Friday, October 1, 2021

Thursday September 30 Ag News


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2021 totaled 163 million bushels, down 28% from 2020, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 47.5 million bushels are stored on farms, down 45% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 116 million bushels, are down 17% from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 21.5 million bushels, down 58% from last year. On-farm stocks of 8.40 million bushels are down 42% from a year ago, and off-farm stocks, at 13.1 million bushels, are down 65% from 2020.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 58.1 million bushels, up 11% from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 6.90 million bushels are up 64% from 2020 and off-farm stocks of 51.2 million bushels are up 6% from last year.

Sorghum Off-farm holdings, at 835,000 bushels, are down 21% from last year.

Oat stocks stored in all positions totaled 1.31 million bushels, down 23% from last year. On-farm oat stocks totaled 1.00 million bushels, up 67% from 2020 and off-farm oats totaled 306,000 bushels, down 72% from a year ago.

Barley stored in all positions totaled 164,000 bushels, down 12% from 2020.


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2021, totaled 254 million bushels, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Grain Stocks report. This was down 32 percent from the previous September's total stocks of 373 million bushels. Of the total stocks, 22 percent were stored on-farm. The June-August 2021 indicated disappearance totaled 566 million bushels, 17 percent below the 685 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2021, totaled 42.0 million bushels, down 59 percent from the 102 million bushels on hand September 1, 2020. Of the total stocks, 25 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for June-August 2021 was 95 million bushels, 47 percent below the 179 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on September 1, 2021, totaled 3,000,000 bushels, up 13 percent from September 1, 2020.

USDA Grain Stocks Sept 1, 2021

Corn Stocks Down 36 Percent from September 2020
Soybean Stocks Down 51 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Down 18 Percent

Old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2021 totaled 1.24 billion bushels, down 36 percent from September 1, 2020. Of the total stocks, 395 million bushels are stored on farms, down 47 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 842 million bushels, are down 28 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2021 indicated disappearance is 2.87 billion bushels, compared with 3.08 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports, and farm program administrative data, the 2020 corn for grain production is revised down 71.0 million bushels from the previous estimate. Corn silage production is revised down 54 thousand tons. Planted area is revised to 90.7 million acres, and area harvested for grain is revised to 82.3 million acres. Area harvested for silage is revised to 6.71 million acres. The 2020 grain yield, at 171.4 bushels per acre, is down 0.6 bushel from the previous estimate. The 2020 silage yield, at 20.5 tons per acre, remains unchanged from the previous estimate.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2021 totaled 256 million bushels, down 51 percent from September 1, 2020. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 68.1 million bushels, down 52 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 188 million bushels, are down 51 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2021 totaled 513 million bushels, down 40 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2020 soybean production is revised up 80.8 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is revised to 83.4 million acres, and harvested area is revised to 82.6 million acres. The 2020 yield, at 51.0 bushels per acre, is up 0.8 bushel from the previous estimate.

All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2021 totaled 1.78 billion bushels, down 18 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 419 million bushels, down 41 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.36 billion bushels, are down 6 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2021 indicated disappearance is 711 million bushels, up 2 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop grain sorghum stored in all positions on September 1, 2021 totaled 20.3 million bushels, down 32 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 588 thousand bushels, are down 80 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 19.8 million bushels, are down 27 percent from September 1, 2020. The June - August 2021 indicated disappearance from all positions is 20.6 million bushels, down 51 percent from the same period a year ago.


Winter wheat production is estimated at 41.2 million bushels, up 21% from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The area harvested for grain totaled 840,000 acres, up 1% from 2020. Planted acreage totaled 920,000, up 2% from a year earlier. The yield is 49.0 bushels per acre, up 8 bushels from last year.

Oat production is estimated at 1.46 million bushels, down 20% from 2020. Area harvested for grain, at 26,000 acres, is down 10% from last year. Planted acreage totaled 120,000, down 11% from a year earlier. Average yield is 56.0 bushels per acre, down 7 bushels from 2020.


Oat production was estimated at 4.00 million bushels, down 30 percent from last year, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Small Grains 2021 Summary. Oats planted, at 130,000 acres, was down 24 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain was 52,000 acres, down 29 percent from the harvested acres in 2020. Oat yield, at 77.0 bushels per acre, was down 1.0 bushel from last year.

USDA Small Grains 2021 Summary

All wheat production totaled 1.65 billion bushels in 2021, down 10 percent from the 2020 total of 1.83 billion bushels. Area harvested for grain totaled 37.2 million acres, up 1 percent from the previous year. The United States yield was estimated at 44.3 bushels per acre, down 5.4 bushels from the previous year. The levels of production and changes from 2020 by type were: winter wheat, 1.28 billion bushels, up 9 percent; other spring wheat, 331 million bushels, down 44 percent; and Durum wheat, 37.3 million bushels, down 46 percent.

Oat production was estimated at a record low 39.8 million bushels, down 39 percent from 2020. Yield was estimated at 61.3 bushels per acre, down 3.8 bushels from the previous year. Harvested area, at a record low 650 thousand acres, was 36 percent below last year.

Barley: Production was estimated at 118 million bushels, down 31 percent from the revised 2020 total of 171 million bushels. The average yield, at 60.4 bushels per acre, was down 16.8 bushel from the previous year. Producers seeded 2.66 million acres in 2021, down 2 percent from 2020. Harvested area, at 1.95 million acres, was down 12 percent from 2020.

Fuel Retailers and Consumers Fuel Up for Cancer Research

Throughout October, drivers can help Fuel the Cure for breast cancer by filling up with higher blends of ethanol – E15 to flex fuel E85 – at participating locations. Nearly 50 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends sold between Oct. 1­‑31 to support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha. Since 2018, Nebraska’s Fuel the Cure campaigns have raised more than $18,000 for cancer research. Find a list of participants at

Why support this important cause?
Jenn Klein of Lincoln was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. Her cancer cells were growing and dividing very rapidly - at a rate of about 80%. Lifesaving treatment was needed right away. She completed 20 weeks of chemotherapy, received multiple blood and platelets transfusions, underwent a four-hour procedure that included a port removal, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, and immediate one-step reconstruction, and endured 33 sessions of radiation. By the end of 2015, Jenn was finally cancer free. If it wasn't for a chemotherapy treatment that was discovered by a funded researcher, Jenn might not be alive today to share her story.
Chemicals in gasoline are known to cause cancer. The 2021 “Assessment on Ethanol-Blended Gasoline/Diesel Fuels on Cancer Risk and Mortality,” was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It proves what the ethanol industry has known for years. The assessment focuses on carcinogens, or substances capable of causing cancer, and epigenetics, or how behaviors and environment can affect how your genes work, and the impact of biofuels on each. The research suggests cancer risks are positively associated with exposure to occupational and environmental chemical carcinogens, including those from gasoline combustion exhausted in vehicles. Epigenetic abnormalities, including DNA hypermethylation, histone deacetylation, and/or microRNA dysregulation, have been demonstrated as a hallmark of cancer. Compared with gene mutations, aberrant epigenetic changes occur more frequently, and the cellular epigenome is more susceptible to change by environmental factors.
Oil refiners blend chemicals and aromatic hydrocarbons into gasoline to prevent the fuel from premature combustion (known as knocking), but ethanol has superior anti-knock properties and is used as a non-toxic substitute. Higher blends of biofuels, like locally-produced ethanol, replace a portion of these harmful chemicals – reducing cancer-causing emissions. In their regularly released Fuel Trends Reports, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specifically states that “ethanol’s high-octane value has allowed [oil] refiners to significantly reduce the aromatic content of the gasoline.” The present study finds that this may lead to diminished cancer risk through an altered cellular epigenetic landscape. The higher the ethanol blend, the more reduction that occurs.
“Cancer touches the lives of nearly everyone in some way,” said Ashley Christensen, director of development at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “We appreciate that Nebraska fuel retailers are joining forces to empower drivers to support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which provides lifesaving care to people throughout our state. Through generous contributions, such as the Fuel the Cure campaign, we are able to fund researchers working on new treatments each and every day.”
Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows and at the counter.
E15 (15% ethanol and 85% gasoline), also called Unleaded88, is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15% are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans drive a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Drivers can check their owners’ manuals to see if they’re driving flex fuel vehicles. The vehicles may also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.
“Through this annual ‘Fuel the Cure’ promotion, we’re helping put an end to cancer through contributions to life-saving research and through the promotion and usage of ethanol,” said Jay Reiners, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Juniata. “Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel that naturally boosts octane, replacing added toxic chemicals known to cause cancer. Additionally, higher blends of ethanol can save consumers money, so it’s truly the smart choice at the pump.”
The Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Urges Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation to Support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Nebraska Farm Bureau is asking Nebraska’s three House members to support the Senate passed version of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act when it comes to the House floor for a vote.

“Whether it’s good roads to move crops and livestock from our fields, pastures, and feedlots to market, or subsequently moving agriculture commodities and products to ports for transport to international customers, infrastructure is critical to Nebraska farm and ranch families. That’s why Nebraska Farm Bureau is a long-time supporter of investing in infrastructure as a fundamental function of the federal government and the core reason we support moving this legislation to President Biden’s desk so it can be signed into law,” said Mark McHargue Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

The bill invests $110 billion in U.S. roads and bridges, $65 billion in broadband, $55 billion in federal water infrastructure projects, and $17.3 billion in ports and inland waterways. In addition, this bipartisan agreement includes several provisions designed to boost the resiliency of our farms, ranches, and rural communities. Lastly, the bill also provides needed regulatory relief for our nation’s livestock and insect haulers by providing an additional 150 air-mile radius Hours of Service exemption for those within that distance from their destination.

“While not perfect, this infrastructure package goes a long way toward providing the investment needed to ensure our country remains economically competitive for years to come as we continue to grow food and feed people around the world,” McHargue said.

Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Regarding Congressional and Legislative Redistricting

“We appreciate the hard work of the Redistricting Committee and all 49 senators who came together to come up with the new redistricting maps during this Special Session. We also thank Governor Ricketts for his quick action in signing the redistricting bills.”

“We recognize there is an ongoing shift in population in our state from rural to urban population centers. With that in mind, our ask of the Legislature in the redistricting process was for the body to recognize the importance of maintaining rural voices in this effort, given the vital role agriculture and rural Nebraska play in our state. Agriculture is the largest driver of our state’s economy, generating one out of every four jobs with those jobs being located across Nebraska. While not perfect, we feel the results of the Legislature’s efforts largely respected our ask, for the betterment of our entire state. The fact that senators came together to reach an agreement so our state can move forward is positive. We look forward to working with all our elected leaders to help grow opportunities for all Nebraska.”


Nebraska Beef Passport Winners Enjoyed Good Times and Great Beef

Nine lucky winners were selected out of the thousands of participants in the first year of the Nebraska Beef Council’s Good Life Great Steaks Beef Passport program.

Mary Jo Keenan of Hastings was the grand prize winner, receiving a $500 beef bundle from Custom Pack Inc. and a Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner Cabela’s Cooler. Submitted passports with at least 11 stamps were eligible for the top prize.

“I was excited to hear that I won,” said Keenan. “I’m looking forward to hosting friends and family for dinner and enjoying more fantastic beef.”

The beef passport encouraged Nebraskans and tourists to visit participating restaurants throughout the state, order beef menu items and collect stamps for their chance to win prizes. The program was launched May 1, 2021 and concluded September 10. Over 5,000 stamps were collected during the 19-week promotion. Passports were requested from over 600 communities and 39 states.

Other winners included Barb Maynard of Lincoln and Ricardo Molina of Lexington who each received $250 beef bundles. A beef swag prize package was awarded to five winners including Frankie Bonde of Kearney, Michelle Hansen-Daberkow of Lincoln, April Wichman of Omaha, James Adley of Hershey and Laura Liesmeyer of Nebraska City. Vedah Fales from Broken Bow was selected as a winner of a bonus Cabela’s cooler when her name was drawn from a select group of people who visited all 41 locations.

“It was fun to see the stamped passports come back and the notes from participants who enjoyed the experience,” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “Some shared that they used the opportunity to see parts of the state they had never been to before or to connect with friends and family they hadn’t seen in a while. What a terrific way to reunite and share a beef meal together.”
“I really had a great time doing the Beef Passport,” said Keenan. “Not only did I get to have some delicious beef meals, but I was able to enjoy them with my sister and my mom who turns 90 this year.”  

For additional information about the Nebraska Beef Passport visit  

Fall harvest an important time to focus on safety around powerlines

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is asking farmers to exercise caution and safety around power lines this harvest season as they move their large equipment back into the fields.

Large equipment getting close to, or hitting, powerlines becomes a significant hazard during the harvest season, says NPPD Transmission, Distribution, Construction and Maintenance Manager Scott Walz. “If equipment operators don’t take the extra time to check for powerlines in areas where they are operating their equipment, it can be easy to make a mistake that results in severe or even fatal injury,” adds Walz. “If large equipment gets too close to a power line, electricity can arc from the line to the equipment.”

NPPD encourages equipment operators to keep their machines 20 feet away from powerlines to avoid the possibility of any electricity arcing from the line to the equipment. “Taking the precautionary effort to look up and look out for powerlines can promote a safe work environment, and our hope is that everyone working this harvest season can do so in a safe manner,” says Walz.

If a vehicle or piece of equipment is in contact with a powerline, contact 911 or your local power provider and remain inside the vehicle until help can arrive and deenergize the powerline. When a powerline is touching a vehicle, it can electrify both the vehicle and the ground in the surrounding area. If a fire forces you to exit the vehicle, then do so by jumping away from the vehicle, landing on two feet, and shuffling as far away from the area as possible.

NPPD recommends farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations. Find more information on farm safety at
- Each day, review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around powerlines and remind all workers to take precautions
- Know the location of powerlines and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them. Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
- Use caution when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck or wagon. It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a powerline is closer than it looks. For large equipment, use a spotter to ensure the equipment stays a safe distance from the line.
- Always adjust portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level – under 14 feet – before transporting them. Variables like wind, uneven ground, or shifting weight can cause unexpected results.

US Farmers and Ranchers in Action Partners US and Global Thought Leaders with US Farmers to Benefit the Food Systems of the Future

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action (USFRA) is one of – if not the only – organization that has successfully connected farmers and ranchers to food and agriculture stakeholders to co-create sustainable food systems through four tremendous back-to-back events in two weeks' time.

Honor the Harvest Forum:

Beginning with the third annual USFRA Honor the Harvest Forum which brought together farmers and ranchers with agricultural value chain leaders in food, fiber, and energy to address the needs of the next #DecadeofAg. The more than 120 participants brought together 100% of the food and ag value chain for three full days of identifying and addressing specific actions to further innovation and investment that will be necessary to unlock the full potential of climate-smart agriculture nationwide.

Several key themes and action areas emerged during the plenary sessions, breakout discussions, presentations, and leadership talks including collaboration is key to moving the industry forward and the ongoing dialogue and relationships must start with the farmers. USFRA Chairman and Nebraska farmer Anne Meis said of the Forum, "The leadership we've seen, the insight and tough questions we've heard, and the focused conversations must continue."

From meaningful investment to data privacy to elevating producers to educating consumers, the Forum focused on breaking old stereotypes and meeting this critical critical moment with a sense of urgency. "In this pivotal time, we can be leaders in tackling the climate crisis … to be effective, we must work for farmers, ranchers, and landowners and with farmers, ranchers, and landowners," said U.S Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who addressed the participants on the first day.

The Carbon Neutral Pig – A Docudrama Short Film:

The three-day convening ended with USFRA unveiling a new short film that highlights the important role farmers and ranchers are taking in forging climate solutions with help from science, experts, investors and partners. The docudrama – The Carbon Neutral Pig – sponsored by the United Soybean Board, follows the real-life journey of Marlowe Ivey who has taken over her dad's North Carolina pig farm and is working to make it carbon neutral.

"Change has got to start somewhere" becomes a key line as Ivey encounters people online and in her community that criticize her, and tell Ivey that change is needed. The film is the second of a series telling the stories of our nation's farmers on their journey. While each film tells an individual story, together they show how they are not the only one working to make improvements.

"The need for greater transparency and collaboration is critical, to ensure that producers are valued for their ongoing contributions for our food systems," concluded Meis.

Securing a Seat at the Table for Farmers: United Nations Food Systems Summit:

USFRA successfully secured a seat at the upcoming United Nations Food Systems Summit, with USFRA Chairwoman and Nebraska Farmer Anne Meis speaking as part of the official General Assembly events. Marilyn Hershey (USFRA Secretary and Chair of Dairy Management, Inc.), Chip Bowling (Former USFRA Chair and Former National Corn Growers Association President) and Toni Stanger-McLaughlin (USFRA Board Member and Native American Agriculture Fund CEO) joined Chairman Meis as United States farmer leaders at the digital UN Food Systems Summit inside the General Assembly.

Two years ago, this was a dream, a goal, an objective. Eight months ago, it became a strategic plan. Within the last 30 days, that dream was realized through the thoughtful engagement by USFRA's leadership who worked diligently to ensure the U.S. producer perspective was "at the table" for these important international and domestic conversations about the future of our food systems.

USFRA's mission is to connect farmers and ranchers to food and agriculture stakeholders to co-create sustainable food systems and vision is to continue to enable farmers and ranchers to uniquely contribute to the sustainable food systems of the future by nourishing our communities, natural resources, and planet.

USFRA has worked and will continue to work to bring the authentic voice of farmers and ranchers to key conversations about the future of food, including the UN events. As ag markets and value chains are increasingly global, what happened at the UN Food Systems Summit not only impacts governmental decisions, but also shapes market decisions by brand, financial, and non-governmental organization conversations over the next decade.

Climate Week 2021: Not the Culmination, It's the Kick-Off

Collectively, over the course of the last three weeks, USFRA engaged its internal leadership with our international partners and thought leaders to our farmers and ranchers and through these efforts through social media, meetings, and one-on-one conversations, it is proven that dialogue matters. That dialogue has created a call to action to partner with farmers and ranchers and collaborate with them for without that engagement and collaboration, these dialogues will stall. Unlike any other non-governmental organization, USFRA is at the nexus of these discussions and will continue to lead the path forward.

There are now almost 150 leaders and organizations who have endorsed the Decade of Ag, a shared vision for 2030 with specific outcomes for the food and agriculture sector. These weeks have elevated all participants to be #LeadersinAction for this #DecadeofAg. What is the #DecadeofAg? It's a resilient, restorative, economically viable and climate-smart agricultural system that produces abundant and nutritious food, natural fiber, and clean energy for a sustainable, vibrant, and prosperous America. The path forward is our mutual responsibility. USFRA will continue to lead and represent our nation's farmers and ranchers to further our global sustainable food systems.

Idaho auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship Western qualifier 
Eric Drees of Caldwell, Idaho, was named Champion at the 2022 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Western Region qualifying event. Producers Livestock Marketing Association, located in Salina, Utah, hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Tuesday, September 28. A total of 24 contestants competed for a top ten placing, which would grant them a spot in the 2022 WLAC semifinals at Shipshewana Auction, Inc. in Shipshewana, Ind.

Drees started competing at the qualifying events in 2017, making the WLAC semifinals every year since. He was recognized as a top 10 finalist at the 2019 WLAC and received the Reserve Champion title at the 2021 WLAC in Nashville.

Drees’ family first introduced him to the livestock sector, as they fed cattle but also served as order buyers at local auctions. He says he can remember traveling with his dad to auctions, falling in love with both the lifestyle and the people involved in the business.  

Drees currently serves as the auctioneer at 7 Rivers Livestock Commission LLC in Emmett, Idaho, Loma Livestock, LLC in Loma, Colo., and Montana Livestock Auction in Ramsay, Mont.  

“The past couple of years, my career has just reached heights I never thought it would reach, and I just feel so fortunate to be here,” Drees said. “It means the world to me to be named the 2022 WLAC Western Qualifier Champion.”

A live cattle sale took place, with the market’s regular buyers and sellers in the seats. Auctioneer contestants were judged on the clarity and quality of their chant, presentation, ability to catch bids/conduct the sale and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. Judges for the qualifying event were livestock market owners, managers, dealers and/or allied industry members from across the nation.

Individuals advancing to the semifinals with Drees are Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Brandon Frey, Diagonal, Iowa; Joshua Garcia, Goliad, Texas; Reserve Champion Steve Goedert, Dillon, Mont.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Runner-Up Champion Sixto Paiz, Portales, N.M.; High Score Rookie Jake Parnell, Sacramento, Calif.; Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.; Tim Yoder, Montezuma, Ga.

Other contestants who competed were Colton Brantley, Modesto, Calif.; David Cox, Orderville, Utah; Duke Cox, Orderville, Utah; Dakota Davis, Waukomis, Okla.; Kirby Hill, Paris, Texas; Mark Mast, Fairfield, Mont.; Robert McDowell III, Butte, Mont.; Jack Riggs, Glenns Ferry, Idaho; Kade Rogge, Rupert, Idaho; Jim Settle, Arroyo Grande, Calif.; Daren Shumway, Lehi, Ariz.; Shawn Silverberg, Fort Collins, Colo.; Robert Strickler, Banco, Va.; Zack Zumstein, Marsing, Idaho.  

USDA grant supports new K-State hotline for diagnosing toxic animal emergencies

Rapid response to animal health emergencies has prompted the creation of a new veterinary toxicology training program at Kansas State University. A $248,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will enhance the ability of researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine to answer calls for help.

The goal of the program, developed by Steve Ensley, clinical veterinary toxicologist, and Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, is to create impactful and innovative outreach tools. This will better enable livestock veterinarians to recognize and address toxicology problems in food animal species, especially cattle, small ruminants and pigs.

This project will utilize veterinary telemedicine and other distance-based education resources, including a toxicology call-in hotline for practicing veterinarians called CONSULT — Collaborative, Online, Novel, Science-based, User-friendly, Learning Tool — for common livestock toxicology problems, and YouTube training videos.

The nationwide call-in service to address common food animal toxicological emergencies was identified as a priority by the researchers.

"The toxicology section at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and I receive multiple calls each day dealing with questions about food animal veterinary toxicology from across the U.S.," Ensley said. "Many questions are about current cases that veterinarians are dealing with and they want assistance in answering specific questions. Because of the infrequent nature of most toxicological case presentations, many practicing veterinarians find it difficult to maintain the current knowledge necessary to quickly address specific toxicological emergencies."

The outreach portals created with the grant provide new and valuable resources to practitioners.

"This program will greatly enhance currently available toxicology resources for teaching veterinary nurses and veterinary students during the last two years of their professional education," Larson said.

Some of the resources can be modified to be content-appropriate to introduce important animal health concepts to high school students in grades 11 and 12, he said.

Outreach portals for the training materials will include the websites for the Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, K-State Veterinary Medical Continuing Education and the Colby Community College veterinary nursing program.

USDA's Vaccine Candidate Successful in Blocking Spread of African Swine Fever Virus

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) today announced that one of its African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) vaccine candidates has been shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus.

The majority of swine used in the global food supply are produced in Asia, where the virus has been causing outbreaks and devastating losses to the swine industry. African Swine Fever (ASF) was originally detected in 2007 in the Republic of Georgia and is known to cause virulent, deadly disease outbreaks in wild and domesticated swine. Since the original outbreak, ASF has had a widespread and lethal impact on swine herds in various countries in Eastern Europe and throughout Asia. Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the swine industry, there have not been any outbreaks in the United States. The virus is unable to transmit from pigs to humans.   

Newly published USDA research, as highlighted in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, shows that ARS scientists have developed a vaccine candidate with the ability to be commercially produced while still maintaining its vaccine efficacy against Asian ASFV strains when tested in both European and Asian breeds of swine.  The findings also show that a commercial partner can replicate experimental level results and prevent the spread of the virus.

Previous studies were done under laboratory conditions only in European bred pigs using an ASFV isolate, or sample, from the initial outbreak.

"We are excited that our team's research has resulted in promising vaccine results that are able to be repeated on a commercial level, in different pig breeds, and by using a recent ASFV isolate," said ARS researcher Douglas Gladue. "This signals that the live attenuated vaccine candidate could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening the global pork supply," said ARS researcher Douglas Gladue.

The onset of immunity was revealed in approximately one-third of the swine by second week post-vaccination, with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week.

A commercial vaccine for ASFV will be an important part of controlling ASFV in outbreak areas. Researchers will continue to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under commercial production conditions and are closely working with their commercial partner in Vietnam.   

"This is a major step for science and agriculture," said ARS researcher Manuel Borca. "We are working carefully to see our vaccine candidate commercialized through the joint efforts of the U.S. government, and our commercial partner, the Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company."

To date, ARS has successfully engineered and patented five ASF experimental vaccines and has fully executed seven licenses with pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccines. ARS continues to evaluate additional commercial partners to develop these vaccines.

Agriculture Secretary Applauds Research Efforts in Blocking Spread of African Swine Fever Virus

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today applauded research and protection efforts underway at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever virus, which has been causing devastating losses to the swine industry across the globe.

“USDA agencies are working together to protect U.S. livestock from foreign and emerging animal diseases that could harm our economy and public health,” said Secretary Vilsack. “I am proud of the extraordinary research underway at the Agricultural Research Service to develop vaccine candidates to prevent African Swine Fever virus. In addition, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has done tremendous work to establish protection zones to safeguard the entire U.S. swine industry. Scientific research, discovery, surveillance and detection are critical to solving challenging problems that American producers face to keep our food supply robust and safe.”

African Swine Fever (ASF) was originally detected in 2007 in the Republic of Georgia and is known to cause virulent, deadly disease outbreaks in wild and domesticated swine. Since the original outbreak, ASF has had a widespread and lethal impact on swine herds in various countries in Eastern and Central Europe and throughout Asia. Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the swine industry, there have not been any U.S. outbreaks. However, a few weeks ago ASF outbreaks were confirmed in the Dominican Republic, the first outbreak in the Americas in recent history. APHIS has vigilantly executed safeguards to prevent ASF from entering the United States. The virus is unable to transmit from pigs to humans.

The Agricultural Research Service published new research today, that highlights a new vaccine candidate that has been shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus.

Previous studies were done under laboratory conditions only in European bred pigs using an ASF virus sample from the initial outbreak. ARS’s new vaccine candidate studies revealed that immunity occurred in approximately one-third of swine by second week post-vaccination, with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week.

This research, highlighted in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, shows that ARS scientists have developed a vaccine candidate with the ability to be commercially produced while still maintaining its vaccine efficacy against Asian ASF virus strains when tested in both European and Asian swine breeds.

“We are excited that our team’s research has resulted in promising vaccine candidates that are able to prevent and protect different swine breeds against the current ASF virus,” said ARS Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young. “Vaccine candidates could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening global swine health.”

ARS researchers will continue to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under commercial production conditions and are closely working with their commercial partner Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company, located in Vietnam.

To date, ARS has successfully engineered and patented five ASF experimental vaccines and has fully executed seven licenses with pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccines. ARS continues to evaluate additional commercial partners to develop these vaccines.

This is a major step for science and agriculture. A commercial vaccine for ASF virus will be an important part of controlling ASF in outbreak areas. All U.S. vaccine candidates have to go through the APHIS regulatory approval process for use in U.S. swine.

“The partnership between APHIS and ARS is critical in protecting U.S. animal agriculture from devastating diseases like ASF,” said Kevin Shea, APHIS Administrator. “ARS's work in researching and developing vaccine candidates provides valuable tools to animal health organizations worldwide in combating ASF. APHIS is ready to evaluate potential ASF vaccines for use in the United States.”

AFBF Statement on Confusion Surrounding a Proposed Methane Tax

American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President for Public Affairs Sam Kieffer commented today on confusion surrounding a proposed methane tax.

“To clear up any confusion, I want to make clear that the current language of the reconciliation bill does not impose a methane tax on agriculture.

“Over the summer, American Farm Bureau economists conducted an analysis, at the request of Congressional committee staff, to determine the potential impact if agriculture were to be included in legislation imposing such a tax. We did so based on the formula set forth in legislative proposals that impose a methane tax on the oil and gas sectors. We believe this analysis was informative and helpful in demonstrating that such a tax would have been devastating to agriculture.

“While we oppose any tax on methane, Farm Bureau is grateful to lawmakers for recognizing the thin margins in agriculture and that such a tax would undoubtedly put family farms out of business. We are especially grateful to the Senate for passing an amendment that specifically exempts agriculture.”

District Court Advances Ranch Group Lawsuit Challenging USDA’s Operation of Beef Checkoff Program

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that a lawsuit brought by independent ranchers who claim that the Beef Checkoff program threatens their livelihoods can proceed. The court’s opinion denies a motion to dismiss by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), writing that the ranchers have successfully alleged they have “associational standing” to challenge USDA’s practices. The case will proceed to discovery, through which the public may be able to glean more details about Big Ag’s influence on the Beef Checkoff.

R-CALF USA, through attorneys at Public Justice, filed this newer legal challenge over amendments the USDA made to the operation of the federal Beef Checkoff program in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September 2020. The new lawsuit builds on R-CALF USA’s Montana litigation, which challenged the constitutionality of the use of Checkoff funds by private state beef councils to fund speech that is harmful to independent, domestic producers.

R-CALF USA had argued that the government’s Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) that purport to convert the 15 private state beef councils’ unconstitutional private speech into government speech are inadequate to cure the constitutional violations in the federal Beef Checkoff program. The district court and Ninth Circuit rejected this argument concluding that while the program had been administered in violation of the Constitution for decades, the MOUs rectified that constitutional violation. R-CALF is considering its options for how to proceed in the Montana litigation.

The newer lawsuit goes further in its challenge to the MOUs, asserting that the government unlawfully amended the legal and regulatory framework within which the state beef councils operate, without first initiating a public rulemaking process that affords the public with notice of its proposed amendments and provides the public with an opportunity to provide comments before the amendments are implemented. R-CALF USA, represented by Public Justice, contends that, in entering into the MOUs, USDA denied R-CALF USA’s members—and ranchers everywhere—their right to weigh in on a federal program they are forced to fund.

Thus, the newer lawsuit advanced yesterday asks the federal district court in Washington, D.C. to declare the MOUs unlawful. In its ruling the court stated it was possible the MOUs and the checkoff program as a whole are costing independent ranchers money by promoting corporate, generic beef at the expense of that raised by independent, domestic ranchers. Thus, R-CALF USA is entitled to proceed with its challenge and can obtain discovery to prove the harms caused by the checkoff.

“The district court ruling yesterday rightly recognizes that independent ranchers have a right through the courts to challenge a system that uses their money to prop up multinational agribusiness,” said David Muraskin, Litigation Director of the Public Justice Food Project and counsel for R-CALF USA. “USDA entered into these MOU’s illegally by skipping a true public input process, which is essential to good governing. It continues to be a long fight for American ranchers who just want the level playing field they’re entitled to by law, and today represents a victory in that long fight.”

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said the lawsuit was filed to prevent the USDA from engaging in unlawful government overreach. “As a federal agency, the USDA is authorized only to carry out federal statutes, and if conditions change and the implementing regulations for the statutes need to be changed, then the agency is obligated to involve the people and entities it regulates in a transparent process. This is an example where the USDA, instead, is attempting to run roughshod over those it regulates,” Bullard said.

Continuing Resolution Provides Disaster Aid Funding

Today, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 3, 2021. The stopgap spending bill includes a disaster aid component, which provides $10 billion in agricultural disaster aid through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) in 2020 and 2021. Specifically, this bill includes language that would provide drought assistance to be triggered when counties experience D2 conditions for eight weeks on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Further, this bill includes previous causes of loss for WHIP+ and makes assistance for additional causes of losses experienced over the current and past year.

“Wheat growers across the United States have been experiencing an unprecedented drought and the relief provided today in the continuing resolution is much needed,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “NAWG applauds the House Ag Appropriations and Senate Ag Appropriations for their work on including these provisions in the continuing resolution, and the House Agriculture Committee for marking up the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act earlier this year that would incorporate many of these important improvements to WHIP+. While NAWG is glad lawmakers were able to come together today to avert a government shutdown that would have closed USDA offices across the country, we urge Congress to work together over the coming weeks to fund the federal government beyond December 3.”

NAWG will continue to work with Members of Congress on our fiscal year 2022 priorities and USDA as it works to deliver assistance for growers who experienced severe weather in 2020 and 2021.

Continuing Resolution Provides Much Needed Disaster Assistance, Averts Government Shutdown

Earlier today, the Senate and House took final action on the Continuing Resolution to fund federal agencies through December 3. The bill, currently awaiting President Biden’s signature, provides $10 billion in much needed disaster relief for losses incurred by farmers and ranchers in 2020 and 2021. It also extends Livestock Mandatory Reporting through December 3 of this year.  

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew released the following statement:

“Passage of the continuing resolution today is good news for the family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. In addition to keeping federal programs funded, the CR includes critical relief to farmer and ranchers for disaster recovery. This year, America’s family farmers and ranchers have faced dry, hot weather in much of the country, conditions that have led to severe losses of crops and livestock, and put the livelihood of family farmers and ranchers in jeopardy. A changing climate is making severe weather events more frequent and extreme, and farmers welcome the assistance being provided so they can press on to farm another year.

“We also welcome the short-term extension of the Livestock Mandatory Program (LMR), an important tool for price discovery in livestock markets. LMR ultimately needs to be improved and permanently extended, and we look forward to working with Congress to institute reforms that can help address consolidation in livestock markets.”

New RFA Website Speeds Delivery of Key Ethanol Information

The Renewable Fuels Association debuted a redesigned website today designed to provide access to important information and data more quickly, repackaged so it is easier to find. The site, at, premiered during the association’s annual membership meeting taking place this week in Des Moines.

“As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, we want to ensure a digital presence that symbolizes our organization’s experience and leadership in a way that is clear and compelling,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “This website does just that in a fresh look that is far more responsive than our prior design, helping users find the information they need, more quickly.”

Built on a custom platform for optimum speed, the newly streamlined website provides regularly updated market statistics and news of importance to the ethanol industry, as well as RFA studies, publications and infographics, and connections to RFA’s increasingly popular social media accounts. The website also features a design that allows its display to be easily and clearly viewed on mobile devices.

In addition to an improved search function and other ways to quickly sort information, the new website uses the Tableau platform to help users publicly share and explore data visualizations online. This functionality will be built out more in the months ahead and updated as needed.

September 2021 Dairy Market Report

Following more than a year of pandemic-related tumult, milk prices have settled into a more traditional alignment, with an improved balance of supply and demand supporting higher prices. A series of positive, and growing, producer price differentials in federal orders has resulted from this return to normalcy.

Still, markets have continued to move sideways, indicating that more confidence is needed that the balance is sustainable for prices to move higher. Milk production made additional progress during May–July in coming into alignment with commercial use of dairy products. Meanwhile, year-to-date exports maintained a record pace in terms of percent of U.S. milk solids production exported in July, further raising the chances that 2021 will set a new such record, despite ongoing difficulties affecting shipping products to foreign destinations.

View report here:  

Corn Continues to be Proactive in the Efforts for Water Quality

The Water Quality Working Group (WQWG)—comprised of state and national staff—assembled last week in Janesville, Wisconsin, for the fall session of their biannual meetings.  On Wednesday morning, the group discussed credit trading markets, Waters of the United States (WOTUS), wheat’s consideration as a cover crop, the Hypoxia Task Force, and nitrate/groundwater rules.  The afternoon included a visit to Roger Rebout & Son’s Farm, where the group heard more about the work being done by Discovery Farms, Wisconsin Farmers on the Rock local watershed group and Illinois Corn’s Rock River program.  Attendees also viewed one of the runoff monitoring stations located on the Rebout operation.

Thursday’s agenda focused on state updates regarding ecosystem markets, regional policy and programs, as well as included discussion of Farm Bill conservation policy and the Precision Agriculture Loan Program Act of 2021.

“Farmers understand what needs to be done and have been responding to these pressing issues surrounding water quality and sustainability,” said WQWG meeting facilitator Tom Hebert, who is an Ag and Environmental Consultant for the Bayard Ridge Group based in Washington D.C.  “Our job—the job of this Water Quality Working Group—is to continue facilitating awareness by farmers, supporting and advancing their efforts where you can, and then documenting the efforts and accomplishments being made on these environmental fronts.”

The Water Quality Working Group brought together state corn staff representing Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and staff from the National Corn Growers Association. The WQWG will reconvene in spring of 2022.

U.S. Grains Council Opens Office in India

After two years working toward authorization to open a liaison office in India, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is happy to announce the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India granted the Council a registered place of business certificate on Sept. 23. With a belief in the long-term growth trend for feed grains and ethanol in India, the Council and its members felt it was important to have a presence in the market to achieve its long-term goals there.

Alejandra Danielson Castillo, USGC’s regional director for South Asia, expressed her pleasure over the announcement, saying, “I am very excited about the road ahead. We have spent the last few years growing our relationships with industry and government leaders and have crafted focused messages and narratives to solidify our credibility as reliable centers of expertise for feed and fuel purposes in the market. I especially want to thank those at the Kansas Corn Commission who have supported our work and remain committed to expanding the market in India.”

Researcher Awarded Grant to Investigate Use of Infrared Thermography to Mitigate Antimicrobial Use in Beef Cattle

Infrared technology has seen tremendous growth both in terms of its variety of uses and the accuracy of the technology in areas such as cybersecurity, medicine and weather.

One of the most frequent uses is in thermography, or the use of infrared technology to determine the relative temperature of objects by detecting the amount of radiation being produced. Over the last year, the world has become very familiar with thermography even if many people didn’t know that was what it was specifically called. Every time a person’s temperature was scanned on the forehead, that was an example of thermography.

But thermography isn’t limited to use on only humans. A Texas Tech University researcher is hoping to take advantage of that technology to minimize the use of antimicrobial use in beef cattle through targeted metaphylaxis, which is the use of antimicrobials to reduce the incidence of infectious disease in a group of animals.

Kristin Hales, an associate professor in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR), is the principal investigator for a group that recently received a $200,000 grant from the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research for her project titled, “Development of a science-based management strategy to reduce the use of antimicrobials in high-risk beef cattle.”

Joining Hales on the project are assistant professor Vinicius Machado in the Department of Veterinary Sciences and CASNR associate dean for research Christy Bratcher.

“Infrared technology has not been evaluated as a real-time, chute-side management strategy to decrease antimicrobial use,” Hales said. “If it can be validated, it could become widely adopted in the feedlot industry.”

Hale is using thermography to develop a metaphylaxic method for beef cattle. Through her research, Hales aims to to develop a method where cattle are individually identified and targeted for antimicrobial treatment upon arrival at the feedlot before becoming part of the herd. This targeting would be done based on the surface temperature of the cow’s eye using infrared thermography.

The idea is to prevent otherwise healthy cattle from being administered an antimicrobial drug, which would therefore decrease antimicrobial use. Also, if non-invasive methods of body temperature collection, such as infrared thermography, can be validated and implemented, then targeted metaphylaxis could become widely adopted in the feedlot industry.

“Because most cattle considered high-risk for developing bovine respiratory disease are receiving metaphylaxis when they arrive at the feedlot, developing a science-based method to better identify cattle that are candidates for antimicrobial treatment could decrease the administration of antimicrobials to otherwise healthy cattle,” Hales said.

Also, Hales said developing a targeted metaphylaxis strategy using infrared thermography could lead to the decrease of antimicrobials and the spread of antimicrobial-resistant in beef production systems throughout the worldwide food chain.

This grant is the first awarded to Texas Tech by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research.

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