Sunday, April 3, 2022

Weekend Ag News Roundup - April 3

 UNMC, Nebraska Extension announce tractor safety course for teens at 6 sites

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, can register for a tractor safety training course offered at six locations across Nebraska from May 25 through June 10.  

The course is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Extension and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

Students will complete the first day of the course either by attending a hands-on event at one of two locations or online through the eXtension Foundation Campus website. The hands-on events will take place May 24 in North Platte and May 26 in Grand Island. After successfully completing the hands-on event or the online course and testing, the required driving test will be offered at six locations across Nebraska from May 25 through June 10.  

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

Susan Harris, University of Nebraska Extension educator, said a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.  

The hands-on event and the online course will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, including quizzes that students must pass to attend the driving portion of training. Once a student is registered, they will be sent instructions, materials, course paperwork and a link to the online course if they will not be attending one of the two hands-on events.  

The onsite driving training and exam will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors also will offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs) and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).  

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, PhD, Ellen Duysen and Risto Rautiainen, PhD; and Nebraska Extension educators Randy Saner, Ron Seymour and John Thomas.  

The cost of the course is $25 and includes educational materials and supplies. Payment will be made at the time of the driving exam. Only checks and cash are accepted.  

Hands-on training, driving dates, site locations and site coordinator contact information is below.

Hands-On Safety Days

May 24 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Road, North Platte, Randy Saner, and Vicki Neidhardt, 308.532.2683,

May 26 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Road, Grand Island, Sarah Polak, 308.385.3967,

Tractor Driving Days

May 25 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Road, North Platte, Randy Saner, Vicki Neidhardt, 308.532.2683,

June 6 – Akrs Equipment, 49110 US Highway 20, O’Neill, Debra Walnofer, 402.336.2760,

June 7 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500, Gering, Stacy Brown, 308.632.1480,

June 8 – AKRS Equipment, 44098 Hwy 2, Broken Bow, (Todd Sutherland), Denise Daake, 308.872.6831,

June 9 - Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave., Hastings, Ron Seymour, Twila Bankson 402-461-7209,

June 10 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th St., Weeping Water, Sandy Prall, 402.267.2205,

For questions, contact the administrator listed above at your driving site or contact Ellen Duysen  

To register, visit

Nebraska Extension is a division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cooperating with counties and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

UNL to Host Webinar on Pasture, Forage Management Decisions During Drought

An upcoming webinar discussing how drought impacts forage production on native rangeland will walk through trigger dates and discuss management options for cattle producers at each date.

“Triggering Pasture and Forage Management Decisions Before a Drought” will be hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability at noon on Thursday, April 7, as part of its weekly webinar series.

Presenters will include Nebraska Extension Beef System Educators Randy Saner, Ryan Benjamin and T.L. Meyer.

Pasture and native rangeland forage production fluctuates greatly over time, due to precipitation, temperature, range health and soil nutrients. The amount and timing of spring and early summer precipitation is an important factor in determining annual plant production. The webinar will focus on how using critical or trigger dates can help cattle producers adjust stocking rates if precipitation — and the resulting forage production — is expected to be below average.

Registration is free at

Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for April

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

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

Clinic Dates
    Thursday, April 14 — Norfolk
    Tuesday, April 19 — Valentine
    Friday, April 22 — Fairbury
    Wednesday, April 27 — Norfolk
    Friday, April 29 — Grand Island

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

NSB accepting applications for Demand & Utilization Coordinator

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is a nonprofit organization based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The soybean checkoff program was created as a part of the 1990 Farm Bill in order to maximize profit opportunities for soybean farmers. NSB staff is tasked with carrying out projects passed by the nine members of the board in the areas of farmer support, production & crop research, community engagement and demand & utilization.

The mission of the Nebraska Soybean Board is to engage the industry on behalf of Nebraska soybean farmers to maximize utilization of Nebraska soybeans in the feed, energy, industrial and food markets.

Job Description
Demand & Utilization Coordinator is responsible for establishing domestic and international demand development strategies for NSB. This position includes, but is not limited to, soybean new uses and technologies, biodiesel utilization, specialty soybean market growth, infrastructure logistics, maintaining existing soybean markets and developing new emerging markets for soybeans internationally.

Essential Functions
    Work with domestic and international market development industry leaders to establish goals and create a workable plan for NSB’s demand & utilization activities.
    Evaluate programs and gather feedback from key market audiences to help determine future marketing program direction.
    Responsible for managing all international marketing and transportation activities, ensuring objectives and expectations are accomplished, projects are conducted within budget, and project deadlines are met.
    Develop projects that increase exports of Nebraska soybeans and promote international trade.
    Plan, manage and conduct export market development trips to key markets for Nebraska soybeans and soy-based products.
    Serve as NSB staff lead for national export promotion organizations, including US Soybean Export Council, US Meat Export Federation, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, Clean Fuels Alliance America, World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, and others.
    Represent NSB at state and national conferences and trade shows focused on soybean and agricultural exports.
    Identify and recruit farmer leaders to participate in domestic and international programs.
    Collaborate with state and national livestock organizations to promote exports of Nebraska and US meat and poultry products.
    This position requires a significant amount of travel both domestically and international.
    Review project proposals and make recommendations to the Executive Director and board leadership. Report to the Executive Director and board on status and results of projects. Prepare and present project and program updates to NSB Board and other audiences.
    Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:
    Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
    Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of people.
    Ability to work in a team environment.
    Computer skills critical thinking, prioritization, organization, analytical and planning skills.

Preferred Qualifications:
    Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, agriculture, communications, or another field related to the position’s duties or at least (4) years’ work experience marketing an agriculture product or service domestically or internationally.
    Working knowledge of the soybean industry.
    Work experience marketing with soybean products domestically and internationally.
    Experience working with contractors, and other state and national organizations in promoting soybeans or other agricultural commodities to potential domestic and international buyers.
    Work experience with developing and managing budgets and contracts.
    Work experience with making presentations to groups including boards.
    Work experience with establishing and maintaining working relationships with a variety of people including co-workers, producers, agribusinesses, boards, and contractors.
    Experience utilizing Microsoft Office.

The Nebraska Soybean Board offers a variety of employee benefits including the following:
    Employee stipend
    Short & Long-term disability insurance
    Life insurance
    A match of up to four (4) percent on company 401(k) plan.
    Up to 12 paid holidays each year
    Three weeks of paid vacation for the first five (5) years

If you are interested in the position, please submit your resume, cover letter and salary requirements to Scott Ritzman at by April 15th, 2022. If you have any questions, please contact Scott at (402) 432-5720.

IDALS and USDA APHIS Confirm Additional Cases of HPAI in Iowa

(Friday) 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 two positive cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Iowa. The virus was found in a flock of commercial layer chickens in Osceola County, Iowa and in a commercial turkey flock in Cherokee County, Iowa.  

(Sunday) 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 two positive cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Iowa. The virus was found in a commercial turkey flock in Sac County, Iowa and in a flock of commercial breeding chickens in Humboldt County, Iowa.   

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.

Iowa Fuel Retailers Tell EPA It’s No Joke – Lower Priced E15 Sales Will Stop June 1st Without Emergency Action

It’s no April Fool’s Joke: Without immediate action sales of lower priced E15 in Iowa stop on June 1!
Today 22 E15 fuel retail companies representing over 230 station locations across Iowa sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan calling on the agency to exercise its emergency powers to allow for sales of E15 nationwide during the summer of 2022.
With gas prices at an all-time high in the wake of global conflict, EPA is empowered to temporarily lift the summertime restriction on E15. This would help ensure ample fuel supply across the country and help keep consumer costs down. E15 typically sells for 10-30 cents per gallon less than regular gasoline.
“Now more than ever, we want to keep selling E15, and our customers want to keep buying E15 to save money,” the retailers wrote. “…The last thing EPA should do is eliminate an available, lower cost option for our customers in 2022. We are encouraging EPA to use its…authority to permit the sale of E15 fuel for the 2022 summer driving season…”
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw applauded the retailers for voicing their concerns and showing the Biden administration that retailers and drivers alike are demanding E15.
“Today may be April Fool’s Day but this is no joke,” Shaw said. “Consumer access is the number one barrier to E15 in the marketplace. The environmental, health, economic, and engine benefits are clear and documented. When drivers have access to E15, they choose it. In today’s environment with such high prices, it would be senseless for EPA to play a role in blocking market access for E15 when it can save drivers money and do so much good.”

Starbeck's Smokehouse Wins 2022 Pulled Pork Madness

For five years in a row, a Cedar Falls restaurant has been a bracket contender for Pulled Pork Madness. This year, Starbeck’s Smokehouse finally earned the sweet taste of victory for receiving the most votes in the social media contest, presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).

Pulled Pork Madness is an annual quest to find Iowa’s best pulled pork sandwich. The contest follows a bracket-style narrowing process that mimics the NCAA’s college basketball tournament.

Starbeck’s beat The Roadhouse in Orange City in the championship round.

“The competition really heats up during Pulled Pork Madness!” said Hannah Spurr, IPPA’s consumer outreach director. “We love the friendly camaraderie and watching restaurants get creative to rally the most votes.”

Last month, 622 pork fans nominated 62 Iowa restaurants for the top honor. The two restaurants with the most votes in each of IPPA’s eight districts made up the starting “Sweet 16” bracket. Voters then decided which advanced to the “Elite Eight,” “Final Four,” and championship round, which wrapped up March 31.

“Pork is Iowa, so what an honor for us to be part of one of the greatest things in the state,” said Jeff Starbeck, who owns the business with Cindy Herman. “It means a lot to us. It means a lot to our employees. And it means a lot to the farmers who provide us with the meat.”

Each week Starbeck’s goes through 1,000 to 1,200 pounds of pork shoulders (commonly referred to as pork butts). The meat is thoroughly rubbed with a house blend of seasonings that include salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, cumin, granulated garlic, onion, and cocoa powder. The butts are then slow-roasted over cherry, hickory, or oak wood for about 12 hours, until they reach 195 degrees.

The meat is served between two slices of authentic San Francisco sourdough bread, a recipe the owners developed with Hy-Vee. Homemade barbecue sauces are available on the side.

Starbeck’s pulled pork also is sold in quarter-pound quantities, as well as featured in other menu items.
“J Moe’s Loaded Fries” offers pulled pork and cheese sauce over a bed of hand-cut French fries;
“Alex’s Iowa Philly” features pulled pork on a hoagie bun, smothered in cheese sauce and topped with jalapenos; and “Ever’s Sassy BBQ salad” includes pulled pork as a meat option.

Starbeck and Herman opened the original Starbeck’s location, with a seating capacity of just 25, in August 2017. Last fall they moved to a much larger space nearby.

Prior to Starbeck’s, Starbeck had about 30 years of experience running restaurants in California, while Herman had been a waitress at a local chain restaurant. Neither knew much about barbecue, so they turned to Internet tutorials and tips from family.

Along with bragging rights, Starbeck’s will receive $250 and a Pulled Pork Madness plaque.

If you go:
Location: Starbeck’s Smokehouse
6607 University Ave.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
Hours: Monday—Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Phone: (319) 242-7119

USDA Announces April 2022 Lending Rates for Agricultural Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced loan interest rates for April 2022, which are effective April 1, 2022. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operation, purchase equipment and storage structures or meet cash flow needs.

Operating, Ownership and Emergency Loans

FSA offers farm ownership and operating loans with favorable interest rates and terms to help eligible agricultural producers, whether multi-generational, long-time or new to the industry, obtain financing needed to start, expand or maintain a family agricultural operation. FSA also offers emergency loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters or quarantine.  For many loan options, FSA sets aside funding for historically underserved producers, including veterans, beginning, women, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Hispanic farmers and ranchers

Interest rates for Operating and Ownership loans for April 2022 are as follows:
    Farm Operating Loans (Direct): 2.750%
    Farm Ownership Loans (Direct): 3.250 %
    Farm Ownership Loans (Direct, Joint Financing): 2.500%
    Farm Ownership Loans (Down Payment): 1.500%
    Emergency Loan (Amount of Actual Loss): 3.750%

FSA also offers guaranteed loans through commercial lenders at rates set by those lenders.
You can find out which of these loans may be right for you by using our Farm Loan Discovery Tool (also available in Spanish).

Commodity and Storage Facility Loans

Additionally, FSA provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade on-farm storage facilities and purchase handling equipment and loans that provide interim financing to help producers meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are low.  Funds for these loans are provided through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and are administered by FSA.

    Commodity Loans (less than one year disbursed): 2.125%
    Farm Storage Facility Loans:
        Three-year loan terms: 1.875%
        Five-year loan terms: 1.875%
        Seven-year loan terms: 2.000%
        Ten-year loan terms: 2.000%
        Twelve-year loan terms: 2.125%
    Sugar Storage Facility Loans (15 years): 2.250%

Pandemic and Disaster Support

FSA broadened the use of the Disaster Set Aside (DSA), normally used in the wake of natural disasters, to allow farmers with USDA farm loans who are affected by COVID-19, and are determined eligible, to have their next payment set aside. Because of the pandemic’s continued impacts, producers can apply for a second DSA for COVID-19 or a second DSA for a natural disaster for producers with an initial DSA for COVID-19. The COVID-DSA is available for borrowers with installments due before Dec. 31, 2022, and whose installment is not more than 90 days past due when the DSA request is made. The set-aside payment’s due date is moved to the final maturity date of the loan or extended up to 12 months in the case of an annual operating loan. Any principal set-aside will continue to accrue interest until it is repaid. Use of the expanded DSA program can help to improve a borrower’s cashflow in the current production cycle.

FSA also reminds rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses affected by the year’s winter storms, drought, hurricanes and other natural disasters that USDA has programs that provide assistance. USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices are prepared to deliver a variety of program flexibilities and other assistance to agricultural producers and impacted communities. Many programs are available without an official disaster designation, including several risk management and disaster recovery options.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 455 million bushels in February 2022. Total corn consumption was down 12 percent from January 2022 but up 21 percent from February 2021. February 2022 usage included 91.5 percent for alcohol and 8.5 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 4.06 million bushels, up 7 percent from January 2022 and up 47 percent from February 2021. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 405 million bushels, was down 13 percent from January 2022 but up 22 percent from February 2021. Corn consumed in February 2022 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 93.2 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.69 million tons during February 2022, down 12 percent from January 2022 but up 20 percent from February 2021. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.29 million tons in February 2022, down 9 percent from January 2022 but up 46 percent from February 2021.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 237,555 tons during February 2022, down 13 percent from January 2022 but up 9 percent from February 2021. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 190,577 tons in February 2022, down 3 percent from January 2022 but up 13 percent from February 2021.

Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.23 million tons (174 million bushels) in February 2022, compared with 5.83 million tons (194 million bushels) in January 2022 and 4.93 million tons (164 million bushels) in February 2021. Crude oil produced was 2.06 billion pounds down 9 percent from January 2022 but up 7 percent from February 2021. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.55 billion pounds during February 2022 decreased 3 percent from January 2022 but increased 7 percent from February 2021.

USDA Dairy Products February 2022 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.11 billion pounds, 6.3 percent above February 2021 but 5.3 percent below January 2022. Italian type cheese production totaled 470 million pounds, 6.0 percent above February 2021 but 6.7 percent below January 2022. American type cheese production totaled 444 million pounds, 4.3 percent above February 2021 but 5.8 percent below January 2022. Butter production was 184 million pounds, 1.4 percent below February 2021 and 5.4 percent below January 2022.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with February 2021)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 171 million pounds, down 6.9 percent.
Skim milk powder - 29.6 million pounds, down 6.4 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with February 2021)
Dry whey, total - 75.0 million pounds, down 0.4 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 92.9 million pounds, up 17.4 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 47.1 million pounds, up 25.7 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with February 2021)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 52.3 million gallons, down 6.0 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 30.9 million gallons, down 7.6 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.51 million gallons, down 3.6 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.17 million gallons, up 1.8 percent.

NCBA and PLC Welcome Expansion of ELAP

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) welcome the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to expand the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) to cover a portion of the costs incurred from the transportation of livestock to feed sources.

“We are appreciative that the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) listened to requests from producers who are suffering through the continued impact of multiple years of unprecedented drought and skyrocketing input costs. We are also grateful for the efforts of Senator Thune’s office as we worked together to provide further flexibility within the program,” said NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera. “As cattle producers continue to navigate challenges associated with drought, it is critical to ensure they have the resources necessary for their businesses to remain viable, while giving the highest quality care to their livestock.”

“Western ranchers experience daily the devastation caused by one of the most extreme droughts we have seen in recent years. From increased risk of catastrophic wildfire to lack of sufficient grazing lands, producers are facing difficult decisions when it comes to herd management,” said Executive Director of PLC and NCBA Natural Resources Kaitlynn Glover. “This announcement comes at a critical time, and we are appreciative of both FSA and Senator Thune for prioritizing the needs of cattle producers."

Across areas of the western United States where grazing is a main source of feed for cattle production, unprecedented drought has made rangelands insufficient for proper grazing. ELAP originally covered the cost of moving feed to livestock, but for cattle producers, hauling livestock to other feed sources that are not easily moved is often a more efficient and economical method.

USDA’s announcement follows a letter NCBA sent to FSA requesting the inclusion of coverage for moving livestock to feed during extreme drought conditions, in addition to the provision already included for moving feed to livestock.

AFBF Appreciates Bipartisan Effort on Ocean Shipping Reform Act

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the Senate’s unanimous passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

“AFBF appreciates the unanimous vote in the Senate to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Farmers have lost out on up to $4 billion in agricultural exports because of lack of access to export containers, record shipping costs and harmful surcharges. Limited trade has also hampered farmers’ ability to get crucial supplies like fertilizer at a time when supply chains are already stressed. AFBF encourages lawmakers from both chambers to work quickly to reconcile differences in each version of the legislation and get it to the president for his signature so farmers can continue putting dinner on the table for families in America and overseas.”

ACE to EPA: Adopt GREET Model and Recognize Ethanol’s Low Carbon Value

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted feedback today to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request for comment on the current scientific understanding of greenhouse gas (GHG) modeling of land-based crop biofuels. ACE CEO Brian Jennings and ACE Board Director Ron Alverson contributed to the feedback after attending EPA’s workshop on biofuel GHG modeling. The comments cover subject areas that illustrate why EPA must update the methodology it uses to account for the lifecycle GHG emissions of ethanol and other biofuels to properly credit their GHG benefits to meet climate goals.

The topics covered include: the role corn ethanol can play in combatting climate change; land use change discrepancies, along with research that debunks the flawed Lark et al. study findings and the mythical tie between ethanol and food price increases; why GREET is the gold standard modeling tool and should be adopted by EPA; how efficient use of fertilizer is reducing nitrous oxide emissions; and soil carbon sequestration advances through climate-smart farming. The comments conclude by detailing a first-of-its-kind pilot project ACE is leading to convince market regulators and lifecycle modelers to provide carbon credits for certain farming practices.

“Unlike EPA’s badly outdated 2010 assessment, the assumptions and estimates used by Argonne scientists in GREET are under constant peer review and updates to the model occur annually,” the feedback stated. “Not only do more than 40,000 users around the world depend upon GREET to help determine the lifecycle GHG impacts of certain fuel technologies, but the model is the basis for the assessments used under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Oregon Clean Fuels Program. Legislation pending in Minnesota to create a clean fuel standard would statutorily require the use of the latest GREET model.”

The comments highlight discrepancies between EPA’s outdated approach to lifecycle modeling and more recent versions of the GREET model. Land use change represents one of the most glaring discrepancies, as EPA’s outdated modeling assigns an enormous land use change penalty of 29 grams to the overall carbon intensity (CI) of corn ethanol and using a recent version of GREET indicates a more accurate land use factor between 3.78 and 7.5 grams.

The comments further detail how the recent Lark et al. paper wildly overstates land use change and includes a summary of the technical rebuttal from experts at Argonne, Purdue and the University of Illinois that eviscerates both the methodology and flawed findings from the study.

Along with land use change, ACE’s comments reference research that has largely debunked the link between ethanol production and oil prices to food prices, as false narratives have resurfaced given the geopolitical concerns about inflation in general and food prices specially. ACE strongly encourages EPA to heed the finding from Shrestha et al. on the issue, which indicates “that there has been no significant change in U.S. food prices due to biofuels and biofuels have not caused any significant agricultural land use change.”

ACE’s comments also discuss why soil carbon models and the GREET model should be used by regulators such as EPA and the California Air Resources Board to assign credits for climate-smart farming practices that help reduce the overall CI of biofuels. “CARB and other regulators lean on the ‘need’ for localized assessments as an excuse for not providing farm-level carbon credits for biofuels, despite the fact CARB willingly uses models to assign carbon penalties (such as land use change) to biofuels,” Jennings writes. “To help breakthrough this stonewalling and convince market regulators and lifecycle modelers to provide carbon credits for certain farming practices, ACE is leading a pilot project in South Dakota funded by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Our ultimate goal is to develop a non-proprietary tool for farmers and ethanol plants to prove farm-level benefits in securing pathways to low carbon or clean fuel markets.”

USDA Offers CLEAR30 Option for Producers to Enroll Land with Expiring Conservation Contracts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing the signup period for its Clean Lakes, Estuaries, And Rivers initiative (CLEAR30) — a nationwide opportunity for certain landowners and agricultural producers currently implementing water quality practices through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to enroll in 30-year contracts, extending the lifespan and strengthening the benefits of important water quality practices on their land.  

Producers may apply for CLEAR30, a voluntary, incentive-based conservation program, from April 1, 2022, through Aug. 5, 2022.   

“Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners know better than most that clean water is essential,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “I am proud that, last year, we were able to successfully expand our Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers initiative nationwide, and I look forward to once again providing producers and landowners with the opportunity to participate in this initiative and build upon their conservation investments for the long-term.”  

Cropland and certain pastureland currently enrolled in Continuous CRP or the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and dedicated to an eligible water quality practice such as riparian buffers, contour strips, grass waterways or wetland restoration may be eligible if their contracts are expiring by September 30, 2022.  

CLEAR30 contracts will be effective beginning Oct. 1, 2022. These long-term contracts ensure that conservation practices remain in place for 30 years, which improves water quality through reducing sediment and nutrient runoff and helping prevent algal blooms. Conservation in riparian areas also provides important carbon sequestration benefits. Traditional CRP contracts run from 10 to 15 years.

About CLEAR30

CLEAR30 was established in the 2018 Farm Bill to better address water quality concerns. Originally, CLEAR30 was only available in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay watersheds; in 2021, FSA made CLEAR30 available to agricultural producers and landowners nationwide, and participation grew nearly seven-fold from 2020 to 2021.

Annual rental payments for landowners who enroll in CLEAR30 will be equal to the current Continuous CRP annual payment rate plus a 20 percent water quality incentive payment and an annual rental rate adjustment of 27.5 percent.  

How to Sign Up

To sign up for CLEAR30, landowners and producers should contact their local USDA Service Center by Aug. 5, 2022.  Contact information can be found at Additionally, fact sheets and other resources are available at     

More Information

CLEAR30 is an option available through CRP, which is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. CRP was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and stabilize commodity prices by taking environmentally sensitive lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing numerous conservation and economic benefits. In addition to CLEAR30, signups are also open for Continuous CRP and Grassland CRP.  

National Sorghum Producers Accepting Board of Director Applications

The National Sorghum Producers will begin accepting applications on April 4 for five positions on the 2022 board of directors.

“We are in need of strong producer leadership to help move forward the sorghum industry and legislative and regulatory policies that are important to sorghum farmers,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “Our farmer-led board of directors bring the commitment and dedication needed to ensure NSP maintains first-rate representation in Washington, D.C., for not only U.S. sorghum farmers but the industry as a whole.”

NSP board members lead efforts to create positive change for sorghum farmers through effective policy and relationships and hold a vision to promote, advocate for and defend the sorghum industry. To be qualified to serve on the board, candidates must be a current NSP member and have a passion for representing sorghum farmers through advocacy and fundraising activities. No prior board experience is necessary, only a desire to improve the sorghum industry.

Applications are due Friday, May 6, 2022, at 5 p.m. CST. The NSP Nominating Committee will review all applications before making nominations to the NSP Board of Directors for consideration and election during the August summer board meeting. Each position includes a three-year term, beginning October 1, 2022, the start of NSP’s fiscal year.

For the application or more information visit

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