Friday, January 28, 2022

Friday January 28 Ag News

Open House Feb. 16th for the Maple Creek Watershed Plan

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) will facilitate a public Open House regarding the Maple Creek Watershed Plan - Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA) on Wednesday, February 16th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Howells Ballroom in Howells, NE.  This open house will be focused on flood reduction projects like linear corridors (detention cells) and wetland development or enhancements.

USDA-NRCS provides federal funding to local project sponsors so that they may work together to develop solutions for watershed issues such as erosion, floodwater and sediment damage, water quality and habitat improvements.  This funding has been provided to the LENRD to create a plan for the Maple Creek Watershed, with the primary purpose of floodwater reduction.

“We are requesting your ideas and want to work with you to formulate this plan.  Dams are not the only option.  We can work together to get other flood reduction projects on the land, including detention cells, and wetland enhancement, among other possibilities,” said Curt Becker, LENRD Projects Manager.  He added, “We’ll be talking with stakeholders about the locations that work best for these types of projects at the open house.”

The Maple Creek Watershed is located in Stanton, Platte, Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge Counties in Nebraska.

Visit the planning website to learn more:  Written comments or requests should be submitted to Curt Becker, LENRD Projects Manager at or contact the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk for more information.

AGP Announces New Soybean Processing Facility

Ag Processing Inc a cooperative (AGP) announced today its plan to build a new state-of-the-art soybean processing plant near David City, Nebraska. The facility will have the capacity to process over 50 million bushels of soybeans per year. AGP’s Chairman of the Board, Lowell Wilson, stated, “The soybean processing industry is experiencing tremendous growth and we believe a facility in East Central Nebraska is strategically located to serve our cooperative members and their farmer-owners. Maintaining a strong cooperative system is vital to agricultural producers and our rural communities.”

“We have carefully evaluated this opportunity and are confident this investment will generate solid returns for our membership and benefit producers throughout the region,” stated Chris Schaffer, AGP’s Chief Executive Officer. “Domestic and global demand for soybean meal and soybean oil continues to grow. The David City location will also improve the Company’s ability to market soybean meal to the Pacific Rim through AGP’s export terminal in Aberdeen, Washington. AGP is currently considering investments that will significantly increase our export capabilities to meet the expected growth in domestic protein supply.”

Chief Marketing Officer Mark Sandeen added, “The availability and quality of soybeans in the area and access to major rail lines make David City an excellent location for the plant. When completed, the David City facility will provide a significant market opportunity for soybean growers in the region through AGP’s cooperative owners. The project is expected to create over 60 well-paying jobs. AGP continues to invest in areas that enhance our integrated business platform and we are confident the David City facility will strengthen our market position and ability to compete well into the future.”

AGP expects operations to begin in 2025. Company officials noted that final construction decisions and timeline are contingent on negotiations with state and local officials regarding economic development incentives, required infrastructure improvements, utility services, and regulatory considerations. “We are committed to working with local and state officials to develop and invest in sustainable projects to better serve our customers while also benefiting our members, their farmer owners, and the surrounding communities,” said Schaffer.

Nebraska Cattlemen Select Priority Bills for the 2022 Legislative Session

The Nebraska Cattlemen Board of Directors met this week in Lincoln for their annual legislative committee meeting. Nebraska Cattlemen’s six policy committees researched, discussed, and prioritized bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments introduced by the Nebraska Legislature.

In accordance with Nebraska Cattlemen Policy, the Board of Directors considered and took positions on 105 measures and identified four bills as priorities for the second half of the 107th Nebraska legislative session.
The Nebraska Cattlemen Natural Resources and Environment committee prioritized LB 953, introduced by Senator J. Cavanaugh. This bill amends Nebraska’s open burning statute to provide a limitation on liability for land management burns which are conducted according to a burn permit issued by a local fire department. This committee also prioritized LB 1160, introduced by Senator Wishart. This bill would appropriate $10 million to the Department of Environment and Energy to provide grants for small and rural communities to install reverse osmosis systems where drinking water test levels that are above ten parts per million with nitrates.
The Taxation committee took a supportive stance and prioritized LB 723, brought forth by Senator Briese. With unprecedented levels of state revenue since the adoption of LB 1107, the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive fund has grown to $548 million. LB 723 would place a floor under current the current fund level, preventing the fund from decreasing to $375 million in 2024.
Lastly, the Marketing and Commerce committee supports, with prioritization, LB 783 by Senator Groene. This bill would appropriate $75 million to the Department of Economic Development for the beef processing industry. Nebraska Cattlemen continues to support expanding Nebraska’s beef cattle processing sector to enhance supply chain resiliency and increase market competition.
“The Nebraska Cattlemen legislative committee had a robust, in-depth conversation while reviewing over one hundred legislative measures,” said Steve Hanson, Chairman - Nebraska Cattlemen Legislative Committee. “This conversation and debate led to positions on bills that were in line with Nebraska Cattlemen policy.”

Nebraska Corn Board to Meet Jan. 31 in Grand Island

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, at Raising Nebraska in Fonner Park (501 East Fonner Park Road, Grand Island). The Board will address regular board business. The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for public discussion. A copy of the agenda is available by writing to the Nebraska Corn Board, P.O. Box 95107, Lincoln, NE 68509, sending an email to or by calling (402) 471-CORN.

NA-BA Holds 64th Nebraska Agri-Business Exposition

2021 Industry Awards, CCA Awards Announced

The 64th Nebraska Agri-Business Exposition was held January 25-26, 2022 at the Embassy Suites La Vista Conference Center in La Vista, Nebraska. This day and a half event consisted of educational training on Agricultural Budgeting, Carbon Markets and Nitrogen Stabilizers and a show of vendor exhibits. The association also welcomed Congressman Don Bacon from Nebraska’s Second District to the Directors’ and Industry Awards Reception.

The Nebraska Agri-Business Association (NeABA) honored industry leaders at its annual convention in La Vista on Monday, January 24. Jenny Rees, a Nebraska Extension Educator in York and Seward Counties was awarded the 2021 Association Industry Partner Award. This award highlights individuals outside the association’s membership, who have contributed to agriculture in a significant way through their profession. Jenny has a passion to continue learning, teaching and building relationships with farmers and ag industry professionals. “She has been an important advisor to the York County Corn Growers Association and active in the On-farm Research Network. It’s amazing how many quality meetings and activities she packed into her schedule during her 18 year career,” said Dan Stork, Chairman of NeABA.

Karl Hensley was recognized with the “Award of Industry Distinction.” This special honor is not given annually and is reserved for individuals who have been dedicated to the mission of the Association during his lifetime. Karl lives in Elgin and served the agricultural industry for over 40 years, including 34 years with Central Valley Ag Coop, headquartered in York. He is currently a consultant for the Farrell Growth Group. Karl was honored for his many contributions to the ag retail profession, education, agronomy and community. He was association chairman in 2013 and received awards from FFA, Northeast Community College and was Nebraska Agri-Business Association’s Person of the year in 2008.

These awards were presented by Dan Stork, Chairman of the Association and a York resident. Dan just completed a 42 year career with Syngenta.

Presented by Vice Chairman, Brock Emery, the “Robert L. Anderson Industry Person of the Year” award recipient was Mark Kimball. Mark owns and operates Progressive Fertilizer in Callaway, serving as manager for 40 years. He was certified under Nebraska’s original NCCPA Program, known as the CCA Program today. In addition to serving as Chairman of the association in 2014, Mark was elected and served two terms on the board of directors. Mark volunteers in his community as well, serving on the Callaway District Hospital Board and the Village of Callaway Board. This award honors a member of the Nebraska Agri-Business Association for their exemplary service to the industry.

Charles Starostka was also honored for the time he has devoted over the years to visiting DC and working on issues that affect fertilizer and chemical dealers and their customers. On those DC Trips, Charles is dedicated to mentoring and teaching other members the importance of engaging with elected officials and agencies. Charles was presented a flag flown over the nation’s capital at the request of Congressman Adrian Smith, in recognition of his many years of service to Nebraska and agribusiness communities.

Three years ago, the Nebraska Certified Crop Adviser (NeCCA) program began honoring those Certified Crop Advisers with longevity in the program with specially designed lapel pins. This year was no different with thirteen Nebraska CCAs becoming 25-year veterans in the program. They are Brian Barelmann, Gary Baumert, Orvin Bontrager, Chad Deines, Mark Hinze, Robert Hrnchir, Mary Johnson, Brian Koehler, John Mick, Roger Overleese, Richard Russell, Neil Timmerman, and Alan Vybiral.

The Nebraska Agri-Business Association represents ag retailers, major manufacturers and distributors of fertilizer, crop protection, seed, equipment and other ag inputs. Nebraska Agri-Business Association provides unified leadership and influence creating tangible economic and educational value for Nebraska’s crop production industry professionals.

British Consul General visits Nebraska to discuss trade

International trade is vital to Nebraska’s economic future and a priority for farm and ranch families. Gov. Ricketts, Nebraska ag organizations, the Dept. of Economic Development and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture recently met with British Consul General Alan Gogbashian (Chicago) to talk about trade and to highlight Nebraska agriculture. The Consul General represents the UK government and is typically responsible for regional consular, visa and trade activities.
While in Nebraska, CG Gogbashian: visited Siouxland Ethanol, Weborg Feeding Co. (cattle) and various Lincoln-based businesses; participated in an agriculture roundtable; attended the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board annual meetings; and personally met with Gov. Ricketts. Jennifer Groover with the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. accompanied CG Gogbashian.

Public and Private Partners Launch Project to Increase Cover Crop Acres in Des Moines River and Raccoon River Watersheds

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has entered into a cooperative agreement with Polk County, the City of Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works to help increase and expedite the amount of cover crops planted in the Des Moines and Raccoon River watersheds.

“Our public and private partners are critical to the success of every conservation project underway in Iowa,” said Secretary Naig. “We’re pleased to continue working alongside our current partners and welcome new ones to help implement more soil health and water quality practices in priority watersheds around the state.”

“What happens upstream impacts the safety of our drinking water and the recreation in our rivers and lakes for everyone in Polk County. We know the utilization of cover crops can have a tremendous impact on reducing nutrient load from agricultural operations in our surface water and groundwater, and improve soil health,” said Angela Connolly, Chair of Polk County Board of Supervisors. “Investing some of Polk County’s American Recovery Act Program funds in the Cover Crop Seeder Project to assist farmers in planting cover crops is a critical step in restoring water quality for Polk County and all of Iowa.”

“Cover crops are an excellent way to help build healthier soils and a more resilient landscape, and they’re an important part of our flood risk reduction toolkit. Sometimes opportunities present themselves that require thinking outside of the box and beyond our city limits. Projects like this require a great partnership to turn an idea to reality, and we are thankful to be able to help with this project,” said Jonathan Gano, City of Des Moines Public Works Director.

As part of the Central Iowa Cover Crop Seeder Project, Polk County, with support from the City of Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works, will purchase equipment used to seed cover crops into fields. The high-clearance equipment will allow cover crop seeds to be applied to fields into standing crops. This gives the cover crops time to emerge before the cash crops are harvested, providing continuous cover for the fields.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will use funding from the Water Quality Initiative to reimburse the County up to $350,000, based on the number of cover crop acres applied by their equipment. Ag retailer Heartland Co-op will use the seeder to apply cover crop seed for farmers and landowners in central Iowa. The project is modeled after a similar program in the state of Kansas.

“Improving surface water quality and protecting our natural resources is critical to our mission of providing safe, affordable drinking water to 600,000 customers in urban, suburban, and rural areas of central Iowa,” said Ted Corrigan, Des Moines Water Works CEO. “We are happy to support this innovative project and work with these valued partners toward a shared goal.”

“Heartland Co-op’s conservation agronomists help farmers manage the numerous challenges which accompany the adoption of cover crops. The addition of this seeding equipment will allow our conservation team to increase cover crop adoption and provide farmers with a streamlined process of seeding and managing their cover crops,” said Thomas Fawcett, Heartland Co-op Director of Environmental Resources. “Heartland Co-op is excited to be a part of this partnership and we look forward to working towards our common goals of improved water quality and soil health.”

Cover crops help improve soil health, prevent soil erosion and lock in nutrients to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous loads, which provides water quality benefits to local streams, lakes and rivers and communities downstream.

Increasing the number of cover crop acres planted in priority watersheds is an important part of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The goal of this project is to seed up to 40,000 acres of cover crops over the next four years in the Des Moines and Raccoon River watersheds. Iowa farmers and landowners have planted more than 2 million acres of cover crops in recent years.

High-Profile Speakers to Participate in 2022 Cattle Industry Convention

The 2022 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show is a few short days away in Houston, and the impressive agenda includes speakers ranging from sports heroes to global leaders. Among those speakers, NCBA is proud to welcome Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack virtually, and in person both Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conversation Robert Bonnie as well as Dame Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the United States.
Hosted by NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane, this new-high profile session, the morning of Thursday, Feb. 3, will provide updates on the business climate of the U.S. cattle and beef industry, conservation, and trade.  
“We are thrilled to have Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Bonnie join us at convention. We take pride in our robust working relationship with USDA as it is essential to ensure the U.S. cattle and beef industry is well-represented in policy decisions made in Washington, D.C.,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “We are also pleased to welcome the British Ambassador to the U.S., Dame Karen Pierce. Increased access to global markets is a key tool in increasing opportunity and profitability for cattle producers across the country. We are thankful for the ambassador’s interest in expanding market access for U.S. beef, and we look forward to discussing the path forward during our conversation at convention.”
Vilsack was nominated by President Joe Biden to return as Secretary of Agriculture after previously serving for eight years under President Barack Obama. Robert Bonnie was appointed to serve as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, previously he served as Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment under the Obama administration. Ambassador Pierce is responsible for the direction and work of the Embassy and its Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.

Soy Growers Want Off EPA’s Deadline Merry-Go-Round

EPA has finalized a rule that pushes the deadline for oil refiners to comply with 2020 and 2021 blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which the agency previously extended in April.

The agency last delayed compliance deadline reporting for small refineries to Jan. 1, 2022, saying the delay was a result of not having released RVOs for 2020, 2021, and 2022. Now, the EPA final rule released Jan. 28 states small refineries have until the next quarterly reporting deadline after the 2021 quotas are established to fulfill them.

Brad Doyle, soy farmer from Weiner, Arkansas, and ASA President said, “EPA’s merry-go-round of deadline changes just keeps spinning. Rather than stopping according to its own timeline to make these decisions, EPA keeps the biofuels industry and in turn farmers on an unwitting ride that simply does not end. Delaying these compliance deadlines facilitates a cycle of uncertainty that undermines the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard and stifles growth in the biomass-based diesel industry.”

Overall, for all refineries and importers of fuel, the new compliance deadlines for 2022 targets will be the RFS quarterly reporting deadline after the 2023 standards effective date or the 2021 compliance reporting deadline—whichever date is later.

The RFS has reduced U.S. dependence on foreign oil, lowered fuel prices at the pump, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and added value by increasing demand for the soybeans and corn our farmers produce. Biodiesel and renewable diesel provide a valuable market for more than 9 billion pounds of soybean oil, adding more than $1.10 in value to every bushel of soybeans grown in the U.S.

EPA is currently undergoing a rulemaking process to update Renewable Volume Obligations for 2020, 2021, and 2022. The proposed rule would increase the 2022 RVO for biomass-based diesel—a move that ASA strongly supports.

Growth Energy Statement on EPA’s Finalized Delay of RVO Compliance

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a finalized extension to the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) compliance deadlines for 2019, 2020, 2021, and for 2022. The 2019 RVO compliance deadline for small refineries was originally set for November 30, 2021, and the 2020 RVO compliance deadline for all obligated parties was previously set for January 31, 2022. With today’s action, EPA is finalizing rolling compliance deadlines based on publication of the final RVOs for 2020-2022.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement in response:
“Delaying compliance deadlines is completely contradictory to efforts to lower rising gas prices and increase the use of cleaner, lower-carbon fuels,” said Skor. “By continuing to delay compliance deadlines, EPA is creating uncertainty in the marketplace and stunting the blending of biofuel needed to decarbonize transportation as the Renewable Fuel Standard intended.

“Moving ahead, it is vital for EPA to get the RFS back on track. EPA can start by making needed changes to its proposed cuts to the 2020 RVOs and low volumes for 2021. Importantly, EPA needs to swiftly finalize the proposed volumes for 2022. Administrator Regan has emphasized time and time again the need for transparency and certainty when it comes to the RFS. Ensuring timely compliance and finalizing strong biofuel blends can help Administrator Regan follow through on these promises and provide much needed certainty for biofuel producers.”


On Thursday, November 18th, EPA announced a proposal to extend the RVO compliance deadlines for 2019, 2020, 2021, and for 2022. In December 2021, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley testified before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance date extension proposal.


To address the country’s ongoing labor shortage, the Biden administration this week announced it will allow an additional 20,000 foreign workers into the country under the H-2B visa program. That program permits employers to temporarily hire such workers for non-agricultural labor or services, including meatpacking.

Employers requesting H-2B visas must attest to the U.S. Department of Labor that they will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the higher of the prevailing wage, applicable federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage or local minimum wage. Most of the visas will be available only to workers who received H-2B visas in the last three fiscal years, but 6,500 will go to laborers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras.  


Because of African swine fever (ASF), Thailand is predicting as much as a 40% decline in hog production this year, and NPPC is hoping the country finally will give the U.S. pork industry more access to the Thai market. Thailand’s pork imports are minimal, with 2021 volume at just over 26,000 metric tons, 99% of which was from the European Union.

The country has a de facto ban on U.S. pork imports through high tariffs and several non-tariffs barriers. Import duties are 30% or 40% on most products, and it imposes a license fee for imported pork equal to about $220 per metric ton compared with $7.50 per metric ton for domestically produced pork. U.S. pork exports to Thailand must be cooked and/or prepared.

Thailand maintains these obstacles to U.S. pork despite the United States being its No. 2 export market and despite receiving – until late 2020 – duty-free access to the U.S. market for many of its goods under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

In November 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative suspended more than $800 million in GSP trade preferences for Thailand for its failure to grant the United States “equitable and reasonable market access” for U.S. pork products. The decision followed a 2018 petition by the National Pork Proudcers Council, asking USTR to review Thailand’s eligibility for the GSP program. NPPC is continuing to work with USTR and the government in Bangkok to further open the Thai market to U.S. pork.

Thursday January 27 Ag News

Ashland-Greenwood Teacher Named Teacher of the Year for Bringing Agriculture into the Classroom

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has selected Diane Starns for the 2022 Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year honor. The Teacher of the Year is awarded to outstanding teachers that incorporate agriculture into their classroom through innovative ideas and lessons.

“The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is pleased to honor Diane Starns for her dedication to integrating agriculture into core classroom learning,” said Courtney Shreve, director of outreach education. “Diane gives more than asked and is a dedicated teacher who incorporates year-long learning with Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom to help students understand the vital message that agriculture is their source of food, fiber, and fuel.”

Starns, a kindergarten teacher at Ashland-Greenwood Elementary, has been an educator for 24 years. Thirteen years ago, she received a flyer from Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom about becoming involved with the Ag Pen Pal Program. She has now had the same pen pal for the past 13 years.

“Our Pen Pal’s letters were informative and appropriate for my kindergarteners. She would send us field corn, popcorn, soybean plants, and snacks containing a byproduct from corn and soybeans that she highlighted on the packaging!  Her letters were detailed about what was taking place on their farm at that time of the year,” said Starns. “It was easy to see that my students were very interested in what takes place on the farm, not only with animals but also with crops.  Not only did this cover science but also health, math, and literacy too!  We would write three to four friendly letters back to her sharing what we were doing in the classroom!”

Starns has used the lesson plans designed by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. One of Starns’ favorite lessons is Farming in a Glove. This activity has each group of students create a small “farm” where they can see different seeds germinate. The “farm” is a clear plastic glove with a cotton ball in each of the fingers. A seed is placed on the moist cotton ball. To conduct the investigation, each group hangs one glove in the window and a second glove in a dark room or drawer. The students then monitor the gloves and record observations in a science journal.

“When the two weeks for the lesson concluded, the kids got to take the glove home and share it with their parents. They showed their parents how the seeds sprouted, and the roots were growing,” said Starns.  “Then in July, two parents sent me pictures of their kids with their plant grown from one of the seeds from this lesson! I was THRILLED!”

Starns will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, an accurate agriculture book bundle featuring 12 books and corresponding literature guides, and a $250 cash prize. The conference, held June 28 – July 1, 2022 in Saratoga Springs, NY, brings educators together from all over the United States to learn how to use agricultural concepts to effectively teach core subjects such as reading, math, science, and social studies. The conference features recognition for Teacher of the Year honorees, educational workshops, traveling workshops to agribusinesses and research facilities, and farm tours.

‘Thirteen years ago, I was sparked by the Ag Pen Pal Program, and now my students are benefitting from all the Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom agricultural lessons I am incorporating throughout the school year,” said Starns. “I look forward to attending the national conference this year!”

USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Signups for 2022

Agricultural producers and landowners can sign up soon for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a cornerstone conservation program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a key tool in the Biden-Harris Administration effort to address climate change and achieve other natural resource benefits. The General CRP signup will run from Jan. 31 to March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup will run from April 4 to May 13.

“We highly encourage farmers, ranchers and private landowners to consider the enrollment options available through CRP,” said Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director John Berge. “Last year, we rolled out a better, bolder program, and we highly encourage you to consider its higher payment rates and other incentives. CRP is another way that we’re putting producers and landowners at the center of climate-smart solutions that generate revenue and benefit our planet.”

Producers and landowners enrolled 4.6 million acres into CRP signups in 2021, including 2.5 million acres in the largest Grassland CRP signup in history. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and FSA is aiming to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022.

CRP Signups

General CRP helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. 

Meanwhile, Grassland CRP is a working lands program, helping landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations and provides important carbon sequestration benefits to deliver lasting climate outcomes.  

Alongside these programs, producers and landowners can enroll acres in Continuous CRP under the ongoing sign up, which includes projects available through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE). Nebraska is accepting applications under its Migratory Birds, Butterflies and Pollinators SAFE initiative for first round consideration through Feb. 18. Signup also is ongoing for Nebraska’s Platte-Republican Resources Area CREP.   

Two Upcoming UNL CAP webinars

Cost of Production for 2022 Crop Enterprises with the Ag Budget Calculator

Glennis McClure, Farm and Ranch Management Analyst, UNL; and Jay Parsons, Farm and Ranch Management Specialist, UNL

It’s as easy as ABC to create and customize crop enterprise budgets for 2022. During this webinar, we’ll provide an overview of the new Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC) that has been developed for cost of production forecasting. With the 2022 Nebraska Crop Budgets available to download into user’s accounts, these budgets can be modified to fit your individual situation. Program users can also start from scratch and develop their own enterprise budgets. We’ll briefly highlight the analysis features built into the program, including a risk module.

Annual Beef Heifer Replacement Forecasts for the 2022 Production Season by UNL’s Beef Economics Team

Randy Saner, Extension Educator, and Matt Stockton, Agricultural Economist

Year in and year out, cow-calf producers make decisions related to maintaining the cow herd and its profitability. Good decisions today make it possible to stay in the business and take advantage of future opportunities. One of these choices relates to the retention and/or purchase of replacement cows. So, what is a respectable value of a beef replacement heifer for the coming seasons? This choice while simple in principle is complicated by many factors, future costs and values, productivity, and productive life of the purchased animals, etc. The University of Nebraska Beef Economics team seeing this need has create a series of annual forecasts of heifer values. The upcoming webinar exams a series of breakeven values for replacement cows based on productivity, longevity, costs and expected future values.

These webinars are presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska.  You can get more information and register at  

Nebraska research studying benefits of grass restoration amid cropland

A new study led by Daren Redfearn, professor of agronomy and horticulture and forage systems specialist, is exploring whether a targeted restoration of perennial grasses amid cropland could bring about a variety of benefits.

University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers are leading a study of how a targeted restoration of perennial grasses amid cropland could bring about a variety of benefits, ranging from reduction in water and fertilizer use to expansion of wildlife habitat to encouragement of new bioenergy industry.

The four-year, $4 million project will be conducted on University of Nebraska research plots and 12 to 15 on-farm sites in the Republican River Basin in west central and western Nebraska, said Daren Redfearn, the Husker forage systems specialist leading the work.

The project, Expanding the Conversion of Habitat in the Northern Great Plains Ecosystem, or EXCHANGE, has its genesis in a U.S. Department of Energy goal to reduce water and fertilizer use on crops by 25%. EXCHANGE is funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“We said the easiest way to do that would be to just not grow on 25% of the area under those pivots and not fertilize it and not water it,” Redfearn said.

So researchers will plant what some call “prairie strips” on less productive areas within cropland — species of native perennial warm-season grasses, including switchgrass, big bluestem and Indiangrass. They also will be planted in corners of irrigated areas that are not easily reached by pivots.

Establishing perennial grasses in their native habitat is nothing new, Redfearn said.

“What makes our proposed technology unique and innovative is using limited irrigation on native perennial tallgrasses within irrigated row-cropped landscapes,” he said.

Researchers believe that limited irrigation of these grasses, using much less water than adjacent crops, ultimately will produce more biomass than other warm- and cool-season grasses typically planted in the region.

Potential impacts of this approach include:
    Reduction of landscape-scale irrigation water use and improved groundwater sustainability
    Reduction of fertilizer and herbicide inputs and improved nutrient retention and farm net returns
    Increased soil carbon and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to help mitigate climate change and provide additional revenue streams
    Increased biodiversity by restoring wildlife habitat, primarily for birds and pollinator insects
    Encouragement of a new bioenergy market for growers

“This project could serve as a large-scale regional model for altering the culture of agriculture while providing economic opportunity for family farms and serving as a model system for the emerging bioeconomy,” Redfearn said.

Ultimately, the approach could lead to construction of new biorefineries in the region to process the grasses.

“You can’t haul those bioenergy grasses much further than 40 or 50 miles and make that cost-effective,” Redfearn said. “But even if that doesn’t happen, there still are plenty of livestock in that area that can utilize those grasses. They’ll get used one way or another.”

The project will also produce an all-encompassing life cycle economic analysis.

“We need to identify a monetary value to all these ecosystem services. A lot of people have an interest in that, but no one’s figured out how to do it,” Redfearn said. “We have an opportunity to assign some value” to the individual impacts of the research that will help determine its feasibility for expansion.

Other Nebraska investigators include Andrew Little, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources; Jay Parsons, professor of agricultural economics; and Julie Peterson, associate professor of entomology. The university also is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.

Pork Producers Name 2022 Youth Leadership Team

Kiley Allan, Le Mars; Kirby Cook, Winthrop; and Maggie Staudacher, Indianola, are members of the 2022 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team. They were selected from the nine young Iowans who competed for the honor the last week of January.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) sponsors the contest, which includes interviews, speech presentations, and knowledge of pork and pig production. Their previous community involvement and experience are also considered. The top female contestant is crowned pork queen, and the top remaining contestants, male or female, are named youth ambassadors.
Allan, a freshman at Iowa State University, will reign as the 2022 Iowa Pork Queen. Cook and Staudacher are Pork Ambassadors. Each receives a $4,000 scholarship and plaque noting their award. According to their predecessors, the most valuable things they will gain are the many growth and leadership opportunities provided by these positions. Over the next year, the IPPA Youth Leadership Team will participate in public activities promoting pork and pig production, from county activities around Iowa to the Iowa State Fair and World Pork Expo.
Kiley Allan
Kiley Allan is the daughter of Mark and Alise Allan of Le Mars in Plymouth County. She is a freshman at Iowa State University in Ames, where she is majoring in agricultural communications and animal science. She is seeking a career that involves closing the information gap between the farm and consumers, to prevent misconceptions about the pork industry and agriculture.
Kirby Cook
Kirby Cook is the son of Aaron and Trish Cook of Winthrop in Buchanan County. He is a senior at East Buchanan High School in Winthrop. He plans to pursue a degree in agricultural studies at Iowa State University in Ames, and eventually return to his family’s farm for a career in hog and grain farming.
Maggie Staudacher
Maggie Staudacher is the daughter of Mike and Rene Staudacher of Indianola in Warren County. She is a sophomore studying animal science at Iowa State University in Ames, with plans to go on to veterinary school and become a large-animal veterinarian.

IPPA Honors Iowa's Master Pork Producers, Pork Partners

At the 2022 Iowa Pork Congress banquet, the Iowa Pork Producers Association introduced the 2021 class of Master Pork Producers and Master Pork Partners.
A Master Pork Producer award denotes an individual’s or family’s excellence in pork production, as measured by their pork production statistics, their commitment to We Care® principles, and their contribution to their community. The We Care principles outline a pig farmer’s responsibilities to uphold high standards for animal well-being, food safety, the environment, as well as support of their local community.
IPPA’s 80thth class of Master Pork Producers are:
    Jerry & Nancy Croghan, Manning, Shelby County
    Tim Sadler, Cresco, Howard County
    Dan Thoma, Brandon, Buchanan County

 IPPA started the Master Pork Producer Award program in 1942 and has now named 1,499 Iowa pig farming businesses as Master Pork Producers.
IPPA created the Master Pork Partner Award in 2014 to recognize outstanding production partners who have made positive impacts in Iowa pork production, even though they don’t have active daily roles at a specific production site.
The 2021 Master Pork Partners are:
    Grant Weaver, Waterloo, a buyer for Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo
    Bob Rose of Independence, trucker and owner of Rose Transfer
    Cara Haden, DVM; Independence, a veterinarian with Pipestone Veterinary Services

 The award winners are nominated by their peers and neighbors, and represent the diversity of Iowa’s pig farms. This production diversity helps maintain the strength of the industry and enables Iowa producers to compete successfully in the domestic and international commodity and niche markets.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa State University Extension co-sponsor the Master Pork Producer program to demonstrate the character and breadth of Iowa pork production. Nominations for the 2022 Master Pork Program awards will open in May.

Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of Soy Industry Recognized

A must-attend summer event, a dedicated farm and food broadcaster and a first-generation farmer were among those touted for outstanding achievement benefiting the soy industry. The recognition was given in eight categories by the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) during its annual Winter Soy Summit held Jan. 25 in Des Moines.

“Many people are driven to deliver for Iowa soybean farmers,” said ISA President Robb Ewoldt of Davenport. “It’s critical to recognize these meaningful contributions and celebrate an industry that continues to be a positive force for our state and country.”

Whether a lifelong soybean farmer, innovator in production, or a champion for fellow farmers, the 2022 ISA Leadership Award recipients have demonstrated a passion for the future of soy. Award categories, sponsors and recipients were:

Legacy of Leadership Award (presented by Stine Seed): Rolland Schnell, a soybean farmer and past ISA president from Newton, has advanced the goals of the association through his longstanding commitment to enhance the industry.  

Rising Star Award (presented by Farm Credit Services of America): Nathan Behrends, an Iowa State University student from Wiota, actively promotes Iowa agriculture and plans to remain involved in the industry through future personal and professional endeavors. The award includes a $1,000 stipend for educational expenses.

New Leader Award (presented by Corteva Agriscience): James Hepp, a soybean farmer from Rockwell City, continues to deepen his involvement in ISA programming while growing his commitment of service to the industry and his local community.  

Environmental Leader Award (presented by Agri Drain): Michael Vittetoe, a soybean producer from Washington, is a leader in integrating sustainable practices on his multi-generational operation. Through his work with ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI), Michael has implemented unique strategies to improve soil health and enhance water quality.  

Innovator in Production Research Award (presented by John Deere): Kevin Prevo, a soybean farmer from Bloomfield, highlights the role precision agriculture plays in managing practices to improve farm profitability. His experiences have allowed ISA to continue finding new opportunities for farmers to implement cutting edge approaches.  

Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award (presented by Cargill): Andy Petersen, cohost of WHO Radio’s “The Big Show”, continues to play an important part in the agricultural reporting space. His support of both the soybean industry and agriculture has connected more consumers and producers to ISA messages, events and programming.  

Advocate for Iowa Agriculture Award (presented by Bayer Cropscience): Presented to the Iowa State Fair. The annual event is nationally recognized and a staple of Iowa summers since it began in 1854. The fair highlights the hard work, strength and dedication of Iowa’s agriculture community and gives visitors a firsthand look at agriculture’s role in their everyday lives.  

Policy Champion Award (presented by Champion Seed): Wayne Fredericks, a soybean farmer and past ISA president from Osage, has been a lifelong advocate on behalf of  producers across the state. His relationship building with elected officials and collaborative spirit showcase a dedication to advocacy on the local, state and national levels.  

“This year’s crop of award recipients are valued voices to our industry,” said Ewoldt. “We look forward to the many contributions they will continue to make benefiting soybean farmers.”

To learn more about the recipients, visit

ADC invites dairy farmers and organizations to ‘Future of Federal Milk Pricing Forum’ Feb. 15 via webinar

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) invites dairy farmers and their state and national organization leaders to participate in the upcoming webinar: “Future of Federal Milk Pricing Forum” February 15 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. EST by webinar.
The forum will begin the process of building ‘farmer consensus’ around updated milk pricing strategies that are more acceptable at the farm level.
Cooperatives and processors are having these same conversations, but ADC’s first forum is by farmers for farmers and is strictly focused on hearing directly from farmers, presidents of state and national dairy farmer organizations and/or their leadership.
“As the industry attempts to update the federal milk pricing system, ADC wants to bring farmers together for early input. This is an important initial step in beginning a consensus-building process while ensuring the voice of actual dairy farmers is heard,” says ADC CEO Laurie Fischer. “When you register for the forum, please reserve a spot if you would like to speak and provide input on solutions to all webinar attendees.”

The 90-minute webinar will be moderated by Dave Natzke. As an editor with Progressive Dairy, Natzke’s primary editorial focus includes dairy policy, markets, pricing and risk management with emphasis on their impacts on dairy producer milk checks and businesses.

Three panelists will offer introductory comments before the ‘floor’ is opened to those registering for 3-minute time slots:
    Calvin Covington, a retired co-op CEO, will talk about what FMMOs do and don’t do as well as what they can and cannot do. He has experienced the FMMO hearing process in the past.
    Frank Doll, a dairy producer and American Farm Bureau Dairy Policy Committee member will review the recommendations that recently came out of the AFBF dairy working group.
    Mike McCully, a dairy industry consultant, will provide a perspective on how changes to the Class I fluid milk pricing formula impact farm mailbox milk prices.

In November, a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill was introduced that, if passed, would require USDA to hold national FMMO hearings. Recently, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told producers in Wisconsin that FMMO hearings will not be held until there is “consensus within the dairy industry.” At the same time, 2023 Farm Bill discussions, where milk pricing changes may be considered, are getting underway.
“The FMMO system is complex with regional, national and global factors. We have seen the impact of a pricing change in the Class I formula that was made legislatively in the last Farm Bill without a vetted hearing process or farmer input. We must never let this happen again,” Fischer notes. “Our webinar offers dairy farmers and their state and national organizations the opportunity to have a voice and to provide leadership in how milk is priced in the future.”
Some questions to consider for input include:
    What are your top three federal milk pricing concerns that you feel need immediate attention and change?
    Looking outside your paradigm and using a 'blank page' perspective, what role would you say the government should play in the following:
    The pricing of milk?
    Oversight of timely payment?
    Accurate weights and measures?
    Benchmarking indexes?
    Price Discovery?
    Since only Class I regulated plants are legally mandated to pay the FMMO minimums, should the FMMO system be limited to just Class I?
    What pricing tools are helpful to farmers to manage risks?
These are just some thought-starters, and Fischer explains that the main goal of this forum is to hear dairy farmer perspectives.
To fill out the registration form to listen and/or to give input scan the QR code with a cell phone or go to this link:
Those registering will receive the webinar link and access information to participate on Feb. 15, and those requesting a time to speak will receive an additional follow-up email from the ADC staff.

RMA Extends Crop Insurance Flexibilities to June Due to COVID-19

Because of the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending program flexibilities to Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) and agricultural producers until June 30, 2022 or later. Originally, these flexibilities were expiring this month.

 “Our priority is to keep our producers and partners as safe as possible, while at the same time continuing to provide the best service we can,” said Marcia Bunger, Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). “These unique times call for everyone to be cautious and as flexible as possible, and these added flexibilities will help us achieve those goals.”

Extended flexibilities include:  
    Allowing notifications to be sent electronically, including policy related information over the phone or other electronic methods to select policy elections by sales closing, acreage reporting and production reporting dates, including options, endorsements and their forms.  Producers may sign electronically or within 60 calendar days.  
    Allowing producers to submit a request for a written agreement after the sales closing date.  
    Allowing producers with inability to physically sign a written agreement because of COVID-19 to do so after the expiration date.  
    Providing additional time for AIPs to accept Regional Office Determined Yield, Master Yield, and Irrigated Determined Yield requests for Category B (annual) crops.    
    Allowing AIPs to request a 30-day extension to submit Determined Yield requests for Category C (perennial) crops.  
    Waiving the witness signature requirement for approval of Assignments of Indemnity.    

Additional details can be found in RMA’s Jan. 20, 2022 Manager’s Bulletin, the frequently asked questions or    

Additional Pandemic Assistance  

These flexibilities are part of USDA’s broader response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, RMA recently provided $59.5 million in premium support for producers who planted cover crops on 12.2 million acres through the new Pandemic Cover Crop Program. Also, USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers has provided additional support for producers by improving and retargeting existing programs and creating new efforts, like PCCP, to reach a broader set of producers. USDA is currently accepting applications for two new pandemic assistance programs: the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program by Feb. 4, 2022 and the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program by Feb. 25, 2022.     

For specialty ag exporters, supply chain delays remain major crisis

The holiday rush may be behind us, but the supply chain crisis has not subsided, especially for many U.S. agricultural processors located in the Upper Midwest.

Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA) members who export high-quality, Identity Preserved grains and oilseeds continue to have major difficulties getting the equipment they need to fulfill their orders and meet the needs of their overseas customers.

Many containers bringing consumer imports to the U.S. continue to be sent back overseas empty instead of inland where ag processors have supplies ready to be shipped.

“Specialty agriculture needs containers for food grade exports due to a food supply chain that has reached a condition critical situation,” said Rob Prather, SSGA chairman and chief strategic ambassador for Global Processing, an Iowa-based company that grows, processes and supplies Identity Preserved, non-GMO soybeans and soy ingredients. “This isn’t just a global supply chain issue; it’s a global food supply security issue.”

The United States produces the finest agricultural products in the world, including Identity Preserved soybeans and specialty grains used around the globe by food and beverage manufacturers. SSGA members’ customers abroad specifically want these products. They’ve ordered them, and they’re waiting for them.

Specialty crops shipped via container are a growing market because of consumer demand around the world. The United States must be a reliable supplier, and that means the supply chain must work for everybody. It is wrong for shipping lines, which have been enjoying record profits throughout this crisis, to deny service to ag exporters. Some SSGA members have reported they are able to ship just 40-60% of their orders because of these continuing supply chain issues.

“Dialogue must continue, and SSGA is calling on companies throughout the supply chain to participate and find ways to reposition containers where possible and unclog this system, which is so vital to the global food supply,” said Eric Wenberg, SSGA executive director. “As an American, I am surprised that one our country's top exports is air -– in the form of empty containers. Let’s slow down the system enough so we can put something in those empty containers.”

SSGA was among the first groups to sound the alarm on the supply chain crisis, and that was 15 months ago. Continued lack of service, carrier cancelations, delays and rising freight rates and fees have made the situation as difficult as it’s ever been, according to some SSGA members.

This hasn’t just affected business either. There are real people working to make sure every link in the supply chain remains strong, and the human toll has caused hardships to logistics staffs, as well as farmers, truckers, suppliers and customers.

SSGA supported the Ocean Shipping Reform Act that overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December and is encouraging the Senate to move forward with the legislation, which would strengthen the Shipping Act and prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for U.S. exports.

More solutions are needed and fast. While time is of the essence, SSGA is hosting a shipping conference, Transportation Go, March 3-4 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and encourages anyone interested in solving this crisis to join us bring your best ideas to the table. More information at

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Wednesday January 26 Ag News

 USDA Urges Producers to Submit Applications for 2021 Grazing Loss Assistance by Jan. 31

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds ranchers and livestock producers they may be eligible for financial assistance through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2021 grazing losses due to a qualifying drought or fire. The deadline to apply for 2021 LFP assistance is Jan. 31, 2022.

“Severe to extreme drought conditions in Nebraska have resulted in significant economic hardships for our agricultural producers, and livestock producers are no exception,” said John Berge, state executive director for the Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “If you suffered 2021 grazing losses, you should contact FSA as soon as possible and file your LFP application for payment. 2021 LFP information may be used to deliver upcoming disaster assistance.”

For the 2021 program year, 16 counties in Nebraska have met drought severity levels that trigger LFP eligibility. Those 16 counties include: Banner, Box Butte, Boyd, Cedar, Chase, Dakota, Dixon, Dundy, Hayes, Hitchcock, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox, Morrill, Scotts Bluff and Sioux.

More than $473.1 million has been paid, to date, to eligible livestock producers in 26 states and territories for 2021 LFP. For LFP, qualifying drought triggers are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor. Visit the FSA LFP webpage for a list of eligible counties and grazing crops.

LFP provides payments to eligible livestock producers and contract growers who also produce forage crops for grazing and suffered losses due to a qualifying drought or fire during the normal grazing period for the county.  Eligible livestock include alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo/bison, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, reindeer or sheep that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland during the normal grazing period.

To expedite the application process, producers are encouraged to gather and submit records documenting 2021 losses. Supporting documents may include information related to grazing leases, contract grower agreements, and more.

Find Answers for Farm Bill Decisions in Multiple Ways

Crop farmers have until March 15 to make their annual election for Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage (at the individual or county levels) under the 2018 Farm Bill.

This annual decision impacts the 2022 crop year, consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill. Similar annual decisions, for the 2023 crop year, will coincide with the final year of the bill.

In order to help Iowans understand their options for 2022, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is holding a variety of upcoming meetings, with support from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Meeting options include in-person and virtual events. Those who would prefer to attend a virtual learning session can visit the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill information and resources webpage at

“The key decision is between Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage (county or individual),” said Gary Wright, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “A farmer’s choices will depend on the type of operation, where located and their price outlook.”

Wright explained that PLC payments are triggered when the marketing year average price falls below the reference prices of $3.70 per bushel for corn and $8.40 per bushel for soybeans. Whereas ARC-CO payments are triggered when actual county revenue for the crop is less than the guarantee. Wright says current USDA price projections for 2022 are $4.80 per bushel for corn and $10.50 per bushel for soybeans.

“As with the past 2018 Farm Bill workshops, these sessions will involve the use of tools taken directly from Ag Decision Maker,” Wright said. “The producers’ overall 2022 crop decisions by March 15 will want to include (a) the federal crop program election (ARC or PLC); and (b) a thorough review of their crop insurance options. These two decisions should be evaluated jointly, following consultation with their trusted crop insurance agent (in regard to annual premiums), to ensure the desired risk management steps are being fully considered.”

In-person meetings in northwest Iowa include:

    Feb. 15, 1-3 p.m. - ISU Extension and Outreach Palo Alto County office, 2008 10th St., Emmetsburg; Preregister to 712-852-2865.
    Feb. 16, 1-3 p.m. - ISU Extension and Outreach Cherokee County office, 209 Centennial Dr., Cherokee; Preregister to 712-225-6196.
    Feb. 17, 9-11 a.m. - Northwest Iowa Community College, Building A, Room 117, 603 W. Park St., Sheldon; Preregister to 712-957-5045.
    Feb. 18, 9-11 a.m. - Grace United Methodist Church, 311 2nd Ave., Spencer; Preregister to 712-262-2264.
Additional questions can be directed to Gary Wright at 712-223-1574 or

February Ag Marketing Clubs in central Iowa with a focus on 2022 Farm Bill and crop insurance decisions:

    Feb. 14, 6:30 p.m. at the Leonard Good Community Center in Ogden, 114 SW 8th St., Ogden. Pre-registration required at 515-432-3882.
    Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Conrad American Legion, 102 E. Center St., Conrad. Pre-registration required at 319-824-6979.
    Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m. at 1st State Bank in Lynnville, 413 East Street, Lynville. Pre-registration required at 641-623-5188.
    Feb 18, 9:30 a.m., Ag Coffee, Farm Bill, Alexis Stevens, west central Iowa farm management specialist.
Additional questions can be directed to Patrick Hatting at 515-957-5790 or

Webinar sessions are as follows:

    Feb. 11, noon, Ag Decision Maker Tools & Program Analysis, Alejandro Plastina, ISU Extension and Outreach.
    Feb. 15, noon, 2022 Farm Bill Decisions: Central Iowa, Patrick Hatting, ISU Extension and Outreach central Iowa farm management field specialist.
    Feb. 16, noon, 2022 Farm Bill Decisions: Northern Iowa, Kelvin Leibold, ISU Extension and Outreach north central Iowa farm management field specialist.
    Feb. 17, 2022, 11 a.m., 2022 Farm Bill Decisions: Western Iowa, Alexis Stevens and Tim Christensen, ISU Extension and Outreach west central and southwest Iowa farm management field specialists.

Ag producers and landowners are encouraged to be proactive and attend an in-person or virtual session if they have questions about their options. In-person sessions will be approximately two hours in length, with time for questions. There is no charge to attend but pre-registration is encouraged. Webinars are one hour, including time for questions. All webinars are recording for later viewing.

Report: Higher Wages, Input Costs, Supply Chain Problems Affecting Pork Prices, Not ‘Concentration’

In a report issued today, economists with Iowa State University, North Carolina State University and the National Pork Producers Council found that pork prices have risen because of strong demand for U.S. pork, higher input costs and labor shortages throughout the supply chain, not concentration in the meatpacking industry. The report’s authors, Iowa State’s Dermot Hayes, NC State’s Barry Goodwin and NPPC’s Holly Cook, also found that pork prices in the United States are still lower than in many other countries.

The pork packing industry is made up of fewer and larger plants than it was 50 years ago, but the structure of the industry has changed little in recent decades, the report stated, and concentration levels today are about 7 percent lower than they were five years ago because of new packing plants that opened from 2017 to 2020. Four of those five plants are at least partially producer-owned. In fact, more than 100 industries had a greater concentration level, according to a commonly used calculation, the report noted.

“This report shows the concentration level in the pork packing industry is not significantly higher than it was 15 years ago,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “The recent increase in pork prices is driven by strong pork demand, rising input prices, higher wages and supply chain bottlenecks throughout the industry.”

The report also found no evidence that significantly higher profits are being captured at the wholesale level during this time of higher retail prices. The farm-to-wholesale price spread – which consists of packers’ costs and profits – has been shrinking while the wholesale-to-retail spread has increased over the past six months. Packer gross margins also are estimated to be within their 5-year average range, according to the report.

“Although pork prices have risen rapidly in recent months,” said Iowa State’s Hayes, “retail and carcass prices in the U.S. are still relatively low when compared with prices in other countries.”

“Americans pay less for pork, not more than consumers in most other nations,” Sorenson said. “That includes big pork-producing countries such as Canada, Denmark and Germany.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 1/21/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending January 21, ethanol production scaled back by 17,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.7%, to 1.035 million b/d, equivalent to 43.47 million gallons daily. Production was 10.9% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic, and 0.6% more than the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.6% to 1.036 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.88 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks expanded by 3.7% to 24.5 million barrels, the largest reserves since early May 2020. Stocks were 3.7% higher than a year ago and 1.0% more than the same week two years ago. Inventories built across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1), including record-high reserves in the Midwest (PADD 2).
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, rose 3.4% to 8.51 million b/d (130.38 bg annualized). Gasoline demand registered 8.6% higher than a year ago but 3.3% lower than the same week two years ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol declined 1.4% to 795,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.19 bg annualized. Net inputs were 1.3% more than a year ago but 8.9% less than the same week two years ago.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 36,000 b/d, or 10.58 million gallons for the week. This marks the first imports in thirteen weeks. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of November 2021.)

USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Signups for 2022

Agricultural producers and landowners can sign up soon for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a cornerstone conservation program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a key tool in the Biden-Harris Administration effort to address climate change and achieve other natural resource benefits. The General CRP signup will run from Jan. 31 to March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup will run from April 4 to May 13.

“We highly encourage farmers, ranchers and private landowners to consider the enrollment options available through CRP,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Last year, we rolled out a better, bolder program, and we highly encourage you to consider its higher payment rates and other incentives. CRP is another way that we’re putting producers and landowners at the center of climate-smart solutions that generate revenue and benefit our planet.”

Producers and landowners enrolled 4.6 million acres into CRP signups in 2021, including 2.5 million acres in the largest Grassland CRP signup in history. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and FSA is aiming to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022.

CRP Signups

General CRP helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. 

Meanwhile, Grassland CRP is a working lands program, helping landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations and provides important carbon sequestration benefits to deliver lasting climate outcomes.  

Alongside these programs, producers and landowners can enroll acres in Continuous CRP under the ongoing sign up, which includes projects available through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE).  

Fertilizer Prices Rise for Most Fertilizers

Most retail fertilizer prices were slightly higher the third week of January 2022. But as was the case last week, one fertilizer was lower in price looking back a month.  Seven of the eight major fertilizers were slightly higher, although none were up a considerable amount. DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $863 per ton compared to last month, MAP $932/ton, urea $916/ton (all-time high), 10-34-0 $800/ton, anhydrous $1,433/ton (all-time high), UAN28 $585/ton (all-time high) and UAN32 $683/ton (all-time high).

10-34-0 hit the $800/ton level for the first time in this historic rise of retail fertilizer prices. The last time it was this high was the first week of March 2012 when starter fertilizer was $807/ton.

Like last week, one fertilizer was just slightly lower in price compared to a month ago. Potash was down just slightly and had an average price of $807/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $1.00/lb.N, anhydrous $0.87/lb.N, UAN28 $1.04/lb.N and UAN32 $1.07/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all fertilizers have increased significantly, with several fertilizers having well-over 100% price increases. MAP is now 69% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 71% higher, DAP is 78% more expensive, potash is 116% higher, urea is 146% more expensive, UAN32 is 176% higher, UAN28 179% is more expensive and anhydrous is 202% higher compared to last year.

Marubeni to Spin Off Gavilon Grain

Marubeni Corporation has announced that today, its Board of Directors has resolved that Marubeni will transfer the grain business of Gavilon Agriculture Investment, Inc. (“Gavilon”) to Viterra Limited (“Viterra”), following a reorganization of Gavilon’s structure. Currently, Gavilon is a subsidiary of Marubeni America Corporation (“MAC”), a 100% subsidiary of Marubeni, and its main businesses are the handling of grain and ingredients and fertilizer wholesaling in the United States.

The transfer is subject to closing conditions and the required regulatory approvals, and is expected to
close during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.

Marubeni is looking to further accelerate the growth of its grain business and agri-input (agricultural chemicals and fertilizers) business. As part of this, Marubeni will transfer the shares of Gavilon to Viterra after conducting an internal business reorganization involving the following three steps:
1. Eight of the grain elevators held and operated by Gavilon in the northern United States will be transferred to Columbia Grain International, LLC (“CGI”), a subsidiary of Marubeni.
2. Part of the equity interest of a JV grain export terminal business on the US West Coast (or Pacific Northwest, hereafter “PNW”) that is held by Gavilon will also be transferred to CGI*
3. Gavilon’s fertilizer business will be transferred to MAC.
During re-evaluations of its grain business strategies and goals, Marubeni deliberated on the significance of holding on to Gavilon’s grain business. Under the circumstances of the uptrend in the grain supply industry and Gavilon’s good outcomes recently, Marubeni recognized an opportunity to transfer Gavilon’s grain business on appropriate terms, and decided to conduct the transfer as it assessed it would be able to maximize its own consolidated asset value.

Marubeni is looking to enhance the ability of its grain business to meet demand for grain in Asian market especially Japan, a focus area for the business. To achieve this, Marubeni will work to further strengthen its grain business’s trade flow based on its grain handling operations in the northwest United States, and exportation from the PNW as its two major strengths. Moreover, in response to heightened consumer awareness and concern over health and environmental issues, Marubeni is concentrating on reinforcing the handling of specialty crops, as well as developing its processing and downstream businesses. Marubeni has positioned the eight grain elevators in the northern United States, and equity interest in the JV grain export terminal business in the PNW that are to be transferred to CGI, as the focal points within the abovementioned strategy.

Marubeni aims to further strengthen the presence of its fertilizer business within the domestic agri-input market in the United States. Under this strategy, Gavilon’s fertilizer business and Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC (a subsidiary of Marubeni that operates an the agri-input retail business) will individually strive to expand the transaction volume and sales regions. Marubeni will also be pursuing the expansion of its agri-input business outside the United States by drawing on the expertise of human resources and knowhow accumulated in the United States over the years.

Bayer’s Grants4Ag Program Awards Funding for 21 New Crop Science Research Proposals

Bayer today announced its 2022 cohort of Grants4Ag grant recipients who were chosen to receive awards ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 Euros to help them complete research on challenges facing agriculture. 21 proposals make up this year’s Grants4Ag awardees with research goals including reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint, understanding social factors that influence innovation adoption, and improving the drought tolerance of plants in the face of more frequent extreme weather events.

“Bayer is the leader in agriculture research and development, but it’s very clear that given the complexity of the challenges farmers face around the world, we can’t solve every problem on our own,” said Phil Taylor, Open Innovation Lead for Bayer’s Crop Science Division. “We were thrilled at the quality of this year’s submissions and we’re looking forward to working with each of the grant recipients.”

As part of Bayer’s Open4Ag initiative Bayer’s Grants4Ag awardees retain all intellectual property rights to their research, and in addition to financial support successful researchers will also be paired with one of Bayer’s own scientists to provide project guidance as their research progresses. Through this commitment to partnership, and with support from innovation partnering platform Halo, Bayer received more than 350 proposals from researchers around the world during a five-week submission window this past fall.

Among the award winners is Jonathan Claussen from Iowa State University

Project: Biosensors for measuring agricultural inputs enabled by nanotechnology

Tell us about your research.

My research focuses on the fabrication of nanomaterials and nanostructured devices for a wide variety of applications including biosensors, energy harvesters, and cellular interface materials. My laboratory specializes in developing flexible and disposable graphene-based biosensors developed from inkjet and aerosol printing as well as through laser writing. These circuits are functionalized with biorecognition agents such as enzymes, aptamers, and ionophores for the selective detection of pesticides, fertilizers, performance biomarkers (e.g., lactate, glucose, and electrolytes), cancer biomarkers, and foodborne pathogens. We have also demonstrated how such circuits can be used to promote stem cell differentiation and to create thermoelectric energy harvesters.

Can you explain that to a non-scientist?

My research focuses on creating new materials with extremely small nanoscale dimensions, that is materials that are 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. We create many of these nanomaterials by chemically breaking up graphite that is found in your pencil into very tiny nanosized flakes called graphene. We then take these flakes, formulate them into an ink, and print them in a machine that is similar to an office ink jet printer. The printed circuits are flexible and durable. We convert these circuits into sensors that can monitor pesticides, fertilizers, sweet analytes like lactate, glucose, and electrolytes, cancer biomarkers, and foodborne pathogens by attaching distinct bioreceptors to the graphene. We also use graphene and other nanomaterials to help stem cells transform into nerve cells as well as to create devices that can convert heat waste into electricity.

“Bayer’s Grants4Ag program is an amazing opportunity for my research, and I was very pleased to have been chosen as a grant recipient,” says Amy Lemay of Brock University. “Grants4Ag offers not only financial support, but also provides access to leading scientists at Bayer and mentorship opportunities that will help me to understand challenges and tactics that can further develop my research.”

ADM Reports Outstanding Results: Fourth Quarter Earnings per Share of $1.38, $1.50 on an Adjusted Basis; Full Year 2021 EPS of $4.79, $5.19 on an Adjusted Basis

    Full-year 2021 net earnings of $2.7 billion; adjusted net earnings of $2.9 billion
    Full-year 2021 segment operating profit up 34%, 38% on an adjusted basis
    2021 ROIC meets 10% objective
    Announcing 8% increase in quarterly dividend
    Great momentum driving optimism for strong 2022

ADM today reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2021.

“Our record results reflect the continued success of our growth strategy and our culture of innovation and execution, which enabled our global team to successfully navigate through supply chain challenges while capitalizing on favorable demand dynamics to deliver an outstanding year,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano.

“Just as importantly, we’re advancing our productivity and innovation actions to accelerate earnings growth,” Luciano continued. “We’ve positioned our portfolio to align with the enduring trends of food security, health and well-being, and sustainability. As we enter 2022, we’re well situated to capitalize on strong crush margins, driven by good demand for meal and for vegetable oil as a feedstock for renewable green diesel; a continuing healthy ethanol market, supported by increased domestic and export demand and better clarity of the regulatory landscape; and our robust Nutrition sales pipeline, as well as the accretion of our recent acquisitions in that business.

“Our excellent performance in the fourth quarter and throughout 2021 gives us great momentum going into the new year. We’re confident in our strategic plan continuing to deliver, which is why we’re pleased to announce an 8% increase in our quarterly dividend. I’m proud of our team, grateful for their efforts, and optimistic for another very strong performance in 2022 as we progress towards our strategic plan’s next earnings milestone of $6.00-$7.00 per share.”

Quarterly Results of Operations

Ag Services & Oilseeds results were largely in line with the prior year’s extremely strong quarter.
    Ag Services executed well to deliver strong results, just slightly off the outstanding fourth quarter of 2020, when the U.S. experienced exceptionally high export margins. Global Trade was substantially higher year over year, driven by solid risk management and improved results in global ocean freight.
    Crushing executed well in a continued solid demand environment for both soybean meal and vegetable oil. Results were lower year over year, driven by approximately $250 million of net negative timing impacts, versus negative $125 million in the prior-year quarter, as well as lower results in EMEAI versus a very strong Q4 2020. The majority of the negative timing effects are expected to reverse in the first half of 2022.
    Refined Products and Other results were substantially higher than the prior-year period, driven by strong volumes and margins in North America for refined oils, and improved margins in North America and EMEAI for biodiesel, more than offsetting weaker South American results due to the reduced biodiesel mandate.
    Equity earnings from Wilmar were higher versus the fourth quarter of 2020.

Carbohydrate Solutions results more than doubled year over year.
    Starches and Sweeteners, including ethanol production from our wet mills, was lower versus the fourth quarter of 2020, driven by higher input costs, including energy costs in EMEAI, as well as lower wheat milling volumes, partially offset by continued strong ethanol margins.
    Vantage Corn Processors results were substantially higher year over year, driven by historically strong industry ethanol margins as a result of strong demand relative to supply, as well as increased sales volumes due to production at the two dry mills that were idle in the previous-year period.

Nutrition had another extremely strong quarter, with revenue growth of 19% and operating profits 26% higher than the prior-year period; full-year operating profits were up 20% versus 2020.
    Human Nutrition results were substantially higher year over year, with strength across the business. Flavors continued its growth trajectory, driven primarily by improved product mix in EMEAI and continued strong performance from North America, partially offset by weaker APAC results. In Specialty Ingredients, overall profits were in line with the year-ago period as strong demand for plant-based proteins offset the impact of one-time insurance proceeds in the fourth quarter of 2020. Health & Wellness was higher versus the prior-year quarter, as the business continued to deliver growing profits in bioactives and fermentation.
    Animal Nutrition profits were much higher than the fourth quarter of 2020, driven primarily by continued strength in amino acids.

Other Business results were substantially higher, driven primarily by higher Captive Insurance underwriting results as the prior-year quarter included larger intra-company insurance settlements.


ADM’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of 40.0 cents per share on the company’s common stock, an 8.1% increase from last quarter’s dividend of 37.0 cents per share. The dividend is payable on March 1, 2022, to shareholders of record on Feb. 8, 2022. As of Dec. 31, 2021, there were 559,551,590 shares of ADM common stock outstanding.

Anaplasmosis Continues to Beset Global Cattle Ranching Industry as Rising Costs of Feed, Medicated Minerals and Disease-Testing Adds to Burden

As costs for medicated minerals, feed, and anaplasmosis testing continues to rise, University Products LLC underscored that the price for its widely effective anaplasmosis vaccine has remained unchanged for the last seven years. University Products is the maker and distributor of the only killed bovine anaplasmosis vaccine successfully deployed for over two decades. Developed by Gene Luther, D.V.M., Ph.D., the vaccine is already used in multiple U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and abroad.

"We've known for decades what kind of devastating effects anaplasmosis causes for the cattle industry," said Dr. Gene Luther. "The USDA studied this issue a few years ago, calling it 'a major obstacle to profitable beef production in the U.S.,' while conservatively estimating that anaplasmosis epidemics cost U.S. ranchers around $400 per animal – hundreds of millions in revenue lost each year. And that cost has only increased with inflation, while hay and feed prices have also dramatically increased – over 100% in some U.S. states – due to recent drought and supply chain issues. Regular consumers are already seeing price increases at the grocery store. So a rampant anaplasmosis outbreak at this point would be devastating. And with this disease, it's never of matter of if – but when. Anaplasmosis is a persistent annual problem."

Anaplasmosis is a blood disease carried by parasites (primarily ticks) that infects red blood cells, causing severe anemia and death. Traditional treatments for anaplasmosis have involved rigorous testing, tetracycline drugs in medicated feed, intensive supportive care including rest and close access to food and water, with blood transfusions for severe cases.

But these treatments are time-consuming, expensive, rarely cost effective, and have only varying degrees of success. Most importantly, tetracycline drugs do not eradicate the anaplasmosis organism, but instead, simply stop the disease from progressing in a single animal. So herds continue to spread the disease year after year, ensuring that rising treatment costs for ranchers becomes a regrettable seasonal fact.

"I recently called multiple ranchers and testing facilities, just to get a read on the current situation," said Dr. Luther. "Ranchers almost universally report that costs for medicated feed – the traditional treatment for anaplasmosis – and the anaplasmosis tests themselves have risen significantly. The range is falling between $13.50 to $18 per test, per animal, with multiple testing needed throughout the season. The price for our vaccine is comparable – depending on stockyard prices, you can vaccinate a herd of 100 cattle for the same cost of losing one cow to this disease. And vaccination is far more effective over the long term than mere testing and tetracycline mitigation."

The University Products vaccine does not prevent infection, but when properly used, significantly reduces clinical signs in at-risk animals. The vaccine requires only two doses in the first year with one annual booster each year thereafter, and is safe to use in any stage of bovine pregnancy.

"Now is the time to get a handle on this problem before spring and summer arrives – before vector season," Dr. Luther said. "We can't stress that enough."

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tuesday January 25 Ag News

 Nebraska Corn and Soybean Farmers Partner with Bridge Engineers to Promote Enhanced Bridge Evaluation and Management

Nebraska farmers depend upon rural bridges to ensure corn, soybeans, and other commodities are delivered to the local elevator or processing facility.  Unfortunately, a significant number of rural bridges in Nebraska are load restricted, requiring vehicles transporting agricultural commodities to incur a detour – often at considerable distances.  These detours add significant costs in the food delivery system and reduced profitability for Nebraska farmers.

In an effort to promote better evaluation of the state’s rural bridges, the Nebraska Corn Board and the Soy Transportation Coalition have partnered with Kirkham Michael – an Omaha-based civil engineering firm with operations in Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa – on an innovative project designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of load testing technology when assessing the load carrying capacity of rural bridges.

“For our team of engineers, public safety has always been, and will always be, our number one priority when evaluating the condition of bridges,” says Steve Reneker, P.E., Vice President at Kirkham Michael.  “However, what we continue to learn is that the sole reliance on visual inspection and theoretical calculations can result in bridges being load restricted or identified for rehabilitation or replacement sooner than necessary.  This not only results in costly detours or limited access, but it prevents our state and local governments from most efficiently targeting taxpayer dollars to those bridges in greatest need of replacement and repair.”

The focus of the project is to evaluate bridges utilizing load testing sensors attached to the underside of the bridge.  After the sensors are attached, test loads are driven over the various segments of the bridge surface to determine a precise understanding of the capabilities of the bridge.  Funding to perform the testing was provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and the Soy Transportation Coalition.

“When using this load testing technology, we have learned there are three potential outcomes,” says Doug Saathoff, a farmer from Trumbull, Nebraska, and Chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board and director on the Soy Transportation Coalition.  “First, the bridge may be in better condition than originally assessed.  Second, the testing closely confirms the original assessment.  Finally, the testing could suggest the bridge is in worse condition than originally assessed.  While the most frequent outcome is that the bridge is in better condition than assessed, all three of those outcomes are successful because greater clarity is being achieved.  We see this technology as another tool in the toolbox that we would like to see more widely utilized in rural Nebraska.”

During spring through December of 2021, Kirkham Michael tested ten total bridges in three Nebraska counties: Dixon County (three bridges), Saunders County (five bridges), and Sarpy County (two bridges).  All ten bridges had been assigned load restrictions based on earlier assessments.  Following the load testing, six of the ten bridges were able to have load restrictions removed entirely – including two bridges in Saunders County that provided access to Frontier Cooperative’s grain elevator in Ceresco.  Removing the six load postings now enable Nebraska farmers and others to transport legal loads with greater efficiency.  One of the ten bridges tested retained a load posting but with a higher weight allowance.  The remaining three bridges retained their original load postings.

“Dixon County was pleased to participate in this project,” says Lisa Lunz, a farmer from Wakefield, Nebraska, and member of the Dixon County Board of Supervisors.  After evaluating our three bridges utilizing the load testing equipment, the load restrictions on all three were able to be safely removed.  As county supervisors, our priorities in maintaining our bridge inventory are: 1.) Public safety, 2.) Practicing good stewardship of taxpayer funding, and 3.) Ensuring the public has as much access as possible to the county infrastructure.  Load testing technology has demonstrated we can achieve all three of these objectives.”    

“This project has demonstrated how Nebraska corn and soybean farmers are working together to promote solutions to our transportation challenges,” says Jay Reiners, a farmer from Juniata, Nebraska, and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board.  “Since funding is so scarce, we need to explore ways to better understand which bridges truly require immediate repair or replacement and which ones can safely handle the trucks that transport grain produced in our state.  We look forward to continuing to promote this innovative approach throughout rural Nebraska.”  

Nebraska Beef Council Seeks Director Candidates

The Nebraska Beef Council is seeking candidates in four districts to serve on the board of directors in 2023. Directors volunteer their time to represent fellow beef producers while overseeing Beef Checkoff collections and investments on the state, national, and international level. The Board’s major responsibility is to oversee checkoff expenditures by determining promotion, research and education programs for checkoff investments. The term is four years and will begin on January 2, 2023.

Producers interested in becoming a director are encouraged to contact the Nebraska Beef Council office or visit with current and past directors to learn more about this valuable experience and its commitment.  
Election packets are currently available and can be obtained by calling the Nebraska Beef Council office at 800-421-5326.  All candidate materials contained in the election packet must be completed and mailed to the third party office, postmarked by June 15, 2022.

“Beef producers who are strong leaders and want to help us achieve our mission of strengthening beef demand in the global marketplace are encouraged to seek more information about our director openings,” said Ann Marie Bosshamer, executive director for the Nebraska Beef Council.
Districts hosting an election in 2022:
District 2- Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, Rock, Grant, Hooker, Thomas, Blaine, Loup
District 4- Boyd, Holt, Knox, Antelope, Wheeler, Boone
District 6- Arthur, McPherson, Logan, Keith, Lincoln, Perkins, Chase, Hayes, Dundy, Hitchcock
District 8- Seward, Lancaster, Otoe, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Webster, Nuckolls, Thayer, Jefferson, Pawnee, Richardson

For additional information, log onto or contact the Nebraska Beef Council office at 1-800-421-5326.


– Todd Whitney, NE Extension

Cereal grain crops such as wheat, triticale, oats and rye have become popular as Spring harvested forages. Compared to traditional haying, silage harvest can occur earlier while forages have higher moisture content. This then allows the next subsequent crop such as corn for silage to be planted earlier for an extended growing period.
Nebraska Extension research indicates that waiting until cereal crops reach the soft dough grain stage may offer the best timing for silage harvest. The target dry matter content for cereal silage to properly ferment is 30-35%. A statewide cereal silage study revealed that 50% of the harvest samples achieved the target moisture range. About 10% were too dry; and 40% were too wet partially due to wilting time being too short. When silage is too dry, then it is harder to get an adequate silage pack which increases nutrient losses and lowers palatability. Conversely, when silage is too wet; fermentation can result in slimy silage where the higher butyric acid bacteria numbers start taking over resulting in higher total digestible nutrient (TDN) losses.

In this study, average TDN losses were 5 units. The highest TDN of 65% occurred at the boot development stage, but decreased to the mid-50% during the milk kernel stage; then, increased to almost 58% TDN as development moved to soft dough.
Cereal crop hollow stems can cause packing challenges. The average study bulk density of 4.86 lbs. per cubic foot was well below the published target silage bulk density. Smaller forage chopping size can increase bulk density, but also causes harvest equipment to use more fuel. Another competing theme for dairy producers is the preference for longer chopped forages to increase fiber content.

USDA Urges Producers to Submit Applications for 2021 Grazing Loss Assistance by Jan. 31

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds ranchers and livestock producers that they may be eligible for financial assistance through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2021 grazing losses due to a qualifying drought or fire. The deadline to apply for 2021 LFP assistance is Jan. 31, 2022.

“Ongoing, widespread drought conditions have resulted in significant financial losses for agricultural producers, causing stress across rural America,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator. “I want to emphasize that the FSA is here to help offset these economic hardships and help producers rebuild with resilience. I’d like to encourage producers who suffered 2021 grazing losses to file their LFP applications as soon as possible to expedite payments. Timely filing is doubly important this year, as information gathered may be used to deliver upcoming disaster assistance.”

For the 2021 program year, 901 counties in 26 states and territories have met drought severity levels that trigger LFP eligibility. More than $473.1 million has been paid, to date, to livestock producers eligible for 2021 LFP. For LFP, qualifying drought triggers are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor. Visit the FSA LFP webpage for a list of eligible counties and grazing crops

LFP provides payments to eligible livestock producers and contract growers who also produce forage crops for grazing and suffered losses due to a qualifying drought or fire during the normal grazing period for the county.  Eligible livestock include alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo/bison, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, reindeer or sheep that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland during the normal grazing period.

To expedite the application process, producers are encouraged to gather and submit records documenting 2021 losses. Supporting documents may include information related to grazing leases, contract grower agreements, and more.

In 2022 Summit Speech IRFA’s Shaw Says Iowa Biofuels are “Fed Up but Fired Up”

Today Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw declared Iowa biofuels are “fed up but fired up” in his ‘State of the Industry’ address at the 2022 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.
“How many times have you heard the climate change activists say that we must act in the next decade to prevent irreversible harm?” asked Shaw. “We have low carbon, affordable biofuels that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the vehicles on the road today. Biofuels can make a meaningful impact this decade. But all we hear from D.C. is the need for an all-electric future to save the environment.”
Noting that electric vehicles won’t comprise enough of the vehicle fleet until after the deadline that climate scientists say is too late, Shaw acknowledged that the lack of interest in biofuels from D.C. policymakers has caused frustration.
“The state of the Iowa biofuels industry in 2022 is fed up, but fired up,” said Shaw. “We are fed up at seemingly being ignored or marginalized, but we are fired up to succeed in spite of it.”
Shaw noted that IRFA would continue to work with biofuel champions to increase the role for biofuels in both D.C. and Iowa policy solutions. He noted there are opportunities to improve a proposed federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) regulation and to enact nation-leading biofuels access legislation in Iowa.
“There is a bright future ahead for biofuels,” Shaw said. “After 20 years of effort, IRFA and the biofuels industry have not reached a peak. We are not ready to slowly and gracefully decline. We are ready, willing and able to grow. Politicians in D.C. might try to dismiss or marginalize our importance. But we will continue to teach them a lesson they never quite seem to learn – it’s a mistake to ever underestimate an American farmer.”

Technip Energies Purchases Iowa Corn’s Monoethylene Glycol Technology

Technip Energies and Iowa Corn announced that the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and Technip Energies have signed an Asset Purchase Agreement under which Technip Energies acquires ICPB’s patents, technology, and rights for the process technology to produce monoethylene glycol (MEG) from surplus corn plant-based feedstocks.

Since 2013, ICPB has invested checkoff funds to develop the technology and to create new demand for corn-based products. Corn-based MEG is used to produce renewable plastics. Technip Energies will advance the technology development, construct and operate a pilot plant to commercialize the technology and make it available for licensing.

Stan Nelson, Chair of the Iowa Corn Research and Business Development Committee, commented: “Iowa Corn has been dedicated to finding new uses and markets for corn to meet our mission for long-term Iowa corn farmer profitability. By investing in research to expand the market for corn as an ingredient to replace oil, products like MEG will allow more renewable materials to be created and improve our environmental footprint. With the sale of MEG technology to Technip Energies, work will continue to explore other uses for corn such as propylene glycol.”

Stan Knez, Chief Technology Officer, Technip Energies stated, “We are excited to add this MEG technology to our portfolio, as we work with clients looking for more sustainable ways to produce plastics and basic chemicals. As we continue to pursue technologies that contribute to the circular economy, this acquisition is in line with our ambition to accelerate the energy transition for a better tomorrow.”

Corn-based MEG is a drop-in replacement for current fossil fuel-based MEG and a base chemical for products like antifreeze, pop and water bottles, and polyester clothing. Over 70 billion pounds of MEG is used in the world every year with the yearly growth in the market equal to nearly 100 million bushels of corn.

CA Court Halts Enforcement of Prop 12: State of California Must Finalize Rules First

The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today praised the ruling issued by the Superior Court for Sacramento County in California to halt enforcement of Proposition 12 (Prop 12 or the law) because the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is more than two years late finalizing complicated and costly regulations.

“Judge Arguelles’ decision recognizes the complexity of the pork supply chain and the burdensome and costly provisions of Prop 12,” said President and CEO of the Meat Institute, Julie Anna Potts. “To enforce the law without final regulations leaves the industry unsure of how to comply or what significant changes must be made to provide pork to this critical market.”

The ruling delays enforcement until 180 days after the final rules go into effect.

The North American Meat Institute and its members are opposed to Prop 12 and urged the State of California to delay its implementation of the law due to the risk of criminal sanctions and civil litigation for non-compliance.

APHIS Seizes Nearly a Ton of Illegal Animal Products from China Found in New York City

During the past three months, from October to December, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance (SITC) program seized and destroyed more than 1,900 pounds of prohibited pork, poultry, and ruminant products from New York City-area retailers. These items were sourced from China, lacked required import permits and health certificates, and therefore are considered a risk of introducing invasive plant and animal pests and diseases into the United States. SITC anti-smuggling efforts prevent the establishment of invasive plant and animal pests and diseases, while maintaining the safety of our ecosystems and natural resources. The recent efforts to safeguard American agriculture represent a continued collaboration between APHIS, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and local New York City officials.

APHIS is concerned about these prohibited products because China is a country affected by African swine fever (ASF), Classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, Foot-and-mouth disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza and swine vesicular disease. ASF is of particular concern because the highly contagious and deadly viral disease that affects both domestic and feral swine of all ages has recently spread throughout China and Asia, as well as within parts of the European Union. Most recently, ASF was confirmed in pigs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

ASF is not a threat to human health, but it is a deadly swine disease that would have a significant impact on U.S. pork producers, their communities and export markets if discovered in the U.S. ASF has never been found in the United States – and APHIS wants to keep it that way. In response to the concerns about ASF, APHIS is working closely with other federal and state agencies, the swine industry, and producers to take the necessary actions to protect our nation’s commercial swine population and keep this disease out of the U.S. APHIS is also actively preparing to respond if ASF is ever detected in the U.S.

SITC’s safeguarding efforts also include other prohibited agricultural products. In 2021, SITC seized 224,568 pounds of prohibited agricultural items valued at over $1.7 million, helping protect U.S. crops and livestock from devastating and costly plant pests and foreign animal diseases.

The Economic Impacts of Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Agriculture

USDA Economic Research Service

In 2018, the United States imposed Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from major trading partners and separately Section 301 tariffs on a broad range imports from China. In response, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), India, Mexico, and Turkey imposed retaliatory tariffs on many U.S. exports, including a wide range of agricultural and food products. Individual product lines experienced tariff increases ranging from 2 to 140 percent. The retaliatory tariffs increased the price of U.S. agricultural exports in these markets relative to alternatives that were either domestically produced or imported from other international sources. Despite opportunities for U.S. producers to sell their products to non-retaliating trade partners, the overall effect was a reduction in U.S. agricultural exports. Given that agricultural production for certain commodities is concentrated in certain States, retaliatory tariffs affected States differently. As of October 2021, many retaliatory tariffs were still in effect with the following exceptions—Canada and Mexico’s tariffs were removed in May 2019, China announced tariff exemptions for some products after the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement (Phase One Agreement) was signed on January 15, 2020, and in October 2021 the United States and EU reached arrangements to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity which include replacement of Section 232 tariffs with a tariff-rate quota and lifting of the EU’s retaliatory tariffs.

The retaliatory tariffs led to a significant reduction in U.S. agricultural exports to retaliating partners. Nationally, direct U.S. agricultural export losses due to retaliatory tariffs totaled more than $27 billion during 2018 through the end of 2019. Across retaliatory partners, China accounted for approximately 95 percent of the losses ($25.7 billion), followed by the EU ($0.6 billion), and Mexico ($0.5 billion), with Canada, Turkey, and India having smaller shares. We estimated annualized losses for selected commodities from retaliatory tariffs were $13.2 billion from mid-2018 to the end of 2019.

At the commodity level, export losses were far reaching but highly concentrated. Soybeans accounted for the largest level of losses making up nearly 71 percent ($9.4 billion of annualized losses) of the share of estimated trade damages. In comparison, sorghum ($854 million in annualized losses) and pork ($646 million in annualized losses) trade losses were the next largest, accounting for over 6 percent and just under 5 percent, respectively, of the total. Overall, specialty crops represented around 6 percent of losses ($837 million in annualized losses) across fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts.

At the State level, losses were largely concentrated in the Midwest with Iowa ($1.46 billion in annualized losses), Illinois ($1.41 billion in annualized losses), and Kansas ($955 million in annualized losses), accounting for approximately 11, 11, and 7 percent, respectively, of the total losses. The State-level losses were uneven and not directly proportional to the size of State-level exports. States that produced more of the commodities most severely targeted by retaliation—soybeans, sorghum, pork, and cotton—experienced higher losses.

The U.S. market share of China's total agricultural imports, which had fallen from 20 percent in 2017 to 12 percent in 2018, remained significantly depressed in 2019 at 10 percent. This study examined changes in U.S. agricultural exports to China surrounding the signing of the Phase One Agreement in January 2020 and subsequent announcements of China’s tariff exemptions starting in March 2020. U.S. exports of products with announced tariff exemptions grew by 118 percent relative to 2019. Other products that did not have announced exemptions also significantly grew—by 83 percent relative to 2019—suggesting that many of these products may also have been granted tariff waivers by request. U.S. agricultural exports to China rebounded and hit record levels in 2020; however, some of this increase was likely driven by factors unrelated to trade policy, including China’s pig-herd recovery in the wake of African Swine Fever and resulting increased feed demand. However, U.S. market share has not fully recovered to pre-retaliatory levels 1 year out from the Phase One Agreement signing.

USDA Announces Plenary Speakers for 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the plenary speakers for the 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed “New Paths to Sustainability and Productivity Growth,” which will be held virtually Feb. 24–25, 2022.

The opening plenary session will feature a fireside chat between Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Elizabeth Economy, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Vilsack and Dr. Economy will discuss U.S.-China agricultural trade relations and prospects for the Chinese agriculture market.

The Secretary’s discussion will be followed by a panel titled “Growing Market Opportunities for Climate Smart, Sustainable Agriculture Systems,” which will bring together sector leaders to discuss how climate smart, sustainable production practices can generate both environmental and economic returns while still meeting the needs of consumers.

Speakers at the plenary panel include:
    David Allen, VP of Sustainability at PepsiCo Foods North America;
    Glenda Humiston, Vice President, Agriculture & Natural Resources at University of California;
    Mike McCloskey, Chairman of Fair Oaks Farm and past CEO, Select Milk Producers;
    Elena Rice, Chief Scientific Officer of Genus, PLC; and
    Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy

The session will be moderated by independent journalist Sarah Mock. Also, during the Thursday morning session, USDA’s Chief Economist Seth Meyer will unveil the Department’s 2022 outlook for U.S. commodity markets and trade and discuss the U.S. farm income situation.

Along with the plenary session, forum attendees can choose from 30 sessions with more than 90 speakers. The concurrent track sessions and topics supporting this year’s theme are climate mitigation and adaptation, supply chain resilience, commodity outlooks, frontiers in agricultural production and technology and U.S. trade and global markets.

Visit the Agricultural Outlook Forum website to register