Thursday, April 7, 2022

Wednesday April 6 Ag News


“To lead is to seek out different viewpoints,” said Lexi Curnyn of Wayne.

“To lead is to be an example,” said Christine Haney of Schuyler.

“To lead is to encourage one another to be their best self,” said John Mullen of Wayne.

“To lead is to be that resourceful person that anyone can come to,” said Adi Perez of Schuyler.

Everyone has different views on what it means to lead. What’s important, however, is that anyone, in any community, can be a leader.

Organized by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Rural Prosperity Nebraska team, Leading Locally is a community-driven program that works with residents to create an outline that matches their goals on leadership development. A series of workshops, presentations and service opportunities revolving around those goals helps create stronger, more capable, more proactive leaders in rural Nebraska communities. This month, Schuyler concludes its second consecutive year, and Wayne its 13th.

“It opened my mind to think not so much about me, but the community of Wayne and how we can just be better,” said Mullen, who graduated from the program in 2021.

The program isn’t only for current leaders, it’s for everyone, said Extension Educator Amanda Kowalewski, co-head of Leadership Wayne.

“It’s refreshing to see a lot of younger people invest back into their community,” she said. “Younger in terms of age, but also people who have just moved in.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that Leading Locally focuses on bringing in “new blood” to fix communities. The program is about self-selected improvement.

“It starts out asking ‘What’s been working?’ and ‘What’s behind that success?” said Milan Wall, co-director of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development and contact for Leadership Schuyler. “The negatives don’t get ignored, but they get transformed into opportunities.”

Throughout the nine-month program, this reflective process, known as appreciative inquiry, is augmented as residents participate in networking presentations from economic development officials, conflict resolution workshops with representatives from local colleges, Gallup strengths development activities with extension educators and even visits to the state capitol to meet with area legislators, to name a few of the experiences. All that to help participants discover what type of leaders they can and want to be.

“Taking that time to step back and evaluate myself and my own leadership strengths and weaknesses, I think that that made me more aware of myself and the way that I do things,” said Taylor Gardner, a 2021 Wayne graduate.

“I can deal better with some situations. I see some problems that before I didn’t see,” said Alberto Chavez from Schuyler. “Now I can be more respectful of all the things happening around, not only seeing one part of the picture. Now I can see the full picture.”

As program participants become more cognizant of their strengths and positive attributes, the presentations and workshops they engage in help steer that awareness outward to their communities, focusing on how they can apply the lessons and newfound skills to improve their neighborhoods and local businesses, especially through diversity and inclusion.

“The more people you can get involved, the more backgrounds you can draw from, the more viewpoints you can get,” said Nolan Samek of Schuyler. “It’s going to benefit these small towns to get more people involved and more people out in the community.”

Even with the focus on improving neighborhoods, cultivating an active main street and strengthening community culture, what individuals take away from the experience is unique and personal.

That is one of the major tenets of the program, Kowalewski said, “thinking about your own leadership philosophy, how you want to define your leadership involvement within the community. It’s not going to be the same for everyone.”

But the program itself is for everyone. Participants re-engage their communities and are better able to make a difference and usher in the next generation of leaders. What they’ve learned throughout the program will stay with them, as it’s now part of who they are.

“It’s not like they just learn some stuff about leadership and turn it on only if they’re playing a community leadership role,” Wall said. “It becomes a part of how they deal with their world.”

Leadership Schuyler is holding graduation from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 12 at the Schuyler Golf Club, 295 Higgins Drive. The cost to attend is $10 per person.

Leadership Wayne is holding graduation from 1 to 8 p.m. April 14 at the Beaumont, 2611 N. Highway 15, Wayne. The day will include exercises reflecting on the previous year, a social hour, dinner and presentations from the graduates.

For more information about Leading Locally, visit


Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

When even a little moisture is available, weeds in our alfalfa fields take off. Before our alfalfa greens up and breaks being in a dormant state, try and eliminate those weeds. The weeds that really seem to get ahead of us in the spring are winter annuals; pennycress, downy brome, mustards, cheatgrass, and shepherd’s purse. They often can make up a significant portion of our first cutting of alfalfa and reduce the quality and palatability of that hay. Excessive weeds will also increase dry-down time, lengthening harvest time, and increasing the chance for precipitation on cut hay.

Before applying any herbicide, check to make sure these weeds are actually causing economic damage to the alfalfa. A field that looks full of weeds from the road may not actually be as bad as you may think.

If you walk into an alfalfa field today, most anything growing will be unwanted plants that may need to be sprayed. However, alfalfa shoots that have started to grow and are green may be set back several weeks if they are sprayed incorrectly. Depending on your herbicide, spray before the alfalfa shoots green up or meet the alfalfa height recommendations.

If alfalfa is growing, fields needing control may need herbicide options that can be applied to new alfalfa growth. Some of the herbicides that can be used include Velpar, Karmex, Sinbar/Pursuit, and Raptor. EC 130, Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska (Weed Guide) may provide some additional options.  When selecting herbicides, make sure they are effective on the weed species you seek to control.

Winter annuals can quickly take over portions of a hay field and once that happens more labor-intensive drastic measures will have to be taken in order to reclaim the alfalfa potential. Know the purpose of your alfalfa. If quality is not needed, herbicides may not be needed either.

In any case, timing is essential. Control winter annuals before alfalfa comes out of dormancy and before they become a problem.

Learning circle series to focus on soil health

Beginning Latino and other beginning farmers across Nebraska are invited to learn about and discuss soil health and conservation practices during a series of online workshops, “Soil Health Learning Circles,” hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

This free workshop series will take place online weekly, starting Monday, April 25, and will run through Monday, June 13, from 6 to 7 p.m.

“Each discussion will feature presenters on soil health and soil conservation topics for your farm, such as cover crops and pollinator strips,” said Cait Caughey, beginning farmer and market associate for the Center. “We'll cover everything from Natural Resources and Conservation Service programs to soil health practices, rotational grazing, and more.”

The presentations will be offered in English and Spanish.

Registration is required. Sign up and view the weekly schedule at For more information, contact Caughey at or 402.380.5192.

This project is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Nebraska Resources Conservation Service grant.


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

The fifth farm, a small backyard mixed flock, is in Scotts Bluff County.

According to NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley, the farm has been quarantined and the birds have been humanely depopulated and disposed of in an approved manner. Additionally, NDA will be establishing a 6.2-mile surveillance zone, as is USDA policy, around the affected premises. A surveillance zone means poultry producers should be on heightened alert and practice biosecurity measures to protect their flock. These producers should also know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying poultry.

IDALS, APHIS Confirm Additional Case of HPAI in Hardin 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 Hardin County, Iowa. The virus was found in a commercial turkey flock.   

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 should 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.

Building Community Leaders for Rural Iowa

The 2022 Iowa Pork Leadership Academy (IPLA) includes 11 people from around the state who work in the pork industry. IPLA develops leadership skills and is organized by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).
Those selected to participate in IPLA have indicated an interest in becoming future leaders in the pork industry at the local, state, and national levels. They may also use their new leadership skills in their local communities.
“These participants want to contribute to a better future for Iowa’s pig farmers,” said Cory Van Gilst, IPPA’s director of producer outreach. “The people in our IPLA group get to build relationships with others in the industry, identify their unique leadership strengths and skills, and receive a broader understanding of the Iowa pork industry,” Van Gilst said.
“Our IPLA members learn about the work that the Pork Checkoff is doing for the industry as well as what is happening in the policy arena. We look at ways that each of them can be an advocate for the industry in any aspect of their lives," Van Gilst said. “Additionally, they get the opportunity to work on their leadership and communication skills. They can take those skills home to their businesses, county organizations, and communities," he said.
During the group’s first two meetings, they identified their leadership strengths, were coached on media communications, and learned about the work of IPPA, the National Pork Board, and the National Pork Producers Council. They also met with Iowa legislators and staff from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the governor's office.
The group will take two educational trips later in 2022. During one, they will travel to Washington, D.C. to better understand the national legislative process and federal agencies. The second trip will be to South and North Carolina to learn about other commodities and the challenges those producers face.
Members of the 2022 IPLA group are (listed alphabetically by county): Audubon County – Yury Alexandra Espinosa, Audubon; Des Moines County – Haley Kerr, Oakville; Howard County – Hailey Waddell, Protivin; Johnson County – Matthew Rooda, Iowa City; Linn County – Matthew Ditch, Center Point.
Also, Plymouth County – Trevor Harson, Hinton, and Colin Schroeder, Le Mars; Polk County – Eleanor Korum, Des Moines, and Katie Tapper, Urbandale; and Story County – Jeb Gent, Ames, and Stacie Matchan, Gilbert.

Pork Producers Press Politicians on Public Policies

Preparing for and preventing foreign animal diseases, addressing an agricultural labor shortage, and increasing pork exports are the top public policy issues pork producers will lobby their congressional lawmakers on over the next two days. During the spring Capitol Hill fly-in of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), nearly 100 producers from across the country are expected to participate — in person for the first time in two years — in NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference.

“Challenges facing our industry continue to evolve, and we hope our efforts this week help lawmakers understand why these issues are so important to the livelihoods of producers and the future of our industry,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, MN. “But we need action now on those three matters so producers can continue providing safe, nutritious pork to consumers worldwide. The fly-in allows producers to use their voices and tell their stories to compel representatives to take swift action on these issues.”

Producers will urge lawmakers to support additional funding for foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness efforts, particularly around African swine fever (ASF). Last July, ASF was detected in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in more than 40 years. NPPC is requesting funding for fiscal 2023 for additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricultural inspectors; for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which provides disease surveillance and diagnostic support in cases of large-scale animal disease outbreaks; and for additional staff for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Veterinary Services.

To address an ongoing labor shortage, producers will ask Senate and House members to expand the H-2A visa program to year-round agricultural workers, including packing plant employees. Currently, the visa only allows for temporary, seasonal farm laborers. The pork industry also supports providing a pathway to legal status for foreign-born agricultural workers already in the United States.

“Employment in hog farming has declined in recent years despite growing labor needs and rising wages. As a key economic driver, hog farming is vital to prosperity in rural America and we need Congress to take action on H2-A visa reform,” explained Wolters.

Pork producers attending the fly-in also will lobby lawmakers on the importance of trade to the industry, urging the Biden administration to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The 11-country CPTPP has almost 500 million consumers and $13.5 trillion of GDP. The United States was part of a previous agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but President Trump withdrew from the TPP before it became effective. Producers also will request that the administration negotiate a more ambitious Indo-Pacific Economic Framework deal, one that includes agriculture and addresses nontariff barriers to U.S. products, including pork.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 4/1/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending April 1, ethanol production pared back by 33,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 3.2%, to 1.003 million b/d, equivalent to 42.13 million gallons daily. Production was 2.9% more than the same week last year and 7.4% above the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.6% to 1.027 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.74 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks thinned for the first time in five weeks, declining 2.4% to 25.9 million barrels. Stocks were 25.5% higher than a year ago and 12.0% above the five-year average. Inventories declined across all regions except the Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, increased 0.7% to 8.56 million b/d (131.26 bg annualized). Demand was 2.5% less than a year ago but 1.4% above the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 1.3% to 858,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.15 bg annualized. Net inputs were 2.3% less than a year ago but 4.4% above the five-year average.

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

 CHS Reports Second Quarter Earnings

CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, today released results for its second quarter ended Feb. 28, 2022. The company reported second quarter net income of $219.0 million and revenues of $10.3 billion, compared to a net loss of $38.2 million and $8.3 billion in revenues for the second quarter of fiscal year 2021. For the first six months of fiscal year 2022, the company reported net income of $671.0 million and revenues of $21.2 billion, compared to net income of $31.4 million and revenues of $17.0 billion recorded in the first half of fiscal year 2021.

Fiscal 2022 second quarter highlights include:
    Refining margins in our Energy segment were higher due to global supply and demand factors and more favorable pricing for Canadian crude oil, which is processed by CHS refineries.
    Robust global demand, coupled with increased market volatility, resulted in higher commodity prices and improved earnings, primarily in our Ag segment.
    Our processing and wholesale agronomy businesses drove significantly improved earnings compared to the second quarter of fiscal year 2021.
    Our strategic investment in CF Nitrogen contributed a significant portion of our second quarter earnings, as a result of market conditions driven by strong global demand for urea and urea ammonium nitrate.

"The U.S. agricultural industry continues to experience strong demand for grain and oilseed commodities. This strong demand combined with global market volatility contributed to higher earnings in the quarter," said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February has caused significant uncertainty and instability in global commodities markets, including agricultural commodities and crude oil," Debertin added. "Despite these factors and inflationary pressures, CHS remains well positioned to continue to maximize value for our local cooperative and farmer-owners through our integrated global supply chain network."

Pretax earnings of $10.8 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022 represent a $65.5 million increase versus the same period a year ago.
-    The results were driven by higher refining margins and more favorable pricing of heavy Canadian crude oil processed by our two refineries, which were partially offset by higher costs of renewable energy credits.
-    Lower propane margins were reflected in the quarter due to warmer winter weather conditions.

Pretax earnings of $55.2 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022 represent a $41.1 million increase versus the same period a year ago.
-    Strong global demand and market conditions resulted in increased earnings across most of our Ag segment businesses, including oilseed processing, renewable fuels and wholesale agronomy.
-    The business also experienced lower volumes of feed and farm supplies, due to supply chain constraints.

Nitrogen Production
Pretax earnings of $154.3 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022 represent a $143.1 million increase versus the same period a year ago.
-    Our strategic investment in CF Nitrogen experienced significantly increased earnings in the quarter largely due to market conditions and strong global demand for urea and urea ammonium nitrate.

Corporate and Other
Pretax earnings of $10.6 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022 represent a $12.2 million decrease versus the same period a year ago.

E15 Sales Reach Record Levels in 2021; Future Growth Threatened by Summertime Restrictions

Sales of E15, a gasoline blend containing 15 percent ethanol, hit a record 814 million gallons in 2021, according to a new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association. The 2021 volume represented a 62 percent increase over the prior year and was nearly double pre-pandemic sales volumes in 2019. However, RFA notes, this success and growth trajectory are at risk unless the Biden administration moves quickly to avoid the reimposition of restrictions on summertime E15 sales.

“Our new analysis shows that E15 volumes expanded dramatically in 2021 for a variety of reasons,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “But continued growth is now in jeopardy because of the recent federal court decision favoring oil refiners who are threatened by the competition presented by higher ethanol blends. In the wake of that court decision, the ethanol industry and its allies have been urging the administration to take the simple step of re-authorizing year-round sales of the E15 blend. Several pathways exist for the White House and EPA to do this outside of the legislative process, but time is running short. Now more than ever, E15 is needed to help keep gas prices in check, bolster energy security, support the rural economy, and lower emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants. Fuel retailers agree, and they have also called for year-round E15 because their customers want continued access to the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon option available at the pump.”

Cooper noted that a recent nationwide survey indicated strong public support for increasing E15 sales as a way to replace petroleum imports from Russia and keep a lid on pump prices. Further, while U.S. drivers saved an average of $0.22 per gallon of gasoline from 2015 through 2018 as a result of overall ethanol use, E15 is saving some drivers up to nearly $0.50 per gallon over E10 right now, according to pump prices reported on

In his analysis, RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman extrapolated results from two key states that report E15 sales volumes, Iowa and Minnesota, to the national marketplace, and cites three likely factors leading to the record volume for 2021: an increase in the number of stations that offer the blend; the recovery in overall fuel consumption toward pre-pandemic levels starting in the late spring; and a rebound in the price of credits used to show compliance with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Expanded use of ethanol in E15 could go a long way toward replacing the gasoline from Russian imports,” Richman writes, “but if restrictions on E15 return this summer as scheduled, sales could go into reverse, further tightening fuel supplies and putting upward pressure on gasoline prices.”

NAWG Testifies Before the House on A Review of the 2022 Farm Bill: International Trade and Food Assistance Programs  

National Association of Wheat Growers President and Paterson, WA farmer, Nicole Berg, testified in front of the House Agriculture Committee’s Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee. Today, the subcommittee held a hearing to review the 2022 Farm Bill with a focus on the Title III programs: international food aid and agricultural trade promotion.

Nicole Berg highlighted the vital role international food aid programs have in stabilizing economies and populations impacted by climate change, famine, and war. She also discussed the critical role trade promotion programs play in helping U.S. agricultural products remain competitive on world markets and opened access to new markets, which boosts the agriculture economy and helps keep farmers in business.

MAP and FMD contribute an average of $8.2 billion more in ag export revenue per year. However, MAP and FMD funding levels have remained stagnant for over 15 years. Berg highlighted a study that concluded doubling annual MAP and FMD funding; cooperators would increase their investments by 50 percent, creating yearly increases in agricultural exports by $4.5 billion. The Title III programs are essential to building trust with buyers and end-users.

“While there is still uncertainty about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine will impact world markets, we know that the invasion will exacerbate global food insecurity. Our food aid programs are the best suited for U.S. wheat to help support the humanitarian needs of those involved,” said Nicole Berg. “As the subcommittee continues to evaluate the 2018 Farm Bill programs, our food aid programs must receive continued support and the MAP/FMD programs dollars are enhanced to support cooperator needs."

As Congress continues to have hearings on programs authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill, NAWG looks forward to working with the members to help craft a Farm Bill that enhances trade and helps deliver American commodities to populations in need.

Case IH and Lee Brice Honor Farmers in Upcoming Summer Tour

Country music singer and songwriter, farmer and Case IH brand ambassador Lee Brice will celebrate the tireless work of producers this summer throughout his ‘Label Me Proud Tour’ with his song “Farmer.” The song was written as part of Case IH’s Built by Farmers initiative. The campaign connects the company’s employees, dealers and their families rooted in agriculture with the farmers who use Case IH equipment and technology.

Born and raised in South Carolina, Brice pays homage to North America’s dedicated producers and ranchers through his lyrics. Like Case IH, “Farmer” honors the hardworking men and women who are up at dawn to work the land. With its classic country style, the humble and moving song recognizes the tough, dedicated individuals who provide food and supply raw materials to feed North America and the world. The song debuted at the 2021 Farm Progress Show Concert in Decatur, Illinois.

“I wrote ‘Farmer’ to honor the families and individuals who are up before sunrise, doing the backbreaking work it takes to provide food and resources for homes all across America,” Brice said. “My goal was to spotlight one of the world’s oldest and most noble professions — a backbone that all of us rely on.”

Case IH is forged by a deep commitment and devotion to the nation’s producers. The company’s equipment and solutions meet growers’ needs during long hours in the field because the innovations are designed and made by farmers, for farmers.

“Agriculture is who we are. It’s the profession and pride of our employees and their families,” said Kurt Coffey, Case IH vice president of North America. “We know what it takes to be a farmer and work arm in arm with producers to help them fuel a growing world.”

The cross-country Label Me Proud tour will span 23 cities, and select stops throughout the tour will feature “Farmer” in the concert setlist.

For more information about the Case IH Built by Farmers campaign, visit

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