Thursday, September 30, 2021

Wednesday September 29 Ag News

 Governor Signs Proclamation for Cooperative Month

A proclamation recognizing October as Cooperative Month was signed by Governor Pete Ricketts on September 25, 2021.

Cooperative Month has been celebrated nationwide and in Nebraska for many years to call attention to the economic benefits which come from cooperative businesses.

The proclamation signed by the Governor recognizes Nebraska’s farmer owned cooperatives and rural electric and telephone cooperatives and the important role that cooperatives play in the lives of many Nebraskans.

In 2021rural agricultural cooperatives served the needs of approximately 64,000 farmer and rancher owners. With a combined payroll of over $370 million, these cooperatives directly employed 5,300 Nebraskans and maintained locations in 401 rural communities across the state.

Last year, Nebraska’s agricultural cooperatives made cash patronage and cash equity redemption payments to their members in the amount of $50.7 million and at the same time reinvested another $157 million in property, plant and equipment to serve their members’ needs. All of this economic activity arouse from total statewide revenues of approximately $6.3 billion.

Economic benefits of cooperatives do not end with their members. Rural communities were supported by $18 million of property tax paid by agricultural cooperatives. In addition, Nebraska’s farmer owned cooperatives, governed by their farmer owners, contributed $1.8 million to local fire departments, local school and youth organizations, local and statewide FFA and 4-H chapters and provided numerous scholarships to help rural Nebraska students continue their educations.

Rocky Weber, President & General Counsel of the Nebraska Cooperative Council, the state’s only trade association devoted exclusively to advancing, protecting and promoting the cooperative business model, stated: “Every October, Nebraskans have the opportunity to learn about the important role Nebraska’s cooperative system plays in the economic well being of rural Nebraska. Nebraska’s farmer owned cooperatives, in addition to providing direct economic benefits to their farmer members, offer excellent employment opportunities throughout rural Nebraska. Farmers supporting the communities in which they live by doing business through their respective cooperatives demonstrates the values and principles that make cooperatives a unique business structure. Governor Ricketts’ proclamation of October 2021 as Cooperative Month in Nebraska is a welcome acknowledgment of how important Nebraska’s cooperative system is to the economic fabric of all Nebraska.”

NeCGA Welcomes New Director of Grower Services

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) has hired a new director of grower services. Katherine Byrne brings talent and experience from her time as public relations director at Ag Valley Co-op and internships with the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and Nebraska Agribusiness Association. Katherine also sits on the board of the Nebraska FFA Foundation as their secretary.

“We are excited to have Katherine on our staff,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA. “As a strong advocate for the agriculture industry, she will serve our producers well and will work to boost our membership.”

Katherine received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2018. Her education included event planning, digital marketing, and crisis communication. As the director of grower services, Katherine will work closely with local associations to increase membership, coordinate programs and NeCGA communication, and develop relationships with allied industry partners.

Katherine can be reached by calling the association office at 402.438.6459 or


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Many soybean fields have already been harvested. Cows are often put on soybean residue in order to get them off pasture when other forage options are unavailable. Soybean residue or stubble may also be baled and used in rations. But what is the quality of grazed or baled soybean residue?

Soybeans themselves are very high in protein and fat. They are about 40% Crude Protein and about 20% fat which is why soybean residue can be perceived as great feed. However, the residue itself has a much different feed composition. The empty pods and stems contain only 4 to 6% CP and the TDN is only 35 to 45%. The leaves are slightly higher in protein at 12%, but the protein is only 30% digestible and leaves break down quickly after plants reach maturity and harvest has taken place.

These feed values will not begin to support the nutritional requirements of a dry cow even if there is some grain left in the field. Soybean residue can be grazed and would work to remove cattle from pasture as long as supplemental feed is provided.

Baled residue can be worked into a ration once the quality of the soybean residue bales is determined. Bales can be used as a roughage source in rations if other sources are less available. Just like grazing, baled soybean residue does not even come close to providing the feed value of corn stalk bales.

Soybean residue may not be the quality we often think. Residue alone will not meet even a dry cow’s nutrient requirements, so supplementation will be need if you decide to utilize your soybean residue

Master Planning Committee seeks public input on future use of Fonner Park

The Nebraska State Fair 1868 Foundation Master Planning Committee will be hosting a public listening session on Monday, October 4th from 5-7pm to further detail the process for long-range planning for the Fonner Park Campus and to gather the publics input, ideas and suggestions for the future of the campus as well as their ideas for the best use and future growth of the campus and the Nebraska State Fair.

“The extensive Master Planning Process for this campus began in early August with all of the stakeholders who utilize Fonner Park throughout the year,” said Lindsey Koepke, executive director of the 1868 Foundation. “Populous and the team they assembled have worked tirelessly to gather feedback from these stakeholders but we feel it is equally important to hear feedback for guests and visitors of the campus and the Nebraska State Fair.”

The 1868 Foundation who is serving as sponsor acting on behalf of entities that utilize and support the Fonner Park Campus including Fonner Park, Nebraska State Fair, Heartland Events Center, Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority (GILCA), Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Island & Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Hall County Agricultural Society, Grow Grand Island, Hall County, the City of Grand Island.

The global planning firm Populous was selected to conduct the Master Plan along with CMBA Architects, Olsson Engineering and Chief Construction – all local with a long history of working in the Grand Island community and a clear understanding of the Fonner Park Campus as well as the facilities which were built to house the Nebraska State Fair.  Populous has experience in working with both horse tracks and state fairs.  CSL is also part of the team, specializing in financial and economic strategic planning.

“We want to hear your perspectives on Fonner Park, how it is important to the community, and how it can be better to accommodate the modern culture and needs of the community. Together we want to cast a common vision for the future of the Park,” said Populous’ Charlie Kolarik, Principal-in-Charge for the project.

“We know that the best way to drive positive change is to learn from our customers and to hear what they have to say, said Terry Galloway, chairman of the 1868 Foundation Board. “Understanding what our users want and need will drive positive change for this campus and serve as the catalyst to an enhanced and more user friendly destination.”

“All interested people are genuinely encouraged to attend this session and offer constructive criticism, ideas, suggestions and dreams for the Fonner Park physical plant to better host the Nebraska State Fair, Fonner Park Race Meet and the diverse multiple events that are or could be hosted hereon,” said Bill Ogg, executive director of the Nebraska State Fair.

The Public Listening Session will take place on Monday, October 4th from 5-7pm in the Raising Nebraska Exhibit in the Nebraska Building at Fonner Park. This event is open to the public. Those not able to attend the Public Listening Session can fill out the online survey at

The mission of the Nebraska State Fair 1868 Foundation is to raise funds and resources for the overall improvement of your Nebraska State Fair. We are a proud charitable 501(c)3 organization. To give a gift to support the 1868 Foundation in this effort, please visit

Rural businesses still find assistance

A familiar program with a revised name is still offering important assistance to rural Nebraska businesses and extending services to homeowners.

The Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) was established in 1990 as a program of the Center for Rural Affairs, providing loans, training, and business planning assistance to businesses with up to 10 employees.

REAP, familiar across Nebraska for assisting small businesses, is now simply referred to as the Center for Rural Affairs. The organization remains based in Lyons, Nebraska.

“We are not making any changes to our mission, staff, or operations,” said Kim Preston, director of Lending Services at the Center. “We are here for whatever small businesses in Nebraska need, whether that’s funding, help to navigate the pandemic, assistance in marketing, or otherwise.”

In its history, the Center has extended more than $23 million to assist Nebraska small businesses. That number has been on the rise in recent years thanks to the establishment of a nonprofit subsidiary of the Center. The U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) can make larger loans to small businesses, ultimately having a greater impact on the businesses and communities in rural Nebraska.

“In the beginning, we were lending only small amounts to businesses,” Preston said. “Now, we have the ability to lend from $1,000 to $250,000. We also expanded our business development services to meet demand.”

In addition to small business loans, earlier in 2021, the Center began offering homeownership and home improvement loans in rural Nebraska. The loans between $5,000 and $100,000 can be used to assist in the purchase of a home, owner-occupied rehabilitation or renovation, or emergency repair to a property.

“This name change is to streamline our brand identities,” Preston said. “Now all services are under the Center for Rural Affairs name.”

To learn more about the impact the Center for Rural Affairs is making, visit To inquire about services, visit or call 402.687.2100.

Scoular adds Megan Belcher to Board of Directors

Megan Belcher, a C-suite executive and board leader with deep experience in risk management, compliance, corporate governance, human resources and inclusion matters, has been appointed to Scoular’s Board of Directors.

Belcher joined Scoular in 2017 and serves as Scoular’s Chief Legal & External Affairs Officer. She was appointed this week to the company’s nine-member Board of Directors.

“Megan is a proactive, results-driven leader,” said Scoular Chairman of the Board David Faith. “She has led our company and board in numerous capacities, consistently operating with high integrity, driving results and creating a culture that will enable Scoular’s growth and prosperity.”

Belcher has more than 20 years of experience working for private and public companies in the agricultural, commodities, food ingredients and consumer food industries. She worked in private practice representing large public and private companies in an Am Law 100 firm before beginning her in-house legal career in 2007. At Scoular, Belcher oversees the legal, brand marketing and corporate communications, and sustainability and ESG functions. She also leads the governance and management work for the Board of Directors as its Corporate Secretary and is a National Association of Corporate Directors Governance Fellow.

Belcher has received national recognition for her executive, ESG, and diversity and inclusion leadership, as well as her legal and compliance-focused, law department management and industry skills. She founded Scoular’s first employee resource group, Scoular Women Influencing Culture and is a Scoular Foundation Trustee. Earlier this year the Women’s Center for Advancement honored Belcher for her achievements and dedication to bettering the lives of those in the Omaha community, which followed other national and local recognition for Belcher given her investment in many areas.

Belcher graduated from the University of Missouri and Boston College Law School. She resides in Omaha with her two young daughters.

Des Moines Chefs Win Winefest's Pork + Pinot Competition

Pork and wine pairings took center stage at a culinary competition and social soiree in downtown Des Moines in late September.

Pork + Pinot, a Des Moines Winefest event presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), gave Iowans the opportunity to taste pork dishes specifically paired with wine. The event especially attracts younger professionals.

Chefs Brett Sue and Caleb Crossett, of Cheese Bar in Des Moines, took home the first-place honors at the event, which invited local chefs to create “a pork-focused recipe that best reflects Iowa,” using their choice of pork belly, shoulder, or loin.

The duo’s winning entrée—Hoisin Confit Pork Belly Cones—featured Hereford pork belly from Crooked Gap Farm in Knoxville; plum hoisin; kimchi pickled salad; puffed rice; and cilantro. Ingredients were layered inside a cone-shaped paper cup, which was a “fun plating,” one judge noted. Another judge commented that the “pork is perfect.”

Sue and Crossett received $500 for their top dish in a field of seven chefs/chef teams. They also were given an IPPA gift package.

The judges selected Chef Cole Gruis of Aposto in Des Moines for second place. Gruis prepared Garlic and Pork Shoulder Agnolotti: homemade stuffed pasta, smoked ausilio pepper pesto, and aged Parmesan foam. He received $200 and a gift package from IPPA.

The People’s Choice award, selected by Pork + Pinot attendees, went to Dominic Iannarelli of Splash Seafood Bar & Grill in Des Moines. He served The Big Hickory: smoked pork loin with bread-and-butter green tomatoes from Rinehart’s Family Farm in Boone; Prairie Breeze™ white cheddar from Milton Creamery in Milton; organic Bibb lettuce; and mustard sauce on a Big Marty’s sesame roll. Iannarelli also received $200 and an IPPA gift.

“The Pork + Pinot event was an overall hit,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA’s marketing and programs director. “It was a beautiful Iowa evening highlighted with delicious pork, wines, and great conversation.”

Other chefs and their dishes were: Hannah Elliott, Lola’s Fine Kitchen in Ankeny, Filipino Garlic Fried Rice; Cyd Koehn, Cyd’s Catering in Johnston, Gua bao-Pork Belly Buns; Jess Kruzslicz, Bubba in Des Moines, Pork Belly Crostini; and Said Pineda, El Fogón in West Des Moines, Tacos Carnitas.

IPPA provided $600 stipends to each of the chefs/chef teams to cover the costs of the food they prepared.

NBB Hits the Airways with NPR Sponsorship

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today announced a three-week sponsorship of National Public Radio (NPR) as part of comprehensive educational campaign aimed at decision-makers and the public. The 15-second spot will air on some of NPR’s most listened to programs including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and 1A.

“We’re excited to share the biodiesel industry’s ‘Better. Cleaner. Now!’ message with a national audience through this NPR sponsorship,” said Liz McCune, NBB director of communications. “Thanks to the generous support of the United Soybean Board, Kentucky Soybean Board, Nebraska Soybean Board and Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, we are able to educate a broad and diverse audience about how biodiesel and renewable diesel are reducing carbon emissions now, from coast to coast.”

NBB is sponsoring a total of 46 spots on nine programs beginning in September, with estimated impressions of more than 30 million. The ad was voiced by NPR’s Jessica Hansen.  The copy is as follows:
     “Support for NPR comes from the National Biodiesel Board, the United Soybean Board, and state soybean checkoff boards, whose members are delivering low-carbon fuels today. More information is at”

National Farmers Union Pleased Lawsuit Against the “Big 4” Packers Moving Forward

This month, a federal judge in Minnesota ordered a class-action lawsuit against JBS, Tyson, National Beef, and Cargill to proceed. In the case, National Farmers Union is among the plaintiffs alleging that America’s four largest beef packers conspired to suppress the price of cattle and increase the price of beef.

“We are pleased the effort to restore pricing transparency and competitiveness to the cattle markets is moving forward in the courtroom. This case is nearly two-and-a-half years old and we look forward to the next step in the litigation,” commented Rob Larew, President, National Farmers Union.

The case now enters the discovery phase of the trial, where evidence and information will be presented to demonstrate how packers violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and the Commodity Exchange Act.

“As the case moves to discovery, NFU will continue to hold the packers accountable. Malfeasance in the cattle markets has been very damaging to independent farmers and ranchers, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for our members in the courtroom,” Larew added.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/24/2021

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending September 24, ethanol production scaled back by 12,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.3%, to a four-week low of 914,000 b/d, equivalent to 38.39 million gallons daily. Production was 3.7% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic, but 4.6% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production volume increased 0.3% to 925,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.18 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked 0.5% higher to 20.2 million barrels. Stocks were 2.7% above the year-ago level but 12.9% below the same week in 2019. Inventories built in the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5) but declined across the other regions.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, improved by 5.7% to 9.40 million b/d (144.09 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 10.2% above a year ago and 2.9% more than the same week in 2019.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose to the largest weekly volume this month, up 1.2% to 910,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.95 bg annualized. Net inputs were 8.3% above a year ago but 1.4% less than the same week in 2019.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded after 36,000 b/d hit the books the prior week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2021.)

Fertilizer Prices Keep Climbing

Two fertilizers saw significant price increases in the third week of September 2021, according to retail prices tracked by DTN.  A number of other fertilizer prices moved higher too, although they didn't meet the 5% threshold, which DTN considers significant.  

Potash was 10% higher compared to last month. The fertilizer had an average price of $625/ton.  Urea was 5% more expensive than the prior year. The nitrogen fertilizer had average price of $585/ton.  The average retail price for MAP was 4% more expensive than last month at $786/ton.  At 3% higher, anhydrous was $772/ton, UAN28 $383/ton, UAN32 $436/ton.  DAP prices increased 2% to an average price of $709/ton, while 10-34-0 was flat at $633/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.64/lb.N, anhydrous $0.47/lb.N, UAN28 $0.68/lb.N and UAN32 $0.68/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all fertilizers have increased significantly.  10-34-0 is now 39% more expensive, urea is 62% higher, DAP is 63% more expensive, UAN32 is 72% higher, MAP is 74% more expensive, UAN28 is 78% higher, anhydrous 82% is more expensive and potash is 85% higher compared to last year.

USDA Commits $500 Million for ASF Prevention

The National Pork Producers Council today commended Agriculture Secretary Vilsack for dedicating $500 million in USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds for prevention of and preparation for African swine fever (ASF), a pig-only disease that would be devastating for the U.S. pork industry.

The CCC, a wholly owned government corporation created in 1933, implements specific agricultural programs established by Congress and carries out activities under the CCC Charter Act.

“NPPC thanks Sec. Vilsack for providing additional funding for federal efforts to protect America’s 60,000-plus pork producers from this devastating disease,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “The United States remains free of ASF, and the U.S. pork industry for the past several years has been doing everything it can to maintain that status. These funds will help that effort.”

“To paraphrase then-Vice President Biden, this is a big freakin’ deal,” said Bob Acord, an NPPC consultant and former administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “This is unprecedented both in terms of the amount dedicated to one animal disease and of getting the funds upfront, before we have the disease in the U.S.”

ASF, which is not a threat to people but is highly contagious among hogs and has a nearly 100 percent mortality rate, recently was detected in the Dominican Republic and in Haiti, the first time in 40 years the disease has been in the Western Hemisphere. APHIS immediately took steps to stop the spread of the disease to the U.S. mainland and to the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ever since ASF began spreading through Asia in 2018, NPPC has been urging Congress and USDA to prepare for the disease, asking for, among other things, funds for additional U.S. agricultural inspectors, more staff for USDA’s Veterinary Services, funds for APHIS’s Veterinary Stockpile for equipment to euthanize hogs and additional washout facilities for trucks that transport livestock.

For its part, NPPC has been educating U.S. pork producers about precautions to protect the U.S. swine herd, including using caution when hosting on-farm visitors from ASF-positive regions of the world, reviewing biosecurity protocols to ensure consistent practice of appropriate safeguards and discussing with feed suppliers the origin of ingredients they use in hog feed formulas.

“ASF is a serious disease, with serious consequences for pork producers,” Sorenson said. “We’re pleased USDA recognizes the severity of this threat and is dedicating a lot of resources to deal with it and to protect the nation’s pork producers.”

USDA Announces $3 Billion Investment in Agriculture, Animal Health, and Nutrition; Unveils New Climate Partnership Initiative, Requests Public Input

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a comprehensive set of investments to address challenges facing America’s agricultural producers. These include assistance to address challenges and costs associated with drought, animal health, market disruptions for agricultural commodities, and school food supply chain issues. Secretary Vilsack also outlined and requested public comments on a new climate partnership initiative designed to create new revenue streams for producers via market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices.

“American agriculture currently faces unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts,” said Vilsack. “The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every stage of our food supply chain, from commodity production through processing and delivery. Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners increasingly experience the impacts of climate change as severe storms, floods, drought and wildfire events damage their operations and impact their livelihoods. We know these challenges will continue into 2022, and others may emerge. Through this comprehensive set of investments, USDA will take action to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever, assist producers grappling with drought and market disruptions, and help school nutrition professionals obtain nutritious food for students. Tackling these challenges head-on better positions USDA to respond in the future as new challenges emerge.”

Comprehensive Investment Package – Details Announced Today

USDA is preparing $3 billion in investments that will support drought resilience and response, animal disease prevention, market disruption relief, and purchase of food for school nutrition programs. The support will be made available via the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Specifically, funds will be used to provide:
    $500 million to support drought recovery and encourage the adoption of water-smart management practices. From rising temperatures and heat waves, to early snow melt and low rainfall, record-breaking drought has affected producers across the country and has left ranchers with bare winter pastures and short on hay and pushed crop producers to adjust to running their operations with a fraction of the water usually available. This assistance will target these challenges and enable USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation agencies to deliver much needed relief and design drought resilience efforts responsive to the magnitude of this crisis.
    Up to $500 million to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) via robust expansion and coordination of monitoring, surveillance, prevention, quarantine, and eradication activities through USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. ASF outbreaks have proven devastating in other parts of the world due to lost production and trade. It is critical for all of us to work together to stop the spread of this disease.
    $500 million to provide relief from agricultural market disruption, such as increased transportation challenges, availability and cost of certain materials, and other near-term obstacles related to the marketing and distribution of certain commodities, as part of Secretary Vilsack’s work as co-chair of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.
    Up to $1.5 billion to provide assistance to help schools respond to supply chain disruptions. Throughout the pandemic, school food professionals have met extraordinary challenges to ensure every child can get the food they need to learn, grow and thrive. But circumstances in local communities remain unpredictable, and supply chains for food and labor have been stressed and at times disrupted. These funds will support procurement of agricultural commodities and enable USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to enhance the toolbox for school nutrition professionals working hard to make sure students have reliable access to healthy meals. Today’s announcement builds on the range of work that USDA has been doing to identify ongoing issues school districts face during this difficult time and provide the resources, tools and flexibility they need to serve students healthy and nutritious meals.

This set of targeted investments will address unmet needs in our food system, and complement a suite of programs USDA is implementing in response to COVID-19, including the Department’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and the longer-term Build Back Better initiative designed to address supply chain vulnerabilities and transform our food system based on lessons from COVID-19.

Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative: Request for Information

USDA is committed to partnering with agriculture, forestry and rural communities to develop climate solutions that strengthen rural America. Today, Secretary Vilsack announced a new initiative to finance the deployment of climate-smart farming and forestry practices to aid in the marketing of climate-smart agricultural commodities. Guided by science, USDA will support a set of pilot projects that provide incentives to implement climate smart conservation practices on working lands and to quantify and monitor the carbon and greenhouse gas benefits associated with those practices. The pilots could rely on the Commodity Credit Corporation’s specific power to aid in expansion or development of new and additional markets. The Department published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public comment and input on design of new initiative.

“Through extreme weather, drought and fire, our agriculture producers are on the frontlines of climate change,” said Vilsack. “The new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative will support pilots that create new market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices and position U.S. farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners as leaders in addressing climate change. The pilots will invest in the science, monitoring and verification to measure the benefits of these climate smart practices. Today, we ask for public input to inform our decision making and enhance the design of this initiative.”

Comments may be provided on or before 11:59 p.m. EST on November 1, 2021 via the Federal Register, Docket ID: USDA-2021-0010. Feedback will be used to inform design of the new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative. USDA is seeking input specifically on:
    The current state of climate-smart commodity markets,
    Systems for quantification,
    Options and criteria for evaluation,
    Use of information collected,
    Potential protocols,
    Options for review and verification,
    Inclusion of historically underserved communities.

Comments are encouraged from farmers and farmer organizations, commodity groups, livestock producer groups, environmental organizations, agriculture businesses and technology companies, environmental market organizations, renewable energy organizations, Tribal organizations and governments, organizations representing historically underrepresented producers, organizations representing historically underrepresented communities and private corporations.

USDA is committed to equity in program delivery and explicitly seeks input on how to best serve historically underrepresented producers and communities. This aligns with the Justice40 initiative, an effort to ensure that Federal agencies work with states and local communities to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

Insights gained through this process will inform development of a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) soliciting Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative project proposals that encourage the adoption of climate-smart practices and promote markets for climate-smart commodities. USDA plans to announce the NOFA this fall, with project proposals accepted early next year.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis. Through climate-smart agriculture and forestry partnerships, USDA aims to enhance and create new markets and streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters and strengthen rural economies while also improving protocols to measure, monitor and track carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA to pursue a coordinated approach alongside stakeholders, including State, local and Tribal governments.

RFA: Ethanol a Perfect Fit for USDA’s New ‘Climate-Smart’ Efforts

The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack for the agency’s new efforts to launch a “climate-smart” agriculture and forestry program. USDA announced today it is seeking comments to “test development of a Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Program that could encourage adoption of CSAF practices and promote markets for climate-smart commodities.” Specifically, USDA is considering actions that can be supported by the Commodity Credit Corporation to expand the use of climate-smart farming practices and aid in the marketing of low-carbon agricultural commodities.

“Earlier this year, RFA’s ethanol producer members led the way in pledging to reach net-zero carbon emissions, on average, by 2050 or sooner, and the program announced today by USDA could play a critical role in helping us get there,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Ethanol is the perfect climate-smart commodity, and we look forward to reviewing and commenting on USDA’s new program.”

According to the USDA, it is considering actions to expand the use of climate-smart farming practices and aid in the marketing of agricultural commodities, and it defines the term “climate-smart commodity” to refer to agricultural commodities that are produced using farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. USDA is seeking comments on priorities and program design of the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Program that would facilitate the expansion of markets for agricultural commodities.

NMPF Applauds USDA Climate-Smart Initiative, Supply Chain Assistance

The National Milk Producers Federation, which represents U.S. dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own, commended the Biden Administration and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for key steps announced today to assist U.S. farmers and consumers with current challenges while charting a course toward a long-term, climate-smart future for all of agriculture.
“NMPF applauds Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his team at USDA for its climate smart agriculture initiative announced today,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “By aiding the finance of climate-smart farming practices and the marketing of climate-smart commodities, this initiative will ensure even greater U.S. leadership in sustainably feeding the planet. It also will help keep U.S. farmers competitive in a global market that’s increasingly sensitive to agriculture’s effects on climate.
“U.S. dairy farmers have been and will remain leaders in sustainable agricultural production, supporting innovative use of technology and committing to a carbon-neutral future through its forward-thinking Net Zero Initiative. The recently concluded UN Food Systems Summit showed how U.S. government leadership can foster productive dialogue on agriculture and the world’s future climate. Dairy supports these efforts and looks forward to working with USDA and other agencies on crucial climate initiatives.”
Congress is currently considering additional conservation funding with an emphasis on climate smart practices. NMPF led a broad coalition last month supporting new investments in conservation programs targeted toward climate smart practices that can yield meaningful environmental benefits.

Mulhern also praised USDA’s move to provide $500 million in relief from agricultural market disruptions, such as backlogs at U.S. ports that are impeding the flow of dairy products to the consumers worldwide who are demanding them.

“In addition to these important climate initiatives, U.S. dairy farmers appreciate USDA’s allocation of Commodity Credit Corp. funds to alleviate the economic damage caused by recent backlogs at U.S. ports that are hindering access to critical markets overseas,” Mulhern continued. “Although dairy exports are at a record pace, it is coming at a heavy cost to our members and to exporters of U.S. dairy products. Foreign buyers are demanding even greater volumes while voicing growing concerns about U.S. reliability. We stand ready to assist the administration any way we can to help alleviate the ports crisis and aid those who have been negatively affected.”

National Farmers Union Files Comments Urging EPA to Include Minimum Octane Standard in GHG Rule

In comments filed this week with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Farmers Union strongly encourages the Agency to make appropriate regulatory changes to support increased use of mid-level ethanol blends, including high octane, low carbon fuels.

In the comments filed on Monday, NFU President Rob Larew detailed the challenges that climate change poses to agricultural production and family farmers’ ability to pursue improvements in global food security and how biofuels can address some of these concerns.

“Biofuels have played an important role in supporting family farms, which have faced a struggling economy and significant pressure to stay in production,” commented Rob Larew, NFU President. “NFU has long supported the use of ethanol as a fuel additive for gasoline formulations to enhance octane levels. Use of higher ethanol blends provides significant benefits to the rural community, the environment and beyond.”

NFU also joined with the High Octane Low Carbon Alliance on submitting additional comments in support of higher octane, lower carbon fuels. HOCLA includes the National Corn Growers, Renewable Fuels Association and the Clean Fuels Development Coalition.

ICASA Awards Two Grants to Improve Antibiotics Use in Cattle

Maintaining the efficacy of antibiotics is a complex issue affecting both human and animal health. The International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA) is awarding a $191,800 grant to Kansas State University and a $200,000 grant to Texas Tech University to develop management strategies that improve judicious antibiotic use in beef cattle.

Infectious outbreaks in cattle are difficult to detect and prevent with existing tools. Without effective detection tools to identify infected animals, diseases spread rapidly and result in significant losses for producers. A prevalent and economically consequential disease affecting cattle is bovine respiratory disease (BRD), which affects about 20 percent of cattle and costs producers $800-900 million annually. A common approach to controlling BRD is metaphylaxis, in which a group of animals receive antibiotics simultaneously to manage the disease in a population.

There are two challenges with this approach. Firstly, producers do not always have enough information about the animals’ BRD risk when they arrive at the feedyard. Producers frequently consider animals’ geographic origin, breed, weight, previous vaccination status, season and weaning status when deciding to apply metaphylaxis. Other considerations including weather and commercial markets could better inform metaphylactic treatment decisions, but producers often do not have this information. Thus, metaphylaxis is administered based on the best estimate of the animal’s risk for BRD. Secondly, producers do not have clear guidance on how to best identify and exclude animals that may not need treatment.

Dr. Brad White from Kansas State University is using the ICASA grant to develop a predictive model that informs metaphylaxis decision-making. White is developing machine learning predictive models to determine cattle’s BRD risk by combining many sources of information available at the time of feedyard placement. Innovative Livestock Services, Hy-Plains Feedyard, VRCS and the Beef Alliance are contributing additional funding for a total $391,715 investment. As a cloud technology partner, Microsoft is providing leading subject matter experts to assist the researchers in designing a secure research data platform with artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive capabilities that can further the research objective.

Dr. Kristin Hales from Texas Tech University received a $200,000 ICASA grant to develop a science-based management strategy that administers metaphalyaxis to only the animals that need treatment. Hales is using a noninvasive handheld infrared device to evaluate the temperature of individual cattle upon arrival at the feedlot. Cattle with high temperatures that are determined to be at risk for BRD will be administered metaphylactic treatment. By isolating and administering treatment to only the cattle in need, this research can reduce the use of antimicrobials and the spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in beef production systems across the food chain. Texas Tech University is contributing additional funding for a total $400,000 investment.

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) established ICASA in 2019 with an initial $7.5 million investment to fund research that promotes targeted antibiotic use, advances animal health and welfare and increases transparency in food production practices. The private sector is matching FFAR’s investment for a total $15 million investment in antibiotic stewardship research.

Research IDs Keys to Consumer Acceptance of Ag Technology

New research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) identifies driving factors of consumer acceptance or rejection of technology, providing farmers and other organizations with insights to advance the innovation crucial to U.S. agriculture and a safe, sustainable food supply.

“Agriculture has a rich history of innovation,” said Charlie Arnot, CFI CEO. “As farming and food production practices integrate more technology, it’s increasingly important for those in agriculture to understand the keys to successfully building support for technology so they can continue to make progress.”  

In the research, conducted with support from the United Soybean Board (USB), CFI measured consumer attitudes regarding four agriculture and food technologies with the overarching goal to identify the drivers of consumer acceptance and rejection of technology as a whole. The technologies used as prompts in this study included gene editing in plants, gene editing in animals, plant-based meat and cultured (cell-based) meat.      

Acceptance Drivers

Several consistent themes regarding support for and rejection of technology emerged in the study. Among the key drivers for acceptance:
    Belief that food resulting from technology use is safe to consume
    Information on food produced through technology is readily available, enabling an informed choice of voluntary exposure
    Benefits outweigh perceived risks
    Technology can help ensure a consistent supply of food
    Technology promotes greater sustainability by making more with a lesser environmental impact

“Consumers are concerned about the direct impact on them, ‘is the food I’m consuming safe and healthy?’” said Arnot. “That’s why there’s greater concern about technology like pesticides and gene editing, compared to drone technology or GPS systems.”     

The research shows that consumers also trust in the organizations that approve and monitor the impact of technologies, and they prefer third-party, independent oversight, along with information from that third-party source.

For a technology to be accepted, the benefits of the technology must outweigh the perceived risk of consuming the end product.

“This study shows acceptance of ag technology is highly dependent on the tangible nature of the technology output,” said Arnot. “In other words, ingredients are not as ‘visible’ to consumers, while end products like meat sold in restaurants or grocery stores are very visible. The more tangible the product and perceived impact, the greater the need to deploy a strategic approach to earn acceptance.”    

Additional findings show that Gen Z, millennials and early adopters (those that actively research and share information) are more accepting of technology to solve challenges. Generally, consumers in these groups also believe they are more knowledgeable about agriculture technology.

“It’s important that we engage these consumer segments as they will continue to drive broader consumer acceptance and have growing purchase power,” said Arnot.   

CFI will detail findings during a free one-hour webinar on Monday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. CT.  A registration link can be found on the home page at

While the research shows only one in 10 feel they know a lot about the use of technology to grow food in the U.S., nearly two out of three have a very positive or somewhat positive impression of the use of technology.  

“That points to a tremendous opportunity for those in agriculture and food to keep the momentum going and engage on the many benefits of innovation in producing safe, nutritious food to meet the needs of consumers and protect our planet,” he said.  

To conduct the research, CFI applied a model on consumer acceptance of food technology published in the June 2020 issue of Nature Food by Siegrist and Hartmann. CFI research was conducted via survey in July 2021 across the U.S. and included a random sample representative of the larger population.  

Angus Convention offers cattleman-focused education

Angus breeders, commercial cattlemen and beef industry enthusiasts can make legendary progress at the 2021 National Angus Convention and Trade Show in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 6-8. A Texas-sized weekend full of networking and entertainment, attendees can get the most bang for their buck by participating in thought-provoking educational sessions.

"Angus Convention is a great opportunity for Angus breeders to tap into education to further their businesses," said Mark McCully, American Angus Association chief executive officer. "We are excited to provide sessions for every cattleman, regardless of operation type."

Back and better than ever, Angus University breakout sessions will be held on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 7. With twelve sessions to choose from, attendees will learn about marketing their operation, Angus tools and services, industry advancements and ways to improve their business.

In the Making Your Mark track, cattlemen and women can attend sessions on branding their operation, the value of the registration paper and utilizing today’s tools to create catalogs. New Angus breeders should attend the Learning Angus track to hear about AAA Login, AIMS and the basics behind EPDs. The Cutting Edge educational track will cover the industry’s latest trends including gene editing, sustainability and reproductive technologies. And, learn about programs like AngusLinkSM, the Certified Angus Beef® brand and Angus Herd Improvement Records during the Advancing Your Herd track.

"Education goes beyond workshops," McCully said. "We’ve truly packed an entire weekend full of information for cattlemen and women."

A genetics symposium, sponsored by NEOGEN, will take the main stage on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 6. During the Finding Balance Panel, breeders will share their experiences with breeding plans and objectives. They will offer insight on how long-term strategic planning has benefitted their operation’s goals. In addition, Kelli Retallick-Riley, AGI president, will present new information on Sustained Cow Fertility, research that will help breeders identify longevity and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Interpreting genetic data and advancements in technology will be the highlight of a Navigating Genetic Data session, sponsored by Zoetis and held in the Priefert Cattle Demo Area. Association staff will help breeders with DNA and Angus Herd Improvement Records data collection, and commercial cattlemen can learn new marketing avenues in the Capturing Value session. Other industry partners will present topics and technologies in the Learning Lounge.

NACTS is the annual highlight event for the American Angus Association and includes keynote speakers, breakout sessions, entertainment and a trade show. In addition, the business of the Association will be conducted during the 138th Annual Convention of Delegates.

For more information about NACTS, including registration and a complete schedule, visit

Tennessee cattleman and restauranter completes his term as Certified Angus Beef board chair

From the moment his boots hit the dirt on the way to the barn, to switching off the lights and locking the door of the Hickory House Restaurant, Jonathan Perry is committed to the beef business.

The 2021 Chairman of the Certified Angus Beef Board of Directors brings a unique perspective to the table. By day, he’s a cattleman. For 23 years, he’s been general manager of Deer Valley Farm, a 6,500-acre operation where 2,000 registered Angus cows roam and 1,500 acres of crops are harvested annually. At night, Perry is meat cutter and cook at Hickory House Restaurant in Pulaski, Tennessee, which Perry has owned with his wife Jackie since 2014.

Angus cattle haven’t always filled Deer Valley’s pastures. Sixteen years ago, Perry and Dr. Fred Clark, owner of Deer Valley Farms, transitioned the herd to the business breed. They haven’t looked back.

"The need for Angus genetics was growing daily and the demand for our product through Certified Angus Beef was taking over every other breed in the industry," Perry says. "We decided that if we were going to be sustainable, stay here for the long haul, have a program that was productive and could stand on its own two feet, we had to venture into the Angus breed and change directions."

Perry seeks ways to improve not only Deer Valley’s herd, but the Angus breed too. He leans into others to get involved in the breed and help others learn too. Clark – Perry’s mentor and friend - reminds Perry often: "Just because we’ve done it that way before, doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it that way."

Navigating the pandemic as a cattleman and restaurateur was "eye-opening" to how fast things are changing.

"We have to be more prepared, more adaptable, and more willing to embrace change to serve that consumer in any way possible," Perry says. "We have to make cattle practical and sustainable, but we also have to continue to improve carcass yield, carcass merit and a high-quality product, so that we can hold our place in the market."

He’s gained an appreciation for the evolving marketplace since opening the Hickory House in 2014 and even more so in the last year serving as chairman.

"Certified Angus Beef brings quality product into the marketplace by supporting licensees and by putting the right product in the right place to make people successful in the foodservice and retail industries," Perry says.

The principles of integrity and dedication to quality driving his farm are carried into the restaurant and the grocery store through the Certified Angus Beef ® brand.

"It means everything for us to serve Certified Angus Beef in our restaurant. One, it's a product that we had such a stake in producing and developing. And two, we know that our customer is getting the most consistent, high-quality eating product in the industry," he says.

His guest’s eating experience is something Perry takes personally.

He doesn’t need a scale to perfectly slice the 14-ounce ribeye off the roll in the back of the restaurant. It’s simply second nature.

"The restaurant is my haven away from the world," he says. "It’s been a real labor of love."

A student of the world around him, Perry surrounds himself with people he can learn from and brings others under his wing to learn alongside him. His bright and easy-going personality draws others to conversations where both are sure to leave with a new perspective or piece of knowledge.

He's an ambassador for the Angus breed, Certified Angus Beef and all those who serve the beef business, constantly reminding cattlemen and culinary colleagues of all the brand has to offer.

"They are a wealth of knowledge and resources, and they're there to help you every step of the way," says Perry.

He’s grateful to have met folks throughout his year of service and ever-confident in the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s ability to evolve through future changes in demands and resources.

It has been a challenging yet rewarding year, not unlike a busy night at the Hickory House. After dinner’s served and the lights go out at the restaurant, Perry’s reminded why he serves: "Good food, friends and fellowship. That’s what it’s all about."

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tuesday September 28 Ag News

 Look Up and Look Out to Keep Your Harvest Season Safe

When the crops are ready to be harvested, farmers have only a window of time—between weather events, equipment breakdowns, and life events—to get the best quality crop out of the field. To make the most of this time, farm workers try to get as much work done as possible. Cuming County Public Power District wants to offer safety tips for farm and ranch workers to help keep them safe during this time.

“The rush to harvest can lead to farmers working long days with little sleep,” cautions Scott Haber, CCPPD Operations Manager. “Make sure before starting, to note the location of power lines.”

One of the biggest hazards for farmers is posed by power lines. To stay safe around overhead power lines, CCPPD and Safe Electricity urges farm operators and workers to:
Use a spotter when operating large machinery near lines.
Use care when raising augers or the bed of grain trucks around power lines.  
Keep equipment at least 10 feet from lines—at all times, in all directions.
Inspect the height of the farm equipment to determine clearance.
Always remember to lower extensions when moving loads.
Never attempt to move a power line out of the way or raise it for clearance.
If a power line is sagging or low, call CCPPD immediately.  

“Always remember to periodically look up and be aware of your surroundings,” Haber adds. “If you can’t safely pass under a power line, choose a different path.”

If contact is made with a power line, remember, it is almost always safest to stay in the equipment. Make sure to warn others to stay away, and call CCPPD immediately. The only reason to exit is if the equipment is on fire. If this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together and without touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, “bunny hop” away.

Additional safety tips from CCPPD and Safe Electricity include:
  - Do not use metal poles when breaking up bridged grain inside and around bins.
  - Always hire qualified electricians for any electrical issues.  
  - Do not use equipment with frayed cables.
  - Make sure outdoor outlets are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  - When operating a portable generator, make sure nothing is plugged into it when turning it on, and never operate a generator in a confined area. Generators can produce toxic and deadly gasses like carbon monoxide.
  - Always use caution when operating heavy machinery.  

For more farm and electrical safety information, visit or call CCPPD 402-372-2463.

Nebraska Sheep & Goat Producers Annual Conference and Meeting

The Nebraska Sheep & Goat Producers Association will be holding their Annual Conference, on October 22 & 23.   The conference will start off on Friday, October 22nd at 5:00 pm with a tour of the new Veterinary Technology Facility at NECC in Norfolk, NE.  The association will continue their conference Saturday, October 23, at the Madison County Fairgrounds, in Madison, NE.  The conference will start at 9:00 AM and finish with a wonderful lamb dinner around 5:00 PM.

Dr. Richard Ehrhardt, Ph.D. from Michigan State University will be keynote speaker.  Richard Ehrhardt has been the small ruminant specialist at Michigan State University since 2009 holding a joint appointment between the departments of animal science and large animal clinical sciences.  He received his BS in Animal Science from UW-Madison and his graduate training (MS and PhD) from Cornell University.  His interest in extension and applied research were fostered by a diversity of experience with sheep including purebred sheep during his youth, shearing professionally since his early teens, field research in New Zealand and Australia, and managing his own flock of commercial ewes on an accelerated lambing program for the past 20 years. His applied research interests revolve around increasing production efficiency in small ruminants through strategic nutritional management, optimizing a seasonal reproduction, improving whole-farm forage utilization and by establishing preventative health programs.

We will also have Dr. Lisa Surber, Ph.D. She was born and raised on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada and is still active in her family’s commercial cattle operation.  She obtained her B.S., M.S., and PhD in Animal and Range Sciences from Montana State University. During her time at MSU, she was the managing director of the Montana Wool Lab. Lisa served as a Wool Education Consultant for the American Sheep Industry Association and with WestFeeds as a Ruminant Nutritionist. Lisa now runs her own consulting business providing nutritional expertise for cattle and sheep, wool buying, classing, and education services, NSIP certified ultrasounding services, and OFDA on-site wool testing services. Also, she is the Executive Secretary for South Dakota Sheep Growers Association. She is a certified sheep ultrasound technician and an ASI Level 4 wool classer and instructor and performs these services across the US and Canada. Lisa now lives in Newell, SD and can be reached at or 406-581-7772.

Topics for the conference will include: New Ideas on feeding your flock, sheep and goat budgets, nutrition and flushing, Membrane Protection Technologies: fueling fertility, marketing your product, from farm to harvest what it takes, producers panel and vendors to check out.

To get the registration form visit our website or contact Melissa Nicholson at or 308-386-8378.

Saunders County ag land brokerage, management business to be featured on Women in Ag webcast

“Open for Business: A Nebraska Women in Agripreneurship Series” will feature Carrie Duffy, owner of Black Dirt Land Sales & Management, during its next live webcast at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 12.

Produced by Nebraska Women in Agriculture, the monthly webcast series highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of women in agribusiness from across the state, offering creative insights and the stories behind what it takes to build a business.

The conversations focus on surviving business shocks such as disasters, regulatory changes and shifting family dynamics. Featured business leaders are interviewed by Brittany Fulton, extension assistant with the Nebraska Women in Agriculture program.

Duffy lives and offices in Yutan, in Saunders County, where she raised her three children. Her career began in 1982 with a full-service Omaha real estate and development company where she focused on commercial real estate with an emphasis on land sales and office leasing.

In 2008, some life-changing events prompted her to evaluate her pursuits. It became clear that Duffy was committed to doing business with the people that she lived with in a more rural environment. After leaving her real estate position of 19 years, a series of successes provided the capital and confidence to form Black Dirt Land Sales in 2013.

The webcast is free to attend, but registration is required on the Nebraska Women in Agriculture program website,


– Melissa Bartels, NE Extension Educator

Fall armyworms are continuing to be a problem in the eastern half of Nebraska causing significant damage to pastures and alfalfa fields. Unfortunately, the story is the same, producers watching a nice pasture or field nearly completely eaten down or turning brown in a matter of a few days by these pests. This is creating concern about newly seeded alfalfa, newly seeded small grains, and emerging cover crops.

We have seen a large population of Fall armyworm caterpillars this year, feeding on a wide host of crops and forages, doing most of their feeding and damage in the last 4 days of their larvae development. Because of this, it is very important to scout fields and pastures regularly in the early morning and late afternoon, when caterpillars are most active, to spot them when they are small. Once caterpillars are ¾ inch, they can do considerable damage in a few days. With winter around the corner, we want to make sure our pastures and winter crop fields have adequate time to prepare for a freeze. Severe damage now could impact the plant’s ability to winterize, leading to yield and stand issues next year. You also might consider delaying planting your winter wheat till early October.  

Remember a reasonable treatment threshold is finding 3 or more caterpillars per square foot within a field or pasture. There are several insecticides labeled to control this pest. Mustang Maxx, Besiege, and Sevin can be used on pastures, alfalfa, small grains, and cover crops, but always read and follow the label. For forage crops be sure to check the grazing restriction and post-harvest interval. When considering a chemical treatment option, keep in mind caterpillars ¾ inch or longer are close to maturity and can be harder to control with an insecticide.

With cooler temperatures Fall armyworms feeding should slow down and the adult moths will eventually migrate south as they can’t survive Nebraska winters. Sadly, we don’t know for sure when that will happen. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on your pastures and newly seeded fields.

Online farming workshops set for October and November

Existing or aspiring farmers looking to expand their small livestock businesses are invited to attend a series of free, online workshops hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The “Farm Business and Marketing Series” will be presented in Spanish on Mondays and Thursdays, Oct. 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, and 28; and Nov. 1,  4, 8, 11, 15, and 18, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“In this series, attendees will learn how to develop their farm into an agribusiness,” said Lucia Schulz, community organizing associate for the Center for Rural Affairs. “These interactive and instructional courses will help attendees increase their knowledge of the farm as a business and how to develop an agribusiness plan to reach high-value markets.”

Registration is required by Oct. 11; visit For more information, contact Schulz at or 402.380.7006.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.


The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued an Order (GDC-445/GD-3022) immediately revoking the Nebraska Grain Dealer License of Pipeline Foods, LLC, of Minneapolis, MN., and assessing a civil penalty of $22,000.

“Pipeline Foods left us no choice but to revoke its license,” said Commission Chair Dan Watermeier. “The company’s total lack of participation in the complaint process and subsequent hearing shows complete disregard for the laws and regulations of the state of Nebraska.”

Per the Order (GDC-445/GD-3022) Pipeline Foods, LLC must immediately cease all grain dealer operations in Nebraska. As such the company may not undertake any action that would classify it as a grain dealer, including, but not limited to buying grain from Nebraska producers/sellers with the intent to sell the purchased grain.

On August 5, the PSC Grain Department filed a complaint against Pipeline Foods, LLC for failure to include specific “Warning to Seller” language in violation of the Grain Dealer Act (Neb. Rev. Stat § 75-901). An Order temporarily suspending the company’s grain dealer license was issued on August 10. A hearing on the complaint was held on September 21.  Pipeline Foods failed to respond to the Commission regarding any of the proceedings against it.

Pipeline Foods has 30 days to appeal the Commission’s Order.

Ag Retailers Reaffirm Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) members have reaffirmed their commitment to following a Code of Practice for fall application of Nitrogen fertilizer.

The purpose of the ACWA Code of Practice is to establish and implement reasonable and practical guidelines for nitrogen fertilization applications to reduce nitrate loss from farm fields, which is a foundational aspect of working with farmers to protect Iowa’s water resources.

Effective management of nutrients on farms is one of the keys to enhancing both environmental quality and profitable crop production. Consistent with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, this ACWA Code of Practice provides information and guidelines adopted by the ACWA members as a condition of membership and has been a requirement of membership since 2001.

"ACWA requires members to self-report conformance with the Code of Practice and members review compliance with the code annually,” Roger Wolf, ACWA Executive Director said. “This helps ensure that all members are using a common playbook when it comes to basic nitrogen management principles.”

As of 2021, ACWA members' trade area covers over 70 percent of Iowa as the ACWA expanded its membership statewide. This is an expansion from previous years. Because of this expansion, ACWA will have more records than ever.

Each year, weather and soil temperatures vary across the state. According to Iowa State University, nitrogen applied with soil temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit can be susceptible to loss. In past years, soil conditions across Iowa were not at 50 degrees until mid to late October. Farmers can purchase nitrogen stabilizing products which help to prevent these losses.

To find out the soil temperature, members can use the county soil temperature and forecast maps published by Iowa State University Extension and the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on their website found at The website shows the three-day, four-inch depth soil temperature estimates for every Iowa county. Members can also measure soil temperature directly in the field as a decision tool for beginning fall fertilizer applications.

Another aspect of ACWA’s tracking is following 4R Plus. 4R Plus combines the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship — the Right Source of fertilizer, applied at the Right Rate and Right Time and in the Right Place — Plus, in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices that can increase productivity, bolster soil health and improve water quality. Examples of infield practices are cover crops, strip-till and no-till, and edge of field practices such as bioreactors, saturated buffers and wetlands.

ACWA endorses the widely supported 4R Plus Nutrient Management campaign. Led by the Nature Conservancy, 4R Plus is guided by a coalition of agricultural and conservation organizations to support farmers’ efforts to implement precise nutrient management and conservation practices.

“By implementing 4R nutrient stewardship practices, you optimize the nutrients you apply to maximize plant uptake and minimize field losses. Using the 4Rs allows you to keep the nutrients in the root zone and available when the crop needs them the most during the growing season,” according to 4R Plus.

Application Guidelines for the Code Practice can be found on ACWA’s website. For more information about the ACWA, visit For more information about 4R Plus, visit

Pork Leadership Applications Due Nov. 30

Travel the country. Meet farmers from other states. Develop your leadership skills. If those sound like goals you want to accomplish in 2022, then the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy (IPLA) may be for you.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association is now accepting applications for its 2022 IPLA class. Applications are due Nov. 30, 2021.
IPLA was created to support Iowa’s pork producers who are committed to the pork industry. It provides them with the tools to succeed as leaders. These tools include:
-    a working knowledge of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and other key organizations that work with IPPA to broaden perspectives and build coalitions;
-    understanding and defining leadership styles and how they impact people working together in a group;
-    a deeper understanding of the pork industry and its economic contributions to Iowa, and how that impacts Iowa’s place in the world; and
-    sharpening written and verbal communications and messaging about pig farming and pork.

The academy will meet four times in 2022, starting with an introductory session in February 2022, which culminates with the group’s graduation at the January 2023 Iowa Pork Congress.
IPLA is for men and women who want to contribute to a better future for Iowa’s pig farmers by connecting with their communities, and supporting the long-term profitability of the pork industry in Iowa.
The online application and details about the program can be found at

The current IPLA class will graduate at the 2022 IPPA annual meeting awards lunch on Jan. 25, 2022. Those members are: (listed alphabetically by county): Adams County – Amanda Winslow, Prescott; Allamakee County – Rose Onsgard, Dorchester; Calhoun County – Lance Heuser, Manson; Clayton County – Ben Wikner, Farmersburg; Delaware County – Ben McDonald, Hopkinton; Jackson County – Austin Lane, Prescott.

Kossuth County – Cory Thilges, Lone Rock; Linn County – Doug Rice, Mount Vernon; Lyon County – Janae Metzger, Larchwood; Polk County – Garrett Gourley, Des Moines; Story County – Jake Sterle, Ames; Washington County – Matt Romoser, Keota; and Winneshiek County, Jessica Lensing.

Sterle’s spot in the class is made possible by the Al Christian Fellowship for a student attending Iowa State University.


IRFA Welcomes Five New Associate Members

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) was pleased to recently welcome five new biofuel industry partners as associate members.

“If we want to see Iowa biofuels producers succeed and flourish, we need strong community support from partners like these,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “We are excited to welcome these new members and work with them to grow consumer access to biofuel blends here and around the country.”

Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) is a trade association that supports and represents its member-owned electric cooperatives located throughout Iowa. Iowa’s electric cooperatives provide electricity to many Iowa biofuel plants and stand united with the biofuel producers in growing opportunities for ethanol and biodiesel use.

“We look forward to supporting Iowa’s farmers and the biofuels industry to make Iowa’s agricultural community even stronger.” said Chuck Soderberg, IAEC’s executive vice president and general manager.

L&M Ethanol Maintenance Contracting

L&M Ethanol Maintenance Contracting is based in Fort Dodge and provides a variety of maintenance and construction services to Iowa biofuel plants, including piping, mechanical, support, safety services and more.

“L&M has been supporting Iowa ethanol and biodiesel plants for over a decade by providing safe, reliable and quality maintenance services,” said Justin Goodno, L&M Ethanol Maintenance Contracting safety director. “Joining IRFA is just one more way we are excited to support Iowa biofuels, who do so much to support Iowa’s ag community.”

Navigator CO2 Ventures

Navigator CO2 is working to build a pipeline that will cross Iowa and four other Midwestern states and capture up to 12 million metric tons of CO2 a year and store it underground.

“Navigator CO2 is working to expand market opportunities for value-added ag processes in our rural communities by helping them produce green product in an increasingly greener fashion,” said Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs for Navigator CO2. “We know successful industries are built off strong partnerships, which is why we are proud to be joining IRFA who shares our vision and is also working to ensure the long-term growth of low-carbon renewable fuels.”

Sukup Manufacturing Co.

Sukup Manufacturing is the world’s largest family-owned manufacturer of grain storage, grain drying and handling equipment, and steel buildings. Sukup has long partnered with Iowa biofuel producers to meet their grain storage needs, including constructing the world’s largest grain bin at IRFA member plant Golden Grain Energy near Mason City.

“Sukup Manufacturing Co. is proud to be a part of IRFA, an organization dedicated to helping biofuel producers feed and fuel the world,” said Brent Hansen, Sukup commercial accounts manager. “By becoming a member of the IRFA we are not only supporting the biofuels industry, an industry which we believe in, but also our farmers, families, neighbors, and the agriculture economy of rural America for a better future.”

Agri Trading

Agri Trading specializes in supplying customers with animal fats and recycled vegetable oils. They work with biodiesel producers, supplying a variety of feedstocks including used cooking oil, corn oil, choice white grease, and yellow grease.

RFA: EPA Emissions Standards Should Include Fuel Focus

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas emissions standards for 2023 and later light-duty vehicles should lay out the roadmap for an orderly transition to high-octane, low-carbon liquid fuels, the Renewable Fuels Association said in comments filed late Monday. The comments were submitted in response to EPA’s August proposed rule for 2023-2026 light-duty GHG emissions standards.

“Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal fails to recognize that the fuels we put into our engines can have as much—or more—impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions as the engine technologies themselves,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper wrote. “We believe the proposal missed a critical opportunity to expressly solicit public comment on potential regulatory pathways for adopting high-octane, low-carbon liquid fuels as a means of improving fuel economy and reducing emissions from the light-duty vehicle fleet.”

RFA recommends the following course of actions:
    Require a transition to a higher minimum-octane gasoline (98-100 RON) for all new internal combustion vehicles.
    Establish parity and consistency in the regulation of fuel volatility for ethanol and gasoline blends.
    Approve a Mid-Level Ethanol Blend Certification Fuel.
    Reject the results of the EPAct/V2/E-89 Fuel Effects Study and suspend further use or development of the MOVES2014 model until a new emissions study based on appropriate test fuels is conducted.
    Update EPA’s Lifecycle Analysis of Corn Ethanol Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions.
    Level the playing field for GHG emissions credit generation for all alternative fuel vehicles, including flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).

“If our nation is to reach its goal of net-zero GHG emissions by mid-century, we’ll need both cleaner, more efficient cars and cleaner, more efficient fuels,” Cooper wrote.

RFA Thanks Congressional Democrats for Speaking Out on EPA Biofuel Rumors

The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Cindy Axne (D-IA), and Angie Craig (D-MN), as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), for leading a letter signed by 11 other congressional Democrats calling on the Biden administration to reject any reduction in biofuel blending requirements and increase biofuels usage.

“We thank these congressional champions for their strong support and reaching out to the administration at this crucial time,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “As the U.S. EPA prepares to roll out proposed renewable volume obligations for 2021 and 2022, rumors are circulating about massive cuts that will even reach back to 2020’s volumes, which were settled back in 2019 and automatically adjusted based on lower volumes during the pandemic. If true, these reduced volumes will be devasting for the ethanol industry and rural America—and slow down the goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions as low-carbon biofuels are replaced by more fossil fuels. In fact, the new, lower volumes, if true, would increase GHG emissions by up to 15.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.”

“We have strong reservations about the potential for the Administration to destroy over 5 billion gallons of biofuel volume from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 RVOs,” the letter states. “This action would directly undermine your commitment to address climate change and restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Every gallon of biofuels that is blended into our nation’s fuel supply displaces a gallon of oil and cuts carbon emissions. Reducing biofuel blending requirements will increase greenhouse gas emissions.”
The letter was also signed by Reps. Mark Pocan, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Bobby Rush, David Scott, Tim Ryan and Ron Kind, and Sens. Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth, Tina Smith, Tammy Baldwin and Debbie Stabenow.

FFAR Hosts Annual Public Conversation

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) is hosting its seventh annual Public Conversation on October 7, 2021 at 12:30 pm EDT. The Public Conversation is an opportunity for the food and agriculture community to hear from the Foundation’s leadership. This gathering, held virtually this year, also includes a forum for the public to address FFAR.

This year, the Public Conversation will also recognize FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey in anticipation of her retirement at the end of the year. Rockey joined FFAR in 2015 as the organization’s inaugural executive director. Rockey's leadership has positioned the organization as a significant force in food and agriculture research.

Additionally, FFAR’s Board Chair and Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum and Rockey will provide an update on recent research and AgMission, an unprecedented effort to co-create climate-smart farming practices and rapidly expand adoption. A public comment session and Q&A forum will follow.

WHEN: October 8, 2020 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm EDT.
WHERE: Registered participants will receive the Zoom webinar link the week of the event
RSVP: Please register for the 2021 Public Conversation.
This event is free and open to the public.


All members of the public are welcome to submit comments on AgMission, the Foundation's research and to recognize Dr. Rockey’s leadership at the Public Conversation. Participants must submit comments in advance using the registration form. All comments are due by 11:59pm EDT on Friday, October 1, 2021.

Participants who submit advance comments will be called on during the Public Conversation to read their comments aloud. The FFAR Board will review comments submitted by absent commenters after the Public Conversation.

Reintroduction of Commodity Checkoff Reform Legislation Aims to End Program Corruption

Press Release

Yesterday Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) filed the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act (OFF Act), which would implement crucial reform for commodity promotion (checkoff) programs, long plagued by corruption. The OFF Act supports independent farmers and ranchers by improving transparency, prohibiting lobbying, reining in conflicts of interest, and putting a stop to anti-competitive activities within these programs.

In addition, Senators Lee and Paul filed the Voluntary Checkoff Program Participation Act, which goes a step further than the OFF Act by allowing commodity producers to participate in checkoff programs on a voluntary, rather than mandatory, basis while still offering a government mechanism to pool resources for research and promotion.

Introduced originally in the 115th Congress and again in the 116th, these bills would provide long-overdue reform to checkoff programs. In a November 2017 report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found USDA’s oversight of checkoff programs insufficient, raising concerns that the agency does not routinely review checkoff program subcontracts or independent economic evaluations. GAO also noted a lack of transparency due to the failure of checkoff boards to report program information.

Lax oversight by the USDA has resulted in collusive and illegal relationships between checkoff boards and lobbying organizations to influence legislation and government action — despite a broad statutory prohibition against these activities. Such anti-competitive advocacy efforts benefit certain producers to the detriment of others and force independent farmers and ranchers to pay into a system that actively works against them.

“For far too long, farmers and ranchers have been forced to pay into these programs only to see their dollars go to trade and lobbying organizations that work against their very existence. USDA has failed to act, so it’s time for Congress to step in and do what’s right for family farmers and ranchers,” said Joe Maxwell, President of Family Farm Action Alliance.

In the 115th Congress, over 102 farm and food organizations voiced their support for the OFF Act to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Family Farm Action Alliance has long advocated for policy changes to reform the checkoff system, and will continue urging the USDA and Congress to curb the corruption or end the system altogether.

Stine® Seed Company launches extensive lineup of Enlist E3® soybeans for 2022 season

Stine® Seed Company today announced the launch of an extensive lineup of Enlist E3® soybeans for the 2022 sales season. The 2022 Stine roster will include 166 lines, ranging from an 0007 to a 58 maturity.

“It is hard to believe that three years ago, Stine introduced Enlist E3 soybeans to the industry,” said Myron Stine, president of Stine Seed Company. “As more and more growers adopt the Enlist E3 trait platform, our industry-leading position, combined with our large bank of high-yielding germplasm, make us uniquely positioned to offer the industry’s most expansive lineup of Enlist E3 soybeans for the 2022 season.”

Stine brand Enlist E3 soybeans offer growers an advanced herbicide-tolerant trait technology with maximum flexibility and convenience, plus the ability to use three unique modes of action for weed control — glyphosate, glufosinate and the new 2,4-D choline component included in Enlist Duo® and Enlist One® herbicides from Corteva Agriscience.

“Stine brand Enlist E3 soybeans offer growers peace of mind with a neighbor-friendly herbicide program,” said Myron. “With fewer restrictions and a wide application window, growers can achieve outstanding results without the added stress of drift or volatilization.”

Among the highlights of Stine’s 2022 season Enlist E3 lineup:
    166 total Enlist E3 lines, including 89 brand new lines for 2022
    Earlier maturity selections expanded from 007 (double zero) for 2021 to 0007 (triple zero) for 2022
    The first triple zero Enlist E3 soybean
    Stine’s earliest-ever Enlist E3 soybean with SCN resistance – 003EB62 Brand (003 maturity)
    Later maturity offerings expanded from 50 relative maturity out to 58 relative maturity, including seven new group 5 lines
    A record 26 Enlist E3 lines featuring STS tolerance

Also in 2022, Stine will be offering Yield+ Advantage products. There are 19 Stine brand Enlist E3 soybean options that carry the Yield+ Advantage designation. These are the proven top performers in Stine’s Elite Yield Trials.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Monday September 27 Ag News


For the week ending September 26, 2021, there were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 9% very short, 40% short, 51% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12% very short, 47% short, 41% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 4% very poor, 7% poor, 19% fair, 46% good, and 24% excellent. Corn dented was 97%, near 99% last year, and equal to the five-year average. Mature was 71%, behind 78% last year, but ahead of 66% average. Harvested was 13%, equal to last year, and near 10% average.

Soybean condition rated 3% very poor, 6% poor, 20% fair, 49% good, and 22% excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 87%, near 91% last year, but ahead of 81% average. Harvested was 17%, behind 26% last year, but near 15% average.

Winter wheat planted was 61%, near 57% last year and 62% average. Emerged was 20%, ahead of 13% last year, but near 22% average.

Sorghum condition rated 8% very poor, 16% poor, 29% fair, 34% good, and 13% excellent. Sorghum mature was 62%, behind 68% last year, but ahead of 55% average. Harvested was 11%, ahead of 6% last year, and near 9% average.

Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 89%, near 90% last year. Harvested was 63%, behind 73% last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 12% very poor, 15% poor, 56% fair, 15% good, and 2% excellent.


 Spotty precipitation did not slow activities down significantly as Iowa’s farmers had 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 26, 2021, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field activities included spraying for army worms in forages as well as harvesting hay, soybeans and corn.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 12 percent very short, 34 percent short, 53 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 17 percent very short, 39 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Row crop harvest has begun across the State.

Corn in or beyond the dent stage reached 97 percent, four days ahead of the 5-year average. Almost three-quarters of the corn crop has reached maturity, also four days ahead of normal. Corn harvest for grain reached 9 percent statewide, again, four days ahead of the 5-year average. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 23 percent. Iowa’s corn condition rated 59 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans coloring or beyond reached 95 percent, five days ahead of the 5-year average. Soybeans dropping leaves reached 77 percent, four days ahead of normal. Soybeans harvested reached 18 percent, also four days ahead of the five-year average. Soybean condition was rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 30 precent good to excellent. Low water levels in some creeks and ponds have been an issue for livestock on pasture.

U.S. Corn, Soybean Harvest Pulls Ahead of Average Pace

After a few weeks of moving at a near-average pace, corn and soybean harvest progress pulled ahead of the five-year averages last week as farmers took advantage of mostly favorable conditions across parts of the country last week, USDA NASS said in its weekly national Crop Progress report Monday.

Corn harvest picked up steam last week, moving ahead 8 percentage points to reach 18% complete as of Sunday, Sept. 26. That is 4 percentage points ahead of 14% last year and 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 15%.  For the rest of corn still in fields, NASS estimated the crop continues to reach maturity ahead of normal, with 97% of corn dented, compared to the average of 94%, and 74% of corn mature, 10 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 64%.  Corn condition was unchanged last week at 59% good to excellent. That was below the crop's good-to-excellent rating of 61% a year ago.

Soybean harvest also accelerated last week, moving ahead 10 percentage points to reach 16% complete as of Sunday. That is 2 percentage points behind last year's 18% but 3 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 13%.  For the remainder of the crop, NASS estimated that 75% of soybeans were dropping leaves as of Sunday, 9 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 66%.  The condition of soybeans remaining in fields was also unchanged last week, holding steady at 58% good to excellent. That was down from 64% a year ago.

Winter wheat planting also continued slightly ahead of normal last week, with NASS estimating 34% of the crop had been planted as of Sunday, 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 32%. Winter wheat emerged was pegged at 9%, just 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 8%.

Sorghum coloring was pegged at 96%, 2 percentage points ahead of the average. Sorghum mature was 65%, 9 percentage points ahead of average. Sorghum harvested was 31%, 1 percentage point behind average.

Cotton bolls opening was 60%, 4 percentage points behind the average. Cotton harvested was 11%, 3 percentage points behind the average. Cotton condition was rated 65% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week.

Rice harvested was 61%, 5 percentage points behind the average pace.


Webinar planned on cover crops, soil health and financial incentives

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability will host a webinar focused on cover crops and incentives for their use at noon on Oct. 7.

The use of cover crops on cropland in the U.S. increased by 50% between the 2012 and 2017 Census of Agriculture. The webinar will cover how farmers are using cover crops in the U.S., what types of federal and state incentives are available for their use and offer insights on soil health and farm financial outcomes associated with cover crops.

It will be presented by Maria Bowman, an economist and conservation liaison with the USDA Economic Research Service.

To register for the webinar, visit the Center for Agricultural Profitability’s website at

UNL Center for Agricultural Profitability Upcoming Webinars

September 30 - Noon-1 p.m. CDT     

Exploring The Growing Climate Solutions Act and Carbon Credits
with Dave Aiken, professor and agricultural law and water specialist, UNL Agricultural Economics

On June 24, the U.S. Senate adopted S. 1251, the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021. Co-sponsored by 54 senators, including Nebraska’s Sen. Deb Fischer, S. 1251 seeks to make it easier for farmers and ranchers to participate in voluntary carbon credit markets, and to get a fair share of the carbon credit revenue they generate. If adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives and signed by the president, S. 1251 would go a long way in facilitating effective producer participation in US carbon markets.

October 7 - Noon-1 p.m. CDT     

Cover Crops, Soil Health and Financial Incentives
with Maria Bowman, Economist and Conservation Liaison, USDA Economic Research Service

Curious about cover crops? The use of cover crops on cropland in the U.S. increased by 50% between the 2012 and 2017 Census of Agriculture. This webinar will cover how farmers are using cover crops, what types of federal and state incentives are available for their use, and offer insights on soil health and farm financial outcomes associated with cover crops.

October 12 - Noon-1 p.m. CDT     

Developing A Meat Processing Plant: Financial and Legal Issues
with: Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor and Extension Livestock Economist, UNL Agricultural Economics; Charlie McPherson, Nebraska Business Development Center Director; and Dave Aiken, Professor and Extension Agricultural Law Specialist, UNL Agricultural Economics.

This webinar will cover how meat processing size has involved and discuss the financial concerns associated with starting a new meat processing plant. It will also address food safety issues that should be considered when deciding on either a custom exempt or federally inspected plant.

October 14 - Noon-1 p.m. CDT   
Grant Opportunities for New and Existing Meat Processing Plants: FAQ and Things to Know
with: Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor and Extension Livestock Economist, UNL Agricultural Economics; Greg Ibach, Under Secretary in Residence, IANR; and Gary Sullivan, Associate Professor of Meat Science.

The webinar will cover how the market and political climate led to the allocation of grant dollars for meat processing plants and what the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is doing to increase meat processing training and skills. It will also outline specific grant opportunities available.

November 4 - Noon-1 p.m. CDT
The Impact of Price and Management on Culling Decisions
with: Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor and Extension Livestock Economist, UNL Agricultural Economics; Kacie McCarthy, Assistant Professor and Extension Beef Cow-calf Specialist, UNL Animal Science; and Karla Wilke, Associate Professor and Extension Range Management Cow-calf Specialist, UNL Animal Science.

The webinar will look at price trends in cull cows and the impact of exports and domestic meat consumption on those prices. It will discuss what decisions need to be made for early cull or post-pregnancy-check cull cows, and address the feed resource requirements.

For more information and to register for each of these webinars, go to  


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 27 to celebrate the official opening of the Collaborative Biosecurity Laboratory at the Morrison Life Sciences Research Center on Nebraska’s East Campus.

The laboratory is another tangible step in the growing partnership between IANR and NSRI that brings together researchers from both institutes to increase research and development in:
> Agricultural and natural resources security, defense and countermeasures;
> Biological defense in support of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, and other government stakeholders;
> Development and deployment of biosurveillance, biodetection and diagnostic tools; and
> Pandemic preparedness related to human, livestock and crop plant diseases that could result in disruptions to the U.S. and global food systems.

“This new effort is a perfect marriage of key strengths and priorities of the entire University of Nebraska system: national security, preparedness, and agriculture and natural resources,” said NU President Ted Carter. “The lab will be a pride point for our university and state. I’m thrilled that IANR and NSRI are collaborating in this way, and I’m excited to see the innovations that will result from this forward-thinking partnership.”

The new laboratory also aligns with Nebraska’s commitment to bold, innovative and important research, said Chancellor Ronnie Green.

“No university is better positioned to lead with a new collaborative biosecurity laboratory,” Green said. “We have a long history of seeking bold solutions to complex problems, and our expertise in agricultural and defense-related innovation is exceptional.”  

The location of the lab, adjacent to other molecular life scientists, biomedical engineers and the Nebraska Center for Virology, provides opportunities for NSRI researchers, staff and program leaders to engage with faculty, students and staff throughout IANR and the university.

“Ensuring the safety of our food supply is a wickedly complex endeavor,” said Mike Boehm, NU vice president and Harlan Vice Chancellor for IANR. “A broad, collaborative approach drawing on disciplines including virology, biological systems engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, statistics, animal science, veterinary medicine, plant pathology, natural resources, food science and many others will be key to the success of this exciting collaboration.”

In addition to the lab, NSRI appointed 10 IANR researchers as NSRI Fellows in May 2021. One fellow is already contributing to the Nebraska Drug Discovery and Development Pipeline, a long-term project funded by the federal government through NSRI to develop drugs needed by warfighters. NSRI, the Department of Defense-designated University Affiliated Research Center of the University of Nebraska, and U.S. Strategic Command also recently leveraged IANR’s West Central Research and Extension Center to test unmanned aerial systems for a DOD sponsor.

“We are actively seeking opportunities to collaborate in a meaningful way with IANR,” said retired Maj. Gen. Rick Evans, NSRI executive director. “This lab demonstrates the foresight NU and NSRI can bring to the DOD — combining Nebraska’s tremendous strength and leadership in agriculture and biosecurity with NSRI’s deep understanding of the complexities of strategic deterrence across the threat spectrum and in multiple domains.”

Joshua Santarpia, NSRI research director of chemical and biological programs and associate professor of microbiology and pathology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, leads the Collaborative Biosecurity Laboratory.

“This lab represents a host of new opportunities for both NSRI and IANR,” Santarpia said. “Through this lab, and the collaboration that it represents, we can look at ways to leverage NSRI’s research into agricultural problems, bring new opportunities for IANR scientists to grow the research to support national security and build new programs in agricultural biosecurity together.”


– Jerry Volesky, NE Extension Educator

Did you spray thistles this past spring and summer?  If so, it would be a good idea to revisit those areas as there are likely some remaining or new growth that has occurred.  October and early November is a key time to control thistles in pastures.  There are several biennial thistles, but musk, plumeless, Scotch, and bull thistles are our most problematic.  Biennials require portions of two growing seasons to flower/reproduce. They develop from seed the first season into a flat rosette. When trying to control biennial thistles, destruction of rosettes prior to flowering (bolting) is an effective means of preventing seed formation and subsequent spread.
Another thistle to look out for is Canada thistle.  Canada thistle is a creeping perennial that can be controlled with fall spraying, in conjunction with other management options in the spring.
While in the rosette stage, thistles are more effectively controlled using herbicides.  It is important to note that fall spraying of thistles is not a silver bullet and effective control often needs repeated applications.  It will take several years of timely control before the soil seed bank is reduced.  There are many herbicides labeled for thistle control. Note that some products traditionally recommended for spraying thistles have recently changed product names.  Take care when purchasing products and always read/follow label directions before use.   
GrazonNext® HL, Milestone®, Chaparral®, Graslan® L, Stinger®, Overdrive®, and Tordon 22K® are all products that are labelled for use on biennial thistles as well as Canada thistle. 2,4-D mixed with dicamba is also an effective option but should be sprayed when temperatures are warmer for the highest efficacy.  When using Tordon 22K® or Graslan® L, both products are restricted use and contain picloram.  Use extreme caution around other vegetation, especially trees, as both products will kill woody plants.

IDALS’s Cover Crop Insurance Discount Program Continues this Fall

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will offer its cover crop insurance discount program again this year. The program gives farmers and landowners who plant fall cover crops, like rye and oats, the opportunity to apply for a $5 per acre discount on their spring crop insurance premiums. Sign up for the program will begin in December.

“Planting cover crops is a great way for farmers to build upon existing conservation efforts in their farming operations,” said Secretary Naig. “Every field is different so I encourage farmers and landowners to talk to their agronomist, conservation professional, or seed representative to determine which varieties of cover crops may work best for their growing conditions. I hope everyone will consider planting cover crops on at least one field this fall.”

Farmers and landowners can start enrolling in the cover crop insurance discount program in December. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost share programs. More information about the cover crop insurance discount program is available at

Cover crops help improve soil health, prevent soil erosion and lock in nutrients, especially during extreme weather events. Cover crops are proven to reduce nitrogen loads by 28-31 percent and phosphorous loads by 29 percent, which helps improve water quality. They also offer weed control and livestock grazing benefits for producers.

Program Details

This is the fifth year the crop insurance discount program is being administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Interest in the program continues to grow and new farmers and fields join each year. To date, about 1,700 farmers have enrolled nearly 700,000 acres of cover crops in the program. Other states have also started offering similar programs modeled after the one in Iowa, including Illinois and Indiana.

Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agencies to maintain eligibility.

Farmers should visit their local USDA service center to learn about other cost share funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.

Heavy Placements in Cattle on Feed Report

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The September COF report was released by USDA on September 27th. While the headline placements, marketings, and COF were within the range of pre-report estimates, placement weights were skewed to the heavy side with some implications for coming months.

Placements in the 900-999 pound category were up 19.6 percent, or 45,000 head, over August 2020. Most of that year-over-year increase, 30,000 head, came in Nebraska. The remainder were placed in Colorado and Kansas. Nebraska placed 350,000 head weighing over 800 pounds, second most over 800 pounds only to September 2020. Heavier placements would suggest more supplies for late in the year and early 2022. About 43 percent of placements weighed more than 800 pounds, continuing the general trend of heavier placements.

Total placements in Nebraska exactly offset placement declines in Texas and Kansas. The net increase in August placements compared to last year occurred in Colorado and Idaho, up 35,000 and 12,000 head, respectively. Placement increases might reflect some drought effects, but Washington and South Dakota placed fewer than a year ago.

Marketings was also an interesting number in the report at 99.6 percent of a year ago. There was one more slaughter day in August 2021 compared to 2020 meaning that daily average marketings was about 5 percent off last year’s pace. That corresponds to August’s daily average slaughter being about 5 percent lower than a year ago. While that pace might be thought of as relatively disappointing it is indicative of the continuing bottleneck in processing and the number of cattle ready shipping. It is likely we have turned the corner in cattle supplies, now being on the downward slope in numbers.

There were 11.234 million head on feed on September 1. While down 1.4 percent from last year, it is 6.5 percent more than the 5-year average.  

Five Tips to Keeping Livestock Vaccines Viable on Farm

Vaccines are crucial to keeping livestock healthy and productive. While vaccines do not provide absolute protection, the “added insurance” helps stimulate the animal’s immune system and increases its ability to fight off an infection or lessen the impact of disease if it should occur.

However, with timing, labor constraints and the necessity for boosters, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian Russ Daly says there are several factors to consider before implementing a vaccination program.

“Herd history, vaccine type, method of administration and age of animal all come into play, so it is critical for producers to work with their local veterinarian in developing a vaccination program,” Daly says. “They have experience with and knowledge of the many different vaccines, as well as the disease issues in area herds.”

Most vaccines are either modified-live virus (MLV) or inactivated “killed.” MLV vaccines contain whole germs that have been altered such that, while they are able to multiply within the body, their ability to cause disease has been taken away. Inactivated vaccines contain bacteria or viruses that have been inactivated by heat or chemicals.

Whether the producer/veterinarian team chooses an inactivated or MLV vaccination program, Daly says it’s important that the vaccines don’t go past their prime.

“Proteins are the major components of the organisms that make up both killed and MLV vaccines, and they disintegrate according to two major factors: time and temperature. As time passes, the proteins that make up the vaccine organisms break up into smaller parts. Eventually, given enough time, there will no longer be enough intact organisms to effectively stimulate an immune response,” Daly says. “Also, storage temperatures higher than label recommendations will result in a quicker rate of disintegration and will reduce the effectiveness of any vaccine, whether inactivated or MLV. At the other extreme, freezing temperatures will also adversely affect vaccines.”

In addition to time and temperature, common disinfectants and ultraviolent light can reduce the viability of modified-live organisms. “Modified-live vaccines will only remain viable for an hour or two following their rehydration, even if they are kept cool,” Daly says.

Daly recommends the following tips for handling, storing and using vaccines:
 1.    Purchasing vaccines and equipment: Observe expiration dates prior to purchase. Purchase the appropriate type and sufficient number of needles for the job. Plan on replacing needles when they become bent, dull or dirty, and before drawing up vaccine into the syringe.
 2.    Transporting and storing vaccines: Keep boxes and bottles cool and out of sunlight while in transport. Use frozen ice packs in an insulated box in the summer and prevent vaccines from freezing in the winter. Prior to use, store vaccines in a properly working refrigerator.
 3.    Equipment and work area: Use clean syringes, but not those that have had internal parts cleaned with soap or chemical disinfectants, including alcohol. Set up an area for syringes such that they are shaded and kept cool and dust-free while working.
 4.    While working: Keep vaccine bottles in a closed cooler with ice packs (summer) or hot packs (winter) until they are needed. When using MLV vaccines, rehydrate the vials either one at a time as they are needed or as many as you will use within an hour. Always use a brand-new needle to draw vaccine into the syringe. Protect syringes from heat, light and freezing while working. When using needle-free injection systems, or syringes that draw doses from a tube attached to the vaccine bottle, care should be taken to assure the bottle and tubing stay cool and shaded from sunlight.
 5.    After the job is complete: Discard any unused MLV vaccine that has been reconstituted. Discard any partial bottles of inactivated vaccine that have been contaminated by dirty needles. Return unmixed MLV and unused inactivated vaccines to a properly working refrigerator as soon as possible. Clean syringes, transfer needles and tubing. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on proper cleaning and maintenance of needle-free injection systems.

AFBF, NPPC File Prop. 12 Appeal to Supreme Court

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation today petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take their case against California’s Proposition 12, which would ban the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet the state’s “arbitrary” production standards.

The appeal to the high court comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in July upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF case. The appeals court found despite the organizations plausibly alleging that Prop. 12 “will have dramatic upstream effects and require pervasive changes to the pork industry nationwide,” 9th Circuit precedent won’t allow the case to continue. That precedent, however, runs counter to numerous Supreme Court decisions and is in conflict with nearly every other federal circuit court.

“We’re asking the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of one state imposing regulations that reach far outside its borders and stifle interstate and international commerce,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “In this case, arbitrary animal housing standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and that will only inflict harm on U.S. hog farmers.”

Generally, the Commerce Clause grants Congress the power to regulate trade among the states and restricts states from regulating commerce outside their borders, except for matters related to public health and safety.

“Supporters of Proposition 12 claimed it would improve animal welfare and food safety. The law fails to address either of those issues,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers know the best way to care for their animals. This law takes away the flexibility to ensure hogs are raised in a safe environment while driving up the cost of providing food for America’s families. Small family farms well beyond California’s borders will be hit hardest as they are forced to make expensive and unnecessary changes to their operations. This will lead to more consolidation in the pork industry and higher prices at the grocery store, meaning every family in America will ultimately pay the price for Prop. 12.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which is still writing the implementing regulations for Prop. 12, admitted the initiative will have no effect on food safety and actually will increase the mortality rate for sows subject to it.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Prop. 12 will prohibit the sale of pork from hogs whose mothers (sows) were raised – anywhere in the world – in pens that do not comply with California’s highly prescriptive housing standards. It applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether produced there or outside its borders. Nearly all pork currently produced in the United States fails to meet California’s arbitrary standards.

To continue selling pork to the 40 million consumers who live in California, which represents about 15 percent of the U.S. pork market, pork producers would need to switch to alternative sow housing systems. Industry estimates for converting sow barns or building new ones to meet the Prop. 12 standards are in the billions of dollars, with consumers bearing the ultimate cost through higher pork prices.

Scoular purchases grain handling facility to improve service to northwestern Kansas farmers

Scoular has purchased a grain handling and processing facility near Goodland, Kansas, to deliver speed and space to area farmers.

The facility, located 5 miles west of Goodland in northwestern Kansas, is currently operating. It has a capacity of more than 5.5 million bushels and is capable of loading and unloading trucks, as well as railcars.

The facility complements the nearby Scoular grain handling facility in the town of Goodland. It also enhances Scoular’s network throughout western Kansas and its ability to bring valued, grower-produced products to animal feeding, ethanol producers, flour millers and export customers throughout its supply chain.

“Our new facility gives farmers in western Kansas an efficient place to offload grain, saving them time and money,” said Jeff Bhend, a Scoular manager who oversees both Scoular facilities. “We purchased this facility with our farmers in mind and are proud we can serve them even better, especially during the busy harvest time.”

The facility had been operating as a canola and sunflower crush plant. Under Scoular’s ownership, the facility is handling corn, wheat and milo. Scoular plans to upgrade the facility by increasing dumping speeds and improving truck traffic flow and to hire additional employees.

The facility is located at the Caruso exit off Interstate 70.

NCGA to EPA: Ethanol Needed to Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should focus on opening pathways for all low-carbon fuels and technologies, such as ethanol, as it seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions, the National Corn Growers Association explained to EPA in comments submitted today.

The agency’s written comments come as EPA hears from stakeholders on its proposed rule to set more stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles for model year 2023 to 2026. Unfortunately, the role that higher blends of low-carbon ethanol can play in meeting new standards was conspicuously absent from EPA’s proposal.

“EPA missed an opportunity in this proposal to broaden the solutions that reduce transportation emissions by beginning a transition to low-carbon, high-octane fuels to advance climate, air quality and environmental justice goals with these and future standards,” NCGA President John Linder stated in the comments. “Furthermore, alternative fuel vehicles such as flex-fuel vehicles, which have the potential to reach zero emissions, should be equitably incentivized through vehicle standards rules.”

Higher octane fuel is an essential tool for automakers to meet revised standards, but higher octane must also be clean octane to meet emission reduction goals, Linder noted.

“For automakers to use new technologies and enhanced engines to meet stringent standards, they need updated fuel that enables new vehicles and fuels to work as a system to enhance GHG reductions,” he said. “Clean octane from today’s ethanol is 50% lower in GHG emissions than gasoline and replaces the most harmful hydrocarbon aromatics to improve air quality and prevent adverse health impacts.”

EPA is expected to finalize revised vehicle standards later this year or early next year.

NCGA has also pursued legislation in Congress that would couple a higher-octane fuel standard with low-carbon ethanol to lower greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, Rep. Cheri Bustos (I.L.) reintroduced the Next Generation Fuels Act (H.R. 5089) this summer. The bill would take advantage of higher ethanol blends to meet low-carbon, high-octane standards for fuels and vehicles.

Growth Energy Calls on EPA to Expand Biofuels Use to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Today, Growth Energy submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to expand biofuels use in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s comments were in response to a proposed rulemaking last month by EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to decarbonize light-duty vehicles for model years 2023 through 2026. The association notes in its comments:

"We appreciate EPA’s work to reshape the nation’s transportation mix to make it more sustainable -- this is a central driver for our industry as well. Vehicles and fuels operate as a system and liquid fuels will continue to play a dominant role in the transportation sector for decades to come, even as alternative fuels flourish. As such, it is imperative to consider the vital role that environmentally sustainable fuel options such as ethanol will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the current and future vehicle fleet. It is also imperative to consider full lifecycle emissions of all vehicle and fuel technologies to accurately evaluate the profiles and the benefits of vehicles using different fuels and energy sources.

"Ethanol is the most available and affordable means to immediately clean up our liquid fuel supply. Recent data from Environmental Health and Engineering show today’s corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 46% compared to gasoline and can provide reductions of up to 70% with the use of readily available technologies. Ethanol’s other environmental benefits are also noteworthy. As has been researched, the use of more ethanol and ethanol-blended fuel reduces air toxics such as carbon monoxide, benzene, and other harmful particulates.”

Growth Energy’s comments follow testimony before EPA from Growth Energy’s Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley in response to the proposed rulemaking.

Previous Action

In 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) developed more stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for vehicles. Growth Energy, recognizing the need for a high-octane, low-carbon solution for automakers to meet these more stringent standards, submitted an E30 fuel for vehicle certification as well as for consumer use, as the agencies went through the process of setting standards.

Again, in 2013, as EPA was putting together its proposal for Tier 3 fuel regulation, Growth Energy pushed to have midlevel ethanol blends be used for vehicle certification and were successful in getting the ability for automakers to use alternative fuels for certification in the final rule.

Finally, as the Obama Administration undertook their mid-term evaluation of the vehicle standards and, subsequently, when the Trump Administration moved to reconsider future vehicles standards, Growth Energy participated by echoing our call for high octane, low-carbon, midlevel ethanol blends as a necessary solution to meet the future vehicle standards.

U.S. Soy Equipped with Tools to Engage on Gene Editing

It’s an exciting time for soybean farmers, with advancements in gene editing to improve crops and help solve pressing challenges in farming and food production. In the midst of the tremendous potential, the ability to use gene editing hinges on public support. The collective voice of the soybean industry is pivotal to earning trust as the public asks more questions.

To help equip farmers to engage about gene editing, The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), with support from the United Soybean Board (USB), conducted a three-part virtual training in early August, “Trust in Gene Editing: Media and Engagement Training.”

A group of 20, including soybean farmer leaders, USB staff and members of Qualified State Soybean Boards, participated. The sessions were designed to highlight innovations in gene editing and bridge the gap with consumers to further trust in U.S. agriculture and crop breeding techniques.

“Being proactive and engaging early and often about the benefits of gene editing is essential to realizing its potential in soy and beyond,” said Mace Thornton, USB vice president of communications and marketing, and CFI board member. “It’s important that we have a diversity of spokespeople and voices in the conversation about new technologies like gene editing. Farmers, as well as researchers and scientists developing gene editing, are credible sources that are trusted by consumers.”   

As part of the training, participants were introduced to a new communication guide, Gene Editing & Soy: Engage in the Conversation. Funded by USB and created through the CFI Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture, the guide includes research on consumer attitudes about gene editing, CFI’s Trust Model, the importance of shared values, and five effective communication approaches:

    Explain gene editing in simple terms and focus on public benefits and values:
Consumers are most supportive of environmental benefits and disease resistance.

    Connect to gene editing solutions for human health:
Advancements in human medicine are the strongest entry into conversations about gene editing in food.

    Talk about evolution of genetic improvement, not revolution:
The public is more supportive when gene editing is described within a continuum of plant and animal genetic improvement, which has a legacy of safe, responsible use.

    Leverage expert spokespeople who are credentialed and relatable, show integrity and share values:
Scientists, academics and farmers rank high with consumers.

    Share analogies and visuals that explain science but are not oversimplified or condescending:
The most effective analogies refer to precise changes through gene editing within a larger framework, like changes to a word in a set of encyclopedias or changes to a feature on a blueprint.  

“Farmers are used to talking to farmers. Engaging with consumers on values is a different approach,” said Jeff Magyar, Ohio soybean farmer, USB director and a member of Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio Soybean Association. “The research shows that while consumers know very little about gene editing, they’re very open to learning more. As farmers, we have a great opportunity to share the story of gene-edited soy and the many benefits to people, animals and our planet.”

To learn about gene editing and ways to build support, view a soy-specific webinar at and download the communication guide at In addition, a new video and infographic on the benefits of gene-edited soy are available at   


Farm Aid 2021 marked the organization’s return to a live festival Saturday, highlighting farmers who have withstood economic, operational and policy challenges and stand determined to create a better farm and food system — one that embraces diversity, sustains our natural resources and nourishes generations to come.

“So much has changed since we last gathered at Farm Aid in 2019,” said Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson. “We’ve all seen the pain brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, but our family farmers endured, growing the food we needed and offering solutions that are so essential to our country.”

At a virtual town hall gathering Friday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Tina Smith (D-MN), the Agriculture Commissioners of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, along with farmers, partners and other policymakers kicked off the festival weekend with a robust discussion about core issues, including corporate concentration and consolidation, racial equity, debt relief and climate change.

Nelson was joined Saturday on the Farm Aid stage by fellow board members John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Margo Price, along with Tyler Childers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Bettye LaVette, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Jamey Johnson, Allison Russell, Particle Kid, Ian Mellencamp, the Wisdom Indian Dancers, and the Horse Hill Singers, who donated their time and talents for the nearly 10-hour show. On the video screens, festivalgoers were introduced to farmers from the Northeast and beyond who represent the diverse people and practices that make up a healthy, sustainable agricultural system. Featured farmers include immigrants who are finding innovative ways to access land and farm in community with each other; producers using regenerative practices to build soil and teach new generations to find joy in working the land; and entrepreneurs creating new paths to build local and regional food systems.

Throughout the day, artists and farmers joined together on the FarmYard stage to discuss challenges and opportunities in agriculture, including Black land loss, climate change and the solutions that family farmers bring to the table, and the day-to-day realities of being a farmer in an increasingly-consolidated farm and food system. Farm Aid reaffirmed its solidarity with BIPOC farmers who are advocating for fairness across the system and highlighted the innovative progress in agriculture in the Northeast, including local and regional food systems, organic production and regenerative agricultural methods that mitigate climate change and build soil.

Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village featured hands-on activities to celebrate the culture of agriculture and give festivalgoers a chance to meet farmers in person and learn how they enrich our soil, protect our water, grow our economy and bring us good food for good health. Local and national organizations participated, and attendees learned about gleaning and re-localizing food systems in the United States to prevent avoidable food waste; discovered Connecticut local farms, markets and farm products; and tested their food and farm knowledge in a game, while learning about the dangers of corporate consolidation.

Farm Aid’s trademarked HOMEGROWN Concessions® offered food with ingredients produced by family farmers who utilize ecological practices and are paid a fair price for their products. Legends Hospitality, local community vendors and Farm Aid’s perennial food suppliers served menu items showcasing Connecticut and the region’s outstanding farms. Food choices included local fish and chips, crispy oyster tostadas, hot dogs and sausages from Meatworks of southern New England, roasted brussels sprouts, beet sandwiches, portobello burgers, grass-fed beef burgers, stuffed sweet potatoes with local smoked beef brisket, pretzels made with organic flour, grains, beans and greens bowls, plank fries and chicken tenders with homemade sauces, and much more. Vendors brought local flavors, including Soul de Cuba Café, Whey Station, Villa of Lebanon, DORO Restaurant Group, Maple Valley Creamery and Ben & Jerry’s. Farm Aid’s perennial vendors include Corndog, Inc., Patchwork Family Farms and Lone Cedar Café.

Sponsors of Farm Aid 2021 included DISH Network, ButcherBox, Porter-Cable, Tractor Supply Foundation, Spindrift, WhistlePig Whiskey, McManis Family Vineyards, Lundberg Family Farms and Maestro.

Farm Aid 2021 will air on and Circle Network, as well on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse (channel 59) and Dave Matthews Band Radio (channel 30) via SiriusXM radios and on the SXM App.

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Margo Price host an annual festival to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. For more than 35 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $60 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

Neogen Corp. Reports Higher Quarter Revenues, Earnings

Neogen Corporation announced the results of the first quarter of its 2022 fiscal year, which ended August 31. Revenues were $128 million, a 17% increase compared to the previous year's first quarter revenues of $109 million. The company's Food Safety and Animal Safety segments each recorded double-digit increases in organic sales in the first quarter, representing the third straight quarter of double-digit organic growth at both segments.

This quarter marked the 117th of the past 123 quarters that Neogen has reported revenue increases compared to the same period in the prior year.

"As the world continues to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, our strong results showcase Neogen's resilience and perseverance," said John Adent, Neogen's President and Chief Executive Officer. "I am pleased that we are reporting growth across almost all of our core product lines. Additionally, our Food Safety sales team has seen tremendous excitement surrounding our new Megazyme product offerings, which have now been integrated into our product portfolio. This positive start to our new fiscal year makes us optimistic for the remainder of the year."

Gross margins were 46.8% of sales in the first quarter of the fiscal year, compared to 46.0% recorded in the same period a year ago, due to sales of higher margin products within the Food Safety segment.

First quarter operating expenses increased by 22% over the prior year's first quarter; in last year's first fiscal quarter, the company took a number of cost reduction actions due to the economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, totaling approximately $2.5 million.

As business conditions improved through the remainder of fiscal 2021, spending returned to pre-pandemic levels. Operating income for the quarter was $21,727,000, an increase of 15%, compared to $18,895,000 a year ago. Operating income continues to be impacted by higher costs in many areas, particularly freight, due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.