Friday, April 22, 2022

Thursday April 21 Ag News

 UNL Dining Services dishes feast of locally-grown beef

Prime rib. New York strip. Sirloin. Flat Iron. Brisket. And a special set of short ribs.

A seemingly never-ending cavalcade of Nebraska beef — all locally grown in Ashland, just 30 minutes from campus — was what was for dinner April 14 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Cather Dining Center. And the moving menu drew in herds of students, each hoping to graze on some of the best beef the Cornhusker State has to offer.

“This is incredible — it’s why we’re here eating at 4:30,” said Grace Clausen, a junior computer science major. “We saw it advertised on a board and knew it was something we just had to come try. It's an amazing opportunity."

The protein-focused meal was held as part of University Housing and Dining Services’ “Nebraska. Local.” program. Launched originally as “Good. Fresh. Local.” in 2005, the program seeks to forge partnerships with ag producers to provide locally-sourced produce, meats and other foodstuffs for the university's dining halls.

The program currently features seven partners, including Ashland’s Raikes Beef Co. — the star of the beefy menu. The Ashland-based company is ran by Justin and Lindsey Raikes. The couple, their children, and Justin's mom, Helen Raikes, emeritus Willa Cather Professor of education and human sciences, attended the dining event. Their family-run business currently provides the majority of the beef served under the “Nebraska. Local.” banner in Cather, Harper and Selleck dining halls.

The list of locally-produced options served in campus dining hall menus traditionally expands with the growing season and has often culminated in a celebratory Thanksgiving meal. Pam Edwards, assistant director of University Dining Services, said nearly 10 percent of menu items served annually in the university's dining halls are provided through the “Nebraska. Local.” program.

“The first year, we only served local items for the Thanksgiving meal,” Edwards said. “Today, it's grown to year-round service.

“It’s a concept that we weren’t encouraged to start. Rather it was something our dining team wanted to do as a way to work and support our local producers while highlighting to our students the variety of goods grown in and around Nebraska.”

The vast majority of goods served through the program are grown in Nebraska. However, it allows for any item grown within 250 miles of the Cornhusker State's border — opening up access to goods from South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.

For the April 14 meal, Cather Dining Center staff prepared an estimated 500+ pounds of Raikes Beef, serving it at a special carving station. The cooks also made an array of sides items — from homemade horseradish sauce and sautéed mushrooms to garlic mashed potatoes and mac and cheese — to complete the steakhouse experience.

While the entire menu drew raves, the short ribs — braised in a sauce made from scratch by Jake Dietrich — were a favorite. They even drew kudos from Raikes family members who attended the event.

“We have a really great team of cooks who worked on this and they deserve all the credit,” said Dietrich, an assistant food service manager who led creation of the menu. “They really came together to make this meal special for our students.”

The “Nebraska. Local.” event was the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Edwards and Dietrich said they hoped the Raikes Beef Co. menu signals a return to more normal service and the ability to offer special meals on a regular basis.

That idea was welcomed news to Clausen and her friends.

“It’s just super awesome that the university is supporting local producers — especially those from Nebraska,” Clausen said. “We really appreciate that this is a focus or our university.”

Rural Mainstreet Economic Index Remains Healthy: Only 4 of 10 Bankers Expect Positive Outcome from Ethanol Change

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell from March’s healthy reading and remained above growth neutral for the 17th straight month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.        

Overall: The region’s overall reading for April declined to 62.0 from March’s 65.4. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“The region recorded a 34% gain in farm commodity prices over the past 12 months, but low short-term interest rates and healthy farm income have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

This month bankers were asked to forecast the impact of President Biden’s emergency waiver on the summer production of E-15 ethanol. Fewer than 4 of 10 bankers, or 39.1%, expect the move to have a positive impact. More than half, or 56.5%, expect the waiver to have little or no impact, with the remaining 4.4% anticipating a negative impact.

Farming and ranching: The region’s farmland price index for April climbed to a strong 80.0 from 78.0 in March, marking the 19th straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral. Over the past several months, the Creighton survey has registered the most consistent and strongest growth in farmland prices since the survey was launched in 2006.

Farm equipment sales:
The April farm equipment-sales index declined to 67.6 from 72.2 in March. This was the 17th straight month that the index has advanced above growth neutral. Readings over the past several months are the strongest string of monthly readings recorded since the beginning of the survey in 2006.

More than 9 of 10 bankers, or 91.7%, expect the Federal Reserve interest rate setting committee to raise short-term interest rates by one-half of one percentage point at its next meeting on May 3-4.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for April increased to 62.9 from March’s 62.3. The state’s farmland-price index fell to 62.2 from last month’s 78.2. Nebraska’s new-hiring index rose to 66.5 from 63.5 in March. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that over the last 12 months, Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet has experienced a solid 3.5% gain in nonfarm employment (non-seasonally adjusted) compared to a lower expansion of 2.1% for urban areas of the state.  

Iowa: The April RMI for Iowa rose to 53.4 from 52.0 in March. Iowa’s farmland-price index declined to 78.5 from March’s 80.3. Iowa’s new-hiring index for April climbed to 62.1 from 59.6 in March. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that over the last 12 months, Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet has experienced a solid 1.9% gain in nonfarm employment
(non-seasonally adjusted) compared to a higher expansion of 2.3% for urban areas of the state.

The survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It provides the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey and launched it in January 2006.

 New Polling Data Shows Nebraska Voters Overwhelmingly Support Voluntary Conservation Programs and America the Beautiful Goals

Nebraska Farmers Union was joined today by leaders from three conservation organizations to release the findings of a new public opinion poll that shows overwhelming support from Nebraska voters for conservation programs, including the national goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

The poll conducted by the Republican polling firm New Bridge Strategy found that more than three-quarters of Nebraska voters support the “America the Beautiful” initiative, a national effort that has set a goal to conserve 30 percent of land and waters in the U.S. by the year 2030 (30x30). Majorities across all parties support the national 30x30 targets, including 64 percent support among Nebraska Republicans, 90 percent support among Democrats, and 88 percent support among Independents.

The poll found a strong majority (62 percent) of Nebraska voters think that the 30x30 America the Beautiful goal would be “good for Nebraska,” 18 percent thought it would “have little impact on Nebraska,” and only 16 percent said it would “be bad for Nebraska.”

President Biden’s aspirational Executive Order setting national 30x30 conservation goals utilizing local input and voluntary conservation programs has become a partisan target of land conservation opponents and some elected public officials.  The Biden Administration has renamed the 30x30 initiative the “America the Beautiful” initiative.

The Biden administration has described the initiative as a “decade-long effort to support locally led and voluntary conservation and restoration efforts.” In Nebraska, this includes traditional and highly used federal conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), among others.


New Bridge Strategy conducted the survey of 501 registered voters throughout Nebraska from April 8-13, 2022. Interviews were conducted via live telephone interviews and online, with interviews distributed proportionally throughout the state and quotas set for key demographic sub-groups, such as gender and age. Click through for the full survey and PowerPoint presentation with demographic breakouts.

The poll finds that Nebraska voters across the political spectrum – and across the state from Omaha to Scottsbluff – are broadly supportive of conservation programs that are the foundation of the “America the Beautiful” initiative.
    85 percent of Nebraska voters believe more needs to be done to protect land, water, and wildlife habitat here in the state. Over one-third believe “a lot” more needs doing.
    97 percent say that conserving working farms and ranches is important to them, in part because 98 percent say it is important to conserve land in Nebraska to protect and encourage local food production.
    97 percent say that conserving wildlife habitat is important to them, with 75 percent saying it is extremely important.
    Nearly all Nebraska voters—95 percent—support allowing landowners to utilize voluntary conservation programs on their property, enabling them to keep farms and ranches in agricultural use or as wildlife habitat into the future.
    89 percent say that landowners have the right to make permanent decisions about the use of their land, including 94 percent of Republicans.
    90 percent would encourage the governor to support these voluntary conservation programs that conserve land as working farms and ranches or wildlife habitat for future generations.

John Hansen, President, Nebraska Farmers Union.
“Nebraska farmers and ranchers have enthusiastically embraced and used voluntary federal conservation programs since they were first created in response to the 1930’s Dust Bowl. They trust and utilize traditional voluntary conservation programs to protect our precious soil and water resources on our working lands for future generations.  They also use these programs to protect many of our state’s privately owned sensitive and unique environmental areas.

Nebraska is one of our nation’s largest users of federal conservation programs, and thanks to our state’s unique system of Natural Resource Districts, also a national leader in state conservation program utilization. Our statewide poll shows Nebraskans overwhelmingly support voluntary conservation programs, and landowner driven decision making over the future use of their lands.  Nebraska’s agricultural interests are best served by having a seat at the national conservation issues table, not peddling misinformation about the voluntary nature of federal conservation programs.”

Upcoming UNL-CAP Webinars

Implications of Avian Influenza: Markets, Poultry Wellbeing, and Biosecurity
April 28 at Noon CT
This webinar will discuss the current state of affairs with High Pathogenic Avian Influenza and what this means for poultry health and biosecurity. It will cover lessons learned from the 2015 and 2002 outbreaks of Avian Influenza and discuss some of those economic impacts. It will also address protection and impacts when it comes to backyard flocks.

Managing Through Drought with USDA Conservation and Assistance Programs
May 12 at Noon CT
Drought conditions persist across much of the country and both livestock and crop producers face losses and continuing challenges for their operations. This webinar will cover USDA emergency assistance programs to help producers cope with losses as well as on-going conservation programs to help producers prepare for and manage through drought.

Details and registration can be found at

Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund is Now Accepting Monetary Donations for Road 739 Fire

In an effort to help beef cattle producers impacted by the Road 739 Fire, leadership of the Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund activated the disaster relief account and are now accepting monetary donations until May 31, 2022.

The Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization and donations made to the Disaster Relief Fund may be tax deductible – a receipt will be sent upon deposit of funds. If you choose to donate, please consult your tax advisor for final determination.

Funds will only be distributed to producers who experienced property loss or damage in areas where a state of emergency was declared by the Nebraska Governor. Further, money donated to the fund can only be used for the current Road 739 Fire and NOT for future disasters.

If you would like to learn more about ways to help beef cattle producers recovering from the Road 739 Fire, please visit

For those needing to apply for disaster relief, applications will be made available soon and an announcement will be made when the application period opens. Membership in Nebraska Cattlemen is NOT required for future applicants to receive relief.

Individuals who would like to learn more about other ways to help beef cattle producers recovering from the Road 739 Fire, please visit

For any questions, please contact the Nebraska Cattlemen office at (402) 475-2333 or email

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Nebraska Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought, Wildfires

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help Nebraska farmers and livestock producers across the state recover from recent wildfires and ongoing drought. Producers impacted by these events should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.

USDA Disaster Assistance for Drought and Wildfire Recovery

Producers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality due to wildfires may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). To participate in LIP, producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides eligible producers with compensation for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.  For drought-impacted areas, ELAP also covers above normal costs to transport feed and water to livestock or haul livestock to forage or other grazing acres. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.

Livestock producers may also be eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2022 grazing losses due to drought when grazing land or pastureland is physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 intensity for eight consecutive weeks, D3 drought intensity or greater. FSA maintains a list of counties eligible for LFP and makes updates each Thursday.

Additionally, eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost during the wildfires or drought. This complements Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.

“When you are at a time and place where you can safely assess the wildfire impact or ongoing drought on your operation, be sure to contact your local FSA office to timely report all crop, livestock and farm infrastructure damages and losses,” said John Berge, State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska. “To accelerate the FSA disaster assistance process, please be prepared to provide important documents, such as farm records, herd inventory, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.”

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs. Additionally, FSA has a variety of loan servicing options available for borrowers who are unable to make scheduled payments on their farm loan debt to FSA because of reasons beyond their control.


Outside of the primary nesting season, emergency and non-emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres may be authorized to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disasters. Producers interested in haying or grazing of CRP acres should contact their county FSA office to determine eligibility.

The Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program can assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance for replacing or restoring fences as well as removing debris from farmland. FSA provides cost-share payments of up to 75% of the cost to implement approved restoration practices, and up to 90% for producers who certify as limited resource, socially disadvantaged or beginning farmers or ranchers. ECP sign-up periods will be announced by county, but producers can submit applications before signup begins.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is always available to provide technical assistance in the recovery process by assisting producers with planning and implementing conservation practices on farms, ranches and working forests impacted by natural disasters. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) can assist with financial incentive payments to implement conservation practices addressing natural resource concerns. Long-term damage from wildfires includes forage production loss in pastures and fields and increased wind erosion on crop fields not protected with soil health practices. NRCS provides payments for cover crops to re-establish cover on cropland fields and payments to defer grazing on pasture and range fields.  Producers should visit their local USDA Service Center to learn more about these impacts, potential recovery tactics and how to take steps to make their land more resilient to drought in the future.

“At USDA, we serve as a partner to help landowners with their resiliency and recovery efforts,” said Robert Lawson, State Conservationist for NRCS in Nebraska. “Our staff will work one-on-one with landowners to make assessments of the damages and develop methods that focus on effective recovery of the land.”

Assistance for Communities

Additional NRCS programs include the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program, which provides assistance to local government sponsors with the cost of addressing watershed impairments or hazards such as damaged upland sites stripped of vegetation by wildfire, debris removal and streambank stabilization.  

Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, any federally recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization and Natural Resources Districts. Sponsors must submit a formal request (via mail or email) to the state conservationist for assistance within 60 days of the natural disaster occurrence or 60 days from the date when access to the sites become available. For more information, producers should contact their local NRCS office.

“EWP provides immediate assistance to communities to mitigate potential hazards to life and property resulting from the fires and particularly the severe erosion and flooding that can occur after the fire,” Lawson said. “We can work with a local sponsor to help a damaged watershed so that lives and property are protected while preventing further devastation in the community.”  

In addition to EWP, Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) is another valuable service that NRCS can provide following a wildfire. NRCS technical assistance can help fire victims with planning cost-effective post fire restoration practices.  

Risk Management

Producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s NAP should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office. If they have crop insurance, producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. For NAP covered crops, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.

“Our crop insurance coverage can help producers manage risk because we never know when a natural disaster will strike,” said Collin Olsen, Director of RMA’s Regional Office that covers Nebraska. “The Approved Insurance Providers, loss adjusters and agents are experienced and well trained in handling these types of events.”

Nebraska Gas Station Retailers to Receive Credit for Selling Environmentally Friendly Fuel

Just a week after the Biden administration’s decision to expand availability of a higher ethanol blend of fuel called E15, Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill that will provide incentives to retailers who sell it. LB596, a bill combined with LB1261e, allows for a credit of 5 cents on each gallon of E15 sold and 8 cents per gallon of E25 or higher blends sold - making ethanol more affordable for retailers who are helping keep fuel prices down for its patrons. Retailers can apply to the Nebraska Department of Revenue for the credits.  

“At the retail level, very simply put, E15 is better fuel and it costs less,” said Randy Gard, chief operating officer of Bosselman Enterprises and secretary of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We are excited about the passing of LB596 and what it can do for our customers. If you are a retailer, there is now nothing standing in your way today to make the transition from E10, the standard fuel most people use today, to joining this mass conversion to E15. There are incentives with LB596, there’s consumer demand, there are certainly price pressures, and increased availability at the terminals. This is a win for everybody…retailers, legislators, farmers and ranchers, and especially users of ethanol who support Nebraska’s economy, help the environment, and save money every time they fill up.”

Bosselman Enterprises, located in Grand Island, was an early adopter of E15 at many of its Pump and Pantry locations across the state. They continue to see double digit sales growth for E15 every year.

Interested in selling high ethanol blends?

If you are considering selling higher blends of ethanol and need more information, reach out to the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit the resources tab at

E15, a blend of gasoline and 15% ethanol, is safe and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use in vehicles 2001 or newer, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).

Nine out of 10 of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today are approved by their manufacturer to run on E15.  E15 has both a higher-octane rating and costs less than regular unleaded due to its higher ethanol content. This gives retailers a lower-priced, higher-octane fuel to post on the price sign to attract consumers.

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.

Funding for infrastructure is also available. Find details at

Who can use ethanol?

Everybody! More than 98% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol, typically E10, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Because of ethanol blended into our fuel stock, consumers who use ethanol already save $.40 to $.60 per gallon as compared to fuel containing no ethanol. E15 can save consumers around an additional $.10 per gallon.

Ethanol, which is made from inedible field corn, is non-toxic and provides the octane boost engines need while displacing harmful aromatics and reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death. The higher the blend used, the lower the toxins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% compared to gasoline.

“We need to raise the bar and set the standard for clean fuels for generations to come,” said Senator Joni Albrecht at the bill signing April 19. Albrecht is just one of several Nebraska lawmakers, championing the effort to make ethanol more widely available. “If consumers are given a choice, they will choose a higher blend of ethanol that is of lower cost and better for the air. Only 10% of Nebraska’s fuel stations offer higher blends of ethanol, but reinvesting in our state’s fuel infrastructure through this tax credit will result in a huge win for Nebraska.”

Federal legislation has also been introduced to ensure higher blends of ethanol are available year-round. The Next Generation Fuels Act (NGFA) has bi-partisan support including all of Nebraska’s House delegation. The NGFA would give immediate access to E15 across the country and provide the framework for adoption of using even higher ethanol fuels in conventional vehicles.

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 realize ethanol’s economic benefits.

RFA Welcomes GreenAmerica Biofuels Ord as Newest Producer Member

The Renewable Fuels Association is proud to announce that GreenAmerica Biofuels Ord LLC has joined the organization as its newest producer member.

Located in Ord, Neb., the plant produces and supplies more than 60 million gallons of ethanol to America’s fuel supply chain every year. GreenAmerica Biofuels Ord is a wholly owned subsidiary of a privately held energy company that has been operating for over 50 years in fuel distribution across North America. The company is committed to delivering sustainable solutions that support the decarbonization of the fuel supply chain.

“We are pleased to welcome the GreenAmerica Biofuels team to RFA’s membership,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and decarbonization aligns perfectly with our association’s values and mission. We are excited to work closely with GreenAmerica Biofuels and the rest of our members to continue expanding the global market for lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel options like E15.”

“RFA’s leadership in the biofuel sector is unparalleled and we’re proud to become members,” said Eric Fobes, head trader for GreenAmerica Biofuels Ord and the company’s representative on the RFA Board of Directors. “The RFA’s efforts have enabled more choices at the pump for American consumers, providing alternative biofuels that are lower-cost, domestically produced and better for the environment. We look forward to engaging with our fellow members and helping move the renewable fuels industry forward.”

Record High Beef Production in March

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.98 billion pounds in March, down 1 percent from the 5.05 billion pounds produced in March 2021.

Beef production, at 2.51 billion pounds, was 1 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 3.01 million head, up slightly from March 2021. The average live weight was up 12 pounds from the previous year, at 1,384 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.9 million pounds, 1 percent above March a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 32,600 head, up 3 percent from March 2021. The average live weight was down 6 pounds from last year, at 261 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.46 billion pounds, down 4 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.2 million head, down 4 percent from March 2021. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 293 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.3 million pounds, was down 12 percent from March 2021. Sheep slaughter totaled 187,300 head, 13 percent below last year. The average live weight was 130 pounds, unchanged from March a year ago.

By State:      (million lbs.  -  % March '21)

Nebraska ......:         699.9            101       
Iowa .............:         777.6             99       
Kansas ..........:         530.2             97       

January to March 2022 commercial red meat production was 14.0 billion pounds, down 2 percent from 2021. Accumulated beef production was up 2 percent from last year, veal was down 3 percent, pork was down 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 11 percent.


All layers in Nebraska during March 2022 totaled 8.49 million, up from 8.31 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during March totaled 213 million eggs, up from 210 million in 2021. March egg production per 100 layers was 2,515 eggs, compared to 2,526 eggs in 2021.

Iowa egg production during March 2022 was 1.04 billion eggs, down 3 percent from last month and down 17 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during March 2022 was 40.1 million, down 13 percent from last month and down 17 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for March were 2,589, up 12 percent from last month and up slightly from last March.

March Egg Production Down 1 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.39 billion during March 2022, down 1 percent from last year. Production included 8.03 billion table eggs, and 1.37 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.27 billion were broiler-type and 97.2 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during March 2022 totaled 381 million, down 3 percent from last year. March egg production per 100 layers was 2,467 eggs, up 3 percent from March 2021.
Total layers in the United States on April 1, 2022 totaled 373 million, down 5 percent from last year. The 373 million layers consisted of 305 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 63.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.70 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on April 1, 2022, averaged 80.1 eggs per 100 layers, up 3 percent from April 1, 2021.

IDALS, APHIS Confirm Additional Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Bremer County, Iowa

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Bremer County, Iowa. The virus was found in a commercial turkey flock.

“While this is our first detection of HPAI in Iowa in the last two weeks, we have continued to take the threat of this virus seriously and encourage producers to remain alert,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “Our Department, USDA, farmers and industry stakeholders have and will continue to focus on exercising preparedness and response plans to protect Iowa’s livestock and agriculture-based economy.”   

Flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual deaths to state/federal officials. Biosecurity resources and best practices are available at If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. It remains safe to eat poultry products. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

U.S. farmers and ranchers lead on sustainability

U.S. farmers’ and ranchers’ world-leading sustainability efforts, including the U.S. beef community’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2040, the U.S. pork community’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2030, and the U.S. dairy community’s commitment to achieve GHG neutrality by 2050, are among the significant contributions highlighted in the most recent edition of the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s Sustainability Impact Report.

Released in advance of Earth Day, the report provides the latest data on the nutritional benefits of meat, milk, poultry, and eggs and details U.S. animal agriculture’s achievements in modern environmental stewardship, animal care, judicious antibiotic use, and food safety. These achievements contribute to reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Less than 2% of Americans work on the farms and ranches that produce food options eaten in nearly all American households (for example, 98% of American households purchase meat).  U.S. farmers’ and ranchers’ world-leading modern practices allow them to produce more food today using fewer resources than at any time in the past, serving as a global benchmark for efficiency.

“Farming and ranching provide the food, fuel and fiber that millions of families around the world depend on,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Alliance vice president, strategic engagement and incoming president and CEO. “This Earth Day, we are taking stock of the animal agriculture community’s remarkable sustainability achievements and our ambitious commitments for the future. The Sustainability Impact Report clearly demonstrates the unique nutrition and food security benefits of meat, milk, poultry, and eggs and the success of efforts to continuously improve animal agriculture’s contributions to a healthy environment.”

Report highlights include:
    Nutrient-dense animal proteins are low-calorie and critical sources of essential nutrients. One 3-ounce serving of lean beef takes up less than 10% of a healthy daily calorie allowance while delivering half the daily protein recommended for adults.
    The U.S. dairy community supplies the protein requirements of more than half the U.S. population and the calcium requirements of 77% of Americans.
    The U.S. pork community reduced land use by 76% and water use by 25% from 1960 to 2015, producing more pork today with a smaller carbon footprint per pound.

Furthering these contributions and achievements, the Animal Agriculture Alliance and organizations across animal agriculture also partner through the Protein PACT, the largest-ever effort to strengthen animal protein’s contributions to healthy people, healthy animals, healthy communities, and a healthy environment.

For more information, including resources and to read the full report, click here

USDA Seeks Nominees for the American Lamb Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominees for the American Lamb Board (Lamb Board) to succeed four members with terms that expire in February 2023. Nominations are needed to succeed members that include one producer with 100 or less lambs, one producer with more than 500 lambs, one feeder at-large, and one first handler. The deadline for nominations is June 9, 2022.

Any U.S. producer, feeder, or first handler who owns or purchases lambs may be considered for nomination. To satisfy the requirements of the Lamb Promotion and Research Order, the producers with 100 or less lambs or the producers with more than 500 lambs can be from either of the Lamb Board’s two Regions: the designated area east of the Mississippi River or the area designed west of the Mississippi River. The at-large feeder nominees must be from Region 1: the designated area east of the Mississippi River. Producers, feeders, or first handler must be nominated by certified nominating organizations and submit a completed application. The Secretary of Agriculture will select individuals from the nominations submitted.

The 13-member Lamb Board was established to maintain and expand the market for sheep and sheep products. A list of certified nominating organizations, the nomination form and information about the Lamb Board are available on the AMS American Lamb Board webpage and on the boards website, For more information, contact Barbara Josselyn at (202) 713-6918 or

NEPA Changes Signal Return to Outdated, Cumbersome Regulations

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the final phase 1 revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“AFBF is disappointed that the Biden administration has decided to reverse commonsense reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Farmers and ranchers share the goal of caring for the natural resources they’ve been entrusted with and were pleased that the updated 2020 regulations allowed them to protect the environment while meeting the demands of a growing nation.

“Continued challenges from the pandemic, supply chain issues and the drought in the West are impacting farmers, ranchers and the American public in the form of increased food and fuel prices. The situation will now be made worse by the return to a slow and cumbersome NEPA review process that, in many cases, takes years to complete.

“President Biden has also made improving the nation’s infrastructure a priority, and a modernized NEPA review process would help deliver projects to communities across the country. Safe roads, waterways and railways and expanded rural broadband access are crucial to the success of rural America. Those, too, are now at risk because of outdated regulations.

“We urge the administration to stop moving backward and keep focused on working with farmers and ranchers to advance sound, science-based and practical conservation goals that protect our resources while creating opportunities for agriculture as well as every sector of the economy.”

Ethanol Holds Untapped Potential In Southeast Asia

Ethanol is increasingly capturing the interest of buyers and policymakers across Southeast Asia and Oceania (SEA) amid growing environmental awareness. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) sees Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia as high-opportunity markets where focused development programs can help unlock value for expanding global ethanol use.

The Council’s SEA office has compiled a market research document that reviews ethanol’s market potential, market development efforts to date, the current market situation and what the future may hold in the region. A preview of that information can be found below, with a link to the full document at the end.

Indonesia is an archipelagic country of 275 million people and Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The country consumes close to 10 billion gallons of gasoline per year and could be primed to surpass 11 billion gallons annually by 2025 on the back of the global economic recovery. The Council’s current priority in Indonesia is to see an increase in the country’s blend rate to nearly 10 percent in addition to advocating for a pilot program in the East Java region.

Vietnam is another case of immense potential for expanded ethanol use. Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy consumes close to three billion gallons of gasoline annually, with demand expected to grow 16 percent over the next five years. Vietnam’s gasoline consumption will grow and will carry with it a need to reduce fuel costs for its growing middle class and meet commitments to emissions reduction. The Council has worked in recent years to demonstrate the value of reducing tariffs on fuel ethanol in the market. Moreover, the Council strengthened its relationship with key regulators after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to establish a close partnership in the field of ethanol policy through technical assistance.

“Vietnam has proven itself as a willing and able trade partner. We maintain a high level of cooperation on multiple levels to achieve mutually beneficial trade and environmental goals,” said Kent Yeo, USGC regional ethanol consultant in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines
The Philippines, Southeast Asia’s second-largest country by population, consumes over 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline per year and blends at 10 percent. The Council’s work there is a demonstration of how the Philippines can meet its higher blend goals by highlighting the environmental policy and demonstrating value to the local industry.

Malaysia’s gasoline consumption before the pandemic was growing at three percent per year, and total consumption is forecast to surpass five billion gallons per year by 2024. Despite being a mature gasoline market in Southeast Asia, use and knowledge of fuel ethanol is limited, providing the Council an opportunity to offer information on and assistance with the commercial and environmental benefits of transitioning to using ethanol.

With travel restrictions loosening across Southeast Asia for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council’s regional team is preparing to visit key ethanol markets in the coming months to further implement and execute market development activities.

“We have assembled a strong team in Southeast Asia to develop the market for ethanol in the region. With new faces alongside familiar Council teammates, we are positioned to accelerate our policy efforts in key markets,” said Caleb Wurth, USGC Southeast Asia and Oceania regional director. “We are changing our targets to match opportunities in front of us. With our regional strategy, we hope to deliver long lasting, sustainable partnerships between USGC members and Southeast Asia and Oceania.”

Five Tips for Tackling Soybean Weeds

When managing weeds in soybean fields, you need a game plan encompassing the current and coming season, says Brian Weihmeir, an agronomist with LG Seeds in south-central Illinois.

That plan should also go beyond soybeans. In the Midwest where a corn/soybean rotation is common, Weihmeir emphasizes growers need to keep their corn fields clean or risk an uphill battle the following season.

Tip #1: Overlap residuals to prevent weed emergence
Weihmeir says there’s a need for a mentality shift regarding soybean weed management timing. The easiest way to keep weeds at bay is to prevent them from emerging via overlapping residuals, he says.

“Make sure you’re putting down a good pre-emergent herbicide with residual and then come back for post-application residual herbicide to take us all the way to crop canopy,” he says. Pre-emergence spraying should happen as close to planting as possible.

Tip #2: Quick canopy can keep weeds from germinating
The next major focus is keeping weeds from germinating, and that hinges on getting a quick canopy, according to Weihmeir. That should influence farmers’ row spacing and seed selections.

“Talk to your seed provider about finding the right soybeans for your farm,” he says. “If you have a light field, for example, make sure you’re talking to your seed provider about getting a soybean that gets a little bit taller and bushier so we can close the rows quicker.”

Tip #3: Walk fields and identify weeds
Palmer amaranth and waterhemp cause Midwest soybean farmers the most trouble. “They can grow an inch per day, so you might walk out in the field and hardly see anything and then come back three days later and they’re ankle-tall and we’re too late,” warns Weihmeir. Farmers need to scout fields and take a proactive approach to herbicide application.

“Pick several random areas within each field to scout and identify weeds,” Weihmeir recommends. He says farmers should also make note of weed height and be ready to tweak herbicide plans if unexpected weeds like grasses or cocklebur appear.

Tip #4: Switch up modes of action
It’s important to vary what herbicides you’re using on both corn and soybeans to stay ahead of herbicide resistance, according to Weihmeir.

“LG Seeds offers different trait offerings like Xtend®, XtendFlex®, Enlist E3® and conventional to give growers choices based on what works best for them,” Weihmeir says, adding, “We’re very fortunate to help the grower by giving them those choices.”

This season’s supply issues could force some producers to change herbicides more than they otherwise would. It’s important to know your options if your preferred herbicide isn’t available, Weihmeir says, offering this example: “If you’re planting Enlist E3® soybeans and can’t get Liberty® herbicide, know that you can also use 2,4-D or Roundup®.”

Tip #5: Cover crops can suppress weeds
Producers using limited or no-till might find themselves more reliant on herbicides for soybean weed control. “That’s where cover crops come in,” says Weihmeir.

“Growers utilizing cover crops have been able to control some of our winter annuals like marestail and chickweed. Once cover crops are established, they can outcompete winter annuals. When cover crops are terminated in the spring, they also leave a nice mat that helps suppress weeds during the growing season,” he explains.

“One positive about this situation is it’s pushing farmers to look at their system a little bit closer, ask more questions and start thinking outside the box,” Weihmeir says. “At LG Seeds, we give farmers the choices and support they need to make those weed management decisions.”

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