Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Tuesday April 12 E15 Announcement + Ag News

 Nebraska Corn supportive of E15 waiver, further actions to lower pump prices

The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA), collectively known as Nebraska Corn, are thankful U.S. drivers will have continued access to E15. Today President Joe Biden announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would issue a national, emergency waiver to allow the fuel to be sold this summer. Without the waiver, retailers would’ve been unable to sell E15 from June 1 through Sept. 15 across most of the country.

“This action offers immediate and substantial price relief to American consumers,” said Jay Reiners, chairman of NCB and farmer from Juniata, “but we need continued and fair access to E15 at the pump. We urge EPA to modify the existing E15 warning label and explore all options for permanent, year-round E15 use.”

The White House noted in a press release it would consider modifications to E15 fuel pump labeling, currently an orange and black sticker that denotes a higher ethanol content. The EPA has said E15 is safe in vehicles 2001 and newer, the overwhelming majority of cars on the road today. E15 is consistently priced well below regular gas.

Without federal legislation, E15 would require another waiver next year to be sold during the 2023 summer months.

“This illustrates why we’ve advocated strongly for the Next Generation Fuels Act (NGFA),” said Andy Jobman, president of NeCGA and farmer from Gothenburg. “The NGFA would provide immediate access to E15 across the country and put us on a path to E25, a much cleaner and more sustainable fuel.”

The NGFA has been introduced in the House and has bi-partisan support including all of Nebraska’s House delegation.

Fischer Statement on Biden E15 Announcement

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Joe Biden plans to announce he will allow the sale of E15 during the summer:

“I have long led the push for the sale of year round E15 because it will help lower prices for families at the gas pump. If President Biden is serious about driving down costs for Americans, he should allow the sale of E15 during the summer, throughout the energy crisis and beyond. Doing so would be good for families, the environment, and rural America.”

Senator Fischer is the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The bill would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent. It would increase market access and continue to allow retailers across the country to sell E15 and other higher-ethanol fuel blends year round, eliminating confusion at the pump.


Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02) today released the following statement after President Biden made the announcement to extend the availability of higher biofuel blends of gasoline during the summer to curb soaring fuel costs and to cut reliance on foreign energy sources:

“President Biden’s announcement on the sale of E15 this summer is a win for Nebraska farmers and is a step in the right direction for energy independence. We have long wanted the President to do this. The President should go one step further and make this permanent. Most Americans want energy independence by using an “all of the above approach” and using our innovation. Biofuels is one of the tools we need. Energy independence strengthens our national security and increases prosperity.”

Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Regarding Announcement of Summer Sale of E-15 Fuel Blend

“Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) appreciates President Biden’s decision to expand the use of E-15 ethanol blends through the summer. As Nebraska families continue to pay substantially more to fill their tanks than even a few months ago, this decision will help bring down fuel costs for families and help us continue to produce more home-grown fuel.”

“NEFB has been a longtime supporter of our nation’s biofuels industry. We look forward to even more potential growth in an environmentally sustainable industry in order to ensure money is not being put into the pockets of some of the world’s most volatile and unfriendly countries. Now is the time for our nation to continue to advance energy policy that focuses on home-grown fuel sources that keeps America energy independent and provides an economic boost to rural communities.”

Iowa Corn Applauds President Biden Action of E15 Access for Summer 2022

Today, President Biden will announce that his administration has removed the summertime barriers for E15; biofuels are both an energy solution, as well as a solution for high fuel prices. E15 is the most affordable, climate friendly fuel on the market, right now, that can provide relief at the pump for all drivers. Due to high fuel prices from Russia’s war against Ukraine, President Biden announced that the EPA will use emergency authority under the Clean Air Act to remove the outdated Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) restrictions on gasoline for June 1 to September 15, 2022.  

“Farmers are proud to be called upon to be part of the solution for consumers to have access to homegrown, clean-burning and more affordable E15,” said Lance Lillibridge, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Vinton. “We thank the Biden Administration for removing barriers for E15 to have access to the marketplace throughout the summer of 2022. Biofuels are climate-friendly fuels. E15 can be used to fuel over ninety-seven percent of vehicles on the road today, as well as save drivers real money at the pump.”  

E15 is a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol and is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles. Outdated RVP regulations restrict fuel retailers’ ability to market E15 during the peak driving season. Today’s emergency authority is not a permanent fix to allow drivers access to E15 year-round, but it will break down the barriers for this summer.  

“We thank the President for providing homegrown E15 access to the summer marketplace for 2022 and look forward to working with the Administration on solutions to restore E15 beyond this year,” shared Lillibridge.  

IFBF applauds Biden Administration's action on E15 waiver

Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson

“Iowa Farm Bureau members applaud President Biden’s announcement today lifting restrictions on E15 fuel for the 2022 summer driving season.  Sales of higher blended ethanol will provide consumers a cleaner, lower-cost option at the gas pump throughout the summer, and Iowa farmers are ready to meet the increased demand to help drive down fuel costs.

"With retail gas prices surging to record levels, biofuels provide a homegrown option to help drive down the rising costs.   As the nation’s leading producer of both ethanol and biodiesel, the biofuels industry in Iowa alone supports more than 46,000 jobs, predominately in rural communities, and the industry accounts for over $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP.  

"Iowa Farm Bureau members appreciate the bipartisan support from our entire federal delegation for their efforts encouraging the Biden Administration to make this important change that will benefit all Iowans.”

Secretary Mike Naig Comments on Federal E15 Waiver

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement today in response to President Biden’s planned announcement of a federal waiver allowing year-round sales of E15. This announcement comes after a July 2021 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision reversing the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2019 rule allowing year-round access.  

“Today’s announcement by President Biden is a step in the right direction, but it’s long overdue and needs to be permanent. Iowans have been asking the administration to allow year-round sales of E15 long before fuel prices spiked, yet the President has prioritized electric vehicles powered by Chinese-built batteries,” said Secretary Naig. “Renewable fuels have a multitude of benefits for our state and help our country re-establish energy independence. Year-round access to E15 means stronger markets for Iowa’s farm families, more jobs in rural communities, cleaner burning, lower-cost fuels for consumers and less dependence on foreign energy. It is a win for Iowans and Iowa agriculture.”  

Biden Move to Allow E15 Summer Sales is Win for Motorists, Energy Security and Farmers

Today prior to visiting an ethanol plant in Menlo, Iowa, President Joe Biden announced he is using his emergency powers during this time of international crisis and high gas prices to ease summertime restrictions on E15 for 2022.
“With high fuel prices and energy security at the forefront of Americans’ minds, allowing nationwide sales of E15 is the single most important step the President is empowered to take to keep fuel costs down this summer while also promoting American-made energy, and we applaud President Biden for taking it,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “It would have made no sense during this time of oil embargoes and high gasoline prices to let ridiculous and unnecessary restrictions on E15 force thousands of Iowans and millions of Americans to pay higher fuel prices. E15 can now continue to bring relief at the pump throughout 2022.”
E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88, is available at over 250 Iowa fuel stations and typically sells for 10 to 30 cents less per gallon than E10. Without this action by the Biden Administration, the tighter volatility restrictions for E15 compared to E10 would have made it difficult for retailers to continue to offer the lower-priced, lower-emission E15 beginning on June 1.
“We thank President Biden for listening to the united voice of motorists, retailers, farmers and ethanol producers,” stated Shaw. “We would be remiss if we didn’t also recognize the hard work of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, and all members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation who worked on a bipartisan basis to encourage the President to take this step.”

Corn Growers Thank President Biden for Counting on Biofuels to Lower Costs, Boost Energy Independence

President Biden announced today that his administration would use existing authority to prevent drivers from losing access to lower-cost and lower-emission E15, a higher ethanol blend often marketed as Unleaded 88.

The president made the announcement at a POET ethanol production facility in Menlo, Iowa, and NCGA President Chris Edgington participated in the event.

“Corn growers thank President Biden for ensuring drivers continue to have access to a lower-cost fuel choice and acknowledging how renewable ethanol helps reduce prices, lower emissions and improve our nation’s energy security,” said Edgington. “Farmers are proud to contribute to cleaner, less expensive fuel choices.”

A 2021 court decision resulting from oil industry efforts to limit the growth of higher ethanol blends was set to end full-market access for E15 beginning this summer, absent action from the Biden administration or Congress.
With a host of factors driving up gas prices, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NCGA and farmer leaders across the country asked the president to extend the use of E15 to hold down prices at the pump. Farmers also asked their Members of Congress to support the continued availability of E15, sending them thousands of messages in recent weeks and backing bipartisan Senate and House advocacy for the action announced today.

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 where E15 is available.

Ethanol adds billions of gallons to the U.S. fuel supply every year, lowering demand for high-cost oil while increasing the total fuel available to consumers. Corn farmers’ increased productivity and efficiency have resulted in higher yields, using fewer resources to meet food, feed and fuel needs to help keep prices down.

Moreover, allowing continued E15 sales through the summer keeps a lower-emission fuel in the marketplace. E15 has lower volatility than regular fuel, which is a 10% ethanol blend, and using E15 results in lower evaporative and exhaust emissions, important during the summer driving season.

Farmers stand ready to continue working with President Biden, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Congress on energy and environmental solutions that ethanol provides, Edgington said.

NFU Supports President Biden's Approval of Year-Round E15, Regulatory Pathways for Canola

During a visit to Iowa this afternoon, President Biden announced an emergency waiver allowing year-round E15 sales, intended to provide economic savings for consumers and a boost for America’s corn farmers and rural communities. Additionally, the Administration outlined new provisions including proposed regulatory pathways for the use of canola in renewable diesel.

National Farmers Union (NFU) has long advocated for the increased use of biofuels based on economic and environmental benefits. NFU supports the decision as an immediate way for the administration to provide relief at the gas pump and increase America’s energy independence, while noting use of higher-level blends of ethanol, like E30, would add additional benefits to the economy, the environment, and America’s farmers.

"It is widely accepted that ethanol provides an affordable, abundant, and renewable source of high octane, low carbon motor fuel. What hasn’t been widely discussed is the fact that more ethanol means less reliance on foreign oil. As we increase the volume of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply, we would minimize the negative impact felt by changes in the oil markets. This is both good for our environment and for American wallets," said NFU President Rob Larew.

"Using higher level blends of ethanol would be a straightforward solution to address the increasingly dire situation. These actions would ease the impact of importation bans and other market disruptions while providing substantial environmental benefits and financial support to America’s rural communities," added Larew.

"Farmers need regulatory certainty to expand canola production, remove any distortions in the market for canola oil, and make additional investments in processing," said Larew. "These announcements provide much-needed market alternatives and economic stability to America’s farming and rural communities."

Biden-Harris Administration, Department of Agriculture Announce Efforts to Enable Energy Independence by Boosting Homegrown Biofuels

On Tuesday, April 12, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced steps the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking to implement President Biden’s plan to enable energy independence by boosting homegrown biofuels.

“President Biden understands that by expanding our ability to meet our energy needs with homegrown biofuels, we can ensure a more reliable and affordable source of fuel for American consumers, while supporting American agriculture and sustainable, domestic energy production, creating good-paying jobs, and generating economic opportunities, especially in rural and farm communities,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The President’s announcement today builds on his bold actions to reduce energy prices and tackle rising consumer prices caused by Putin’s Price Hike by tapping into a strong and bright future for the biofuel industry, in cars and trucks and the rail, marine, and aviation sectors and supporting use of E15 fuel this summer. In the short term, American families will experience relief from rising fuel prices and in the long-term, our country can continue to realize energy independence made possible by American agriculture and manufacturing.”

USDA is making the following investments as part of the plan outlined today by President Biden:
-    $5.6 million for Infrastructure for Renewable Fuels through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program: Today, USDA is announcing funding in 7 states to build infrastructure to expand the availability of higher-blend renewable fuels by approximately 59.5 million gallons per year. States included in this investment are California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota. These investments will give consumers more environmentally friendly, and oftentimes more affordable fuel choices when they fill up at the pump.
-    For example, in Illinois, Power Mart Express Corp., DBA PME, is receiving a $2.9 million grant to increase ethanol sales by 17.5 million gallons per year. This project will replace 293 dispensers and 30 storage tanks at 15 fueling stations in Chicago, Maywood, Cicero, Des Plaines, and Wilmington.
-    $700 Million for Biofuels Producers: As part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, USDA is providing up to $700 million in funding through a new Biofuel Producer Program. The Program will support agricultural producers that rely on biofuels producers as a market for their agricultural products. By making payments to producers of biofuels, the funding will help maintain a viable and significant market for such agricultural products. Producers can expect awards before the end of April.
-    $100 Million for Biofuels Infrastructure: USDA announced $100 million in new funding for grants for biofuels infrastructure to make it easier for gas stations to sell and to significantly increase the use of higher blends of bioethanol and biodiesel at the pump. The funding will provide grants to refueling and distribution facilities for the cost of installation, retrofitting or otherwise upgrading of infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends of E15 and greater or fuel containing biodiesel blends B-20 and greater. USDA will also make funding available to support biofuels for railways as a means of assisting with supply chains and helping to reduce costs for consumer goods and transportation.
-    Spurring a New Market in Sustainable Aviation Fuels: USDA is partnering across the federal government to advance the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels in American transportation and investing billions of dollars in research and agricultural activities to improve aircraft fuel efficiency:
-    A new Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to inspire the dramatic increase in the production of sustainable aviation fuels to at least 3 billion gallons per year by 2030.
-    New and ongoing funding opportunities to support sustainable aviation fuel projects and fuel producers totaling up to $4.3 billion; and
-    An increase in R&D activities to demonstrate new technologies that can achieve at least a 30% improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency.

These important investments will assist in the development, transportation, and distribution of low-carbon fuels, better market access for producers, and more affordable and cleaner fuels for American consumers.

Clean Fuels Applauds President Biden's Support for Homegrown Biofuels

Today, Clean Fuels Alliance America applauded President Biden's announcements of new Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) grants and a pathway to use canola oil to produce renewable diesel and jet fuel. Clean Fuels also expressed gratitude to USDA for making HBIIP grants available to support biodiesel use by railways, which will help reduce shipping costs for essential consumer goods. The actions will increase consumer access to better, cleaner fuels like biodiesel that reduce transportation costs.

Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs for Clean Fuels, stated, "With current diesel fuel shortages and high prices for foreign oil, homegrown biodiesel and renewable diesel are crucial to keep the economy moving. U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel producers are working hard to provide Americans a better, cleaner replacement for fuel made from imported crude oil. On behalf of Clean Fuels' members, I applaud the president's announcement and the administration's steps to build lasting energy security with homegrown biofuels."

"We welcome the Administration's strategy to support growth for homegrown biofuels that are critical to expanding Americans' options for affordable fuel in the short-term and to building real energy independence in the long-term," Kovarik continued. "We greatly appreciate EPA's commitment to approving new RFS pathway petitions for renewable fuels that can provide greenhouse gas benefits as well as reduce reliance on foreign oil."

To date, USDA's HBIIP grants have supported more than two dozen biodiesel projects that will increase consumer access to better, cleaner fuel by nearly 1 billion gallons per year. The increased use of biodiesel in place of petroleum will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9.4 million metric tons per year, at a cost of just $2.67 per ton in the first year.

A forthcoming study from World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services (WAEES) shows that without the supply of U.S.-produced biodiesel and renewable diesel to meet heavy-duty transportation fuel demand, diesel prices would be 4% higher on average over the past several years. In 2021, the U.S. market for biodiesel and renewable diesel reached 3.2 billion gallons.

The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry supports 65,000 U.S. jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. Every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity. Biodiesel production supports approximately 13 percent of the value of each U.S. bushel of soybeans.


Another Soybean Pest to Watch For

Tom Hunt, NE Extension Entomologist

It seems like every year there is a new or emerging insect pest in northeast Nebraska. This year that insect is the soybean stem borer, sometimes called the Dectes stem borer. In the past this insect has not been of concern for northeast Nebraska farmers, but during the last few years it has reached economically damaging levels in a few fields as far north as Knox County.

The soybean stem borer is a native species that is widely distributed across North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Adults are elongate, gray beetles with antennae longer than the body, and about 1/4 to 1/2 inches long. The larvae are found in soybean stems and are legless, creamy white with a strongly segmented body, enlarged near the head and gradually tapering toward the rear, with brown heads, and about 1/2 to 5/8 inches long when mature. Its main hosts are cultivated sunflower, soybean, giant ragweed, and cocklebur.

In mid-summer the females lay eggs in the upper soybean leaf petioles and the larvae gradually borer into and up and down the stem. It is not the “boring” that is really the problem, but the girdling of the stem base late in the season. If enough of the plants are infested, a strong wind causes the stems to break about 2 to 4 inches from the ground, so plants fall over (lodge) and are not harvestable.

In the past this insect only reached pest levels in soybean south of Nebraska, but over the last 20 years it has gradually reached damaging levels in the north central U.S. This could be because of climate change, changes in agronomic practices, or some other combination of factors, but whatever the reason, we now must watch for it in northeast Nebraska.  

The first indication you may have soybean stem borer in your soybean field is leaf flagging, which is a single wilting or brown leaf on an otherwise healthy plant. This is caused by the young larvae boring through the leaf petiole and into the main stem.

Unfortunately, there are few consistently effective management options for soybean stem borer. Adults emerge and lay eggs over a long period, so it is hard to target a good time to treat them with insecticides. Larvae are in the stem, so it is hard to reach them with insecticides. However, there are several cultural practices can help reduce losses.

Weed control to reduce alternate hosts, such as ragweed and cocklebur, can help reduce soybean stem borer. Burying borer-infested stubble 2 to 3 inches after harvest can reduce soybean stem borer  the following year. Adult soybean stem borers are not strong fliers, so crop rotation may reduce damage in areas where soybean acreage is limited. Early planted, short-season soybean varieties are more likely to suffer harvest loss from lodging, so longer season varieties that mature later may allow more time to harvest before lodging occurs. If one has a history of injury, or observes  injury symptoms this year, they should carefully monitor these fields August through September. If extensive stalk tunneling occurs, the fields are at risk for lodging and should be targeted to harvest first to minimize harvest loss due to lodging.

The soybean stem borer is still at low levels in most of northeast Nebraska, but bears watching. Additional information on scouting and management for soybean stem borer can be found in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension CropWatch Newsletter at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/ .

Webinar: Turmoil in Commodity Markets

Presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing conflict between the countries — two of the world’s largest grain suppliers — has led to a great deal of uncertainty and potential volatility in commodity markets around the world and in the United States. This webinar will explore the current situation and outlook with regard to wheat prices, food security and global trade.

Presenters: Lia Nogueira, Associate Professor, UNL Agricultural Economics; John Beghin, Professor, UNL Agricultural Economics, Michael Yanney Yeutter Institute Chair; and Cory Walters, Associate Professor, UNL Agricultural Economics

Date:  Thursday April 14, 2022
Time: 12 noon
Register here:  https://cap.unl.edu/webinars


JBS USA, a leading global food company, has made a gift of $700,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and its plans for a new Feedlot Innovation Center near Mead.

Located at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center, the Feedlot Innovation Center will provide new capacity to develop and evaluate emerging technology used in managing animals in feedlot settings. With a state-of-the-art, commercial-scale feedlot and animal handling facility, it will be used in teaching, research and extension efforts by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Feedlot Innovation Center has an estimated construction cost of $5 million. IANR has committed $2 million in funding, with the NU Foundation leading a $3 million private fundraising initiative. To date, nearly $2 million has been committed in private support.

“This facility will advance the university’s commitment to science-driven innovation in the development of resilient systems for food animal production,” said Michael Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor for IANR and NU vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “We’re grateful for the support of JBS USA and other partners who understand the far-reaching value of this new facility for advancing beef production and preparing future leaders to serve this incredibly important industry.”

Steve Cohron, president of the Fed Beef Division at JBS USA, said this project aligns with the company’s long-term commitment to the beef industry and its farmer and rancher partners in Nebraska and surrounding states. It also has the potential to unlock breakthrough technologies that will benefit American producers, the climate and the company’s net-zero pledge.

“JBS USA is excited to support the new Feedlot Innovation Center, and we believe the type of research and learning this facility will provide is imperative to ensuring a more sustainable food supply,” Cohron said. “This initiative aligns with our goal as a company to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, and we hope our investment, in partnership with the University of Nebraska and other contributors, will spur new innovations that strengthen the entire beef value chain.”

Other lead contributors who have supported the Feedlot Innovation Center project include John and Beth Klosterman of David City, who gave $500,000. The Klostermans have supported the University of Nebraska for more than 45 years. Farm Credit Services of America has given $300,000 to the project.

The Feedlot Innovation Center will include a complex with cattle comfort and research buildings, a feed technology facility, innovative open lots and an animal handling facility. It will create real-world facilities to test new precision technology, solve environmental challenges facing the feeding industry, and improve cattle performance and welfare while comparing different environments and housing systems. The project will also allow for innovation in manure collection and management that will innovate both new and possible modifications for existing operations.

The Feedlot Innovation Center will also allow students to gain hands-on experiences while being exposed to the newest research and technology.

The center is part of a larger university initiative that is aligned with the mission of IANR to produce food, fuel, feed and fiber for a growing world in a way that promotes resilience of natural resources and a high quality of life for people engaged in agriculture.

Aminopyralids: Restrictions for Grazing, Compost and Manure

Leslie Johnson - Animal Manure Management Extension Educator
Melissa Bartels - Extension Educator

The prices of synthetic fertilizers have increased significantly over the last year, leaving growers and even homeowners facing the decision of finding alternative sources of nutrients.

One great option is the use of manure or compost from a local farm or from your own operation. The use of manure in gardening can loosen compacted soil, increase carbon in the soil and reduce surface runoff and leaching, all while providing nutrients that your plants need. While this option is great, it is important to be aware of the potential carryover of herbicides in manure from grazing animals.

Recently, a group of herbicides has been identified as a concern for manure and compost. When herbicides are sprayed onto forages, plants take up the chemicals. If these forages are then utilized as a carbon source in making compost, residues will be present in the finished compost product. Often these same chemicals are used on grazing land. Even though it may be completely safe for grazing livestock to consume the plants, the resulting manure will contain herbicide residues.

The concern with these herbicide residues in manure and compost is the potential for damaging sensitive plants and crops. Use of manure or compost with these residues present could cause damage to plants, reduce productivity of plants or cause plant death. Additionally, the residues may remain within the soil for an extended period of time if they are present within the manure.

EPA Review of Pyridines

The EPA reviews all registered pesticides at least every 15 years to determine if the chemical is still able to function as intended without negatively affecting human health or the environment. As such, concerns with a product moving off target, not degrading, or causing harm to non-target organisms are often addressed during this review process.

Currently, the EPA is reviewing a group of Pyridines for their persistence in organic matter such as plants, parts of plants, and manure from livestock that have grazed treated plants.

The list of active ingredients being addressed by the EPA for residue concerns in manure and compost from herbicide’s are as follows: Clopyralid, Triclopyr, Fluroxypyr, Aminopyralid, Aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP), Dithiopyr and Picloram.

Before Spraying

Before treating a field for weeds with these active ingredients, determine if you intend to use this field for grazing livestock or if you will use plant residues for compost within the next year. If you do not intend to graze or compost, then many of the concerns regarding pyridines will not apply.

However, if you intend to graze or compost from the treated field, it is especially important to examine the labels of your herbicide for grazing restrictions. Figure 1 shows just one example of what a label might say to indicate that product should not be used anything that will end up grazed or composted.

It may also be useful to look for any of the active ingredients listed above. Older labels may not have grazing restrictions or may have less stringent restrictions on them. Some labels have the grazing restrictions on the first page, but not all, so be sure to look at the Restrictions section of the label and the Use Precautions section for more information.  

If you are uncertain on the best plan of action, call your local extension office to connect with an agronomist who can help you determine a plan of action.

Preparing for Spring Chicks: Tips and Resources for Success

As Easter approaches and spring chicks begin to appear at local farm stores, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Youth Animal Science Education Specialist Amy Powell offers some tips and resources for those looking to try their hand at chicken rearing.

The first step to introducing poultry into a backyard farm is selecting a breed. Most backyard breeds are considered “dual purpose,” which means they are raised for both meat and eggs.

“Most chicks available at farm stores are pretty hardy,” explained Powell. “They’re usually Rhode Island Reds, or a crossbreed like Black Star or Red Star.”

Those looking to introduce several new chickens, or a special breed of chicken, can also use catalogs or an online service to order chicks. However, most ordering services require a minimum of six chicks in order to ship. Powell recommends using a local hatchery. “In my experience, it’s less likely that a rooster might accidentally slip into the mix when you order from a hatchery rather than getting chicks at a farm store, but you will likely get healthy chicks either way,” said Powell.

Housing is also an important consideration when building a flock. Chicks younger than six weeks require a brooding period, where they will need to be kept inside and warm. Powell recommends a 4-H publication from the University of Tennessee Extension, which addresses specific temperatures for brooding based on the chicks’ age and answers other common questions about the process.

A chicken coop should also be safe from predators, including neighborhood cats and dogs. “Anything will eat a chicken, including dogs and cats, so predator awareness is essential,” warned Powell.

While chicks generally tend to be healthy, in order to keep both people and poultry safe, it is important to maintain hygienic practices to keep them that way. It is important to have clean clothes, boots and hands around poultry to prevent illness.

“One thing to keep in mind is promoting good biosecurity, since chickens can carry salmonella,” said Powell. “It is also important to be aware of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, since there has been an increase in detections lately.”

Poultry owners are encouraged to consult extension resources outlining good biosecurity practices and answering questions about HPAI.

Chicks and adult chickens also will need access to food and water. Chicken feed sold at farm stores is a great option, as it has been specifically formulated to meet a chicken’s needs at various stages of growth. Chicks under six weeks should be given starter feed, which has a higher level of protein to promote healthy growth.

After six weeks, chicks being raised for meat should be given a finisher diet until they are processed, while those being raised as layers or for breeding purposes should be given a grower diet. At 20 weeks, or after hens begin laying, hens should be switched to a layer diet.

Finally, it is important to check local restrictions before bringing home chickens. In Ames, there are no restrictions on backyard chickens so long as they are being held in safe, sanitary housing and being kept reasonably quiet and healthy. However, different areas may have different restrictions.

Raising chickens is a fun and educational way to engage with agriculture and food production, especially for children. Powell recommends that children interested in raising poultry get involved with 4-H, where they can learn more about livestock and enter competitions. A short course offering advice on getting started with chickens is also available through the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Extension Store. Keeping some simple tips in mind can make chicken ownership a rewarding experience.


A nutrient management solution for agricultural wastewater, in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology for the farm and a new caffeinated, high protein chocolate milk beverage for adults are just a few of the startup companies selected to participate in the 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator program.

“It’s always exciting to welcome a new class of startups into our CoLAB Accelerator program as these companies bring fresh thinking and ideas to benefit our farm family-owners and help further grow and invigorate the dairy case,” says Doug Dresslaer, director of cultural innovation at DFA. “This year, we’re particularly excited to take a hybrid approach with the program by bringing back more collaborative, in-person sessions while also meeting virtually.”

A Dairy-Centric Program Focusing on Business Growth and Mentoring

The DFA CoLAB Accelerator is a 90-day collaborative program focused on dairy product and processing innovations and new technologies for dairy farms. Startups will gain a thorough understanding of the dairy industry and will have the opportunity to work with top executives from DFA and other relevant investors and dairy industry leaders.

Throughout the program, participants will receive advice and participate in educational sessions on a variety of topics important for startup growth, including finance, business development, distribution and supply chain, product development, brand building, sales and marketing, packaging and pricing.

Introducing the 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator Class

Ag Tech

    Cattle Scan (Guelph, Canada) – Real-time monitoring technology that measures the biometrics of individual cattle, starting with temperature. Data can be accessed on a cloud-based platform and allows farmers to improve the overall health of their herds
    The Hago Energetics Company (Camarillo, Calif.) – Aims to helps farms, either cattle or dairy, convert waste, like manure, into fuel cell grade hydrogen using a patented carbon negative approach that does not involve hydrolysis. This hydrogen is expected to sell at a lower cost and have a lower carbon footprint than current methods
    Lemna (Gilbert, Ariz.) – Provides a comprehensive nutrient management solution for agricultural wastewater through the use of duckweed (aquatic plants) in a controlled growth system. The duckweed also has the potential to provide farmers with a new revenue stream
    ReproHealth Technologies (Indianapolis, Ind.) – An innovative, patent-pending device that brings IVF technology to the farm. Founders believe the device could potentially double cattle embryo production and reduce reproduction costs

Dairy Food Products and Dairy Processing Technology

    Smack’d (Lehi, Utah) – Aims to develop a delicious adult chocolate milk beverage that is high in protein, low in sugar and caffeinated
    Lyras (Aalborg, Denmark) – Developed a UV-light cold pasteurization technology that uses 90% less energy and 60% less water compared to traditional pasteurization

Since launching six years ago, the DFA CoLAB Accelerator has worked with 32 companies and has continued to work with the majority of these companies in some capacity. To date, 94% of the alumni companies are still in business today.

For additional information about the DFA CoLAB Accelerator, visit colab.dfamilk.com/. The 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator will culminate with a Demo Day presentation in late June, where the startups will pitch and showcase their ideas.

Edge stresses need for dairy market access in new Indo-Pacific Region trade initiative

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country, is encouraging U.S. trade officials to include market access for dairy products when crafting a new trade and economic plan for the Indo-Pacific Region.

“The importance of maintaining and expanding export markets is crucial to support milk prices and dairy farm revenues,” the cooperative stressed in comments it submitted Monday to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which is seeking stakeholder input for an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

Edge, which has members throughout the Upper Midwest, said the Indo-Pacific Region is critically important. The co-op pointed to Southeast Asia, in particular, as one of the largest destinations for U.S. dairy products, accounting for nearly $1.4 billion worth of dairy exports last year, an increase of 11 percent from 2020. Japan and South Korea remain leading U.S. markets, including among the top five destinations for cheese, which the majority of Edge’s members produce.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said the new economic framework will not follow the traditional approach of free trade agreements. Edge said that while it welcomes new approaches, the U.S. should still consider the importance of certain traditional elements — particularly market access provisions.

“Market access often provides some of the most tangible benefits for obtaining the commitments USTR desires from other negotiating partners,” the co-op wrote.

“Greater market access for U.S. dairy exports means more to the industry now than ever. Exports are essential for balance of the U.S. milk supply and demand, growth of the industry and, at the end of the day, the dairy farmers’ milk checks. With growing global demand for dairy products, notably across the Indo-Pacific Region, it is only reasonable that the U.S. seek to tackle the lowest barrier to entry, market access.”

Among Edge’s other points of emphasis to USTR:
-    Support for the overarching efforts of the framework, particularly as it seeks to build on global rules-based trading efforts.
-    A comprehensive approach that eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers.
-    Agreements that are legally binding and enforceable, and a formal legislative approval process to help ensure this.
-    Having sufficient critical mass of participating countries to shape regional rules and norms, as well as incentives to encourage other countries to join over time.
-    Protecting the right to use commonly used names for cheeses and other foods.
-    Before setting new environmental sustainability standards, assessing existing industry-supported initiatives and their consistency with national and global objectives.
Indo-Pacific Economic Framework background:

President Biden announced plans for a U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in October, which will be the administration’s first major trade and economic initiative in the region. Some members of Congress, several business associations, and U.S. allies, such as Australia and Japan, have called for a more active U.S. trade policy in the Indo-Pacific, including U.S. leadership in regional trade agreements.

The IPEF will focus on four pillars: trade facilitation, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and decarbonization, and taxation and anti-corruption. Agreements will be made with different sets of countries for each pillar, and those seeking trade facilitation would be expected to sign on to all four.

The framework could be launched as early as May.

U.N. Report: Food Prices Are at Highest Level Ever

World food commodity prices made a significant leap in March to reach their highest levels ever, as war in the Black Sea region spread shocks through markets for staple grains and vegetable oils, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 159.3 points in March, up 12.6 percent from February when it had already reached its highest level since its inception in 1990. The Index tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a basket of commonly-traded food commodities. The latest level of the index was 33.6 percent higher than in March 2021.

The Cereal Price Index was 17.1 percent higher in March than in February, driven by large rises in wheat and all coarse grain prices largely as a result of the war in Ukraine. The Russian Federation and Ukraine, combined, accounted for around 30 percent and 20 percent of global wheat and maize exports, respectively, over the past three years. World wheat prices soared by 19.7 percent during the month, exacerbated by concerns over crop conditions in the United States of America. Meanwhile, maize prices posted a 19.1 percent month-on-month increase, hitting a record high along with those of barley and sorghum. Contrasting trends across the various origins and qualities kept the March value of FAO's Rice Price Index little changed from February, and thus still 10 percent below its level of a year earlier.

Vegetable Oil Prices rose 23.2 percent, driven by higher quotations for sunflower seed oil, of which Ukraine is the world's leading exporter. Palm, soy and rapeseed oil prices also rose markedly as a result of the higher sunflower seed oil prices and the rising crude oil prices, with soy oil prices further underpinned by concerns over reduced exports by South America.

The FAO Meat Price increased by 4.8 percent in March to reach an all-time high, led by surging pig meat prices related to a shortfall of slaughter pigs in Western Europe. International poultry prices also firmed in step with reduced supplies from leading exporting countries following avian flu outbreaks.

And Dairy Prices rose 2.6 percent and was 23.6 percent higher than in March 2021, as quotations for butter and milk powders rose steeply amid a surge in import demand for near and long-term deliveries, especially from Asian markets.

Study: Meat Industry Not Threatened by Plant-Based Alternatives

At least for now, there is no reason for the traditional meat industry to have much of a beef with producers of plant-based burgers and other meat alternatives, new research suggests.

The study showed that while sales and market share of new-generation plant-based meat alternatives have grown in recent years, those gains haven't translated into reduced consumer spending on animal meat products.

Overall, the analysis of national meat purchases suggested that plant-based meats sold in patty, link and ground form are mostly an add-on to beef and pork and tend to serve as a substitute for chicken, turkey and fish.

"We thought plant-based meat alternatives would be a potential replacement for red meat, but they're not. It's more of a complement," said study co-author Wuyang Hu, professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at The Ohio State University. "People buy pork and beef, and at the same time they also buy plant-based meats."

Researchers noted the study is not intended to take any industry's side or give consideration to the comparative healthfulness of products.

"This new generation of plant-based meat, by mimicking the taste and sensory experience of eating real meat, appeals to consumers who are not only vegetarian but also people who are curious about plant-based meat and even meat eaters," said lead author Shuoli Zhao, assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky.

"We wanted to look at the most up-to-date market response to a new product and see how the demand for such a product is interacting with the rest of the meat categories, especially within the fresh meat sector."

The research team also included co-authors Lingxiao Wang of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Yuqing Zheng of the University of Kentucky. The study was published recently in the journal Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.

Imitation meat products and plant-based proteins such as tofu and tempeh have been available for years, but differ from the texture, taste and smell of new products like those sold by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat -- two brands that make up about 75% of all plant-based meat alternative (PBMA) sales. Studies have shown that increases in demand and supply led to more than $10 billion in global PBMA sales in 2018, and sales are predicted to increase to almost $31 billion by 2026.

For this study, the researchers obtained weekly Nielsen scanner data from the first week of January 2017 to the second week of July 2020 on fresh meat expenditures at grocery, drug, big-box, dollar and military stores across 40 U.S states. Study categories included plant-based meat alternatives, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, other meats (such as lamb and duck) and fresh fish.

Results showed that plant-based meat alternatives constituted only 0.1% of average total expenditures on fresh meat during the study period -- but during that same time frame the market share increased four-fold, to 0.4%. Beef topped fresh meat sales at 46%, followed by chicken at 23%, pork and fish at about 12% each, and turkey and other meats accounting for less than 5% of fresh meat sales.

Beef and meat alternatives were the highest-priced options, with beef costing an average of $5.44 per unit and PBMAs averaging $4.84 per unit. Of all the choices studied, expenditures of the plant-based goods tended to increase the most when those products were on sale. Reduced prices on beef and chicken lowered demand for plant-based meats, but lower prices on imitation meat didn't have much of an effect on demand for animal protein sources.

Those findings as well as the way plant-based meat sales grew during product promotions suggested plant-based meat alternatives were "more of an impulse buy and not a weekly purchase," Hu said. "We concluded it's novelty-seeking. Consumers are pack followers. When they see a trend they say, 'I should try this' and form similar preferences."

Results also suggested that most of the plant-based products' growth in market share occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, when fresh meat prices rose dramatically as shutdowns sent shocks through the supply chain -- however, the data could not confirm a causal effect. The uptick in PBMAs' market share was still happening at the endpoint of the study period in July 2020. Meanwhile, sales of all fresh animals protein sources spiked at the start of the pandemic, and meats and fish generally retained their market share positions over the next few months.

The rapid pace of the growth in plant-based meat alternatives' share of the market made them the fastest-growing category in the study, but these products still weren't putting much of a dent in the other categories: U.S. meat consumption in 2018 was among the highest in history, at 222 pounds per capita.

"We hypothesized that from a plant-based meat alternative company perspective, what they are trying to do is replace people's diet of beef and pork," Zhao said. "We actually found the opposite is the case. Consumers are buying plant-based meat alternatives on top of planned expenditures on fresh meat, or are triggered by a promotion or the layout of the retail environment -- which is an indication this is not currently a real threat to the fresh meat industry.

"Our findings suggest that besides marketing, plant-based protein companies should focus their R&D on providing products that meet consumers' expectations -- and then people will make their own choices about whether meat alternatives will become a staple in their diet."

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

No comments:

Post a Comment