Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Monday August 8 Ag News


For the week ending August 7, 2022, there were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 32% very short, 42% short, 26% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 30% very short, 41% short, 29% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 11% very poor, 12% poor, 27% fair, 40% good, and 10% excellent. Corn silking was 91%, behind 99% last year and 96% for the five-year average. Dough was 45%, behind 60% last year and 52% average. Dented was 3%, near 6% last year and 7% average.

Soybean condition rated 7% very poor, 11% poor, 28% fair, 44% good, and 10% excellent. Soybeans blooming was 95%, near 97% last year and 93% average. Setting pods was 66%, behind 81% last year and 71% average.

Winter wheat harvested was 95%, near 97% last year and 94% average.

Sorghum condition rated 10% very poor, 29% poor, 36% fair, 20% good, and 5% excellent. Sorghum headed was 49%, well behind 70% both last year and average. Coloring was 4%, near 8% last year and 7% average.

Oats harvested was 93%, equal to last year, and near 91% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 1% very poor, 5% poor, 34% fair, 60% good, and 0% excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 73%, behind 87% last year. Setting pods was 50%, behind 68% last year.
Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 33% very poor, 28% poor, 30% fair, 9% good, and 0% excellent.


Precipitation early in the week for a few areas and late in the week for much of the State resulted in 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 7, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Persistent dry conditions and above-average temperatures are a concern for many. Fieldwork included cutting and baling hay and applying pesticides and fungicides.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 20 percent very short, 30 percent short, 48 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 19 percent very short, 33 percent short, 47 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Corn silking or beyond was 93 percent, 5 days behind last year and 3 days behind the 5-year average. Fifty-three percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, 2 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of the average. Five percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the dent stage, 6 days behind last year and 1 day behind the 5-year average. Corn condition fell to 73 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-nine percent of soybeans were blooming, 9 days behind last year and 3 days behind average. Sixty-nine percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, 1 week behind last year and 1 day behind the 5-year average. Iowa’s soybean condition declined to 71 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-six percent of oats were turning color or beyond, 9 days behind last year. Oats harvested for grain reached 82 percent, 1 day behind both last year and the average.

Ninety-five percent of the State’s second cutting of alfalfa hay was complete, with the third cutting at 28 percent. All hay condition rated 54 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 36 percent good to excellent. Lack of rain and high heat caused some pastures to go dormant and CRP was released for grazing and haying in areas.

USDA: Corn Good-to-Excellent Rating Falls 3 Percentage Points

Hot, dry conditions in parts of the country eroded the national corn and soybean condition ratings last week, USDA NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress on Monday.


-- Crop development: 90% of corn was silking as of Sunday, Aug. 7, according to NASS, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 45%, 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. Corn dented was estimated at 6 percent, 3 percentage points behind the average of 9%.
-- Crop condition: 58% of corn was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 3 percentage points from 61% the previous week and 6 percentage points below last year's rating of 64%.


-- Crop development: 89% of soybeans were blooming, near the five-year average of 88%. Sixty-one percent of soybeans were setting pods, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 66%.
-- Crop condition: 59% of soybeans were rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage point from 60% the previous week and 1 percentage point below last year's rating of 60%.


-- Harvest progress: 86% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 91%.


-- Harvest progress: 9% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, well behind 35% last year and 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 19%.
-- Crop condition: 64% of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 6 percentage points from 70% the previous week but far above last year's rating of 11%.


Ag land management webinar will discuss updated Nebraska cash rents, lease arrangements

The latest trends in 2022 Nebraska cash rental rates and issues related to landlord and tenant communication will be covered at noon Central time on Aug. 15, during the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s next Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar.

The webinar series addresses common management problems for Nebraska landowners, agricultural operators and related stakeholders interested in the latest insight on trends in real estate, managing agricultural land and solutions for addressing challenges in the upcoming growing season. It is presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability, housed in the university’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

The August webinar will cover recent findings from the 2022 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report, including updates on average cash rental rates and land values, as well as trends in flexible cash lease arrangements. The session will conclude with an “Ask the Experts” session, offering participants the chance to get live answers to their land or lease questions.

The webinar will be led by Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek, extension educators with the Center for Agricultural Profitability. Jansen focuses on agricultural finance and land economics and directs the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey and Report. Vyhnalek is a farm succession and farmland management extension educator.

The webinar is free and will be recorded. Past recordings can be viewed the day after each session, along with recordings from the entire series.

Registration and past recordings are available at https://cap.unl.edu/landmanagement.

Soybean Management Field Days Kicks Off Tuesday

Aaron Nygren, NE Extension Educator

We have an excellent opportunity Aug. 9-12 for growers to gather and discuss soybean production practices that are important to them!  You will be able to visit with other farmers and University of Nebraska specialists and educators at the 2022 Soybean Management Field Days.  And we are featuring more demonstration-based presentations and added opportunities for interactive discussion.  There will be lots of opportunities to get questions answered.

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

Brought to you by the Nebraska Soybean Board 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
    Soybean Insect Management
    Irrigation Management (Blue Hill, Central City, Decatur)
    Cover Crops (Brownville)
    Weed Management
    Ag Economics
    Precision Ag
    Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel: Fuels from the Farm

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.

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit enrec.unl.edu/soydays, or contact the Nebraska Soybean Board at (402) 441-3240 or Nebraska Extension at (402) 624-8030.


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

With high temperatures across the state, you may have adjusted your schedule or habits to adapt to the heat.  Adapting to warm conditions isn’t limited to animals, plants adjust too.

When it gets hot, alfalfa plants grow more slowly and moisture stress becomes common, even in moist soil.  Production of high-quality hay is nearly impossible due to the high temperatures, especially when the heat does not subside at night.  High night-time temperatures cause rapid respiration rates in alfalfa, burning off valuable nutrients that plants accumulated during the day.  This often produces alfalfa hay with fine stems that contain high protein, but they also have high fiber and low relative feed value. 

Another problem with heat, is how fast alfalfa plants mature.  When it is hot, alfalfa may begin to bloom in less than four weeks.  If you use blooming as a signal to harvest, this early bloom can be misleading.  During hot weather alfalfa plants need more time, not less time to rebuild nutrient reserves in their roots because they burn off nutrients instead of moving them to the roots when it is hot.  So, watch the calendar along with plant maturity to determine when to cut your alfalfa fields.

If drought conditions have shut down growth completely the question may become whether or not to cut plants at all.  If you can find basal bud growth occurring in a drought stressed stand, go ahead and cut to remove the old growth and give room for new shoots to develop.  If no growth is occurring, cutting may still be the answer.  Regrowth will occur from the crown when moisture returns, so leaving old growth standing will just lower the quality of your harvest.  It’s a good idea to leave a bit more stubble than normal to help protect the crowns and regrowth.

Finally, you might adjust the time of day when you cut hay.  Some research has shown that cutting in late afternoon produces higher quality hay than cutting in the morning.  However, on good drying days it may still be wiser to cut in the morning.  When hay in the windrow stays above fifty percent moisture, plant cells continue to respire, burning away nutrients. Hay cut late in the day respires all night long, losing yield and quality. On good drying days, plant cells can dry enough to be stabilized before nightfall, reducing respiration losses.

Getting high quality hay is challenging.  Both you and the weather must cooperate and even then, there are no guarantees.

 Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska and Nebraska Extension joins farmers markets across the country in celebrating national farmers market week 2022

Nebraska’s 90-plus farmers markets are local sources of good food, community pride and economic activity.  

Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska and Nebraska Extension join farmers markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from Aug. 7-13, 2022. By using the interactive, dual-language map found online at gotogrow.org and vamosapoyar.org Nebraskans can find farmers markets in their community and support them with a visit during Farmers Market Week. This website was developed from a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant awarded to Nebraska Extension, in collaboration with Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska and the Center for Rural Affairs.  

In the midst of a global pandemic, Nebraska farmers markets — like all other small businesses — have innovated to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Farmers markets foster direct relationships between community members and farmers which can work to create a more fair and sustainable food system.  

National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers markets coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, a membership-based nonprofit organization that supports farmers markets nationwide through training, technical assistance, and network-building. This year, the campaign is centered around the essential role that farmers market operators play in our local food systems and in developing resilience in communities as hubs for local economies and connection.

Markets across Nebraska are excelling in their roles as community hubs and connectors. In 2022 the Seward Farmers’ Market on the Square became one of a few markets in the state certified to accept SNAP payments. They also participate in the Double Up Food Bucks incentive program and accept Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Checks. These and other initiatives ensure that more Nebraskans have access to fresh, local food. The adoption of these programs at farmers markets is a huge win for community members and vendors; note ony do people have access to fresh, local food, but farmers also sell more products.  

In addition to programs that make locally grown food more accessible, many markets offer other community-centered activities. For the past two years, the Beatrice Farmers’ Market has contributed to a Garden Produce Rescue Program, where vendors can donate items at the end of every market that are then distributed to local seniors, veterans and the Salvation Army. By the third week of the 2022 program, vendors at the market donated more than 200 pounds of produce, baked goods, and local beef.  
The Dixon County Farmers’ Market in Ponca, Nebraska holds free classes and educational activities at the market, ranging from cooking and food preservation demonstrations, to disaster preparedness activities. These types of programs and activities support the markets’ goals of providing educational and social experiences to their communities.

“Farmers markets are abundant sources of food, connection and resilience in our communities across the country, but they don’t just happen on their own,” said Ben Feldman, Farmers Market Coalition Executive Director. “Behind the scenes of every successful farmers market is a dedicated person or team working to make the market thrive.”

Farmers’ markets are an essential and much loved part of our state. They are spaces where food, community pride, economic opportunities and health come together. Support them during Farmers’ Market Week and beyond. Find your market and go to grow Nebraska farmers markets by visiting gotogrow.org or vamosapoyar.org  

Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska connects consumers to locally grown food. Its mission is to increase the demand of local food in the state, resulting in stable, thriving, direct-market farms, ranches and local food businesses. BFBLN accomplishes their mission through educational and promotional projects and resources. We are proud to be a program of the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, and the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

N-U earns high marks for fiscal management

The University of Nebraska System has earned strong scores for budgeting and fiscal management in new reports issued by the nation’s leading credit ratings agencies.

S&P Global recently affirmed the university’s AA bond rating, a reflection of sound financial planning and performance. The rating – the second-highest available – means the university has strong capacity to pay its bills and debt obligations and ensures that NU can continue borrowing money at low interest rates, saving students and Nebraska taxpayers money.

Additionally, Moody’s recently released data ranking the University of Nebraska among the nation’s best in financial strategy, risk management, and management credibility and track record. NU also received high ratings in customer relations, demonstrating its positive relationships with stakeholders including students, donors, elected leaders and research funders.

Taken together, the scores show the University of Nebraska has been a responsible steward of its resources even during challenging times, according to NU System President Ted Carter.

“There’s no higher priority for the University of Nebraska than accountability to those who invest their precious resources in us,” Carter said. “We’ve been conservative in our planning, we’ve built strong partnerships with Nebraskans, and we’ve been willing to make tough decisions to keep our budget balanced. It’s gratifying to see that we are viewed in such high standing by the best in the business.

“Our students, families and taxpayers are the ultimate beneficiaries.”

Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares of North Platte said: “I am proud of these scores, but I’m even more proud of what they represent – the diligent and long-term approach that we have taken in managing our budget through ups and downs in the economy. We want to make sure Nebraskans get the greatest possible return for what they invest in their university.”

Regent Rob Schafer of Beatrice, chairman of the Board’s Business and Finance Committee, said: “As a longtime member of the Board, I’ve seen firsthand the thought and care that we put into building fiscal strategies that not only serve our present needs, but also anticipate the future so that we remain in a position of strength even in volatile times. The fact that outside experts have affirmed our approach is a great win for Nebraskans.”

A prime example of the university’s long-term financial approach is last year’s successful $400 million bond sale for building renewal and repair projects across the campuses. The sale – the largest issuance of new bonds in NU history – was the first transaction after the passage of LB384, a plan championed by Sen. John Stinner of Gering to extend through 2062 a state-university partnership on deferred maintenance.

The Legislature and Gov. Pete Ricketts’ approval of the legislation this past session allowed the university to capitalize on last year’s historically low interest rates, saving more than $1.5 billion for future generations of students and taxpayers.

Carter said the university will look for additional cost savings as part of its long-term fiscal strategy. Already since 2020, the NU System has cut nearly $50 million in annual operating expenses, in part by achieving savings through streamlined system-wide operations in information technology, purchasing, facilities and human resources. Carter’s strategic plan for the NU System includes a range of metrics for achieving additional efficiencies and creating savings for students and families.

Hay and Straw Directory Provides Useful Listing of What's Available

Dry conditions and extreme heat have slowed the growth of hay and straw in some parts of the state. If you’re short on supply, consider finding a seller through the free hay and straw directory offered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship https://data.iowaagriculture.gov/haystraw/.

More than 70 farms and farm companies are listed as selling hay and/or straw across the state, with details about the crop, as well as information about delivery, custom baling and hay grinding services.

Farmers who are interested in selling hay or straw can add their information, and are encouraged to update their listing regularly so it will be up-to-date. The directory is featured in the July-August edition of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Acreage Living Newsletter.

Sixty percent of the state is abnormally dry, according to the Aug. 4 U.S. Drought Monitor, and more than 30% is experiencing a moderate drought. In northwest Iowa, some counties are experiencing severe and extreme drought conditions.

“Dry conditions in some areas have impacted pastures and hay yields,” said Russ Euken, beef and swine specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “So far, most row crops in all but the driest areas have not been impacted too severely, but hot and dry conditions going forward will have more impact on yields.”

Euken said the directory provides another resource that buyers and sellers should consider.

“The directory gives sellers a place to make people aware of what they have to sell and buyers a place to find forage they may need,” said Euken.

Denise Schwab, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist in northeastern Iowa, said producers commonly rely on local hay and straw auctions, but she added that the state directory is another useful tool. Schwab said many parts of the state, including northeast Iowa, have generally had a good haying season, but variability persists across the state.

The directory allows users to search by product and by county. Anyone can view the hay and straw directory, but only Iowa sellers are included on the list.

If you are a farmer interested in selling hay or straw and need to update your information, consider creating an account in the online system, or contact Judy Allison at 515-281-8604 or judy.allison@iowaagriculture.gov.

2022 Iowa State Fair Bacon Buddies® Pig Show is Aug. 13

Forty-eight young Iowans are going to ‘Find their fun’ at this year’s Iowa State Fair as they participate in the 2022 Bacon Buddies® pig show that will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Swine Barn.

The Bacon Buddies show, being held for its third year, is sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), and is done with the cooperation of Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA).

“More than 30 years ago, the pork industry adopted We Care principles. One of those principles focuses on our communities and the ways we can play an active role in helping build stronger communities,” says Kevin Rasmussen, IPPA President. “Bacon Buddies does just that by bringing together Iowans with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities with 4-H and FFA youth who want to share the exciting experience of showing pigs at the Iowa State Fair,” notes the Goldfield, Iowa pig farmer.

“This is a great opportunity for our Special Olympics athletes,” says John Kliegl, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Iowa. “They want to do what their peers are doing, and it’s great to work with the 4-H and FFA youth who see them as their equals.”

“What is equally exciting, is the number of county fairs around Iowa that have started to hold these shows on the local level, creating those local connections between youth,” says Kliegl.

The Bacon Buddies show begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, in the east show ring of the Swine Barn on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Sixteen SOIA Buddies will show their pigs in groups of four, giving them an opportunity to interact with the judge and their animals. The FFA and 4-H mentors will be on hand to provide helpful suggestions as the Buddies walk their pigs around the ring.

POET Acquires Grain Transload Facility in Georgia

POET, the world's largest producer of biofuels and a leading producer of bioproducts, announced that it has signed a purchase agreement with Savannah Marine Terminal (SMT) to acquire its rail-to-container transload facility in Savannah, Georgia.

The acquisition will include all equipment and real estate to operate the grain transload facility. The Port of Savannah, one of the highest volume container ports in the U.S., has geographic synergy with several of POET's key global markets for its animal feed products, including Dakota Gold dried distillers grains and its corn fermented protein product, NexPRO.

"At POET, we hold ourselves to the highest standard of quality, innovation, and customer service," said Greg Breukelman, President of POET Bioproducts. "Obtaining this transload facility - optimally located in the port of Savannah - will help us better serve our customers all over the world, which is especially important as we face global supply chain challenges."

The facility will also strengthen POET's shipping process, ensuring even greater traceability and transparency for its customers, who have already come to expect nothing less than the best in food safety and quality.

"POET has a decades-long track record of service and reliability and has been a valued customer of SMT for many years," said Victor Vanderlugt, SMT President and CEO. "This transaction will serve to benefit both entities in our next respective phases of growth. We also know POET takes care of its people and the communities it calls home, and we look forward to having them as a neighbor here in Savannah."

In addition to producing 3 billion gallons of bioethanol, 14 billion pounds of distillers grains, and 975 million pounds of corn oil per year, POET is currently the 36th-largest container shipper, exporting to more than 20 countries around the world - and growing.

On RFS Anniversary, Growth Energy Sets Expectations for Landmark EPA Proposal

Growth Energy celebrated the 17th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), signed into law on August 8, 2005, by outlining the biofuel sector’s top priorities for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fast-approaching update to the program. Under a consent decree agreement reached with Growth Energy, EPA will be required to formally propose the 2023 RFS biofuel requirements no later than November 16, 2022. The rulemaking – called the Set – promises to usher in a new era for the RFS, marking the first year a baseline for biofuel volumes is not specified by Congress but must be set based on statutory factors like fuel costs, environmental benefits, and commercial production.

“The RFS remains America’s single most successful clean energy policy, but its full potential as a climate solution remains untapped,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The Set marks a watershed moment for the program, and it’s vital that President Biden’s team fully embrace this opportunity to hold down fuel prices and rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector. Rural workers and farmers across the heartland are ready to lead the charge, and with a forward-looking RFS, we can finally break old patterns of reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”

As EPA staff works on the Set proposal, which is expected to cover, at a minimum, the 2023 and 2024 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), Growth Energy is rallying industry stakeholders, biofuel advocates, and rural leaders across the country to educate policymakers on priorities for a successful Set. Specifically, they are calling on EPA to:
    Ensure that bioethanol continues to play a growing role in driving climate progress, as Congress intended, by building on the 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels set for 2022;
    Update EPA models to reflect the best available science on the contributions of low-carbon bioethanol to the nation’s climate goals;
    Set forward-looking requirements for advanced and cellulosic biofuels that will spur continued innovation and growth without favoring one technology over another;
    Protect the integrity of the RFS by rejecting improper exemptions and other efforts to cut, cap, or water down the incentive to ensure physical biofuel gallons actually reach the market; and
    Provide certainty and predictability to all stakeholders with timely, multi-year requirements that will drive growth.

“As we approach a new era for the RFS, Growth Energy is laser-focused on making sure the Set reflects Congress's overarching directive to steadily expand the critical role biofuels play in mitigating climate change and lowering prices at the pump,” added Skor.

Fed Cattle Insurance

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, South Dakota State University

Price insurance for fed cattle has been available in various forms and offered in multiple states for twenty years. Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance is currently available for fed and feeder cattle. Historically there was little incentive to use LRP compared to buying put options on live cattle. In contrast, demand for LRP for feeder cattle has been more robust through time as it is more suited for covering calves and lot sizes that do not always match the contract specifications of a feeder cattle futures contract.

An increase in the LRP premium subsidy has resulted in an increased number of fed and feeder cattle covered. Commodity years for LRP run from July through June. Thus, the 2022 year recently ended on June 30, 2022. The premium subsidy on LRP was only 13% until the commodity year 2020, when it increased to 20-35%, depending on the coverage level. The increase seemed to make little difference in usage. For the 2021 year, the subsidy increased twice and now ranges from 35-55% of the total premium. As a result, demand for LRP increased dramatically.

After some interest in the 2004 insurance year, the number of head covered using the fed cattle endorsement stayed below 30,000 of the more than 25 million head of steers and heifers slaughtered annually. In 2021 the volume of fed cattle covered was 180,660 head, breaking the level observed in 2004. Then, in 2022 there were 594,622 head of fed cattle covered. The volume of feeder cattle covered exceeded 2.0 million head in 2022. Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas are the top three feedlot states by volume. LRP on fed cattle was used often in Nebraska, Iowa, and Texas during 2022 relative to the total number of cattle on feed. The use of LRP in Nebraska and Iowa seems reasonable because of the time it has been available there and the presence of farmer-feeders and smaller feedlots.

One could be optimistic about an increased number of fed cattle covered by LRP in 2023 and beyond. However, a drawback to buying insurance is the one-sided nature of the outcomes. During the past couple of years, the prices for fed cattle have trended higher, resulting in infrequent payouts for insurance and low loss ratios. If feedlot operators do not see the payoff from buying the coverage, they may forgo coverage in the future. Anecdotally, this seems to have happened with feeder cattle coverage, where producers seem to forgo insurance after a year with LRP and higher prices. A significant difference between endorsement types is that a feedlot will likely look at coverage multiple times during the year for fed cattle. This difference would result in different start and end dates for coverage and increase the likelihood of collecting on the coverage over time. Thus, if a feedlot consistently bought the same level of coverage at multiple times, LRP would pay out consistently, allowing the feedlot to benefit from the subsidy and avoid large downward swings in fed cattle prices.

Farm Bureau Calls for Transparency in Poultry Industry

The American Farm Bureau Federation today submitted comments on USDA’s proposed poultry marketing disclosure requirements. AFBF President Zippy Duvall remarked on the rulemaking under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

“AFBF appreciates USDA’s efforts to increase transparency in the poultry industry. A strong relationship between integrators and farmers is crucial to ensuring America’s families have access to safe, affordable food. Relationships are built on openness and trust, however.

“Integrators have lopsided control over the poultry growing process, which creates enormous financial pressure and unfair burdens on America’s farmers. Modernized regulations will help address those challenges and allow growers to make better informed decisions by giving them more access to important information about supplies, stocking densities and disruptions. We look forward to working with USDA to create a more level playing field for America’s poultry growers.”

RFA Welcomes Biofuel Provisions in Senate-Passed Reconciliation Bill

The Inflation Reduction Act passed Sunday afternoon by the U.S. Senate retained important provisions that will stimulate growth and investment in the use of low-carbon renewable fuels, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. The legislation now moves back to the House of Representatives, where a vote is expected as soon as Friday.

“We were pleased to see that the Senate’s final passage of the Inflation Reduction Act preserved numerous provisions that recognize the important role renewable fuels like ethanol can play in bolstering our nation’s economy and accelerating decarbonization efforts,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “In fact, the package of renewable fuel provisions in the legislation represents the most significant federal commitment to low-carbon biofuels since the Renewable Fuel Standard was expanded by Congress in 2007. RFA will continue to urge the House to swiftly adopt these biofuel measures to ensure American families have greater access to lower-cost, domestically-produced renewable fuels that are good for the environment, the economy, and energy security.”

Among the provisions of the bill supported by RFA, Cooper said, are: $500 million in grants for higher-blend biofuels infrastructure; extensions of several current biofuel tax credits; creation of new tax credits for clean fuel production and sustainable aviation fuel; and enhanced support for carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Clean Fuels Thanks Senate for Extending Tax Incentives, Infrastructure Funding Policies will support continued growth of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and SAF

Today, Clean Fuels Alliance America welcomed Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. If enacted, the legislation will extend the existing biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive through 2024, increase the value of the existing sustainable aviation fuel tax incentive through 2024, and create a new Clean Fuel Production Credit for 2025, 2026 and 2027. The legislation also creates a new Biofuel Infrastructure and Agriculture Product Market Expansion, with authorized funding through September 2031.

Clean Fuels’ Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik stated, “The clean fuels industry grew and increased production over the past several years, making an essential contribution to the nation’s fuel supply that lowers fuel prices, supports good-paying jobs, adds value for America’s farmers, and cuts carbon emissions. Long-term certainty in tax policy helped our industry meet America’s transportation needs, and we appreciate the further extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive. Our members are among the first to bring sustainable aviation fuel to market and we are grateful for the increased support for the industry’s growth included in this legislation.

“We applaud the new Biofuel Infrastructure and Agriculture Product Market Expansion, which will build on the success of USDA’s current infrastructure grant program. The grants will help our industry deliver cleaner, better fuels for transportation and heating directly to consumers across the country.

“As our industry looks to continue growing and sustainably meeting America’s need for affordable, clean energy, we thank Congress – particularly Senators Amy Klobuchar, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Duckworth, Dick Durbin and Representatives Cindy Axne, Angie Craig and Cheri Bustos – for recognizing the environmental benefits of increased use of clean fuels. We also thank Senators Chuck Grassley, Maria Cantwell, John Thune, Joni Ernst, Representatives Mike Kelly, Darin LaHood and the many other cosponsors of the bipartisan standalone biodiesel tax credit and biofuels infrastructure bills who provided crucial support for these provisions.”

ACE: Climate and Biofuel Provisions in Senate-Passed Budget Reconciliation Will Expand Ethanol Use

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today highlighted several climate and ethanol-related provisions included in the budget reconciliation legislation, The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, passed by the Senate yesterday and moving to a House vote as soon as the end of this week.

“The budget reconciliation legislation adopted by the Senate includes significant provisions recognizing the role farmers and ethanol producers can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “We are particularly happy to see a nearly $20 billion investment to support climate-smart agriculture practices through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which we would work to leverage to help farmers and ethanol producers monetize practices, such as reduced tillage and nutrient management, which reduce ethanol’s carbon intensity.”

“Further, the Senate package injects half a billion dollars into infrastructure for higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85, and we look forward to discussing this potential and other funding becoming available to expand the availability of low carbon fuel blends at our workshop for fuel retailers ahead of the ACE annual conference this week,” Jennings added. “The legislation will also help expand ethanol use through new tax credits for clean fuel production and sustainable aviation fuel, as well as provide a boost to carbon capture and sequestration projects.”

RFA Provides Input on Future of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

In comments filed with the California Air Resources Board today, the Renewable Fuels Association stressed that the next iteration of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard must be technology-neutral and allow low-carbon renewable fuels to compete fairly as California endeavors to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

RFA submitted the comments in response to a July 7 CARB workshop in which the agency laid out potential modifications to the LCFS and discussed options for the program’s design after 2030. Kelly Davis, RFA’s Vice President for Technical and Regulatory Affairs, urged CARB to ensure that the LCFS maintains its fuel-neutral focus and refrain from picking technology winners and losers.

“The hallmark of success of the LCFS is its market-based, technology-neutral approach that is driven by the carbon intensity scores of all fuels whether generating credits or deficits,” Davis wrote. “The RFA supports California’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. This is an aggressive, but achievable goal that will require a broad portfolio of low- and zero-carbon fuel solutions. The LCFS is a centerpiece policy in California’s decarbonization efforts and modifying and extending the LCFS regulation beyond 2030 is necessary to achieve carbon neutrality.”

RFA’s comments also stated that any sort of cap on crop-based biofuels—a concept that was discussed at the July workshop—would undermine the technology-neutral design of the LCFS and chill investments in low-carbon technologies. “Capping crop-based biofuel production would be the wrong market signal for an industry that continues to grow and innovate in meeting food, feed, fiber, and fuel markets,” according to the comments.

Davis added that if the intent of the “cap” proposed by some stakeholders is to “take credit generation pressure” off lipid-based biofuels like renewable diesel, the easiest and fastest way to do that would be to approve the use of E15. CARB recently posted key research supported by RFA, showing how E15 can reduce automotive emissions in the state.

The comments also stress the need for CARB to revise its indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions penalty for corn ethanol based on newer studies, better data and improved modeling methodologies.

In addition, RFA stressed that higher ethanol blends are an important tool for facilitating more stringent goals for carbon reduction. Higher blends of low-carbon ethanol represent the “nearest term and most affordable path” for immediate reductions of GHG emissions from the light-duty fleet, Davis wrote. The comments also encouraged CARB to take other complementary actions that would help facilitate the broader use of low-carbon ethanol blends in the state.

The comments included as an appendix a presentation, “Thinking Clearly About Agricultural Land Use, Productivity Gains, and the Impact of Ethanol Expansion,” that showed how U.S. cropland is decreasing and increased commodity demands have been met through remarkable increases in productivity.

Growth Energy Comments on Updates to California Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Today, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) following its initial workshop on potential revisions to its low carbon fuel standard (LCFS). CARB is considering increasing the carbon intensity (CI) targets of its LCFS from a 20% CI reduction by 2030 to a 25% or 30% CI reduction by 2030.

“We sincerely appreciate CARB’s attention and hard work to reshape California’s fuel mix to make it more sustainable,” wrote Bliley. “This objective is a central driver for our industry, and we look forward to continuing our work on our common goals as you explore revisions to the LCFS moving ahead. Specifically, liquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector, even as alternative technologies flourish. As such, it is imperative to consider the vital role that environmentally sustainable fuel options such as plant-based bioethanol will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting consumer costs in the current and future California vehicle fleet.”

“Already, we’ve seen biofuels provide the foundation for the LCFS. In fact, biofuels like bioethanol have generated more than 75 percent of LCFS credits. As recently as 2020, bioethanol was the largest LCFS volume and second-largest credit generator. Additionally, even with room to further improve GHG lifecycle modeling, the LCFS recognizes the significant improvement in bioethanol’s carbon intensity.”

“More broadly, we look forward to working with CARB as you work through the regulatory process on revisions to the LCFS program and ensure the role of biofuels in making California’s fuel mix more sustainable and help the state achieve its progressive climate goals through the expanded use of bioethanol."

Clean Fuels Industry Urges New York Department of Environmental Conservation to Continue Progress on Decarbonization with Bioheat® Fuel

Recently, Clean Fuels Alliance America,the Empire State Energy Association, and the New York State Energy Coalition sent a joint letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Deputy Commissioner Thomas Berkman assuring him that ample supply exists to meet the state’s Bioheat® fuel mandate, which was due to take effect on July 1. The letter was sent in response to DEC’s decision on June 30 to suspend enforcement of the mandate for a year due to supply chain issues delaying infrastructure equipment retrofits at some fuel terminals in Upstate New York.

Last year, with the support of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed bill S.3321-A/A.7290 into law on December 20, 2021, making “statewide heating consumption less harmful to the environment by establishing minimum levels of biodiesel in all heating oil for use in any building in the state.”

The bill is widely supported by Clean Fuels Alliance America and the home heating oil industry as part of a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from liquid heating fuels and is an important step in achieving New York State’s goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The bill put into place a 5% Bioheat® fuel mandate (B5) that was set to begin across the state of New York on July 1, 2022, and increases to B10 blends effective in 2025 and B20 blends by 2030.

However, while the B5 mandate remains law and in effect in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties (accounting for 70% of the state’s heating oil market by volume), the Enforcement Discretion issued by the New York State DEC has delayed the 5% bioheating fuel mandate in parts of upstate New York for another year.

In the letter to the New York DEC, Donnell Rehagen, CEO of Clean Fuels, joined his colleagues from the Empire State Energy Association and the New York State Energy Coalition in noting the missed opportunity by delaying enforcement of the requirement.

“Our associations, in conjunction with the entire home heating industry, are committed to providing low-carbon biomass-based renewable liquid fuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel to customers as we work together to lower the state’s carbon footprint. Like the state of New York, we understand the clean fuels industry is good for our farmers, our urban and rural communities, and our economy,” the letter said. “We also know that the carbon reduction our fuels offer is immediate and does not require investment in new heating appliances or infrastructure.”

As stated in the Enforcement Discretion, “a majority of terminals in upstate New York are available and ready to meet the July 1, 2022 deadline.” For the minority that were not ready to comply with the state law due to equipment supply chain issues, those issues will likely be resolved by the end of this calendar year. The letter addressed that timeline saying, “If that is the case, there would be a window of opportunity to revisit the Enforcement Discretion, which we would encourage when appropriate.”

Switching to renewable-based B5 or greater is “the most cost-effective and impactful improvement a homeowner can make to reduce their carbon footprint,” the industry advocates said. “But, those homeowners need to have access to these clean fuels, and that requires the commitment of the terminals.”

New York has long championed the use of biodiesel and Bioheat® fuel to meet its clean energy goals, and the clean fuels industry remains poised and ready to continue delivering substantial carbon reduction benefits to New Yorkers. In fact, from 2013 – 2020, New York City municipal buildings used 222.9 million gallons of Bioheat® fuel, and more that 75% of all No.2 heating oil used by NYC municipal buildings is blended with Bioheat® fuel. The current B5 Bioheat® fuel requirement is reducing carbon emissions by nearly 4% for New Yorkers, and as the requirement advances to B20 blends by 2030, they will benefit from a 14.6% reduction in CO2 emissions and better greenhouse gas performance than natural gas can deliver. Additionally, the biodiesel feedstocks and neat biodiesel (B100) used for blending with conventional heating oil are in ample supply, and projected volumes show that the biodiesel industry is well-positioned to meet growing market demands, including the state’s increasing blended volumes as outlined in the bill.

Zoetis Reports Strong Quarterly Earnings

Zoetis Inc. reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2022 and updated its guidance for full year 2022 to reflect its positive outlook for the remainder of the year, as well as the negative impact of recent changes to foreign exchange rates.

The company reported revenue of $2.1 billion for the second quarter of 2022, an increase of 5% compared with the second quarter of 2021. Net income for the second quarter of 2022 was $529 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, an increase of 3% and 5%, respectively, on a reported basis.

On an operational1 basis, revenue for the second quarter of 2022 increased 8%, excluding the impact of foreign currency. Adjusted net income for the second quarter of 2022 increased 9% operationally, excluding the impact of foreign currency.

Adjusted net income2 for the second quarter of 2022 was $567 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, which was flat and an increase of 1%, respectively, on a reported basis. Adjusted net income for the second quarter of 2022 excludes the net impact of $38 million for purchase accounting adjustments, acquisition-related costs and certain significant items.

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