer educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students while facilitating collaboration with other units in IANR and across the University of Nebraska system.

“CAP will bridge departmental silos and bring together faculty with expertise in several areas that too often are disconnected when it comes to the economic well-being of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers,” said Larry Van Tassell, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and the center’s director.

The new center will house the Agricultural Economics Farm and Ranch Management team and resources, including its popular weekly webinar series. The next webinar, on July 8, will focus on U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation program opportunities for producers. That will be followed July 15 with a webinar by David Kohl, professor of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech, on the importance of understanding business and finances for today’s producer. More webinars and live workshops across the state will be announced soon.

The center also will roll out a number of tools for use by farmers, ranchers and agribusiness professionals throughout the state. Among these is the Agricultural Budget Calculator, which opened to the public this week. The calculator is an online program allowing crop producers to estimate their cost of production based on field operations expenses, machinery, labor and material inputs for different enterprises. The program includes revenue projections, a risk module and cash flow budgets.

Updated land values and cash rental rates will be published in early July by the center in the final report from this year’s Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey. Other resources include the Nebraska Farm Custom Rates Report, representative budgets for livestock, and the Nebraska Land Link program. The center will also produce weekly articles and podcasts highlighting important decision-making information in areas such as land management, leasing, ag policy, farm succession, finance and risk management.

Van Tassell said that more learning experiences will be available to equip students for managing and leading in the modern economy as the center grows.

“The Center for Ag Profitability will be a magnet for interdisciplinary research and outreach, where profitability, risk management and the sustainability of agriculture takes precedence over simply maximizing commodity yields, and where the next generation of students and educators learn through transformational experiences,” he said.

For more on the Center for Agricultural Profitability, including registration for its free webinar series and access to its decision tools, articles and other resources, visit

Berry Good For You!

Brenda Aufdenkamp, Extension Educator

July is National Berry Month. When was the last time you enjoyed blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries? Now is a great time to do that! In July, berries are in season. Therefore, you might find them at a lower price compared to the rest of the year. Often, they are even on sale. It is a good idea to purchase fruits and vegetables when they are in season as it will help you enjoy a variety of foods, and it will save money on your grocery bill.

When berries are on sale, you can enjoy them fresh and buy extra to freeze for use later in the year. To freeze berries: wash, drain well, and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Remove berries that are immature or defective. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze berries until firm, then package frozen berries in freezer bags or containers being sure to leave headspace. Seal and freeze.

Fresh and frozen berries can be enjoyed in many ways. When you get home from the grocery store, wash your fruit and place in a bowl in the refrigerator. By putting the bowl at the front of the shelf, makes it the first thing you see when you open the door. This will help to select fruit often. Berries make a wonderful snack, You might think about using fruit on oatmeal or other whole grain cereal, enjoy them blended with yogurt for a delicious, cool fruit smoothie, or on angel food cake or pudding for a dessert. They also stir well into muffins, pancakes, and waffles.

Not only are berries colorful and delicious, they contribute great nutrition when consumed. They contain vitamins and minerals, many of which are considered antioxidants, or disease-fighting compounds according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Antioxidants may help increase immune function and protect against cancer and heart disease. Berries are also a good source of fiber.

Enjoy berries in July, and throughout the year with these berry good tips.

Scoular hires its first Director of Sustainability

Scoular on Monday announced that Joshua Mellinger has been appointed the company’s first Director of Sustainability. Mellinger will lead Scoular’s corporate sustainability program, as well as partner with and support Scoular’s business units in their work to create customized sustainability solutions for and with the company’s grain, feed and food customers worldwide, as well as its farmer-producer partners.

“Josh possesses deep experience creating and executing sustainability programs in the agriculture and food industries,” said Megan Belcher, Scoular Senior Vice President and General Counsel, who leads Scoular’s overall corporate sustainability and ESG efforts. “I am thrilled he is leading Scoular’s efforts to innovatively grow sustainability practices that will create a positive impact on our planet.”
In December, Scoular announced its five-year sustainability strategy built on five pillars: reducing its carbon footprint; fostering responsible marine sourcing; engaging in its communities; promoting diversity and inclusion; and upholding workplace health and safety.

Mellinger, who is based at Scoular’s global headquarters in Omaha, has more than 15 years of sustainability and supply chain experience working with large corporations. He joins Scoular after 10 years at Deloitte Consulting in Houston, where he most recently served as Head of Sustainability, Climate Change, and Fresh Supply Chain. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and Decision Sciences and earned his MBA from the University of Michigan.

For more information on Scoular’s sustainability strategy, go to Scoular’s sustainability web page at

Harrison County Pest Resistance Management Field Day Scheduled July 7

The Harrison County Pest Resistance Management Project team will hold a field day Wednesday, July 7.  The event, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., will include both herbicide and fungicide trials in soybeans at a farm southwest of Logan, operated by Larry Buss. This event is free and open to the public.

Ten herbicide programs will be available for comparison to evaluate success and implications for resistance management of weeds including waterhemp, marestail, giant ragweed, and Palmer amaranth. Results of screening of local weed populations for resistance to Roundup, Cobra, and Callisto will be shared.  This year, disease resistance trials will also be available. Treatments were chosen to demonstrate fungicide options and effectiveness.

The agenda for the field day will include:
    Introduction by Larry Buss, Farmer, Harrison Project Lead, President of the Harrison and Crawford County Corn Growers Association
    Discussion of demonstration site observations by Jason Sporrer, Agriland FS Agronomist, Brent Wiersma, BASF, and John Swalwell, Asgrow/Dekalb
    Discussion of fungicide resistance by Mike Witt, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field specialist
    Multi-tactic approaches to managing herbicide resistance in corn-soybean rotations presentation by Prashant Jha, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach weed specialist
    Weed seed collection and resistance screening results; Palmer amaranth identification by Mike Witt, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field specialist
    Economics presentation by Alicia Rosburg, University of Northern Iowa associate professor of economics, and Mike Witt, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field specialist

This event will be held rain or shine. The field day location is immediately northeast of the intersection of Niagara Trail and 262nd Street, about 1.5 to 2 miles southwest of downtown Logan. In case of rain, the event will be held at the Logan Community Center, 108 W 4th St, Logan. To confirm details, call the Harrison County Extension Office at 712-644-2105.

Lunch will be provided at the Logan Community Center.  This field day is free and open to the whole family, but to ensure adequate food and space, RSVPs are requested by Friday, July 2, to Carter Oliver at or 712-644-2105.

The Harrison County Pest Resistance Management Project is part of the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program. The Harrison County project includes team members from Iowa Corn Growers Association, Agriland FS, BASF, Asgrow/Dekalb, Heartland Coop, FCSA Financial, Midstates Bank, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa State University, and local farmers.

For more about the field day, visit or view the playlist Harrison County Herbicide Resistance Project - 2020 Field Day.


Cattlemen’s Heritage, a newly formed corporation with its roots in livestock production and construction, announced plans today to construct a $325-million, 1,500-head-per-day beef-processing facility in Mills County that will employ up to 750 workers and have an estimated annual economic impact of $1.1 billion.

“Cattlemen’s Heritage will fill a critical gap between the conglomerates and the outdated, under-sized lockers and plants that aren’t equipped to meet the needs of consumers, producers or retailers,” said project developer Chad Tentinger, founder and owner of TenCorp. Inc., a cattle industry construction firm with offices in Des Moines and Marcus, Iowa.

Tentinger noted that recent market conditions – including several years of weak cattle markets, strong retail prices and the increased amount of investment capital on the sidelines during the pandemic – are other reasons to move forward to the facility’s construction to expand processing capacity in the state.

“Cattle producers and retailers have recognized for quite some time that as more cattle production has moved north to the Upper Midwest that we need the processing capacity to match it,” Tentinger said. “The Cattlemen’s Heritage facility will go a long way to resolving that ongoing challenge and delivering more quality beef from family farms to consumers.”

The facility, which will be fronted by Interstate 29 and situated at the Pottawattamie-Mills County line, will have an average annual wage of $55,000 plus benefits, he said. Cattlemen’s Heritage intends to break ground in spring 2022 and open the facility in late  2023.

Tentinger also indicated that lessons from the past year’s COVID-19 outbreak in meat-processing plants across the country are being incorporated into design and future operation of the Cattlemen’s Heritage state-of-the-art facility. “The pandemic delivered a powerful reminder that we can’t afford to let down our guard for even a split second, but it has also presented us with a welcome opportunity to make our facility even safer and we will take full advantage of it,” Tentinger said.

Ernie Goss, the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University, said the project will “serve as an economic game changer for Mills/Pottawattamie counties, and surrounding counties.” Once in operation, it will employ approximately 13.3 times the number of workers of the average Iowa manufacturer and pay roughly 12.4 times the average payroll.    

“The average salary at the Cattlemen’s Heritage facility will exceed the Iowa average by 5.5%, and the Iowa median salary by 30.3%. From the beginning of construction in 2022 through 2028, the first five years of operations, Cattlemen’s Heritage as planned will support an annual average of 3,319 direct and spillover jobs, wages & salaries of $817.0 million, self-employment income of $414.8 million with a total impact of $6.4 billion,” Goss said.

He continued, “Furthermore, it is estimated that the plant will support jobs paying an average of $55,285 per worker, and state and local tax collections will total $125.0 million between 2022 and 2028. In terms of rate-of-return for locally provided infrastructure support, the project will provide $28.54 for every dollar of local public infrastructure support period between 2022 and 2028.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, who participated in the announcement, said the facility will be a welcome addition to the state’s agribusiness infrastructure.

“Creating value-added agriculture opportunities is important for the success and sustainability of the ag community and our state’s economy. That’s especially true when our livestock producers are seeing large disparities between live cattle and boxed beef prices,” Naig said. “There’s a significant opportunity to expand meat processing capacity around the state. This facility will create additional market access for our producers, new jobs and economic activity in our rural communities.”

Governor Kim Reynolds released a statement noting the additional meat-processing capacity will benefit Iowa livestock producers and consumers.

“Iowa has a reputation for producing safe, reliable, and quality products that feed our nation and a growing world population,” Reynolds said. “TenCorp, Inc.’s new facility will add greater stability, processing capacity and value to our state’s agriculture industry. I am excited about this project and what it means not only for Iowa’s cattle industry, but the continued growth and expansion of Iowa agriculture.”

Marco Floreani, Mills County Economic Development Foundation executive director, noted the facility will be a good fit for a rural county bordering the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro.

“The Mills County Economic Development Foundation is excited to welcome this Cattlemen’s Heritage to Mills County. Agriculture is a bedrock industry for Mills County and our regional agriculture base is adding a world class operator and visionary team to the region with Cattlemen’s Heritage. From feed to fork, this project will support local farmers and ranchers while expanding the local and regional economy. It is a big win and we are thrilled to welcome them and support them as this takes off,” Floreani said.

Crop Management Clinic to Offer New Technologies and Latest Research

The 2021 Crop Management Clinic from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide training on multiple crop production and protection topics. New university research will be shared during this one-day event for agribusiness professionals, to be held July 22 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Each year, specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach present at the Crop Management Clinic on crop and pest management, soil fertility and nutrient management. The purpose is to educate agronomists, crop advisors and growers about current issues and recent research using demonstration plots. Crop managers desiring more hands-on and in-depth working knowledge of the latest agricultural practices will receive useful reminders and updates during attendance.

Crop scouting.Unique programming this year includes sprayer technology developments with Ryan Bergman, program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach, and current weather condition impacts with Iowa’s State Climatologist Justin Glisan.

“Our extension specialists are excited to meet in person this year,” said Warren Pierson, industry extension specialist for the host site, the Field Education and Extension Lab. “We have interesting topics to cover and some important weather concerns at this point in the season. Attendees have the opportunity to discuss and learn more about these developments with our subject matter experts.”

Although this is normally held in a two-day period, this year’s Crop Management Clinic will be a one-day program.

The event will be held at Iowa State’s Field Education and Extension Lab, located at 1928 240th St., outside of Boone. Attendees should arrive between 8:30-8:50 a.m. for check-in before the session start time. Registration is open and required. Cost is $150.

Included in the cost are refreshments, lunch and course materials. Additional information, including an outline of all topics and online registration is available at

This clinic qualifies for 6.5 continuing education credits for Iowa Certified Crop Advisers, subject to board approval, in the following topics: 1.0 nutrient management, 2.5 pest management, and 3.0 crop management.

Cattle on Feed Report

Brenda Boetel, Dept of Agl Econ, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Fed Cattle on feed inventories for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on June 1, 2021, up only 0.2% over 2020, but almost 3% above the previous 5-year average. This is the second highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during May totaled 1.91 million head, down 7% from 2020 and the 5-year average. Placements were the only category to differ than pre-report average of estimates, although the USDA report numbers were still within the range of pre-report estimates. Net placements were 1.84 million head.

Placements were down for all weight categories, with the highest declines being in the 600-699 pound placements. Regionally the largest decline in placements, compared to May 2020, occurred in Colorado and Texas. Because placements of cattle on feed affect future supplies, cattle prices for future months are impacted more by changes in placements than prices for current delivery. The weight of the cattle placed changes the length of time on feed. Knowing if the decline in aggregate placements was at lower or higher weights helps estimate when the decline in placements will transform into a decline in marketings.

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.87 million head, 23% above 2020. Cattle on feed over 120 days is up 5%, compared with the previous 5-year average. The number of cattle on feed for longer times is related to marketing as a percent of the on-feed inventory and gives an indication of how current the market is. The more current the market, the less time cattle are being kept on feed and hence the timelier marketing occurs. If the market is extremely current, there is less downward pressure on future prices as current inventory will not subsidize future inventories.
Overall, the June 2021 Cattle on Feed report had no big surprises. The market continues to decrease on-feed inventories, which will be provide support for 4th quarter fat cattle prices.

Doubling Down on Pests and Resistance with Take Action Resources

As farmers prepare for a critical stage in their crop’s development when disease and pest pressure can threaten yield and profitability, the soy checkoff and its partners in the Take Action program present Pest Elimination Strategies and Tactics (PEST) Week, June 28 to July 2. This weeklong event focuses on the small steps farmers can take to mitigate pesticide resistance in real time during the growing season. Each year, PEST Week reminds farmers about the timely in-season information and resources available to them through the Take Action program to help manage pests, mitigate resistance and protect against crop loss.

Each day during PEST Week focuses on a different element of managing pesticide resistance. The schedule for PEST Week 2021 is as follows:
    Monday, June 28: The focus of the first day of PEST Week is “pests to watch out for during the 2021 growing season.” This day emphasizes the importance of identifying this season’s most damaging pests, including waterhemp, frogeye leaf spot and bean leaf beetle.
    Tuesday, June 29: As drought continues across the High Plains as well as the West and Southwestern regions, many areas in the South and Southeast have received above-average rainfall. This increases the need to scout for diseases. Day two of PEST Week points farmers to resources to help them adequately monitor crop conditions.
    Wednesday, June 30: Day three is all about the importance of choosing herbicides with multiple sites of action (SOAs) and fungicides and insecticides with multiple modes of action (MOAs). To help with this, the Take Action App provides farmers with a lookup tool that recommends MOAs and SOAs across various products.
    Thursday, July 1: The fourth day of PEST Week focuses on cultural, non chemical forms of weed control — specifically, cover crops. This day focuses on the promotion of Take Action’s new suite of cover crop resources, including different species, establishment, carryover and termination.
    Friday, July 2: The last day of PEST Week will serve as a wrap-up informing farmers about where they can access information about all things pesticide-resistance management, including the Take Action app, kit (with classification charts, fact sheets) and newsletter.

Partnering with university researchers, commodity groups and leading agrochemical companies, Take Action is a resource and educational platform farmers can use to strengthen their best management practices relevant to each pest and phase of the growing season.

“As technologies improve and growing environments evolve across the agricultural landscape, it’s important to update our pest control strategies with the latest unbiased, research-proven data and recommendations to delay resistance and preserve technologies that help us produce high-quality soy,” said Tom Oswald, United Soybean Board Supply Action Team Chair and farmer-leader from Cleghorn, Iowa. “Those recommendations and resulting strategies need to be diverse and specific to target profit-robbing pests on our farms.”

Pest identification is the crucial first step leading to effective control and resistance management. The second step is choosing products with multiple MOAs or SOAs to mitigate the risk of the pest evolving to overcome one particular control method. This can be accomplished easily with the herbicide, fungicide and insecticide charts and fact sheets available in the Take Action kit. The charts include lists of active ingredients, product names, economic thresholds and advice when cultural practices may be a good alternative choice.

“Multiple fungicide MOAs should be used as part of any effective disease management plan,” said Daren Mueller, associate professor and Extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. “The fungicide lookup tool helps identify other fungicides that fall into the same MOAs used previously to avoid product overlap, which can contribute to resistance development.”

PEST Week challenges farmers to remain proactive against pests and diseases, and reminds them to get the Take Action kit by visiting the Take Action program website at or on the go via the Take Action app for Apple or Android devices and tablets.

June 2021 Dairy Market Report Now Available

Overall U.S. dairy-product demand appears headed back to pre-pandemic levels, and U.S. dairy exports have achieved near-record highs as a percent of U.S. milk solids production during 2021 so far. Meanwhile, wholesale prices for butter, nonfat dry milk and dry whey in May were all higher than before the pandemic began, but cheese prices continue to struggle. However, capturing the state of dairy through data is unusually difficult at this moment, and will be for several months, as the industry is entering a series of months during which year-over-year comparisons are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruptions to dairy markets one year ago at this time. For example, U.S. milk production has been increasing, pressuring milk prices since early May, but year-over-year growth comparisons are somewhat misleading due to last year’s atypical seasonal production patterns. Similarly, year-over-year domestic fluid milk sales were down sharply this March and April, while commercial cheese use was up sharply in April.

See the full report here:

Worst Drought in Decades Puts Brazil on Alert

Still far from overcoming the coronavirus health crisis, Brazil is facing the worst drought in decades, a phenomenon that is becoming ever more frequent under the influence of deforestation in the Amazon, among other factors, and which is endangering the country’s electrical grid, which is based mostly on hydroelectricity.

The rainfall deficit is “critical” and will be aggravated in the coming months in Brazil during the Southern Hemisphere winter, the period of the year with the least rainfall, as government entities and sector experts consulted by EFE are warning.

The drought is concentrated in the southeastern and west-central regions of the country, where 70 percent of the hydroelectric power consumed in Brazil is generated.

The high temperatures and the scarcity of rainfall – the lowest precipitation figures in 90 years, according to official measurements – have aroused old fears about the possibility of electric power rationing, something that has been ruled out by the national government.

The combination of those two phenomena has drastically reduced the levels of the reservoirs that supply the hydroelectric dams with water in the affected regions.

At the end of May, the reservoirs were at about 30 percent of their capacity, the lowest level since 2001 for this time of year and, according to the most optimistic forecasts by the National Electrical System Operator (ONS), they will decline to just 10 percent of capacity by November.

July 4th Cookout Cost Stable Compared to Year Ago

U.S. consumers will pay just a few cents more for their favorite Independence Day cookout foods compared to last year, including cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau analysis reveals the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people remains affordable at $59.50, or less than $6 per person. The cost for the cookout is up just 16 cents (less than 1%) from last year, but 8% higher compared to 2019.

The largest year-to-year price increase was for strawberries. Survey results showed 2 pints of strawberries at $5.30, up 22% from last year, due to strong demand and the effects of several weather events including severe rain, hail and high winds that caused significant setbacks to the harvest early in 2021.

Retail price changes for products in the meat case are a bit more nuanced, according to AFBF Economist Veronica Nigh.

“Beef and pork processing plant disruptions that occurred in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been resolved, leading to lower retail ground beef and pork chop prices in 2021 compared to 2020,” Nigh said. “However, consumers looking a bit farther back to compare prices are seeing higher prices for ground beef, pork chops and chicken breasts compared to pre-pandemic (2019) prices. That’s due to continued strong demand for American-grown beef and pork from both U.S. and international consumers.”

AFBF’s summer cookout menu consists of cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, pork & beans, strawberries, potato chips and fresh-squeezed lemonade with ice cream and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. Both the index and the marketbasket remain relatively flat compared to year-ago levels.

The cost of transporting, processing and packaging farm-grown foods so they’re ready to be enjoyed on our tables is a major component of the total cost of the menu.

“According to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series, farmers currently receive approximately 8% of every food marketing dollar,” Nigh said. “The farmer’s share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2% to 4% for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and as much as 35% for some fresh-market products.”

The July 4th cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series, which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey of common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home.

This year’s survey combines Bureau of Labor Statistics food price data with the results collected by more than 160 volunteer rural shoppers across the country and in Puerto Rico, including Farm Bureau members and others.

Individual Prices, AFBF 2021 Summer Cookout
    2 pints of strawberries, $5.30 (up 22%)
    13-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.02 (up 11%)
    8 hamburger buns, $1.66 (up 6%)
    2.5 pounds of homemade potato salad, $2.75 (up 3%)
    2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $6.74 (up 1%)
    32 ounces of pork & beans, $1.90 (down 13%)
    2 pounds of ground beef, $8.20 (down 8%)
    Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $4.69 (down 5%)
    3 pounds of center cut pork chops, $11.63 (down 2%)
    2.5 quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $3.65 (down 2%)
    1 pound of sliced cheese, $4.05 (down 1%)
    13-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.93 (down 1%)

AFBF is the nation’s largest general farm organization with member families in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Learn more at or follow @FarmBureau on Twitter or @americanfarmbureau on Instagram.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Friday June 25 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.44 million cattle on feed on June 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 1% from last year. Placements during May totaled 390,000 head, down 5% from 2020. Fed cattle marketings for the month of May totaled 465,000 head, up 31% from last year. Other disappearance during May totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 620,000 head on June 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 2% from May and down 3% from June 1, 2020. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 510,000 head on feed, down 3% from last month and down 11% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,130,000 head, down 2% from last month and down 7% from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during May totaled 67,000 head, down 34% from April and down 11% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 49,000 head, down 12% from April but up 17% from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 116,000 head, down 26% from April and down 1% from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during May totaled 74,000 head, down 24% from April but up 42% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 61,000 head, down 10% from April but up 27% from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 135,000 head, down 19% from April but up 35% from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 head.

Note: This report is a combination of estimates from the USDA Cattle on Feed survey for Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-funded Cattle on Feed survey for Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on June 1, 2021. The inventory was slightly above June 1, 2020. This is the second highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 1.91 million head, 7 percent below 2020. Net placements were 1.84 million head. During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 255,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 470,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 501,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 235,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 95,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.87 million head, 23 percent above 2020. Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during May, 2 percent above 2020.

LENRD: Healthy soils positively impact groundwater quality

Soil is one of the most essential natural resources.  It affects every part of our day, from the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.  Soil health is the capacity of the soil to function as a living ecosystem, nourishing plants and sustaining animals and people.

At their June meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors learned more about soil nutrients through a presentation from the University of Nebraska’s Dr. Chittaranjan Ray, Professor and Director of the Nebraska Water Center and Michael Kaiser, Assistant Professor of Soil and Water Sciences.  The pair discussed many soil chemistry concepts and answered questions.

Soil becomes healthier when organic matter levels increase (carbon sequestration), water infiltration rates improve (reducing erosion, runoff, and flooding), and the soil biological life is diverse and plentiful.

Soil nutrients exist as positively charged or negatively charged ions when dissolved.  The positively charged ions are known as cations and the negatively charged ions are known as anions.

Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) is a soil chemical property.  It is the ability of the soil to hold or store cations.  When soil particles are negatively charged, they attract and hold on to cations (positively charged ions) like calcium, potassium, and sodium, stopping them from being leached down the soil profile.  On the other hand, negatively charged soil particles repel anions (negatively charged ions).  The implication of this is that negatively charged nutrients such as nitrate, sulphate, and chloride are vulnerable to leaching down the soil profile.

LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “It is often assumed that the CEC value can generally be utilized when considering the timing and amount of nitrogen that can be applied as fertilizer, but as Professor Kaiser illustrated in his presentation, there are a host of variables outside of our control which influence the soil’s ability to retain the nitrogen within the rootzone for later utilization by plant roots.”

In other action, the board rejected all bids for the Willow Creek Dam Pore Pressure Mitigation – Phase 1 Project and authorized the general manager to sign a contract with Dietz Well for completion of 2 test holes and 2 production wells at the Willow Creek Dam, southwest of Pierce, not to exceed $92,240.00.

The board also ratified the LR23 report for the Nebraska Legislature.  The progress report was requested from the LENRD board and was submitted on June 21st.

In other business, the board accepted the proposal from the University of Nebraska to conduct certain research related to the characterization of groundwater nitrate using stable isotope analysis within the district and authorized the general manager to sign the project agreement, not to exceed $17,712.00.

The board also approved the salary adjustments for the cost of living at 5.60% and approved the step and grade changes proposed by management for Fiscal Year 2022.

Anthony Wisnieski of Norfolk was sworn in to fill the vacant seat in Subdistrict 3, due to the retirement of Bob Huntley of Norfolk.  Anthony is originally from Dodge and moved to Norfolk in 1996.  He is part owner of Building Green Structures and is currently on the Energy Panel Structures Dealer Advisory Board.  Anthony’s priorities include providing clean and safe drinking water for future generations.

To learn more about the 12 responsibilities of Nebraska’s NRDs and how your local district can work with you and your community to protect your natural resources, visit and sign up for our monthly emails.  The next board of directors meeting will be Thursday, July 22nd at LENRD office in Norfolk at 7:30 p.m. and on Facebook Live.

Nebraska Producer Will Perform National Anthem During NCBA Annual Convention

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is pleased to announce that Carrie Behlke is the winner of the 8th annual National Anthem Contest, sponsored by Norbrook. Behlke will sing the National Anthem at the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tenn., during the Opening General Session on Aug. 10, as well as at the Cowboy’s Night at the Opry event on Aug. 12.

Behlke grew up in Ohio where her family raised Charolais cattle, and she served as an Ohio FFA Officer and was Queen for the Ohio Cattlemen's Association. After college, she worked for the American Shorthorn Association and later for The Show Circuit magazine. Today, Behlke, her husband and two daughters split their time between the family ranch in southwest Nebraska where they raise cattle and corn, and High River, Alberta, where her husband is a feedlot veterinarian. In addition to being a cattlewoman, she is a professional quilter and does freelance graphic design work.

Behlke was raised in a musical family and grew up performing in church. She began studying piano at the age of seven and started playing the guitar and singing in high school. As a college student her part-time job was teaching piano lessons, and she also played the trumpet in a jazz band.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating my Midwest roots and sharing my pride as an American by singing the National Anthem in August,” says Behlke. “My great love is classic country music, so I’m particularly excited to be singing in Nashville at the Opry, which is hallowed ground to me.”

As the winner of the National Anthem Singing Contest, Behlke will receive round-trip airfare for two to Nashville, convention registration for two, a hotel room for four nights during convention, and western wear from Roper and Stetson. Online voting by the public determined the winner.

The annual Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA trade show is the oldest and largest convention for the cattle business. This year’s convention is Aug. 10-12, and features meetings and events from the NCBA, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, CattleFax, National Cattlemen’s Foundation and the American National CattleWomen. For convention information and to register, visit

New Beef Processing Facility Construction Planned in Western Iowa

Construction is planned to begin in spring 2022 for a $325 million federally-inspected beef processing facility in Mills County, Iowa to process 1,500 head per day, employ 750 workers and an annual economic impact is estimated at $1.1 billion.

Chad Tentinger, founder and owner of TenCorp Inc., project developer and an Iowa cattle producer, wants to provide a market for cattle raised by smaller, independent cattle producers. Cattlemen’s Heritage is a newly formed corporation and with its roots in livestock production, plans to open the plant in late 2023.

The facility will be situated on the Mills-Pottawattamie County line in western Iowa, fronted by Interstate 29, giving access to infrastructure and a good labor force. Ernie Goss with Goss & Associates conducted the economic impact study of the Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef Plant. He says the facility will serve as a game changer for the surrounding counties by providing more than 3,300 jobs through construction and have a total impact of $6.4 million.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig championed the cause for providing more market access for Iowa’s cattle producers, as well as new jobs and the expansion of Iowa’s agriculture. “Creating more economic value to Iowa agriculture and the state’s livestock industry will help bring the next generation back to the farm,” Naig says. “This is important for the success and sustainability of the ag community and our state’s economy.”

Tentinger says Cattlemen’s Heritage wants to be able to help young farmers get into the cattle business and stay in the industry. The plant will start by harvesting about 800 head per day for the first several months and ramp up to 1,500 head per day by the end of the first year. A full workforce will be hired to be on hand when the plant opens.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association looks forward to the plant providing an opportunity to harvest cattle within the state of Iowa. “This facility will provide another market access for Iowa’s cattle producers with hopes of boosting cattle prices through competition and giving the state a needed economic boost for agriculture and the local area,” Matt Deppe, CEO of ICA says. “We look forward to having continued conversations with the Cattlemen’s Heritage group and how they can help our state’s cattle producers.”

Lawmakers Ask Biden Administration to Help Hog Farmers

Seventy lawmakers joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Reps. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) in letters asking the administration to stop a recent court order from harming U.S. hog farmers. The letters call on Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to appeal a recent federal district court striking down pork harvest facility line speeds allowed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS). The court order, set to go into effect on June 29, will lead to pork industry concentration and increased market power for plant operators at the expense of small hog farmers. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling for a longer stay of the court order and/or waivers that would allow the six impacted plants to continue operating at NSIS line speeds until a long-term solution acceptable to all industry stakeholders can be established.

The court decision will result in a 2.5 percent loss in pork packing plant capacity nationwide, and more than $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers, according to an analysis by Iowa State University Economist Dr. Dermot Hayes. According to Hayes, the impact will be alarmingly high in Michigan and other states where lost capacity will be as high as 25 percent.   

“We thank Sen. Grassley, Reps. Hagedorn and Johnson, and the 70 other members of Congress who signed onto this letter for their support of American hog farmers,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Sorenson added, “While the administration can appeal the court’s decision until the end of August, the damage to U.S. pork producers will be immediate. The operational changes impacted plants will be required to implement on June 29 will take time to unwind even if an appeal is filed before the end of August. It’s imperative that the administration act now to preserve industry competition and the livelihoods of small hog farmers.”   

Pork industry economist Dr. Steve Meyer of Partners for Production Agriculture described the impact of the court’s decision as follows:

“The district court ruling reduces competition because the impacted plants will process fewer hogs, leaving more pigs available to other packers. Some of these hogs were purchased through negotiated trades, but others were procured through contract arrangements that may be altered or canceled in the face of lower capacity. Producers whose contracts are affected will likely have to accept lower values for their animals. Prices received by all producers may be reduced due to decreased competition. Impacted producers may also incur additional freight costs to move hogs to distant plants with available capacity. The situation will get significantly worse in the fourth quarter when the hog supply reaches its seasonal high.”

The NSIS, initiated during the Clinton administration and evaluated at five pilot plants over 20 years, was approved for industry-wide adoption in 2019. NSIS modernized an inspection system that had remained unchanged for more than 50 years. At a time when the United States needs more pork harvest capacity, the court order will reduce plant capacity at six plants running at NSIS line speeds by as much as 25 percent. The five original NSIS plants have been safely operating for more than 20 years. The letters to the administration note that USDA data comparing worker injury data between 2002 and 2010 shows that the NSIS program led to fewer worker injuries over time and fewer injuries when compared to their non-NSIS counterparts.


Thanks in part to the National Pork Producers Council’s advocacy efforts, the United Kingdom recently increased its tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) for pork that will provide greater market access for U.S. producers. As part of the UK’s recent exit from the European Union, both parties had to agree on how to address TRQs for numerous agricultural products, including pork. NPPC worked closely with the U.S. Trade Representative to ensure the interests of U.S. pork producers were well represented.

The U.K. and E.U. ultimately decided the following: a) UK TRQ: 1,349 metric tons (MT) for meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen, with or without bone.  b) UK TRQ: 29,545 MT for meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen, boneless loins and hams; and c) 4,922 MT U.S. only TRQ: meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen, boneless loins and hams.  

NPPC appreciates the expanded access for U.S. pork into the U.K., and will continue to advocate for greater market growth when the U.S. and U.K. restart free trade agreement discussions.

 Fischer Disappointed By Supreme Court Biofuels Ruling

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which had struck down three small refinery exemptions that were deemed improperly issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“I am extremely disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling, which comes on the heels of reports that the Biden administration is considering reducing blending obligations for refineries. These small refinery exemptions and the opaque process by which they are issued are unfair to the hardworking farmers and ethanol producers in the Heartland. When considering the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations as well as the 70 pending SREs, I strongly urge the Biden administration to uphold its commitment to strengthen and protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

More information:

Today’s 6-3 Supreme Court ruling overturned the decision by the 10th Circuit which had stated that the EPA can only grant an extension of a waiver to a refinery, not grant new standalone waivers, and that the “disproportionate economic hardship” suffered by the refinery must be caused by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). For more information on the decision, click here.

Senator Fischer has taken a leading role in pushing for more transparency in the small refinery exemption process. Last month, she reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) which would provide more certainty for rural America. It would require small refineries to petition for RFS hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year. This change would ensure that EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) it sets each November. Read about that bill here.

Last spring, Senator Fischer led 16 of her Midwest colleagues in writing a letter to President Trump which encouraged EPA not to appeal the 10th Circuit Court decision, and the Biden administration agreed with this approach.  

House Biofuels Caucus Statement on Supreme Court’s Renewable Fuel Standard Decision and the Future Integrity of the RFS

Today, the co-chairs of the bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus—Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03), Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03), Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02), and Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02)—released the following statement after the Supreme Court weakened the RFS at the expense of family farmers and biofuels producers in rural America in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association:

“We are concerned with the potential consequences of today’s Supreme Court’s decision, which could have a devastating impact on farmers and producers who are still fighting to recover from the volatile markets, unpredictable weather, and trade instability of the past several years. However, we are encouraged that the Environmental Protection Agency had reversed its position on small refinery exemptions prior to the Supreme Court’s final opinion, and we urge the Administration to apply the same logic in deciding not to grant future waivers. Today’s decision underscores the importance of the RFS Integrity Act; we will continue to fight for the enactment of this legislation to support family farmers and the clean biofuels industry.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels by mandating that oil refiners blend billions of gallons of ethanol and other biofuels into their fuel each year or buy credits from those that do. Under the previous Administration, the EPA greatly expanded the number of small refinery waivers that were issued while undermining transparency and accountability in the SRE process. By issuing dozens of waivers between 2016 and 2020, the EPA saved the oil industry hundreds of millions of dollars while threatening rural economies and harming the biofuels industry at large.

In 2018, the Renewable Fuels Association and other groups filed a lawsuit challenging the Administration’s issuance of small refinery exemptions to three refineries in Oklahoma, Wyoming and Utah. Last year, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the RFS groups, declaring that the Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to extend an economic hardship waiver to any refinery that had not maintained a continuous string of annual waivers from the start of the RFS program. The court also held that in granting the waivers, EPA ignored its own studies that found refiners are largely able to pass through to customers their cost of acquiring Renewable Identification Number (RIN) compliance credits. Last year, several refineries, including HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining appealed the original ruling to the Supreme Court.

Ricketts: U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Ethanol Waivers Hurts Farm Families

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned a decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on small refinery exemptions from ethanol blending requirements.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on small refinery exemptions is disappointing and hurts farm families across the state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Regardless of the Court’s decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can still take steps to enforce a robust Renewable Fuel Standard.  I strongly urge President Biden and his administration to take clear steps to support our farm families, and to stop the broad use of waivers.”

ICGA Disappointed by Supreme Court Decision on RFS Exemptions

The U.S. Supreme Court voted against the 10th Circuit Court decision from last January that found refiners can only apply for an extension of an exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligation if they have continuously received refinery exemption extensions every year.

Iowa Corn Growers Association President Carl Jardon and farmer from Randolph, Iowa made the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed the Supreme Court didn’t uphold the 10th Circuit Court ruling on eligibility to request RFS refinery exemption extensions. However, Iowa Corn will not stop fighting to uphold the RFS as we know it is the most effective energy policy on the books today to improve our air quality, reduce our carbon footprint and increase the use and availability of biofuels for consumers. Working with the Biden Administration and our biofuels champions in Congress and the State of Iowa, ICGA will continue to fight every day for corn farmer profitability and the integrity of the RFS as a top priority.”  

IRFA Disappointed by Supreme Court Decision on RFS Exemptions

Today on a 6 to 3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the U.S. 10th Circuit Court decision from last January that found refiners can only apply for an extension of an exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligation if they have continuously received refinery exemption extensions every year.

In response, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw made the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed the Supreme Court didn’t uphold the 10th Circuit Court ruling on eligibility to request RFS refinery exemption extensions. I am not a lawyer, but it sure seems like the 10th Circuit Court got it right when they determined that a refinery can’t extend something it no longer has. However, it is important to remember this case only applied to one of the three major findings from the 10th Circuit Court. Today’s decision allows refiners to apply to extend RFS exemptions that have lapsed. But this case did not impact the 10th Circuit’s ruling that refiners must still prove economic harm directly related to compliance with the RFS. Just as importantly, the 10th Circuit also found that EPA cannot use RIN costs as a cause of economic harm while simultaneously admitting RIN costs are recovered in the refiner’s crack spread. As the Biden EPA has pledged to follow the 10th Circuit Court ruling, today’s decision allows refiners to request an RFS exemption extension, but it does not make it easier for refiners to actually receive one. We fully expect the Biden EPA to keep their commitment to the RFS and to apply the 10th Circuit Court standards relating to economic harm, and as a result, to deny the vast majority of RFS exemption extension requests that are pending or that will be submitted in the future.”


IFBF on U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding small refinery exemptions

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill

“While we are disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today, we appreciate that the guardrails on biofuel waivers established by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals remain intact.  This ruling is a blow for Iowa agriculture and our renewable fuel industry, which is a huge economic driver in our state.  The most important thing going forward is for the Biden administration to properly implement the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as it was written by Congress.  President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan have both expressed support for the RFS, and it is imperative to Iowa farmers that the administration continue that pledged support moving forward and take a clear stance against small refinery exemptions to limit the negative impacts this ruling will have on Iowa agriculture.”

Biofuels Coalition Disappointed in Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Tenth Circuit’s RFS Refinery Exemption Ruling

A coalition of renewable fuel and farm groups expressed “extreme disappointment” in today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning a 2020 appellate court ruling that struck down three improper small refinery exemptions granted by previous EPA administrators. However, because certain elements of the appellate court ruling were left unchallenged and were not reviewed by the Supreme Court, the groups remain optimistic that the Biden administration will discontinue the past administration’s flagrant abuse of the refinery exemption program.

Today’s decision stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and the American Coalition for Ethanol, working together as the Biofuels Coalition. The petitioners argued that the small refinery exemptions were granted in direct contradiction to the statutory text and purpose of the RFS.

In January 2020, the Tenth Circuit decided that EPA cannot “extend” exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed. According to the Circuit Court ruling, “the statute limits exemptions to situations involving ‘extensions,’ with the goal of forcing the market to accept escalating amounts of renewable fuels over time.” While the Supreme Court failed to affirm this portion of the Tenth Circuit decision, the Biofuels Coalition pointed out that the appellate court also ruled that EPA’s exemption decisions must reconcile the agency’s consistent findings that all refineries recover the costs of compliance with the RFS, and that EPA may only use hardship caused by the RFS to justify granting exemptions. Despite today’s Supreme Court decision, EPA must still resolve those other aspects of the Tenth Circuit ruling.

“Nearly a year and a half ago, the Tenth Circuit handed down a unanimous decision that was ultimately adopted by the very agency we took to court in the first place,” coalition members said. “While we are extremely disappointed in this unfortunate decision from the Supreme Court, we will not stop fighting for America’s farmers and renewable fuel producers. Further, we are optimistic that other elements of the Tenth Circuit decision, which were not reviewed by the Supreme Court, will compel the Biden administration and EPA’s new leadership to take a far more judicious and responsible approach to the refinery exemption program than their predecessors did.”

Irrespective of today’s decision, the Biofuels Coalition thanked President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for taking swift action to rein in the previous administration’s mismanagement of the small refinery exemption program. After carefully reviewing the issue, new EPA leadership in February reversed the agency’s previous position and announced support for the Tenth Circuit decision. In April, EPA decided to revoke three last-minute refinery exemptions granted the day before President Biden’s inauguration; and in May, EPA announced it would cooperate with a Government Accountability Office investigation into the past administration’s adjudication of small refinery exemptions.

As of today, 70 small refinery exemption petitions remain pending with EPA, for the compliance years 2011-2020.

 Soy Growers Frustrated Following SCOTUS Decision, Call on Biden Administration for Help

Different day, same small refinery exemption (SRE) woes. Soy growers are frustrated following a Supreme Court decision that overturns a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found the Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped its authority in granting certain Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending requirement exceptions to small refineries.

Now, those frustrated farmers are asking the Biden administration to step up and help.

Kevin Scott, soybean farmer from Valley Springs, South Dakota, and ASA president said, “This just means that the Biden administration needs to administer the RFS in a stable and predictable manner that achieves the biofuel-blending, greenhouse gas-reducing benefits that Congress intended when it passed the RFS.”

“SREs should be issued to small refiners only when the economic viability of a refiner is threatened solely because of the RFS, and any gallons exempted can be spread out among others to ensure that biofuel blending targets truly are met,” he adds.

Increased use of biodiesel and other renewable diesels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 74% compared to petroleum diesel, providing a proven and immediately available method to take meaningful steps to address climate change. ASA urges the Biden administration to significantly increase renewable fuel obligations for 2021, 2022, and beyond.

Growth Energy Statement on SCOTUS HollyFrontier v. RFA Opinion

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered an opinion in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association, which overturned the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that in order to qualify for a hardship exemption under the Renewable Fuel Standard, a small refinery must have received uninterrupted, continuous hardship exemptions for every year since 2011. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement in response:

“The Supreme Court disagreed with the lower court’s view of extensions, but today’s decision does nothing to change the 10th Circuit’s ruling that exemptions cannot be granted when refiners cannot properly trace their hardship to compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” said Skor. “In the past, the biofuel industry has looked to the courts to halt abuse. Today, new leaders at the Environmental Protection Agency have shown a willingness to defend the RFS, most recently by reversing three improperly granted exemptions. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to keep a lid on exemptions, further strengthen the RFS, and fast-track our progress toward decarbonization. Engine smart and earth kind biofuels are vital to achieving the nation’s climate goals.”

NBB Disappointed in Supreme Court Reversal on SREs

Today, the National Biodiesel Board expressed dismay at the Supreme Court's majority ruling on small refinery exemptions in the case HollyFrontier v RFA. In a divided opinion, the Court reversed one portion of a January 2020 US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit decision on these exemptions. The 10th Circuit decision still requires the Environmental Protection Agency to consider whether the Renewable Fuel Standard itself causes "disproportionate economic harm" to a small refinery requesting exemption and account for its own evidence that refineries recoup the costs of RFS compliance.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President for Federal Affairs, stated, "The Supreme Court decision is dismaying because it leaves uncertainty about when EPA may offer exemptions to small refineries. These exemptions harm biodiesel and renewable diesel producers when they reduce demand for advanced biofuels. EPA has provided multiple ways for refiners to meet the Clean Air Act's RFS requirements, including an outsized bank of reserve RIN credits. The agency must issue the 2021 RFS rules as soon as possible and ensure that RFS volumes it sets are met, with full accounting for any small refinery exemptions in plans to grant."

The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry supports 65,000 U.S. jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. Every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity. Biodiesel production supports approximately 13 percent of the value of each U.S. bushel of soybeans.

USDA Amends the National List for Organic Livestock and Handling

The Organic Foods Production Act created the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) as a tool for managing the substances used in organic production over time. In general, natural substances are allowed in organics and synthetic substances are prohibited. The National List identifies the limited exceptions to these general rules. The National List also identifies nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances (ingredients) that may be used in organic handling. Changes to the National List require a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommendation and USDA rulemaking, a process that provides multiple opportunities for public comment.

The USDA today published a final rule in the Federal Register amending the National List based on public input and the April 2019 NOSB recommendations. This final rule provides additional options for organic farms and businesses, by adding three substances to the list of substances allowed for organic production and handling.

The final rule allows:
    Oxalic acid as a pesticide for use in apiculture.
    Nonorganic pullulan for use in dietary supplements with “made with organic” claims (capsules and tablets).
    Collagen gel as a casing for organic products like sausages.

This final rule is effective July 26, 2021.

USDA, FCC, and NTIA Announce Interagency Agreement to Coordinate Broadband Funding Deployment

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced an interagency agreement (PDF, 274 KB) to share information about and coordinate the distribution of broadband deployment federal funds. In accordance with the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act, the respective Cabinet and agency leaders announced that their agencies will consult with one another and share information about the distribution of new funds from the FCC’s high-cost programs that support broadband buildout in rural areas, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services grant and loan programs, and programs administered or coordinated by NTIA.

“Generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in modern society and the modern economy. Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected,” Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said. “This is why, under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA remains committed to being a strong partner with rural communities and our state, Tribal, and federal partners in building ‘future proof’ broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage across the country.”

“The last fifteen months demonstrated like never before that broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Congress rightfully funded broadband deployment at levels we’ve seldom seen in recent years in response to the pandemic,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “In order to be good stewards of funds supporting these projects, I’m proud to announce with my colleagues that the FCC, NTIA, and USDA will strengthen our coordination to ensure that we make the most effective use of these new funds. I thank Secretary Vilsack and Acting Assistant Secretary Remaley for their leadership and partnership. Working together, we’ll be better able to meet our shared goal of getting 100 percent of Americans connected to the high-speed internet access they need to thrive.”

“Access to reliable, affordable high-speed broadband is critical to the economic well-being of communities and small businesses across America. Today’s announcement lays important groundwork for collaboration between agencies to ensure the federal government’s efforts to expand broadband access are as effective and efficient as possible, reaching every corner of the country,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “President Biden has made it clear that bringing affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American is a priority, and we can make it a reality through the historic investments in the American Jobs Plan. I want to thank Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Secretary Vilsack for their continued leadership on our shared goal of connecting every American and look forward to continuing to work alongside them on this issue.”

As part of the signed Agreement, each federal agency partner will share information about existing or planned projects that receive funding from the previously mentioned federal funding sources. Each partner will also, upon request, identify entities providing broadband service in a specified geographic area; the levels of broadband service in that area, including broadband speeds and technologies deployed; the geographic scope of broadband service in that area, each entity in that area that has or will receive funds from these programs. The agreement also requires the federal agency partners to consider basing the distribution of funds from the programs on standardized broadband coverage data. The agreement is effective at the date of its signing, June 24.