Friday, August 5, 2022

Thursday August 04 Ag News

 “Beef Innovation” is new name of Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Hub

An interdisciplinary effort to bring together University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty, staff and students working to improve the efficiency, resilience and profitability of beef production has a new name.

Beef Innovation, a hub for beef excellence, brings together researchers, instructors and extension professionals with expertise in genetics, ruminant nutrition, grassland systems, climate, precision livestock management, ag economics, engineering, and other fields of study related to beef production to holistically advance beef systems.

The program, formerly known as the Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems – or NIBS – hub, was formed in 2015.

“Beef innovation is what we’ve been about from the very beginning,” said Galen Erickson, one of the leaders of the program. “We wanted a straight-forward name, and Beef Innovation certainly fits. We are going to focus on the biggest challenges facing beef production and natural resources and bring together the people best equipped to solve them.”

Since the hub’s inception, Beef Innovation-affiliated faculty have launched a number of interdisciplinary projects, including adaptive management research taking place at Barta Brothers Ranch; the expansion of the USDA-UNL collaboration as part of the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research network; the expansion of the Feedlot Innovation Center at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center; and the establishment of the Western Ranchland Livestock Center, which brings together researchers from Nebraska, Montana and Oregon to innovate and expand precision technologies for the ranch. In Nebraska, this research is taking place primarily at Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory near Whitman. Many other new and exciting projects are forthcoming.

As part of this new approach, Beef Innovation will maintain its annual meeting series and will enhance communication to showcase all the exciting outcomes of these collaborations and research projects.


– Samantha Daniel, NE Extension Educator

With much of the state of Nebraska in some level of drought, salvaging drought-stressed corn and milo is a challenge, particularly for producers in the southwest region of the state where severe to extreme drought conditions persist.

The primary symptom of drought stress in both corn and milo is the inward rolling of leaves. In severe drought conditions, the lower leaves of milo may die off while in corn, the greying of leaf tissue may occur. While these crops have the ability to recover from less severe drought, the current extreme conditions may warrant earlier harvesting for hay silage in order to salvage the crop.

When harvesting drought-stressed corn or milo to feed there are important considerations to keep in mind. Insurance claims should be filed before any action is taken in order to determine what is permitted according to your policy. Chemical labels should be checked for any grazing, haying or pre-harvesting restrictions. Finally, nitrate testing is an affordable way to determine nitrate levels in your crop and help prevent nitrate poisoning in livestock that feed on drought-stressed hay or silage. With drought, nitrates are likely to accumulate, particularly in the lower stems, so increase cutting height to about 10 to 12 inches.  Because of the nitrate potential, grazing of the drought stressed crops can be risky.

Severely drought stressed corn and milo can be salvageable with proper preparation and timing of harvest.  

University of Nebraska Board of Regents to meet Aug. 11

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will meet Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will also be live-streamed at The meeting is open to the public.

A detailed agenda for the meeting is available here

Key items for the Board’s consideration include:

The 2023-25 biennial budget requests for the University of Nebraska System and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (Addenda XI-B-1 and XI-B-2). Under the proposed requests, the university will seek 3 percent increases in state funding for 2023-24 and 2024-25 to help cover core operations. Also included are previously approved funds for the Nebraska Career Scholarships and the UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex.

NU System President Ted Carter noted that the university’s proposed request is well below current rates of inflation, and below what the university would need to cover basic operations. With a 3 percent annual increase in state funds, the NU System would face an estimated $12.5 million budget gap each year that would need to be closed with some combination of enrollment growth, cuts or tuition increases.

Plans for the UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus (Addendum XI-B-3). The new complex, building on a long record of successful collaboration between UNK and UNMC, will significantly expand capacity for students in a range of health fields to train at UNK and remain in rural Nebraska after graduation. The goal is to address urgent needs in rural Nebraska’s healthcare workforce; 14 counties in the state, for example, do not have a primary care physician.

Thanks to approval from the Legislature and Governor, the Rural Health Complex received $50 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding for capital construction, plus $10 million for startup costs. The university has committed to raising $35 million in private funding for construction of the complex, for a total construction cost of $85 million.

During its meeting, the Board will hear a presentation on the Rural Health Complex from UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.

“We could not be more excited to be taking another step forward on this remarkable project for our state,” Carter said. “The Rural Health Complex will have a dramatic impact on students, on our workforce and on the well-being of rural Nebraska and our entire state for many generations. We continue to be grateful to our elected leaders for their partnership and investment in Nebraska’s future.”

Three actions related to Carter’s employment and compensation:

1) A 3 percent increase in Carter’s base salary of $934,600 for 2022-23, to $962,638. The base salary increase, Carter’s first as NU System president, is consistent with the 3 percent increase in the university’s merit-based salary pool for the year.

2) The awarding of Carter’s merit-based performance pay for the past year. Under Carter’s employment contract, he is eligible for performance pay worth up to 15 percent of his base salary each year, based on whether he achieves a range of metrics set by the Board.

Carter achieved slightly less than 90 percent of the Board’s performance metrics in the past year, including publication of an updated system-wide strategic plan, growth in research funding, engagement with legislative and gubernatorial candidates, securing ARPA funding for the university, and participation in national higher education organizations. He did not, however, achieve the Board’s metric to grow freshman-to-sophomore retention rates across all undergraduate campuses.

Under the terms of his contract, that makes Carter eligible for 75 percent of his performance pay, or $105,143.

3) An extension of Carter’s employment contract to Dec. 31, 2027. Carter initially signed a five-year contract that ran through Dec. 31, 2024.

Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares of North Platte said the extension is a vote of confidence in Carter and his achievements during his first 2 ½ years. Phares noted that national surveys show that the average tenure for university presidents and chancellors is declining – and that the Board’s goal is for the University of Nebraska not to be part of that trend.

“Ted Carter has been the right leader at the right time for the University of Nebraska System and our state as a whole. We want to keep him as long as we can,” Phares said. “Leadership stability is good for students and good for the institution. And it sends a strong message to our countless partners across Nebraska who have come to know and trust Ted for his decisive actions, visionary approach and common-sense style.

“The Board is proud to make this statement of support for the leader of one of the most important institutions in the state.”

With the Board’s approval, Carter’s contract extension would include a supplement to his existing deferred compensation agreement under which $340,000 in private funds would be set aside each year in an investment account, beginning in calendar year 2023. For each full year that Carter serves as president, he would receive the compensation plus any investment earnings. He would be eligible to receive the first payment in January 2024. No tax or tuition dollars will fund any deferred compensation for Carter.

Carter’s existing deferred compensation agreement, also privately funded, provides for 11.5 percent of his base salary to be set aside each year and paid out according to a vesting schedule.

 Dostal Completes Summer Internship With USGC

Emma Dostal, who has served as an intern in the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) communications department in Washington, D.C. since June, completed her Nebraska Corn Board-sponsored internship on Friday, July 29.

During her time with the Council, Dostal had the opportunity to assist the communications team on projects including writing press releases, copy editing and digitizing historical photos. She also took on the task of creating a social media campaign during the second week in the role.

“We have benefited greatly from the work Emma provided during her time at the Council,” said Bryan Jernigan, USGC director of communications. “Not only have we seen engagement numbers on Instagram rise due to Emma’s contributions, but her work on the upcoming Export Exchange program has also put us far ahead on our preparations, and we hope to have her in person in Minneapolis during the event so she may see firsthand the fruits of her efforts with us. We appreciate all she’s done while she’s been with us in Washington.”

While many moments from her internship stood out, Dostal said she especially enjoyed meeting the Council’s director in China, Manuel Sanchez.

“When Manuel Sanchez visited the Washington, D.C., office, he made a special effort to have a conversation with me. Although he did not have a lot of time to chat, I really appreciated the effort he made to specifically talk to me and give me advice as someone who is just beginning her career,” Dostal said.

Dostal said she most benefited from staff members’ willingness to help her learn more about the Council and the work it does around the world.

“I really appreciated the support and encouragement of the Council’s staff. Whenever I had a question or simply wanted to know more about a specific subject, the staff would make sure to take the time to set up a meeting with me to answer any of my questions and help me learn more,” Dostal said. “The Council gave me the opportunity to grow my knowledge of global markets and encouraged my curiosity.”

Following the completion of her internship, Dostal returned to Nebraska to begin her third year of college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She will study abroad in Lyon, France, for the spring 2023 semester.

“Thank you to the U.S. Grains Council for treating me like a team member and not just the intern; for believing in my skills and giving me the opportunity to use them to benefit the organization; for helping me learn about areas I am not so familiar with; for encouraging me to present my own ideas; and for the lunch conversations that bring the Council staff together,” Dostal said. “I cannot describe how much I appreciate the encouragement, support and learning opportunities that have come from this internship.”

Thank you, Emma, for your contributions to the Council this summer!

Foreign Animal Disease Preparation Workshops Planned for Iowa Pork Producers

The recent spread of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic emphasizes the importance of foreign animal disease preparedness, including proper biosecurity measures to aid in reducing the risk of introducing a foreign animal disease. The Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and Iowa Pork Producers Association have teamed up to provide five workshops throughout the state.

Livestock trailers.ISU Extension and Outreach swine veterinarian Chris Rademacher, who also is the Iowa Pork Industry Center interim director, said the Foreign Animal Disease Preparation for Pork Producers workshops focus on the “next steps” in FAD preparedness at the farm level.

“We’ll introduce and explain how to use programs and tools to be prepared for an FAD outbreak and subsequent investigations, including enrollment in US-SHIP, AgView and Secure Pork Supply,” he said. “We’ll also talk about available resources for contingency planning for sites located within control zones, and potential mitigation strategies for feed shortages during the initial movement standstill.”

Updates on ASF in the Dominican Republic, ASF vaccine and the Certified Swine Sample Collector program also will be shared. Following the presentations, all speakers will be available for a Q&A session on any aspect of FAD awareness and preparation.

The program will be delivered collaboratively by Rademacher, the extension swine specialist for each respective location, and depending on schedule, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship staff member Amanda Chipman and state veterinarian Jeff Kaisand.

For more information, contact the specialist listed by the location you wish to attend.
    Wednesday, Aug. 31: ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, 400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700, Orange City. Contact Dave Stender at or 712-261-0225.
    Thursday, Sept. 1: ISU Extension and Outreach Washington County Office, 2223 250th St., Washington. Contact Matt Romoser, 319-430-7533.
    Monday, Sept. 12: Heartland Acres Agribition Center, 2600 Swan Lake Blvd., Independence. Contact Mark Storlie at or 563-425-3331.
    Tuesday, Sept. 13: ISU Extension and Outreach Hancock County Office, 325 W. 8th St., Garner. Contact Russ Euken at or 641-231-1711.
    Wednesday, Sept. 21: ISU Extension and Outreach Marshall County Office, 2608 South 2nd St., Suite E., Marshalltown. Contact Colin Johnson at or 515-291-9287.

All workshops run from 1-4 p.m. and are free to attend. Preregistration is requested.  To preregister complete this form

Learn to Identify Plant and Insect Issues Found in Iowa Crops

Identifying what type of insect or plant disease is affecting your crops is a critical part in forming a response. Making the wrong decision can be costly, and may have little to no effect on the issue at hand.

To help growers improve their identification skills, plant disease and insect diagnostic specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will have displays of common insects and plant disease issues at this year’s Farm Progress Show, Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Boone.

The samples, which will be based on the current growing season, are still being determined.

Microscopes will be available and visitors can get a close-up view, while interacting with specialists who study the same insects and diseases on a daily basis.

“Every year is variable as to what we will actually see,” said Ed Zaworski, plant pathologist with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State. “Certain diseases like certain conditions so we always talk to people about the disease triangle in plant pathology. You need three parts of a triangle to have a disease: the susceptible host, a pathogen and an optimal environment.”

While farmers have many choices that can help prevent insect and disease issues, no system is ever foolproof. Good scouting is still key, followed by a prompt response plan when an issue is detected.

“When it comes to crop protection, you want to be proactive instead of reactive, but when something emerges, the next best thing is your response,” said Erin Hodgson, extension specialist in entomology at Iowa State. “You want to identify what’s going on, how widespread it is, and make a timely treatment that’s going to protect your yield.”

Zaworski and Hodgson will both be at the show helping producers identify plant health issues and answering questions.

Although experienced farmers usually have a basic understanding of how to identify different pests, the display will allow them to test their skills and learn more about new and emerging pests.

Hodgson said every farmer’s situation is different. Some may farm land in multiple parts of the county or state, and rely on crop consultants to diagnose plant health issues. Others do their own scouting or scout cooperatively with family members. No matter the situation or the size of the farm, it’s beneficial for everyone to know what to look for and how to accurately identify the issues affecting plant health.

This is the first year for the plant health display at the Farm Progress Show, and the specialists are excited to bring this critical component to the public’s eye.

“We’re hoping to spread the word and the expertise of what we have here at Iowa State,” said Hodgson.

Along with face-to-face time with specialists, show visitors can also learn more about extension publications related to plant health and the Crop Protection Network – a website devoted to recent publications, tools and educational resources about current crop health issues.

USDA Dairy Products June 2022 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.16 billion pounds, 2.7 percent above June 2021 but 2.3 percent below May 2022. Italian type cheese production totaled 485 million pounds, 4.2 percent above June 2021 but 0.4 percent below May 2022. American type cheese production totaled 462 million pounds, 1.0 percent above  June 2021 but 4.0 percent below May 2022. Butter production was 161 million pounds, 2.3 percent above June 2021 but 10.9 percent below May 2022.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with June 2021)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 170 million pounds, down 8.6 percent.
Skim milk powder - 45.2 million pounds, down 16.6 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with June 2021)
Dry whey, total - 82.0 million pounds, up 7.4 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 102 million pounds, up 6.3 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 45.0 million pounds, up 16.9 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with June 2021)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 66.5 million gallons, up 0.7 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 42.1 million gallons, down 2.2 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.22 million gallons, down 15.2 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.06 million gallons, down 4.2 percent.

New Uses and Markets for Ethanol to Be Explored at ACE Conference in Omaha

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 35th annual conference coming up next week August 10-12 in Omaha will feature a timely panel that dives into new uses and markets emerging for ethanol producers, including opportunities in the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), hydrogen and heavy-duty transportation sectors – areas which are supported in the recent budget reconciliation bill, The Inflation Reduction Act. The new uses and markets general session will kick off the final day of the conference on the morning of Friday, August 12.

While there is much room for ethanol growth in the light-duty vehicle market, growing interest surrounds these new markets to continue to build demand and the recent Senate bill reflects that. The new uses and markets panel aims to educate producers and industry stakeholders on these evolving markets and the opportunities they bring. Industry leaders Chris Ryan, President, COO and CTO of Gevo Inc., Larry Tree, President and CEO of Proteum Energy, LLC, and Dr. BJ Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of ClearFlame Engine Technologies, will shed light on these markets and their companies’ contributions to create opportunities for the ethanol sector. Ron Lamberty, ACE CMO, will lead a roundtable discussion with the speakers following their presentations.

“We valued speaking to the ACE audience last year and sharing our vision for ethanol’s role in a sustainable future. Since then, fuel prices have risen, and the global community is awakening to the fact that we are not prepared to meet our promised decarbonization targets,” Johnson said. “As a result, the value proposition for ethanol has never been stronger, particularly in hard-to-electrify applications, like the pilots that ClearFlame is running with customers. We look forward to expanding our vision together with fellow panelists at this year's ACE Conference in Omaha.”

Ryan will discuss Gevo’s efforts around ethanol-to-SAF, including its planned Net-Zero 1 facility, which the company recently closed on the purchase of the site near Lake Preston, South Dakota. “Gevo is breaking ground later this year on its first commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plant designed with the goal of achieving a ‘net-zero’ carbon footprint,” Ryan said. “This production process goes through ethanol as an intermediate, which means the ethanol industry is poised to meet the needs for SAF due to the large production base already installed.”

“Recent legislation includes more favorable tax incentives for SAF, so I look forward to sharing more about these important developments with industry insiders and ethanol experts at this year’s ACE conference,” Ryan added.

Proteum Energy has been working to provide a low-cost, low-carbon renewable and clean hydrogen for power, transportation and pipeline. "The recent announcements in Congress related to potential production tax credits for hydrogen and other fuels like SAF are significant,” Tree said. “We are excited to share the potential benefits ethanol producers can derive from partnerships with Proteum Energy, producing low-carbon, renewable hydrogen from ethanol, for both heavy-duty transportation and sustainable aviation fuels."

To learn more about the sessions, visit

Export Exchange 2022 Speakers Highlight Global Ag Export and Supply Chain

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) are pleased to announce that the organizations have confirmed a cadre of high-profile speakers for Export Exchange 2022, Oct. 12-14 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Early registration for members, non-members and international buyers ends Sunday, Aug. 7, so attendees are encouraged to register before then.

“Our speakers will bring a fresh perspective to Export Exchange, speak to the burgeoning international grains market and the trends and future of it from the supply chain perspective,” the sponsors shared jointly. “We look forward to hosting all of them to gain unique insight into the state of the industry.

“DDGS and other co-products are a vitally important part of the global feed market and provide a value-added market for the U.S. ethanol industry. In fact, nearly one out of every three tons of distillers grains produced last year was exported. Export Exchange will help connect producers and marketers of these co-products with users around the globe.”

While speakers are still being added to the roster, the line-up at this time includes:
    Policy Opportunities and Challenges, Jason Hafemeister, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Financial Outlook, Arlan Suderman, StoneX
    Shipping Overview, Jay O’Neil, Kansas State University
    High Protein DDGS, Kurt Rosentrater, Iowa State University
    Aquaculture Outlook, Ronnie Tan, U.S. Grains Council
    Red Meat Outlook, Brett Stuart, Global AgriTrends
    Sorghum – The Right Choice, Norma Ritz-Johnson, United Sorghum Checkoff Program

The meeting’s tentative agenda can be found here:

Held every other year and sponsored by the Council, Growth Energy, and RFA, Export Exchange brings together international buyers and U.S. sellers of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), as well as other feed grain products. The conference in Minneapolis is expected to attract more than 350 attendees, including 150 from 50 countries participating as part of USGC trade teams.

More information about ExEx 2022, including registration details, is available at or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx22.

U.S. Exports of Ethanol and Distillers Grains in the First Half of 2022 Were the Strongest in Years

Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst, Renewable Fuels Assoc.
The U.S. exported 101.5 million gallons (mg) of ethanol in June, down 31% from May but still the highest level for the month since 2019. Canada remained the top destination, taking 41.1 mg (down 2% from May), while South Korea was again the second-largest market, with shipments of 13.6 mg (-29%). The top four destinations, which also included the United Kingdom (12.0 mg, +49%) and the Netherlands (10.7 mg, -31%), accounted for three-quarters of total exports.

Other countries to which substantial volumes of ethanol were shipped included Mexico (4.8 mg, +31%), Singapore (3.5 mg, +14%), the Philippines (3.4 mg, up from near zero in May), Peru (3.2 mg, -42%) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 mg, +51%). Exports to India and Brazil, which had been key destinations in recent months, fell sharply in June, while shipments to China again were negligible. Notably, total U.S. ethanol exports for the first six months of the year were 825.7 mg, up 25% from 2021 and the highest level since 2018.

The U.S. did not import any fuel ethanol in June.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol facilities, strengthened 5% to 1.01 million metric tons (mt). Vietnam became the top destination, as shipments increased 78% to 197,192 mt, the second-highest level on record. Exports to Mexico, which had been the largest market for 20 consecutive months, slipped 31% to 158,501 mt. Other major destinations included Turkey (109,819 mt, up from zero in May), Canada (97,840 mt, +3%) and Indonesia (94,562 mt, up 2% to the highest level in 18 months). DDGS exports for the first half of the year totaled 5.67 million mt, a 5% increase from 2021 and the largest volume since 2015.

FFAR & AAVMC Announce 2022 Vet Fellows

Today the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced 13 recipients of the 2022 Veterinary Student Research Fellowships (FFAR Vet Fellows). This unique fellowship creates opportunities for veterinary students around the world to conduct research to advance global food security, sustainable animal production and environmental sustainability.

Veterinarians trained in animal science and public health are key to addressing many global challenges within the veterinary and agricultural fields. The FFAR Vet Fellows program enables veterinary students to pursue research outside of the biomedical sciences and gain experiential learning opportunities with a qualified mentor. This fellowship culminates with student presentations at the annual Veterinary Scholars Symposium.

“FFAR is thrilled to support the fourth cohort of FFAR Vet Fellows in partnership with AAVMC,” said FFAR Scientific Program Director Dr. Tim Kurt. “This pioneering fellowship allows future veterinarians to sharpen their research skills to solve current and emerging food and agriculture challenges. We are excited about the variety of student research topics and the potential positive impacts on animal health and student career development.”

The 2022 FFAR Vet Fellows include:

Dannell Kopp
Kansas State University
Early administration of antimicrobial treatments for respiratory diseases in feeder cattle can improve recovery with fewer long-term effects. Kopp is developing a predictive model with new applications for data-assisted decision making in beef cattle production. This model will allow beef producers to administer antibiotic treatment more effectively, leading to improved animal health and antimicrobial stewardship.

Lizeth Lopez
Iowa State University

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria adapt over time and no longer respond to the antibiotics designed to prevent illness. Lopez is assessing the AMR threat in retail raw meat sold at Iowa grocery stores. Increased surveillance activities will provide critical information on AMR in the food chain, which informs developing and implementing mitigation strategies at the local and national levels.

Heather Peterson
Iowa State University

Peterson is conducting a clinical efficacy study for treating respiratory disease in goats. Specifically, Peterson is screening goats for the presence of antimicrobial resistant Enterobacterales and Campylobacter species in fecal samples and monitoring the continued presence of these organisms over time. This study will assess the current state of antimicrobial resistance for important pathogens regularly found in livestock gastrointestinal tracts that threaten human health.

Macy Rasmussen
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Rasmussen is developing classifier tools for Salmonella spp. using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), an analytical technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum from a substance. When analyzing bacteria with FT-IR, a unique spectrum is generated that corresponds to the cells’ outer membrane molecules, which will be used to generate models that may detect antimicrobial resistance.

Melissa Rodriguez
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Infectious diseases that can pass from swine to humans may be detectable in wastewater from hog farms. Rodriguez is using a rapid, low-cost tool to detect infectious disease in swine to validate packing plant wastewater sampling as a method of surveillance for swine diseases. This rapid method will allow veterinarians and farmers to improve production and herd management decisions.   

Dazjah Samuels
Ross University of Veterinary Medicine
A quarter of bat species are facing extinction, and researchers are unsure of the cause. Samuels is analyzing the hair of two species of bats to determine if they are absorbing contaminants like pesticides commonly found within their environment. In addition to improving bat populations, Samuels’ research may also yield insight into zoonotic diseases that are commonly thought to originate in bats.

Nicole Sterzinger
Iowa State University

Bacterial pathogens in the Pasteurellacae family can cause serious and contagious respiratory illnesses in many animals. Sterzinger is screening goats for the presence of Pasteurellacae pathogens as part of a large clinical efficacy study on treating respiratory disease. Sterzinger will then perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing to evaluate antimicrobial resistance in these opportunistic pathogens.

Wei Man Weng
Long Island University
Bacterial biofilms are communities of bacteria that form during chronic infection. Biofilms formed during bovine respiratory disease inhibit antibiotic effectiveness, increasing antibiotic resistance and requiring larger antibiotic doses. Weng is identifying safe, non-toxic bioactive compounds that can dissolve an established biofilm. This research will demonstrate if antimicrobials are significantly more effective when combined with an effective anti-biofilm compound.

Kailey Wichman
University of Madison-Wisconsin
Wichman is using in-vitro assays, a technique to analyze a substance’s composition or quality, to determine drug resistance in ruminant parasites. Wichman will connect her research results with the genetic analysis of Haemonchus contortus to verify there is a genetic cause for the resistance.

Heleen de Wit
Utrecht University
During the dairy cow’s lactation cycle, there is a dry period when the cow and her udders prepare for the next lactation. In the dry period, any abnormality like endometriosis, a common chronic infection of the uterus, can affect the cow's health and milk production after calving. De Wit is examining the effects of different types of outdoor access, including pasture and alternative outdoor areas, on the incidence of transition diseases like endometritis in dairy cows.

Theresa Wong
Western University of Health Sciences
Necrotic enteritis in chickens is a disease attributed to C. perfringens, a bacteria found in soil, dust, feces, feed and poultry litter. Toxins produced by the bacteria damage chickens’ intestines and often result in crippling disease. To curtail this threat, Wong is conducting a study to demonstrate whether the accumulation of bovine lactoferrin, an inhibitor of C. perfringens growth, in the small intestines of affected chickens is a potential alternative to antibiotics.

Jared Young
University of Minnesota
Young is creating a microbial genome database from publicly available swine and cattle respiratory samples to be used as a reference by other researchers who are performing swine and cattle respiratory studies. As the database grows, analysis of the data could provide new information about the cause and risk factors for respiratory disease in these species.

Madeline Zutz
University of Madison-Wisconsin
Timed artificial insemination of dairy heifers is a common tool used to optimize synchrony of their reproductive cycle, thereby enhancing the likelihood and efficiency of attaining pregnancies. Farmers currently use costly, labor-intensive hormone-infused intravaginal implants to achieve synchrony. Previous research shows that using a combination of only two intramuscular injectable hormones can provide similar pregnancy results with less cost and labor. Zutz is investigating how many days apart the injectable hormones should be administered to be most effective for attaining dairy heifer pregnancies.  

Streamlined Delivery of Emergency Relief Programs Is Win-Win for USDA and Agricultural Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has processed more than 255,000 applications for the new Emergency Relief Program (ERP). USDA has made approximately $6.1 billion, to date, in payments to commodity and specialty crop producers to help offset eligible losses from qualifying 2020 and 2021 natural disasters. By breaking-down agency barriers, using existing data across USDA and pre-filled applications, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in cooperation with the Risk Management Agency (RMA) has been able to expediently provide economic relief and save producers and staff over a million hours of time.

“The expedient manner in which these emergency relief programs have been developed and executed ensures swift delivery of program benefits to producers, responsible use of taxpayer dollars and equates to time savings for our customers and for USDA staff,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “Reducing the time spent collecting information we already have elsewhere at USDA or through crop insurance means our team has more bandwidth to reach and support new customers. Our streamlined, successful ERP implementation is a testament to the USDA team’s creativity, dedication, and willingness to break down traditional divisions between agencies and resolve complicated information technology challenges to further the shared goal of better serving farmers and ranchers.”

The design of ERP Phase One allowed for an expedited process that saved time for staff and producers. FSA was able to begin disbursing payments to producers within days of rolling out the program when under the predecessor program lengthy applications and processing were required before making payments. FSA county offices can process almost nine ERP applications in the time it took to process one application for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program — Plus (WHIP+), the predecessor program for ad hoc disaster assistance. This equates to 88% less time to process applications and a reduction of more than one million staff hours for implementation of ERP compared with WHIP+. While not specifically tracked, we expect the savings for producers to be at least as significant as they previously would have had a significant burden to collect records and often sit across from the local staff as the data is entered.

These process improvements also enhanced the customer experience for farmers by reducing the number of producer trips to FSA county offices and allowing producers to spend less time completing forms so they could focus more on their agricultural operations. In addition, the ERP program design greatly diminished the risk potential for errors and leveraged the existing RMA and Federal Crop Insurance loss adjustment and verification processes.  With more applications approved, more dollars distributed, and more dollars paid per application in a shorter timeframe, the streamlined application process developed to deliver ERP has significantly outperformed the previous implementation of WHIP+. FSA also has paid more than $1 billion to historically underserved producers.

Emergency Relief Payments to Date

The efforts to streamline, improve responsiveness and work across traditional agency-borders goes beyond just the recent ERP process. FSA mailed pre-filled ERP applications to producers of commodities covered by federal crop insurance in late May and has since paid producers with eligible losses more than $6 billion. Pre-filled ERP applications were mailed to producers with Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage last week, and so far, FSA has already issued $35.9 million in payments to producers with eligible losses. NAP-related ERP payments also were not factored and are being made, in full, from the start to speed and target assistance to the small and underserved producers that commonly rely on NAP coverage. Also, earlier this year, staff processed more than 100,000 payments through the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) and paid eligible producers more than $601.3 million for 2021 grazing losses within days of the program announcement.

Farm Credit System Reports Higher Net Income

The Farm Credit System reported that combined net income increased 3.5% to $1.8 billion and 3.7% to $3.6 billion for the three and six months ended June 30, 2022, as compared with net income of $1.7 billion and $3.4 billion for the same periods of the prior year.

"The System reported another quarter of solid financial performance," remarked Tracey McCabe, President and CEO of the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation.

"Continued loan growth, sound credit quality and solid capital levels position the System to support U.S. agriculture in the current volatile economic and geopolitical environment."

Net interest income increased $190 million or 7.8% to $2.6 billion for the second quarter of 2022 and $358 million or 7.4% to $5.2 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2022, as compared with the same periods of the prior year. The increases in net interest income primarily resulted from higher levels of average earning assets, driven largely by increased loan volume and, to a lesser extent, growth in the liquidity investment portfolio. Average earning assets increased $47.3 billion or 12.0% and $42.4 billion or 10.8% to $441.8 billion and $435.0 billion for the three and six months ended June 30, 2022, as compared with the prior year periods.

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