Saturday, December 31, 2022

Friday December 30 Ag News

 Former Legislative leaders say effort to end secret ballots will weaken the nonpartisan body  

Two former Speakers of the Nebraska Legislature are sounding the alarm that the nonpartisan tradition of the nation’s only one-house legislature is being threatened. According to news reports, when the Legislature convenes in January there will be an effort to end secret ballot voting for leadership positions.

“As former speakers of the Legislature, we saw first-hand how the rules and traditions of the Legislature preserve nonpartisanship, which produces more thoughtful policy that serves the state as a whole,” said former speaker Greg Adams of York. Adams was Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature from 2013 to 2015.

“Private ballots have long been used for selecting internal leadership positions within school boards, county commissioners, private organizations and political caucuses in Congress. Republican majority Legislatures have maintained this process for decades because state senators from all political affiliations have recognized its benefits to the Legislature and to the state,” Adams said. Prior to serving in the Nebraska Legislature, Adams served on the York City Council and as Mayor of York.

“The nonpartisan structure of our Legislature has been the pride of Nebraskans since 1937,” said former speaker Galen Hadley of Kearney. Hadley succeeded Adams as speaker of the Legislature serving from 2015 to 2017.

“Nonpartisanship makes the senators more equal and independent,” Hadley said. “Instead of party leaders having the only meaningful voices in the body, all senators contribute their own strengths and experience to policy making. Lobbyists must work to persuade each senator, not simply the few party bosses who will then tell their members how to vote,” he said.

“Electing leadership positions for speaker and committee chairs using a private ballot allows senators the autonomy to vote for leaders they believe are most qualified to serve in those roles rather than who is most politically powerful. Otherwise, senators might be pressured to vote for a senator simply because they belong to the same political party. With only 49 members in the body, this preserves relationships so senators can work together and have a productive session,” Adams said.

“Returning senators demonstrate their statesmanship and commitment to Nebraska when they safeguard the rules that safeguard this unique institution. And newly elected senators should resist outside pressures to change these rules before they even experience serving in the Legislature. It’s unwise to change the longstanding and well considered rules of a branch of government before they can see for themselves why the rules exist,” Hadley said

“I’m concerned that a fight over the rules could also delay other agenda items the Legislature has scheduled for the start of the session, including the leadership elections themselves,” Hadley said.

"The road map we follow is an attempt to take partisanship out of the system. Political parties get in the way of truly representing the will of the people. All senators, regardless of party, can represent their constituents equally," Adams said.  

David Bruntz Honored as Nebraska Corn Board Member

David Bruntz, a farmer from Friend, Nebraska recently termed off the Nebraska Corn Board after serving from 2013 – 2022 and chose not to seek reappointment. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts to serve as the District 1 Director of the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB), which represents Butler, Cass, Douglas, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders and Seward counties.

Bruntz farms with his brother, Bill, and his nephew, Allen. Together they raise irrigated and non-irrigated corn and soybeans along with feeding cattle. His past leadership roles include serving as the chairman and past chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, president of the Nebraska Cattlemen, regional vice president for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, executive committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and he served on the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Additionally, Bruntz served on the local Coop Board and on the Friend Area Foundation board for 15 years. He currently serves on the executive committee of the U.S. Meat Export Federation representing the feed grains sector. David and his wife, Ann, live in Friend, Nebraska.

“We are so appreciative of the leadership and commitment David provided to the Nebraska Corn Board. His guidance and knowledge over the years he served has helped us to continue excelling the corn industry forward and we couldn’t be more grateful,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NCB. “As he left the board in August, there is a big hole to fill. I think that’s a testament to his dedication and being so irreplaceable. We thank him for his time representing the Nebraska Corn Board.”

Bruntz termed off the board in August of 2022 and was recently honored at the November Nebraska Corn Board meeting.

Registration open for Iowa Farm Bureau's Young Farmer Conference

Farmers and agribusiness professionals, ages 18-35, are invited to attend Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer Conference on Jan. 27-28, 2023, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

“This year’s conference theme is ‘Our Roots Run Deep,’” said Megan Hansen, Young Farmer Advisory Committee chair and Pottawattamie County farmer. “As young farmers, we’re grateful for those who have paved the way before us—planting that seed. As the next generation, we are intent on solidifying those roots by learning from experts and each other at this popular event that typically attracts between 500 to 600 young farmers.”

The conference commences with ag industry tours followed by evening entertainment from comedian Tim the Dairy Farmer of Florida.

On Jan. 28, educational sessions will cover niche ag, soil health, farm taxes, navigating interest rate hikes, managing burnout, farm succession, food preservation, cattle feed efficiency and carbon credit programs. Attendees will also learn from fellow young farmers during a small business showcase and listen to the three Grow Your Future Award finalists pitch their ag-related business for a chance to win $7,500.

Everyone is invited to participate in the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet, a cooperative dialogue on challenges impacting farming and rural America. Winners will compete at the 2023 Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting in hopes to represent Iowa during the American Farm Bureau Federation Discussion Meet.

The young farmer conference will conclude with keynote speaker Braxten Nielson who overcame the odds after a rodeo accident left him with a broken back and little chance of walking again.

Register by Jan. 13 for this members-only event by contacting your local county Farm Bureau. To view the conference agenda or become an Iowa Farm Bureau member, visit

Workshops help farmers better manage 2023 farm margins

With tight farm margins anticipated in the future, farmers have much to consider to keep their family farms viable. To help navigate this pressure, Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are hosting “Managing 2023 Farm Margins” workshops across the state:
    Thurs., Feb. 2, CNH Industrial Ag Information Training Center, Nevada
    Mon., Feb. 6, Cass County Community Center, Atlantic
    Tues., Feb. 7, Knights of Columbus Hall, Storm Lake
    Mon., Feb. 20, Washington County Fairgrounds, Washington
    Tues., Feb. 21, Heartland Acres Agribition Center, Independence

During these workshops, attendees will learn strategies to protect working capital and how to diversify their income. They will glean from 30 years of crop marketing history the most opportune time to market bushels and the benefits of having a marketing plan. Ag lenders will also be present to give insights into what an optimal client-lender relationship looks like and how lenders can assist in farm business decisions.

As questions remain on carbon markets in agriculture, each session will also include a simulation to show farmers the carbon programs currently in the market and what the net return would look like over the life of the contract.

Sessions run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is free for Iowa Farm Bureau members and $50 for non-members. To register, visit

EPA and Army Finalize Rule Establishing Definition of WOTUS and Restoring Fundamental Water Protections

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) announced a final rule establishing a durable definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to reduce uncertainty from changing regulatory definitions, protect people’s health, and support economic opportunity. The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015 under the Clean Water Act for traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters. As a result, this action will strengthen fundamental protections for waters that are sources of drinking water while supporting agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities.

“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act 50 years ago, it recognized that protecting our waters is essential to ensuring healthy communities and a thriving economy,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Following extensive stakeholder engagement, and building on what we’ve learned from previous rules, EPA is working to deliver a durable definition of WOTUS that safeguards our nation’s waters, strengthens economic opportunity, and protects people’s health while providing greater certainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners.”

“This final rule recognizes the essential role of the nation’s water resources in communities across the nation,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael L. Connor. “The rule’s clear and supportable definition of waters of the United States will allow for more efficient and effective implementation and provide the clarity long desired by farmers, industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders.”

This rule establishes a durable definition of “waters of the United States” that is grounded in the authority provided by Congress in the Clean Water Act, the best available science, and extensive implementation experience stewarding the nation’s waters. The rule returns to a reasonable and familiar framework founded on the pre-2015 definition with updates to reflect existing Supreme Court decisions, the latest science, and the agencies’ technical expertise. It establishes limits that appropriately draw the boundary of waters subject to federal protection.

The final rule restores fundamental protections so that the nation will be closer to achieving Congress’ goal in the Clean Water Act that American waters be fishable and swimmable, and above all, protective of public health. It will also ensure that the nation’s waters support recreation, wildlife, and agricultural activity, which is fundamental to the American economy. The final rule will cover those waters that Congress fundamentally sought to protect in the Clean Water Act—traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters.

More information, including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice and fact sheets, is available at EPA’s “Waters of the United States” website.

Accompanying the issuance of the final rule, the agencies are also releasing several resources to support clear and effective implementation in communities across America. Today, a summary of 10 regional roundtables was released that synthesizes key actions the agencies will take to enhance and improve implementation of “waters of the United States.” These actions were recommendations provided during the 10 regional roundtables where the agencies heard directly from communities on what is working well from an implementation perspective and where there are opportunities for improvement. The roundtables focused on the geographic similarities and differences across regions and provided site specific feedback about the way the scope of “waters of the United States” has been implemented by the agencies.

Today, the agencies are also taking action to improve federal coordination in the ongoing implementation of “waters of the United States.” First, EPA and Army are issuing a joint coordination memo to ensure the accuracy and consistency of jurisdictional determinations under this final rule. Second, the agencies are issuing a memo with U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide clarity on the agencies’ programs under the Clean Water Act and Food Security Act.

On June 9, 2021, EPA and the Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” to better protect our nation’s vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. On Nov. 18, 2021, the agencies announced the signing of a proposed rule revising the definition of “waters of the United States.”

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants from a point source into “navigable waters” unless otherwise authorized under the Act. “Navigable waters” are defined in the Act as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” Thus, “waters of the United States” is a threshold term establishing the geographic scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The term “waters of the United States” is not defined by the Act but has been defined by the agencies in regulations since the 1970s and jointly implemented in the agencies’ respective programmatic activities.

New Water Rule Will Create More Confusion for Farmers

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on EPA’s issuance of yet another Waters of the United States Rule, which will replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

“AFBF is extremely disappointed in the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ new Waters of the United States Rule. Farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting the nation’s waterways, but they deserve rules that don’t require a team of attorneys and consultants to identify ‘navigable waters’ on their land. EPA has doubled down on the old significant nexus test, creating more complicated regulations that will impose a quagmire of regulatory uncertainty on large areas of private farmland miles from the nearest navigable water.

“Even more puzzling is the administration’s insistence on moving forward with a new rule while the Supreme Court is about to issue a decision on the scope of the Clean Water Act. A ruling in the Sackett case could send WOTUS back to the drawing board, so it makes no sense for EPA to issue a rule that will only cause more disruption and uncertainty.

“We appreciate the agencies’ attempt to provide needed clarifications of the prior converted cropland exclusion and exemptions for irrigation ditches and stock ponds, but the overall rule is still unworkable for America’s farm families. The back and forth over water regulations threatens the progress made to responsibly manage natural resources and will make it more difficult for farmers and ranchers to ensure food security for families at home and abroad.”

NCBA Statement On New WOTUS Rule

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) issued the following statement on the Biden administration’s finalized Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

“For too long, farmers and ranchers have dealt with the whiplash of shifting WOTUS definitions. Today, the Biden administration sought to finalize a WOTUS definition that will protect both our nation’s water supply and cattle producers across the nation.” said NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “While the rule retains longstanding, bipartisan WOTUS exclusions for certain agricultural features, it creates new uncertainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners across the nation.”

NCBA previously called for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to retain agricultural exclusions for small, isolated, and temporary water features that commonly appear on farms and ranches. These exclusions have broad support and were included in WOTUS rules under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The rule fails to clearly exempt isolated and ephemeral features from federal jurisdiction and relies on “case-by-case” determinations to assess whether a feature is federally regulated. Today’s rule is a far cry from the regulatory certainty provided by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, creating a significant and costly burden for agricultural producers.

“The timing of this rule could not be worse,” added Hart. “The Supreme Court is currently considering Sackett v. EPA, which will provide much-needed clarity related to the WOTUS definition. Today’s final rule seeks to directly preempt ongoing Supreme Court litigation, leaving farmers and ranchers with more questions than answers."

NAWG Responds to WOTUS Announcement

Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the final "Revised Definition of 'Waters of the United States'”. The rule will take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

“The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is deeply concerned that the EPA and U.S. Army Corps rushed to get this revised definition out prior to the end of the year instead of waiting for the decision in the Sackett case before the Supreme Court,” said NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule. “While we continue reviewing the final rule, since the rulemaking process was announced last year, NAWG has stressed that farmers need clarity regarding jurisdiction, recognize important agricultural water features, and more long-term certainty from the courts and administrations.”

In April 2022, NAWG filed an amicus brief with other agriculture groups in the Supreme Court case, which is examining the scope of federal jurisdiction as a Water of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

Thompson Statement on EPA’s Final WOTUS Rule

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers released their final definition of “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS). Following the announcement, Chairman-elect of the House Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, issued the statement below:

"Since day one of the Biden Administration, America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers have fallen under constant attack: burdensome regulation, record inflation, high input costs, the politicization of crop protection tools, supply chain disruptions, and now an egregious government land grab.

The final WOTUS rule issued today by the Biden Administration is another step in the wrong direction. Simply recognizing long-standing agriculture exemptions that have been too narrowly applied for decades does not make up for, once again, plunging our rural communities into ambiguity.  

Finally, the timing of the rule is questionable given the fact that the Supreme Court is due to rule on a case related to WOTUS regulations in the coming months. I am concerned this action will only result in continuing the regulatory whiplash."

New Waters of the U.S. rule creates regulatory uncertainty for farmers

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and U.S. Department of the Army’s announcement of a final rule on Waters of the United States:
“The EPA’s latest rule on defining “waters of the United States” is a statement of federal overreach that ignores states’ authority to regulate intrastate water quality and the Clean Water Act’s statutory mandate for cooperative federalism. In turn, although we recognize EPA’s attempt at clarifying through a roster of exemptions, its rule ignores the voices of nearly all in American agriculture who have long been seeking clarity on this issue, especially regarding the debate over what is and is not a navigable water,” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said.
“Farmers are committed to being responsible stewards of the land and water that they use to grow food, and the effectiveness of WOTUS should be taken with the same seriousness,” McKinney said.
As NASDA previously stated in multiple sets of comments and input throughout this regulatory process, the Clean Water Act establishes limits on federal jurisdiction and the role of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, thus recognizing the role of states in regulating non-navigable waters.
Further, the release of this ruling ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Sackett v. EPA wastes tremendous federal, state and private sector resources as the decision of SCOTUS will invariably shift water regulations across the United States yet again significantly. This is in stark contrast to the comments previously made by Administrator Regan to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment that the EPA’s rule would “be in a position to respond and adjust to the Supreme Court ruling.”

World’s first agri-focused satellite prepares for launch from Cape Canaveral

EOS SAT-1, the first imaging satellite to be built by Dragonfly Aerospace, is preparing for lift off in the next few days, January 3rd,  from SpaceX’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida, as part of the Transporter-6 mission.

The satellite is the first of a seven-satellite constellation in low Earth orbit for customer EOSDA (EOS Data Analytics). The remaining six satellites of the constellation will be deployed over the next three years.

EOS SAT is the world’s first agriculture-focused satellite constellation providing the agriculture and forestry industry with high-quality data to support efficient and sustainable practices.

Images obtained from Dragonfly’s EOS SAT-1 will deliver valuable information for harvest monitoring, application mapping, seasonal planning and assessments that analyse information such as soil moisture, yield prediction and biomass levels. This data will support growers with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and help them to develop sustainable agricultural methods.

Such information will have important environmental benefits for the planet and help prevent natural habitats from being diminished for crop growth and maintain biodiversity.

Equipped with two DragonEye electro-optical imagers, EOS SAT-1 will provide 44km swath panchromatic and multispectral imagery across 11 spectral bands at close to 1m resolution – making it one of the most capable imaging satellites in LEO.

Bryan Dean, CEO and Co-founder of Dragonfly Aerospace, said:
“This is a key moment for Dragonfly Aerospace, and we are thrilled to be delivering EOS SAT-1 with a number of firsts – the first imaging satellite designed and built by Dragonfly, the first microsatellite to be manufactured in South Africa since 2009, the first satellite of the EOS SAT      constellation and the first agri-focused constellation in space.

“This has been an important project for our whole team and has allowed us to demonstrate our capabilities, not just in producing high-performance electro-optical imagers, but in designing and manufacturing a full imaging satellite system. We are extremely excited and waiting in anticipation for the SpaceX Transporter-6 launch.”

“We look forward to supporting EOSDA with its mission to launch the next six satellites by 2025.”

Friday, December 30, 2022

Thursday December 29 Ag News

 Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.  Among today's appointments are:

The following appointees are unpaid and are not subject to Legislative confirmation:

Corn Development, Utilization and Marketing Board
Adam M. Grabenstein, Farnam

Nebraska Craft Brewery Board
Joshua Charles Christensen, Fort Calhoun
Anthony G. Gillick Jr., Omaha
Nikolai Knezovich, Lincoln
Mark R. Kraus IV, Holdrege
Ryan T. Penke, Omaha
Eric Schafer, Lincoln
J. Zac Triemert, Omaha

Nebraska Dairy Industry Development Board
Douglas D. Nuttleman, Stromsburg
Kent W. Pulfer, Wayne
Douglas Temme, Wayne

Nebraska Potato Development Committee
Chase Engel, Scottsbluff
Timothy May, Imperial

Wheat Development, Utilization and Marketing Board
Mary L. Kimberly Eisenzimmer, Big Springs

The following appointees are unpaid and subject to Legislative confirmation:

Nebraska Brand Committee
Steven F. Stroup, Benkelman
Marie A. Farr, Moorefield

Nebraska Ethanol Board
Bradley B. Bird, Blair
Michael S. Thede, Palmer

Nebraska State Fair Board
Dawn Caldwell, Edgar
Beth Smith, Lincoln

Nebraska Hemp Commission
Rory D. Cruise, Pleasanton

Nebraska Invasive Species Council
Craig Reece Allen, Ph.D., Lincoln
Mitch Coffin, Lincoln
Steven Jara, Lincoln
Justin King, Columbus
Brent Meyer, Denton
Jonathan Nikkila, Kearney
Kevin L. Pope, Lincoln
Dennis Schroeder, Lincoln
Kristopher Stahr, Lincoln
Kimberly L. Stuhr, Springfield
Arnold Stuthman, Platte Center
John Thorburn, Holdrege
Kim Todd, Lincoln
Arnold Stuthman, Platte Center

Nebraska Natural Resources Commission
Daniel (Dan) L. Steinkruger, Lincoln

Thank you to the many Nebraskans that give generously of their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go

USDA Reminds Livestock Producers of Assistance Available for Those Impacted by Recent Adverse Weather

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director John Berge is reminding the state’s producers who suffered livestock losses due to the recent adverse weather, they may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

“The Livestock Indemnity Program provides producers with a safety net to help them with the financial impact of livestock losses due to extreme or abnormal weather,” said Berge. “December has been marked by blizzards and extreme cold and high winds, which has really had a significant impact on some livestock producers. We encourage them to reach out to their local FSA office.”

LIP compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to an adverse weather event, which can include blizzards and extreme cold, among other weather events, or reduced sale prices for owned livestock due to injury from an eligible loss condition. The payment rate is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock.

A livestock producer must file a Notice of Loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is first apparent. For 2022 losses, producers also must file an application for payment by March 1, 2023.

Livestock producers must provide evidence that the death of livestock was due to an eligible adverse weather event or loss condition. In addition, livestock producers should bring supporting evidence, including documentation of the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records, and other similar documents. Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock was injured due to an adverse weather event must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock.

Producers should contact their local FSA office for additional program details, to submit a Notice of Loss, and to apply for LIP benefits. To find the nearest FSA office, visit

Weekly Ethanol Production for 12/23/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending December 23, ethanol production scaled back 6.4% to an 11-week low of 963,000 b/d, equivalent to 40.45 million gallons daily. Production was 9.1% lower than the same week last year and 5.6% below the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production decreased 1.3% to 1.032 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.82 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks rose 2.4% to a 37-week high of 24.6 million barrels. Stocks were 19.2% more than a year ago and 11.0% above the five-year average. Inventories built across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, jumped 7.0% to 9.33 million b/d (142.98 bg annualized), the highest level since September. Demand was 4.1% less than a year ago but 5.8% above the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol expanded 4.6% to a 9-week high of 916,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.04 bg annualized. Net inputs were 0.7% more than a year ago and 5.7% above the five-year average.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the third consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2022.)

Dairy Market Report: Rising Domestic Use Supports Prices

Domestic commercial use of milk in all products continued to strengthen during the August–October period, providing some support for prices even as production is increasing as well. U.S. milk production has increased year-over-year each month from July through October, at generally diminishing rates, while U.S. dairy cow numbers have increased steadily relative to a year earlier, indicating potentially greater increases in milk production in upcoming months.

Meanwhile, total U.S. dairy exports have exceeded the equivalent of 18 percent of U.S. milk solids each month since February this year, keeping the industry on track to surpass last year’s current record of 17.3 percent by this measure. Milk prices this year will set a new record for an entire calendar year, projected at to be at least $25.50 per cwt, well above 2014’s record of $24.00 per cwt. The Dairy Margin Coverage program margin may dip back below $9.50 per cwt in December and likely will remain below that level well into 2023.

Read the full report here....  

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Following the Swearing in of Alexis Taylor to Serve as Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement after the swearing in of Alexis Taylor to serve as the Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Alexis Taylor has a deep-rooted and impressive career working on matters related to agriculture, trade, and enhancing export opportunities for American farmers. She has not only spent her career serving the American people through her work in U.S. agricultural and trade policy, but also as a Veteran of the U.S. Army. I am confident Alexis is the right person to lead as we continue to address global food security challenges, promote American exports across the globe, and strengthen trade relationships with our global partners. I look forward to working with Alexis to further USDA’s mission to better serve farmers and ranchers and link U.S. agriculture producers to expanded global market opportunities."

FAS: U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia Again on Record Pace

Keith Good, University of Illinois  

In a report yesterday from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), “U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia on Record Pace,” Ivan Lee indicated that, “U.S. beef exports to East Asia in 2022 are again on record pace after a record year in 2021. Despite economic uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, continued global supply chain challenges, and a competitive global beef market, U.S. beef exports to East Asia, both in value and volume, were outstanding in the first half of 2022. East Asia’s relatively robust middle class has supported the demand for high-quality beef, and a developed e-commerce retail sector has provided flexible avenues for suppliers to promote beef products during the pandemic.”

Lee explained that, “East Asia is the top regional market destination for U.S. beef exports. During the first three quarters of 2022 (January – September 2022), U.S. beef exports to East Asia, including the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Japan, China/Hong Kong, and Taiwan, were a record $6.6 billion, exceeding last year’s exports of $5.4 billion, a 22 percent increase on a value basis. On a volume basis, exports were up 6.4 percent. Despite surging food prices in recent months, higher-volume shipments indicate a continued demand for beef products and that East Asia’s relatively stable middle class with high disposable household income has been willing to absorb the rising costs.”

The FAS report added that, “U.S. beef exports to China/Hong Kong surpassed $2 billion for the first time in 2021. Exports in 2022 have already reached $2.0 billion by September 30, a 34.1 percent increase in value during the same period last year; exports on a volume basis increased 23.2 percent. Unlike competition in other East Asian economies, where the United States and Australia are the two main suppliers, in China/Hong Kong the United States competes with several South American suppliers, namely Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.”

“From a policy perspective, how economies combat inflationary pressure will have an impact on East Asia’s demand for beef imports,” the FAS report said.

In other news regarding beef demand, Tony Briscoe reported on the front page of Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times that, “Could ordering a McChicken, as opposed to a Big Mac, help in the fight against climate change?”

Briscoe pointed out that, “In a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., researchers polled more than 5,000 adults nation- wide to gauge whether placing climate-impact labels on fast-food menus might persuade customers to make more environmentally friendly choices.

“They found customers were 23% less likely to order red meat at a fast-food restaurant if the menu had labels warning that those meals had a negative effect on the climate. Customers were nearly 10% more likely to order a more climate- friendly option, such as chicken or fish, if those items had labels promoting them as climate-friendly.”

Meanwhile, Reuters writer Naveen Thukral reported today that, “Chicago soybean futures rose on Wednesday, gaining for a third consecutive session, as a lack of rains in key supplier Argentina and dismantling of COVID-19 restrictions in China underpinned the market.”

“For the wheat market, strong winds and temperatures well below freezing levels have threatened dormant hard red winter wheat crops across the U.S. Great Plains, especially where a lack of snow cover leaves the plants vulnerable to damage from the cold,” the Reuters article said.

Dale Moore and Larry Wooten Receive Top Farm Bureau Honors

The American Farm Bureau Federation will present its highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award and the Farm Bureau Founders Award, to former AFBF Executive Vice President Dale Moore and former North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten, respectively, during the 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention, Jan. 6-11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

AFBF established the Distinguished Service Award in 1928 to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to serving the national interest of American agriculture. Established in January 2017, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Founders Award for exemplary leadership, service or contributions to Farm Bureau is presented in recognition of outstanding achievements and work in the interest of Farm Bureau.

Moore, a Kansas native raised on a family farm, has been a champion for agriculture in the public and private sectors for more than 40 years. His influential and accomplished career included stints on Capitol Hill, at several agricultural trade associations and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he served under four secretaries. His tenure included helping shape seven farm bills starting in 1985 through the current legislation enacted in 2018. His early work in Washington included more than a dozen years in various staff positions for the House Agriculture Committee and on the personal staff of former Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) when he was in the House of Representatives.

“When I stop and think about all the success, the joys, the blessings I’ve had in my career, I can’t put enough chairs around the table to see all the people who were an important part of that process,” Moore said.

Most recently, Moore was executive vice president at AFBF from 2018-2022, after serving as vice president of public affairs, deputy executive director for public policy, and manager of the agriculture and trade policy team for the organization. At AFBF, he was well-known for both his encyclopedic knowledge of historical farm policy and its implications for farmers and ranchers, and his mentorship of young staff new to D.C. and agriculture.

“Coming from rural Kansas and the opportunities he’s had to serve in so many different areas representing agriculture have been such a benefit to all of us, particularly American Farm Bureau,” said Rich Felts, immediate past president of Kansas Farm Bureau.

Wooten’s Farm Bureau career spans more than 50 years, starting when he was a farmer member and later president of Pender County (North Carolina) Farm Bureau. At NCFB, he served on several committees including Young Farmers & Ranchers, Tobacco Advisory and Resolutions. From 1994-1999, he served as assistant to the president (administrator) at NCFB. In 1999, he was elected president of NCFB, a position he held until 2019 while also serving as president of all corporations and affiliates. Under Wooten’s leadership, NCFB grew to more than 577,000 family memberships.

A commitment to developing agriculture leaders for the future is a hallmark of Wooten’s career, including support for collegiate Farm Bureau, YF&R and other leadership development programs. “I think this is what separates Farm Bureau from a lot of other ag organizations,” Wooten said. “We’ve made a conscious effort to develop leadership for the future.”

Wooten’s international experience includes extensive travel in Europe, Africa and South America promoting trade and U.S. agriculture. He also chaired AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee. His additional AFBF leadership experience includes serving on the AFBF board of directors during his tenure as NCFB president, and as a member and chair of the national YF&R committee.

Shawn Harding, current president of NCFB, praised Wooten’s team-oriented leadership style. “He has the ability to make everyone feel a part of the team and a part of the vision of what we are doing,” Harding said. Wooten led NCFB during several legislative and policy successes, including the initiation of the Tobacco Buyout Program and the passage of state laws protecting farmers’ right to farm, among many others.

Moore was nominated by the Kansas Farm Bureau for the DSA. Wooten was nominated by North Carolina Farm Bureau for the Founders Award. A national Farm Bureau committee selected each of the winners.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Wednesday December 28 Ag News

Nebraska Fuel Stations and Drivers Raise $15K for Breast Cancer Research

In the past five years, fuel retailers across Nebraska have joined forces to raise more than $45,000 for cancer research as part of Fuel the Cure – a campaign that also educates others about healthier fuel options. During October, when drivers chose higher blends of ethanol fuel like E15, E30 and E85 at participating retail locations, gas stations donated 3 cents for each gallon sold toward cancer research. Ethanol is a natural, plant-based octane booster used to displace some chemicals in gasoline which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues. Ethanol producers, including Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson and E-Energy in Adams, also donated to the cause. This year, Fuel the Cure raised $15,662.99 with donations going to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha and Nebraska’s American Cancer Society.
“Several medications, whose research was funded through the American Cancer Society, saved my life,” said Jenn Klein, a wife, mother, and breast cancer survivor. “I’m thankful funding was available to discover treatment before I needed it. Beating cancer wasn’t easy, but we have come so far in regard to treatment, that I was not alone, and I had hope throughout.”
When Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, her cancer cells were growing and dividing at a rate of about 80%. Treatment was needed immediately. A funded researcher discovered two of the four chemotherapy treatments she underwent.

Everyone is at risk of inhaling toxic chemicals, known as aromatics, used for octane in gasoline. These carcinogens make up 25% of a gallon of gas. You are exposed at the pump, from vehicle exhaust, and when these aromatics are released as greenhouse gases (GHG). According to, the link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says benzene causes cells not to work correctly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, causing anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells. Another major source of benzene exposure is tobacco smoke. Learn more about the health risks of the aromatics in gasoline at
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies these chemicals as toxic air pollutants known to cause cancer, adverse reproductive effects, and other health issues. In 1978, the EPA’s Clean Air Act waiver allowed the use of 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to support efforts to reduce air pollution. The EPA still blends ethanol into the fuel supply to support these efforts. Ethanol is a natural, plant-based octane booster used to displace some of these chemicals which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues. Overall, according to Harvard and Tufts universities, ethanol reduces GHG by nearly 50%.Choosing the right ethanol blend for your vehicle is important. explains each blend and has a biofuel finder for locating retailers near you.
“Ethanol producers and sellers have been the biggest proponents of providing an environmentally friendlier way to power our vehicles for many years,” said Jessica Sodeke, communications and outreach manager for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We commend these retailers for making higher ethanol blends available and giving consumers a choice in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Supporting Fuel the Cure is a step beyond, because the funds are directly impacting the lives of Nebraskans.”
Drivers who choose ethanol at the pump often see a price break, and their use of ethanol supports Nebraska’s rural communities and the state’s economy. To find a location near you, visit
“Fueling up with higher blends of ethanol, like E15, E30 and E85, is one of the easiest ways consumers can reduce their carbon footprint and create a healthier environment for everyone,” Sodeke said.
E15, also called Unleaded88, is approved for use in passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Nebraska has approximately 200,000 registered flex fuel vehicles, which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.
Fuel the Cure founders: Nebraska Ethanol Board; Nebraska Corn Board; and Renewable Fuels Nebraska, are already preparing for Fuel the Cure 2023 and would encourage Nebraska fuel retailers who sell higher ethanol blends to reach out to Jessica Sodeke, communications and outreach manager, at for information about participating. Donations to the Buffett Cancer Center or American Cancer Society are also accepted from others interested in supporting this cause, including cancer organizations and ethanol facilities. Fuel the Cure sponsors the Lincoln Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk as well. To sign up to be a part of our 2023 walking team, please reach out to Sodeke.

Five Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention Sessions Are Available On YouTube

At their 109th State Convention held earlier this month at the Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) filmed five of the sessions and now have them available on YouTube links in the press release below and their website:

NeFU President John Hansen said, “All five sessions videoed underscored this year’s convention theme: ‘Building Rural Communities Since 1913.’ Our organization’s mission is to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers, and our rural communities. We take on the tougher issues through education and advocacy. We had an excellent set of speakers this year that gave us much food for thought.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) Government Relations Report with Layla Soberanis. Layla’s power point presentation recapped the many issues NFU worked on last year, is actively engaged in currently, and examined changes ahead as the House Majority changes, and its impact on the House Ag Committee and the 2023 Farm Bill. NFU engages on about 25 issues per year that impacts farmers. Here is the link:

NeFU member Julie Hindmarsh moderated the “NeFU Foundation Poultry Litter and Stream Health Report” session with researcher Matt Sutton from the University of Nebraska Omaha and Graham Christensen, President GC Resolve and NeFU Board of Directors. This ground breaking water research with power point presentations took a strategic look at the potential water quality impacts from the Costco litter land applications. The preliminary research data showed there enough linkage between poultry-based contamination and stream water denigration that additional water quality research is warranted. Here is the link:

Jonathan Leo moderated the “Identifying, Quantifying, and Addressing Risks of water Quality Contamination in Nebraska” panel discussion with Dr. Eleanor Rogan, Interim Chair of the UNMC Departments of Health Promotion and Environmental, Agricultural & Health, and Dr. Jesse Bell, Director of the Water, Climate & Health Program at UNMC and Director of Water, Climate and Health UNL’s Daugherty Water for food Global Institute. These two experts detailed their recently released research into the links between nitrogen, Atrazine, and pediatric cancer in Nebraska. These were powerful power point presentations that raises serious questions about the safety of our rural drinking water. Here is the link:

NeFU President’s Award Winner Bryce Anderson, retired DTN Senior Meteorologist and nationally known weather expert’s “Making Sense of Extremes” power point used NOAA data to show that since 1980, the U.S. has had 332 extreme weather events in excess of $1 billion in damages amounting to $2.275 trillion, and Nebraska has had 54 extreme weather events in excess of $1 billion. His graphs showed the frequency of such extreme storms is dramatically increasing in recent years. Anderson said practices that build healthy soils that increases moisture storage capacity was common sense “no brainer” thing to do as well as use more renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions that fuel extreme weather. Here is the link:

NFU Historian Tom Giessel from Larned, Kansas’s power point mixed history and humor to owed how Farmers Union at the state and national levels uses all three sides of its Farmers Union triangle: education, cooperation, and legislation to build strong rural communities, including organizing more cooperatives than any other organization in America. He stressed Farmers Union’s “can do” approach. Here is the link:

DAKOTA Farm Show Features Equipment, Services and Seminars!

The USD DakotaDome in Vermillion, SD is set to kick-off the new year by hosting the Dakota Farm Show, January 4, 5 & 6 (Wed-Fri). The annual three-day event is expected to bring thousands of area farmers to the warm and comfortable USD DakotaDome to view the latest in agricultural products & services.

This year’s event will also include educational seminars presented by SDSU Extension and Southeast Research Farm on the first two days of the show (Wed/Thur). Wednesday’s seminars will feature topics related to agronomy and soil health. Thursday’s seminars will focus on livestock management, self-care and community vitality. Complete and up-to-date seminar information is available at the event website at

“The show is a great way for way area farmers to kick off the new year and see the latest in agriculture and gain new information from the top-notch seminars,” said show manager, Penny Swank.

Sanford Health will also be providing health screens at the Show. Basic screens are free, with more advanced screens available for a fee. This year’s show once-again features an online interactive floor plan. Attendees can review exhibitors and the floor plan at

Sponsored by SDSU Southeast Research Farm & SDSU Extension

January 4: Morning Session - Agronomy

9:00 AM: Rye Basics; Brad Rops; Operations Manager, SDSU Southeast Research Farm
9:30 AM: Tar Spot on Corn; Connie Strunk; SDSU Extension Field Specialist—PlantPathology
10:15 AM: Insects of Concern in Southeast South Dakota; Soybean Gall Midge and Dectes Stem Borer; Phil Rozeboom; SDSU IPM Coordinator
10:45 AM: Corn P and N Research Updates; Jason Clark; SDSU Extension Specialist—Soil Fertility

January 4: Afternoon Session - Soil Health

1:30 PM: Biological Agronomy; Anthony Bly; SDSU Extension Field Specialist—Soils
2:00 PM: Soil Microorganisms Link Crop Management and Performance; Mike Lehman; USDA Soil Microbiologist
2:45 PM: Till vs No-till; Long-Term Research at the Southeast Farm; Peter Sexton; SDSU Southeast Research Farm / Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science

January 5: Morning Session - Livestock Management

9:30 AM: Drought Management in Feedlot Operations; Warren Rusche; SDSU Extension Beef Feedlot Management Associate
10:30 AM: Turning Corn into Beef - Research Update; Zachary Smith; SDSU Assistant Professor— Ruminant Nutrition
11:15 AM: Feeding Hybrid Rye to Grow - Finish Pigs; Caitlyn Sullivan; SDSU Student

January 5: Afternoon Session - Self Care and Community Vitality

1:00 PM: Stress Management; Andrea Bjornestad; SDSU Associate Professor/Extension Specialist— Mental Health
2:00 PM: Agritourism Opportunities in South Dakota; Peggy Schlechter; SDSU Extension Field Specialist—Community Vitality

The Dakota Farm Show runs January 4, 5 & 6, 2023 at the DakotaDome (University of South Dakota Campus) in Vermillion, South Dakota. Admission and parking are free. Show hours are 9am – 5pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and 9am – 4pm on Friday.

The 2022 Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Outstanding Commercial Producer Announced

Robbins Land and Cattle, is no stranger to ICA

Since taking part in the Iowa Cattlemen’s Leadership Program in 2014, Justin Robbins and his wife, Lacie, have been active members of the organization, serving in many leadership and volunteer roles.

Justin has been the ICA District 8 Director since 2017 and part of the ICA Membership Committee and Foreign Animal Disease Committees since 2015. He has served on the Greene County Cattlemen’s Board since 2014 and is currently serving as president.

Despite all of these commitments, Justin, Lacie and their son, McKinley, are also dedicated to improving their rural Scranton cattle operation.

The Robbins have approximately 200 head of purebred Angus and commercial cows and finish approximately 75 head a year in their feedlot. The other calves are marketed after weaning.

Within their operation they use performance records, including identification of cows and calves as well as birth, weaning and yearling weights. Carcass data is also utilized to continue to improve their genetics.

In order to manage all of this data, the farm has invested in electronic animal identification (EIDs). “Electronic identification helps make the process more efficient when running those animals through the chute,” says Justin.

For more than 15 years, these records have been used to choose herd bulls. “We select certain genetics for the feedlot performance side of our business and other sires to help produce our replacement heifers,” says Lacie.

The Robbins family is part of a cooperator herd with two ranches in the western United States and primarily purchase bulls from those ranches. The family also raises their own bulls and has hosted seedstock sales on the farm in addition to consigning bulls to the ICA’s Bull and Heifer Evaluation Program in the past.

The operation utilizes artificial insemination (AI) to further improve herd quality and says that improved sire selection has been one of the most profitable improvements to their operation.

On the female side of the herd, performance records have been used for 10 years to make decisions regarding culling and replacement heifers. According to Justin and Lacie, disposition is one of the most important criteria used to select replacement females, in addition to feet, udders and maternal blood lines. When culling, the family looks at production, weaning weights and again, disposition.

In addition to AI, embryo transfer is used to produce seedstock for their own operation as well as their cooperator ranches.

Calving occurs twice each year, during the spring and fall. Justin says, “As we started this process, we realized it didn’t just help spread out the workload, but the bulls and cash flow.” This plan allows Justin to maximize pasture usage and herd management.

The operation utilizes rotational grazing throughout the growing season, then grazes corn stalks and bean stubble with cover crops as long as possible. A total mixed ration (TMR) is fed as needed, but no implants or feed grade antibiotics are used.

For several years, the Robbins family has been finishing out their steers and working with a local locker to process them for retail cuts that can be sold direct-to-consumer. These cuts can be sold as individual packages and shipped nationwide. Justin and Lacie recently began raising Berkshire hogs on their farm in order to offer their customers pork, as well.

From pasture to plate and farm to fork, the Robbins family works hard towards continuous improvement, which has resulted in a regenerative, diversified, profitable operation to be proud of.

Dairy Goat Webinar Series Continues into 2023

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team will continue its dairy goat webinar series in 2023 with all webinar dates and topics listed below. All webinars will be from noon to 1:15 p.m. and are free to attend.

Webinar Dates and Topics
Jan. 5 – Dairy Goat Financial Analysis, Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Feb. 23 – Feeding Your Future, Robert VanSaun, extension veterinarian, Penn State University, and Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.Dairy goats.

March 23 – Feeding Forages to Dairy Goats, Gail Carpenter, assistant professor, state dairy extension specialist, and Fred Hall, ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialist.

April 20 – Health Challenges in Dairy Goat Kids, Roselle Busch, assistant extension specialist, UC-Davis Veterinary Medicine.

Sept. 21 – Producer Perspectives, panel TBD

Oct. 26 – What Do We Know about Dry Treating Dairy Goats? Michelle Buckley, post-doctoral associate at Iowa State University.

Nov. 16 – TBD

Dec. 21 – Milk Quality Investigations, Cathy Bauman, assistant professor, Ontario Veterinary College, Guelph, Ontario.

There is no fee to attend the program; however, registration is required.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Program, Antimicrobial Resistance number: 2020-04197. Register in advance for this meeting at or contact Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, at, 563-382-2949.

Registrants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Information will also be provided about future webinars, as dates and topics are announced.

Average Retail Prices for All Eight Fertilizers Now Lower

Average retail fertilizer prices have begun to move noticeably lower for the fourth week of December 2022, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. Prices for all eight major fertilizers are now lower compared to last month.

Three fertilizers were significantly lower compared to last month. DTN designates a substantial move as anything 5% or more. MAP, potash and urea were all 6% less expensive compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $909 per ton, potash $790/ton and urea $757/ton. Potash has moved below the $800/ton level for the first time since the second week of December 2021. The price at that time was $796/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers were slightly less expensive looking back to last month. DAP had an average price of $890/ton, 10-34-0 $751/ton, anhydrous $1,360/ton, UAN28 $578/ton and UAN32 $681/ton. DAP, meanwhile, moved below the $900/ton level for the first time since the fourth week of February 2022. That week, the price was at $879/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.82/lb.N, anhydrous $0.83/lb.N, UAN28 $1.03/lb.N and UAN32 $1.06/lb.N.

Fertilizers are now mixed in price from one year earlier. This week, six fertilizers are lower while the other two are higher. UAN32 is 1% higher compared to last year, while DAP is 3% more expensive. UAN28 is 1% lower, both MAP and potash are 2% less expensive, both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are 5% lower and urea is 17% less expensive looking back to a year prior.

Application Period Open for National FFA Scholarship Program

The National FFA Organization has opened the application period for its 2023 college scholarship program.

Program coordinators say applicants must be less than 23 years of age at time of application and must be a current FFA member who plans to attend post-secondary school in the U.S

More than 1,800 scholarships are available. Online submissions are due by Jan. 12.

For more information, go to: to access the application and criteria.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tuesday December 27 Ag News

 March 1st Filing Deadline 
Tina Barrett – Program Manager, Nebraska Farm Business, Inc. 

One of the many special tax provisions that has applied only to qualified farmers is the relief from estimated tax requirements. A qualified farmer, who is a calendar year taxpayer, can avoid the estimated tax payment penalty by either: 
1)      Filing an estimated tax payment by January 15th that is either 2/3 of your expected tax for the current year or 100% of last year’s tax, whichever is less, or 
2)     Filing and paying 100% of the tax by March 1st. 

If you are not a qualified farmer, you are required to make quarterly estimated tax payments throughout the year that must equal 90% of the expected tax or 100% of last year’s tax. A qualified farmer is defined by receiving 2/3 of your gross income from farming, not including the sale of machinery. Since 2018, many full-time farmers who trade a significant amount of equipment may not even be a qualified farmer with this definition. 

For many years, March 1st has been known as the farmer tax deadline but in the past 8 years, the IRS has had to waive that deadline multiple times because it has been impossible for many taxpayers to file returns by then. Lots of things have contributed to this struggle and are certainly not limited to: 
Late changing tax laws 
Slow development/release of tax forms 
Ever increasing complexity of tax returns 
Late arrival of information forms such as dividends from investment companies and K-1’s from investments in partnerships and s-corporations. 

The IRS is aware of these issues, but they don’t have the authority to eliminate this deadline as it is part of the tax code. This means only Congress has the power to change the deadline. 

As a farmer, it may be worth the consideration of electing the use of the January 15th estimate deadline to avoid potential complications of missing the March 1st deadline and being faced with unnecessary penalties and/or preparation errors of rushed work. As always, it’s best to discuss your situation with your tax professional. 


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

Having hay tested for nutrient quality is critical in getting the most out of the feedstuffs you have.  Once the results come back, the next step is understanding the report you’ve received.

The first thing we notice on most feed or hay tests are the results are given in two different groups or columns.  One is labeled along the lines of “as received” or “as fed” and another “dry basis.”  Understanding the difference in these two columns is key to properly using the information provided when feeding your livestock.

“As received” represents the analysis of the sample as it was provided.  This is what we will use to figure out rations or how much hay animals need to be provided.  The “dry basis” is the sample after all moisture has been removed and doesn’t accurately represent the sample as it sits in the yard.

So why bother with “dry basis” if we don’t use it to figure feed amounts?  Because when it comes to comparing feeds and finding the correct ratios in a ration, we need to compare things on an equal playing field.

For example, we could have a forage test on hay and silage come back as equal on a dry basis for energy, meaning that both feeds would provide the same amount of energy if dried out and fed.  For the hay, this is pretty close to reality, but the silage contains much more water as is.  Because of this, we would have to feed quite a bit more silage than hay to reach the same amount of energy in the ration, simply due to the extra weight from water.

“As received” and “dry basis” columns, may make a feed report look daunting, but understanding and using both is critical to getting the most out of your feed.


Low supply and high costs mean some less-than-ideal feedstuffs may be used this winter.  Low quality, mold, and even mycotoxins can all be a risk for poor quality feeds.  Can we still make use of these forage options?

Silage put up too wet has likely had a clostridial fermentation resulting in poor quality and high levels of butyric acid.  Not only is feed quality reduced, but the stability of the pile once opened drops as well and mold growth on the feeding face is more likely.

In both hay and silage stored too dry, mold growth is a primary concern.  Mold reduces feed quality and can limit intake in high quantities.  In some circumstances molds can produce mycotoxins, even with low mold counts.  Impacts of mycotoxins are wide-ranging and depend on the specific toxin or toxins present and concentrations.  Impacts can range from reduced intake to liver and rumen damage to infertility and abortions.

Whether too wet or too dry, these feed options are less than ideal, but can still be used if we take precautions.  First, test.  Knowing the levels of mold, butyric acid, or mycotoxin in a feed can help with the next step, dilution.  Keeping poor feed to a low percentage of the overall diet can allow for use while minimizing risk to livestock.  Finally, don’t feed to high-risk animals.  Young calves, stressed animals, and those in late gestation are all at higher risk of impact.

Low quality silage and hay comes with risks.  Knowing the impact mold, mycotoxins, and butyric acid can have on quality, intake and animal health is important and can help us plan the best way to use these imperfect feed resources.

Nebraska Dairy Ambassadors earn educational scholarships

Through application and successful participation in the Midwest Dairy Ambassador Program, Nebraska Dairy Ambassadors earned educational scholarships from Midwest Dairy. Senior Dairy Ambassadors who received $1,000 scholarships were Jenna Albers of Randolph, Whitney (Hochstein) Haahr of Wynot, Abigail Langdon of Clarkson, Mikayla Martensen of Humphrey, and Jaycie Meggison of Blair. Junior Dairy Ambassador Kaitlyn Hanson of Mead received a $500 scholarship.

Late last year, Nebraska high school juniors and seniors were selected to serve as the 2022 Nebraska Junior Dairy Ambassadors and college students were selected to serve as the 2022 Nebraska Senior Dairy Ambassadors for Midwest Dairy. Throughout the year, the Nebraska Dairy Ambassadors promoted the dairy community and supported Midwest Dairy’s mission to give consumers an excellent dairy experience at a variety of industry and consumer events in Nebraska.

Helping to grow trust in dairy during their year-long experience, the Nebraska Dairy Ambassadors took part in 54 event activations and leadership opportunities and were skillful and committed to promoting dairy through four media interviews and 35 photos posted on the Nebraska's Dairy Ambassador Facebook page.

The ambassadors gained insight on the dairy industry and developed their leadership skills by attending industry events and tours as well as participating in virtual trainings. Events that the ambassadors served as dairy industry advocates included Earth Day Lincoln, Undeniably Dairy Grant supported events such as Toast of Nebraska and Dairy Barn Fair Fun at the Cuming County Fair, Cream of the Crop Dairy Show, Omaha Baseball Village Booth during the College World Series, Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Extension Ag Literacy Festivals and more.

Midwest Dairy’s Ambassador Program is an educational and leadership opportunity for students who are passionate about dairy, are enrolled in post-secondary school, and possess strong communication abilities. To learn more about the Midwest Dairy Ambassador program, visit (Ambassador Program found on the Young Dairy Leaders tab).

SSGA announces Transportation Go! for March 15-16 in Omaha

Transportation Go!, the premier conference for soybean, grain and other agricultural transportation issues in the Upper Midwest, is set to take place March 15-16, 2023, in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Hilton Omaha, and registration for this second-annual event is now open at

The 2023 version of Transportation Go! follows a wildly successful and interactive 2022 show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The inaugural event, known then as the Northern Commodity Transportation Conference, took place in 2020 in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Thanks to the generous support of show sponsor, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Transportation Go! moves to another key ag transportation hub, Omaha, to bring together the industry’s top stakeholders, from boots-on-the-ground commodity growers and organizations to traders and shippers of specialty field crops. Together and through a robust agenda featuring high-level speakers, they will discuss challenges and opportunities for agricultural freight moved on intermodal, rail and ocean lanes, including containerized shipping and refrigerated traffic.

Transportation Go! is a highly engaging conference focused on in-depth discussions on the global supply chain and how it affects the vital movement of agricultural products from the Upper Midwest to locations throughout the country and the world.

“Transportation Go! is an active conference, not a passive one,” said Eric Wenberg, executive director of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance, which organizes and hosts the event. “We encourage discussion and expect real dialogue to take place during every segment of the agenda. There are many challenges in agricultural transportation, and this conference puts smart, experienced people from different avenues of the supply chain into the same room to take on those challenges together.”

This year, SSGA is thrilled to announce that the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) will take part in Transportation Go! and hold a workshop for its members at the Hilton Omaha following the conclusion of the conference on March 16 (watch for details in the coming weeks).

Besides Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture and its cooperative support from that state’s various commodity boards (Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Wheat Board), Transportation Go! thus far is also supported by Platinum Sponsors, including the Illinois Soybean Association, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, the North Dakota Corn Council, the North Dakota Soybean Council, the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board; along with Gold Sponsor, the Ohio Soybean Council. As well, Transportation Go! has received sponsorship support from Norseman Protective Solutions and Ray-Mont Logistics.

2022 Iowa Cattlemen's Association Hall of Fame Inductee Honored

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) annually honors an individual who has contributed a great deal of time and effort in promoting the beef industry in Iowa. The 2022 recipient of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame award is Dr. John Lawrence, of Ames. Lawrence was nominated for this prestigious honor by a group of producer and allied leaders for his service and engagement through many Iowa beef industry evolutions throughout his career.

Dr. John Lawrence, Vice President of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will retire in March 2023. He’s been a livestock economist at heart even when his title changed.

Always a cattleman, John was raised on a southwest Iowa crop and livestock farm. And always an Iowan at heart, it’s been his home except while he earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and served as extension livestock economist in marketing and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. In 1991 he returned to Iowa as the ISU extension livestock economist and assistant professor.

John continued as extension livestock economist as he advanced in his faculty position, and began adding administrative responsibilities which often overlapped. In 1998 he was named Iowa Beef Center director, a position he held until 2010. From 2004-2010, he was assistant director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. In 2010 he became associate dean of extension and outreach for the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and director of agriculture and natural resources extension. Seven years later he was named acting, then interim ISU Vice President for Extension and Outreach, and the following year was appointed to his current VP position.

Along the way he held several interim positions in addition to his full time role, including interim director for the ISU Beginning Farmer Center and Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and interim chair for the ISU animal science department.

The constant through the decades has been his dedication to working with people. From early days on Iowa farms and at producer meetings, to advocating for livestock industry members at the state, national and international levels, John has been a strong supporter of Iowa agriculture and its people.

“John is a true believer in engaging Iowans. Without question, his commitment to building strong, sustained partnerships like the one we enjoy with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association make him worthy of hall of fame status,” said Wendy Wintersteen, president of Iowa State University. “For more than 30 years, John’s devotion to the power of ISU Extension and Outreach to change Iowans’ lives for the better has been unwavering.”

John and his contributions have made him an important piece of the beef industry past, present and future, and thanks to John, that future is bright.

The ICA would like to thank Dr. Lawrence for his commitment and sacrifice to Iowa’s cattle industry by inducting him into the ICA Hall of Fame.

Monthly Dairy Webinar Jan. 18 to Focus on Climate and Weather Predictions for the 2023 Growing Season

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team monthly webinar series continues on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. This program will focus on the climate and weather predictions for the 2022 growing season.

Dennis Todey, director of the USDA Climate Hub in Ames will lead the presentation. Todey is a native Iowan with his B.S. and Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Meteorology and Agricultural Meteorology. He has spent two stints in South Dakota, first completing his M.S. at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and most recently as Associate Professor and State Climatologist for South Dakota at South Dakota State University. He is well known regionally as a speaker and media source on various climate issues and is the former president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

Producers, dairy consultants, and industry reps are encouraged to attend the free webinar live from noon to 1:00 p.m. on January 18 by pre-registering at:

For more information contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Field Specialist in your area: in Northwest Iowa, Fred M. Hall, 712-737-4230 or; in Northeast Iowa, Jennifer Bentley, 563-382-2949 or; in East Central Iowa, Larry Tranel, 563-583-6496 or

USDA to Measure Financial Well-Being of Iowa Farmers and Ranchers

Beginning in late December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will spend several months gathering information about farm economics and production practices from farmers and ranchers across Iowa, as the agency conducts the third and final phase of the 2022 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

“ARMS is the only survey that measures the current financial well-being of Iowa producers and their households as a whole,” said Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Upper Midwest Regional Field Office. “The results of this survey will help inform decisions on local and federal policies and programs that affect Iowa farms and farm families.”

In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, NASS will reach out to more than 35,000 producers nationwide, including 1,600 in Iowa, between January and April. The survey asks producers to provide in-depth information about their operating revenues, production costs, and household characteristics. The 2022 ARMS survey includes a version of the questionnaire focused on farm costs of production and expenditures for wheat producers. The survey also includes questions to help measure any impacts of COVID on farms, farm and household finances, and off-farm employment.

“In February, our interviewers will begin reaching out to those farmers who have not yet responded,” said Thessen, “We appreciate their time and are here to help them with the questionnaire so that their information will continue supporting sound agricultural decision- making. Completing this questionnaire fulfills your 2022 Census of Agriculture requirement.”

Information provided to NASS is kept confidential, as required by federal law. The agency only publishes data in aggregate form, ensuring that no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

The expense data gathered in ARMS will be published in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on July 21, 2023. That report and others are available at More reports based on ARMS data and more information about ARMS are available at

Theme for 2023 National Ag Day Essay Contest Announced

In preparation for National Ag Day 2023 on March 21, the Agriculture Council of America is hosting an essay contest. The theme for this year's entries is: Growing a Climate for Tomorrow: How American agriculture does it every day.

The essay contest is divided into two categories of competition: written essay and video essay. Winners in both areas will receive $1,000.

The contest is open to students currently enrolled in grades 9-12. Contestants must be a U.S. citizen and attending school in the U.S.

The deadline for submitting entries is Feb. 15. Go to for more details.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America, a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Friday December 23 Cattle on Feed, Hogs & Pigs, + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.61 million cattle on feed on December 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 1% from last year. Placements during November totaled 505,000 head, up 4% from 2021. Fed cattle marketings for the month of November totaled 480,000 head, up 7% from last year. Other disappearance during November totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 630,000 head on December 1, 2022, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2 percent from November and up 3 percent from December 1, 2021. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 530,000 head on feed, up 9 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,160,000 head, up 5 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during November 2022 totaled 105,000 head, unchanged from October but up 12 percent from November 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 94,000 head, up 40 percent from October and up 25 percent from November 2021. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 199,000 head, up 16 percent from October and up 18 percent from November 2021.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during November 2022 totaled 94,000 head, up 13 percent from October and up 2 percent from November 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 47,000 head, up 4 percent from October but down 11 percent from November 2021. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 141,000 head, up 10 percent from October but down 3 percent from November 2021. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 3,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 3 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for  feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on December 1, 2022. The inventory was 3 percent below December 1, 2021.

On Feed, by State  (1,000 hd  -  % Dec 1 '21)
Colorado .....:                  1,040           91             
Iowa ............:                   630          103             
Kansas .........:                 2,330           94             
Nebraska .....:                 2,610          101            
Texas ...........:                 2,810           98             

Placements in feedlots during November totaled 1.93 million head, 2 percent  below 2021. Net placements were 1.87 million head. During November, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 540,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 465,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 405,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 290,000 head, 900-999 pounds were  135,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements by State (1,000 hd - % Nov '21)
Colorado .....:                  145            91             
Iowa ............:                 105           112        
Kansas .........:                  420            97        
Nebraska .....:                  505           104          
Texas ...........:                  370            83          

Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.89 million head, 1 percent above 2021. Marketings were the highest for November since the series began in 1996. Other disappearance totaled 57,000 head during November, 7 percent below 2021.

Marketings by State (1,000 hd - % Nov '21)
Colorado .....:                  170           103           
Iowa ............:                  94           102             
Kansas .........:                  410            90            
Nebraska .....:                  480           107         
Texas ...........:                  410           103          


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2022, was 3.50 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was down 4% from December 1, 2021, but unchanged from September 1, 2022. Breeding hog inventory, at 400,000 head, was down 7% from December 1, 2021, and down 2% from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.10 million head, was down 4% from last year, but up slightly from last quarter.

The September - November 2022 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.13 million head, was down 7% from 2021. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 185,000 head, down 5% from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.50 for the September - November period, compared to 11.70 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 185,000 sows during the December 2022 - February 2023 quarter, down 3% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for March - May 2023 are 185,000 sows, unchanged from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.


On December 1, 2022, there were 23.6 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. Inventory was up 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 1 percent from the previous year.

The September-November 2022 quarterly pig crop was 5.89 million head, up 2 percent from the previous quarter but down 2 percent from last year. A total of 510,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.55 for the quarter.

As of December 1, producers planned to farrow 500,000 sows and gilts in the December 2022-February 2023 quarter and 515,000 head during the March-May 2023 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Down 2 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2022 was 73.1 million head. This was down 2 percent from December 1, 2021, and down 1 percent from September 1, 2022.   

Breeding inventory, at 6.15 million head, was up slightly from last year, and  up slightly from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 67.0 million head, was down 2 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from last quarter.

Hog Inventory by State (1,000 hd - % Dec 1 '21)
Illinois ..............:           5,300.0              98   
Indiana .............:           4,350.0              100   
Iowa .................:           23,600.0            99   
Minnesota ........:           8,600.0               97   
Nebraska ..........:          3,500.0               96   
North Carolina ..:          8,200.0              103   

The September-November 2022 pig crop, at 33.7 million head, was down 1 percent from 2021. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.00 million head, down 1 percent from 2021. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.22 for the September-November period, compared to 11.19 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.95 million sows farrow during the December 2022-February 2023 quarter, up 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and up 1 percent from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for March-May 2023, at 2.98 million sows, are up slightly from the same period one year earlier, but down 2 percent from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up 1 percent from the previous year.

Nebraska Farmers Union Passes Six Special Orders of Business at Their 109th Annual State Convention

At their 109th State Convention held earlier this month at the Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) passed six Special Orders of Business highlighting their organization’s priorities for the coming year.

NeFU President John Hansen said, “All six Special Orders of Business tie back to this year’s convention theme: ‘Building Rural Communities Since 1913.’  The mission of our organization is to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of family farmers, ranchers, and our rural communities.”

2022-2023 NeFU Special Orders of Business:  
    Ag Market Reforms
    Shaping Climate Change Policies
    2023 Farm Bill
    Net Metering
    Property Tax Relief
    Water Quality and Nutrient/Nitrate Policy

NeFU Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth and NeFU Policy Chair said, “Our Legislative Delegates did a very thorough job of going through our policy on NeFU Policy Day before State Convention this year. They made good updates and edits. Also, our regular convention delegates were very thoughtful and deliberate as they considered the Policy Day recommendations. It was a pleasure working with so many well informed and thoughtful people. They take their responsibilities to set our grassroots driven state policy very seriously. That is the way our policy development process is supposed to work.”

“Our representative delegates have set our state policy and authorized our six Special Orders of Business reflecting our priorities for another year. It is a very forward looking policy that also reflects our long-standing values as the champions of our traditional system of independently owned and operated family farmer and rancher agriculture,” said NeFU President John Hansen.

“Now it is time for our Farmers Union members to get involved and help implement our policies and priorities at the state and national levels. The NeFU ‘can do’ spirit that organized hundreds of local cooperatives 109 years ago serves us well as we tackle ag market concentration, the need for a better Farm Bill, the need to update our state net metering law, our work on a more fair and balanced way to adequately fund our K-12 education system, and the emerging need to work with our neighbors and government officials to protect the quality of our state’s drinking water,” Hansen concluded.

Marshall County farmer Allen Burt elected to Iowa Farm Bureau State Board of Directors

Allen Burt of Marshalltown was elected to serve as an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) board member, replacing Brian Feldpausch of Grundy County, who was recently elected vice president of IFBF.  Burt was elected to fulfill the remaining two years of a three-year term representing District 5, comprised of 11 counties in central Iowa: Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Grundy, Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Dallas, Polk and Jasper.

Burt grows corn and soybeans and also raises pigs and cattle.  He has been an active leader within Farm Bureau at both the Marshall County and state levels.  He currently serves as a county voting delegate and twice served as an Iowa delegate for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).  Additionally, he served on IFBF’s policy development committee and has done extensive work with IFBF’s Young Farmer Committee, both as a young farmer committee member and later as a mentor.  

Burt is a graduate of Iowa State University, and he and his wife, Dee, have four adult sons.  

Survey Reveals Important Information About Iowans & Beef

Every year, the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) conducts a state survey to see what Iowans' attitudes are toward beef and beef production. It also shows what Iowa beef trends are compared to trends on a national level.

The results help the IBIC make informed decisions on how best to use your checkoff dollars to promote beef, develop messaging, and reach consumers in Iowa.

This year’s key findings: Your checkoff is working
    Weekly beef consumption is strong in Iowa.
    Iowa consumers have positive views of beef and production.
    Consumer trust levels in the Iowa beef industry are strong.
    Iowans continue to want quick and easy recipes to encourage more beef consumption.

Important statistics from the survey:
    79% of consumers in Iowa eat beef weekly.
    39% of Iowans claim to have knowledge of the beef industry versus 27% nationally.
    85% of consumers in Iowa have a positive perception of beef compared to 71% nationally.
    91% of Iowans believe beef is great tasting and is good for many types of meals.
    73% of consumers in Iowa believe beef is safe to eat versus 62% nationally.
    71% of Iowans recognize the Iowa Beef Checkoff brand or logo.

For more information on this study and consumer research, reach out to your area leaders. The IBIC will re-evaluate consumer trends and attitudes to ensure your checkoff dollars continue driving beef consumption in Iowa.

New learning tool adds new dimension to ISU animal science lab course

Big things are happening in Iowa State University's animal science 214 lab. Usually taken in tandem with the animal science 214 lecture class, the lab provides students with detailed examination of organs and biological systems of domestic animals. Instructor Karl Kerns, who also is assistant professor of animal science, is excited to introduce a new tool, called the Anatomage Virtual Dissection Table, to lab students.

“The learning tool is called the Anatomage Virtual Dissection Table,” he said. “It is preloaded with hundreds of labeled anatomical system images, as well as the ability to read native MRI or CT Scan files which makes it invaluable for topics like the circulatory system and the skeletal system.”

This cutting-edge technology uses 3D anatomy visualization with images that replicate what it looks like in a living species, Kerns said. Students can see the blood move throughout the heart and body in real time, with the valves opening and closing, which give a different perspective from a traditional specimen.

The table can lie flat like an actual table and can stand like a monitor, to fit different learning circumstances. It also has a touch screen surface for interactive learning and the entire assembly is on wheels to move from classroom to classroom.

Just a few months into its use, Kerns said the device has proved to be an invaluable learning mechanism. It offers an alternative tool for students unable to participate in traditional methods, such as those with allergies.

Kerns learned of the table from animal science faculty colleague and meat science professor Elisabeth Huff Lonergan.

“There was nothing else remotely like it on the market and she brought it to our attention as a possible learning tool for the lab,” Kerns said. “The goal is to have it supplement other animal science courses, such as ANS 270, foods of animal origin.”

Final Funding Bill Allocates Millions of Dollars to Key Ag Initiatives

Congress passed legislation today that will fund the government through September 2023 and allocate millions of dollars to support key agricultural initiatives.

The bill funds several of the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) top priorities, including research to address aflatoxin, a mycotoxin that has been costly to U.S. corn growers, disaster mitigation efforts and climate change initiatives.

“We are very pleased to see that Congress and the president have prioritized programs that are important to corn growers,” said NCGA Vice President of public policy Brooke S. Appleton. “We are appreciative of our allies who made sure these important initiatives were included in this legislation.”

One of the biggest wins for corn growers was the allocation of $1 million to fund aflatoxin research through NCGA’s Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence, in conjunction with Texas A&M. Aflatoxin can cost corn growers between $52.1 million to $1.68 billion in annual losses, according to a 2016 study.

The development was praised by state corn grower leaders.        

“For years, the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence has provided funding to projects focused the mitigation and amelioration of aflatoxin in corn,” said Texas Corn Producers Executive Director David Gibson. “Having Congress recognize the severity of this issue by providing additional funding through the Agricultural Research Service via appropriations is a tremendous step forward in our efforts.”

The funding bill also continues ad hoc programs that aid farmers reeling from adverse weather conditions.

It includes $3.74 billion to extend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Relief Program to assist producers who suffered losses due to natural disasters in 2022, including drought.

Also included in the package was an agreement between House and Senate leaders on the Growing Climate Solutions Act and the SUSTAINS Act. The Growing Climate Solutions Act directs USDA to establish a program to register entities that provide technical assistance and verification for farmers, ranchers and foresters who participate in voluntary carbon markets with the goal of providing information and confidence to producers.

The SUSTAINS Act would allow corporations and other private entities to contribute funding for conservation projects and authorizes USDA to match the donations.

The new law also includes two important pesticide provisions. It reauthorizes the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2022, which includes an increase in registration and maintenance fees to support a more predictable regulatory process and provides important resources for farmworker safety and health care provider training, in addition to other services that advance the safe and effective use of pesticides. Additionally, it requires EPA to comply with numerous registration process improvements to access additional funding levels and requires manufacturers to phase-in bilingual labels on pesticides products over the next 8 years.

The legislation extends the deadline for EPA to complete registration review decisions.

EPA is facing a significant backlog of pesticide registrations due to a variety of factors over the past several years, which has potential implications for continued access to numerous crop protection tools. The agency will be allowed to continue its registration review work through October 1, 2026, as a result of this extension.

President Biden is expected to sign the legislation by December 23.

Statement by Secretary Vilsack on the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate and U.S. House passed the fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, sending to President Biden’s desk several crucial investments to advance the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) priorities for rural America:

“As we wrap up a successful year advancing USDA’s priorities to build more, new and better markets for producers, tackle food and nutrition insecurity, and ensure wealth is created and stays in rural communities, I’m pleased that Congress has come together to pass the Omnibus bill that delivers some resources crucial to continuing our work on behalf of the American people.

“This funding package will support USDA’s operations and wide reach into every community across the nation and help make USDA more efficient, effective, and better equipped to advance racial justice, equity and opportunity for the customers we serve. With increases in agricultural research and investments in Rural Development, this Administration will continue to prioritize economic development and growth in rural America, and put producers at the heart of solutions to climate change, including through our Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative, infrastructure, and fairer, more resilient food systems.

“I'm particularly excited to see the creation of a permanent, nationwide summer EBT to ensure kids receive healthy meals year-round. We will also be able to continue carrying out our critical wildfire suppression and management work, through additional funds for fire suppression and extension of the firefighter pay cap waiver, and support producers grappling with climate disasters through new disaster assistance funds. The bill provides increases for food safety and research, as well as several increases for rural housing programs to fund all expiring rental assistance contracts, for multi-family housing construction and rehabilitation and an expansion of the Tribal Housing Relending Demonstration program. The bill fully funds nutrition programs at a critical time when these programs are all the more important as inflation has increased the cost of groceries for American families.

“I also want to thank the Senate for taking action on nominees crucial to USDA's mission, including Alexis Taylor, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs; Jose Emilio Esteban, Ph.D. as Under Secretary for Food Safety and Doug McKalip, who is departing USDA, but will serve in a crucial role as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

“USDA is ready to hit the ground running in 2023 to keep expanding our economy from the bottom up and middle out and ensure that rural communities, farmers, ranchers, and producers are empowered with the tools necessary to thrive.”

Omnibus Bill Passes with Pesticide Registration Resources for U.S. EPA

Congress reauthorized the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 that received final approval today. The reauthorization of PRIA has been a major priority for CropLife America (CLA) as one tool for strengthening and improving the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pesticide registration process.

“The EPA’s scientists work diligently to comply with the multiple laws that govern pesticide registration, but in recent years, the agency has had fewer and fewer scientists available to do this work,” said Chris Novak, CLA president and CEO. “The reauthorization of PRIA is a first step in improving the efficiency of the pesticide registration process and in providing more certainty for farmers, consumers, and CropLife’s member companies that EPA will meet its statutory obligations.”

PRIA provides critically needed resources to the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). The amended law supplements federal appropriations funding for OPP by increasing industry-paid fees that support pesticide registration, registration review, and other regulatory actions vital to providing farmers and consumers with new pesticide products and uses. This increased funding, coupled with a variety of process and information technology improvements, will allow OPP to increase staffing and better meet pesticide registration timeframes to give farmers, consumers, health care professionals, and pesticide stakeholders the tools they need to manage pests, microbes, and germs in and around their homes, farms, and communities. The bill will also increase funding for farm worker and clinician training programs and require Spanish translations of pesticide labels. The current version of PRIA was set to expire on September 30, 2023. The new law takes effect retroactively on October 1, 2022, and will expire on September 30, 2027.

In addition to passing PRIA, Congress also appropriated $140.45 million for OPP. This spending increase—up from $129.37 million in Fiscal 2022—marks the largest increase in PRIA appropriations in the history of PRIA and the highest funding level for the Agency in more than a decade. This is a first step in the right direction, but due to increased workload and declining resources at the Agency, CropLife America is committed to work with the Agency, Capitol Hill, and our partners in subsequent fiscal years to ensure the Agency is funded adequately.

“The passage of PRIA and the corresponding increase in EPA/OPP appropriations represents a collaborative effort between the pesticide industry, environmental advocacy groups, and farm organizations who worked together for the passage of these provisions. CropLife America is grateful to House and Senate leadership and our partners for ensuring broad and bipartisan support for PRIA,” added Novak. “Providing EPA with the resources needed to do its job is an important step, but systemic changes are needed for the agency to meet its obligations. We look forward to working with Congress, the EPA, and key stakeholders in implementing the new law and working to improve the pesticide registration and Endangered Species Act consultation processes.”

McKalip Confirmation Crosses Finish Line Before Christmas

The U.S. Senate has delivered another Christmas gift to soy growers! Doug McKalip, President Biden’s nominee to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, has been confirmed to the post. This, on the heels of the Senate’s Dec. 21 confirmation of Alexis Taylor as USDA’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, is great news for agriculture.

“These two votes cap off months of advocacy by ASA and other agricultural groups to see McKalip and Taylor confirmed to key agricultural trade positions. Their responsibilities within those roles, and how they work with farmers to help us with trade, markets and more, are essential to our day-to-day jobs out on the farm—and touch every farm state in the country,” said Daryl Cates, ASA president and soybean farmer from Illinois.

ASA thanks the Senate for its work to confirm both McKalip and Taylor before the clock started over on the nomination process. Soy farmers and staff at ASA look forward to working with both of these qualified individuals as we advance U.S. soy in the global marketplace.

NMPF and USDEC Praise Senate Confirmation of Doug McKalip as Chief Ag Negotiator

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today welcomed the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Doug McKalip as chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

“The role of the agriculture ambassador is critical to elevating U.S. agricultural priorities within USTR and with our trading partners,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s Senate confirmation of Doug ensures that American dairy farmers will be strongly represented at the negotiating table as the U.S. pursues full implementation of USMCA dairy terms and engages in trade discussions with Indo-Pacific partners and others. Doug understands the value that comprehensive trade agreements have brought to American farmers and ranchers, and we encourage him to be a vocal advocate for new agricultural market access opportunities.”

“USDEC commends the U.S. Senate for taking an important step today in confirming Doug McKalip to serve as U.S. agriculture’s top trade official,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Doug’s impressive career as a public servant working on a wide breadth of agricultural issues brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this key role. We believe he will serve as an advocate for a forward-leaning trade policy agenda that brings tangible results to U.S. dairy producers, processors and workers throughout the dairy supply chain.”

The confirmation comes at a time when international demand for dairy is at a record high. However, headwinds persist for U.S. dairy exporters, whether in the form of tariffs that put U.S. suppliers at a competitive disadvantage or through a variety of nontariff barriers. McKalip’s confirmation is an important step to addressing the hurdles and ensuring U.S. dairy exports continue their strong growth into the future.

McKalip Confirmed as Ag Negotiator with USTR

The U.S. Senate today voted to approve the nomination of Doug McKalip to serve as chief agricultural negotiator with the United States Trade Representative.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) supported approval of the nomination.

“We are pleased that the Senate voted to confirm this nomination,” said National Corn Growers Association Vice President of public policy Brooke S. Appleton. “We look forward to working with Mr. McKalip as we address Mexico’s looming decree that would ban imports of biotech corn.”

McKalip has worked on agricultural policy and trade for over 28 years. He most recently served as senior advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The position is charged with conducting and overseeing international negotiations related to trade in agricultural products.

Wheat Industry Welcomes Senate Confirmation of Doug McKalip as USTR Ag Negotiator

Following almost two years without a Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are very glad that the U.S. Senate has confirmed Doug McKalip to fill the position.

“Mr. McKalip’s work in conservation, with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and recent negotiations with the Mexican government on biotech issues match up perfectly with some of the most important agricultural trade barriers,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “He is well prepared for this position, and we look forward to working with him to open and grow overseas markets for U.S. wheat.”

“Congratulations to Doug McKalip for filling this critical role,” said NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule. “I know Doug very well from his decades of public service at the USDA, and he will be an absolute asset to USTR, wheat growers and the ag community. With half the wheat grown in the United States destined for foreign markets, it is essential we have these key trade roles filled and we look forward to having Doug advocate for U.S. wheat farmers.”

NCBA Congratulates Key Agricultural Nominees on Senate Confirmation

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) congratulated two key agricultural nominees on their Senate confirmation to senior positions at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“NCBA extends our congratulations to Doug McKalip on his confirmation as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. NCBA is pleased that the Senate confirmed such a qualified nominee who can now get to work promoting new trade opportunities that benefit American cattle producers,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “We look forward to working closely with Mr. McKalip in his new role.”

The Senate also confirmed Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban to an Under Secretary position at USDA.

“NCBA congratulates Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban on his confirmation as USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. Dr. Esteban’s role is critical for ensuring consumer confidence in the beef industry. Dr. Esteban has an extensive background in food safety through his work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USDA, and we are pleased that the Senate confirmed such a highly qualified nominee. NCBA has worked closely with Dr. Esteban in his position as Chairman of the Codex Committee for Food Hygiene and we look forward to future collaboration in his new role,” said Lane.

USMEF Statement on Senate Confirmation of Doug McKalip

Thursday the U.S. Senate confirmed Doug McKalip to serve as chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

USMEF congratulates Ambassador McKalip on his confirmation and thanks the U.S. Senate for taking this action. With the U.S. currently engaged in negotiations with several key trading partners, filling this important position was absolutely essential. We look forward to working with Ambassador McKalip and wish him well in his new role at USTR.

McKalip Confirmed As Chief Ag Negotiator

The U.S. Grains Council offered this reaction to the Senate’s confirmation of Doug McKalip as Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR):

“We welcome and are very much looking forward to working with Doug McKalip in his pivotal role. Combining his extensive international experience and more than 28 years of government service at the USDA, his strong background in farm and trade policy and his knowledge of biotechnology will be very helpful to advance trade priorities and open markets for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and co-products.”

NGFA congratulates Doug McKalip on confirmation as USTR chief ag negotiator and Alexis Taylor on confirmation as USDA trade undersecretary

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) commended the Senate today for the confirmation of Doug McKalip to serve as chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as well as the recent confirmation on Dec. 21 of Alexis Taylor to serve as undersecretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Congratulations to Doug McKalip on his confirmation in this critically important trade position to the U.S. agricultural economy. He is exceptionally qualified to lead in this role, which NGFA members have been eager to see filled so that U.S. agriculture can be better represented and promoted in trade negotiations around the world,” said NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert.

“We also congratulate Alexis Taylor on her confirmation as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at USDA. Her experience and leadership make her incredibly well-qualified for this important trade position. NGFA members look forward to working with Mr. McKalip at USTR and Ms. Taylor at USDA to continue to build markets for U.S. agriculture.”

Mr. McKalip has been a key ag policy official for close to 30 years and is currently a senior advisor to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He has served in numerous leadership positions in USDA and represented American farmers, ranchers and agriculture around the world while advocating for U.S. agricultural products and technology.

Ms. Taylor is currently the Oregon Director of Agriculture and oversees the state’s efforts in food safety and consumer protection, natural resource protection and the promotion of Oregon products in the United States and around the world. She served a tour in Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves and has worked for several members of Congress.

Both nominees were easily advanced on a bipartisan basis by Senate committees earlier this year.

In a Nov. 29 letter to Senate leadership, NGFA and nearly 60 other agricultural groups urged the Senate to confirm both nominees by the end of this year.

RFA Thanks Missouri Gov. Parson for Acting to Secure Year-Round E15

The Renewable Fuels Association today applauded Missouri Gov. Mike Parson for notifying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that he is taking action to allow the year-round sale of lower-carbon, lower-cost E15 in the Show-Me State. Missouri is the tenth state to send such a notification to EPA.

Gov. Parson is exercising the authority granted to state governors under the Clean Air Act, and his action will result in equality in the regulation of E15 and E10 volatility during the summer months. This would allow retailers and marketers in Missouri to sell E15 unincumbered year-round. The letter from Gov. Parson follows a similar move in late April by a bipartisan group of eight governors from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Ohio joined the effort in early June.

In his letter to EPA, Gov. Parson thanked Administrator Michael Regan for taking emergency action to allow continued sales of E15 last summer but noted that emergency waivers are “not a long-term solution for Missouri’s fuel retailers, farmers and ethanol producers, consumers, or the environment. Thus, I am joining other Midwest states in seeking a permanent solution to allow year-round E15 and further reduce emissions.”

“We applaud Gov. Parson for joining many of his Midwest peers in a multi-state effort to permanently open the market to E15 and keep fuel prices lower for the region’s consumers,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “This simple regulatory solution will allow consumers in Missouri to benefit from E15’s lower cost and lower emissions throughout the year. We continue to call on other states to take similar action so that the benefits of E15 can be permanently enjoyed by drivers across the nation.”

According to a recent analysis by RFA, drivers choosing E15 saved an average of $0.30 per gallon last summer during a period of record-high gas prices. Cooper also highlighted recent research from refining sector experts that showed the action sought by the governors would impact gasoline refining costs by just 1.5 cents per gallon or less in the Midwest.

Ranch Group Praises USTR’s Rejection of WTO Decisions

This week, the Biden Administration, through the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), issued a scathing rebuke of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) recent ruling against the United States. The WTO ruled the U.S. violated international trade rules by requiring products from Hong Kong, China to be labeled as products of China. The U.S. imposed this labeling requirement in response to the People’s Republic of China’s action to erode Hong Kong, China’s autonomy and the democratic and human rights of its people, an action the USTR stated was a threat to the national security interests of the United States.  

According to a statement by USTR spokesperson Adam Hodge, the U.S. strongly rejects the WTO’s ruling and does not intend to remove the labeling requirement; the WTO has no authority to second-guess the United States’ ability to respond to a threat to its security and will not cede its judgment over matters involving national security to the WTO; and the WTO is in need of fundamental reform.

“We fully agree with and appreciate the Biden Administration’s summary dismissal of the WTO’s authority to interfere with the United States’ sovereign right to protect its security interests,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard adding, “And we believe the WTO committed the same contemptuous overreach when it ruled against the United States’ ability to require a country of origin label (COOL) on imported beef.”

Bullard said the relevance of the WTO in today’s geopolitical environment “is finally being called into question at the highest levels of our government, and it’s happening frequently.” He pointed to a very similar rebuke against the WTO made earlier this month when the USTR expressed the ‘need to fundamentally reform the WTO dispute settlement system’ and stated, ‘The United States strongly rejects the flawed interpretation and conclusions’ of the WTO’s ruling against the U.S. on its imposition of Section 232 measures on steel and aluminum, an action the United States took to protect its steel and aluminum industries from unfair imports.

Bullard also pointed to another scathing rebuke of the WTO by the USTR this summer when the WTO was described as a ‘broken system that emboldens Members to litigate for the sake of litigation’ and, as now, the Biden Administration called for ‘meaningful WTO reform.’

“The overreach and misconduct of the WTO is the only reason Americans are deprived of COOL labels that would inform them of where their beef comes from,” Bullard said. “And this too is a national security issue as undifferentiated beef imports are threatening the economic viability of America's cattle farms and ranches, which are among America’s most important food sources."

Earlier this year, R-CALF USA issued white papers to Congress and the Administration. The first paper reinforces the appropriateness of USTR’s strong rejections of the WTO’s overreaching rulings and the second paper explains how Congress can reinstate mandatory COOL for beef through negotiation.  

“We fully support USTR’s ongoing efforts to protect the United States’ critical interests and to meaningfully reform the WTO. We will continue urging both USTR and Congress to work together to swiftly enact mandatory COOL for beef,” Bullard concluded.