Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Monday August 22 Crop Progress + Ag News


For the week ending August 21, 2022, there were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 43% very short, 36% short, 21% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 40% very short, 39% short, 21% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 14% very poor, 16% poor, 28% fair, 31% good, and 11% excellent. Corn dough was 78%, behind 88% last year and 85% for the five-year average. Dented was 39%, near 38% both last year and average. Mature was 3%, near 1% both last year and average.

Soybean condition rated 9% very poor, 13% poor, 32% fair, 36% good, and 10% excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 93%, near 92% last year and 90% average. Dropping leaves was 3%, near 4% last year and 2% average.

Sorghum condition rated 20% very poor, 32% poor, 28% fair, 15% good, and 5% excellent. Sorghum headed was 75%, well behind 95% last year, and behind 94% average. Coloring was 17%, behind 33% last year and 32% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 4% very poor, 5% poor, 27% fair, 63% good, and 1% excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 96%, near 94% last year. Setting pods was 67%, well behind 89% last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 53% very poor, 28% poor, 15% fair, 4% good, and 0% excellent.


Widespread rain across the State resulted in 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 21, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork included harvesting corn for silage, cutting hay, and applying pesticides.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 18 percent very short, 30 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Thanks to widespread rain during the week, less than half of the topsoil is considered short to very short compared to 53 percent a week ago. Subsoil moisture condition rated 21 percent very short, 33 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Corn silking or beyond was 97 percent with 84 percent of the corn crop in dough stage or beyond, 5 days behind last year but 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. Thirty percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the dent stage, 5 days behind last year and 1 day behind average. Some of the corn crop has started to mature at 1 percent. Corn condition remained 66 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of soybeans were blooming with 88 percent of the soybean crop setting pods, 8 days behind last year and 2 days behind the 5-year average. Two percent of the soybeans were turning color. Iowa’s soybean condition was 62 percent good to excellent.

Oats harvested for grain reached 91 percent, 8 days behind last year and 10 days behind the average.

Fifty-three percent of the State’s third cutting of alfalfa hay was complete. All hay condition rose slightly to 48 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 33 percent good to excellent. Grasshoppers are a concern in some areas.

USDA: Corn, Soybean Conditions Down Again

Corn and soybean good-to-excellent condition ratings both fell slightly again last week, USDA reported in its weekly Crop Progress report released Monday, Aug. 22. Corn was rated 55% in good-to-excellent condition, down 2 percentage points from 57% the previous week. Soybeans were rated 57% in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage point from 58% the previous week.


-- Crop development: 97% of corn was silking as of Sunday, Aug. 21, according to NASS, 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%. Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 75%, 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 79%. Corn dented was estimated at 31%, 4 percentage points behind the average of 35%. Corn mature was estimated at 4%, even with the five-year average.
-- Crop condition: 55% of corn was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 2 percentage points from 57% the previous week and 3 percentage points below last year's rating of 60%.


-- Crop development: 97% of soybeans were blooming, even with the five-year average; 84% of soybeans were setting pods, 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 86%.
-- Crop condition: 57% of soybeans were rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage point from 58% the previous week but 1 percentage point above last year's rating of 56%.


-- Harvest progress: 95% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.


-- Harvest progress: 33% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, 41 percentage points behind 74% last year and 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 54%.
-- Crop condition: 64% of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, even with previous week but far above last year's rating of 36%.



– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

High feed costs mean every forage is important this year, even those that may be high in nitrate due to stress from drought.  Doing so requires testing and careful management.  Are you prepared?

Some plants are more likely to be high in nitrates than others.  Annual grasses like cane, millet, oats, and even corn often have elevated nitrate levels.  So do certain weeds like pigweed, kochia, and lambsquarter.  If your hay has lots of these weeds or is an annual grass, be alert to the potential for high nitrates.

To ensure we know what we are up against, testing any feed suspected of being high in nitrates is a good idea. Even when tests come back high, it doesn’t mean these feeds always are toxic, nor does it mean that high-nitrate feeds can’t be used safely.

Nitrates are usually at their highest concentrations towards the bottom of the plant. Avoiding these areas of highest concentration when grazing or haying lower risks.

When grazing, providing plenty of water and alternative feed while introducing animals slowly to high nitrate forages can lower initial risk.  Once again, keeping animals from grazing too short will also help.

If haying, test cured bales and mark those high in nitrate.  We can then make a plan to feed these bales safely.  Diluting the diet with grain or low nitrate forages is most common.  Frequent, small meals that slowly increase the amount of nitrate fed helps cattle adapt to high nitrate hay.  And again ensure access to fresh water.

Silage harvest, unlike grazing or hay, has the potential to actually reduce nitrate levels in a feed up to 50%.  Proper fermentation is essential for this to happen and to ensure a quality feed, so make sure to watch moisture levels, pack well, and cover silage once chopped.

Nitrate concerns are nothing to sneeze at, but with the right tools, can be managed safely.  Keep animals from using lower portions of a plant that have highest concentrations and work them up to high nitrate feeds slowly. Test hay you think may have an issue, especially annual grasses and hay with a high percentage of weeds.  If tests come back high, plan to feed safely by dilution, or gradually increase the amount of the feed to adapt animals to it.  Silage may be the preferred option for those looking to reduce nitrate levels as opposed to managing risk.

State Beef Councils Partner to Participate in National Culinary Event

One way State Beef Councils better utilize state Beef Checkoff dollars is through national and state partnerships. Last month, state beef councils from California, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Iowa, South Dakota, and Texas teamed up to be a supporting sponsor of the 2022 American Culinary Federation (ACF) National Convention in Las Vegas, NV from July 25-28. The ACF convention is the biggest annual gathering of chefs, culinary students, and foodservice professionals in the United States and had nearly 750 attendees this year.

Collaboratively, under the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand, these state beef councils provided an opportunity for chefs to enjoy a small taste of beef through pop-up tastings during three breaks throughout the convention, including a beef for breakfast concept during a morning session on the last day. Chef Robert Hale from the Texas Beef Council and his premier group of Beef Loving Chefs also plated some delicious Tenderloin samples during the opening night’s welcome reception. In addition to the tasting opportunities, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. also had a booth on the tradeshow floor featuring beef educational resources, such as foodservice beef cut posters, and information on the BEEFoodservice mobile app that the California Beef Council (CBC) launched in 2020 for foodservice professionals.

"Attending this event and having such an interactive presence isn't something we could have done alone," said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. "By working with our other State Beef Council partners, we're able to execute programming to reach this larger audience while maximizing the dollars invested."

“The ACF convention was a great opportunity for the state beef councils to meet and network with chefs and foodservice professionals from the west coast, and throughout the country. The Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. booth had great placement in the front row of the tradeshow, and the interest and excitement for educational beef resources was evident through how quickly our inventory of items—especially the foodservice beef cuts posters—were depleted,” said Christie Van Egmond, the CBC’s Director of Retail and Foodservice Marketing. “The pop-up tastings and welcome reception station were an incredible way to get bites of beef into the mouths of the attendees to showcase beef in different day-part applications. We heard nothing but positive comments about the beef that we served.”

The convention gave a platform for the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand to showcase beef’s taste and versatility. It also provided an opportunity to educate and network with chefs from throughout the country in various culinary fields including restaurants, research, corporate, higher education and more.

Agricultural Budget Calculator Program Hands-On Workshop Planned for Columbus This Week!

Join NE Extension on Wednesday for a workshop in Columbus on the new Agricultural Budget Calculator Program /Decision Making Tool. The session will be held on August 24, at the Platte County Extension Office,  2715 13th Street, Columbus, NE 1:00 – 3:00 pm.  Visit cap.unl.edu/abc/training or call the Platte County office to register, 402.563.4901.    

The Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC) is a free enterprise-budgeting and decision-making tool that is designed to assist agricultural producers in determining their cost of production and projected cash and economic returns for various farm or ranch enterprises.

During part one of the workshop, participants will learn how to use the ABC program to create and/or update crop budgets for their farms or fields on their owned and/or rented ground and create their own cost of production and anticipated return reports.

Part two will provide details and hands-on demonstrations of combining enterprise budgets using the “whole farm” component of the program and more on using other features, including breakeven, crop comparison and risk analysis.   

Workshop attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptop or mobile device to work on their own budgets. Mobile lab computers will be available as needed for the in-person workshops.

The workshops are free to attend, but registration is required, so please call, or register online now!   For questions about the workshop, call Glennis McClure, Extension Educator, at 402.472.0661 or email gmcclure3@unl.edu.

Propane Council Invites Producers to Test New Irrigation Engines, Save Up to $5,750 at Husker Harvest Days

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) invites producers to view new propane-powered equipment and earn up to $5,750 toward the purchase of new propane-powered engines at the Nebraska Propane Gas Association (NEPGA) booth at this year’s Husker Harvest Days, Sept. 13-15 in Grand Island, Nebraska.

This year’s booth (No. 654), located on West Fifth Street, will showcase a live water pumping demo featuring an engine from Reliable Horsepower by Industrial Irrigation. The line features seven different engines that are all EPA-certified, including dedicated propane engines and bi-fuel engines. Additional propane-powered equipment, including engines by Anderson Industrial and Husker Power Products, a propane standby generator, grill, fire table, and patio heater will also be on display.

Booth attendees have the opportunity to win a Grizzly cooler by signing up for PERC’s quarterly e-newsletter, the Ag Post.

“The annual Husker Harvest Days show provides a great opportunity to discuss the many benefits of propane-powered equipment and new technology updates directly with those producers who can benefit the most from its use,” said Mike Newland, PERC director of agriculture business development. “These invaluable discussions help PERC continue to put farmers and their specific needs first, answer questions, and listen to their own experiences firsthand. It’s also a great time to ensure they’re taking advantage of available cost savings, including the Propane Farm Incentive Program.”

PERC’s Propane Farm Incentive Program provides up to $5,000 toward the purchase of qualifying propane-powered irrigation engines and other equipment. The Nebraska PGA also offers an extra $750 incentive to producers who irrigate in Nebraska, adding up to a potential $5,750 available to show attendees interested in purchasing new propane-powered irrigation engines.

Manufacturer representatives, as well NEPGA and PERC representatives, will also be on-site to discuss the benefits of propane agricultural equipment, answer questions, and provide information on national and state incentives available toward equipment purchases.

Husker Harvest Days attendees and producers can learn more about propane-powered farm equipment, including grain dryers, heaters, work trucks, and generators by visiting Propane.com/Agriculture.

Benson Hill Opens New Soybean Processing Plant in Iowa

A company focused on leveraging its food technology to improve seed genetics recently celebrated its official ribbon cutting at its new Creston facility.

"We have come a long way to rethink how we can use innovation and technology to make not only better food starting from the beginning with a better seed, but also how, from a business perspective, we can invest in infrastructure and assets that allow us to deliver that," says Matt Crisp, CEO of Benson Hill.

Acquisition of the former ZFS Creston, LLC facility was completed in January of 2022. The facility is an established food-grade white flake and soy flour manufacturing operation.

The Creston facility is also geographically complementary to Benson Hill's other soy crushing facility in Seymour, Ind.

Acquiring Creston's soy white flake capacity allows Benson Hill to immediately begin offering ingredients for the broad human food market including plant-based meat, meat extension, bakery, cereal and snacks, Crisp says.

Further, Benson Hill's identity preservation program leverages established farmer relationships to provide traceable and more sustainable ingredients.

"Consumers are more digital, more informed, more interested in health and sustainability and modern food trends and where their food comes from," he says. "I am proud we can do it in a closed loop, identity preserved model here in Iowa, with farmers who can produce something in Creston and have that delivered to food companies directly."

Premium products, such as soy white flake will be produced out of the Creston facility. Soy white flake is a key ingredient for food grade applications in products for aquaculture markets in northern Europe and ingredients for companies like Kellogg's.

Recently, the company announced a partnership with the grocery store chain Schnucks rolling out high oleic oil, sourced from Benson Hill soybeans, in more than 100 locations for use in food service applications.

NCBA and USDA To Hold Symposium on Ticks and Associated Diseases

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will hold a virtual symposium with special focus on the Asian Longhorned Tick.

WHAT: NCBA and USDA Tick Symposium “Ticks – What Are They? How They Can Affect Your Livestock, and How to Effectively Manage Them”
WHEN: Tuesday, August 23 and Wednesday, August 24 from 11:00am to 2:45pm
WHERE: Online (https://www.ncba.org/Media/NCBAorg/Docs/8922-tick-symposium-working-agenda.pdf)
    Dr. Kathy Simmons, Chief Veterinarian, NCBA
    Dr. Rosemary Sifford, Chief Veterinary Officer of the United States, USDA
    Dr. Mark Lyons, Assistant Director of the Cattle Health Center, USDA-APHIS
    Steve Hopkins, Cattle Producer, Virginia
    Dr. Matthew Playford, Managing Director, Dawbuts Pty. Ltd.
    Dr. Samantha Beaty, State Veterinarian, Tennessee
    Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Veterinary Entomologist, University of Georgia
    John Picanso, USDA-APHIS
    Dr. Kevin Lahmers, Clinical Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
    Dr. Michael Neault, State Veterinarian & Director of the Livestock Poultry Health Department, Clemson University
    Dr. Brent Credille, Associate Professor, University of Georgia
    Dr. Michael J. Yabsley, Professor of Natural Resources, University of Georgia
    Dr. Lindsay Fry, Research Veterinary Medical Officer, USDA-ARS
    Dr. Kimberly H. Lohmeyer, Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS
    Dr. Dustin Weaver, Deputy State Veterinarian, Georgia
    Denise Bonilla, National Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program Coordinator, USDA-APHIS
    Dr. Carrie Bissett, Program Manager, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
    Dr. Avery Strait, National Cattle Health Epidemiologist, USDA-APHIS

The Asian Longhorned Tick (ALT) is an invasive, exotic tick first identified in the United States in 2017. The ALT is established in many countries in eastern Asia and has been introduced into Australia, New Zealand, and the western Pacific islands. The tick prefers habitats with tall grasses and woods but is highly mobile, attaching to more than 25 known hosts in the U.S., including birds and humans.

This symposium will discuss tick identification and current research at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as well as special attention to the emerging diseases carried by ticks and their treatment options. A panel of state animal health officials from states currently affected by the ALT will provide information on mitigation measures taking place in their states and answer questions.

Register here: https://www.ncba.org/producers/tick-symposium-registration/.

July Milk Production in the United States up 0.2 Percent

Milk production in the United States during July totaled 19.1 billion pounds, up 0.2 percent from July 2021. Production per cow in the United States averaged 2,033 pounds for July, 19 pounds above July 2021. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.42 million head, 67,000 head less than July 2021, but 1,000 head more than June 2022.

IOWA: Milk production in Iowa during July 2022 totaled 486 million pounds, up 3 percent from the previous July according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during July, at 234,000 head, was unchanged from last month but up 6,000 from July 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,075 pounds, up 10 pounds from last July.



All layers in Nebraska during July 2022 totaled 5.45 million, down from 8.19 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during July totaled 128 million eggs, down from 201 million in 2021. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,350 eggs, compared to 2,448 eggs in 2021.

Iowa egg production during July 2022 was 941 million eggs, up 4 percent from last month but down 26 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during July 2022 was 37.0 million, up 2 percent from last month but down 25 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for July were 2,541, up 3 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last July.

US Egg Production for July Down 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.00 billion during July 2022, down 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.69 billion table eggs, and 1.31 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.22 billion were broiler-type and 90.7 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during July 2022 totaled 368 million, down 4 percent from last year. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,449 eggs, up 2 percent from July 2021.
Total layers in the United States on August 1, 2022 totaled 369 million, down 4 percent from last year. The 369 million layers consisted of 303 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 63.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.49 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on August 1, 2022, averaged 79.0 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from August 1, 2021.

USDA Cold Storage July 2022 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on July 31, 2022 were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 23 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 27 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 20 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 20 percent from last month but up 53 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on July 31, 2022 were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 6 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 3 percent from last month but down 3 percent from July 31, 2021.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on July 31, 2022 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 5 percent from July 31, 2021. Butter stocks were down 5 percent from last month and down 21 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on July 31, 2022 were up 22 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 10 percent from last month but down slightly from a year ago.

U.S. Soybean Export Council hosts SOY CONNEXT, the world's largest soy summit

Global soy consumption at 1.087 MMT has exceeded global soy production at 1.061 MMT for the past three years (2019-22) following a doubling in consumption and production over the past 20 years. Soybeans continue to be the United States' number one food and agricultural export, and U.S. Soy's customers are as diverse as the countless uses of a soybean itself.

The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) will host 600+ industry representatives at SOY CONNEXT - the global U.S. Soy Summit, including 400+ international customers of U.S. Soy from 50+ countries with 200+ U.S. Soy farmers and members of industry, from August 22-24 in San Diego.

"Soy Connext, the industry's premier global summit, will catalyze connections between international customers of U.S. Soy from the animal protein, aquaculture, animal nutrition, edible oil, soy foods, and commodity trading sectors, with U.S. Soy farmers and industry," said Jim Sutter, CEO, USSEC. "With the level of volatility in the world today, it takes vision, resilience, and partnerships to succeed in food and agriculture today. At Soy Connext, we will explore insights, trends, and strengthen our collaborations to advance global nutrition, climate-forward solutions, and progress for people and communities."

USSEC will launch the new 'Soybean Value Calculator' - an innovative tool for soybean crushers to calculate and compare the economic value of soybeans from various countries. Customers can enter company specific data along with soybean composition and physical factor data to analyze the potential economic benefit of choosing U.S. Soy relative to soy of other origins. It's that simple.

Sustainability and transparency are differentiators and a competitive advantage for U.S. Soy customers. As part of Soy Connext, customers from 38 countries will visit U.S. Soy farms across 14 soy-producing states to transparently engage with farmers, inspect the crop, and discuss challenges, needs and opportunities. Further, USSEC, on behalf of U.S. Soy, is the international sponsor of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour providing its customers with credible, third-party, and real-time analysis of U.S. Soy crop quality directly from soy production sites across the United States. Customers and exporter companies will also participate in USSEC's Trade Team Invitational.

"Climatic, economic, and geopolitical events are testing the resilience of the global food system. Uncertainty is the word of the day. We are honored that international companies are rewarding sustainable U.S. Soy's lowest carbon footprint, optimal nutritional bundle, high refining rate, low refining cost, and reliable production and exports by importing record volumes to advance food and nutrition security in the 82 countries we serve," said Doug Winter, USSEC Chairperson, Board Member of the United Soybean Board, and U.S. Soy farmer, Illinois.

Six facts related to U.S. Soy
    Global poultry, pork, and aquaculture consumption are forecast to grow 17.8%, 13.1%, and 23% respectively by 20301
    Global soy foods per capita consumption grew 24% to 2.67 kg in 2020 from 2.16 kg in 20102
    U.S. Soy's top 15 export markets: China, Mexico, EU, Egypt, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, Taiwan, Canada, Bangladesh, Thailand, S. Korea, Pakistan, Ecuador3
    U.S. Soy's top growth markets (21/22 v. 16/17): Egypt, Turkey, Ecuador, Venezuela, Canada, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, EU. Bangladesh growing. India potential evolving4
    Sustainable U.S. Soy has the lowest carbon footprint when compared with soy of other origins5
    U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) verified exports are up 33% vs. year ago, and 58% (approx. 38 MMT) of U.S. Soy's total exports (approx. 64 MMT) in MY 21/22 (as of 7/28/22)

Soy Connext will cover the following topics among others:
    Macro dynamics - inflation, or commodity super-cycle
    Shifting vegetable oil market
    Sustainability in the global feed industry
    Plant-Based Proteins: Consumer Trends & Opportunities
    Sourcing specialty food grade & IP beans
    Live reports on 2022 #USSoy crop ahead of #Harvest22

Noteworthy global speakers at Soy Connext include:
    Matt Ammerman, Commodity Risk Manager and VP, E. Europe & Black Sea region, StoneX
    Erik Noland, Executive Director and Senior Economist, CME Group
    Emily French, Chief Executive Officer, Global Ag Protein
    Anja Manuel, co-founder, Rice, Hadley, Gates and Manuel, LLC
    Marty Ruikka, President, The Pro Exporter Network
    Tom Vierhile, Vice President - Strategic Insights (North America), Innova Market Insights

Other event participants include U.S. Soy farmers representing the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, State soy boards, related food and agriculture industry, commodity exporters, among others.

Data Show Drivers Flocking to E15, E85 Amidst Record Gas Prices

Ken Colombini, Renewable Fuels Association Communications Director

As gasoline prices hit record levels earlier this summer, we heard plenty of anecdotal stories about a surge in the number of drivers seeking out lower-cost alternatives like E15 and E85. Now, we have fresh data to prove that more and more drivers did indeed turn to these higher ethanol blends for relief.

In Minnesota, newly released state government data show E15 sales hit a record high in June and E85 volumes rose to their highest level in nearly nine years. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, E85 sales increased 54 percent compared to the same month last year, as the average price was $0.91/gal (19 percent) lower than regular unleaded. June marked the fourth-highest monthly volume of E85 sales since MDOC began recording this data more than a decade ago.
E15 sales have exhibited rapid growth over the last few years and are estimated to have reached 16.5 million gallons in June–40 percent more than a year earlier. Minnesota consumers saved an average of $0.16 on each gallon of E15 they purchased, according to MDOC.

Due to a ruling last year by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of oil refiners, outdated fuel volatility regulations were slated to be reimposed on E15 this summer. Prior to 2019, this arcane restriction caused E15 sales to drop during the summertime. However, an emergency waiver that was announced by President Biden in April—and subsequently extended by the EPA—has allowed year-round sales of E15 to continue in 2022, which has propelled E15 volumes to record levels and helped relieve tight gasoline supplies.

USDA to Invest up to $300 million in New Organic Transition Initiative

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $300 million investment, including with American Rescue Plan funds, in a new Organic Transition Initiative that will help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. Organic production allows producers to hold a unique position in the marketplace and thus take home a greater share of the food dollar.

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the number of non-certified organic farms actively transitioning to organic production dropped by nearly 71 percent since 2008. Through the comprehensive support provided by this initiative USDA hopes to reverse this trend, opening opportunities for new and beginning farmers and expanding direct consumer access to organic foods through increased production.

The initiative will deliver wrap-around technical assistance, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring; provide direct support through conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance, and support market development projects in targeted markets.

“Farmers face challenging technical, cultural, and market shifts while transitioning to organic production, and even during the first years after successful organic certification,” said Vilsack. “Through this multi-phased, multi-agency initiative, we are expanding USDA’s support of organic farmers to help them with every step of their transition as they work to become certified and secure markets for their products.”

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are the primary agencies supporting the Initiative, which will focus on three areas.

Transition to Organic Partnership Program

Through this initiative, USDA aims to ensure that farmers transitioning to organic have the support they need to navigate that transition, including a full supply chain to American consumers who demand organic choices in their supermarkets daily. AMS will build partnership networks in six regions across the United States with trusted local organizations serving direct farmer training, education, and outreach activities. The organizations will connect transitioning farmers with mentors, building paid mentoring networks to share practical insights and advice. Each regional team will also provide community building, including train-the-mentor support; as well as technical assistance, workshops, and field days covering topics including organic production practices, certification, conservation planning, business development (including navigating the supply chain), regulations, and marketing to help transitioning and recently transitioned producers overcome technical, cultural, and financial shifts during and immediately following certification. USDA will provide up to $100 million for this program.

Direct Farmer Assistance

NRCS will develop a new Organic Management conservation practice standard and offer financial and technical assistance to producers who implement the practice. Payments will be modeled on those already available to producers meeting the existing nutrient and pest management conservation practice standards. USDA will provide $75 million for this effort. This will include an increase in organic expertise throughout its regions, creating organic experts at each of its regional technology support centers. These experts will train staff who provide direct services to USDA customers. These services include hosting hands-on organic training for state and field NRCS staff and fielding organic-related staff questions.

USDA will provide $25 million to RMA for the new Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance Program (TOGA) which will support transitioning and certain certified organic producers’ participation in crop insurance, including coverage of a portion of their insurance premium.

Organic Pinpointed Market Development Support

Stakeholders have shared that specific organic markets have market development risks due to inadequate organic processing capacity and infrastructure, a lack of certainty about market access, and insufficient supply of certain organic ingredients. This AMS initiative will focus on key organic markets where the need for domestic supply is high, or where additional processing and distribution capacity is needed for more robust organic supply chains. Examples of markets seeking support include organic grain and feed; legumes and other edible rotational crops; and livestock and dairy. USDA will invest up to $100 million to help improve organic supply chains in pinpointed markets. The Department will seek stakeholder input on these pinpointed initiatives beginning in September, resulting in an announcement of specific policy initiatives later this year.

Other USDA Organic Assistance

This USDA initiative complements existing assistance for organic producers, including FSA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) and Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). OCCSP helps producers obtain or renew their organic certification, and OTECP provides additional funding to certified and transitioning producers during the pandemic.

NRCS offers conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which can provide assistance to help with managing weeds and pests, and establishing high tunnels, improving soil health, and implementing other practices key to organic operations. RMA also administers federal crop insurance options available to organic producers, including Whole Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm.

The National Organic Program (NOP) is a federal regulatory program, administered by AMS, that develops and enforces consistent national standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States.

Deere Report Higher Sales, Net Income

Deere & Company reported net income of $1.8 billion for the third quarter ended July 31, 2022, or $6.16 per share, compared with net income of $1.6 billion, or $5.32 per share, for the quarter ended August 1, 2021. For the first nine months of the year, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $4.8 billion, or $15.88 per share, compared with $4.6 billion, or $14.86 per share, for the same period last year.

Net sales and revenues increased 22 percent, to $14.102 billion, for the third quarter of 2022 and rose 13 percent, to $37.041 billion, for nine months. Net sales were $13.000 billion for the quarter and $33.565 billion for nine months, compared with $10.413 billion and $29.461 billion last year.

"We're proud of the extraordinary efforts by our employees to increase factory output and get products to customers under challenging circumstances," said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer. "At the same time, our results reflected higher costs and production inefficiencies driven by the difficult supply-chain situation."

Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2022 is forecast to be in a range of $7.0 billion to $7.2 billion.

Vermeer Announces Passing of Former CEO

Bob Vermeer, a second generation Vermeer family member, former Vermeer Corporation CEO and current chair emeritus, has died.

The company announced his death on social media Wednesday morning, stating he died after a battle with cancer. The company did not specify when Vermeer died, nor his age.

“Bob loved people and his passion for others will continue to be a lasting legacy at Vermeer,” the announcement says.

Vermeer was the son of founder Gary Vermeer and served as CEO from 1989 to 2003. He was also president of Vermeer Charitable Foundation and was serving as chair emeritus before his death.

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