Friday, April 29, 2022

Friday April 29 Ag News

La Nina Forecasted to Continue with Drought Expansion Likely According to CPC
Al Dutcher - Associate Nebraska State Climatologist

La Nina conditions are still persistent across the Equatorial Pacific and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has placed the odds of this event continuing through this upcoming summer (June–August) at 59% and a 50-55% chance that these conditions will persist through this fall (September–October). A look at the most current Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies indicates that a colder than normal temperatures continue to persist from Peru westward to just east of Papua New Guinea.

A pulse of warmer than normal water beneath the central Equatorial Pacific worked its way to the surface in early March and brought above normal SST’s into the eastern Pacific north of the Equator. This pulse of warm water has been mitigated over the past three weeks by another anomalous cold pool working toward the surface. This trend indicates that another warm pool is building eastward under the central Equatorial Pacific.

CPC’s forecast favoring continuing La Nina conditions is based upon their in-house climate model that is colder than the consensus of global dynamical and statistical models. The consensus models point toward La Nina conditions ending as the summer season begins. In fact, two of the three coldest models are products from NASA and the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). This is important in regard to the CPC seasonal outlooks because their greatest accuracy occurs when La Nina or El Nino events are ongoing.

The most recent seasonal drought forecast (Figure 4) favors the expansion of drought conditions from the central High Plains into eastern Kansas, northwest Missouri, Iowa, eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Since this most current outlook is directly tied to CPC’s three-month precipitation outlook, it should be no surprise that CPC favors above normal temperatures and below normal moisture for most of the central and southern High Plains region (Nebraska southward through Texas).

Since CPC also favors La Nina conditions through the summer and into this fall, their temperature and precipitation outlooks also favor warmer and drier than normal conditions across the central High Plains for the same time period. CPC indicates that above normal temperatures are favored for Nebraska through the July-September timeframe, while below normal precipitation is favored to last through the August-October timeframe.

With ongoing drought intensification due to persistent dryness from November through present across the western four-fifths of the state, CPC’s outlook would suggest that much of the state will continue to deteriorate as we move through the upcoming growing season. If the consensus statistical and dynamical forecasts verify, then abnormal warmth and dryness currently forecasted by CPC may be overly aggressive for the next six months.

Recent storm activity has resulted in significant snow activity during the past two weeks across the Dakotas, eastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming. Much of central and western North Dakota have received 30 to 50 inches of snowfall during this period, while most of Nebraska has failed to receive normal moisture during the same timeframe and excessively strong winds that have fueled widespread wildfire activity.

The persistent colder than normal temperatures this month have slowed down vegetative dormancy break across the western, eastern and northern Corn Belt. Air temperatures aloft are also colder than normal and should persist through at least the month of May. If we can continue to see atmospheric troughs moving through the western United States, there should be enough cold air aloft to create unstable atmospheric conditions and periodic bouts with severe weather and more widespread precipitation events across Nebraska prior to the official start of summer.

I continue to be optimistic that Nebraska will see some relief from drought conditions over the next 30 days. However, due to very dry topsoil and subsoil conditions, timely rainfall events will be required through late August to escape significant drought damage for dryland farmers and ranchers. There is respectable chance for widespread moderate to heavy precipitation (1-2 inches) with the storm forecast to move across the state Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, it will take many of these events to make up for the lack of precipitation over the past six months.

Two weeks ago, there was a lot of chatter about a repeat of 2021 drought conditions across western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Now complaints have shifted 180 degrees to worrying whether crops will get planted due to wet and cool conditions. That is how fast conditions can change when an area is in a favorable position relative to the prevailing storm track. Hopefully, this weekend’s storm system marks Nebraska’s opportunity to begin a sustained wet trend.

What things do I need to consider after a fire?

Randy Saner, NE Extension Educator

With the recent fires in Nebraska farmers and ranchers may have questions about what to do with their land and pasture?

What should I do with pastures?

    For all perennial cool & warms season grasses, they should come back just fine with adequate moisture.
        Cool-season grasses had started some growth (green up) at the time of the fire.  They will be set back a little but will recover.
        We have sometimes seen death or partial death of some little bluestem bunches if the fire got really hot within the bunch/crown of the plant.  Fires usually moves through quickly though.
        On pasture, an important point is loss of litter and residue which can increase loss of soil moisture; just like in crop ground.
        Grazing turnout should be delayed up to one month.  This is both for fire recovery and drought potential.  This will allow the grass plants to maximize growth given the current soil moisture conditions, and result in greater season-long production. Rotational grazing should be used to give pastures some time for regrowth and recovery if possible. If cattle are left to graze continuously after fire, plants could be further weakened resulting in reduced stand.
        Stocking rates should be reduced with the objective of leaving adequate residue (which will become litter on the ground).  This is to replace what was lost in the fire.
        Rainfall in May and June will be most critical and should be the guiding factor affecting any of the above management decisions.
    For the good stand of warm-season grass that was disked up as a fire break – It is likely that a good portion of the grasses were killed/damaged by the disking.  So, one option could be to reseed with the same warm-season mix that was there.  This should be done ASAP.  The second option could be just to wait and see how much of the disked up grasses do come back.  In both cases though, rainfall of course will be important.  Option 3 could be to wait a few weeks and see if anything comes back.  If not, one could plant a summer annual forage for some hay and cover.  The grass replant could be done next spring.  If the area is rough from disking, trying to smooth and firm it up might be a good idea.  These areas should be fenced off to allow establishment or recovery from the disking operation as cattle will graze the new growth which would be detrimental to plant health.

Questions may arise about the strength and durability of barbed wire fencing. A study in Oklahoma has shown no impact on electric fence posts or barbed wire due to routine prescribed burning or wildfire. Wooden fence posts should be checked individually to be sure they do not break as a result of being partially burned. If new posts are needed, wooden fence posts are preferred, but steel T posts may be used in the short term.

What should I do about crops?

    Flood Irrigating would get some of the alfalfa to grow, but it may be a poor stand.  Refer to CropWatch article on assessing alfalfa stands for productivity. Fields with marginal stands could be inter-seeded with a forage such as millet to increase forage production without terminating the alfalfa which could open the field up to wind erosion. Plus, one would have to deal with the winter annual weeds and it is a little late for that.  Because alfalfa is a longer term investment (8 – 10 years), it is usually better to take the loss up front.  So, one option could be to kill the weeds and in a couple of weeks plant a summer annual forage (sudangrass, pearl millet, or sorghum-sudan hybrid).  Another option is to plant foxtail millet (a 1-cut hay crop).  In both cases, the alfalfa could be replanted in August.  There will likely be some alfalfa that still does come up, but that should preclude reseeding in August.  Producers should pre-irrigate before planting.

    Crop fields impacted by wildfire would benefit the most from rainfall. A living mulch such as oats, rye, winter wheat, cover crop mix could be planted as soon as possible after fire to protect the soil surface. The cover crop could be terminated after several weeks of growth to provide protective vegetation for newly planted field crops. Seeding cover crops in narrow spaced rows (7.5”) would provide more protection than field crops planted in wider spaced rows such as 30”.  If planting field crops is delayed, short season maturity corn or grain sorghum can be planted in late May/early June and still provide considerable grain production provided adequate rainfall is received during the growing season. Forage sorghum or sedan grass could also be seeded in crop fields in later May/early June to provide protection and hay for a livestock operation. If rainfall is not received, then emergency tillage ( ) may be required to limit the negative impacts of wind erosion. Tillage such as a deep ripper or chisel plow can be used to roughen the soil surface will reduce wind erosion. Emergency tillage is usually considered a last resort. If adequate forage is available and rainfall does not occur, livestock can be fed hay on crop fields could also be used to reduce the impact of wind erosion.

Web sites with more information to help producers with questions about after a fire or during a drought.

Livestock Indemnity Program information:

Livestock Indemnity Program

Items to remember:
Document losses -Take pictures of animals lost, if possible. If pictures are not available:
- Livestock owners must record all pertinent information (including the number and kind) of all livestock impacted resulting in either death losses or injury and sales of injured livestock at reduced price.
- Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock were injured due to an eligible adverse weather event or eligible attack, must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock. The injured livestock must be sold to an independent third party (such as sale barn, slaughter facility, or rendering facility). Documents that may provide verifiable evidence of livestock sold at a reduced price include but are not limited to:
    Sales receipts from a livestock auction, sale barn or similar livestock facilities, processing plant receipts
    Rendering facility receipts and/or Veterinarian records / calving records

The documentation for injured livestock sales must have the price for which the animal was sold and description. 


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing an eighth confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The eighth farm, a small backyard mixed flock, is in Washington County.

According to NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley, the farm has been quarantined and the birds will be humanely depopulated and disposed of in an approved manner. Additionally, NDA will be establishing a 6.2-mile surveillance zone, as is USDA policy, around the affected premises. Poultry producers in that surveillance zone should know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying birds.

Additionally, NDA has been notified of a confirmed case of HPAI in a backyard flock in Republic County in Kansas. The surveillance zone for this flock does extend into Nuckolls County in Nebraska. Poultry producers in that area should know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying birds.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick.

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.

NDA is encouraging bird owners to prevent contact between their birds and wildlife and to practice strict biosecurity measures. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flock, they should report it to NDA immediately at (402) 471-2351. More information for producers can be found at or

Six college students look forward to internships sponsored by Nebraska Corn

Six college students are beginning internships supported by the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA). These internships are designed to provide students with an overview of Nebraska’s corn industry through real-world professional experiences.

Six college students are participating in Nebraska Corn’s internship program, including Savannah Peterson (from Gothenburg), Emily Hatterman (from Wisner), TaraLee Hudson (from Belvidere), Emma Hoffschneider (from Burwell), and Samantha Oborny (from Garland, and Emma Dostal (from Roscoe, Illinois).

These interns will work in various locations across the U.S. with key cooperators of NCB. These cooperators include the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), NCB and NeCGA. Most of these internships will conclude at the end of the summer, but two are year-long experiences.

Two summer interns will be hosted by NCGA. Savannah Peterson is majoring in agricultural communications and animal science at Casper College. She will be interning with NCGA in St. Louis, focusing on communications and outreach. Emma Hoffschneider, who is majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural & environmental sciences communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will be spending her summer in Washington, D.C. working on policy with NCGA.

“I applied for the Public Policy Internship with the National Corn Growers Association because I wanted to gain a broader perspective on the policy that affects our growers both at a state and national level,” said Hoffschneider. “After my internship this summer, I want to have a stronger understanding of the entire policy process, from the formation to the execution. As well as learning about potential career opportunities as I enter my senior year of undergrad.”

Emma Dostal will also be stationed in Washington, D.C. this summer as she completes her internship with USGC. Dostal is majoring in advertising, public relations, and global studies at UNL.

“Grains farming is crucial to my family history,” said Dostal. “As the daughter of a 4th generation farmer, I applied to this internship in hopes to give back and support farmers because of the importance that the lifestyle has had in my life.”

TaraLee Hudson, majoring in animal science and agricultural economics at UNL with a minor in the Beef Industry Scholars program, is interning with USMEF in Denver, Colorado. She looks forward to being pushed outside of her comfort zone and exploring experiences outside of Nebraska.

The two yearlong internship experiences are located in Lincoln with NCB and NeCGA. Emily Hatterman and Samantha Oborny are both agricultural and environmental sciences communication majors at UNL. Hatterman will be interning for NCB, and Oborny for NeCGA. These students will assist with communications and promotional efforts during their internship experiences.

“Growing up in an area so heavily involved in agriculture, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career within the industry. This internship with the Nebraska Corn Board presented a great opportunity to use my communication skills while staying involved in agriculture,” said Hatterman. “I’m looking forward to growing my skills as well as connecting with those in the industry from across the state.”

Not only will students gain real-world experiences from these internship experiences but will also acquire valuable insight on possible future careers.

Interns will document their learning experiences through written updates and social media posts. To keep up with these students and their experiences, visit or follow the Nebraska Corn Board on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

NC Cow-Calf Council Announces Webinar Series on Drought-Driven Decisions

The Nebraska Cattlemen Cow-Calf Council is proud to announce their four-part webinar series titled “Market Information for Drought-Driven Decisions.” This webinar series aims to help provide cattle producers with the necessary resources to navigate through the ongoing droughts across Nebraska.

The Nebraska Cattlemen Cow-Calf Council said, “We look forward to helping our fellow cattle producers as we work together to overcome the ongoing drought. While we continue to pray for rain, it is important we support one another through the difficulties that accompany a season of drought. Our expert speakers from various sectors will be presenting invaluable information and we hope to see a lot of participation.”

Webinar Schedule
Tuesday, May 3rd - Part One: Factors Affecting 2022 Calf and Yearling Values – Jeff Stolle
Thursday, May 5th - Part Two: Herd Liquidation Yet the Cull Markets are Strong – Roger Wallace
Thursday, May 12th - Part Three: Feed Price Outlook and Will There Be By-products Available? – Jed Christensen and Kenny Prinz
Tuesday, May 17th - Part Four: Marketing Options If You Need to Depopulate – Jake Maurer, Rich Robertson, and Bryce Dibbern

Event Details are as follows:
The Market Information for Drought Driven Decisions webinar is a four-part series, and each will provide a forty-five-minute presentation followed by questions. This series will be hosted via Zoom and participants will receive a link after submitting an RSVP here

Every session will begin at 8:00 PM CDT / 7:00 PM MDT.

Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for May

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

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

Clinic Dates
    Wednesday, May 4 — Fairbury
    Wednesday, May 11 — Norfolk
    Wednesday, May 18 — Grand Island
    Wednesday, May 25 — Norfolk
    Thursday, May 26 — Valentine

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

May Beef Month: Recognizing the importance of beef production in Iowa

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association thanks Gov. Kim Reynolds for proclaiming May as “Beef Month” in Iowa. Each year, roughly 20,000 beef cattle operations generate more than $7 billion of economic activity in the state.

During “Beef Month,” the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association invites producers and consumers across the state to join our efforts in sharing how Iowa cattlemen feed a growing population, while stewarding the land, water and natural resources. Gov. Reynolds signed the “May Beef Month” proclamation, which reads:

WHEREAS, Iowa is a major beef producing state with more than 3.85 million head of cattle and calves as of January 1, 2022; and

WHEREAS, the beef cattle industry generates more than $7.32 billion of economic activity in the state; and

WHEREAS, today’s beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food providing protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins with more than 30 beef cuts that meet the government’s definition for “lean”; and

WHEREAS, cattle producers are the original stewards of the land, working to improve productivity by conserving and making optimum use of natural resources; and

WHEREAS, Iowa is a leader in the export of value-added agriculture products, shipping high-quality Iowa beef to other countries around the world; and

WHEREAS, there is an ever-increasing need for better understanding of the benefits that the beef cattle industry provides to all Iowans:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of May 2022 as BEEF MONTH

in Iowa, and urge all citizens to appreciate the contributions the beef cattle industry continues to provide to our state.

CME Announces Resetting of Price Limits for Grain, Oilseeds, Lumber

Effective Sunday, May 1, for trade date Monday, May 2, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) will reset price limits for grain, oilseed and lumber futures, according to a recent news release.

"This is the first of the two price limit resets in 2022 that is stipulated by the variable price limits mechanism pursuant to each product's respective Rulebook Chapter," stated the news release.

Corn futures price limit will go from 35 cents per bushel to 50 cents, with extended price limit at 75 cents. Oats futures price limit will go from 40 cents per bushel to 45 cents, with extended price limit at 70 cents.

Soybean futures price limit will go from 90 cents per bushel to $1.15, with extended price limit at $1.75. Soybean oil futures price limit will go from 40 cents per pound to 50 cents, with extended price limit at 75 cents. Soybean meal futures price limit will go from $25 per ton to $30, with extended price limit at $45.

Chicago wheat futures and Kansas City wheat futures price limit will go from 85 cents per bushel to 70 cents, with extended price limit at $1.05. All other price limits affected can be found in the link below.

In 2014, CME Group put a new percentage-based daily price limit procedure in CBOT grain and oilseeds products, including corn, soybeans, CBOT wheat, Kansas City wheat, soybean meal, soybean oil, oats and rough rice.  CME noted, "The new methodology is a more flexible, transparent and market based price-limit setting mechanism. It would allow price limits to expand under high prices, but also allow price limits to retract when prices fall."


In a bipartisan letter sent late last week to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 19 senators asked the agency to “continue the longstanding exemption for livestock odors” from the reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).

EPA in February was ordered by a U.S. District Court to revise its rules for EPCRA, which requires certain entities to notify state and local authorities about accidental spills and releases of hazardous materials and chemical explosions; it exempted agricultural producers from reporting routine emissions from their farms. While a U.S. Court of Appeals in 2017 rejected the exemption, a bipartisan Congress in 2018 overwhelmingly approved the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which again exempted farms from reporting emissions from animal waste.

Extremist groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the Waterkeeper Alliance, in 2018 sued to have the FARM Act regulations vacated and to force farms to immediately begin reporting emissions. But EPA in a backroom deal agreed to settle the case with the activists and have the FARM Act rules remand to the agency to be redrafted. The National Pork Producers strongly support the emissions reporting exemption for livestock producers, and they have pointed out that first responders have been clear they consider such reports unnecessary and burdensome.

USDA Data Reveal: Cattle Sale Revenues Grew 16% in 2021

Following two Congressional hearings on the beef and cattle markets largely focused on prices producers receive for their cattle, the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today said the latest USDA annual report on livestock income clears up misconceptions about the state of cattle markets and shows cash receipts for the sale of cattle and calves increased 16 percent, from $63.1 billion in 2020 to $72.9 billion in 2021.  

“As our members said in their testimony, prices are improving for cattle producers due to supply and demand reflecting the cyclical nature of cattle production,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Due to the shrinking herd and sustained consumer demand, cattle prices are at seven-year-highs without federal intervention in the market.”

Cattle prices today are the highest they have been since the record highs in 2014 and 2015, when the overall cattle herd was at its smallest since 1952 (for context, that was during the Truman Administration). Those record prices incentivized rapid herd expansion among producers which led in part to the oversupply of cattle in 2020.

The report, compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, is the Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2021 Summary . It says, “Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased 16 percent, from $63.1 billion in 2020 to $72.9 billion in 2021. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 61.4 billion pounds in 2021, up 4 percent from 2020.”

The report also breaks down cattle revenue by state. Many states’ producers saw increases higher than the nationwide aggregate of 16 percent. For example: Nebraska’s producers’ earnings grew 18 percent, Montana 22 percent, Kansas 18 percent, Kentucky 21 percent, North Dakota 28 percent, and South Dakota 26 percent.

“More and more data are showing that while the industry had to overcome significant challenges in 2020, markets behaved predictably,” said Potts. “As our members told Congress, the markets will continue to improve for producers.”

IRFA Thanks Biden EPA for Issuing E15 Emergency Order

Today EPA followed through on President Joe Biden’s promise earlier this month to take emergency action to ensure E15 can be sold nationwide this summer.  In response, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw made the following statement:
“We thank President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for upholding the promise to ensure E15 can be sold nationwide this summer. It was very important this action was taken today before May 1 when fuel terminals would have had to start discontinuing the distribution of E15 to retailers. This way terminals and retailers can have certainty and there will be absolutely no interruption in consumer access to cleaner-burning, lower-cost E15.”

NCGA Thanks EPA for Following Through on President Biden’s E15 Emergency Waiver

The following is a statement from NCGA President Chris Edgington on today’s announcement from the EPA issuing an emergency fuel waiver for E15 sales.

“We thank EPA Administrator Michael Regan for following through on the president’s recent announcement in Iowa and taking the action needed to ensure drivers maintain access to lower-cost, lower-emissions E15,” said NCGA president Chris Edgington. “We also agree with EPA’s assessment that treating E15 the same as regular fuel in the market maintains air quality. By acting today, and commitment to act through the summer, the Biden Administration will help increase the fuel supply by relying on more domestic biofuels and reducing our dependence on oil.”

Environmental Benefits of E15:
-    E15 has a lower RVP than E10 and, therefore, results in lower evaporative emissions, the goal of RVP regulation.
-    Blending more ethanol to make E15 displaces and dilutes the most toxic aromatic hydrocarbon components in gasoline, reducing exhaust emissions for cleaner air.
-    Ethanol results in 44 to 52 percent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than gasoline. Higher ethanol blends like E15 result in fewer GHG emissions.

Earlier this month, corn farmers applauded President Biden for using existing authority to give consumers more options at the pump that are lower-cost and environmentally friendly. Ethanol has been priced an average of 80 cents less per gallon than unblended gasoline at wholesale through March, and drivers currently save up to 20 cents or more per gallon with E15.

RFA Thanks EPA For Quick Action on Emergency E15 Waiver

The Renewable Fuels Association today welcomed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s emergency waiver allowing E15 (gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol) to be sold during the summer driving season. The following is a statement from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper:

“We commend Administrator Regan and his team at EPA for acting quickly and decisively to implement the emergency fuel waiver announced recently by President Biden. As U.S. and global gasoline stocks continue to shrink as a result of Putin’s war on Ukraine, EPA’s action will help prevent summertime fuel shortages while also protecting air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Extending the fuel supply with larger volumes of lower-cost, lower-carbon ethanol makes perfect sense, and we thank the Biden administration for turning to America’s farm fields for help instead of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. Today’s emergency waiver will ensure cost-conscious drivers across the country will continue to have access to more affordable E15 all summer long. The E15 blend has typically been priced 20-30 cents per gallon below regular gasoline in recent months, offering an important measure of relief to consumers during this time of surging inflation.”

The waiver follows an April 12 announcement from President Biden that such an action was forthcoming. Following that announcement, RFA released a review of myths and facts about the E15 blend, pointing out especially that it will have a positive effect on reducing summertime air pollution. EPA’s release today notes that the agency “…does not expect any impact on air quality” from the summertime waiver and states that “consumers can continue to use E15 without concern that its use in the summer will impact air quality.”

In addition to today’s action, eight Midwest governors from both political parties notified EPA yesterday that they are exercising the authority granted to them under the Clean Air Act to forgo the statutory summertime E10 waiver starting in 2023, which would allow retailers and marketers in their states to permanently sell E15 unincumbered in the future.

Growth Energy Welcomes EPA Action on Summer E15 Fix for 2022

Growth Energy welcomed today’s action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement President Biden’s plan to hold down fuel costs for working families by lifting barriers on sales of E15 this summer.  
“We’re grateful to EPA Administrator Michael Regan for working quickly to fulfill President Biden’s commitment to deliver relief at the pump by ensuring unrestricted access to lower cost E15 this summer,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, who joined President Biden for the April 12 announcement at the POET Biorefinery in Menlo, Iowa. “Not only has E15 been saving drivers as much as 60 cents per gallon, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has lower fuel volatility and smog-forming potential, and supports economic growth across rural America.  
“America is the world’s largest producer of biofuels, and we should be making use of our full capacity in the push for greater energy security and a healthy climate. Unfortunately, outdated restrictions that are unsupported by science and drafted before E15 was available stand in the way of allowing consumers to enjoy a cleaner, more affordable choice at the pump.   
“We are grateful to President Biden and champions like U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, EPA Administrator Regan, and our bipartisan champions in Congress for supporting swift action on E15, but we know the fight isn’t over. Lifting outdated restrictions on E15 through this temporary waiver buys time for policymakers to implement a permanent fix, and it’s vital that this administration and leaders in Congress work swiftly to restore year-round access to E15 in the years ahead.”   

ACE Thanks EPA for Delivering on E15 Executive Action

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is issuing a national, temporary emergency waiver so E15 can continue to be sold this summer, which will help increase fuel supplies, give consumers more choice to get lower prices, and provide savings to many families. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the statement below following the announcement:

“ACE thanks EPA Administrator Regan for making good on President Biden’s promise to American consumers, the ethanol industry, and farmers by issuing a national emergency waiver for E15 this summer starting May 1.

“While we are grateful EPA intends to issue new waivers effectively covering the 2022 summer season, a permanent remedy to expand consumer access for E15 long term is still necessary. That’s why we encourage Administrator Regan to respond to the formal request by the bipartisan group of governors to allow year-round E15 access in their states, and work with Congress on a legislative fix.”

NMPF Co-op Member Outlines Dairy Needs in Farm Bill Kickoff Hearing in Michigan

Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Kennedy, a member of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, testified on behalf of MMPA and the National Milk Producers Federation at the Senate Agriculture Committee’s first hearing dedicated to the upcoming Farm Bill, the twice-a-decade reauthorization of all USDA programs.

“I couldn’t have come back to the family farm if it were not for many of these programs,” said Kennedy, whose family milks 240 cows in east-central Michigan, at the field hearing held Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “Being a part of the conversation is essential to see a future that reflects opportunity and success.”

Addressing Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who presided over the hearing, Kennedy discussed her perspective as a third-generation farmer on the successes and shortcomings of current dairy policies and programs Congress must address in the next reauthorization. Kennedy thanked the committee, and Chairwoman Stabenow in particular, for overhauling the dairy safety net during the last farm bill and providing producers with access to crop insurance-like risk management tools, which puts dairy farmers on par with producers of other commodities.

Kennedy praised the Dairy Margin Coverage program as “essential to our farm and family’s financial success last year” and called attention to recent improvements that accounted for modest production increases and better reflect dairy farmer feed costs.

Still, the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic for the dairy sector in Michigan and nationwide need to be incorporated into the next reauthorization of federal farm programs, she said in her written testimony. The effects of federal programs on milk pricing deserve special attention, she said. “The combined effects of the change made to the Class I mover in the last farm bill, and the government’s heavy cheese purchases, cost dairy farmers over $750 million in Class I skim revenue during the last six months of 2020.”

The dairy industry, under NMPF leadership, is seeking consensus on a range of improvements to the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, including but not limited to the Class I mover, that can be taken to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for consideration in a national order hearing.

Beyond economic policy, Kennedy also advocated for additional investments in conservation programs to help dairy farmers build on their ongoing sustainability work; urged a doubling of funding for key trade promotion programs; and spoke to the importance of farm bill nutrition programs as “the bedrock of linking the food we produce as farmers to households across the country.”

Kennedy closed by offering a personal take on the need for significant mental health policy in the farm bill. “Stress in rural America is not talked about enough, which is unfortunate, because it’s a problem we can only solve by working together.” Kennedy thanked the committee for reauthorizing the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the last farm bill but urged that even more robust resources be provided.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to hold an additional field hearing in Arkansas, the home state of Ranking Republican John Boozman, in the coming weeks.

Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Farm Bill Field Hearing

National Association of Wheat Growers Past President and Cass City, MI wheat farmer Dave Milligan attended the Senate Agriculture Committee’s first field hearing on Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: 2023 Farm Bill Perspectives from Michigan. The hearing is the first Senate Agriculture Committee review of the 2018 Farm Bill and will focus on farm programs, conservation, rural development, research, and the other Farm Bill titles. Past President Milligan also provided written testimony to complement the witnesses who provided oral testimony.

Dave Milligan’s written testimony highlighted key programs in the 2018 Farm Bill and how they impacted wheat growers. In the testimony, Milligan noted how COVID-19, the severe drought and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have all impacted the economic conditions in wheat country and emphasized the importance of preserving farm safety nets for economic disruptions.

“It was good to see the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee in Michigan today holding the first field hearing of the 117th Congress,” Milligan said. “NAWG is continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of the farm safety net programs and how we can improve them going into Farm Bill reauthorization. As the Senate Agriculture Committee begins looking at key titles of the Farm Bill, NAWG looks forward to testifying before the committee on how these programs ensure that our food supply is safe, affordable, and can meet the challenges of feeding a growing world.”

NAWG looks forward to working with the Senate Agriculture Committee as it continues to hold Farm Bill hearings and craft a bill that benefits wheat farmers across the United States.

Thursday April 28 Ag News


Over 17,000 farms in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota produced and sold food locally through direct marketing practices, resulting in $577 million in revenue in 2020, according to the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey results released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The results cover both fresh and value-added foods, such as meat and cheese.

The more than 3,800 farms that sold food directly to institutions and intermediates brought in the most revenue at $317 million; this was followed by operations with direct-to-consumer sales, such as on-farm stores and farmers markets, at $166 million. Sales directly to retailers accounted for $93.6 million.

Approximately 35,900 people were involved in making decisions for the farms that sold directly in 2020. Of these, 55% were men and 45% were women- a higher proportion of women than among all farms, according to data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Komet Irrigation develops New Concept for Part-Circle Sprinklers

Komet Irrigation, based in Fremont, Nebraska, has developed a new part-circle sprinkler design, the Komet Precision Twister (KPT) PC-180 – to be the first that provides both dry wheel tracks, as well as a consistent droplet size and uniform water application, throughout the wetted area.

Until the launch of the KPT PC-180, part-circle sprinklers have usually come in the form of either fixed-spray or rotating stream devices. While both types of sprinklers fulfill their primary purpose, neither is geared towards maintaining uniform water application.

“The KPT PC-180 is an adaptation of Komet’s original KPT sprinkler design, a sophisticated distribution device that delivers unmatched uniformity, droplet size and energy efficiency,” says Josh Mosier, general manager and technical sales director of Komet Irrigation Corp., USA & Canada. “Our part-circle design combines the core principles of the KPT with a unique sprinkler deflector and groove configuration that effectively directs water off the pivot structure without compromising irrigation.”

Built for installation on rigid drops around the towers, the KPT PC-180 features a standard angle and multi-jet trajectory for controlling droplet size consistency in a 180-degree wetted pattern across the entire throw and nozzle range.

The part-circle sprinkler also pairs gentle water application and low instantaneous application with the proper overlap of individual sprinkler patterns. This enables efficient infiltration of water to the root zone while reducing wind drift and minimizing the risk of run-off or soil sealing.

“Komet Irrigation is focused on field-specific irrigation solutions. By working closely with growers, we’ve identified and developed a unique range of pivot sprinklers that maximize irrigation efficiency for different application requirements,” Mosier emphasizes. “The KPT PC-180 sprinkler represents our latest advancement for providing dry wheel track solutions – an aspect of irrigation that can pose great challenges for a system’s functionality and performance if not addressed.”

The Komet Irrigation pivot product line-up is the successful result of a ten-year research and development process. The precision manufacturing of every Komet sprinkler component includes strict quality controls and field testing over many irrigation seasons in a variety of terrains, soils, water conditions, crop types and climates to ensure the highest levels of performance, reliability and adaptability in many field environments.

Eight Governors Request Permanent Solution for Year-Round E15 Sales

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined a bipartisan group of eight Midwest governors in a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially exercising their authority to ensure E15 can be sold all year.

This action follows President Joe Biden’s announcement on April 12 that his administration would lift the summertime ban on E15 between June 1 and Sept. 15, 2022, to help ease high gas prices. E15, gasoline containing 15% ethanol, can save drivers up to $.10 more per gallon that E10.

E15 would require another waiver next year to be sold during the 2023 summer months; however, the letter sent to the U.S. EPA today includes a permanent fix for E15 and all higher ethanol blends to have no limitations on availability. Under the Clean Air Act, governors have the authority to ask EPA to equalize the summer regulations for E10 and E15. Currently, E10 and E15 are regulated differently, allowing oil refiners to specifically send gasoline blends that exhibit a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) that may be used in E10 but not E15.

Reid Wagner, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, thanks Governor Ricketts for his leadership to ensure that all Nebraskans continue to have uninterrupted access to blends of gasoline that are lower in emissions, better for our engines, and save us all money at the pump.

“In conjunction with the passing of Nebraska’s Higher Blends Tax Credit this month, this action is key to encouraging retailers to further invest in infrastructure to make higher ethanol blends more widely available,” Wagner continued.

Joining Governor Ricketts were the governors of Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Combined, these eight states account for over 10 percent of U.S. gasoline use – a market larger than California.

E15 is safe and approved by the EPA to use in vehicles 2001 or newer. Drivers with Flex Fuel Vehicles can use blends up to E85. In Nebraska, E85 is available at 125 fueling stations and E15 is available at around 110 fueling stations. Locations can be found at If our nation moved to a fuel standard of E15, consumers would save $12.2 billion in fuel costs every single year, according to industry expert Growth Energy.

The governors provided information demonstrating that the action they seek will reduce emissions of certain pollutants that can lead to ground-level ozone formation. This accounts for a reduction in harmful aromatics, including nearly 2.5% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Nebraska.

Biofuels, including ethanol, are underutilized in today’s fuel market but don’t need to be. Nebraska ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons each year but only produce about 2.2 billion gallons. By allowing broader use of lower-cost ethanol blends permanently, Nebraskans could better protect the Earth from the impending climate crisis, enhance our nation’s energy security, and increase ethanol’s economic benefits.

The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which pose severe environmental and health issues. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce GHG emissions by 46% compared to gasoline. Additionally, when blended in gasoline, ethanol displaces toxic aromatics, reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death.

ICGA Thrilled with Governor Reynolds’ Announcement of Proposed Permanent E15 Solution for Midwest Region

Members of the Iowa Corn Growers Association® (ICGA) appreciate the action of Governor Reynolds along with seven other Midwest governors to request a permanent waiver for year-round sales of E15. This is an important request to the EPA that will provide relief, flexibility and certainty for cleaner-burning blends of ethanol from E15 and higher, not just for today but for the long-run.

Together with the governors from Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, Governor Reynolds sent a letter to EPA to request the ability of E15 to be sold year-round to decrease volatility and lower emissions for better air quality. These states represent over 10 percent of all fuel sales, over half of the nation’s E15 fueling stations, over 70 percent of the nation’s ethanol plants and nearly 70 percent of the corn grown in the United States.

Ethanol is a top market for Iowa’s corn farmers and by removing barriers to sell E15/Unleaded 88 year-round drivers will have access to a higher octane, lower carbon fuel that is also more affordable. This announcement compliments the relief that President Biden announced earlier this month for a summer 2022 E15 fix and extends that certainty for retailers and access to E15 for drivers.

ICGA thanks Governor Reynolds for taking this important step by requesting the EPA allow E15 and higher blends of ethanol to be available for drivers year-round. ICGA will continue to work on behalf of corn farmers to provide market access for Iowa corn and corn products.

Governor Kim Reynolds Leads Eight Midwest States in Permanent Fix for Year-Round E15 Sales

Today Governor Kim Reynolds led a bipartisan group of eight Midwest governors in a letter to EPA officially exercising their authority to ensure E15 can be sold all year. E15 is commonly priced 10 to 30 cents less per gallon than E10.
“Today Governor Reynolds led a bipartisan group of governors to protect E15 sales here in the Midwest,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “With no clear nationwide fix in sight, these Governors decided it was time to take action on a state level and protect access to a fuel that saves family pocketbooks, reduces smog-forming emissions, boosts farmer income and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. This is a permanent fix for E15 and all higher ethanol blends. The importance of today’s action cannot be overstated to the future growth of ethanol use in the United States.”
Under the Clean Air Act, governors have the authority to ask EPA to equalize the summer regulations for E10 and E15. Currently, E10 and E15 are regulated differently, allowing oil refiners to game the system by not supplying the proper gasoline to blend for summer E15.
Joining Governor Reynolds were the governors of Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Combined these eight states account for over 10 percent of US gasoline use – a market larger than California.
“While these governors are leading the way, it’s not too late for others to follow suit,” added Shaw. “States that don’t exercise their authority will see low cost E15 forced out of their markets and retailers will be hesitant to expand access in their states. This has been an incredible week for E15 here in Iowa. Thanks to Gov. Reynolds, Iowa will have a permanent solution for year-round E15 and a just-passed nation leading E15 access bill. This is what real leadership looks like.”

Growth Energy Supports Governors’ Efforts to Secure Permanent, Year-Round Access to E15

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked Governors Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), Pete Ricketts (R-N.E.), Doug Burgum (R-N.D.), Tony Evers (D-Wis.), Laura Kelly (D-Kan.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), JB Pritzker (D-Ill.), and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) for their efforts to secure permanent access to year-round E15, a fifteen percent ethanol blended fuel. The coalition of governors sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Regan calling for parity between E10 and E15 in their states fuels through Section 211(h)(5) of the Clean Air Act and included analysis of the environmental benefits of doing so.  

“We are grateful to Governors Reynolds, Ricketts, Burgum, Evers, Kelly, Noem, Pritzker, and Walz for working to secure permanent, year-round access to cleaner, lower-cost E15 fuel,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “While President Biden’s recent decision to lift restrictions on E15 fuel nationally this summer was a welcome and exciting announcement, particularly as drivers across the nation continue to face high gas prices, we need a permanent fix to protect access to E15 next summer and beyond. The governors’ timely request to Administrator Regan would allow more drivers in their states to save money at the pump and reduce vehicle emissions as we work toward a national permanent solution.

“Our nation cannot let outdated regulations stand in the way of a clean energy future and we look forward to EPA’s affirmative response on this issue.”

RFA Thanks Midwest Governors for Taking Action to Allow Year-Round E15

Governors from eight Midwest states notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today that they are taking action to allow the year-round sale of lower-carbon, lower-cost E15 in their states.
The bipartisan group of governors from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin is exercising the authority granted to them under the Clean Air Act, and the action will result in equality in the regulation of E15 and E10 volatility during the summer months. This would allow retailers and marketers in these eight states to sell E15 unincumbered in 2023 and beyond.
“We thank Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and this entire bipartisan group of governors for their determined leadership,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “These governors should be applauded for pursuing a simple regulatory solution that will allow consumers in their states to benefit from E15’s lower cost and lower emissions 365 days a year. Once this notification is approved by EPA, it will mean lower pump prices for drivers in these eight states, lower tailpipe pollution, a more secure energy supply, and a more vibrant rural economy. These states have guided the way forward on E15, and we call on other states and the EPA to follow their lead, so that the benefits of E15 can be permanently enjoyed by drivers across the nation.”
In their letter, the governors thanked EPA for its emergency waiver for E15 this summer and stated more work needs to be done to provide a long-term solution. “While this emergency RVP waiver will deliver economic relief and energy security benefits in the near term, a permanent solution allowing the year-round sale of E15 is also needed for long-term certainty,” they wrote. The governors provided information demonstrating that the action they are seeking will reduce emissions of certain pollutants that can lead to ground-level ozone formation.
Cooper also highlighted recent research from refining sector experts that showed the action sought by the governors would impact gasoline production costs by just 1.5 cents per gallon or less in the Midwest.
These eight states account for more than 10 percent of the nation’s gasoline consumption and are home to:
    57 percent of the nation’s 2,512 stations currently selling E15;
    72 percent of the nation’s 206 ethanol biorefineries;
    69 percent of the nation’s 407,000 ethanol-related jobs;
    59 percent of the nation’s 305,000 farms that grow corn; and
    69 percent of the nation’s corn production.

ACE Applauds Midwest Governors for Working to Ensure Retailers Can Sell E15 Year-Round  

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) applauded the bipartisan group of Midwestern governors today for their letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, officially requesting from EPA their state authority to ensure retailers can continue to sell E15 all year long without interruption. ACE CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement thanking the Midwest governors:

“ACE thanks this bipartisan group of Midwest governors for their leadership to ensure E15 can be sold year-round to help bring down prices at the pump while simultaneously reducing tailpipe emissions. E15 is a low-cost, clean fuel blend and losing access to this growing clean fuel market will only harm everyone through even higher pump prices and greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions.

“ACE stands by these Governors as they pursue all options to ensure E15, a clean and safe fuel with lower RVP emissions than E10 and straight gasoline, can be sold year-round for years to come.”

Governors Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska), Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), Tony Evers (D-Wisconsin), Doug Burgum (R-North Dakota), Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota), Laura Kelly (D-Kansas), and JB Pritzker (R-Illinois) signed the letter.

2021 Nebraska Poultry Production and Value

The value of egg production in Nebraska during 2021 was $156 million, up $1.91 million from $154 million in 2020, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Egg production in 2021 was estimated at 2.40 billion eggs, down 36.4 million from the previous year. Average number of layers for 2021 at 8.16 million was down 428,000 from 2020.

U.S. Value of Production and Sales Up 31 Percent

The combined value of production from broilers, eggs, turkeys, and the value of sales from chickens in 2021 was $46.1 billion, up 31 percent from $35.1 billion in 2020. Of the combined total, 68 percent was from broilers, 19 percent from eggs, 13 percent from turkeys, and less than 1 percent from chickens.

Value of all egg production in 2021 was $8.68 billion, up slightly percent from $8.66 billion in 2020. Egg production totaled 111 billion eggs, down 1 percent from 112 billion eggs produced in 2020.

Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2021 Summary

Total 2021 production of cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled 85.9 billion pounds, down slightly from 2020. Production increased 1 percent for cattle and calves but decreased 1 percent for hogs and pigs.

Total 2021 cash receipts from marketings of meat animals increased 23 percent to $101 billion. Cattle and calves accounted for 72 percent of this total and hogs and pigs accounted for 28 percent.

The 2021 gross income from cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled $101 billion, up 23 percent from 2020. Gross income increased 15 percent for cattle and calves and 46 percent for hogs and pigs from previous year's gross income.

Cattle and Calves: Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased 16 percent, from $63.1 billion in 2020 to $72.9 billion in 2021. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 61.4 billion pounds in 2021, up 4 percent from 2020.

Cattle & Calves 2021 Gross Income By State

Nebraska ...:  $11,370,541,000  
Iowa ..........:  $4,113,255,000  

Hogs and Pigs: Cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $28.0 billion during 2021, up 46 percent from 2020. Marketings totaled 41.8 billion pounds in 2021, down slightly from 2020.

Hogs & Pigs 2021 Gross Income by State

Nebraska ....:    $1,064,051,000   
Iowa ...........:    $9,406,870,000   

Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2021 Summary

Milk production increased 1.3 percent in 2021 to 226 billion pounds. The rate per cow, at 23,948 pounds, was 171 pounds above 2020. The annual average number of milk cows on farms was 9.45 million head, up 56,000 head from 2020.

Cash receipts from marketings of milk during 2021 totaled $41.8 billion, up 3.5 percent from 2020. Producer returns averaged $18.54 per hundredweight, 2.1 percent above 2020. Marketings totaled 225.2 billion pounds, 1.3 percent above 2020. Marketings include whole milk sold to plants and dealers and milk sold directly to consumers.

Cash Receiptes, by State, 2021

Nebraska ....:            $261,960,000          
Iowa ...........:            $1,037,572,000          

USDA Announces Popcorn Board Appointments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the appointment of three members to serve on the Popcorn Board. The appointees will serve three-year terms, immediately, to Dec. 31, 2024.

Members newly appointed to serve are:
    Sam Krug, Chapman, Nebraska
    Tracy Boever, Sioux City, Iowa
    Eric J. Sieg, Ramsey, Indiana

The Popcorn Board currently has five processor members. Board members are nominated by their industry and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Members can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

More information about the board is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Popcorn Board webpage and on the board’s website,

America’s Farmers are Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions fell more than 4% percent from 2019 to 2020, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The most recent Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks shows agriculture continues to represent just 10% of total U.S. emissions, much lower than other economic sectors.

American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed the data from EPA in the latest Market Intel. 2020 overall emissions from agriculture fell at least 4.3%, or 28.8 million metric tons, compared to 2019. Emissions from agricultural soil management like fertilizer application and tillage practices were reduced by 8.4%.

“The most recent numbers show America’s farmers and ranchers are dedicated to feeding America’s families while remaining committed to improvements in sustainability,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers are dedicated to doing even better through voluntary, market-based incentives that allow them to capture more greenhouse gases while meeting growing food demands here at home and abroad.”

Compared to 70 years ago, farmers and ranchers are getting almost three times more out of their production than what they put into it. Per unit emissions continue to decrease among livestock as well, a 21% reduction in pork, 26% in milk and 11% reduction of emissions per unit of beef production.

Trade Is Top Priority At U.S.-China Agricultural Dialogue

U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Ryan LeGrand took part in the U.S.-China High Level Agricultural Dialogue last week in Des Moines, Iowa, joining a gathering designed to promote open discussion on cooperation and development of trade between the United States and China.

LeGrand, along with the CEOs of Continental Grain, Syngenta and the U.S. Soybean Export Council, took part in a panel discussion on the steps to increase trade between the U.S. and China.

“Agricultural trade is the highlight of the current relationship between the two countries, and the Chinese government has sent a clear, positive signal to American farmers,” LeGrand said. “Tariff barriers are not helpful in solving the hunger problem facing the world. If the two countries can play a leading role in free trade in agriculture, the whole world will benefit.”

Three ambassadors from and to China spoke at the forum, including U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang and former U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.

“In the past 10 years, agricultural trade between China and the United States has grown by a total of $10.5 billion,” Ambassador Qin Gang said. “Facts have proven that China-U.S. economic and trade relations are win-win in nature, and to restore normal trade ties between the two countries as soon as possible is the shared call of both sides.”

The event, hosted by the United States Heartland China Association (USHCA) and the China Agricultural Association for International Exchange (CAAIE), had nearly 200 high level participants in attendance, including government, education, national and international agri-business leaders. The Council and the Iowa Corn Growers Association, a Council member, both sponsored the event.

On the heels of it, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced China had purchased 1,347,000 metric tons (MT) (53,028,696 bushels) of corn. Of that total, 735,000 MT (28,935,480 bushels) were for the 2021/2022 marketing year (MY), while 612,000 MT (24,093,216 bushels) were for the 2022/2023 marketing year.

The Council will continue to monitor the trade relationship between the United States and China as part of its mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.

 Groups Urge Congress to Fund USDA’s Ag Research Service at $1.9 Billion

As lawmakers consider appropriations funding for FY23, ASA is urging Congress’ continued support of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The American Soybean Association and 50 other members of the Friends of the Agricultural Research Service (FARS) Coalition sent a letter this week to House and Senate ag appropriators requesting no less than $1.90 billion in funding to support USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency’s critical role in advancing ag and food research.

The requested $1.9 billion would include ARS salaries and expenses, along with $112 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) and $15 million directed to the new Big Data Initiative.

“This level of funding will ensure that ARS can respond to new plant and animal pests and diseases, weather and environmental stresses, and food safety and nutrition security concerns,” the coalition states in the letter.

CHS Foundation Awards Precision Agriculture Grants to Six Colleges and Universities

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), announced today six grants totaling $829,000 to support development, education and sustainable benefits of precision agriculture. The CHS Foundation supports agricultural and energy-related projects at colleges and universities across the CHS trade area through its annual competitive grant program. In 2021, that program focused on precision agriculture and cooperative education.

Colorado State University is the largest recipient of the 2022 grants, receiving more than $250,000 to develop a new precision irrigation curriculum for high school ag students and educators.

"The CHS Foundation recognizes the continuing strength and importance of precision agriculture and remains committed to supporting education that develops future ag leaders," says Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation. "The world depends on agriculture, and the industry has never been more important than it is today. We need innovation and technology advancements to drive agriculture forward and attract the best possible talent to our industry."

The CHS Foundation has committed more than $3.1 million since 2018 to support new and expanding precision agriculture programs at colleges and universities around the U.S.

Projects funded as part of the $829,000 initiative are:
    $256,723 to Colorado State University to develop a new precision irrigation curriculum for high school students and educators
    $218,211 to Montana State University to create a precision ag model farm for interdisciplinary research and education
    $25,000 to Lake Area Technical College, Watertown, S.D., to further develop its precision ag simulation lab
    $246,422 to Oklahoma State University for hands-on learning in precision ag technologies and to develop skills in sensors and autonomous systems
    $67,875 Lake Region State College, Devils Lake, N.D., to purchase state-of-the-art hardware and software for precision ag research and development
    $15,000 Redlands Community College, El Reno, Okla., to support its agriculture technology program in development

New Soil Health Institute Study Provides Insights into the Role Soil Organic Carbon Can Play in Improving Soil Health and Reducing Drought

A new peer-reviewed research report published by the Soil Health Institute provides fresh insights into the vital role that soil organic carbon levels can play in preventing drought, reducing flooding and improving the health and water retention of the soils used to grow crops.

The publication includes the development of new pedotransfer function equations, available for use by other researchers, that enable more precise measurement of the correlation between carbon levels, water retention and various soil types. These new equations will allow scientists to better predict how much water farmers can provide to their crops through improved soil health – specifically, by raising their soil carbon.

According to SHI, the global non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, healthy soil that is rich in carbon acts like a sponge to soak up rainfall and store it for crops. While farmers have known this for a long time, it has been hard for scientists to predict how much extra water farmers can expect when they use regenerative agriculture practices that improve soil carbon. This is important because many farmers consider water management to be the biggest reason to adopt soil health management practices like no-till or cover crops.

“A positive, causal relationship between soil organic carbon and plant water-holding capacity has direct benefit by increasing crops’ resistance to drought,” said Dianna Bagnall, a soil research scientist with SHI and lead author of the study.

According to Bagnall, previous research on this relationship has been mixed, with some findings showing negligible impact on soils’ water-retention capacities from higher soil carbon levels while others showed a substantial increase in water holding. This new study took a different approach, drawing on a more comprehensive sample of soil from locations throughout North America, using more natural, preserved soil structures, and identifying levels of calcium carbonate, which can impact water-holding capabilities, in the soil samples as part of its analysis.

“Our findings showed an increase in water-holding capacities for non-calcareous soils (those lacking calcium carbonate) resulting from soil organic carbon that was more than double that of earlier studies,” Bagnall said. “This is an exciting development, since it provides a concrete incentive for farmers to adopt more responsible soil management practices that will positively impact their productivity and profitability.”

To help farmers evaluate the impact carbon sequestration and other practices might have on their businesses, SHI is developing a decision support tool. “The new SHI tool will allow farmers to review various management practices to achieve a targeted increase in available water-holding capacity and better drought resilience in their soils,” Bagnall said.

The complete SHI study, entitled “Carbon-Sensitive Pedotransfer Functions for Plant Available Water,” can be accessed at
The new equations discussed in the study are freely available for use by other scientists.

“Our hope is that other scientists and conservationists will build on this work to develop new models for how soils can offset carbon emissions and make agriculture more drought resistant,” Bagnall said.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Wednesday April 27 Ag News


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing a seventh confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The seventh farm, a flock of over 2.1 million laying hens, is in Knox County.

According to NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley, the farm has been quarantined and the birds will be humanely depopulated and disposed of in an approved manner. Additionally, NDA will be establishing a 6.2-mile control zone, as is USDA policy, around the affected premises. Poultry producers in that control zone should know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying birds.

The controlled movement order that prohibits birds of any type at events including but not limited to fairs, expositions, swap meets, exotic sales and live bird auctions that NDA issued on March 26, 2022, that was set to expire on April 30, 2022, will now be extended through 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2022. The order will be reevaluated again at that time.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick.

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.

NDA is encouraging bird owners to prevent contact between their birds and wildlife and to practice strict biosecurity measures. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flock, they should report it to NDA immediately at (402) 471-2351. More information for producers can be found at or

USDA Designates 12 Nebraska Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Impacted Area: Nebraska
Triggering Disaster: Drought
Application Deadline: Dec. 19, 2022

Primary Counties Eligible:
Blaine, Knox, Nance, Dundy, Loup, Pierce, Hayes, Madison, Platte, Hitchcock, Merrick, Red Willow

Contiguous Counties Also Eligible:
Antelope, Cherry, Hall, Perkins, Boone, Colfax, Hamilton, Polk, Boyd, Custer, Holt, Rock, Brown, Frontier, Howard, Stanton, Butler, Furnas, Lincoln, Thomas, Cedar, Garfield, Logan, Wayne, Chase, Greeley        
Colorado: Yuma
Kansas: Cheyenne, Decatur and Rawlins
South Dakota: Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Yankton

More Resources

On, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local USDA Service Center.


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

Accurately determining animal grazing demands on a pasture is half of the process to setting a proper stocking rate.  When the same animals are used year after year, this can be fairly straight forward.  However, when class of animal changes (running yearlings instead of pairs), reproductive stage (fall calvers instead of spring) or even new animals (1,200 lb. cow pairs instead of 1,400 lb.), the change can be difficult to account for and compare.  Using a common denominator such as the animal unit can help.

An animal unit or AU is the amount of forage consumed by a 1,000 lb. animal.  Because animals don’t eat all their food instantaneously, we pair animal units with varying time periods for practical use. So, we can have animal unit days (AUDs), animal unit months (AUMs) and animal unit years (AUYs).  While there is some debate on how much forage this is, the Society for Range Management and University of Nebraska use the amount of 26 lb. of oven dried forage consumed per day.

So how does knowing this help us determine stocking rates for different groups of animals?  Because AU are based on weight, we can scale up or down consumption over time by knowing the average weight of the animals we plan to graze.  A 1,200 lb. cow will consume 31.2 lb. of dry forage daily while this increases to 36.4 lbs. per day for a 1,400 lb. cow. and decreases to just 18.2 lbs. of forage daily for a 700 lb. yearling.

We can also adjust for reproductive stage.  A 1,200 lb. cow with calf will consume more forage early on due to lactation demands and slowly decrease while calf consumption increases closer to weaning.  If we average it out, we can figure a pair with a 300 lb. calf at weaning will consume 1.5 AU worth of forage.  Compare this to a 1,200 lb. fall calving, dry cow that is only eating for herself who is 1.2 AU and we have reproductive stage accounted for.

Adjusting stocking rates to meet the reality of animal demand can be intimidating, but by using a common factor like animal unit, the adjustment can be made easily and without too much paperwork.  Just make sure to compare similar time periods and adjust for animal size.

Farmers, vendors invited to participate in UNL East Campus Discovery Days and Farmer's Market

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources is seeking farmers and vendors to participate in the second annual East Campus Discovery Days and Farmer’s Market, which will take place on three Saturdays this summer.  

The events will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 11, July 9 and August 13 and will feature a farmer’s market, as well as live music, food trucks, family activities and much more.  

“Hosting a farmer’s market on East Campus has been an incredible addition to our summer event line-up, said Jessie Brophy, director of external engagement for IANR.  

“We were thrilled with the turnout the event received last year, and we look forward to growing this event and continuing to connect our campus to the surrounding community.”

There is no participation cost or stall fee for those who participate. Participation is expected all three Saturdays. More information and application materials may be found at  

More information on East Campus Discovery Days and Farmers Market is available online at, with more information to be added as vendors and activities are finalized. For questions or additional information, contact Jessie Brophy at  

Nominations for 2022 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award due May 2

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon are reminding Iowans to nominate individuals or families in their communities for the 2022 Farm Environmental Leader Award.

Farmers and landowners who invest in conservation practices, like cover crops or wetlands, and incorporate best management practices into their operations to improve and protect the state’s natural resources are eligible for the award. They must also actively serve as leaders in the agriculture community.

An appointed committee representing both conservation and agricultural groups will review the nominations and select the winners. The recipients will be recognized on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Iowa State Fair. Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Naig and Director Lyon will present the winners with an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award and a yard sign donated by Bayer.

Since the creation of the award in 2012, more than 700 farm families have been recognized. The nomination form and a list of previous awardees can be found at Nominations for the 2022 awards will be accepted until Monday, May 2.

NCBA President Urges Congress to Adopt Broadly Supported Cattle Market Policies

Today, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Don Schiefelbein, a Minnesota cattle producer, testified before the House Agriculture Committee in a hearing on issues in the cattle markets. Schiefelbein urged House members to support key policies with broad, unified support across the entire cattle industry including a cattle contract library, Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) reauthorization, and investments in small regional processing capacity expansion.
“The only people who know exactly how cattle producers should navigate these uncertain times are the individuals who work around the clock, day in and day out, to raise the safest and highest quality beef in the world—in other words: cattle producers,” said Schiefelbein.
Schiefelbein’s testimony was rooted in the policies adopted by NCBA through its century-old grassroots policymaking process.
Instead of focusing on controversial matters, NCBA has encouraged Congress to support policies with wide industry backing. “Broadly supported proposals have seen tremendous legislative success in this chamber recently,” said Schiefelbein. “However, repeatedly belaboring the same divisive issues has detracted from that collaborative work to the benefit of no one. It is time to move on and focus on areas where agreement can be reached.”
NCBA stands ready to work with policymakers to develop solutions that strength the cattle markets and benefit producers in every sector and region of the country.
NCBA is advocating for numerous policies with unified industry backing that address critical issues in the cattle markets.
Programs like the Cattle Contract Library and LMR provide critical market information to cattle farmers and ranchers, helping them make more informed business decisions.
To expand processing capacity and return leverage to the side of the producer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has pledged $1 billion of investments in launching and expanding small to medium-sized processing plants. NCBA is working with USDA to target those investments in the most effective way. Previously, NCBA secured introduction of the Butcher Block Act to establish loan and grant programs for new processing facilities.
NCBA is also the leading voice for oversight of the meatpacking sector and has called for the swift competition of a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into possible anticompetitive practices by the big meatpackers.
NCBA is the oldest and largest national trade association representing U.S. cattle and beef producers. Through a network of forty-four state affiliate organizations, NCBA represents 175,000 cattle farmers and ranchers in addition to over 26,000 direct members.

MAP Fertilizer Price Index Ties All-Time Record

Retail fertilizer prices continued to be slightly higher again the third week of April 2022, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. The prices of two fertilizers were higher by a significant amount compared to last month, which DTN designates as 5% or more.

The average retail price of MAP was up 6% compared to last month. The phosphorus fertilizer had an average price of $1,079/ton. This ties the all-time-high price for MAP in our DTN data set. The previous time this level was achieved was the first week of November 2008. The other fertilizer up considerably in price was UAN32, which was 5% more expensive compared to last month. The liquid nitrogen's average price was $730/ton (all-time high price).

The remaining six fertilizers were slightly higher looking back to last month. DAP had an average price of $1,050/ton (all-time high), potash $879/ton, urea $1,012/ton (all-time high), 10-34-0 $906/ton, anhydrous $1,534/ton (all-time high) and UAN28 $631/ton (all-time high).

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $1.10/lb.N, anhydrous $0.94/lb.N, UAN28 $1.13/lb.N and UAN32 $1.14/lb.N.

Most fertilizers continue to be considerably higher in price than one year earlier. 10-34-0 is 48% more expensive, MAP is 54% higher, DAP is 68% more expensive, UAN28 is 81% higher, UAN32 is 87% more expensive, urea is 99% is higher, potash is 103% higher and anhydrous is 117% more expensive compared to last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 4/22/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending April 22, ethanol production expanded by 16,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.7%, to 963,000 b/d, equivalent to 40.45 million gallons daily. Production was 1.9% more than the same week last year and 6.4% above the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 1.8% to 977,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.98 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks tightened by 1.5% to a fourteen-week low of 24.0 million barrels. However, stocks were 21.4% higher than a year ago and 5.0% above the five-year average. Inventories declined across all regions.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, declined by 1.5% to 8.74 million b/d (133.97 bg annualized). Demand was 1.6% less than a year ago but 3.5% above the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol ticked down 0.1% to 885,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.57 bg annualized. Net inputs were 0.6% more than a year ago and 4.3% above the five-year average.

There were no imports of ethanol for the thirteenth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of February 2022.)

USDA Dairy Products 2021 Production Summary

Total cheese production, excluding cottage cheeses, was 13.7 billion pounds, 3.5 percent above 2020 production. Wisconsin was the leading State with 25.3 percent of the production.

Italian varieties, with 5.75 billion pounds was 2.5 percent above 2020 production and accounted for 42.0 percent of total cheese in 2021. Mozzarella accounted for 78.0 percent of the Italian production followed by Parmesan with 8.4 percent and Provolone with 6.5 percent. Wisconsin was the leading State in Italian cheese production with 28.7 percent of the production.

American type cheese production was 5.57 billion pounds, 4.3 percent above 2020 and accounted for 40.6 percent of total cheese in 2021. Wisconsin was the leading State in American type cheese production with 19.4 percent of the production.

Butter production in the United States during 2021 totaled 2.07 billion pounds, 3.5 percent below 2020. California was the leading state in Butter production with 32.5 percent of the production.

Dry milk powders (2021 United States production, comparisons in percentage with 2020)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 2.02 billion pounds, up 3.7 percent.
Skim milk powders - 698 million pounds, up 0.4 percent.

Whey products (2021 United States production, comparisons in percentage with 2020)
Dry whey, total - 934 million pounds, down 2.6 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 1.15 billion pounds, up 2.8 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 509 million pounds, up 6.5 percent.

Frozen products (2021 United States production, comparisons in percentage with 2020)
Ice cream, Regular (total) - 872 million gallons, down 4.8 percent.
Ice cream, Lowfat (total) - 461 million gallons, down 0.5 percent.
Sherbet (total) - 40.6 million gallons, up 10.2 percent.
Frozen Yogurt (total) - 46.4 million gallons, up 32.2 percent.

U.S. Trade Representative Remarks on EU GI Abuses in Special 301 Report

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today welcomed the U.S. Trade Representative’s prioritization in this year’s Special 301 Report of the importance of preserving U.S. food and beverage producers’ market access rights in the face of persistent efforts by the European Union (EU) to misuse geographical indications (GIs) and create non-tariff barriers to trade in markets around the world. The report follows detailed comments on the global scale of various common name threats submitted in January by CCFN and supported by USDEC and NMPF.

This annual report outlines global challenges on intellectual property issues and describes in detail the European Union’s (EU) campaign to eliminate competition by restricting the use of common food and beverage terms, such as “parmesan,” “bologna” and “chateau.” The EU’s strategy, active in numerous countries around the world, erects unfair barriers to trade that negatively impact non-EU exporters relying on common food names, as illustrated by USTR’s report which noted, “As part of its trade agreement negotiations, the EU pressures trading partners to prevent any producer, except from those in certain EU regions, from using certain product names, such as fontina, gorgonzola, parmesan, asiago, or feta. This is despite the fact that these terms are the common names for products produced in countries around the world.”

“We whole-heartedly agree with USTR about the harm imposed by the EU’s deliberate restriction of generic food and beverage terms in markets around the world,” said Jaime Castaneda, executive director of CCFN. “USTR’s Special 301 report should serve as a foundation upon which the administration can build a more proactive and focused global campaign of its own to counteract the EU’s long running efforts. U.S. farmers and food producers, and others around the world, deserve the chance to compete fairly in export markets.”

“The U.S. government has accurately diagnosed the EU’s deliberate global strategy of cloaking nontariff trade barriers as ‘GIs’ so that it doesn’t have to compete head-to-head in common product categories with U.S. food producers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “By deploying all of the tools at its disposal, including use of existing U.S. FTAs, the upcoming IPEF talks and TIFAs, the administration can take strong action to establish concrete market access protections with our trading partners around the world. The time for this is now and we stand ready to support those proactive efforts on behalf of American farmers.”

“Because we export the equivalent of 17% of U.S. milk production, trade barriers like bans on the use of common cheese names have profound consequences for the entire American dairy industry, from the many small and medium-sized family-owned companies to farmer-owned cooperatives and the workers employed there,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “U.S. dairy farmers and cheesemakers only want a fair shot at sharing their high-quality, sustainably produced products with consumers around the globe. By doubling down on combating global restrictions on the sale of common name products, USTR can defend opportunities for American-made products internationally and the jobs they support here at home.”

Proposed SEC Rule Could Reach Nearly Every Farmer and Rancher

The American Farm Bureau Federation joined 119 other agriculture organizations in sending a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking for an extension of time to comment on its proposed rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors.”

The SEC - whose primary purpose is to protect investors, maintain efficient markets and facilitate capital formation - now wants to require public companies to report data about their entire supply chain. Nearly every farmer’s and rancher’s products eventually touch a publicly traded company, meaning that farmers and ranchers could be forced to report personal information and business-related data. This unprecedented overreach could create onerous reporting requirements for even small farms and ranches with few or no employees.

“This appears to be an example of overreach by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers and ranchers are already heavily regulated by multiple agencies at the local, state and the federal level. New SEC reporting requirements will no doubt make an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome.

“Farmers and ranchers are focused on growing the food, fuel and fiber this country needs, and have never been subjected to SEC regulations. Unlike the large corporations currently regulated by the SEC, family farms and ranches don’t have teams of compliance officers. We urge the SEC to extend the comment period to allow those in agriculture time to understand the full impact of this proposal and offer meaningful input.”

The proposed rule is 510 pages long with 1,068 technical footnotes and almost 750 direct questions, but the SEC has only allowed 39 days for review.

The proposed rule “may create multiple, new sources of substantial costs and liabilities,” the letter states. “These include almost certain reporting obligations, technical challenges, significant financial and operational disruption and the risk of financially crippling legal liabilities.”

Rising Retail Prices Will Increasingly Test Consumers’ Appetite for Meat

U.S. consumer demand for retail meat remains exceptionally strong despite higher prices stemming from increased production costs and supply chain limitations. However, once the full effects of producer price inflation finally hit retail meat cases, consumer demand for meat will be tested again, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.

“Retail meat prices will remain elevated throughout 2022,” said Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. “The sharply higher costs for feed, energy and labor have yet to fully impact wholesale and retail meat prices, but that will soon change. And as consumers notice their dollar is not going as far as it used to, they may trade down at the meat case, with chicken being the primary beneficiary.”

With combined cutout values of beef, pork and chicken climbing 22% year-over-year for the first quarter of 2022, consumers are all but certain to see higher prices in the meat case.

Beef consumption has not yet declined in the face of higher prices. But as overall inflation takes a bite of consumers’ purchasing power, we may finally see a significant change in their willingness to pay for red meat, added Earnest. If that turns out to be the case, the U.S. broiler industry may yet again be well positioned for modest growth and strong margins.

Shifting consumer purchasing patterns and market uncertainties stemming from the pandemic have been the primary drivers of higher and more volatile meat prices. But supply challenges have also played a role. The temporary closure of beef and pork plants in 2020 led to backups in fed cattle supplies that still linger today.

The nation’s beef cattle inventory remains in decline, due in part to the ongoing drought conditions in the Western U.S. and modest feeder calf prices. The combined cow and replacement heifer inventory has dropped by 12% since 2017. Likewise, the nation’s sow herd is contracting and is down nearly 6% over the past three years, primarily due to losses sustained in 2018-19. USDA is forecasting a 2% decline in U.S. beef and pork production in 2022.

Price volatility across the animal protein sector has become a daily headache for procurement teams to manage. While prices started 2022 in post-holiday doldrums, wholesale values were still elevated compared with pre-pandemic levels. Volatility in wholesale markets remains an obstacle for promotional planning.

Increased volatility in spot markets and supply instability handcuffed retail marketing of proteins during the 2020 grilling season. Featuring activity rebounded substantially in 2021 as grocers sought to hold onto the sales they gained during the pandemic. For retailers in 2022, a flight to safety from higher meat prices may be to feature value items like ground beef, hot dogs and sausage items.

As grilling season enters full swing, it is likely that retail meat departments’ focus will shift to profit margin over volume sales this year, meaning we will see increased creativity in the meat case. Rather than vying for consumer dollars through aggressive price points, “no price” features will be an attractive solution.

Biden Administration Announces Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Global Food Aid to Respond to Putin’s Unprovoked Invasion of Ukraine

Today, the Biden Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are taking the extraordinary step to draw down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) as part of an effort to provide $670 million in food assistance to countries in need as a result of Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The world is suffering from historic levels of global food insecurity, which is being exacerbated by the impact Russia's war on Ukraine is having on global food supplies. Available estimates suggest an additional 40 million people could be pushed into poverty and food security as a result of Russia’s aggression.

USAID will use the BEHT’s $282 million to procure U.S. food commodities to bolster existing emergency food operations in six countries facing severe food insecurity: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen. USDA will provide $388 million in additional funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to cover ocean freight transportation, inland transport, internal transport, shipping and handling, and other associated costs.

“Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, a fellow major agricultural export country, is driving food and energy costs higher for people around the world,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “America’s farmers, ranchers and producers are uniquely positioned through their productivity, and through the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, to help directly feed those around the world impacted by these challenges.”

“In Ukraine, which provides 10 percent of the world's wheat, farmers are struggling to plant and harvest their crops for fear of shelling and Russian landmines, and their path to exporting these vital commodities is severely restricted by Russia’s invasion, which caused the closure of Ukraine's ports,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power. “Putin's decision to wage a senseless and brutal war against a peaceful neighbor is leading to a staggering global food crisis. Today's drawdown of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust will help us respond to the unprecedented needs in countries around the world that are facing historic food insecurity.”

The BEHT is a special authority that was renamed for U.S. Congressman Bill Emerson in 1998 and reauthorized in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, that enables USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) to respond to unanticipated food crises abroad when other resources are not available. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will authorize the release of funds from the BEHT to provide emergency food assistance if the USAID Administrator determines that funds available for emergency needs under title II of the Food for Peace Act for a fiscal year are insufficient to meet emergency needs during the fiscal year.

This is the first time since 2014 that the U.S. government has used this emergency funding authority.

USDA and USAID are committed to working closely to leverage all available resources to mitigate the worst impacts of this food security crisis.

Wheat Industry Applauds USDA Food Aid Support

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) applaud the Biden Administration’s announcement today stating the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing $670 million in food assistance to countries in need. Specifically, this announcement will utilize the $282 million in the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) and USDA will provide an additional $388 million through the Commodity Credit Corporation to help cover the transportation costs.

The funding will be spent on purchasing domestic wheat and other commodities as part of a food aid package to help feed people in countries experiencing food insecurity. The funding will also be used to cover the costs of transporting the commodities to their destination.

"Today's action is an important step in helping get assistance to countries facing food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine" NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule stated. "Ukraine is a significant wheat exporting country, and Russia's aggression has caused considerable market and global supply chain disruptions. Unlocking the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust will play a crucial role in helping address the urgent humanitarian needs resulting from this conflict."

“It is so sad to think of more people being pushed into food insecurity around the world, but that is happening,” said Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and chair of the USW and NAWG Food Aid Working Group. “Wheat has long been the most often donated commodity for food aid programs and wheat growers are ready again in this crisis to help ease the hunger.”

NAWG and USW will continue to work with USDA on ways the industry can support the food aid programs, while advocating for policies that benefit and enable U.S. farmers to continue growing wheat.

 ADM Reports First Quarter Earnings per Share of $1.86, $1.90 on an Adjusted Basis

ADM today reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

“I’m very proud of how our team lived our culture and fulfilled our purpose over the last quarter, as they continued to serve the world’s need for nutrition in a dynamic global environment,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Our first quarter financial results, including adjusted earnings per share of $1.90, reflect an extension and amplification of the factors that drove our 2021 performance: great execution by our team, including exceptional growth in Nutrition and effective risk management; a tighter supply environment, especially with the smaller South American crop; and robust and resilient demand. Importantly, I’m also very appreciative of how our company has rallied to support our colleagues in Ukraine and the country’s agriculture industry.

“Looking forward, we expect reduced crop supplies — caused by the weak Canadian canola crop, the short South American crops, and now the disruptions in the Black Sea region — to drive continued tightness in global grain markets for the next few years. Longer term, markets continue to reflect the importance of the enduring global trends that are fueling performance across our portfolio by driving demand for our products. And within ADM, our productivity and innovation efforts are continuing to help us deliver on the evolving needs of our customers. Considering these factors, we expect 2022 results to exceed 2021's.”

Quarterly Results of Operations

Ag Services & Oilseeds delivered substantially higher year-over-year results, effectively managing risk and executing exceptionally well in a dynamic environment of robust global demand and tight supply, driven primarily by the short South American crop, to deliver substantially higher year-over-year results.

    Ag Services results were significantly higher versus the first quarter of 2021. Global Trade results were higher, driven by strong performances in destination marketing and global ocean freight. North American origination margins and volumes were lower year over year, including approximately $75 million in negative timing effects, which will reverse in the coming quarters.

    Crushing was higher year over year in a strong global margin environment driven by robust protein and vegetable oil demand. Improving margins in the quarter resulted in approximately $60 million in negative timing effects — which will reverse in the coming quarters — versus approximately $50 million in positive timing in the prior-year quarter.

    Refined Products and Other results were much higher than the prior-year period, driven by healthy refining premiums and good refined oils demand in North America, as well as strong biodiesel margins in EMEA.

    Equity earnings from Wilmar were significantly higher versus the first quarter of 2021.

Carbohydrate Solutions delivered results that were substantially higher year over year.
    The Starches and Sweeteners subsegment, including ethanol production from our wet mills, delivered much higher results versus the prior-year quarter, driven by higher corn co-product revenues and improved citric acid profits in North America; higher volumes and margins in EMEA; and higher volumes and margins in wheat milling. Sales volumes for starches and sweeteners continued their recovery.

    Vantage Corn Processors delivered solid execution margins, but position losses on ethanol inventory as prices fell early in the quarter drove lower results versus the prior year. The prior-year quarter’s results also benefited from demand for USP-grade industrial alcohol from the Peoria facility, which was divested in Q4 2021.

Nutrition delivered extremely strong revenue growth of 23% and maintained healthy margins, driving substantially higher results.
    Human Nutrition delivered higher year-over-year results. Flavors continued to deliver solid revenue growth, offset by some higher costs. Strong sales growth in alternative proteins, including accretion from our Sojaprotein acquisition, and positive currency timing impacts in South America, offset some higher operating costs to help deliver better year-over-year results in Specialty Ingredients. Health & Wellness was also higher year over year, powered by probiotics, including contributions from our late-2021 Deerland Probiotics acquisition, and robust demand for fiber.

    Animal Nutrition profits were nearly double the year-ago period, due primarily to strength in amino acids, which was driven by a combination of product mix changes, improved North American demand and global supply chain disruptions.

Other Business results were substantially higher, driven primarily by better performance in captive insurance, including reduced claim settlements versus the prior year.

Valent USA Submits Registration for New Rapidcil Herbicide

Valent U.S.A. submitted applications for the registration of a new herbicide active ingredient Rapidicil (epyrifenacil) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Rapidicil, the trademark name for epyrifenacil, was developed by Valent's parent company, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.

Rapidicil is a novel herbicide that is part of a pipeline of products to be submitted for registration in major markets within the next three years. It belongs to a class of compounds known as protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors and may be used to control broadleaf weeds and grasses.

"We are very excited to advance what will be an important new weed control tool for growers in North America," said Joe Short, Herbicide Strategy Manager, Valent U.S.A. "Once approved, Rapidicil will provide growers a new herbicide with highly effective performance against a wide-range of broadleaf weeds and grasses in foliar applications."

Field research has demonstrated that Rapidicil is a fast-acting herbicide that can be used for weed control in various crops including corn and soybeans. Rapidicil is also environmentally friendly, contributing to sustainable agriculture as it provides weed control before planting crops in no-till and reduced tillage systems, which can suppress carbon dioxide emissions as compared to conventional tillage practices.

In addition, Rapidicil is part of a global collaboration between Sumitomo Chemical and Bayer through which it may be used after planting for post-emergence control of tough weeds like Palmer amaranth and waterhemp in PPO-inhibitor tolerant crops currently in development by Bayer. Integrating both the knowledge of both companies, this collaboration will provide agricultural producers with effective next-generation solutions to meet their weed control challenges.

Elanco and Royal DSM Announce U.S. Alliance for Methane-Reducing Feed Additive for Cattle

Elanco Animal Health Incorporated (ELAN: NYSE) and Royal DSM have created a strategic alliance connecting two leading, sustainability-focused companies to address one of society's most significant opportunities of the decade, mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farming. Elanco has secured the exclusive U.S. licensing rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize Bovaer® for beef and dairy cattle.

Bovaer® is a first-in-class and best-in-class methane-reducing innovative feed additive for beef and dairy cattle, already available in Europe, Brazil, Chile and Australia. More than 50 peer-reviewed studies and 48 on-farm trials in 14 countries show Bovaer® consistently reduces enteric methane emissions by approximately 30% for dairy cows and even higher percentages for beef cattle.

DSM and Elanco intend to provide farmers, dairy and beef companies, and retailers with a solution to substantially lower the carbon footprint of beef and dairy production, supporting the animal protein industry's ESG efforts and helping secure a sustainable future for the planet. The methane reduction from feeding a million cows Bovaer® is equivalent to planting 45 million trees or removing 300,000 cars from the road. With 9 million dairy cows and 14 million beef cattle on feed in the U.S. alone, the product would contribute to a significant and immediate reduction of the environmental footprint of meat and dairy products, supporting the Global Methane Pledge to cut emissions 30% by 2030.

The strategic alliance is expected to enable both parties to maximize the opportunity for the product in the U.S. market, once approved, while also nearly doubling previously announced Bovaer® production capacity globally. Elanco will be responsible for the U.S. approval process, commercialization strategy and product supply, supporting DSM supply in markets outside the U.S. Elanco will assess and evaluate the regulatory submission and manufacturing options with the intent to bring Bovaer® to the U.S. market as quickly as possible. Already the State of Indiana, for example, has indicated its support for expanded manufacturing investment in the state as it continues to build public-private partnerships supporting the state's growing agriculture economy.

"We are excited to partner with DSM to start the process of bringing this game-changing innovation to U.S. livestock producers," said Jeff Simmons, president and CEO of Elanco. "It will further strengthen Elanco's efforts to create the livestock sustainability market and the next era of value for farmers by adding to our efforts to reduce, measure and monetize emission reductions, including Experior™, Uplook™ and Athian. We are eager to work with regulators to bring a unique innovation like DSM's Bovaer® to the U.S. market as quickly as possible to support farmers and positively impact the climate crisis."

Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze, Co-CEOs of Royal DSM, commented: "This agreement marks an important milestone for DSM, Elanco, and the climate change mitigation efforts of the U.S. We believe Elanco, as a company that shares our determination to revolutionize the sustainability of the cattle industry, is the ideal partner to help us increase and accelerate the total impact of our game-changing feed additive by bringing us closer to customers across the U.S. This alliance will help us realize Bovaer®'s potential as a powerful solution with a significantly positive impact on the planet. In addition, and fully aligned with our purpose-led performance-driven strategy, the alliance enables us as DSM to monetize our long-term innovation faster."

With an estimated global market opportunity for livestock methane reduction of $1 billion to $2 billion, Elanco expects Bovaer® to have blockbuster annual revenue potential in excess of US$200 million in the U.S. market with initial contribution by mid-decade. This alliance is not expected to impact Elanco's previously stated financial commitments.