Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Wednesday July 20 Ag News

 Nebraska’s Ninja Warrior Attributes Success to Family Cattle Farm

Sports Illustrated subscribers will soon be introduced to Leigh Jahnke, a Nebraska native whose experience growing up on a farm and raising cattle near West Point propelled her to compete on the American Ninja Warrior television show. In the publication feature (which includes a digital article published in late August and a full-page advertorial in Sports Illustrated Kids July edition), she talks about how eating beef and working on the farm helped her compete at the highest level.

“Growing up on my family’s farm literally taught me valuable skills that I have used throughout my life,” said Jahnke. “I learned the importance of hard work, perseverance, and the value of a good routine. Beef was a constant part of my diet that has helped me lead a healthy and active lifestyle.”

Jahnke recently graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (where she was also crowned homecoming queen) with degrees in Spanish and biology. She plans to further her education in medical school.

The Beef Checkoff funded partnership with Sports Illustrated aims to tell the story of “Farm-raised talent,” highlighting beef farmers and ranchers who have also had professional athletic careers. The partnership is part of a larger reputation management strategy implemented through NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, and is geared toward reaching Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers with positive information about beef’s role in healthy, sustainable diets.

Nebraska Corn Board Welcomes Two New Staff Members

The Nebraska Corn Board is pleased to announce the hiring of Jill Parrent as the Director of Communications and Rachael Whitehair as the Director of Innovation & Stewardship.

In the role of Director of Communications, Parrent will lead state communication efforts including the Communications Committee, branding consistency, working collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders, and developing communications campaigns. Parrent will organize and manage promotions and outreach efforts at in-person events throughout the state including Husker Harvest Days, Nebraska State Fair, FFA State Convention, and ethanol pump promotions. Parrent will be the contact for media inquiries from local, national, and international journalists regarding Nebraska’s corn industry.

Prior to joining the Nebraska Corn Board, Parrent spent time in commodity communications for the Illinois Soybean Board. A graduate from Iowa State University in agricultural communications, her roots run deep in agriculture.

“The Nebraska Corn Board supports the number one industry in Nebraska – agriculture. It’s truly an honor to play a role in promoting and communicating engagements and opportunities which will assist in the work Nebraska farmers do each day,” Parrent states.

As the Director of Innovation & Stewardship, Whitehair will manage the Nebraska Corn Board’s projects and priorities focused on efficient crop production innovation, new use research and development, and stewardship initiatives that support the board’s strategic vision – Enhancing Demand. Adding Value. Ensuring Sustainability.

Immersive demonstrations planned for Nebraska Soybean Management Field Days August 9-12

The 2022 Soybean Management Field Days are set for August 9-12. This year’s field days feature more demonstration-based presentations and added opportunities for interactive discussion. Growers will also have opportunities to get questions answered.

The field days bring research-based information to growers to improve soybean profitability. Local and global issues that are important to farmers will also be addressed. Attendees will learn about the various Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) checkoff dollar research, marketing and education efforts.

Brought to you by NSB and Nebraska Extension, the field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event.

The event consists of four stops across the state, each with demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. Dates and locations are:
    Aug. 9 – Blue Hill, NE – Toepfer Farms
    Aug. 10 – Central City, NE – Greg Greving Farm
    Aug. 11 – Brownville, NE – Daryl Obermeyer Farm
    Aug. 12 – Decatur, NE – Method Farms

University specialists, educators and industry consultants will cover:
    Soybean disease management
    Irrigation management (Blue Hill, Central City, Decatur)
    Cover crops (Brownville)
    Weed management
    Ag economics
    Precision ag
    Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel: Fuels from the Farm

“The Nebraska Soybean Board looks forward to another road trip across Nebraska providing helpful information and demonstrations to our producers to utilize on their farms,” says Scott Ritzman, NSB executive director. “It’s an excellent way to provide unbiased research that hopefully impacts their bottom line.”

University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomists, plant disease experts, and insect specialists will be available to address questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for complimentary identification.

According to Nebraska Extension educator, Aaron Nygren, “This is an excellent opportunity to gather and discuss soybean production practices that are important to your operation with other farmers and University of Nebraska specialists and educators.”

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit, or contact NSB at (402) 441-3240 or Nebraska Extension at (402) 624-8030.

Fischer Joins Bipartisan Group of Colleagues in Urging Biden Administration to Increase Biodiesel Volumes, Provide Certainty to Producers

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture committee, today joined 23 of her colleagues in urging the administration to increase the proposed biodiesel volumes in the upcoming Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2023 and 2024 to provide certainty to farmers and producers. The bipartisan group of senators highlighted how American biodiesel moderates fuel prices and benefits the economy and environment.  

“We strongly encourage EPA to utilize the upcoming RVOs for 2023 and 2024 to continue to increase volumes of biomass-based diesel. The production and use of biomass-based diesel contributes significantly to our economy and environment. These homegrown fuels add to our country’s critical fuel supplies, which helps to moderate fuel prices,” the senators wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan.

“Farmers and biofuel producers are an essential part of the solution to the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security challenges. They deserve certainty in this policy. A multiyear rule would provide the predictability and market signals that the biomass-based diesel industry needs to grow. Biofuels are poised to play an essential role in a sustainable, homegrown energy future. With the increased use of biomass-based diesel, we can advance efforts to diversify our nation’s fuel supply while creating and sustaining jobs, strengthening local economies, generating tax revenues, and improving energy security,” the senators continued.

Sens. Klobuchar (D-MN), Grassley (R-IA), Murray (D-WA), and Thune (R-SD) led the letter.

Additional cosigners include Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Smith: Mexico Must Be Held to All Its USMCA Commitments

Today, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Lead Republican of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee, released the following statement on the announcement United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico over Mexico’s recent energy policies under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

“I commend Ambassador Tai for taking this important step in enforcing Mexico’s obligations under USMCA. State of the art enforcement mechanisms were included in this trade agreement for a reason. Last week I urged President Bident to raise these energy policy concerns directly with President López Obrador, and I am encouraged by this progress.

“While this is welcome news, there is still work to be done. Mexico must be held to all its USCMA commitments, particularly regarding agriculture and policies related to biotechnology. I urge the Biden administration to push for enforcement of all elements of the USMCA, and I look forward to closely following this process and ensuring U.S. industries receive fair treatment in Mexico.”

On July 12, Smith sent a letter to President Biden ahead of his meeting with Mexican President López Obrador. In the letter, Smith urged the president to seek commitments from Mexico on a full range of USMCA implementation concerns.

Smith, Bishop, Ferguson & Kildee Introduce Bill to Authorize Center that Helps Protect U.S. Agriculture from Foreign Pests and Diseases

Today, Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03), Congressman Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), and Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) introduced H.R. 8432, the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022 in the House of Representatives. The legislation would provide permanent authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center, located in Newnan, Georgia. The center extensively trains detector dogs and their U.S. Customs and Border Protection handlers to sniff out prohibited agricultural items that could carry foreign plant pests or animal diseases into our country. Senators Raphael Warnock (GA) and Joni Ernst (IA) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

“Trade is critical to our supply chain; however we must ensure we are protecting U.S. agriculture in the process,” said Congressman Smith. “Food security is vital to keeping the American people safe and the U.S. agriculture industry strong. This bill supports U.S. agriculture, while keeping food prices down, and is a great step to protect our food supply from unauthorized produce carrying contaminants that threaten American producers. I thank Reps. Bishop, Ferguson and Kildee for partnering with me on this legislation.”

“U.S. agriculture has a trillion dollar impact on America’s economy. The Beagle Brigade and their human handlers are working every day to keep foreign pests and diseases out of the country,” said Congressman Bishop. “By permanently establishing the National Detector Dog Training Center, we are protecting U.S. agriculture and food supply from harm, keeping prices down at supermarkets for families, and maintaining export markets for American farmers. I am happy to lead this effort with my colleagues, Congressmen Drew Ferguson, Dan Kildee, and Adrian Smith.”

“The National Detector Dog Training Center, in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, does important work to properly train detector dogs to sniff out prohibited agricultural items in domestic and international trade,” said Congressman Ferguson. “This important bill will permanently authorize the training center to ensure America’s food supply chain stays protected from potentially devastating foreign pests and disease. I thank my colleagues for their leadership and participation, and look forward to our bill becoming law.”

“I’m proud to partner with Republicans and Democrats to introduce the Beagle Brigade Act so we can improve the inspection of food imports,” said Congressman Kildee. “This legislation will help protect American crops and livestock from harmful diseases like African Swine Flu that could decimate our domestic hog population. Michigan’s farmers feed our families every day and this bill will help to protect our local food supply from harm.”

Providing permanent authorization for the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center ensures the United States has a crucial tool in its fight against foreign pests and diseases that have the potential to devastate all sectors of the agriculture economy. Over 50 prominent agricultural, veterinary, and trade organizations support the legislation.

The Center primarily trains dogs—mostly beagles—to detect fruits, vegetables, and meats in international passenger baggage, mailed packages, and vehicles entering the United States. Dogs are selected from animal shelters, rescue groups, and private owners, and those that do not complete training are offered for adoption.

NCBA Joins Letter Supporting Beagle Brigade

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) joined a coalition of agricultural organizations in calling for passage of H.R. 8432/S.3678, the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. The bill would authorize the National Detector Dog Training Center, which trains canines, nicknamed the “Beagle Brigade.”
“The Beagle Brigade is crucial for preventing foreign animal diseases, invasive species and pests from entering the country,” said NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera. “To continue the success of the Beagle Brigade program, NCBA is urging Congress to provide specific authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center so canine teams can continue to provide robust inspections at U.S. ports of entry.”

Pork Picnic in a Cup is One of Iowa State Fair's Top New Foods

Quite simply, the “Pork Picnic in a Cup” that you’ll find at the Iowa Pork Tent during the 2022 Iowa State Fair “is everything that’s good at the family picnic.” That’s how Doug Rice of

Mt. Vernon, Iowa, describes the layered combination of corn chips, shredded BBQ pork, baked beans, and creamy coleslaw, with a spear of brown sugar pork belly slid down the side of the cup.

Pork Picnic in a Cup was selected as a Top 3 of the Iowa State Fair’s New Fair Foods contest. The fair announced the top new foods on Tuesday, July 19; fairgoers will select the winner during the early days of the fair, which begins Aug. 11.

Variations of this new menu item have been made by the volunteers working at the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Pork Tent through the years. The Iowa Pork Tent committee refined the ideas and added the result to the Iowa Pork Tent menu for 2022.

Rice, who is chairman of the Iowa Pork Tent committee, is a lifelong attendee of the Iowa State Fair. He has spent nearly every August helping in the Iowa Pork Tent; first, beside his parents, and later with friends he made through the years. He says Pork Picnic in a Cup is pork’s twist to the walking taco.

And while you may want to pick up the $10 meal-to-go, you should feel free to sit in the shaded and ample seating space offered at the Iowa Pork Tent. “It really is the heartbeat of the Iowa State Fair,” Rice said. “It’s a traditional stop for political candidates looking to meet Iowans, and it has the best food and best food value on the fairgrounds,” he says.

Hannah Spurr, IPPA’s consumer outreach director/Iowa Pork Tent manager, points out that one of those food values is a $5 pork burger special that will be offered every day of the fair from 2-4 p.m. At other times of the day, the pork burger will be $7.

“The Iowa Pork Tent is a great place to find fresh pork grilled by the men and women who raise it,” she says. “Eating at the Iowa Pork Tent is a tradition! Just last year, we celebrated 40 years of serving pork at the Iowa State Fair, and we plan to be here meeting and serving Iowans for many more years!”

Iowa Learning Farms Webinar: Watershed-Scale N-Load Model Update

A water quality expert at Iowa State University will discuss recent revisions to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy N-Load model, to enable direct comparisons of modeled estimates with U.S. Geological Survey water quality data collected at the watershed scale.

Kay Stefanik, assistant director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State, will present “Improving Flexibility of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy N-Load Model: Use at the Watershed Scale,” during a July 27 conservation webinar hosted by Iowa Learning Farms.

Iowa USGS water quality gauges map.Stefanik’s expertise and research is in water quality, nutrient cycling and aquatic ecosystems. In her work with water quality initiatives through the INRC, she has been directly involved in assessing progress toward Iowa’s nutrient reduction goals.

Iowa Learning Farms is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program.

Stefanik will also highlight uses of the N-Load model including estimation of watershed scale nitrate-N loss. In addition, Stefanik will cover opportunities to forecast future nitrate-N reductions enabled through increased practice implementation such as use of cover crops, conversion to no-till, changes in manure and fertilizer use and installation of edge-of-field practices.

“The INRS N-Load model was developed to estimate nitrate-N loss to surface waters on a Major Land Resource Area scale, which is not readily comparable to USGS water quality data that is commonly published in relation to watershed areas,” said Stefanik. “The revision of the N-Load model at the watershed scale aids in the development of more targeted watershed approaches to nutrient management for nitrate reductions.”

Participants in Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinars are encouraged to ask questions of the presenters. People from all backgrounds and areas of interest are encouraged to join.
Webinar access instructions

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CDT July 27:
    Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser:
    Or, go to and enter meeting ID 364 284 172.
    Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; meeting ID 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for. Those who participate in the live webinar are eligible. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Most Fertilizer Prices Press Lower With Nitrogen Taking the Lead

Retail fertilizer prices continued to be mostly lower for the second week of July 2022, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. This lower push has now been around for seven weeks in a row. Once again, all but one of the eight major fertilizers are lower compared to last month, with only one fertilizer down considerably. DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or more.

Urea was 10% lower compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $861 per ton.  

DAP had an average price of $1,030/ton, MAP $1,052/ton, 10-34-0 $904/ton, anhydrous $1,449/ton, UAN28 $606/ton and UAN28 $701/ton.

One fertilizer was just slightly more expensive compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $885/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.94/lb.N, anhydrous $0.88/lb.N, UAN28 $1.08/lb.N and UAN32 $1.09/lb.N.

Most fertilizers prices continue to be considerably higher than one year earlier.  MAP is 44% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 45% higher, DAP is 49% more expensive, urea is 57% higher, UAN28 is 64% more expensive, UAN32 is 68% higher, potash is 77% more expensive and anhydrous is 100% higher compared to last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/15/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending July 15, ethanol production stepped up by 2.9% to 1.034 million b/d, equivalent to 43.43 million gallons daily. Production was 0.6% more than the same week last year and 2.2% above the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.6% to 1.033 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.84 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked down 0.2% to 23.6 million barrels. Stocks were 4.6% higher than a year ago and 7.9% above the five-year average. Inventories thinned across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5).
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, rebounded by 5.7% to 8.52 million b/d (130.63 bg annualized). However, demand was 8.3% less than a year ago and 9.7% below the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol remained level with the prior week at 887,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.60 bg annualized. Net inputs were 2.2% less than a year ago and 3.1% below the five-year average.

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

Applauds Announcement of New U.S.-Philippine African Swine Fever Project

Today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and leaders from the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to announce the launch of a new project titled “Capacity building in risk assessment to support safe international trade of U.S. pork products in the Philippines” to address challenges related to African swine fever (ASF).
“NPPC is proud to have worked with the Philippine government, U.S. government, and the University of Minnesota to see this grant proposal to the finish line,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota. “Creating international partnerships provides further safeguards to keep American agriculture safe from foreign animal disease so U.S. pork producers can continue to provide consumers in both countries with safe and affordable pork products.”
The Philippines has had ongoing ASF outbreaks and is seeking better ways to control the virus and the subsequent food price inflation. NPPC worked with the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., to ascertain the needs of the Philippine government and producers for ASF outbreak management. The NPPC international affairs team partnered with the University of Minnesota to develop a proposal for government assistance that FAS graciously accepted and announced they would fund the project both in the Philippines and Vietnam.
“The knowledge to be gained from the program is a win-win for both countries as it will help us better understand how to prepare, prevent and mitigate a potential ASF outbreak,” said Dr. Andres M. Perez, DVM, PhD, professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, who also directs the university’s Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS). “Assisting other countries to implement control measures that reduce the spread of the disease simultaneously limits the risk to the U.S. pork industry.”
The ASF program will support the readiness and transparency of the Philippine animal health services by building the foundation of a risk-based approach to constructing and implementing animal health policy and programs. The program will include workshops for provincial officers and intense in-person training of fellows identified by representatives from the Philippine Department of Agriculture. Participants also will have asynchronous training based on material developed and delivered in advance of the workshops.
“NPPC wants to thank USDA for funding this program and their broader commitment to prevention and preparedness against ASF and other foreign animal diseases,” Wolters added. “This program ties in well with the $500 million committed by USDA for ASF preparedness and prevention and the recently launched USDA Borlaug Fellowship Program aimed at developing quick and affordable testing kits for African swine fever and other transboundary animal diseases.”
The U.S. is a top pork exporting nation. An ASF outbreak in America would cause billions in losses and hinder exports of U.S. pork. NPPC has been working with the USDA to prevent and prepare for the potential outbreak of ASF. NPPC will continue to work with global partners to collaborate in areas of common interest, such as foreign animal diseases.

Federal Crop Insurance a Top Priority to Farmers, NCGA Grower Leader Tells Congress

Federal crop insurance is essential to farming and should be protected from harmful budget cuts and reforms in the 2023 farm bill, a National Corn Growers Association leader told House Agriculture Committee members today.

“Federal crop insurance is a major pillar of risk management for the vast majority of corn growers,” Minnesota farmer and NCGA First Vice President Tom Haag told the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. “Simply put, the public-private partnership of crop insurance works and plays a significant role for agriculture in the wake of natural disasters.”

Haag’s testimony comes as Congress continues to review implementation of the 2018 farm bill ahead of debate and reauthorization of the farm bill next year.

During development, passage, and implementation of the 2018 farm bill, NCGA’s top priority was to maintain support for a robust crop insurance program. Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees were able to defeat attacks on the program and found ways to strengthen federal crop insurance.

Last week, corn growers from across the country were in Washington, DC, as part of NCGA’s Corn Congress summer fly-in. Throughout the week, corn growers stressed to their members of Congress the important role that the farm bill plays in their lives and rural America.

Haag noted that NCGA and its state affiliates would provide farm bill recommendations over the coming months.

Farmers and Biofuels Combat Climate Change

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) disputed a lawsuit filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit against the U.S. EPA over recently finalized volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), made erroneous assertions about the impacts and benefits of farming.

“Claims like these show that CBD’s leadership hasn’t visited a modern corn farm,” said Iowa farmer and NCGA President Chris Edgington. “I invite them to visit my farm so they can learn about the sustainable practices we employ daily. The corn we produce is not only helping feed the world during a very difficult time, but it is also used for clean and affordable biofuels that lower costs for consumers while cutting both carbon and toxic tailpipe emissions.”

Edgington noted that corn growers are leading when it comes to increased yields that produce more corn with less land and fewer resources, meeting market demand for multiple uses of corn. He also noted farmers have continued to expand climate-smart agriculture practices, such as precision technology to reduce inputs, no-till and minimal tillage to store more carbon and save energy, and planting cover crops to improve soil health.

New Research Reveals Role of Immigrants in America's Meat and Dairy Industries

In a review of immigrants in America’s food supply chain, the American Immigration Council released a report that examines the impact and contributions of immigrant workers in the United States’ meat and dairy industries. The report, “Tending to America's Food Supply: The Essential Role of Immigrants in America's Meat and Dairy Industries,” found that immigrant workers play a vital role in producing America's food, easing labor shortages, and stabilizing food prices.

Shortages and increasing costs plague grocery stores across the country while the Senate considers legislation that would reform the visa program for temporary agricultural workers. This report dives into the national labor shortage in the meat and dairy industries, examining the factors that have led to this situation, and discusses how immigration can alleviate labor shortages in non-seasonal industries such as meat and dairy.

“Meat and dairy employers rely on the H-2A and H-2B visa programs to fill jobs they are unable to fill with American workers. While these visa programs provide a temporary solution by supplying seasonal foreign workers, ultimately, they do not meet the needs of these non-seasonal industries. As workers reach retirement age and leave the workforce, the meat and dairy industries will be increasingly hard-pressed to find enough workers to meet demands,” said Andrew Lim, research director at the American Immigration Council. “If the United States is to stabilize its food workforce and prices, it should consider expanding temporary work visa programs and implementing other long-term employment-based immigration reforms. This includes providing a path to citizenship for millions of the undocumented farmworkers in the U.S. today to address the labor needs of the meat and dairy industries and the agricultural sector more broadly.”

The main findings of the report include:
    Over the past three years, the median advertised online wage for workers in the meat and dairy industries has risen 33.7%, from $14.95 to $20.00 per hour.
    Metropolitan areas with the highest demand for meat and dairy workers included Houston, Omaha, San Antonio, Austin, and Los Angeles; states with the highest number of postings included Texas, California, Iowa, and North Carolina.
    In fiscal year 2021, meat and dairy employers requested a combined total of 34,245 H-2A and H-2B workers—the U.S. Department of Labor certified 32,071 of those workers.
    Of those 32,071 temporary workers certified, 30,088 H-2A visa holders—more than 93.8%—work in the meat industry, typically hired to tend to livestock or maintain the machinery and buildings on the farm.
    More than 90,000 workers breed, raise, and tend to animals on farms, ranches, livestock yards, and animal confinement facilities across the country. One in five livestock workers, or 20%, are foreign-born, a significantly higher percentage than the national share of foreign-born workers for all industries combined, which is 17.4%.
    During the early days of the pandemic, the share of meatpacking workers who were foreign-born was 45.4%—28 percentage points higher than the average share for all industries combined.
    From 2017 to 2021, the number of unique online job postings for meatpacking workers increased by 86.4%. To mitigate the labor shortage, meat producers have called for the federal government to expand the H-2B visa program to allow year-round visas in addition to the seasonal visas allowed today.
    More than one in four transportation workers in the meat industry are foreign-born (26%), a higher share than that of all transportation workers combined (19.1%). From 2019 to 2021, the number of unique online job postings for transportation workers in the meat industry doubled (by 115%).
    Nearly one in five workers on dairy farms are immigrants.

This new data is one in a series of research pieces that will explore a variety of issues at the intersection of the U.S. economy and immigration.  

National Ag in the Classroom Virtual Summit is July 28

Join National Ag in the Classroom for a free, one-day virtual conference sponsored by the CHS Foundation on July 28.

The conference will take place from 10:00 AM - 5:45 PM Eastern Time and will feature a keynote address from the award-winning author Peggy Thomas.

There will be two session tracks, one for elementary and one for secondary education.

For more information or to register, go to:  

Maverick™ Corn Herbicide Earns EPA Registration for Broad Spectrum Weed Management

Valent U.S.A. has received EPA registration for Maverick™ Corn Herbicide, a powerful new tool for corn farmers in their fight against resistant weeds. Maverick equips growers with three effective modes of action for long-lasting, broad-spectrum control of problematic weeds, including waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, marestail and annual grasses, as well as application flexibility from preplant up to 18-inch corn, low use rates for easy in-field handling and mixing, and excellent compatibility with atrazine.

“Maverick provides use options that increase operational efficiencies and in-field performance,” says Erick Garcia, Maverick brand manager for Valent U.S.A. “Not only do the three modes of action make it a broad spectrum, long-lasting solution, Maverick also provides growers the operational flexibility they need to make the most of their weed management program.”

Combining three different modes of action (clopyralid, a Group 4 - Plant-Growth Inhibitors, mesotrione, a Group 27- HPPD Inhibitors, and pyroxasulfone, a Group 15 - Very-Long-Chain Fatty Acid (VLCFA) Inhibitors), makes Maverick an excellent choice for herbicide resistance management programs.

Maverick will be available later this year, pending state registrations. To learn more about Maverick, visit

National FFA Organization Names 2022 American Star Finalists

The National FFA Organization has announced the 16 finalists for its 2022 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies by completing a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing. Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business, or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

The finalists include:

American Star Farmer
Peter Bliss from the Merced-Golden Valley FFA Chapter in California
Blake Frascht from the Charles City FFA Chapter in Iowa

Zane Hagemeyer from the Elmwood FFA Chapter in Ohio
Emily Makos from the FFA Juda Chapter in Wisconsin

American Star in Agribusiness
Terrance Crayton from the Wetumpka FFA Chapter in Alabama
Kaitlyn Hart from the Colquitt County FFA Chapter in Georgia
Cotton Booker the from Colfax FFA Chapter in Washington
Haden Handley from the Buffalo FFA Chapter in West Virginia

American Star in Agricultural Placement
Case Edwards from the Wetumpka FFA Chapter in Alabama
Cory Yarbrough from the Madison County High School FFA Chapter in Georgia
Jacob Wuebker from the Versailles FFA Chapter in Ohio
Emma Victery from the Chickasha FFA Chapter in Oklahoma

American Star in Agriscience
Danae Westra from Visalia-Central Valley Christian FFA Chapter in California
Marin Lonnee from Oconee County High FFA Chapter in Georgia
Sydney Hefty from the Dekalb FFA Chapter in Indiana
Ryan Hess from the Stephenville FFA Chapter in Texas

A panel of judges will interview the finalists and select one winner from each award category for the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo, held in Indianapolis this fall. The four winners will be announced during the convention.

Case IH, Elanco Animal Health, Pepsico Inc., and Syngenta sponsor the American FFA Degree recognition program. Visit for more information about the American Star Awards.

Sorghum Announced as Newest Addition to USDA Food Buying Guide

In a major step forward for the sorghum industry, school foodservice providers and American schoolchildren, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently added sorghum, a nutrient-rich, high-protein, gluten-free ancient whole grain, to its Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs. The Food Buying Guide is the primary resource used by school foodservice directors to build menus that comply with USDA nutrition requirements.

“The inclusion of sorghum in the Food Buying Guide is a monumental win for sorghum producers as we continue seeking to develop new markets for our crop,” United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) Executive Director Norma Ritz Johnson said. “Sorghum’s inclusion in the guide is pivotal in our efforts to increase its visibility and ease of use among foodservice professionals, as well as the students they serve, and the industry is excited to deliver this nutritious whole grain to the plates of America’s schoolchildren.”

In an effort extending over many months, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program has worked with USDA to add sorghum to the Food Buying Guide.

As of July 1, 2022, USDA has implemented a new requirement stating that at least 80% of the weekly grains in school lunch and breakfast menus must be whole-grain rich, which has resulted in school nutrition providers actively seeking foods that satisfy this requirement. As a nutrient-rich ancient whole grain, sorghum will prove to be the solution for school nutrition professionals for the upcoming school year and beyond.

“The Food Buying Guide is a critical resource on which foodservice professionals rely to formulate meal plans for school nutrition programs that meet USDA nutrition requirements,” Sorghum Checkoff Director of Food Innovations & Institutional Markets, Lanier Dabruzzi, MS, RD, LD, said. “As the 2022-23 school year opens, schools are working around a new 80% whole grain requirement. This timely addition will give school nutrition providers a new ingredient to include in bowls, salads, soups, baked goods and more.”

The Food Buying Guide provides a roadmap for foodservice professionals to develop well-rounded nutritious menus by defining how certain foods contribute or credit toward federal nutrition guidelines. The inclusion of whole grain sorghum, pearled sorghum and sorghum flour in this Guide is an important acknowledgement by USDA that sorghum is a nutritious addition to the plates of American schoolchildren as a nutrient-rich, high-protein, gluten-free ancient whole grain.

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