Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday November 29 Ag News

For the week ending November 28, 2021, there were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 9% very short, 33% short, 58% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 15% very short, 34% short, 50% adequate, and 1% surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 2% very poor, 11% poor, 23% fair, 52% good, and 12% excellent.
Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 16% very poor, 20% poor, 46% fair, 15% good, and 3% excellent.
This is the last weekly Crop Progress and Condition report for the 2021 growing season. We
would like to extend our appreciation to the dedicated county FSA and extension staff who
supplied the necessary information for these reports. For December through March, we will issue
monthly reports. The first monthly report (for week ending January 2) will be issued January 3,
2022. Weekly reports will begin April 4th for the 2022 season.


Continued dry conditions allowed Iowa’s farmers 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 28, 2021, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Field activities included harvesting corn for grain, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and anhydrous, and fall tillage.  Grain was also being hauled to elevators.  Some operators have put their machinery away for the winter.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 20 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 29 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.   
Iowa’s corn  for  grain  harvest  is  virtually  complete,  at  98  percent,  5  days  ahead  of  the  five-year  average.  Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 16 percent.  Only scattered fields remain to be harvested.
Livestock continued to do well with cattle out on corn stalks and reports of calves being weaned.

Winter Wheat Conditions Steady in Final Crop Progress Report of 2021

The nation's corn and soybean harvest wrapped up last week, and winter wheat conditions held steady, USDA NASS reported Monday in its final weekly Crop Progress report of 2021.

Winter wheat planting wrapped up last week, and 92% of the crop had emerged as of Sunday, Nov. 29, NASS estimated. That's equal to last year and 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 91%.  Winter wheat condition was unchanged from the previous week at 44% good to excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 97%, 1 percentage point ahead of average.

The first weekly report for 2022 will be released on Monday, April 4, 2022.



Recent research conducted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics indicates crop insurance premium subsidies offered by the federal government have contributed to fewer and larger farms.

The current taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program in the United States represents a culmination of a series of legislative acts, beginning in 1980 with the Federal Crop Insurance Act, followed by the Federal Insurance Reform Act in 1994 and the Agricultural Risk Protection Act (ARPA) in 2000.

These acts were aimed at encouraging producer participation through increased premium subsidies and enhanced coverage options. Increased subsidization was effective in increasing participation, as more than 90% of corn acres were covered by some form of crop insurance by 2020.

But counties in Nebraska experienced farm number decreases of 20% to 40% following the rollout of ARPA, according to the research.

For 2021, premium subsidies in Nebraska for all crop insurance policies ranged from just over $36,000 in Hooker County to $10 million in Furnas County, with an average of just under $5 million. These subsidies can produce unintended consequences, according to Cory Walters, associate professor of agricultural economics.

“Some farmers know the system and can take advantage, using returns to beat up on their uninformed neighbor,” Walters said.

But the identification of these unintended consequences can be useful to policymakers in rethinking future crop insurance policy design.  

One unintended consequence is farm consolidation, whereby farms are bought out using rents acquired from subsidized insurance and consolidated into larger farms. A legislative rise in premium subsidies, as was the case through ARPA in 2000, raises expected returns to participation in crop insurance. To the extent that an increase in expected returns induces individual participating farmers to increase crop supply, they may collectively see their benefit from insurance offset by declining market revenue and non-participating farmers may incur losses, as well. That is because the increase in aggregate crop supply, induced by participation in subsidized insurance, results in declining market prices.

Walters said this study provides a strong theoretical link between crop insurance subsidization, market prices and output, and long-run market participation.

“How these factors interplay in the real world has not been addressed,” he said.

Along with Walters, the research was conducted by Taylor Kaus, a master’s student in agricultural economics, and Azzeddine Azzam, Roy Frederick Professor of Agricultural Economics.

A full summary of the findings is available in a recent Cornhusker Economics article published by the Department of Agricultural Economics at


USDA Settles a Packers and Stockyards Case Against Columbus Sales Pavilion Inc. and Travis Bock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entered into a stipulation agreement with Columbus Sales Pavilion Inc. and Travis Bock (Columbus) of Columbus, Neb., on Nov. 9, 2021, for violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. Under the terms of the stipulation agreement, Columbus waived its rights to a hearing and paid a penalty of $3,300.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed Columbus failed to maintain its custodial account, resulting in custodial shortages of $113,474 on Feb. 1, 2021, and $289,369 on March 31, 2021.

A custodial account is an account designated for the shippers’ proceeds from the sale of livestock held in trust for sellers. Operating with custodial account shortages is a violation of the P&S Act and places livestock sellers at risk of not being paid timely or at all.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $29,270 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. USDA may offer alleged violators the option of waiving their right to a hearing and enter into a stipulation agreement to quickly resolve alleged violations.

The P&S Act is a fair trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat and poultry industries.


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator
Corn stalk bales will provide much needed feed this winter for many producers.  If you’re one of them, be sure to feed them effectively.
Baled corn stalks are a great feed option to consider, especially with the current high price of hay.  However, before you feed those bales, find out what they have to offer nutritionally.  Sample and test your bales as soon as possible so when snow gets deep or other feeds run out you will already know how to best feed your corn stalk bales.
Begin by testing the bales for protein and energy.  You may be surprised at how variable the protein and energy content can be in corn stalk bales.  I’ve seen protein as low as 3 percent and as high as 7 percent.  Dry pregnant cows need 7 to 8 percent protein in their diet so high protein bales will need only a little extra protein to adequately care for the cows.  But those 3 percent bales will need quite a bit of supplement to keep cows in good condition.
Use a protein supplement that is nearly all natural and has sufficient rumen degradable protein.  Maintenance-level forage diets need degradable protein for the rumen microbes, but remember that urea and other non-protein nitrogen sources aren’t used as well.
Many bales have pretty good TDN (total digestible nutrients) levels, nearly 60 percent. Cows fed these bales should do very well up until calving with just corn stalk bales and adequate protein supplement.  However, stalks that were weathered before baling can be below 50 percent TDN.  Cows fed these lower quality bales will need some extra energy, too.
If your bales came from stressed stalks, like from drought or hail, also get a nitrate test to be sure they are safe.
Good testing of corn stalk bales can help make them a nutritious and safe feed.

Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance Applications Due December 1 for 2022 Coverage

Jay Parsons, Farm and Ranch Management Specialist

As 2021 has illustrated, low precipitation or drought conditions regularly remind livestock producers dependent upon perennial grass production that one of their major risks is difficult to control. However, tools like the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) insurance program, administered by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), can help mitigate the financial impact of this risk on the producer’s bottom line. PRF is available for purchase from crop insurance agents with coverage available on a calendar year basis. The signup deadline for calendar year 2022 coverage is Dec. 1, 2021.  

PRF insurance is a group insurance policy based on grids 0.25 degrees longitude by 0.25 degrees latitude. It uses precipitation data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC), providing producers with the opportunity to insure 70% to 90% of the Expected Grid Index Precipitation across a series of two-month intervals dispersed throughout the calendar year. Premium subsidies range from 51% to 59%, depending upon the coverage level selected.  If precipitation falls below the insured coverage level, the producer receives an insurance indemnity payment for the productive value of the difference.  

In calendar year 2021, Nebraska producers insured a record 3.55 million acres with PRF insurance. The average number of acres covered per policy was 2,040, with an average producer premium per policy of $4,834, or $2.37 per acre. With actual index values yet to be determined for several coverage intervals, 79% of policies earning premiums in Nebraska have earned some indemnity payment. To date, the average indemnity per policy is $6,174, or $3.03 per acre. The producer loss ratio to date is 1.28, indicating for every $1 of producer premium, indemnity payments of $1.28 have accrued in 2021.

For the full calendar year of 2020, the producer loss ratio for the state was 2.88. The producer loss ratio was higher for the Panhandle than it was for the other regions of the state but, overall, the producer loss ratios across the state for 2020 was quite high, as one would expect in a relatively dry year. However, results can obviously vary year to year. For example, the producer loss ratios for Nebraska in 2018 and 2019 were 0.44 and 0.60, respectively.

With the Dec. 1 signup deadline date quickly approaching, producers interested in purchasing PRF for the 2022 calendar year should contact their crop insurance as soon as possible to begin the application process. For more information on PRF insurance visit:

Free Ag Budget Calculator Trainings Scheduled

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability has scheduled a series of virtual training workshops for beginning and advanced users of the Agricultural Budget Calculator tool.

The Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC) is a free online enterprise budgeting and decision-making tool that allows users to view university crop budgets and enter their own data to create customized enterprise reports that reflect how their farm resources are being allocated. It is designed to assist agricultural producers in determining their cost of production and projected cash and economic returns for various farm or ranch enterprises.

Training sessions will be led by Glennis McClure, extension educator and farm and ranch management analyst in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Courses include a program introduction that covers customizing crop budgets, a session on more advanced options like whole farm program features and sessions dedicated to question-and-answers about ABC.    

“It’s always important to estimate cost of production for our agricultural enterprises, but now with the volatile input and crop prices, it’s even more critical,” McClure said. “Knowing your estimated cost of production can assist you in making important management decisions.”

Each course will be offered multiple times before Feb. 8, via Zoom. They are free to attend, but registration is required at

SAVE THE DATE:  Emerging Issues Forum March 23-24, 2022

Join the Nebraska Ethanol Board in-person for the 16th Ethanol: Emerging Issues Forum on March 23 and 24, 2022 to explore cutting-edge innovations and tangible solutions being implemented by biofuels leaders, the agricultural sector, and political partners taking a clean-fuel approach to climate action and industry growth. They are covering a lot of exciting topics, including:
    Ethanol's role in environmental health & justice
    Farming CI accounting & sustainability
    Carbon Capture & Sequestration
    Innovative uses for ethanol and its co-products
    Retailer market growth and more!

The Forum will be held at the La Vista Conference Center just outside Omaha, Nebraska.  Details and a link to register will be made available soon. Otherwise visit for more information.  

Waiver from Trucking Federal Rule Extended

The National Pork Producers Council today thanked the Biden administration, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Meera Joshi, deputy administrator of DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for extending to Feb. 28, 2022, a waiver for commercial truckers from the federal Hours of Service regulation.

The HOS rule limits truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period and requires prescribed rest periods.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and prompted by NPPC’s efforts to ensure pork producers could continue transporting hogs, the FMCSA included livestock haulers in an initial emergency declaration that provided an exemption from the HOS regulation for commercial truckers hauling essential supplies, including livestock. The waiver subsequently was expanded to cover the delivery of livestock feed.

“We’re pleased the FMCSA recognized the challenges COVID still presents and the problems it has created, including supply chain issues, for the livestock industry and acted accordingly,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “Extending the HOS waiver ensures that livestock truckers can get hogs to market safely and efficiently. Likewise, truckers hauling livestock feed can get those essential supplies to farms.”

In August, the FMCSA extended the waiver to Nov. 30. In that extension, the agency also requested that livestock haulers who use the waiver report that within five days of the end of each month on their FMCSA portal.

A provision in the infrastructure bill recently signed into law expanded the miles agricultural truckers can drive without the HOS restrictions. Divers hauling livestock already were exempt from the HOS rule for the first 150 air miles of their runs. Now they also will be exempt from HOS rules for the final 150 air miles from their final destination, providing additional flexibility to ensure drivers can safely complete their deliveries while protecting other drivers and ensuring the welfare of the animals in their care.

U.S. Agricultural Exports in Fiscal Year 2022 Forecast at Record $175.5 Billion; Imports at $165.0 Billion

USDA Economic Research Service

U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year (FY) 2022 are projected at $175.5 billion, down $2.0 billion from the August forecast, but still a record if realized. This decrease is driven by reductions in oilseed and oilseed product exports that are partially offset by increases in livestock, poultry, dairy, cotton, and ethanol exports. The projection for soybean exports is down $3.9 billion to $28.4 billion due to lower prices and softening Chinese demand. Soybean meal exports are forecast down $800 million to $4.9 billion due to lower prices. Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast to increase by $1.9 billion to $38.7 billion, with gains across all major commodities except pork. Beef exports lead the increase with an $800-million upward revision, followed by poultry and poultry product exports, which are forecast up $700 million—both driven by higher prices. Cotton exports are forecast up $500 million to $7.3 billion based on higher unit values and volumes. Ethanol exports are forecast up $500 million to a record $2.9 billion on higher unit values. Grain and feed exports are revised down by $300 million to $41.5 billion, with corn, sorghum, and rice exports each down $100 million. The forecast for wheat exports is unchanged at $7.1 billion, as higher unit values are offset by lower volumes and greater competition. Horticultural product exports are unchanged from the August forecast at $37.7 billion.

Agricultural exports to China are forecast at $36.0 billion, a decrease of $3.0 billion from the August projection—but still a record—largely due to lower soybean unit values. China is expected to remain the largest U.S. agricultural market.

U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2022 are forecast at $165.0 billion—up $5.5 billion from the August forecast—largely driven by higher imports of horticultural and livestock products. Horticultural product imports are forecast up $2.0 billion, led by increases in distilled spirits and fresh fruits. Livestock product imports are projected to rise by $800 million on higher beef and pork imports.

Lock and Dam Renovation Funding Key to Global Competitiveness of U.S. Soy

To ensure continued and reliable delivery of U.S. soybean exports to customers around the world, the soybean checkoff plans to fund pre-engineering and design work to enhance and maintain Lock and Dam #25 on the Upper Mississippi River — a U.S. infrastructure asset critical for efficient barge traffic.

“The river system in the United States is our lifeline and one of U.S. Soy’s biggest advantages over our competitors,” said Meagan Kaiser, USB farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Missouri. “It's vital that our supply chain remain strong and reliable so we can continue to market our products and provide the most sustainable, reliable nutrient source for our customers. Soybean farmers understand this, which is why the checkoff is working to modernize U.S. infrastructure and return value back to the farm.”

United Soybean Board (USB), the Soy Transportation Coalition, Illinois Soybean Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and Iowa Corn Promotion Board are proposing a $1 million investment to offset pre-engineering and design work expenses required to move the project forward. A new video from USB explains the cooperative effort.

If approved for federal funding, the project would be the first under the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP). NESP is a long-term program, authorized by Congress, to improve and restore the Upper Mississippi River System. Primary opportunities of improvement include reducing commercial traffic delays while restoring, protecting and enhancing the environment.

Lock and Dam #25 is one of seven existing locks specified by NESP for improvements. These existing locks, constructed in the 1930s, experience significant delays due to the single 600-foot lock chambers that raise and lower vessels moving from one water level to another. The 600-foot chambers require 1,200-foot barges to be disconnected and double-locked, significantly slowing delivery of U.S. grain commodities.

According to a report prepared for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, Lock & Dam #25 accommodates 200 million bushels of soybeans annually. The Waterways Council, Inc. states an outage at this facility would cost nearly $1.6 billion and increase the number of truck traffic trips by more than 500,000 annually. Additionally, a 2016 economic impact analysis by the USDA demonstrated this lock and dam’s importance — predicting that even just a three-month shut down (Sept.-Nov.) would result in aggregate economic activity related to grain barge transportation declining by $933 million.

“Agricultural products comprise 70% of what we move through this part of the Mississippi River, so it’s significant to U.S. farmers and international customers that rely on this infrastructure to have our transportation corridor functioning,” said Andy Schimpf, navigation business line manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Barge transport via the lock and dam system provides the most economical, efficient and sustainable method of shipping U.S. soybeans and other goods.”

Lock and Dam #25 isn’t the first critical infrastructure project taken on by the soy checkoff. In 2019, the checkoff invested in research, analysis and design to initiate dredging of the lower Mississippi River. That initial funding helped open the door to a $245 million investment from the federal government and the state of Louisiana to dredge the area from 45 to 50 feet. Once complete, the project is estimated to create an additional $461 million value opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers.

“Investments should never be regarded as a one-time activity,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director, Soy Transportation Coalition. “They must be perpetual. Infrastructure investments that soybean farmers have made in the past have positioned us for future success. We want to continue that level of investment, so U.S. soybean farmers and their consumers continue to benefit.”

November 2021 Dairy Market Report Now Available

Recent trends in production and herd sizes may be pointing toward a fundamental change taking place in the collective calculus of producing milk, a shift from repeated spurts of dairy herd and output expansion in the face of persistently low milk prices since 2014.

USDA data through September shows the fastest four-month drop in milk and milk solids production growth in two decades, a dramatic turnaround from spring months, when cow numbers and production were growing the fastest in more than a decade. This trend has continued in October. The unwinding of dairy cow expansion over the same period has equaled that of the great collapse of cow numbers at the height of the 2009 milk price debacle. Media reports of herd dispersals, particularly among the larger herds that have driven previous expansions, supports this thesis. High feed costs, other cost inflation and labor availability this year may also be playing a role in this turn of events.

Amid this backdrop, milk prices nationally this year have oscillated around the low $18/cwt range and thus have not yet reflected any unusual developing supply tightness. Cheese production continues to claim much of the available milk increase, keeping a damper on cheddar prices. But production of other key dairy products that affect milk prices has been shrinking and their prices rising, buoyed by rapid escalation in world prices. Milk production and exportable supplies of dairy products have tightened considerably in Europe and Oceania in recent months, and import demand remains strong. Fourth-quarter data will be closely watched, with the sense that each month could shed a lot more light on this developing situation.

Read the full report here....  

What does ‘Net Zero’ really mean for dairy?

What does “Net-Zero” really mean for the dairy industry? The industry and organizations are pushing farmers to do something, but exactly what should they do?  That’s what the American Dairy Coalition (ADC) wants to help dairy farmers find out.
This tough topic is the central topic for ADC’s annual business meeting featuring GHG Guru Dr. Frank Mitloehner on Thursday, December 9th from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Central Time. It is being held virtually so that dairy farmers across the country can participate.
As keynote speaker, the engaging Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., animal science professor and air quality specialist at University of California - Davis, will share his insights and help farmers wade through the noise. Known as the GHG Guru, his ‘handle’ on Twitter, Mitloehner is a foremost authority on greenhouse gas emissions and the dairy and livestock industries.
The business meeting will also include a welcome from Walt Moore, a Chester County, Pennsylvania dairy farmer who is president of American Dairy Coalition. During the meeting, farmers will also hear a federal policy update from ADC CEO Laurie Fischer.
“Scientific data is essential to develop sound solutions. Regrettably, farmers are being told they need to do something to reduce their GHG emissions sooner rather than later,” notes Fischer. “With all of the different tentacles of companies, government entities, checkoff partners in the dairy industry – moving in all directions – many farmers are wondering exactly what they need to do, and how much it will cost them to meet the dairy industry’s Net Zero Initiative goal of being carbon-neutral or better by 2050.”
There is also the aspect of the dairy industry’s transformation 2030 agenda through national dairy checkoff and its industry partners. What does it all mean?
During this ADC webinar meeting on December 9th, Dr. Mitloehner will help farmers understand the moving parts and give suggestions on the best way to move forward when it seems like there is too much push and not enough knowledge to understand the right path forward.
To register for the ADC webinar, scan the QR code with your phone or visit this link and scroll down to enter your registration information. A link to join in the meeting will then be emailed to you.  The webinar is free.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thursday November 25 Ag News

 LENRD board approves applications for new irrigated acres

Landowners within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries recently had an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres. The LENRD board has the responsibility to develop, manage, and conserve our groundwater. Each year they look at ways to assist landowners in protecting the resource for their livelihood and that of future generations.

At their November meeting, the LENRD board voted to allow up to 292 acre-feet of new peak season streamflow depletions for the LENRD’s hydrologically connected (10/50 Area), which calculates to approximately 2,782.10 new groundwater irrigated acres. The board also voted to allow for the development of 2,542.15 new irrigated acres in the LENRD’s non-hydrologically connected (Non 10/50 Area). An approved variance from the district is required to expand groundwater irrigated acres either from an existing well, or a newly constructed well.

LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The variance applications are evaluated using the district’s scoring and ranking process which evaluates several factors, and provides a transparent process from which approvals are determined. The LENRD is committed to working with producers to expand acres while continuing to protect our groundwater for the future.”

Staff will be contacting the landowners in writing, for both approved and non-approved applications. After the landowners have been properly notified, the approved list will be made available by submitting a public records request to the district.

In other action, the board approved 8 Community Forestry Incentive Program applications for a total cost of $31,795.13. The communities receiving grants to remove and plant trees this year are Beemer, Norfolk, Oakland, Randolph, Wausa, West Point, West Point Schools, and Wisner.

LENRD Natural Resources Conservation Technician, Todd Stewart, said, “If you need trees for your community, your acreage, or your backyard, give me a call, I’d be happy to come out and help design your project.”  Conservation tree order forms are now available at the LENRD office, your local NRCS office, and online at

The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement programs to protect our natural resources. The next LENRD board meeting will be Tuesday, December 21st at 7:30 p.m. Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails.

Flood reduction measures evaluated in Maple Creek Watershed Plan

Protecting northeast Nebraska from flood events is the responsibility of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD), given to them by the Nebraska Legislature. The LENRD board and staff work continually to study areas where flooding occurs.

Areas in the Maple Creek watershed have been prone to flood events for decades, impacting families for generations. Citizens and community members from the watershed have asked the LENRD to assist with flood reduction projects and conservation programs to help prevent damages from flood water/sediment and minimize future flood events.

In 2020, the LENRD was awarded a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Watershed Flood Prevention and Operations (WFPO) program to complete the Maple Creek Watershed Plan & Environmental Assessment. FYRA engineering is working on the plan which aims to evaluate potential flood reduction projects to reduce overall flood risk and support the largely agricultural economy in the Maple Creek Watershed. Leigh, Clarkson, Howells, and Nickerson are the four communities located within the watershed.

LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “The Maple Creek plan is a planning document to evaluate what is technically and economically feasible and socially acceptable. For example, the Clarkson levee and a bridge near Nickerson, can be further evaluated with this plan.”

Becker, added, “We are trying to come up with solutions to reduce flooding in the area. Most dam structures have not been adequately supported, and we’re looking for other options which can benefit these communities and rural areas.”

Letters were sent out to the public as the LENRD continues to request ideas to formulate this plan. Becker continued, “If dams are not fully supported, then we can work together on other flood reduction plans, including detention cells, wetland enhancement, and levee and channel improvements. If you have poor producing soils next to a stream channel, creating a flood water retention area could benefit your land and the watershed. We’re asking the public to bring their ideas to the table.”


Welcome to Pocket Science: a glimpse at recent research from Husker scientists and engineers. For those who want to quickly learn the “What,” “So what” and “Now what” of Husker research.


Arsenic, uranium and other trace elements naturally occur in topsoil across the U.S. Corn Belt, including the Cornhusker State. Crops grown in soils containing elevated levels of those trace elements can absorb them through roots, potentially curbing growth and threatening the health of those who regularly consume them.

So what?

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Arindam Malakar, Chittaranjan Ray and colleagues were curious about whether ferrihydrite — a nanoscopic mineral sometimes found in soils but also used to treat groundwater and drinking water — might help address the issue.

As part of a greenhouse experiment using soil from the university’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center, the Husker team planted corn in three soils: one with no ferrihydrite, another with 0.05% ferrihydrite, and a third with 0.10% of the mineral. After irrigating the soils with arsenic- and uranium-fortified water, the researchers tracked the growth of the corn plants and monitored concentrations of the trace elements in water surrounding the plant roots.

The team found that ferrihydrite-enriched soils lowered the concentrations of arsenic and uranium by about 20%. They also appeared to reduce the loss of nitrate, which is essential to plant growth but can cause health issues when leaching into groundwater, by roughly 30-50%. Water retention, meanwhile, rose from about 13% with no ferrihydrite to roughly 17% with it.

Crucially, the corn likewise seemed to benefit: Plants in the ferrihydrite-enriched soils grew taller, produced 12-15% more living tissue, synthesized more chlorophyll and yielded kernels containing nearly twice as much iron.

Now what?

Conducting similar experiments in actual field conditions, rather than a greenhouse, will be necessary to validate the study’s results, the researchers said.

But the initial findings suggest that adding even small doses of ferrihydrite to irrigation could limit concentrations of toxic elements while boosting crop growth and nutrient uptake.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Dec. 9 board meeting to be held in Lincoln

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Lincoln at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. The meeting will be at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street). Highlights of the agenda are as follows:
    Budget Report
    Fuel Retailer Update
    Nebraska Corn Board Update
    Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
    Marketing Programs
    Funding Requests
    State and Federal Legislation
    Ethanol Plant Reports
    Election of Board Officers for 2022

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature. Nebraska Ethanol Board meetings are open to the public and also published on the public calendar.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit

Commercial Red Meat Production Down 7 Percent from Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.75 billion pounds in October, down 7 percent from the 5.09 billion pounds produced in October 2020.

Beef production, at 2.37 billion pounds, was 4 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.85 million head, down 3 percent from October 2020. The average live weight was down 9 pounds from the previous year, at 1,376 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.6 million pounds, 14 percent below October a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 35,400 head, down 4 percent from October 2020. The average live weight was down 25 pounds from last year, at 226 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.37 billion pounds, down 9 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.1 million head, down 8 percent from October 2020. The average live weight was down 3 pounds from the previous year, at 288 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.4 million pounds, was up 7 percent from October 2020. Sheep slaughter totaled 187,300 head, 3 percent above last year. The average live weight was 121 pounds, up 5 pounds from October a year ago.

Production by State (mil. lbs  -  % Oct '20)

Nebraska ...........:           677.2     -       92       
Iowa ..................:           780.1     -       95       
Kansas ...............:           535.0     -       96       

January to October 2021 commercial red meat production was 46.2 billion pounds, up slightly from 2020. Accumulated beef production was up 3 percent from last year, veal was down 19 percent, pork was down 2 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 2 percent.


In the Northern Plains Region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) there were 41,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on farms and ranches during the week of July 11-17, 2021, up 14% from the July 2020 reference week, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Workers numbered 45,000 during the week of October 10-16, 2021, up 15% from the October 2020 reference week.
Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $17.08 per hour during the July 2021 reference week, up 2% from the July 2020 reference week. Field workers received an average of $17.01 per hour, up $0.18. Livestock workers earned $16.36 per hour, up $0.79. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate at $16.71, was up $0.41 from the 2020 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 47.1 hours during the July 2021 reference week, compared with 44.6 hours worked during the July 2020 reference week.
Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $17.25 per hour during the October 2021 reference week, up 2% from the October 2020 reference week. Field workers received an average of $17.21 per hour, up $0.17. Livestock workers earned $16.45 per hour, up $0.93 from a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $16.91, was up $0.46 from the October 2020 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 48.8 hours during the October 2021 reference week, compared with 46.0 hours worked during the October 2020 reference week.


There were 22,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri) during the reference week of July 11-17, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Farm Labor report. Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $16.89 per hour, 99 cents above July 2020. The number of hours worked averaged 35.5 for hired workers during the reference week, compared with 37.7 hours in July 2020.
During the reference week of October 10-16, 2021, there were 25,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri). Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $17.26 per hour during the October 2021 reference week, $1.16 above October 2020. The number of hours worked averaged 41.0 for hired workers during the reference week, compared with 39.8 hours in October 2020.

USDA: October Hired Workers Up 2 Percent; Gross Wage Rate Increased 5 Percent from Previous Year

There were 772,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of October 10-16, 2021, up 2 percent from the October 2020 reference week. Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 797,000 during the week of July 11-17, 2021, up 3 percent from the July 2020 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average gross wage of $16.59 per hour during the October 2021 reference week, up 5 percent from the October 2020 reference week. Field workers received an average of $16.08 per hour, up 5 percent. Livestock workers earned $15.45 per hour, up 6 percent. The field and livestock worker combined gross wage rate, at $15.92 per hour, was up 5 percent from the 2020 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 42.0 hours during the October 2021 reference week, down slightly from the hours worked during the October 2020 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average gross wage of $16.59 per hour during the July 2021 reference week, up 6 percent from the July 2020 reference week. Field workers received an average of $16.10 per hour, up 7 percent, while livestock workers earned $15.19 per hour, up 5 percent from a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined gross wage rate, at $15.85 per hour, was up 7 percent from the July 2020 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.0 hours during the July 2021 reference week, down 1 percent from the hours worked during the July 2020 reference week.

The 2021 all hired worker annual average gross wage rate was $16.38 per hour, up 6 percent from the 2020 annual average gross wage rate. The 2021 field worker annual average gross wage rate was $15.77 per hour, up 7 percent from the 2020 annual average. The 2021 livestock worker annual average gross wage rate was $15.08 per hour. The 2021 annual average combined gross wage for field and livestock workers was $15.56, up 6 percent from the 2020 annual average of $14.62 per hour.

HOG Awards Made at the Iowa Football State Championships

Seven Iowa high school football players took home awards recognizing their play during the final games at the 2021 Iowa high school state football championships Nov. 18-19 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

Hog of the Game (HOG) awards went to the outstanding offensive lineman in each of the championship games. The HOG awards are sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and awarded by the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN).

HOG award winners were recognized for their strength and speed in creating opportunities for their teams to be successful.

“This award recognizes the often unsung linemen who are out front and helping their team be effective,” said IPPA President Dennis Liljedahl of Essex. “Just like Iowa’s pig farmers, these players work hard to create opportunities for their team and their communities to be successful.”

Iowa high school players who received the 2021 HOG awards are:
-    Gavyn Jessen of CAM High School in Anita, the winners of the 8-player tournament. Jessen is a junior and the son of Jared Jessen and Jean Jessen, Anita.
-    Eric Martinez, a junior at West Hancock High School in Britt, the winners of the Class A contest. Martinez, of Kanawha, is the son of Victor and Yuri Martinez.
-    Casey Trudo, a senior at Van Meter High School, the Class 1A tournament winners. Trudo is the son of Eric and Shonna Trudo, Van Meter.
-    Aaron Graves, a senior at Southeast Valley High School in Gowrie, the winner of the Class 2A tournament. Graves, who is from Dayton, is the son of Mark and Amber Graves.
-    Gunner Schmitz, a junior at Harlan Community High School, which won the Class 3A championship. Schmitz is the son of Brian and Gina Schmitz of Harlan.
-    Hunter Deyo, a senior at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, the winners of the Class 4A title. Deyo is the son of Brian Deyo and Elizabeth Swanson, Council Bluffs.
-    Carson Campisi, a sophomore at Southeast Polk High School, Pleasant Hill, the Class 5A tournament winners. Campisi, from Pleasant Hill, is the son of Mike Campisi, Altoona, and Jodi Hoover, Pleasant Hill.

“The Hog of the Game award is a highlight of the football championships each year,” said Ric Silvestrini, IHSSN’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Through the IPPA’s longtime partnership with the Iowa High School Sports Network, we are able to recognize these outstanding student athletes, who battle in the trenches. Congratulations to the seven winners this year, and thanks again to the IPPA for its continued support of high school athletics.”

Price Slide and Spread

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, South Dakota State University

Seasonally, this is the time of year with the largest runs or volume of feeder cattle sales in the northern plains. The value of feeder cattle is largely based on their potential in the feedlot. This leads to the familiar price slide, where animals at lighter weights are priced at a premium to those at heavier weights on a per cwt basis. When looked at on a per-head basis, the heavier animals are generally worth more than the lighter animals. The price slide is steep this fall compared to a year ago.

One factor affecting the slide is the cost of feed. The price of corn, for example, is currently much higher than a year ago. The higher cost of gain means that the price slide will be more pronounced or steeper. Isolating just the price of corn, however, seems to mask many of the other factors that can affect the slide. Attempts to plot the relationship shows a cluster of observations with a price slide of 5-15 cents for 5-600 pound steers. High corn price years can be reflected in high or not high corresponding price slide levels. Thus, the correlation is low or weak between the price of corn and the slide. Other factors matter or dominate the influence of any one factor. The price of hay (or similar roughages) would also factor prominently, especially for lighter animals.

The price spread between feeder steers and feeder heifers is also wide this fall compared to a year ago. Heifers, from a feedlot perspective, would be discounted compared to steers of the same weight as they would be expected to have a lower rate of gain and a lower finish weight. The greater the cost of feed (and gain), the wider the spread. The discount can be reduced (or conceivably go away entirely) if there would be another reason to value heifers differently. This can happen when heifers are demanded as replacements. The LMIC has a chart (and a data table) of heifers on feed as a percent of total cattle on feed, the heifer mix, that goes back to 2009. A low heifer mix would be an indication of heifers being diverted from feedlots to replacement programs. Comparing the October heifer mix to the historic price slide was not informative. A longer data series may be necessary to tease out signals from the cattle cycle.

The latter part of 2021 never brought improved range and pasture conditions for the western U.S. This reduced feed supplies would be partly responsible for the steeper price slide observed now. Poor pasture conditions also limit the ability of producers to retain heifers. The heifer mix in October was back up to almost 40% of cattle on feed from about 39% last year. The supply of feeder cattle outside of feedlots in October was lower than in 2020 and 2019. The November cattle on feed report was in line with trade expectations. The inventory on feed is down slightly from a year ago with placements 2% higher. Tough pasture conditions could be driving cattle to feedlots sooner, which may partially explain the higher placements. The continued higher placements means that the supply of feeders outside of feedlots is getting smaller, which would be supportive of prices for feeders in the short run. Higher placements likely means the heifer mix is not getting smaller. This will keep the spread wide going forward until the pasture, feed and returns situation changes.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/19/2021

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 19, ethanol production scaled up by 19,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.8%, to 1.079 million b/d. This is equivalent to 45.32 million gallons daily. Production was 9.0% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic, and 1.9% greater than the same week in 2019. However, the four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.6% to 1.071 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.42 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks rose 0.4% to 20.2 million barrels. Stocks were 3.4% below the year-ago level and 0.6% lower than the same week in 2019. Inventories increased across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2) and Gulf Coast (PADD 3).
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, climbed 1.0% to 9.33 million b/d (143.09 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 14.8% above a year ago and 1.4% more than the same week in 2019.

Conversely, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol declined 1.3% to a 30-week low of 886,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.58 bg annualized. Net inputs were 9.0% above a year ago but 4.7% less than the same week in 2019.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the fourth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2021.)

Nitrogen Fertilizers Prices Continue Climb, UAN32 up 32%

Retail fertilizer prices continue to skyrocket higher, according to locations tracked by DTN for the third week of November 2021. As has been the case for months now, all eight of the major fertilizers were higher.  Seven of the eight fertilizers recorded a considerable move higher compared to last month. DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or more.

Leading the way higher was UAN32, which was up a whopping 32% from a month prior. The liquid nitrogen fertilizer's average price was at $651/ton, which continues to be an all-time high in the DTN data set.

Anhydrous was 30% more expensive compared to last month with the average price at $1,220/ton; this is also an all-time high. UAN28 was 27% higher, looking back a month with the average price of $571/ton, also an all-time high.

Urea was 17% more expensive compared to last month with an average price of $859/ton, again an all-time high with DTN data. 10-34-0 was 12% more expense looking back to last month with an average price of $739/ton.

A couple fertilizers were "only" single digits higher. Potash was 8% high compared to last month and had an average price of $769/ton. MAP was up 6% from last month and had an average price of $911/ton.

One fertilizer, DAP, had just a slight price increase. The phosphorus fertilizer had average price of $825/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.93/lb.N, anhydrous $0.74/lb.N, UAN28 $1.02/lb.N and UAN32 $1.02/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all have increased significantly, with several fertilizers having well-over 100% price increases.  10-34-0 is now 62% more expensive, DAP is 81% higher, MAP is 86% more expensive, potash is 129% higher, urea is 140% more expensive, UAN32 is 161% higher, UAN28 176% is more expensive and anhydrous is 188% higher compared to last year.

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Producers Prepare for Thanksgiving Harvest

This Thanksgiving, many biodiesel producers are prepping for the holiday surge in used cooking oil. National Biodiesel Board (NBB) members — such as Newport Biodiesel in Rhode Island, New Leaf Biofuel in San Diego and American GreenFuels in Connecticut — harvest and recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel and renewable diesel, helping to keep food costs down while lowering carbon emissions.

Many people will dine out on Thanksgiving while others choose to fry their turkey. Either of those options can support the clean fuels industry. NBB members are leaders in the circular economy, many of whom rely on local restaurants for their feedstock supply. These companies collect used cooking oil from area restaurants and recycle it to produce to high-quality biodiesel, which they sell to local businesses, governments, fleets and even use themselves. They’re keeping a waste product out of landfills and helping restaurants keep prices down by finding a second use for their waste product.

Similarly, when biodiesel is produced from soybean oil it helps keep the price of soy protein meal — which is 80% of the bean and used in livestock feed — affordable. This in turn helps keep prices for meat, eggs and dairy more affordable than they would be if there was no market for the surplus oil — the remaining 20% of the bean.

Newport Biodiesel collects waste vegetable oil from over 5,000 kitchens throughout the New England and Tri-state areas," Newport Biodiesel President Blake Banky said. "This feedstock is processed into biodiesel in Newport Rhode Island, after which it is sold back into the region, thereby closing the sustainability loop.  Our restaurant partners will be generating extra quantities of valuable waste streams during the Thanksgiving holiday and Newport Biodiesel will be there to collect them.”

Across the country in San Diego, New Leaf Biofuel is another company that collects used cooking oil from local restaurants and uses it to make high-quality biodiesel fuel that reduces carbon emissions and improves air quality.

“Biodiesel made from used cooking oil is especially good for the environment,” said Jennifer Case, founder and CEO of New Leaf Biofuel. “It can significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to petroleum diesel. It can be used in virtually any diesel engine up to 20% and it can also be blended with renewable diesel up to 20%, which allows for a complete drop-in replacement for petroleum diesel.”

American GreenFuels biodiesel is a renewable, cleaner-burning diesel replacement that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Located in New Haven, American GreenFuels is the largest biodiesel producer in both the Northeast and along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The company converts used cooking oil, which is sources from Connecticut and the surrounding states.

According to Raf Aviner, president of Kolmar Americas, Inc., American GreenFuels parent company, “Using used cooking oil helps enable our plant to be sustainable. Biodiesel is renewable and used cooking oil helps complete the cycle of turning what was once a waste product into a renewable fuel.”

American GreenFuels is currently engaged in an awareness campaign called “You Are What You Heat” which is designed to educate people about the benefits of using biodiesel in home heating systems, buildings, diesel equipment and trucks.

“Biodiesel is playing an important role in our nation’s decarbonization efforts, reducing lifecycle greenhouse gases by an average of 74% -- and oftentimes more depending on what is used to make the fuel," explained Matt Herman, NBB’s director of environmental science. “Today, tomorrow, and long into the future, biodiesel and renewable diesel will continue to do their part in reducing emissions, improving air quality and protecting public health.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Tuesday November 23 Ag News

– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

Are you looking for additional income from your corn acres? Grazing corn residue is a low-cost winter feed source for cattle and a source of additional income for farmers without negative effects on the cropland.
Many crop producers are concerned that trampling from cattle grazing corn residue negatively affects crop yields. But when grazed at proper stocking rates, small but positive effects on crop production after grazing have been observed.
Research conducted at the University of Nebraska has shown that grazing corn residue at the recommended stocking rate does not reduce corn or soybean yields in irrigated fields the following growing season.
In fact, a long-term study in eastern Nebraska at the Eastern Research and Extension Center showed 2 to 3 bushel per acre improvements for soybean production following grazed corn residue in a corn-soybean rotation. This result was the same whether cattle grazed in the fall from November through January or spring from February through April.
A five-year study in western Nebraska measured corn yields from continuous corn after cattle grazing in the fall and found no negative effects on corn yields the following year.
It must be noted that minor surface compaction can result from grazing during wet weather. However, this compaction often disappears through the natural wetting and drying and freezing and thawing processes. And the compaction level for restricting root growth and does not carry over into the following growing season.
Grazing corn residue benefits both cattle and crop producers. Corn residue should be viewed as an economical source of winter roughage for cattle that can provide an extra source of income from corn production that does not affect next year's crop production.

Central Valley Ag launches 2022 Scholarship Program

Central Valley Ag (CVA) offers 20 $1,000 college scholarship opportunities to students pursuing higher education in an agriculturally related field.

This scholarship program enables youth to continue their education on a collegiate level. Based on academic achievement, service to local communities, and knowledge of the cooperative system, the CVA Scholarship Committee will select the winners of each scholarship.

CVA is committed to improving, encouraging and enabling the healthy development of youth throughout the region. And by helping our youth pursue their agricultural career, we ensure that the agricultural industry continues to grow.

Additional information on scholarship guidelines can be found at Applications will only be accepted by online submissions. Scholarship deadline is March 1, 2022.

The scholarship program is open to students of CVA Member-Owners or CVA employees.

Growth Energy Supports Defend the Blend Act

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked Reps. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Angie Craig (D-Minn.), and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) for introducing the Defend the Blend Act. This legislation would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from retroactively reducing past Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) which have already been finalized.

"We thank these Representatives for introducing the Defend the Blend Act, legislation that would offer more certainty in the marketplace, especially as we await the 2021 and 2022 RVOs from EPA,” said Skor. “The Renewable Fuel Standard was put into place to blend more low-carbon biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply and includes a built-in mechanism that adjusts for any changes in fuel demand. Retroactively changing RVO levels is completely unwarranted. It is unnecessary, adds uncertainty to the marketplace, and far exceeds EPA’s legal authority.”   

Other original cosponsors include Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Jim Baird (R-Ind.),  Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.), and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.).

RFA Thanks House Members For Bill Restricting Retroactive RFS Volume Cuts

The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked Reps. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Angie Craig (D-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) for new legislation filed today—the Defend the Blend Act—that would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from reducing the minimum applicable volume of biofuels into transportation fuel once renewable volume obligations are finalized for any given year.

“We thank Reps. Hinson, Craig, Davis, Kind, and the co-sponsors of this bill for their efforts to ensure both oil refiners and EPA are being held accountable,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The Renewable Fuel Standard was intended to provide long-term market certainty and predictability for our nation’s ethanol producers, farmers, fuel retailers, and other market participants. Retroactively slashing renewable volume obligations long after they have been set would throw the RFS program into turmoil and reward a small group of defiant oil refiners for their bad behavior. RFA strongly supports this bill because it would prevent refiners from rigging the game and it would keep EPA from moving the goalposts.”

ACE Supports the Defend the Blend Act

Today, Reps. Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Angie Craig (MN-02), and Ron Kind (WI-03) introduced the Defend the Blend Act, bipartisan legislation to prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from retroactively reducing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) levels once they are finalized, including the 2020 RVOs.

“ACE thanks House members for introducing the Defend the Blend Act to help ensure EPA and oil refiners follow the law when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The way the program has been carried out over the past few years has created uncertainty for not only biofuel producers and farmers, but for fuel retailers and oil refiners. The RFS was a well-written piece of legislation, and this bill would help keep EPA from continuing to play politics when it comes to administering the program.”

Other original cosponsors include Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Jim Baird (R-Ind.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.), and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.).

Community, Worker, and Farmer Groups Welcome Meatpacking Legislation

Today, as Nebraskans prepare for holidays with family and food, the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act was introduced in Congress to make our food system more resilient, fair, and safe – with long-overdue safety protections for people who work in large-scale meat and poultry processing plants and fair-market reforms to support local farmers and ranchers.

Public concern has continued to grow before and during COVID-19 about large-scale meat and poultry processors’ dangerous plant conditions as well as unfair market control.

 “Our parents care about the quality of the food they process for everyone’s tables, and we care about the safety of our parents,” said Dulce CastaƱeda of Children of Smithfield. "Dangerously fast processing lines cause painful injuries, serious food safety risks, and we hear the industry pressures on local farmers and ranchers as well. On all sides, Nebraska communities will be well served by this legislation."

 “Nebraska Farmers Union supports legislative efforts to provide safe workplaces for meatpacking workers, and ag market reforms to increase competition and transparency,” said John K. Hansen, President of Nebraska Farmers Union. “We applaud Senator Booker’s efforts to combine more fair treatment for food producers and food processing workers. It represents a good start on both fronts.”

“This bill is so important for local Nebraska communities. We have too many permanently injured people and the numbers keep growing,” said Olga Guevara, Executive Director of Unity in Action in South Sioux City. “Meatpacking safety protections will help keep community members safe, which keeps our communities strong.”

“For twenty years, I have met moms and dads who can no longer hold their child, young men who never expected to be disabled at the age of 30, and so many people with damaged hands and shoulders who can no longer perform daily tasks,” said Gloria Sarmiento, Senior Community Organizer with Nebraska Appleseed. “It’s time to prevent this for Nebraska families and communities.”  

“The UFCW Local 293 welcomes this important bill,” said Eric Reeder, President of the UFCW Local 293. “Things like coming home safe at the end of the workday and reliable bathroom access should be a basic part of processing the nation’s food. Unfortunately it’s not, and this bill will help get us there.”

Examples of protections included in the bill are:
-    A requirement for OSHA to finalize safety protections to prevent meat and poultry worker amputations and musculoskeletal injuries common from dangerously fast line speeds, insufficient staffing, and other factors.
-    A requirement for packing plants to ensure sufficient toilets and bathroom access without punishment.
-    Prevention of the line-speed waivers that have allowed large-scale processors to further increase speeds, creating serious food and worker safety risks.
-    Strengthening the Packers & Stockyards Act to support local farmers, ranchers, and local food systems.
-    Government Accountability Office reports on racial and ethnic disparities in meat and poultry processing, fragility in the nation’s food system, and line speeds.

Green Plains Inc. Launches Monarch Fueling Station Projects at Two Iowa Plants

Today Green Plains Inc. announced plans to establish Monarch Fueling Stations on-site at their plants in Shenandoah and Superior.

The site in Shenandoah is 1.75 acres and seeding is expected to take place in the spring of 2022.  

“We’re happy to contribute to this statewide project,” said Cory Scamman, general manager, Green Plains Shenandoah LLC. “This initiative is doing great work to preserve an important species and we look forward to establishing a habitat on our property.”

At Superior they plan to establish the habitat on a field currently being used to grow hay. The plant will start by converting one or two acres but there is potential to expand the habitat by several acres.

“I think it’s important to promote habitat for endangered pollinators like the monarch,” said Tod Smith, plant manager, Green Plains Superior LLC. “I’m looking forward to having a fueling station for them in the Superior area.”

The location and size of both habitats was decided in consultation with Habitat Establishment Coordinator Kevin Reynolds.

“Green Plains and the rest of the Monarch Fueling Station Project partners are to be commended for their commitment to Iowa’s environment,” Reynolds said. “The Monarch Fueling Station Project has already led to nearly 50 acres of new monarch butterfly habitat and as we see today, that is only the beginning. It is exciting to see these projects take off and flourish.”

The Monarch Fueling Station Project was established by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) in partnership with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium in December 2017. It is a program to help Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel plants establish monarch habitat on plant grounds. To learn more about the IRFA Monarch Fueling Station Project, contact IRFA at or 515-252-6249.

U.S. Court of International Trade Says It Will Review Amicus Brief on Fertilizer Tariffs, Farmers Call on Companies to Withdraw Petitions for Levies

The U.S. Court of International Trade this week said that it will review an amicus brief submitted by the National Corn Growers Association and other ag groups in a case it’s considering on tariffs of phosphorous fertilizers imported from outside the country. But farmers, faced with severe shortages and high fertilizer costs, are calling on a major American fertilizer company to withdraw the petition that led to the tariffs.

“Executives at Mosaic can remove this financial burden by withdrawing the petition,” Edgington said. “We invite them to do just that.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce recommended in February 2021 that the International Trade Commission implement tariffs over 19% on imported fertilizers from Morocco after the Mosaic Company, which manufactures fertilizers used in the U.S. and abroad, filed a petition with the department seeking the levies. The ITC voted in March to impose the tariffs while adding similar levies on Russian imports.

CF Industries also filed a petition with ITC to place tariffs on urea ammonium nitrate solutions, which are used in liquid fertilizers, imported from Russia and Trinidad & Tobago. A decision on that request is pending.

“Given the effects tariffs are having on farmers, we hope the executives at CF Industries will withdraw their petition,” Edgington said.

The financial impact of tariffs are beginning to dim planting forecasts for 2022, according to economists. Fertilizer costs between 2021 and 2022 are projected to lower net incomes by 34% in Illinois, according to new projections from economists at the University of Illinois. Farmers say the forecast in Illinois is illustrative of what’s happening across the country.

“The tariffs have created a financial hardship for farmers.” Edgington said. “Another year of shortages and tariffs will be devastating.”

The court could render a decision in 2022.

Farm & Biofuel Leaders Welcome Key Provisions of the Build Back Better Act

On Monday, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union thanked Congress for efforts to “build new markets for farmers and biofuel producers and help lower the carbon intensity of agriculture.” In a joint letter to the chairs of the House and Senate agriculture committees, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), biofuel and farm leaders offered appreciation for key provisions of the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which passed the House on Friday and was sent to the Senate.
“One of the most pressing challenges facing biofuel producers is ensuring that consumers have consistent access to higher-level ethanol and biodiesel blends, which are lower carbon and lower cost than petroleum fuels. The Biofuel Infrastructure and Agriculture Product Market Expansion provision in the BBB Act helps address this issue and contains much-needed funding to ensure consumers have access to these fuels,” they wrote in reference to $1 billion allocated to upgrade refueling and distribution infrastructure meant for higher blends of ethanol.
Advocates also pointed to lifecycle analysis illustrating how improved farm practices continue to drive down the carbon intensity of farming, and therefore the overall carbon intensity of biofuels.
“The BBB Act provides further voluntary incentives like cover crops, nutrient management, buffers, and incentives for locally-led conservation efforts that will help reduce the carbon intensity of agriculture even further, helping biofuel producers provide an even lower carbon liquid fuel at a time when demand for low carbon fuels is rising. As biofuel producers capture the value of low carbon farming practices, farmers would also have the opportunity to benefit in the form of premium prices for their commodities.,” they noted.

USDA Announces $90.2 Million in Grants Awarded to Strengthen Local and Regional Markets for U.S. Agricultural Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a $90.2 million investment in 203 projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for local and regional food businesses. The funding is made possible through grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as part of the Local Agriculture Marketing Program (LAMP): the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs (FMLFPP) and the Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP).
    FMLFPP awarded a total of $75.4 million to 172 projects across 41 states to support the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer to consumer markets and local and regional food business enterprises. FMLFPP is implemented through two components, the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). FMPP awarded $37.5 million to 84 projects to support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism. LFPP awarded $37.7 million to 85 projects to develop, improve, and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally or regionally produced food products.
    RFSP awarded $14.8 million to 30 projects across 24 states to support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems. The projects focus on strengthening the viability and resilience of regional food economies through collaboration and coordination.

“These grants will help maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems to kickstart this transformation. The Local Agriculture Marketing Program grants have a history of generating new income sources for small, beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and creating new market opportunities for value-added and niche products,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “The new Regional Food System Partnerships grants will help build a fairer, more transparent food system rooted in local and regional production where businesses can compete fairly, because a greater share of the profit will go to those growing, harvesting, and preparing our food.”

“The strength of America’s agricultural economy is our creativity and resilience. Whether it’s a farmers market in Lansing or a food business in Kalamazoo, local and regional food systems expand economic opportunities for farmers and secure healthy food supply chains for families,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

LAMP recipients include:
    A Kentucky-based project that will help strengthen and stabilize participating farmers markets by creating marketing space, adapting a training program, and developing a peer-to-peer learning network. The project will strengthen Kentucky’s local and regional food system infrastructure and increased vendor sales and on-farm revenue.
    The Western Treasure Valley Food Systems Partnership project, focusing on the Western Treasure Valley region that spans southeastern Oregon and western Idaho, will develop a food hub and shared use kitchen feasibility study and business plan to increase regional capacity for processing, food distribution and storage, small to mid-scale value chain market development, coordination and delivery of nutrition education, and food access solutions.

AMS supports U.S. food and agricultural products market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and Congressionally funded grants. These projects will support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products.

“Small and medium size farmers, ranchers and processors have an important role in strengthening our food supply chain. These USDA local and regional food grants will help these agricultural businesses build, expand and sustain the processing, distribution and storage systems that will help move food from the farm to the table,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.

LAMP was established in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) (Pub. L. No. 115—334) and received a supplemental appropriation through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Pub. L. No. 116—260).

The 2022 Accelerating a Generation Syngenta Scholarship now open for applications

Students studying agriculture have a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship and a donation to the charity of their choice through the 2022 Accelerating a Generation Syngenta Scholarship Program.

Through the scholarship program, which is run by the National FFA organization (FFA), Syngenta will give a total of six scholarships to college students from across the country who are pursuing an education in agricultural or farm studies. The objective of the scholarships is to help advance those winners' knowledge of the industry.

“Making sure students feel supported is the first and most important step in ensuring a strong future in our agricultural community, and this program does just that,” says Linda Arnold Whaley, head of marketing communications for Syngenta Seeds. “Our scholarship is the perfect tool for empowering students.”

The application period runs until Jan. 11, 2022. Applicants must be U.S. residents and those in higher-education institutes must be enrolled as of fall 2021 in an accredited agriculture program at a land-grant university. FFA membership is not required.

Along with the scholarship money, each winner designates an agriculture-related non-profit organization to receive a $500 donation from Syngenta.

“Every year we are honored to receive applications from some of the best and brightest students across the country, and I anticipate this year will be the same,” says Syngenta marketing communications lead Pam Caraway.

To apply for the scholarship, visit For information on official rules and application guidelines, visit

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Monday November 22 Ag News

For the week ending November 21, 2021, there were 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 8% very short, 30% short, 61% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11% very short, 38% short, 50% adequate, and 1% surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 95%, near 98% last year and 94% for the five-year average.
Winter wheat condition rated 3% very poor, 10% poor, 24% fair, 52% good, and 11% excellent.  
Sorghum harvested was 95%, behind 100% last year, but near 94% average.
Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 13% very poor, 15% poor, 55% fair, 15% good, and 2% excellent.


Dry weather with only spotty light showers allowed Iowa’s farmers 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 21, 2021, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Field activities  included  harvesting,  baling  corn  stalks,  applying  fertilizer  and  anhydrous,  and  fall  tillage.    Cover crops are up and green in many areas.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 14 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 27 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.   
Ninety-five  percent  of  Iowa’s corn  for  grain  has  been  harvested,  3  days  ahead  of  the  five-year  average.  Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 16 percent.  Harvest progress for farmers in south central Iowa continues to lag behind the rest of the State as over 10 percent of their corn for grain remains to be harvested.
Livestock are doing well with cattle out on corn stalks.

USDA: 5% of Corn, Soybeans Left to Harvest

The U.S. row-crop harvest entered the homestretch last week with just 5% of both corn and soybeans left to harvest as of Sunday, Nov. 21, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

The nation's corn harvest progressed 4 percentage points last week to reach 95% complete as of Sunday, NASS estimated. That is 2 percentage points behind last year's 97% but 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 92%.

Soybean harvest moved ahead 3 percentage points last week to reach 95% complete as of Sunday. That is 3 percentage points behind 98% at the same time last year and 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 96%.

Winter wheat planting inched ahead another 2 percentage points to reach 96% complete, 2 percentage points behind last year's pace and 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 97%.  Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 86%, 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 87%.  Winter wheat condition fell 2 percentage points last week to 44% good to excellent as of Sunday, 1 percentage point above last year's rating at the same time and tied for the third-lowest rating since 2010.


Confronting Cropping Challenges  Program  to be Offered  in December  2021

Producers in northeast Nebraska will have an opportunity to learn from cropping issues that impacted the area during the 2021 growing season. The Confronting Cropping Challenges program will help producers make decisions for the 2022 growing season and they can renew their private pesticide applicator license. This is the fifth year for the Confronting Cropping Challenges program, and responses from previous years have been very positive. This year the program will be offered in five locations across northeast Nebraska in December. The program will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.
Tuesday December 7th – Holt County Courthouse Annex - O’Neill
Wednesday December 8th – Club Room, Ag Park - Columbus
Thursday December 9th – Nielsen Community Center - West Point
Tuesday December 14th – City Auditorium - Randolph
Thursday December 16th – Boone County Fairgrounds - Albion

Topics to be covered include:
Fall Armyworms, will they be back?
Tar Spot a new disease confirmed in corn
Herbicide Selection
Private Pesticide Applicator  Recertification   

You can join us for just the first three informational sessions or if you need to renew your private pesticide applicator license in 2022, please attend the whole program. Even though this training is being offered in 2021, you will not lose a year of certification on your license.  Please note that this training will only offer recertification of private pesticide licenses, those needing initial training will need to attend one of the other trainings offered in early 2022. In addition to cropping info, the  four topics will cover important areas for pesticide applicators such as IPM, reading a label, resistance management, and minimizing environmental concerns. The program being offered in Albion will be more tailored to those producers with cattle.
The cost for the program is $10 if you are only attending the first three  sessions. If you are being recertified  for your private pesticide applicators license, the cost will be $60. The additional $50 is the same as you would pay to be recertified at a traditional private pesticide applicator training.   

Preregistration is appreciated but not required by going to  

For more information, contact your local Nebraska Extension office. 

Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo offers 2022 growing season information

The 2021 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo on Thursday, Dec. 16 will assist soybean producers in planning for next year's growing season.

The expo, which begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 2:15 p.m., will be in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds in Wahoo.  The event opens with coffee, donuts and the opportunity to view equipment and exhibitor booths. Speakers start at 9:10 a.m.

This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension, which is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Soybean Board, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.   

Presenters include university researchers and specialists, Nebraska Soybean Checkoff representatives, soybean growers and private industry representatives.

“Costs, Profits, and Pitfalls in the Volatile 2022 Market Environment” will be presented by Elaine Kub, market economist and commentator and author of  “Mastering the Grain Markets.” Kub believes inflation uncertainty works both ways for commodity producers – growers can sell grain at higher and hopefully profitable prices, but all the inputs going into the calculation are also skyrocketing. In a three-part presentation, Kub will put specific numbers to the challenges Nebraska farmers face going into the 2022 planting season, including a deep dive into the costs of production, global supply-and-demand and transportation influences that may sustain or threaten profitable grain prices, and tips to address common behavior patterns and optimize each marketing plan based on an individual’s risk appetite.

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Nebraska Extension plant pathologist, will provide a soybean disease update.  She will provide the latest news on the most troubling soybean diseases and what can be done to reduce impacts on the bottom line for growers.  The presentation will include frogeye leaf spot, Phytophthora root and stem rot, white mold, and soybean cyst nematode.

Justin McMechan, Nebraska Extension crop protection and cropping systems specialist, will present “Soybean Gall Midge: Understanding Risk and Management Options.”  Gall midge is a relatively new pest in Nebraska, and the information and best practices evolve with each growing season. Get the latest from the 2021 season on the biology and management of soybean gall midge so you can make informed decisions next year.

Aaron Nygren, Nebraska Extension educator, will discuss what Extension has to offer.  Nebraska Extension reaches Nebraskans in all 93 counties. Learn how Nebraska Extension can impact your family, livelihood, and communities and how to access resources.

The expo also will include an update from the Nebraska Soybean Board and Nebraska Soybean Association.

Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 9:45 a.m.  

The Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization requests that each participant bring one or more cans of nonperishable food that will be donated to the local food pantry.

Complimentary noon lunch will be served.

Registration is available the day of the expo at the door. For more information about the program or exhibitor information, call 402-624-8030 or e-mail  Vendor spots are available.  Information online at: There is no registration fee.

Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for December, January

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers across the state in December 2021 and January 2022. The clinics are one-on-one in-person meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Dates
    Thursday, Dec. 2 — Norfolk
    Friday, Dec. 3 — Valentine
    Tuesday, Dec. 7 — Fairbury
    Wednesday, Dec. 15 — Norfolk

    Thursday, Jan. 6 — Norfolk
    Monday, Jan. 10 — Fairbury
    Wednesday, Jan. 19 — Norfolk
    Thursday, Jan. 20 — Valentine

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska.


All layers in Nebraska during October 2021 totaled 8.25 million, up from 8.23 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during October totaled 205 million eggs, down from 211 million in 2020. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,489 eggs, compared to 2,563 eggs in 2020.

IOWA: Iowa  egg  production  during  October  2021  was  1.29  billion eggs, up 4 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The average number of all layers on hand during October 2021 was 49.1 million, up 1 percent from last month and up 3 percent from  the  same  month  last  year.  Eggs  per  100  layers  for October  were  2,617,  up  3 percent  from  last  month  but  down slightly from last October.   

U.S. October Egg Production Up 1 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.61 billion during October 2021, up 1 percent from last year. Production included 8.32 billion table eggs, and 1.29 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.21 billion were broiler-type and 73.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during October 2021 totaled 390 million, up 1 percent from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,465 eggs, up slightly from October 2020.
Total layers in the United States on November 1, 2021 totaled 392 million, up 1 percent from last year. The 392 million layers consisted of 327 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 61.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 2.97 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2021, averaged 79.5 eggs per 100 layers, down slightly from November 1, 2020.

USDA Cold Storage October 2021 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2021 were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 9 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 6 percent from the previous month and down 2 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 10 percent from last month and down 39 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2021 were down 8 percent from the previous month and down 18 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 17 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 27 percent from last month and down 19 percent from October 31, 2020.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2021 were down slightly from the previous month but up 8 percent from October 31, 2020. Butter stocks were down 13 percent from last month and down 6 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on October 31, 2021 were up 5 percent from last month but down 11 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 7 percent from last month but down 3 percent from a year ago.

Confinement Site Manure Applicator Workshops Scheduled for 2022

Confinement site manure applicators and anyone interested in learning about manure issues should plan to attend a two-hour workshop offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in January or February 2022. These workshops are offered in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Registration is required. No walk-ins allowed. There is no fee to attend the workshops, but applicators will need to pay certification fees and send the forms in to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to complete certification requirements.

“Iowa law requires confinement site manure applicators to attend two hours of continuing education each year of their three-year certification period or take and pass an exam once every three years,” said Dan Andersen, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and extension agriculture engineering specialist at Iowa State, and coordinator of the manure applicator certification program.

Manure application.A total of 64 counties will participate in the confinement site manure applicator workshops. In addition, a series of six dry/solid manure applicator certification meetings will be held in February. These meetings are tailored toward dry/solid manure for either Commercial or Confinement Site manure applicators. ISU Extension and Outreach county offices have a complete list of workshop dates and locations, or view a list at

The workshops serve as initial certification for those applicators who are not currently certified, recertification for those renewing licenses and continuing education for those applicators in their second or third year of their license.

Due to uniform certification deadlines, applicators are encouraged to attend workshops prior to March 1 to avoid being assessed a late fee of $12.50 for those who are re-certifying. Those unable to attend one of the workshops need to schedule time with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office to watch the training video. Due to scheduling conflicts, extension offices will no longer accept walk-in appointments to watch these videos but do offer scheduled dates and times to provide this training.

If you can’t attend training during one of the scheduled reshow dates at your county extension office, you will be charged a $10 fee to view the training at your convenience. If attending the workshops or watching the two-hour training video is not convenient, confinement site manure applicators may contact their local Department of Natural Resources field office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam to meet certification requirements.

Applicators also have another option, online certification; an applicator can take their training online at DNR MAC eLearning site at The applicator will need to sign-in and get an A&A account.

Contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office for more information about the Manure Applicator Certification Program or visit

Commercial Manure Applicator Training Set for Jan. 6

Commercial manure applicators can attend annual training to meet commercial manure applicator certification requirements on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will conduct Commercial Manure Applicator training from 9 a.m. to noon at 80 locations in Iowa and one in Minnesota. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

There is no fee for the workshop. Pre-registration is required. No walk-ins allowed. Applicators must register by Dec. 30 with the ISU Extension and Outreach county office where they plan to attend. A complete list of workshop locations can be found at

Commercial manure applicators needing to recertify and those wanting to certify for the first time should attend. All currently certified commercial manure applicator licenses will expire on March 1, 2022. Those wanting to renew must complete training requirements and submit forms and fees to the Department of Natural Resources prior to March 1, to avoid paying late fees. The law requires all commercial manure applicators to attend three hours of training annually to meet certification requirements. Businesses that primarily truck or haul manure of any type or from any source are also required to meet certification requirements.

Those unable to attend the program on Jan. 6 need to schedule time with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office to watch the training Blu-rays. Due to scheduling conflicts, many extension offices will no longer accept walk-in appointments to watch these Blu-rays but do offer scheduled dates and times to provide this training.

If you can’t attend training during one of the scheduled reshow dates at your county extension office, you will be charged a $10 fee to view the training at your convenience. If attending the workshops or watching the three-hour Blu-rays is not convenient, commercial applicators may contact their local Department of Natural Resources field office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam. Another option for commercial manure applicators is to take their training online at DNR MAC eLearning site at The applicator will need to sign in and get an A&A account.

In addition to the commercial manure applicator training offered on Jan. 6, ISU Extension and Outreach will also offer six dry/solid manure workshops for commercial manure applicators in February 2022. Information regarding these workshops and locations is also contained in the link to the brochure listed above. Program requirements are the same as the regular commercial training program, but this training program is geared more toward dry/solid manure issues.

For more information about the commercial manure applicator certification program, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office or go to

Thompson, Boozman Lead Bicameral Group of Republican Ag Committee Members in Calling on EPA to Rescind Chlorpyrifos Decision

U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA), Republican Leader of the House Committee on Agriculture, and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Republian Leader of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, are leading a bicameral effort calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind its decision to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos and ensure its future actions related to the registration or registration review of crop protection tools are consistent with the science-based, regulatory process required under EPA’s congressionally-mandated authorities.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the Republican Leaders and their colleagues point out how the agency ignored the safety findings of its own career scientists when making its decision on chlorpyrifos which has caused tremendous stress for producers, who are already struggling to navigate the supply chain crisis.
“EPA’s blatant disregard for the work of its career scientists and the significant confusion the Agency’s decision has created for producers, channels of trade, and our nation’s food supply has inserted further uncertainty and stress for producers attempting to navigate the nation’s growing supply-chain problems at a time when producers are making key planting and purchasing decisions on hundreds of millions of acres for the 2022 growing season. The significance of the supply chain problems and impacts to the producers and rural communities cannot be overstated. As such, we request EPA rescind its August 2021 final rule revoking food tolerances for chlorpyrifos and proceed with reviewing current uses under its ongoing registration review of this chemistry,” the members wrote.

The members’ concerns are not limited to this single chemistry, and in the letter, they suggest the EPA has taken a “dangerous posture” on the valuable tools stakeholders and producers rely upon every day to produce the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply in the world.  
“Given these concerns, we seek your assurance that, going forward, EPA will not depart from its science-driven, risk-based, congressionally-mandated registration or registration review process of critical crop protection tools at a time when the supply chain is failing, availability of crop protection tools and other inputs is becoming more and more scarce, and record inflation is driving up the cost of production and, in turn, the cost of food for the consumer,” the members wrote.
Along with Republican Leader Thompson, the following House Agriculture Committee members signed the letter: Austin Scott (GA-08), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Rick Allen (GA-12), David Rouzer (NC-07), Trent Kelly (MS-01), Don Bacon (NE-02), Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), James Baird (IN-04), Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Chris Jacobs (NY-27), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Tracey Mann (KS-01), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Mary Miller (IL-15), Barry Moore (AL-02), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), and Julia Letlow (LA-05).

The following Senate Agriculture Committee members joined Republican Leader Boozman in signing the letter: Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS). Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

New Report Shines Light on Issues and Challenges in the U.S. Beef Market

Challenges in the cattle markets are not new, but the pandemic has herded these problems to the forefront with historic packer profits - a function of spreads between the prices ranchers are paid for their cattle and the prices people pay at the grocery store or other retail markets for beef.

In the wake of these unprecedented conditions, Congress commissioned a new report from the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) to examine fed cattle pricing, packing capacity, and related issues.

Dr. Bart Fischer, professor in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M and co-director of AFPC, was editor of the report titled, "U.S. Beef Supply Chain: Issues and Challenges." Fischer has a background in agricultural production and extensive experience on Capitol Hill serving as Chief Economist of the House Agriculture Committee from 2011 to 2019.

"The cattle markets are extraordinarily complex," Fischer said on the latest episode of Groundwork. "We saw this huge shift away from restaurants into grocery stores, which puts a huge strain on the supply chain. And the form of demand really shifted during the pandemic with all the disruption that comes with that."

Packing operations also contended with COVID-19 labor shortages.

"Even just at that segment of the supply chain, you see both of those things colliding at once," Fischer said.

Because of the extraordinary challenges and complexity of the market, lawmakers continue to struggle with how to ensure transparent markets promote growth and fairness from the producer through the supply chain to the consumer.

On November 10, the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act was introduced to address the declining negotiated cash markets and ensure more accurate price information in cattle markets. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), along with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). A section by section summary of the bill is available here. While a step toward progress, the legislation still lacks complete support from all segments of the complex cattle supply chain.

At Farm Policy Facts, we believe "U.S. Beef Supply Chain Issues and Challenges" is required reading for anyone interested in understanding the complexity of this market – and certainly law and policy makers who are considering these issues. Our thanks to Dr. Fischer and all the beef market experts who contributed to this important work.

OCM opposes the Compromise Cattle Market Bill.

The Lincoln, NE-based Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has announced its opposition to  Senate Bill S.3229 known as the Compromise Cattle Market Bill.

OCM President, Vaughn Meyer said, “The mission of OCM is to work for transparent, fair and truly competitive agricultural and food markets and S.3229 is merely an extension of the current lack of market transparency which allows packer domination in the market place”.  

S.3229 introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R- Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R- Neb.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is a compromise attempt to combine S.949, the Spot Market Protection Bill, and S. 543, the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021.  Under this union, the bill crafters have neglected the dire need for the immediate market transparency measures necessary for independent cattle producer and feeder survival.  

Since the 2015 cattle market crash, precipitated by Congressional Country of Origin Labeling rejection, cattle producers have sought Congressional assistance in regaining their lost markets. One of the two key steps to rebuilding the cattle industry is establishing greater cash market transparency.    

S.3229 fails to include immediate mandatory negotiated cash market levels that were originally inclusive in S. 949.  Without immediate established cash purchase minimums, producers may have to endure two more years before any cash market reconstruction can occur, and then it will be subject to a lengthy USDA approval process.  Farmers and Ranchers desperately need immediate intervention to break the stranglehold of corporate consolidation in our food and agricultural economy.

In addition to no present cash market discovery for producers, S3229 precipitates regional scapegoats for differing cash market purchasing requirements whereby regions of higher transparency levels may be reduced by regions with lower 18-month cash market averages. This regionalized approach of S.3229 exempts more than half of the United States translating into a ”get home free card “ for many big four packing plants.  Differing industry regional requirements will only serve to create producer animosity, create transportation burdens and dictate processing facility locations.

OCM understands and appreciates the need for industry consensus to fix the ongoing monopsony market power which is depriving thousands of family producers and feeders of their livelihoods.  However, any consensus must have immediate and lasting solutions for the economic equality of all participants.

OCM, in keeping with our mission for transparent, fair, and truly competitive agricultural and food markets, supports only compromises with:
-    Immediate nationally mandated cash market discovery to restore market competition, ensure market access and establish a true market basis for all marketing agreements.
-    Provide equal terms and treatment toward all individuals, localities, and regions in accordance with the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act section 202 (7 U.S.C. 192) (b).
-    Provide equal access to all purchase agreements /contracts for all participants as set forth under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

R-CALF USA Calls New Cattle Market Reform Bill the Long Awaited “Silver Bullet”

R-CALF USA announced its strong endorsement of the cattle market reforms contained in a new bill announced today by Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). The Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act of 2021 (the new Act) would substantively reform the structure of the U.S. cattle market and is expected to be formally introduced next week.

The new Act prohibits today’s ubiquitous formula contract, which requires cattle sellers to commit cattle to a packer without knowing even the base price the packers would use for determining the value of their cattle. The Act accomplishes this by requiring any contract that requires delivery of cattle more than 7 days before slaughter to contain a base price that can be equated to a fixed dollar amount.

The new Act also:
-    Bans the nation’s largest packers from owning and feeding cattle more than 7 days before slaughter.
-    Requires each plant owned by the largest packers to purchase at least 50% of their cattle needs from the competitive cash market each day and to slaughter those cattle within 7 days.
-    Prohibits any conduct by the packers that adversely affects competition regardless of any business justification claimed by the packers.
-    Clarifies that a showing of harm to competition is not necessary for producers to protect themselves from anticompetitive conduct by the packers.
-    Restores mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) for beef and pork and adds dairy products.
-    Empowers producers to defend the competitiveness of their industry by authorizing the recovery of attorney fees in successful cases filed under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

“This new Act is the ‘Silver Bullet’ we’ve been seeking to immediately fix the broken market and reverse the alarming contraction of the U.S. cattle industry,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

The comprehensive new Act contains three titles: the first addresses reforms to protect meat and poultry processing workers; the second addresses the above stated cattle market reforms; and the third addresses reports required by the Government Accountability Office, including a report on the fragility of and national security concerns in meat and poultry food systems.

“This much needed, comprehensive overhaul of the systemically broken cattle market, along with its worker-related reforms, elevates the new Act to that of the 2021 version of the 100-year-old Packers and Stockyard’s Act, which is sorely needed by cattle producers, workers and consumers.

“We strongly encourage every cattle producer to carefully read the new Act and to support it as a preferred substitute for the recently compromised spot market protection bill, S.3229, which now fails completely to offer any meaningful market structure reforms,” concluded Bullard.       

AMPI cheesemakers tally five, first-place finishes

The cheesemakers of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) are bringing home five, first-place and three, second-place finishes following the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest. In addition, a Pasteurized Process American and Monterey Jack Cheese with Red Bell and Jalapeno Peppers loaf made at the cooperative’s plant in Portage, Wis., received the NMPF Reserve Chairman’s Award. A hand-crafted Parmesan made in Hoven, S.D., was named best of class in the Italian division.

“Making award-winning cheese is a team effort at AMPI,” said Mike Wolkow, AMPI senior vice president of operations. “The dedication of our dairy farm families and cheesemakers — at every step in the cheesemaking process — delivers a great bite, every time.”

AMPI cheesemakers are being recognized at the contest held in conjunction with NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the United Dairy Industry Association and National Dairy Promotion and Research Board in Las Vegas, Nev. Cheese made at AMPI plants received the following awards:
First, Processed American Flavored, Pasteurized Process American and Monterey Jack Cheese with Red Bell and Jalapeno Peppers loaf – Portage, Wis.
First, Hard Italian, Parmesan – Hoven, S.D.
First, Mild Cheddar – Blair, Wis.
First, Colby Jack – Jim Falls, Wis.
First, Pepper Jack – Jim Falls Wis.
Second, Colby – Sanborn, Iowa
Second, Medium Cheddar – Blair, Wis.
Second, Processed American Plain – Portage, Wis.

“While our cheese regularly places well in national contests, this collection of awards is a first for AMPI,” said Marshall Reece, AMPI senior vice president of sales and marketing. “The recognition reaffirms our Co-op Crafted promise — AMPI farm families care for their land and animals, and partner with skilled craftsmen to make award-winning dairy products for our customers to enjoy.”