Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tuesday August 16 Ag News

– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Making good silage includes many factors. Are you prepared to address the critical control points?

The time and money spent on chopping silage for feed does not go unnoticed. Harvest time, moisture, processing, chop length, pack density, and fermentation efficiency all contribute to the preservation of the nutrients that have been grown all summer.

The correct packing density is one of the most overlooked pieces of the process. A good density goal is to have 14 lb. of dry matter per cubic foot. Pack only a 4 to 6 inch layer at a time and have proper tractor weight. The 800 rule can be used to determine how fast a tractor can pack based on weight. Take the weight of the tractor and divide by 800. That will give a how many tons per hour a tractor can pack to have a good density. For example, if the tractor weights 32,000 and we divide by 800, resulting in 40 tons per hour that tractor can pack. The speed of chopping should be determined by the packing speed, not the silage chopper.

The next item is to cover the pile. Even after the silage is packed correctly, air and water can penetrate the outer layers and severely damage the quality and quantity of silage. Additionally, molds, mycotoxins, and fungi have a prime place to grow in uncovered silage.

Many studies at Kansas State University have reported a from three percent to forty percent loss in dry matter from the top three feet of silage in uncovered silage bunkers compared to covered. Covering with plastic will give about an 8:1 return on investment for the producer.

Silage should be covered as soon as possible with plastic. The standard plastic is still the black and white sided 6mil sheeting. Make sure the edges are sealed and the top has plenty of weight on it.

A good pack and a good cover can reduce losses, increase profit, and be safer when facing the pile.


Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, will visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln later this month to take part in a Heuermann Lecture on the agency’s work to support agriculture.

St. Germain will be the keynote speaker during the Aug. 22 lecture and roundtable discussion titled “Space for Ag: NASA Satellites and Science to Support Food and Water Security.” St. Germain, along with three panelists, will discuss NASA satellite data and space technology and how that data can be used in production agriculture. Panelists are Brandon Hunnicutt, farmer and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board; Jackson Stansell, Husker graduate student and founder of ag-tech company Sentinel Fertigation; and Mark Svoboda, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, which is housed in the School of Natural Resources at Nebraska.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Great Plains Room of the Nebraska East Union. A reception will begin at 3:30 p.m., with the lecture scheduled for 4 p.m. The event will also be livestreamed.

NASA’s Earth Science Division uses satellites and other technologies to capture an enormous amount of data about weather patterns, climate, water and air quality, cloud cover, soil, air moisture and more. Farmers, ranchers, ag-tech companies and entities such as National Drought Mitigation Center at Nebraska use this data to make management decisions and to create tools, such as the biweekly U.S. Drought Monitor, which provides information on drought conditions across the country.

“NASA uses the unique vantage point of space to observe and understand the Earth — from how and why severe weather develops, to long-term temperature trends and water availability,” St. Germain said. “We are striving to share that knowledge with partner organizations, farmers and ranchers who could use it to make their best decisions. By engaging with agriculture producers now, we are also hoping to learn more about what data and tools they need to inform their planting, irrigation and management practices, so we can build the most impactful satellites and analytic tools for the future.”

While she is in Nebraska, St. Germain and several other NASA representatives will visit farms near Mead, Giltner and Lexington to discuss how farmers are currently using satellite data from NASA and other sources, as well as how this data could be used in the future.

“It’s an honor to host Karen St. Germain and her colleagues and to discuss the important work that NASA is doing to promote agricultural efficiency and resilience,” said Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “As agriculture becomes more data-driven and complex, and as we strive to feed a growing world as efficiently as possible, programs like those at NASA will only become more important. This is a chance for Nebraskans to learn about this program and have a voice in its future.”

Heuermann Lectures, in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, are made possible through a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska’s production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people. For more information about this event or about the Heuermann Lecture Series, or to view the livestream, visit

Drought Meetings to Be Offered in Iowa

The drought conditions in parts of Iowa are causing major concerns for both crop and livestock producers. To help address those concerns, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be hosting two free drought meetings.
    Aug. 23, 12 p.m. – Virtual statewide meeting. To view the virtual meeting, go to   
    Aug. 24, 1 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Marion County Office (210 N. Iowa Street, Knoxville, IA 50138).

Meeting topics and speakers include drought impacts on crops and forages, how to manage livestock and drought-stressed forages, prepare for use of alternative forages, and crop insurance and marketing decisions.

Speakers include Aaron Saeugling, Clarabell Probasco and Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Chris Clark and Patrick Wall, beef specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach; Patrick Hatting, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach; and representatives from the Farm Service Agency.

No pre-registration is required, and the meetings are expected to last about 90 minutes. Starting approximately 45 minutes before the in-person meeting on Aug. 24, producers will have the opportunity to bring five representative corn stock samples for a quick nitrate assessment conducted on site prior to the start of the meeting or after the meeting, depending upon time.

For more information, contact Rebecca Vittetoe at 319-653-4811 or For additional information about the drought meetings, visit the event website online

Rising Costs Present Opportunities for Underutilized U.S. Pork Items

Global prices for all meat types continue rising, according to the FAO Food Price Index, a global barometer of prices for food commodities. While an environment of rising prices can potentially slow strong global demand for U.S. red meat, it also brings marketing opportunities as consumers and the trade look to reduce costs.

“Saving money is important for international consumers and cost-reduction has become essential for retail and foodservice sectors,” says U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “The trade is very receptive to new product ideas and USMEF has accelerated educational and promotional programs for cost-effective pork cuts and variety meats at the center of the plate.”

Halstrom points to the strong preference of U.S. consumers for middle meats, especially bacon, loins and ribs. On the other hand, pork production far exceeds U.S. demand for primal ends such as the picnic, butt, ham and leg, which rely heavily on export demand.

In Japan, USMEF implemented a strategic initiative to help the trade capitalize on the April 2022 decrease in the duty on Japan’s picnic/cushion meat imports. Leading up to and following the duty decrease, USMEF aggressively promoted U.S. picnics to the trade as a high-value alternative cut for yakiniku, Tonkatsu, pulled pork and ginger pork dishes.

USMEF also developed a series of videos to demonstrate the versatility of four underutilized U.S. pork cuts and their potential applications in popular Japanese dishes. The videos were shared with trade accounts and demonstrated fabrication and cooking ideas for cushion meat, Boston butt, loin rib-end and sirloin end.

In Mexico and Central America, USMEF utilizes mobile grill programs to conduct educational workshops about U.S. pork for distributors and their end-user customers. A primary goal of the workshops is to introduce and demonstrate how to cost-effectively utilize and promote alternative U.S. pork cuts and variety meats through grilling and alternative cooking methods for new and traditional Mexican dishes.

The emphasis on potential applications for underutilized U.S. pork items is a goal of every trade show, product seminar, culinary training and all educational activities that USMEF conducts. For example, Korean barbecue dishes are exploding in popularity in the Philippines. At a recent culinary training event for restaurants in Manila, USMEF provided a demonstration of alternative U.S. pork items that are excellent and economical for these dishes, including brisket bones, shoulders and jowls.

“High-value U.S. pork cuts and variety meats can have a significant place at the center of the plate in local dishes,” says Halstrom. “USMEF provides further support for these items by working to build demand through consumer communication programs in local markets. Through influencers, social media and promotional events, we are reaching more consumers than ever with new recipes and cooking ideas for underutilized U.S. pork items.”

KC Fed: Farm Economy Solid, But Showing Signs of Slowing

Financial conditions in the Tenth District farm economy remained solid in the second quarter, but survey contacts reported signs of slower growth that appeared likely to continue in the coming months.

Following rapid gains in farm real estate values in recent quarters, valuations moderated in the second quarter alongside recent declines in agricultural commodity prices. Farm income remained stronger than a year ago, but an increase in farm loan interest rates, drought, higher input costs, and the pullback in commodity prices likely contributed to a slightly less optimistic outlook on the farm economy than in the previous quarter.

While the outlook for the District agricultural sector in 2022 has remained positive, lenders reported growing concerns about 2023. A larger share of lenders reported significant increases in production expenses for producers compared to last year. In addition, several respondents commented that severe drought has reduced hay and forage for livestock and contributed to higher feed costs.

Despite these concerns, farm loan repayment problems declined to the lowest level in more than 7 years, and more than half of survey respondents expected farm income to increase or remain unchanged in 2023, highlighting continued strength in the financial position of farm borrowers.

Biden Signs Bill Providing New Support for On-Farm Conservation and Biofuels as Climate Solutions

President Biden today signed a bill into law that addresses issues ranging from health care to the environment and includes new funding to encourage agricultural conservation programs and advance biofuels.

“Through this legislation, Congress and the administration recognize that farmers’ voluntary climate-smart agricultural practices are an important part of addressing climate change,” said Brooke S. Appleton, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) vice president of public policy. “We are also particularly pleased to see Congress and the administration acknowledge that low-carbon biofuels like ethanol are needed to help decarbonize transportation and improve energy security.”

The law allocates $19.9 billion in funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s conservation programs and $1 billion for additional conservation technical assistance. These allocations include:
-    $8.45 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
-    $6.75 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program
-    $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program
-    $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

To advance biofuels, the legislation includes:
-    $500 million for infrastructure for greater market deployment of higher blends of biofuels
-    New tax credits based on carbon reduction to incentivize clean fuels such as biofuels like ethanol and new sustainable aviation fuel

NCGA worked closely with allies of farmers and rural communities to ensure the legislation did not change tax provisions that would directly affect family farms.

Growth Energy Thanks President Biden for Signing Key Climate Priorities into Law

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked President Biden for signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law. This initiative includes key provisions designed to expand the use of low-carbon biofuels, including infrastructure investments and tax credits for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), carbon capture, cellulosic biofuels, and bio-based diesel.

“We applaud President Biden and Congressional leaders for advancing our nation’s investment in low-carbon biofuels for a cleaner future,” said Skor. “Biofuels are critical to meeting climate goals, and this law will help maximize our industry’s contributions to a cleaner future by expanding the volume of low-carbon biofuels available across the entire transportation sector – on the ground, in the air, and at sea. This initiative will help jump-start climate progress, while delivering more savings at the pump, greater long-term energy security, and a welcome economic boon to rural communities.“

Included in the Inflation Reduction Act are several key priorities for the biofuels industry:
    45Q tax credits for carbon oxide sequestration and utilization extended through 2032 with adjusted rates of $85/ton for sequestration and $60/ton for utilization.
    Clean Fuel Production Credit starting in 2025 and expiring at the end of 2027 for the production of low-carbon fuels.
    Five Years of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) credits:  A stand-alone credit for SAF then as part of the Clean Fuel Production Credit for three years.
    $500 million for biofuels infrastructure through the end of 2031.
    Extension of Biomass-Based Diesel Blenders Credit and the Second-Generation Biofuels Producer Credit for two years.
    $300 million grant program to increase domestic production and deployment of SAF and low-emission aviation technologies

RFA Thanks President For Signing IRA into Law

With the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act today by President Biden, America will see important growth and investment in the use of low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

“We thank President Biden for signing the budget reconciliation bill today and recognizing that low-carbon, lower-cost renewable fuels like ethanol are a critical tool for combatting climate change,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “This bill puts ethanol on a sustainable path for growth and investment. Several provisions within this bill are very important to the U.S. biofuels industry and will result in American families having greater access to low-carbon, more affordable, domestically made renewable fuels. We look forward to helping the administration implement the key provisions within this legislation.”

Among the provisions of the bill supported by RFA 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.

ACE: Climate Bill Confirms Role Farmers, Biofuel Producers Can Play in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Today, President Joe Biden signed The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law. The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) supports important climate and ethanol-related provisions included in the legislative package. ACE CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement on the bill passage:

“This sweeping legislation recognizes the role farmers and biofuel producers can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and validates the work ACE has put forth to position corn ethanol as a meaningful part of the climate solution. Record-level investments in biofuel infrastructure, climate-smart agriculture practices, carbon capture and sequestration projects, and low carbon intensity fuels available now and in the future will help grow ethanol demand long term.

“The legislation helps assure farmers and ethanol producers they can earn a return on the investments they make to innovate and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

LG Chem and ADM Launch Joint Ventures, Announce Intended Location for U.S. Production of Lactic Acid and Polylactic Acid Production

LG Chem (KRX: 051910), a leading global diversified chemical company, and ADM (NYSE: ADM), a global leader in nutrition and biosolutions, today held a signing ceremony launching two joint ventures for U.S. production of lactic acid and polylactic acid to meet growing demand for a wide variety of plant-based products, including bioplastics. Pending final investment decisions, the joint ventures have chosen Decatur, Illinois, U.S., as the location of their intended production facilities.

The first joint venture, GreenWise Lactic, would produce up to 150,000 tons of high-purity corn-based lactic acid annually. ADM would be the majority owner of GreenWise, and would contribute fermentation capacity from its Decatur bioproducts facility to the venture. The second joint venture, LG Chem Illinois Biochem, would be majority-owned by LG Chem. It would build upon LG Chem’s expertise in bioplastics to build a facility that will use product from GreenWise Lactic to produce approximately 75,000 tons of polylactic acid (PLA) per year.

ADM CEO Juan R. Luciano stated, “Sustainability is one of the enduring global trends that is powering ADM’s strategy and growth. Our BioSolutions platform is helping us meet that demand by redeploying Carbohydrate Solutions production capacity to fast-growing, higher-margin segments – including pharmaceuticals and personal care, textiles and paper products. BioSolutions is already growing rapidly, with $136 million in year-over-year revenue growth in the first half of 2022, and with these two new joint ventures, we’re planning to take the next growth step, greatly expanding our ability to meet growing demand for plant-based solutions. We’re pleased to expand our collaboration with LG Chem, and we’re excited at the opportunity to bring this new intended production and all of its economic benefits to Decatur, our North American headquarters.”

LG Chem Chief Executive Officer Hak Cheol Shin commented, “The establishment of this joint venture is a sustainable growth strategy that can directly contribute in solving environmental issues such as climate change and waste plastics,” and added, “LG Chem is the first Korean company to build a PLA plant with integrated production capacities ranging from raw materials to the final product. With the establishment of this JV, LG Chem will not only procure production capacities for highly pure lactic acid needed for commercial-scale PLA production, but will also be able to apply biomaterials in the development of various high-value-added products. Based on eco-friendly materials, which is an axis for new growth engines, we will respond to the rapidly changing market and customers, while becoming a market leader.”

Global demand for lactic acid – which is used broadly in food, feed and cosmetics in addition to industrials like bioplastics – was valued at approximately USD 2.9 billion in 2021, with an expected annual growth rate of 8%. Global demand for bioplastics and biopolymers is projected to grow from USD 10.7 billion in 2021 to USD 29.7 billion by 2026, representing annual growth of 22.7%.

The joint ventures, which are subject to required regulatory approvals, hope to make final investment decisions around the Decatur projects in 2023. Pending final investment decisions and approvals, construction would be targeted to begin in 2023, and production in late 2025 or early 2026, with the two joint ventures supporting more than 125 jobs in the Decatur region.

Both ventures are participating in the State of Illinois’ Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program, which provides incentives to job creators who plan to make investments in Illinois.

“I am thrilled that LG Chem and ADM have chosen Decatur as home for their joint ventures,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “Our state’s talented workforce coupled with our mission of sustainability make Illinois the best place for these lactic and polylactic acid production facilities. To LG Chem and ADM: thank you for your commitment to our state. It is innovative, plant-based solutions like these that will help us tackle the climate crisis head on.”

"When I led a congressional delegation to South Korea earlier this year, I met with the CEO of LG Chem, Hak Cheol Shin, and shared how Illinois is uniquely positioned for greater investment as a growing hub for innovation, manufacturing and technology. I'm proud my advocacy helped bring this important investment to Illinois," said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. “LG Chem recognizes what I’ve long known: Illinois is a great place to do business. Building on ADM's long history in Illinois, I’m glad the leaders at ADM and LG Chem made this decision to help our state lead the transition to a clean energy economy and create good-paying jobs right here so we can help build a better, more sustainable future for communities throughout Illinois. I will continue to spread the message across the country and around the world that entrepreneurs and innovative companies should call Illinois home.”

“Demand for plant-based products is on the rise and it’s no surprise Illinois is attractive to companies looking to expand in this industry,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “As the federal government seeks opportunities to invest in greener buildings, it will look to states like Illinois that are leaders in the production of eco-products. Today’s news is a positive step and I appreciate the efforts of state and local leaders to bring even more jobs to Illinois.”

"Decatur has a rich heritage in manufacturing products that serve as industry game-changers, and the two ADM and LG Chem ventures announced today are no exception," said Nicole Bateman, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur - Macon County. "Their collective approach to plant-based innovations are a welcomed addition to the global industry leaders who call Decatur home. ADM and LG Chem will find a great partner in the EDC and City of Decatur to support their infrastructure and operational needs to bring this project to life."


Nonprofit certifier A Greener World (AGW) has announced its Certified Regenerative by AGW program is now open to the public and accepting applications from farmers, growers, and processors, following the completion of a comprehensive two-year pilot program. This innovative certification provides a whole-farm assurance of regeneration and sustainability, measuring benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare and social responsibility.

As public interest in sustainability continues to increase and broaden in scope, the demand for rigorous, meaningful assurances of responsible farming practices has grown. Building on its successful family of leading labels, A Greener World’s Certified Regenerative program is a whole-farm, plan-based regenerative certification—giving farmers, consumers and buyers confidence in reliability and impact.

A Greener World's inaugural Certified Regenerative pilot cohort, made up of a group of over 50 farms across the globe, spent the last two years in partnership with A Greener World, evaluating farm standards, plans and auditing procedures for Certified Regenerative by AGW, which have been under development since 2017. Now that the pilot and public comment period has ended, AGW is opening the program to new farm applicants. Certified Regenerative by AGW is designed to welcome farmers and growers of all backgrounds, meeting producers where they are as partners in a journey of regeneration.

Recognizing every farm is a unique part of an ecosystem, the core of Certified Regenerative by AGW is a farm-specific, steward-led Regenerative Plan where producers assess risks, set goals and track progress toward their own meaningful milestones with support from qualified experts in agronomy, biodiversity, water quality and other fields. Plans are reviewed, approved and then audited on an ongoing basis by A Greener World, offering farmers and consumers a third-party source of accountability for each farm’s regenerative progress.

A Greener World Executive Director Emily Moose says,
“We know agriculture can be a force for positive change, and we are so excited to partner with farmers to demonstrate the crucial role that land stewardship can play in solving the urgent challenges we face. Regenerative practices have incredible potential to bring about real change at scale, and farms in the Certified Regenerative by AGW program meet a rigorous baseline and follow an accountable path toward even more sustainable practices.

This program has been in development for many years, with the need for a regenerative certification driven both by consumer demand and by farmers themselves. We are thrilled to officially open the program, and we invite anyone producing sustainable foods or goods to get in touch about getting certified or sourcing ingredients from Certified Regenerative by AGW farms. While our certification starts at the farm, we can work with anyone along the supply chain to provide a trusted assurance of verified, positive impacts and a regenerative journey for change.”

For more information about Certified Regenerative by AGW or A Greener World visit or contact or 1-800-373-8806.

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