Thursday, July 28, 2022

Wednesday July 27 Ag News

 Nebraska Receives Federal Approval for Public Assistance Following Mid-May Storm Damage

The federal government has approved Governor Pete Ricketts’ request for a federal disaster declaration related to the thunderstorms, large hail, high winds, and tornadoes that struck Nebraska on May 12, 2022.

The storm system caused power outages, broke tree limbs, and damaged small structures and agricultural equipment.  Hail from the storm ruined corn, soybean, and wheat crops.  It also created a dust storm that led to numerous vehicle crashes, and it heavily damaged the Garfield County Fairgrounds, home to Burwell’s Big Rodeo since 1921.

The federal disaster declaration authorizes public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Antelope, Boone, Burt, Cedar, Cuming, Custer, Dixon, Garfield, Greeley, Holt, Knox, Logan, Pierce, Polk, Sherman, Thurston, Valley, Wayne, Wheeler, and York counties.

Communities are eligible to apply for assistance for “emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.”  However, private property damages from the storm did not meet the threshold to trigger a request for individual assistance from FEMA.

The federal disaster declaration also makes funds available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.  These federal funds, available anywhere in Nebraska, can help to share the costs of public projects undertaken to decrease the risk of future damages from natural disasters.

Helena of Norfolk Cultivating Yields of Value

In the heart of eastern Nebraska lies Helena of Norfolk, a local ag retailer making a big impact. Helena of Norfolk was established in 2014, when Helena Agri-Enterprises acquired a farm and garden home center. Four years later, Helena of Norfolk moved into a new facility that included a terminal, as well as both a dry and liquid fertilizer manufacturing facility. Over the past eight years, the location strived to improve agricultural productivity for its customers in eastern Nebraska and eastern Kansas. Their efforts paid off, earning them national recognition from Helena as the 2021 Coron® Blender of the Year.

Justin Ranslem and his team at Helena of Norfolk played a substantial role in obtaining this honor. Coron­ is one of Helena’s highly manufactured products due to its extensive use as a nutritional in the region. It provides vital nitrogen to crops such as corn and soybeans with an advanced, controlled-release formulation. During his time as Coron production manager, Ranslem made quality assurance a priority and created a culture focused on providing value to the local ag community. He also shared his knowledge, inviting employees at Helena to learn the production process. Justin Uecker, a former applicator, took interest. As a visual learner, Uecker took everything up quickly, learning the ins and outs of Coron production. Although he was an applicator, Uecker spent a lot of time as Ranslem’s right-hand man, assisting where he was needed in the production facility. This mentorship made Uecker’s transition to his new role as a production manager easy.

As Uecker fills his new role as Coron production manager, he is grateful for his previous role as an applicator that prepared him for putting care into each product spread or made. As an applicator, Uecker ran dry machines spreading potash, MAP, and all other dry fertilizers in the fall and the spring. Once the corn emerged, he did side dress and top dress.

“I treated every field as if it were mine or as if I was spreading for my father because that’s how he taught me,” said Uecker. “I always try to do a good job for everybody and leave the field in better shape than when I got there.”

To produce Coron on-site in Norfolk, Uecker begins with a 25-ton blender that has an automated control system. The formulas are pre-programmed into the computer, so he chooses the correct one and begins mixing the raw ingredients. First, water is put into the blender, along with urea, followed by Coron technical and other necessary ingredients depending on formulation. To make Coron Metra, ENC® Formulation Technology is a key component to finish the formulation and gives the product additional mixing and nutrient uptake capabilities. This mixture blends until all ingredients become a homogeneous mixture. Finally, Uecker takes a sample to check specific gravity and pH levels. If all levels are correct, the Coron product is ready to be used and distributed. In addition to Coron, the plant produces the liquid starter fertilizers Nucleus® 0-0-15, Nucleus HP, Nucleus Ortho-Phos and Nutri-Link®.

To have the ability to offer these quality local products to Norfolk and surrounding ag communities, Helena has a 25-car railroad sidetrack with a dump pit in the dry facility, which holds about 15,000 tons of material. MAP, potash, AMS and lime are brought into the dry facility. Further down the track is a spot for liquid rail materials, which includes phosphoric acid for starter material in the production plant and more. A small amount of material is brought in by truck from Sioux City, Iowa, which includes gypsum and urea. These logistics are invaluable as they provide efficiency in receiving mass quantities of product in a short amount of time, as well as buying power through bulk purchases. For example, 1,000 tons of product can be brought in at a time on the rail versus 25 ton loads by truck. The dry terminal and liquid storage terminal serve as storage and distribution for the northeast Nebraska retail cluster.

Yields are not the only way Helena of Norfolk provides value. It ensures its people are an integral part in the community and beyond. Its role is to provide value-added, competitive products and prices, as well as unique offerings Helena’s own controlled-release nitrogen and starter fertilizers. They have 10 full-time employees and numerous temporary employees who have impacted the community by buying into the Helena mission and taking the utmost care of customers to maximize their yield and profits. Helena of Norfolk supports their local FFA Chapter, participates in sponsorships for local groups, and advertise in local promotional material.

When speaking about the Norfolk personnel, Craig Davidson, Helena Product Manager based in Nebraska, said, “They’re out there working with their customers, taking a look at their fields and growing systems and trying to fit the right Helena product to the right situation for their growers to help maximize yield, and to help maximize return…to add a little bit more profit to the bottom line.”

Norfolk’s dedicated people with a breadth of knowledge on unique and useful products and technical knowledge will continue to be the lifeblood of agronomic solutions in the heart of eastern Nebraska.

Cash Rents and Land Values: 2022 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Update

Presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska
Presenter: Jim Jansen, Extension Agricultural Economist, UNL Center for Agricultural Profitability
Aug 4, 2022 - 12:00 PM

For the third consecutive year, the all-land average value in Nebraska increased for the year ending February 1, 2022, to an average value of $3,360 per acre — about 16% higher than the prior year, according to the final results of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 2022 Farm Real Estate Report.

Panel members reported in 2022 that current crop prices, purchases for farm expansion, and interest rate levels as the major economic forces guiding the market value of land higher across the state. The financial health of current owners and non-farmer investor interest in land purchases as additional positive forces.

This webinar will provide an overview of 2022 land values and cash rental rates as well as trends and outlook.

Register at  


A first-of-its-kind grant will fund the building of three hydroponic greenhouses on the Omaha reservation.

Tribal Planner Mike Grant and Attorney General Theresa Rachel of the Omaha Tribe joined representatives from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Rural Prosperity Nebraska initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month to finalize the terms of the $671,000 agriculture grant awarded to the tribe.

“The Omaha Nation Hydroponics Initiative is on the cutting edge of nontraditional agriculture, not only for tribal communities, but for all communities here in Nebraska,” said Ted Hibbeler, a Rural Prosperity Nebraska extension educator and head of the Native American Coalition, a program that facilitates community development and leadership in Native communities and connects Native traditions and cultures with nontribal communities.

Instead of growing crops in soil, hydroponic farming is an agricultural practice that grows fruits and vegetables in sand, gravel or liquid that is infused with nutrients the plants need to grow. While the plants receive their nutrients from water instead of soil, the solutions, temperature and equipment in hydroponic greenhouses are highly monitored and controlled. This results in less water usage and greater yields than traditional soil-based agriculture.

“We can grow a crop of bib lettuce in six to seven weeks from seed to finish, whereas in soil, that same crop would take eight to nine,” said Stacy Adams, an agronomy and horticulture professor who runs the hydroponics lab at Nebraska. “Hydroponic fruits often are heavier, fleshy and less tough, making them more palatable.”

Not only will the hydroponic facility greatly increase the Omaha Tribe’s sustainable food production capacity, but it will be the first and only facility of its kind in the nation on tribal land.

“We’re well aware that we want to go through the traditional methods of crop farming — corns, beans, squash — but we also want to go into the nontraditional, which is the hydroponics,” Grant said. “We want to make sure we are taking full advantage of any opportunity that comes to us to feed our people, our families and our children. The flipside of that is they learn proper nutrition.”

The $671,000 will cover the first stage of the initiative — one year to construct the three greenhouses, which will be dedicated to leafy greens, substantial vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, and herbs. The second stage, Hibbeler said, will include “training and educating (tribal members) on how to do their own hydroponics operation, so it can serve as a hydroponics business incubator for economic development for tribal members.”

“Studies have shown that when individuals better understand where foods come from and are actively engaged with their production, healthier lifestyles result,” Adams said. “In this era of colorful food packaging that masks empty sugars, fats and carbs, experiencing food production and interacting with flavorful produce could benefit the population as a whole.”

Grant said: “It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a process. I’m hoping that within 10 years, we’ll have a strong group of the younger generation that’s really going to take the farming operations — traditional and nontraditional — seriously and understand that there’s money involved that can develop a revenue stream so they can sustain their families. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Not try. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Hibbeler sees this award as a major success but also a steppingstone.

“What we’re doing with the Omaha tribe, we can do with the Winnebago, we can do with the Santee,” he said. “You can only talk so much about things, and then something has to be done.”

Upcoming Cattle Edge Webinar: Inflation and Economic Growth in 2022

The first half of 2022 has been marked by high inflation, rising interest rates, and market instability, leading to a higher risk of a recession.

Join Nebraska Cattlemen on Tuesday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. CT, alongside FNBO's Chief Investment Officer, Kurt Spieler, for our Cattle Edge Webinar on Inflation and Economic Growth in 2022.

An aggressive change in Federal policy and instability in the stock and bond markets occurred in the first half of the year. High inflation on a global basis, exacerbated by geopolitical risk (the Russia/Ukraine war), has contributed to uncertainty about economic growth. Kurt Spieler and his team believe the inflation trend remains the key factor in a possible recession and will likely continue to impact financial asset returns. Find out what factors will play a role in whether inflation will moderate and may push the country into a recession.

Kurt is the Chief Investment Officer responsible for developing and implementing investment strategies for the Wealth Management division at FNBO. This includes leading the Asset Allocation, Equity, Fixed Income and Manager Research committees. In addition, he manages investment portfolios for high net worth and institutional clients.

Kurt joined First National Bank in 2005 and has over 30 years of experience in portfolio management. Previously, he was the head of international equities for Principal Global Investors, as well as president of his own asset management firm.

Kurt is a holder of the Charted Financial Analyst® (CFA®) designation and is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Colorado. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and his master’s degree from Drake University.

For any questions regarding the upcoming webinar you can email Nebraska Cattlemen's Director of Producer Education, Bonita Lederer, at  Register for the webinar at  

Soy-based Asphalt Investments Yield Major Enhancements to the 2022 Farm Progress Show

As the nation’s largest outdoor farm event, the annual Farm Progress Show connects thousands of farmers with companies innovating the future of agriculture. Now, a collaborative project to improve the show’s experience for visitors and vendors highlights critical checkoff investments in the research and development of soy-based technologies.

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), in partnership with Iowa State University (ISU) and the Farm Progress Show, announce the completion of a large-scale, soy-based asphalt project at the heart of the Central Iowa Expo Grounds near Boone. Sponsored by ISA, the 42,560 square foot asphalt base showcases the versatility of homegrown soybeans and research advancements toward its’ use.

“Infrastructure and demand are two priorities for Iowa soybean farmers,” says Robb Ewoldt, ISA president and soybean farmer from Davenport. “Soy’s incorporation in asphalt enhances the product’s durability and longevity and reduces maintenance costs. It also increases demand for soybean oil, improves the product’s environmental footprint and provides the expo grounds with greater flexibility in the events it attracts and hosts.”

Site improvements that also highlight the versatility of crops produced by Iowa farmers is a win for all, says Matt Jungmann, event director of the Farm Progress Show.

“We’re creating an enhanced experience for visitors by upgrading the Varied Industries Tent area with this asphalt. Farmers and exhibitors will find this new surface creates a better environment for the show.”

The paving project is an extension of the research conducted by Iowa State University into the formulation of high-oleic soybean oil as a replacement for other expensive, highly volatile compounds commonly used in the creation of asphalt products. Using a Cold-in-Place technology, the project combines 100% recycled asphalt pavement mixed with a soy-based polymer. In total, the construction utilizes over 2,300 lbs. of soybean oil, or 215 bushels of soybeans. On average, each soybean bushel yields nearly 10.7 lbs. of oil.

Eric Cochran, a professor at ISU’s Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering and director of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, says the university’s research and testing of the bio-polymer product continues toward commercialization.

“After starting sponsored research projects in 2013, we had the momentum it required to go from laboratory-scale experiments to pilot-scale manufacturing conducted at ISU’s BioCentury Research Farm. We moved from that manufacturing facility into a full-scale chemical manufacturer last year.”

The Iowa Soybean Association is proud to have invested in the research and technology to make soy-based asphalt a reality, added Ewoldt.

“Featuring soy in such a prominent location will advance awareness and understanding of the product’s versatility and benefits, drive demand for homegrown soybeans and make the expo grounds more accessible for guests for years and decades to come.”

Iowa agriculture organizations call on White House to aid in fertilizer crisis

Rising fertilizer costs continue to create challenges for Iowa farmers, and three Iowa farm groups, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), called on the White House to aid in the crisis.  Today, on behalf of the Iowa groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), along with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and American Soybean Association (ASA) delivered a letter to President Joe Biden expressing deep concern and proposed relief regarding the United States’ fertilizer price crisis.  The exponential rise in fertilizer costs are causing financial hardship for farmers producing food and retail price hikes for consumers purchasing that food.

The joint letter from leading national agriculture groups seeks executive action and a national state of emergency declaration to remove fertilizer tariffs. Inflation, supply chain disruptions, trade practices and geopolitical disputes have led to increased prices of food commodities and fuel, and farmers have seen an unsustainable jump in input costs required to grow crops and raise food.

The Biden Administration has previously acknowledged concerns impacting the economic viability of agriculture and sought remedies and solutions, and America’s leading agriculture organizations are hopeful the administration responds to the fertilizer price crisis so our farmers can effectively feed our country and world.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/22/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending July 22, ethanol production slowed by 1.3% to 1.021 million b/d, equivalent to 42.89 million gallons daily. Production was 0.7% more than the same week last year as well as the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.7% to 1.026 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.73 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks shrank 1.0% to 23.3 million barrels. Stocks were 2.6% higher than a year ago and 5.8% above the five-year average. Inventories thinned across all regions except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, vaulted 8.5% to a three-week high of 9.25 million b/d (141.73 bg annualized). However, demand was 0.9% less than a year ago and 2.5% below the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 0.9% to 895,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.72 bg annualized. Net inputs were 3.8% less than a year ago and 3.5% below 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 May 2022.)

Fertilizer Prices Keep Falling

Retail fertilizer prices continued to be mostly lower, led by urea, the third week of July 2022, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. This march to less expensive prices has been a market feature for two consecutive months now.  Once again, all but one of the eight major fertilizers are lower compared to last month, with only one fertilizer down substantially. Urea was 7% lower compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $836 per ton.

DAP had an average price of $1,007/ton, MAP $1,043/ton, 10-34-0 $894/ton, anhydrous $1,431/ton, UAN28 $598/ton and UAN28 $696/ton.  10-34-0 crossed the sub-$900/ton threshold for the first time since the fourth week of March 2022 when the price was $896/ton.  UAN28 dropped below $600/ton for the first time since the third week of January 2022, when the price was $585/ton. UAN32 dipped below the $700/ton mark for the first time since the third week of March 2022 when the price was $698/ton.

One fertilizer was slightly more expensive compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $887/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.91/lb.N, anhydrous $0.87/lb.N, UAN28 $1.07/lb.N and UAN32 $1.09/lb.N.

Most fertilizers continue to be considerably higher in prices than one year earlier. MAP is 39% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 41% higher, DAP is 45% more expensive, urea is 51% higher, potash is 63% more expensive, UAN28 is 64% higher, UAN32 is 66% more expensive and anhydrous is 95% higher compared to last year.

NCBA Backs Food and Energy Security Act

This week, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced support for the Food and Energy Security Act introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-SD. The bill would require federal regulators to disclose how proposed rules would impact food and energy prices.

"Earlier this year, the Biden administration proposed a massive climate disclosure rule that will create new reporting burdens for every farm, ranch, and small business in the country. This plan will harm producers and consumers alike,” said NCBA Environmental Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “NCBA is proud to support the Food and Energy Security Act because rules like the SEC's emissions disclosure mandate add a costly burden to cattle producers, rural communities, and consumers across the country."

Additionally, the bill would prohibit federal regulators from implementing any rule that would increase food or energy prices if inflation is higher than 4.5%. Since the start of 2022, inflation has consistently been over 7% with the inflation rate hitting 9.1% in June—a four decade high.  

In March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose their direct (scope 1), energy/electricity consumption (scope 2), and supply chain emissions (scope 3). By requiring the inclusion of scope 3 emissions, cattle producers who supply beef to publicly traded processors, restaurants, and retailers would be subject to these overreaching financial regulations. The SEC is a Wall Street regulator, not an environmental or agricultural agency, and their proposed climate rule goes far beyond the agency’s jurisdiction.

NCBA submitted technical comments in opposition to the rule and individual cattle producers sent over 7,400 letters to the SEC commissioners and members of Congress.

The Food and Energy Security Act would prevent the SEC from implementing their broad climate rule, protecting cattle producers from red tape while ensuring that consumers continue to have access to affordable, wholesome proteins like beef.  

NMPF, IDFA Commend Dairy Provision in Child Nutrition Bill, Will Work to Protect Access to Nutritious Dairy

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) released the following joint statement today on the House Education and Labor Committee’s passage of the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, a bill which reauthorizes federal child nutrition programs:

“Dairy farmers and processors across the nation pride themselves on providing nutritious, healthful foods. Milk provides 13 essential vitamins and nutrients, including three of the four deemed to be of public health concern. Milk also is the top source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in kids ages 2-18. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight the robust nutrient package milk provides and notes that school-aged children do not consume recommended amounts of dairy foods. Ensuring children and adolescents have access to nutrient-dense milk and healthful dairy foods is a top priority for NMPF, IDFA, and our members.

“Child nutrition programs are critical to ensuring kids have access to nutritious food. We thank those across our nation who work hard every day to administer these vital programs. The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act approved today by the House Education and Labor Committee includes provisions to provide increased access and maintain existing access to healthful dairy foods.

“In addition to expanding eligibility and increasing support to schools, the bill takes an important step in increasing students’ access to nutritious food by securing more permanently the ability for schools to serve all milk options consistent with the Dietary Guidelines. We thank Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), who has championed the issue for years with his School Milk Nutrition Act, for his leadership in securing these healthy milk options for schools. Milk consumption increases when more varieties are available; protecting the ability for schools to choose the milk options that best serve their students is crucial. Increased milk consumption means more intake of milk’s essential nutrients. And schools that have seen a rise in milk consumption have, in many cases, seen overall school-meals participation rise as well.”
“The legislation also points to the importance of the nutrients milk provides for students. The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act maintains the requirement that milk substitutes be nutritionally equivalent to real milk, unless the student is being offered a substitute for medical or other diet-related needs. We will continue our efforts to further strengthen nutritional equivalency requirements to protect access to milk’s essential nutrients in child nutrition programs.”

NCBA Looks to 2023 Farm Bill Following Summer Meeting

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced its priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill based on producer input at the association’s Summer Business Meeting in Reno, Nevada.

“Our annual meetings are the cornerstone of NCBA’s grassroots policy process,” said NCBA President Don Schiefelbein, a Minnesota cattleman. “Individual producers set the course for NCBA’s advocacy work in Washington, D.C., and we have heard from many producers who value the animal health, voluntary conservation and disaster recovery programs in the last Farm Bill and look forward to improving those programs in the next Farm Bill.”
NCBA’s Farm Bill priorities include:
    Protecting animal health through programs that guard against the spread of foreign animal diseases such as the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank, which currently houses the Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine. NCBA previously advocated for this vaccine bank in the last Farm Bill and producers recognize the danger that a foreign animal disease poses to the industry and the protection this bank provides.
    Strengthening risk management programs that provide producers with added protection against weather events and price decline.
    Promoting voluntary conservation programs that provide support for producers to implement conservation practices free from government mandates.
    Supporting disaster recovery programs that help producers return to normal operations following adverse weather, attacks by predators, or extreme conditions like drought and wildfire.

Additionally, cattle producers amended and renewed existing policy on the books on issues including cattle health, federal lands, environmental policy, trade, markets, taxes, transportation, food safety, and more.

“Cattle producers have faced yet another challenging year,” said Schiefelbein. “The policies passed at this summer business meeting will help NCBA focus on resolving some of the challenges caused by extreme conditions and supply chain disruptions, ensuring the continued success of beef farmers and ranchers.”

As a grassroots organization, NCBA is proud of the century-old policy process that grants each member an equal vote in the association’s priorities. For more information on the policy process or to get involved, please visit

Soy Checkoff Farmer-Leaders Approve Investments to Drive Demand for U.S. Soybeans

The farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board (USB) convened for its summer board meeting on July 26-27 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to approve a 2023 fiscal year budget of $123M for program work, starting Oct. 1, 2022. Spanning eight portfolios, these investments in research, education and promotion add value to U.S. soybeans with the goal to build resilience, differentiation and reputation. This portfolio ladders up to USB’s new vision of delivering sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day.

Investment portfolios will continue the board’s work of creating consistent, long-term domestic and global market opportunities to further demand for U.S.-grown soybeans.

“Our thinking, planning and work as a board has become a much more deliberate and idea-driven process, challenging our board members to think big. Each portfolio is farmer-directed and works together to create demand for U.S. soybeans across the entire global soy value chain,” said Ralph Lott, USB Chair and farmer from New York. “We’ve successfully shifted from project takers to portfolio makers, and the end result is more strategic thinking. The preference for U.S. soybeans grows while farmers continue to see strong ROI on their checkoff dollars.”

Investment portfolios are approved by the full board and consist of programs across Supply and Demand Action Teams driven by the three priority areas of 1) Innovation & Technology, 2) Health & Nutrition, and 3) Infrastructure & Connectivity. FY23 programs impact everything from improving production on the farm to expanding markets across animal agriculture, soyfoods and providing a renewable alternative for biofuels and nonfood uses. Some examples of these soy checkoff investments aim to:
    Enhance soybean cropping system improvement that creates opportunities to reward and support farmers and other value chain participants, including the growth of high oleic soybean production to meet demand for specialty soybeans while providing a farmer premium.
    Further soy’s role in the evolving clean energy movement, with investments that support using soybean oil as a feedstock for biodiesel and renewable diesel in marine, rail and on-road applications. Biofuels are the largest industrial use for soybean oil and require investments to reach maximum potential.
    Develop nutrition and health research that distinguishes U.S. soybean meal’s value drivers (amino acids and energy), supports animal health, builds evidence that discerns U.S. soybean meal from the competition and strengthens key industry partnerships.
    Encourage commodity partnerships to improve soil health, collaborating with National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Board to implement cover crops on 30 million acres of soybeans and corn by 2030, focused on meeting sustainability goals while improving farmer productivity.
    Grow exports in more than 80 countries through the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s strategy to differentiate U.S. soybeans in the global marketplace. USB also partners with the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to promote exports of soy-fed meat, as well as the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health to create long-term demand for U.S. soybeans in developing and emerging markets and improve food security.
    Improve best management practices through partnerships that lead to faster, real-time dissemination of pest and disease research findings, such as developing a pesticide and fungicide calculation tool that helps farmers determine regional application thresholds to maximize yield potential.
    Increase focus on fertilizers and biologicals that support farmers and farming system resilience in an uncertain crop input market environment.
    Reach key audiences to elevate the reputation of U.S. soybeans, expanding trust with consumers and helping them develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for how U.S. soybean farmers can deliver sustainable solutions for more than 1,000 renewable products on the market.

“Over the past year, we’ve changed the way we make investment decisions. The new Value Alignment Committee gives farmer-leaders more input in the types of programs the checkoff supports. Today marks the culmination of that new process,” said Meagan Kaiser, USB Vice Chair and farmer from Missouri. “This is a new, exciting direction, and we couldn’t be successful without our state and national farmer volunteers and checkoff partners who work diligently on behalf of the 515,000 U.S. soybean farmers. I also want to extend thanks to the Michigan Soybean Committee for hosting this memorable meeting and showcasing the diversity of Michigan agriculture.”

Deadline Extended and More Pre-Filled Forms For 2020 and 2021 Disasters on the Way

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it will indefinitely extend the deadline for producers to return the pre-filled applications for Phase One of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP).  A new deadline will be announced after the last Phase One applications are mailed and provide at least 30 days following the mailing.  

Continuing to build on the initial mailing of pre-filled applications in May, the Department will continue using existing information in USDA and crop insurance files to send additional pre-filled applications starting this week for potentially eligible Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) participants. Once applications from eligible NAP producers are returned, these producers are expected to receive about $105 million in ERP payments for eligible losses from 2020 and 2021 disasters.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is now mailing pre-filled applications to NAP producers through ERP to offset crop yield and value losses. To receive a relief payment, producers should complete and return the applications by announced deadlines.  

Producers are expected to receive assistance direct deposited into their bank account within three business days after they sign and return the prefilled application to the FSA county office and the county offices enters the application into the system.

While most crop insurance customers that may be eligible for ERP Phase One received the pre-filed applications in May, there are some who should expect to receive a form in August including:
-    Producers who had an eligible loss in 2020 that had been recorded in the crop insurance records as a 2019 loss (e.g., prevented planting claims); and
-    Producers with policies that required additional information before being able to calculate an indemnity for 2021 losses (producers with 2020 losses would have already received that application).  Policies that required additional information include Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO), Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), Margin Protection Plan (MP) or Area Risk Protection Insurance (ARPI).

Producers without risk management coverage through crop insurance or NAP and those with shallow losses may be covered by the forthcoming Phase Two of ERP.   

“Catastrophic natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 decimated crops, livestock and farm infrastructure from coast to coast, making it critically important to provide assistance quickly and reduce the paperwork burden on these farmers and ranchers recovering from disaster,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “I was in North Dakota a few weeks ago and received feedback on how well the streamlined livestock and crop disaster programs are working for our producers and front-line employees.  Like any new process, there are some kinks to work out, but we are addressing them and will use the streamlined process to keep the ‘red tape’ to a minimum.”

USDA estimates that Phase One ERP benefits will reach more than 5,200 producers with NAP coverage for eligible 2020 and 2021 crop losses. This emergency relief complements ERP assistance recently provided to more than 162,000 producers who had received crop insurance indemnities for qualifying losses. Nearly 13,000 additional crop insurance customers are pre-filled applications in August to cover eligible 2020 losses described above and for producers with more complex policies where indemnities could not be calculated for 2021 previously.   

ERP and the previously announced Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) are funded by the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which President Biden signed into law in 2021. The law provided $10 billion to help agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Overall, USDA has already quickly disbursed over $6 billion dollars under ERP and ELRP with reduced paperwork for the producer and field offices.  

McKalip Hearing Slated for July 28

President Biden’s nominee to fill an important ag position within the Office of the United States Trade Representative will have his day in front of senators later this week. Doug McKalip, who in June received the president’s nomination to be the chief ag negotiator, will appear in front of the Senate Finance Committee on July 28.

McKalip’s nomination received approval from multiple industry organizations. During the confirmation hearing, senators will question McKalip and make statements about his qualifications. These questions could be state-specific or include broader issues.

McKalip will also have an opportunity to present his plan or President Biden’s ideas for his position as chief ag negotiator.

Once both sides have had an opportunity to speak, the committee can conduct a voice vote where a simple majority is enough to secure the confirmation. Or, senators can come to a unanimous consent agreement where a vote isn’t necessary, and McKalip would be confirmed.

If the senate rejects McKalip’s nomination, President Biden would have to submit another name.

McKalip is the second person to receive the president’s chief ag negotiator nomination. President Biden nominated Elaine Trevino, former president of the Almond Alliance of California and a former deputy secretary of the California Department of Agriculture and Food, for the position in September 2021. Following months of delays, Trevino withdrew her nomination and has since taken a position within the Biden administration focusing on ag supply chain issues.

Council’s Summer Meeting Continues, Focused On Global Trade Successes

The second day of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) 62nd Annual Board of Delegates meeting in Sacramento, California, highlighted Council program successes, offered insight into the coming Farm Bill and began a refresh of the Council’s strategic plan.

During the morning general session, USGC Vice President, Cary Sifferath gave an around-the-world update on Council activities in markets in which the Council has a presence.

“The Council has done a great job of establishing connections and relationships with industries and governments abroad,” Sifferath said. “As the industries have changed their focus, the Council continues to adapt with them on behalf of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.”

Following Sifferath, attendees heard from selected directors and managers who shared Council success stories from around the globe.

Emily Byron, USGC director of global programs, shared China’s sorghum purchases and Indonesia’s purchases of DDGS for the poultry industry. USGC manager of global ethanol market development, Stella Qian, discussed the United Kingdom’s move to implement E10 ethanol standard to develop a net zero transportation sector. Katy Wyatt, USGC manager of global strategies reviewed how sorghum and DDGS feeding trials in Africa are changing the feed industries there. USGC marketing director for the Latin America region, Ana Ballesteros, shared how implementing an extensive manufacturing training course has led to the modernization of Columbia’s feed industry. Sadie Marks, USGC manager of global programs, discussed how the Council’s work with a major Mexican brewer has increased barley sales and encouraged future growth.

The morning session also featured National Corn Growers Association CEO, Jon Doggett, who discussed the outlook for the coming Farm Bill that houses the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), both of which help fund the Council’s work overseas.

In the afternoon, led by USGC Director of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement Melissa Kessler, attendees began work on USGC’s strategic plan, a guiding document that helps direct the Council’s actions over the next few years. Attendees discussed the priorities of each stakeholder group and how the plan should evolve over time.

The organization also held member sessions including agribusiness, general farm organizations, barley, corn and sorghum sectors that took up issues of importance about the commodities the Council represents.

The meeting concludes tomorrow with attendees participating in the Board of Delegates meeting where they will elect USGC officers and Advisory Team (A-Team) and sector leaders will offer their recommendations and reports regarding the future direction of the Council.

More from the meeting is available on social media using the hashtag #Grains22 or through the website:

Indiana Farmer Elected U.S. Grains Council Chairman During Annual Summer Meeting

The delegates of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), elected Josh Miller, a farmer from Indiana representing the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, as chairman of its Board of Directors at its 62nd Annual Board of Delegates Meeting held in Sacramento, California.

“It is important to me to learn as much as I possibly can – not just about how to do the best job I can on the farm, but also to learn as much as I can about how what I do affects the world as a whole – how my efforts create global ripple effects that help sustain those who need what I grow the most,” Miller said during his incoming remarks on Wednesday.

Miller is a fifth-generation farmer from Anderson, Indiana, and produces corn and soybeans, primarily as a 100 percent no-till row crop operation. He is a member of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and was elected to the Council’s officer rotation in 2019. Previously, Miller was a finance officer for Lockheed Martin, a contract officer for the U.S. government and a United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant. He has been awarded the Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the 2018 River Friendly Farmer Award.

In addition to Miller, the delegates elected Verity Ulibarri of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program as secretary-treasurer. Gail Lierer of the Ohio Corn Marketing Program and Curt Mether and Mark Mueller of the Iowa Corn Growers Association were also elected as at-large directors.

The USGC Board of Directors now includes:
• Joshua Miller, Indiana Corn Marketing Council: Chairman
• Brent Boydston, Bayer Crop Science: Vice Chairman
• Verity Ulibarri, United Sorghum Checkoff Program: Secretary-Treasurer
• Chad Willis, Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council: Past Chairman
• Gail Lierer, Ohio Corn Marketing Program: At-Large Director
• Curt Mether, Iowa Corn Growers Association: At-Large Director
• Mark Mueller, Iowa Corn Growers Association: At-Large Director
• Jay Fischer, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, At-Large Director
• Greg Hibner, J.D. Heiskell Hawkeye Gold: Agribusiness Sector Director
• Craig Willis, Eco-Energy: Agribusiness Ethanol and Co-Products Sector Director
• Mark Wilson, Illinois Corn Marketing Board: Corn Sector Director
• Jim Massey, United Sorghum Checkoff Program: Sorghum Sector Director
• Jean Henning, North Dakota Corn Utilization Council: State Checkoff Sector Director
• Nathan Boll, North Dakota Barley Council: Barley Sector Director
• Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council: President and CEO

Miller shared his goals for the year and his theme – Live the Mission – during his incoming remarks.

“We all have a vested interest in U.S. grains and we each have a commitment to make this industry work together – and when we live the Council’s mission, we are the best we can be,” Miller said.

Earlier in the week, the Council’s meeting included a presentation on the developing situation in Ukraine from Dr. Yuval Weber of the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Future Warfare at Marine Corps University, grain trade success stories from the Council’s various overseas markets and a peek into the upcoming Farm Bill.

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