Friday, August 20, 2021

Friday August 20 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.20 million cattle on feed on August 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 1% from last year.  Placements during July totaled 440,000 head, down 6% from 2020.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of July totaled 520,000 head, up 4% from last year.  Other disappearance during July totaled 10,000 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 600,000 head on August 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from July but down 3% from August 1, 2020. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 455,000 head on feed, down 5% from last month and down 9% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,055,000 head, down 2% from last month and down 6% from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 56,000 head, up 27% from June but down 11% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 38,000 head, down 14% from June but up 9% from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 94,000 head, up 7% from June but down 4% from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 53,000 head, down 15% from June and down 24% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 61,000 head, down 15% from June but up 5% from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 114,000 head, down 15% from June and down 11% from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 2 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on August 1, 2021. The inventory was 2 percent below August 1, 2020.

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

Colorado .......:              1,040          102         
Iowa .............:                600             97            
Kansas ..........:              2,410           100          
Nebraska ......:              2,200            99          
Texas ............:              2,720            95           

Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.74 million head, 8 percent below 2020. Net placements were 1.68 million head. During July, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 375,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 255,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 410,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 424,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 205,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

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

Colorado .......:                   160            97          
Iowa .............:                     56            89          
Kansas ..........:                    440            85          
Nebraska ......:                    440            94         
Texas ............:                   370            89            

Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 1.90 million head, 5 percent below 2020. Other disappearance totaled 55,000 head during July, 4 percent below 2020.

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

Colorado .......:                  175           109                  
Iowa .............:                    53            76                 
Kansas ..........:                  470            96              
Nebraska ......:                  520           104               
Texas ............:                  410            87                  

Rural Mainstreet Growth Slows in August: Fewer Than 10% of CEOs Support $3.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

For the ninth straight month, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) remained above growth neutral, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.         
Overall: The overall index for August fell slightly to 65.3 from July’s 65.6. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.
Approximately, 34.4% of bank CEOs reported that their local economy expanded between July and August.
“Solid grain prices, the Federal Reserve’s record-low interest rates, and growing exports have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy. USDA data show that 2021 year-to-date agriculture exports are more than 25% above that for the same period in 2020.  This has been a prime factor supporting the Rural Mainstreet economy,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.  
Farming and ranching: For an 11th straight month, the farmland price index advanced significantly above growth neutral. The August reading expanded to 76.6 from July’s 71.0. This is the first time since 2012-2013 that Creighton’s survey has recorded 11 straight months of farmland prices above growth neutral.
Approximately 15.6% of bankers reported that continuing drought conditions were the greatest threat to their banking operations over the next 12 months.
The August farm equipment-sales index declined to 64.7 from 67.2 in July. Readings over the last several months represent the strongest consistent growth since 2012.
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August slipped to 69.4 from July’s 69.7. The state’s farmland-price index increased to 73.3 from last month’s 73.0. Nebraska’s new-hiring index sank to 68.2 from 74.1 in July. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet nonfarm employment has expanded by 4.4% over the past 12 months.

Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa dropped to a healthy 61.9 from 64.6 in July. Iowa’s farmland-price index advanced to 71.1 from July’s 67.8. Iowa’s new-hiring index for August expanded to 66.0 from 64.6 in July. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet nonfarm employment has expanded by 3.2% over the past 12 months.
Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities, and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.  

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005 and launched in January 2006.


Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, along with Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania, the ranking member of the house ag committee, joined university leaders on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus Friday for a town hall about the present and future of agriculture — and Nebraska’s important role in both.

NU President Ted Carter, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green and NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mike Boehm joined Fortenberry and Thompson for a tele-town hall about the importance of U.S. agriculture to the state, country and world, as well as about the new technologies shaping agriculture.

“American agriculture is defined, and always has been, by science, technology and innovation,” Thompson said during the tele-town hall.

A new facility to be co-located on Nebraska Innovation Campus could push all three forward.

Through his work on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Fortenberry has identified funding for a USDA Agricultural Research Service facility, co-located with the university on Nebraska Innovation Campus and geared toward developing resilient and regenerative precision agricultural practices.

Panelists agreed that Nebraska is a natural fit for such a facility.

Nebraska is unique in that it is home to seven climate zones, has various soil types and is suited to producing a wide range of crops and livestock, Carter said.

“It’s almost like a full cross-section of the United States in one state,” he said.

Nebraska’s land-grant university has had strong ag research, extension and workforce development programs since the beginning, Carter said. That remains true today.

“[Agriculture] is the centerpiece of everything we do,” Carter said. “I’m proud of that and proud of where we are going.”

The United States greatly increased its agricultural production following World War II, Green said, but about 15 years ago, as other countries began to increase investments in their own agricultural research programs, U.S. progress slowed. New investments, such as the potential ARS facility, are needed to ensure a bright future for U.S. agriculture.

Data and technology will drive that future, Boehm said. Nebraska researchers are already working to advance precision crop and livestock management, smart use of limited water resources and use of regenerative agricultural practices, such as cover crops and low- or no-till management, but even more investments in those areas are needed.

During the call-in portion of the tele-town hall, callers asked questions on wide-ranging issues including agricultural economics, domestic ag programs, national security and agricultural technology.

The variety of topics the panelists discussed illustrated the breadth and complexity of the U.S. agricultural industry. For example, the past year underscored the importance of closing the gap in broadband access between urban and rural areas, Fortenberry said. Broadband, he said, contributes to an “ecosystem of livability” that ensures agricultural producers have a high quality of life and that rural communities are able to attract and support the workforce necessary to drive agriculture forward.

It’s important, Thompson said, that Americans who aren’t engaged in agriculture are aware of these complexities, too. Increased science and agricultural literacy, he said, will be critical in helping city-dwelling Americans understand the challenges farmers and ranchers face, the contributions they make and the science behind food production in America.

“All of us need to tell the story of American agriculture,” Thompson said.

Dairy Store dishes new treat honoring NU president

Nebraska’s Ted Carter joined a small, esteemed club with the release of a new Dairy Store ice cream flavor named in his honor.

The debut of Carter’s Coffee Crunch took place during a 2:30 p.m. Aug. 16 ice cream social at the Dairy Store on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s East Campus. With the release of the flavor – crunchy coffee beans and mini chocolate chips in a chocolate and coffee base – the University of Nebraska system president joins such NU notables — including Husker football coach Scott Frost (Butterscotch Frost) and former Chancellor Harvey Perlman (Perl Swirl) — with custom Dairy Store flavors.

“Today we are coming together to share ice cream,” said Mike Boehm, NU vice president and Harlan vice chancellor for Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to a crowd assembled in the UNL Dairy Store, prior to opening the envelope bearing the new flavor’s name.

The Dairy Store brings people together in more ways than immediately meets the eye, Boehm said. Dairy store ice cream flavors are developed, perfected and ultimately produced at the Dairy Plant, part of the Food Processing Center on UNL’s Innovation Campus. Food science student employees help make the ice cream — a unique and valuable experience that helps them develop skills they’ll use throughout their careers.

The ice cream is then sold and marketed at the Dairy Store, which has been a campus fixture for more than 100 years.

“The Dairy Store is a place that connects the university to the people,” Carter said. “And, this is one of the best-tasting products we’ve got.”

Carter’s Coffee Crunch is currently available at the Dairy Store.

Nebraska Corn Board elects leadership during August board meeting

The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) elected four farmers to serve leadership roles at its recent board meeting on Aug. 19. The leadership roles are effective immediately and are yearlong in duration, with the possibility to be reelected.

Jay Reiners, At Large Director, was elected as chairman of the board. Reiners farms near Juniata, where he grows field corn, seed corn and soybeans. He has been farming for over 30 years and is the fourth generation managing the family farm. He graduated with an associate’s degree in general agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Reiners has been with NCB since 2017.

Brandon Hunnicutt, District 3 director, was reelected as vice chair of NCB. Hunnicutt farms near Giltner with his father and brother. On his farm, Hunnicutt grows corn, popcorn, seed corn and soybeans. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from UNL and has served on the board since 2014.

Andy Groskopf, District 8 Director, was elected secretary/treasurer of the board. Groskopf farms near Scottsbluff, where he farms irrigated corn and dry edible beans. He has been farming for over 20 years and is the fourth generation managing the family farm. He attended Western Nebraska Community College for automotive technologies. Groskopf has been with NCB since 2018.

David Bruntz, District 1 Director, assumes the role as past chairman of the board after serving three consecutive terms as chairman. Bruntz has been farming for more than 40 years near Friend. He grows corn and soybeans, and he also feeds cattle. Bruntz received a degree in production agriculture from the UNL’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. He has been with the board since 2013.

“I congratulate our new leadership team and look forward to the good things to come,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NCB. “We’ve had tremendous leadership throughout our history, and this new leadership group is no exception. In addition to the expertise and diversity of our full board, we’re well positioned to aggressively tackle our mission of promoting the value of corn by creating opportunities.”

The full board is comprised of nine corn farmers from across the state. Eight members represent specific Nebraska districts and are appointed by the Governor of Nebraska. The Board elects a ninth at large member. Board members serve three-year terms with the possibility to be reappointed.

CLAAS of America Expands to Include On-Site Training Facility in Omaha

CLAAS of America Thursday formally opened the all-new 20,000-square-foot CLAAS Academy training facility. Located adjacent to the CLAAS of America headquarters and manufacturing plant in Omaha, the state-of-the-art facility will host on-site and virtual training for the CLAAS dealer network.

“We at CLAAS recognize the importance of continuing a high level of service and support. Therefore, we must train our dealer technicians in the best way possible,” says Adam Haworth, Director of Services, CLAAS of America. “The Academy will offer CLAAS dealers a premium training experience in a highly professional learning environment that features innovative technology.”

Three classrooms provide a focused learning environment and include advanced technology to host both on-site and virtual training to the CLAAS dealer network. Temperature-controlled equipment bays allow technicians to get practical, hands-on experience with the largest CLAAS machines, from LEXION combines to JAGUAR forage harvesters and AXION tractors.

The academy expansion will also house the company’s workforce programs, which cultivate learning and engage the local community and technical schools through certification programs. The CLAAS Academy features an apprentice lab, home to the German-based ICATT apprenticeship program as well as the U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship program.
“CLAAS is committed to growing the workforce within the ag industry,” says Felicia Nichelson, Head of Academy, CLAAS of America. “The Academy will support a wide variety of training priorities from service, product and parts training to internal sales and leadership development programs.”

CLAAS Academy of North America will play an integral role in developing the industry-standard training pathway for dealers and technicians to follow. Dealers can be confident that when their staff attends CLAAS Academy, their teams will be better prepared to serve their customers who operate CLAAS machinery. To learn more about the all-new CLAAS Academy, visit

UNL to host webinar on trends in ag land values, cash rental rates

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability will host a webinar covering results of the university’s 2021 Nebraska Farm Real Estate report at noon on Aug. 26.   

The final report, which was published in July, found that Nebraska agricultural land values increased over the prior year, to a statewide average of $2,895 per acre. Land industry professionals responding to the annual survey attributed the rise in values to current interest rate levels, crop prices and COVID-19 disaster assistance payments to operators across the state.

The webinar will be presented by Jim Jansen, an agricultural economist with Nebraska Extension who co-authors the annual report. He will discuss the latest trends seen in land values and cash rental rates by region across the state and offer insight on what those mean for landlords and tenants. The impact of COVID-19 will also be covered.

The webinar is presented as part of the Center for Agricultural Profitability’s weekly webinar series, held every Thursday at noon.

For more information about the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report, and to register for the webinar, visit the Center for Agricultural Profitability’s website,

Deadline Approaching for Nebraska Beef Passport Program

The Nebraska Beef Council is encouraging Nebraskans to visit restaurants on the Good Life Great Steaks Nebraska Beef Passport in the next few weeks as the campaign draws to a close. The deadline to submit stamped passports is September 10.  

The Nebraska Beef Passport program was launched on May 1 of this year as a way to highlight the outstanding beef served at restaurants across the state. Participants receive stamps for ordering beef items at each of the 41 locations listed on the passport map. Stamped passports earn eligibility for for prizes including grilling swag, beef bundles and a customized Cabela’s cooler.

“There are only a couple of weeks left to participate in the program but there is still enough time to earn stamps,” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “Even one stamp makes you eligible for prizes. We’ve had a tremendous response to this program so it will be great to see the stamped passports and where people have travelled to enjoy beef throughout the summer.”

Passports are free and can be obtained at or from any participating restaurant. This year’s passport features 41 restaurants located in communities across the state. Stamped passports are due back to the Nebraska Beef Council by September 10 and prize winners will be notified by September 30.


The Raising Nebraska exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair will offer a host of new interactive activities during the 2021 fair, which runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 6 at Fonner Park in Grand Island.

The exhibit, a collaboration among the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska State Fair and Nebraska Department of Agriculture, features 25,000 square feet of exhibition space inside the Nebraska Building. Raising Nebraska, which is open year-round, includes a wide array of immersive, interactive and hands-on activities designed to help visitors better understand the production, conservation, science, technology, business and consumption aspects of Nebraska agriculture.

“We’ve started to dig deeper into the present and future of agriculture in Nebraska and that’s what we’re about,” said Sarah Polak, experience coordinator for Raising Nebraska. “When people come in here and think we’re about agriculture, they don’t expect the technology. They don’t realize that the impact of our research is often felt worldwide.”

New activities for 2021 include a giant scale that translates a visitor’s weight into bushels of grain, number of newborn pigs, gallons of milk or about a dozen other Nebraska agricultural products. Another new activity shows how agricultural exports from Nebraska make their way around the world, while yet another illustrates how corn is used in hundreds of everyday products.

Additionally, popular features from past years will be back in 2021. These include a walkable map of Nebraska, a combine simulator and a variable rate irrigation simulator that allows farmers to control individual sprinkler heads to deliver precise amounts of water to various areas of their fields.

“When it opened at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair, Raising Nebraska set a new standard for agricultural literacy,” said Kathleen Lodl, associate dean of Nebraska Extension. “Just as agricultural producers must keep innovating new ways to feed the world, Raising Nebraska must always evolve and incorporate new ways to tell the story of our food and the families who grow it.”

This year, the Raising Nebraska space will also be the site of dozens of demonstrations, 4-H events and other programming.

Last year, the 4-H fashion shows were moved to the Raising Nebraska space. While this decision was made with social distancing in mind, participants and their families liked the spot so much that it will be the fashion show setting again in 2021, Polak said.

The Raising Nebraska space will also be the setting of a 4-H robotics demonstration, a 4-H film fest, cooking demonstrations with well-known chefs, a presentation from Nebraska’s Department of Agronomy and Horticulture on uses for hops other than brewing beer, and more. Altogether, Polak said, Raising Nebraska will offer 85 hours of programming during the 11 days of the fair.

For many fair goers, the Raising Nebraska exhibit has become an annual stop. Since the exhibit first opened in 2014, 1.3 million people from across Nebraska and beyond have visited, and Polak can tell that the activities and interactive displays are making an impression on return visitors.

“We’re getting deeper questions now — things like ‘How are drones being used in agriculture?’” she said.

And as agriculture continues to evolve, she said, so too will the Raising Nebraska exhibit.

“Those activities that shed light on the technology, research and precision behind agriculture in Nebraska are the pieces we can and will continue to develop,” she said.

Raising Nebraska is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the Nebraska State Fair, with earlier hours on select days. For a complete schedule, visit

Sponsors include the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Potato Development Committee, Cargill and the Department of Agricultural Economics.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Sept .1 board meeting to be held in Lincoln

Fluid Quip Technologies will be the featured speaker for the upcoming Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 1. Maximized Stillage Co-products™ (MSC) extracts protein from the whole stillage that remains after ethanol processing and makes a 50 percent protein feed for pets, fish, dairy cows, poultry and swine. Multiple ethanol plants across the Midwest already use this technology. Presenters will discuss MSC success in the market, how the technology can diversify a plant’s revenue stream, and will highlight best practices for selecting technology additions to the base biofuel plant.

Nebraska Ethanol Board will host its meeting in Lincoln at 9 a.m. at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street). The agenda highlights are as follows:
    Husker Motorsports presentation
    Budget Report
    Fuel Retailer Update
    Nebraska Corn Board Update
    E30 Demonstration Update
    Approval of Contracts
    Marketing Programs
    Funding Requests
    Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
    Fluid Quip Technologies presentation
    State and Federal Legislation
    Ethanol Plant Reports

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Nebraska Ethanol Board meetings are open to the public and also published on the public calendar.

10 Reasons USSEC’s 15 Years Impactful for Soy & U.S. Economy

What happens when a devoted policy organization and an innovative research and promotion board collaborate to create a third soy group devoted to export promotion? In just 15 short years, a lot!

The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) was ideated by farsighted soy leaders within the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the United Soybean Board (USB) with an aim to create preference, drive value, and enable market access for U.S.-grown soy worldwide. Since its inception in 2006, the organization has since matched—and surpassed—its mission, today enabling reliable access to nutritious and sustainable U.S. Soy for human consumption, aquaculture, and livestock feed in more than 82 nations. All that soy—approx. $25.7 billion* in value in 2020/21—being transported and shipped internationally is supporting global food industries and the U.S. economy!

Monte Peterson, a U.S. soybean farmer from Valley City, North Dakota, and current chairperson of USSEC, has been heavily involved with all three soy organizations. “Having personally engaged with global customers and stakeholders on export promotion trips and virtually post-Covid, what USSEC does to advance global nutrition and food security and the competitiveness of the food industry with soy is impressive! It makes you appreciate the vision and wisdom of farmers and staff who prioritized investing in international markets 15 years ago! They knew developing and sustaining global export markets for food, feed or oil use would be critical to soy’s long-term impact,” says Peterson, who also currently serves on the ASA board.

To mark USSEC’s 15th anniversary, the three soy partner organizations—ASA, USB, and USSEC—share 10 compelling reasons U.S. Soy's years are significant for both soy and the U.S. economy!

1. #1! 60% of U.S. Soy is exported internationally, making it USA’s #1 food and agriculture export!

2. Doubled! U.S. Soy exports have doubled in 15 years to over 69 MMT vs. under 37 MMT

3. Tripled! Exports to China have tripled with 35+ MMT vs. 11 MMT

4. 100 million-plus! A cumulative 100 million metric tons of U.S. Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP)-verified shipments have been exported since program launch in 2014.

5. 15 months during COVID-19 (March 2020-May 2021), USSEC pivoted to digital marketing, engaging 61,407 customers and stakeholders at 522 virtual events to drive demand for U.S. Soy.

6. 5 U.S. Soy Excellence Centers (Egypt, Honduras, Thailand, Nigeria, and a sister program in China) are emerging to enhance expertise and capacity around the world and thus enable local country visions for health and nutrition in collaboration with their local food and agriculture industry and stakeholders.

7. 6x growth in exports to Egypt at ~2.7 MMT vs. 461,000 MT

8. 4x growth in exports to Colombia at ~1.5 MMT vs. under 360,000 MT

9. 50x growth in cumulative exports to Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh at 3+ MMT vs. 60,000 MT

10. 10x growth in cumulative exports to Ecuador and Peru at 770,000 MT vs. 71,000 MT in 2005

ASA and USB continue to work with and support USSEC, which today is comprised of a network of offices located domestically and internationally, all working to enhance its mission. The soy industry is proud of USSEC’s efforts to advance nutrition and food security, environmental sustainability, and livelihoods around the world while enhancing the competitive advantage of the food-feed-CPG-retail user industries of U.S. Soy.

USDA Invests $26 Million in Biofuel Infrastructure to Expand Availability of Higher-Blend Renewable Fuels in 23 States

Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $26 million to build infrastructure to expand the availability of higher-blend renewable biofuels by 822 million gallons annually in 23 states.

USDA is making the awards under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. The funding will help significantly increase the use of biofuels derived from U.S. agricultural products and prioritize climate-smart solutions that will help rural America build back better.

“Investments like these increase opportunities for American consumers to make climate-smart decisions and move the country closer to President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Maxson said. “By expanding the availability of higher-blend biofuels, we’re giving consumers more environmentally-friendly fuel choices when they fill up at the pump and stimulating an important market for U.S. farmers and ranchers.”

Today’s announcement includes investments in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin.

Today’s announcement marks the one-year anniversary of the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. To date, USDA has invested $66.4 million for projects that are expected to increase biofuels sales by 1.2 billion gallons annually.

Through this program, USDA helps transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities offer higher ethanol and biodiesel blends to customers by sharing the costs to install fuel pumps, equipment and infrastructure. For more information on the program, visit

NBB Welcomes USDA Biodiesel Infrastructure Grants

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for announcing new Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) grants that will expand availability of cleaner, low-carbon biodiesel. Among today's grants -- the third round to be announced under the program -- funding for 12 projects from California to Connecticut will support nearly 771 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Moreover, the combined projects will reduce the nation's carbon emissions by more than 7.2 million metric tons each year at a cost of less than $2.25 per ton.

"The biodiesel industry provides Americans cleaner, better fuels for transportation and home heating. Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions on average by 74% and considerably cuts particulate matter and other criteria pollutant emissions, which can generate immediate health care savings," said Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs. "Updating America's infrastructure to expand consumer access to low-carbon biodiesel and Bioheat® fuel is a low-cost, high-return investment in meeting the nation's goals for near-term carbon reductions.

"On behalf of NBB's members, I want to thank USDA and Secretary Vilsack for assisting the biodiesel industry through this very effective program. The return on investment is already evident. We also thank Senators Amy Klobuchar and Joni Ernst and Representatives Cindy Axne, Rodney Davis, and Dusty Johnson for sponsoring bipartisan legislation that would enable USDA to continue to offer these cost-sharing grants."

RFA Welcomes Latest Round of USDA Ethanol Infrastructure Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced it is investing $26 million to build infrastructure to expand the availability of E15, flex fuels like E85, and other higher blends of renewable fuels. USDA anticipates the grants announced today could expand demand by more than 800 million gallons annually across 23 states. The following is a statement from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper:
“The grants announced by USDA today will help facilitate the continued expansion of lower-carbon, lower-cost fuel blends like E15 and E85. RFA is proud to have assisted many of these retailers and marketers in identifying their equipment needs and preparing their grant applications. We look forward to continuing to work with these innovative retailers as their projects enter the next phase. RFA thanks USDA and Secretary Vilsack for continuing to prioritize this important program. Secretary Vilsack clearly understands that renewable fuels like ethanol should play a key role in the Biden administration’s strategy to decarbonize the transportation sector and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

USDA Announces Improvements to the Dairy Safety Net and New Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the details of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program as part of meetings with farmers and a tour of farms with Senator Leahy. In June, Secretary Vilsack committed to providing additional pandemic assistance for dairy farmers in an exchange at a hearing with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Leahy. Through the program, USDA will provide about $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic. The assistance is part of a larger package including permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program.

“The Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program is another component of our ongoing effort to get aid to producers who have been left behind and build on our progress towards economic recovery,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Family dairy farmers have been battered by the pandemic, trade issues and unpredictable weather and are the life-blood of many rural communities throughout Vermont, the Northeast and many other regions. This targeted assistance is the first step in USDA’s comprehensive approach that will total over $2 billion to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic and be more resilient to future challenges for generations to come.”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the senator with the most seniority on the Agriculture Committee, said: “I thank Secretary Vilsack for directing this assistance to small dairies in Vermont and across the country, just as he told me he would when we spoke earlier in the summer. This will help to make up for losses suffered by these family farms due to the pandemic and together with the positive adjustments to the Dairy Margin Coverage Program will be good news for farmers go into the fall.”

Under the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program, payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers for 80 percent of the revenue difference per month based on an annual production of up to 5 million pounds of milk marketed and on fluid milk sales from July through December 2020. The payment rate will vary by region based on the actual losses on pooled milk related to price volatility. USDA will make payments through agreements with independent handlers and cooperatives. Handlers and cooperatives will distribute the monies on the same basis July - December 2020 payments were made to their dairy farmer suppliers and a formula set by USDA. USDA will reimburse handlers and cooperatives for allowed administrative costs.

USDA will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives to notify them of the opportunity to participate in the Program. USDA will distribute payments to participating handlers within 60 days of entering into an agreement. Once funding is provided, a handler will have 30 days to distribute monies to qualifying dairy farmers. As part of the program, handlers also will provide virtual or in-person education to dairy farmers on a variety of dairy topics available from USDA or other sources. A handler will have until March 1, 2022 to directly provide educational opportunities to dairy farmers.

Additional details about the program are available and will be updated at the AMS Dairy Program website.

The program is part of $6 billion of pandemic assistance USDA announced in March to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of assistance. Other pandemic assistance to dairy farmers includes $400 million for a new Dairy Donation Program to address food insecurity and mitigate food waste and loss; and $580 million for Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for small and medium farms.

Outside the pandemic assistance, USDA will also make improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program updating the feed cost formula to better reflect the actual cost dairy farmers pay for high quality alfalfa. This change will be retroactive to January 2020 and is expected to provide additional retroactive payments of about $100 million for 2020 and 2021. Unlike the pandemic assistance, this change will also be part of the permanent safety net and USDA estimates it will average about $80 million per year or approximately $800 million over ten years for dairy headed into the upcoming Farm Bill. Full details on these additional actions to support dairy farmers will be provided when regulations are published in the coming weeks. Dairy farmers should wait until these details are available to contact their local USDA Service Center for more information.

NMPF Statement on USDA Dairy Announcement

President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“NMPF is grateful to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his team for working hard to provide needed support to dairy farmers. This includes implementing the congressionally-enacted Dairy Donation Program, which will foster partnerships between dairy organizations and food banks to help combat food insecurity and minimize food waste, as well as the Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage program to reflect modest increases in farm milk production history. We also appreciate USDA’s work to incorporate the premium-quality alfalfa price into the Dairy Margin Coverage program; this will improve the DMC feed cost formula and enhance the dairy baseline ahead of the next farm bill, to the betterment of all farmers.

“While we will comment more fully on those initiatives once details are available, today’s announcement includes the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program to compensate for some of the damage resulting from the pandemic. NMPF asked the department to reimburse dairy farmers for unanticipated losses created during the COVID-19 pandemic by a change to the Class I fluid milk price mover formula that was exacerbated by the government’s pandemic dairy purchases last year.

“When Congress changed the previous Class I mover, it was never intended to hurt producers. In fact, the new mover was envisioned to be revenue-neutral when it was adopted in the 2018 Farm Bill. However, the government’s COVID-19 response created unprecedented price volatility in milk and dairy-product markets that produced disorderly fluid milk marketing conditions that so far have cost dairy farmers nationwide more than $750 million from what they would have been paid under the previous system.

“NMPF has been working on approaches to right this unintended wrong to dairy farmers by recouping as much of the loss as possible. Today’s announcement is an initial step in this effort that will help many producers, but it unfortunately falls significantly short of meeting the needs of dairy farmers nationwide. The arbitrary low limits on covered milk production volume mean many family dairy farmers will only receive a portion of the losses they incurred on their production last year. These losses were felt deeply by producers of all sizes, in all regions of the country, embodying a disaster in the truest sense of the word. Disaster aid should not include limits that prevent thousands of dairy farmers from being meaningfully compensated for unintended, extraordinary losses.

“Additional work lies ahead to more fully remedy this shortfall for all dairy producers. We very much appreciate USDA’s persistence and efforts to find a way to cover some of these losses using existing authorities, but NMPF represents producers from all regions and of all sizes and believes that losses incurred by producers must be addressed equitably. Consequently, NMPF will work with Congress to seek supplemental funding to close this gap.

“NMPF also is continuing discussions about the current Class I mover to prevent a repeat of this problem. The COVID-19 pandemic may be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, but a large spread between Class III and IV milk prices is not, making it necessary to fix the Class I mover and put this problem to rest.

“We appreciate USDA’s attention to this problem as well as those in Congress who have advocated for addressing this unique loss to farmers and ensuring that it does not happen again.”

EPA Takes Action to Address Risk from Chlorpyrifos and Protect Children’s Health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will stop the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food to better protect human health, particularly that of children and farmworkers.

In a final rule released today, EPA is revoking all “tolerances” for chlorpyrifos, which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food.  In addition, the agency will issue a Notice of Intent to Cancel under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to cancel registered food uses of chlorpyrifos associated with the revoked tolerances.

“Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health. Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “After the delays and denials of the prior administration, EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first.”

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used for a large variety of agricultural uses, including soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli, cauliflower, and other row crops, as well as non-food uses. It has been found to inhibit an enzyme, which leads to neurotoxicity, and has also been associated with potential neurological effects in children.

The steps the agency is announcing today respond to the Ninth Circuit’s order directing EPA to issue a final rule in response to the 2007 petition filed by Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council. The petition requested that EPA revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances, or the maximum allowed residue levels in food, because those tolerances were not safe, in part due to the potential for neurodevelopmental effects in children.

Under the previous Administration, EPA denied the petition in 2017 and denied the subsequent objections in 2019. These denials were challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019 by a coalition of farmworker, health, environmental, and other groups.  In April 2021, the Court found that “...EPA had abdicated its statutory duty under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act...” to “conclude, to the statutorily required standard of reasonable certainty, that the present tolerances caused no harm.” In its decision, the Court ordered EPA to grant the petition, issue a final rule in which the agency either modifies the chlorpyrifos tolerances with a supporting safety determination or revokes the tolerances, and modify or cancel food-use registrations of chlorpyrifos.

EPA has determined that the current aggregate exposures from use of chlorpyrifos do not meet the legally required safety standard that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from such exposures. A number of other countries, including the European Union and Canada, and some states including California, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Oregon have taken similar action to restrict the use of this pesticide on food.

While farmers have historically relied on chlorpyrifos, its use has been in decline due to restrictions at the state level and reduced production. Additionally, some alternatives have been registered in recent years for most crops. There are also other chemistries and insect growth regulators available for certain target pests. EPA is committed to reviewing replacements and alternatives to chlorpyrifos.

The U.S. has a safe and abundant food supply, and children and others should continue to eat a variety of foods, as recommended by the federal government and nutritional experts. Washing and scrubbing fresh fruits and vegetables will help remove traces of bacteria, chemicals, and dirt from the surface. Very small amounts of pesticides that may remain in or on fruits, vegetables, grains, and other foods decrease considerably as crops are harvested, transported, exposed to light, washed, prepared, and cooked.

 EPA Revokes All Ag Tolerances for Chlorpyrifos

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that, effective six months from now, all agricultural-use tolerances for the insecticide chlorpyrifos will be revoked. This effectively prevents use of the chemistry, as any crops found with residues of chlorpyrifos will be considered “adulterated” under the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetics Act (FFDCA). In the months to come, EPA is expected to also cancel uses for chlorpyrifos under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Chlorpyrifos is registered for use on 50 crops and is an important tool farmers use to protect their crops from damaging insects. Soybean farmers use chlorpyrifos to guard against soybean aphids, spider mites, and other pests that can transmit viruses that can further harm crops.

The decision to revoke tolerances follows on the heels of the April 29 decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled EPA must grant a 2007 NGO human health petition to revoke all tolerances and cancel registered uses for chlorpyrifos or modify them to meet FFDCA standards. The Court gave EPA until August 20 to respond, which EPA has done with this ruling.

The American Soybean Association and its farmer-leaders have expressed significant disappointment with this decision.

“A pledge was made at the beginning of this administration that regulatory decisions would be based in sound science. EPA’s decision to revoke tolerances of chlorpyrifos has given us great reason to question that promise,” said ASA President Kevin Scott (SD). “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave EPA the opportunity to preserve uses of chlorpyrifos if human health could be protected. EPA’s career scientists have indicated they believe that is possible, yet EPA decided to revoke all agricultural tolerances regardless. As a result, our nation’s ag producers and related environmental outcomes will suffer. It is disappointing EPA has allowed the fear of litigation to eclipse sound science and its regulatory responsibilities.”

ASA has been on the front lines trying to protect continued grower access to chlorpyrifos. In March 2020, ASA filed its own comments and also led coalition comments to EPA supporting the chemistry, which drew nearly forty signers. In response the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, ASA drafted a coalition letter to EPA urging the agency to appeal or seek a rehearing on the Court’s decision. ASA also participated in a grower meeting with EPA in July detailing critical uses of the chemistry and asking EPA to maintain as many uses as possible.

Promote agriculture online and in your campus community this fall!

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition kicks off September 13. The program is open to undergraduate, graduate students, collegiate clubs and classes who will receive nine weeks of interactive and educational content to learn how to engage about food and agriculture online and in their communities. Last year students were awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships.

The continued success of the CAO program would not have been possible without the support of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI). “Being involved with College Aggies Online gives us the opportunity to work with Gen Z agriculture experts, who can be effective at delivering our story of responsible food production to their peers,” said Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital innovations. “The students involved with this program are the leaders and advocates of tomorrow, so it’s important to the dairy industry and our farmers that we help foster and develop their communications skills to help make sure this next generation of consumers understands where their food comes from and who produced it.”

College Aggies Online helps students become confident and effective communicators on behalf of agriculture and has been doing so since 2009, featuring an individual and club competition. The individual competition is a completely virtual experience. Students receive guidance from industry experts and farmer mentors on how to write blog posts, create viral social media posts, design eye-catching infographics and so much more. The club competition provides both in-person and virtual engagement opportunities for college clubs and classes to engage with peers on campus about agriculture.

Collegiate clubs and classes have 10 challenge categories available to choose from to earn points for the club competition. In the “Undeniably Dairy” challenge sponsored by DMI, clubs are encouraged to partner with local dairy farmers and checkoffs to share the nutritional benefits of dairy and how its produced with students on campus who may not be familiar with agriculture. Additional examples of club challenges include a farm tour, hosting an "Ask a Farmer" panel, bringing agriculture to a local K-12 class, collaborating with the campus dining community and much more. All club challenges can be adapted to in-person or virtual formats.

Students interested in becoming confident and effective communicators for agriculture are invited to sign up at

The CAO program would not be possible without the generous support of our 2021 sponsors. In addition to Dairy Management Inc., this year’s sponsors include CHS Foundation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, National Corn Growers Association, Institute for Feed Education and Research, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Ohio Poultry Association, and Culver’s Franchising System.

No comments:

Post a Comment