Friday, September 30, 2022

Thursday September 29 Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2022, was 3.50 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was down 4% from September 1, 2021, and down 1% from June 1, 2022.

Breeding hog inventory, at 410,000 head, was down 11% from September 1, 2021, and down 2% from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.09 million head, was down 3% from last year, and down 1% from last quarter.

The June - August 2022 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.08 million head, was down 11% from 2021. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 185,000 head, down 7% from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.25 for the June - August period, compared to 11.65 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 185,000 sows during the September - November 2022 quarter, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2022 - February 2023 are 180,000 sows, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.

Iowa Hogs & Pigs Report

On September 1, 2022, there were 23.4 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. Inventory was up 2 percent from the previous quarter but down 3 percent from the previous year.

The June-August 2022 quarterly pig crop was 5.80 million head, up slightly from the previous quarter and up 1 percent from last year. A total of 500,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.60 for the quarter. This is a record high pigs saved per litter for any quarter.

As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 500,000 sows and gilts in the September-November 2022 quarter and 485,000 head during the December 2022-February 2023 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Down 1 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2022 was 73.8 million head. This was down 1 percent from September 1, 2021, but up 2 percent from June 1, 2022.   

Breeding inventory, at 6.15 million head, was down 1 percent from last year,  and down slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 67.6 million head, was down 1 percent from last year, but up 2 percent from last quarter.

The June-August 2022 pig crop, at 33.6 million head, was down 1 percent from 2021. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.02 million head, down 1 percent from 2021. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.13 for the June-August period, unchanged from last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.97 million sows farrow during the September-November 2022 quarter, down 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and down 6 percent from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for December 2022-February 2023, at 2.90 million sows, are down 1 percent from the same period one year earlier, and down 1 percent from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 50 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up 1 percent from the previous year.

Iowa hog producers accounted for the largest inventory among the states, at 23.4 million head. Minnesota had the second largest inventory at 8.80 million head. North Carolina was third with 8.30 million head.

To obtain an accurate measurement of the U.S. swine industry, NASS surveyed roughly 4,700 operators across the nation during the first half of September. The data collected were received by electronic data recording, mail, telephone and through face-to-face interviews.

AG Peterson Joins Lawsuit Against Pesticide Makers for Anticompetitive Practices

Attorney General Peterson has joined a bipartisan group of 10 states and the Federal Trade Commission in filing a lawsuit against pesticide makers Syngenta and Corteva, alleging anticompetitive practices that have harmed farmers.

The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina, accuses the defendants of using "loyalty programs" with pesticide distributors to exclude generic competitors from the market. The programs reward distributors for selling Syngenta and Corteva products long after their patent and other protections have expired, thus inflating prices. "These unlawful business practices have cost farmers many millions of dollars a year," the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit accuses Syngenta and Corteva of violating state and federal laws, including the FTC Act and the Clayton Act. The FTC and state attorneys general ask the court to end the loyalty programs, and grant equitable monetary relief and attorney fees, among other remedies. The relief would include restitution for farmers in Nebraska.

Syngenta -- based in Basel, Switzerland, and a subsidiary of Sinochem Holdings Corp. of China -- and Corteva, based in Indianapolis, are among the largest makers of crop-protection products in the United States. The companies' products are used on a wide range of grains, vegetables, fruits, and other crops, helping improve yields and food security.

To encourage innovation, companies such as Syngenta and Corteva can initially develop, patent, and register active ingredients in their products and exploit their commercial potential for several years. After those protections expire, generic manufacturers may enter the market with products with the same active ingredients and rely on the same toxicology and environmental impact studies. This competition ordinarily leads to dramatic price reductions, benefiting farmers and consumers.

The complaint accuses Syngenta and Corteva of undermining this system by paying incentive payments, or "rebates," to distributors on one condition: The distributor must keep its purchases of comparable generic products below a low threshold. Corteva and Syngenta have entered into loyalty-program agreements with substantially all leading distributors in the United States. In turn, the distributors sell the products containing the branded ingredients to retail outlets.

These loyalty programs enable the defendants to maintain high prices and dominant market positions years after exclusivity for an active ingredient has expired. They also have forced generic manufacturers out of the market, the lawsuit alleges.

The FTC commissioners voted today to pursue the lawsuit. In addition to Nebraska, the lawsuit was joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Nebraska Food for Health Center Maps Sorghum Genes Controlling The Human Gut Microbiome

Each of us walks around with trillions of living microbes in our gut. Our diet shapes the kinds and abundance of microbes living in our gut which are connected to our health and well-being. But as scientists learn more and more about which microbes are associated positive and negative impacts on human health, a key question has remained unanswered: "How do we change our own microbiomes?"

The answer may be in the food we eat. Different foods, made from different crops contain a variety of fibers, polyphenols and other natural compounds that can influence the abundance of different microbes within the human gut. Increasing our fiber intake by consuming whole grains vs food made from refined flour is one example. But what if different grains have different effects on our guts?

In a study from the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Benson that was led by Dr. Qinnan Yang, scientists at the Nebraska Food for Health Center demonstrate that natural genetic variation within crop plants can indeed play a major role in controlling growth of specific organisms in human gut microbiomes. In this study the researchers used sorghum, an ancient grain first domesticated in Africa that is grown and consumed around the world today. Sorghum is known to have a large number of bioactive models that can stimulate cells in the human body, including microbes in our gut. Dr. James Schnable, a member of the Nebraska Food for Health Center who studies corn and sorghum genetics provided grain from almost three hundred different kinds of sorghum. Dr. Yang made flour from each of these sorghum lines and used a new automated system to measure the impact of flour from each kind of sorghum on the human gut microbiome, the team applied the tools of quantitative genetic to identify parts of the sorghum genome that affect how the gut microbiomes of different human beings responded to being fed sorghum.

In two cases, Dr. Yang noticed that the same region of the sorghum genome that caused major changes in the human gut microbiome was also controlling differences in the color of the sorghum seeds and sorghum flour. The team was excited when they realized that these two parts of the genome contained two genes, called Tan1 and Tan2, that control the production of condensed tannins, a group of compounds that add flavor to red wine and dark chocolate. Sorghum varieties with intact versions of both the Tan1 and Tan2 genes had dark colored seeds and stimulated the growth of a set of microbes including Faecalibacterium, Roseburia and Christensennella while other sorghum varieties with mutations in either gene produced light colored seeds that failed to stimulate growth of these organisms. Beyond the excitement of identifying the actual genetic cause that can stimulate these organisms, the team was also energized by the fact that many studies show that these same organisms are quite beneficial for human health and are believed to help prevent conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

“It’s so cool to see effect of Mendelian genetics in a crop plant working like a charm on human gut microbiome,” said Dr. Yang. “It really isn’t just about tannin or even sorghum. Now that we’ve shown plant genes can control changes in the human gut microbiome, we can use our approach screen hundreds or thousands of samples of different crops. That makes it possible for plant breeding programs to harness natural genetic variation in crops to breed new crop varieties that improve human health by promoting beneficial bacteria in the human gut.” Dr. Benson added, “this is remarkable to see plant geneticists, microbiologists, and food scientists working together to develop and improve a new generation of traits in food crops aimed at reducing diseases.”


The Nebraska Poultry and Egg Development, Utilization, and Marketing Committee has planned a meeting for Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 10:00 a.m at the NPI/PED Office in Milford, NE.

The current agenda of subjects to be discussed at this meeting is available for public inspection at the offices of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Poultry and Egg Division, 521 First Street, Milford, Nebraska.

Please send any funding requests or additions to the PED agenda to Alyssa no later than October 12, 2022.  Please contact the PED office at 402-761-2216 or if you have any questions.


Keeping backyard flocks healthy is important to poultry owners. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) 2023 poultry calendar features photos from this year’s contest and includes biosecurity information for poultry owners to protect their flocks from diseases like avian influenza. NDA’s annual Poultry Photo contest was open to Nebraska 4-H and FFA members from around the state.

“4-H and FFA members work hard to ensure that the animals in their care stay healthy and strong,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “The photos from NDA’s annual Poultry Photo contest show healthy birds in a variety of settings that highlight the diverse poultry industry found in Nebraska.”

The students submitting winning photos from this year’s contest are Mallory Beethe of Gretna; Kelsey Bunn of North Bend; Elizabeth Hilkemann of Firth; Grace Mentzer of Lincoln; Anne Nygren of Ashland; Elisa Oberg of Farnam; Janae Oberg of Farnam; Jon Oberg of Farnam; Kara Oberg of Farnam; Franklin Polacek of Norfolk; Aniah Stone of Minden; and Josh Stone of Minden.

“I would like to thank the 4-H and FFA members who submitted photos for our Poultry Photo contest this year,” Wellman said. “Your creativity, attention to detail, and photography skills set you apart from your peers. Congratulations!”

NDA’s 2023 calendar featuring Poultry Photo contest photographs and important biosecurity information can be viewed and downloaded from NDA’s website at

Aurora Cooperative and KAAPA Ethanol Holdings, LLC announce joint venture of Aurora Cooperative Ethanol

Aurora Cooperative Elevator Company (“Aurora Cooperative”) and KAAPA Ethanol Holdings, LLC (“KAAPA”) are pleased to announce a joint venture involving Aurora Cooperative’s ethanol and grain facilities located west of Aurora, Nebraska.

The joint venture plans to make significant investments with the goal of increasing production and efficiency at the ethanol facilities so that the facilities remain a destination for area farmers' corn for many years to come.

Aurora Cooperative’s Board Chair, Bill Schuster, said “We are looking forward to a partnership with KAAPA Ethanol at our ethanol and grain facilities. KAAPA has a track record of operational expertise and strong financial performance. We believe this partnership will strengthen the future of the ethanol plant for our farmer-owners."

KAAPA's Board Chair, Paul Kenney, said "Aurora Cooperative has led the way in promoting E -15 and higher ethanol blend fuels in Nebraska with its A-Stops and other efforts. We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Aurora Cooperative with its ethanol and grain facilities west of Aurora and look forward to a long and prosperous partnership."

Chris Decker, Aurora Cooperative's Chief Executive Officer, said "I'm excited to partner with KAAPA, they are a successf ul Nebraska-based company. Like Aurora Cooperative, KAAPA is owned by farmers. Aurora Cooperative and KAAPA share similar values and exist for the sole purpose of serving our farmer-owners. Aurora Cooperative believes this partnership will allow us to make the investments needed in order for these assets to remain a value- added destination market for our farmer-owners in the future."

Chuck Woodside, KAAPA's Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are excited for the opportunity to partner with Aurora Cooperative at its ethanol facilities west of Aurora. Hamilton County is an excellent location logistically for an ethanol plant. The proximity to our plants in Minden and Ravenna will give us the opportunity for additional synergies."

Aurora Cooperative and KAAPA anticipate the transaction will close in early 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, and look forward to a bright future serving Hamilton County and surrounding area farmers.

North Central IPM Center Moves to Iowa State

The North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center is coming to Iowa State University with renewed funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant award is for $4 million and the Center will receive $1 million annually for four years.

"Iowa State is honored to host the North Central IPM Center and will continue to be an integral part of effective and efficient pest management in Iowa and across the region in agricultural, natural and urban systems," said Daniel J. Robison, endowed dean's chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State. "This is fundamental to our work, and we are thrilled to support these efforts regionally."

Laura Iles and Daren Mueller, both at Iowa State, will now serve as co-directors for the center. Iles is director and extension plant pathologist with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, and Mueller is a professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State. The Center was previously located at Michigan State University and was directed by Lynnae Jess for the last four years with co-direction support from Iowa State.

This fall, Iles will shift priorities from the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, which she has directed since 2009, to leading the center. In addition to directing the clinic, Iles also served as the insect diagnostician and provided outreach and training on horticultural pests and disease issues. As center director, Iles will lead the Center's grant program and signature programs as well as the creation of national pest alerts.

Mueller will also lead the center in a co-director role. He coordinates the Iowa State IPM program and also co-directs the Crop Protection Network. His main research interests involve understanding the biology and management of field crop diseases.

The North Central IPM Center champions innovation of pest management tools as well as use of these tools, while protecting people and the environment. Much of the center's pest management focus is directed at agricultural production, which includes specialty crops from blueberries to cucumbers, and the pests that affect crops. The center also supports efforts to control pests that threaten human health (like ticks and mosquitoes), pests that invade structures (like cockroaches and bedbugs) and invasive pests (like the northern giant hornet).

The center shares details about pest management efforts by producing Pest Alerts, Pests and Progress webinars, and a monthly newsletter. An annual grant program provided by the center distributes $200,000 annually to working groups dedicated to collaborating across state boarders to address pest challenges. Another $100,000 is awarded annually to pest-related research projects.

The North Central IPM Center is one of four IPM centers in the United States, and the center represents the 12 Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The center was previously housed in East Lansing, Mich.

IDALS Crop Insurance Discount Program for Cover Crops

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will again offer its crop insurance discount program for cover crops this year. The program offers farmers and landowners who plant fall cover crops, like rye and oats, the opportunity to apply for a $5 per acre discount on their spring crop insurance premiums. The sign up for the program will begin on December 1.

“The growth in cover crop usage is strong and continues to accelerate statewide because farmers are seeing the benefits of better soil health and improved water quality and this discount will save them money on their crop insurance,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Every field and farm is different and so farmers and landowners should talk to their agronomist, conservation professional, or seed representative to determine which varieties of cover crops may work best for their farm.”

Farmers and landowners may start enrolling in the cover crop insurance discount program in December. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost share programs. More information about the cover crop insurance discount program is available at

In addition to preventing soil erosion, especially with Iowa’s variable weather conditions, cover crops improve water quality by locking in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous. They also offer weed control and additional forage for livestock producers.

Program Details

This is the sixth year the crop insurance discount program is being administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Interest in the program continues to grow with new farmers and fields joining each year. To date, approximately 1,800 farmers have enrolled nearly 1,000,000 acres of cover crops in the program. Iowa’s program has also served as a model for other states, including Illinois and Indiana.

Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agents to maintain eligibility. Farmers should visit their local USDA service center to learn about other cost share funding that may be available to support the implementation of conservation practices.

Can Long-Term Soil Health Practices Improve Water Quality?

In an Oct. 5 webinar hosted by Iowa Learning Farms, two soil health experts from Ohio will discuss a study they are conducting on the interrelationships between agricultural soil, water and the practices being utilized to address nutrient losses and water quality.

The webinar will feature Vinayak Shedekar, research scientist at Ohio State University in Columbus, and Will Osterholz, research soil scientist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Soil Drainage Research Unit in Columbus.

Shedekar’s current research is focused on agricultural water management, monitoring and modeling of soil health, hydrology and water quality. Osterholz is currently investigating relationships between in-field soil health and edge-of-field water quality, as well as the contributions of legacy soil phosphorus sources to phosphorus losses from agricultural landscapes.

Iowa Learning Farms is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program.

In the webinar, “Can Long-Term Soil Health Practices Improve Water Quality?,” Shedekar and Osterholz will draw on a study they are conducting in Ohio, to discuss the interrelationships between agricultural soil, water, and the practices being utilized to address nutrient losses and water quality.

Osterholz will focus his comments on the soil health component, relating the benefits of cover crops and no-till to soil health, especially when adopted over long periods of time. He will also discuss ongoing research to better understand the effect of these practices on edge-of-field water and differences between transitional and mature implementations.

Shedekar will share information and outcomes of their study regarding monitoring water quality as it is discharged from fields with short- and long-term history of soil health practices as well as in comparison to adjacent fields in which no soil health practices have been utilized.

“We know that practices such as cover crops and no-till can improve soil health, but we are aiming to expand the body of knowledge to identify where these soil health practices positively affect water quality," said Shedekar. “Finding whether good soil health is equal to water quality, and under what circumstances and timescale, should provide the industry with important information to inform decision making.”

Participants in Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinars are encouraged to ask questions of the presenters. People from all backgrounds and areas of interest are encouraged to join.
Webinar access instructions

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CDT Oct. 5:
    Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser:
    Or, go to and enter meeting ID 364 284 172.
    Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; meeting ID 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for. Those who participate in the live webinar are eligible. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Three outstanding leaders in water quality awarded 2022 IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards

The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and partners honored three outstanding leaders in water quality with 2022 IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards to recognize their work across the state.

Awards were presented at the Iowa Water Conference in Dubuque on Thurs., Sept. 29 during the fifth annual IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards program. The awards program was developed by the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

    Hunter Slifka, watershed project coordinator for the Turkey River Headwaters & Chihak Creek in NE Iowa, is the 2022 Watershed Coordinator of the Year. With Slifka’s dedication to water quality in his 62,000-acre watershed, cover crops have expanded from only 1,500 acres five years ago to 17,000 acres this past fall. This has a direct impact on water quality for his community and communities downstream. His work is also improving trout streams that feed into the Turkey River. To celebrate his achievement, IAWA will provide the Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District Office in Cresco with $5,000 for the project.

    Ruth McCabe, Heartland Co-op Conservation Agronomist based in Central Iowa, won the Private Sector Impact Award. In 2021 alone, McCabe’s work directly led to a wide variety of conservation practices that improve water quality: nearly 10,000 acres planted to cover crops, a 147-acre prairie restoration in north central Iowa, 44 edge-of-field practices called saturated buffers and bioreactors, and one wetland project.

    Tracy Peterson, City of Ames Municipal Engineer, was honored with the Public Sector Impact Award. Peterson oversees a five-year, $6.3 million flood mitigation program that focuses on a section of the South Skunk River that used to flood frequently. That’s changing because of the city’s project that includes strategies such as wetlands which help to improve water quality and reduce flood risk.

The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) is increasing the pace and scale of farmer-led efforts to improve water quality in Iowa. Founded in 2014 by Iowa Corn, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, IAWA is building public-private partnerships focused on implementing water quality solutions. Iowa farmers are actively engaged in various conservation efforts that improve water quality. Learn more at

Register for Free Virtual Stockmanship & Stewardship Event

Register today for the free Stockmanship & Stewardship virtual event to be held Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. This online version of the popular in-person event provides an opportunity for cattle producers to learn about beef sustainability and livestock welfare, how consumer concerns have impacted the industry, and the role that Beef Quality Assurance plays in the conversation.

The full-day event features nationally recognized speakers and clinicians discussing topics such as grazing management practices in various climates, cattle handling, marketing, nutrition, international trade, labor, antimicrobial resistance and more. The program brings together beef and dairy producers, stakeholders and key industry members to engage in the discussion of current industry challenges, consumer driven trends, and realistic strategies to enhance producers’ commitment to stockmanship and stewardship.

“As a proud sponsor of Stockmanship & Stewardship events, Merck Animal Health is pleased to help bring this virtual edition to cattle producers from coast to coast,” said Kevin Mobley, executive director of sales and marketing for Merck Animal Health.

The program is sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Merck Animal Health, and the Beef Checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Assurance program. For more information and to register, visit

Growth Energy Statement on Updated EPA Guidance on Cellulosic Biofuel from Corn Kernel Fiber

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its updated guidance on what methods should be used to determine the cellulosic converted fraction of corn kernel fiber in the production of cellulosic ethanol. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement in response:

“We’re pleased to see EPA update its guidance for cellulosic biofuel from kernel fiber, a move that provides additional flexibility for bioethanol producers and the potential to accelerate stalled registrations for cellulosic biofuels. Approval of these registrations is important to fulfilling the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard and to help further decarbonize the transportation sector. We look forward to further reviewing EPA’s guidance with our members.”

In its guidance, EPA proposes three potential ways companies might satisfy registration requirements for corn fiber, including:
    Adoption of the DOE/NREL method,
    Demonstration of reasonable accuracy by returning comparable cellulose values to the NIST reference materials using a non-voluntary consensus standards body (non-VCSB) method, or
    Use of advanced analytical techniques; e.g. mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), as identified by DOE/NREL in their analytical method and validation.

ASA, Stakeholder Groups Strongly Urge EPA to Deny Petition Revoking 15 Organophosphate Pesticides

The American Soybean Association is urging the EPA to deny a petition seeking to cancel uses and revoke tolerances of 15 different organophosphate pesticides (OP). Through both ASA-specific comments and stakeholder coalition comments, ASA's message to EPA is clear: Maintain the availability of crop protection tools like organophosphate pesticides to help farmers continue safe, affordable and sustainable food production.

In the coalition comments, the groups address the broader economic harm that would result should EPA grant this petition, as well as analysis as to why this petition is not scientifically justifiable. If the agency moves forward and grants the petition, the groups fear it would cause immediate, significant and irreparable harm to U.S. agricultural producers. The coalition's concerns include increased pest resistance challenges that will harm the ability of growers to protect their crops in the future; undercutting public health efforts intended to protect people from insect pests like mosquitoes; and disrupting trade and undermining domestic and global food security.

ASA also submitted soybean-specific comments outlining the harm that growers will face should the petition be granted. U.S. soybean farmers currently use several of the 15 pesticides in the petition to protect against damaging insect pests, specifically acephate, dimethoate and phorate. The organization outlines the millions of dollars in yield losses the domestic soybean industry loses to insect pests yearly and reminds the agency that if OPs were revoked, the losses from insect pests could increase significantly. The comments provide the example that, if left unchecked, "soybean aphids and stink bugs – both insects for which acephate is registered for use in soybeans and can help control – can inflict yield losses up to 40%."

ARA Commends FMCSA Seasonal Ag CDL Reforms

Today the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) applauds the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for publishing reforms to the Seasonal Ag CDL program.

Reforms to the Farm-Related Restricted Commercial Driver's License (CDL) program, more commonly known as the Seasonal Ag CDL program, go into effect immediately.

ARA Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton issued the following statement:

"This is a step in the right direction to ensure agricultural retailers are able to provide the level of service their farmer customers require at peak times in the growing and harvest season.

"One of the main reforms impacting ag retailers is the increase to the number of days that the restricted CDL is valid to 210 from 180 days. The second major reform is the change to a calendar year rotation for the program to prevent any overlaps from season to season from one year to the next.

"ARA commends its coalition partners along with Senators Jerry Moran and John Thune for their support and effort to get these critical provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. ARA is grateful FMCSA published the Congressionally mandated reforms to allow enough time for states to implement prior to the 2023 planting season."

ARA and coalition partners sent letters to Congress in May and June of 2021 in support of modernizing this program.

States that allow for the Seasonal Ag CDL exemption will still need to make changes to their existing state rules. Learn more in the Asmark Institute's report showing 24 states that offer the CDL.

Record Turkey Prices Expected as Thanksgiving Approaches

Families can expect to pay record high prices at the grocery store for turkey this upcoming holiday season thanks to the impacts of the bird flu and inflation. American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed turkey and egg costs in their latest Market Intel.

The retail price for fresh boneless, skinless turkey breast reached a record high of $6.70 per pound in September, 112% higher than the same time in 2021 when prices were $3.16 per pound. The previous record high price was $5.88 per pound in November 2015, during the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak.

Inflation is adding to the price hikes. All retail food prices were 11.4% higher in August compared to the same time last year. Despite the higher prices, there should be enough turkeys available for the Thanksgiving demand.

“All of us are feeling the pain of higher prices at the grocery store,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “HPAI outbreaks in the spring and an uptick in cases in the fall are taking a toll, but farmers remain dedicated to ensuring America’s food supply remains strong.”

It is important to understand that farmers aren’t profiting from record high retail prices. High supply costs from feed, fuel, fertilizer and labor make raising turkeys even more expensive. USDA’s most recent Farm Sector Income Forecast predicts record high total production costs, increasing by 17.8% from 2021 to $437.4 billion in 2022.

While egg prices have come down from record highs in July, the average price for a dozen grade A eggs is $2.34, 27% higher than the same time in 2021, and 44% above the five-year average of $1.29.

Smithfield to Pay $75 Million to Settle Price Fixing Suit

Smithfield Foods Inc has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit by consumers who accused the meat producer and several competitors of conspiring to inflate prices in the $20 billion-a-year U.S. pork market by limiting supply.

A preliminary settlement in the antitrust case was filed on Tuesday night with the federal court in Minneapolis, and requires approval by U.S. District Judge John Tunheim.

The accord follows the judge's Sept. 14 approval of a similar $20 million settlement between consumers and JBS SA , one of Smithfield's largest rivals.

Smithfield spokesman Jim Monroe said the company denied liability in agreeing to settle, and that the accord reduces the distraction, risk and cost of protracted litigation.

He also said the accord eliminates a "substantial portion" of Smithfield's remaining liability in the nationwide case.

The company is based in Smithfield, Virginia and is a unit of Hong Kong-listed WH Group ltd, which calls itself the world's largest pork company.

Several companies have faced lawsuits in Minneapolis and Chicago also accusing them of inflating beef and chicken prices.

In the pork litigation, Smithfield previously reached settlements of $83 million with so-called "direct" purchasers such as Maplevale Farms and $42 million with commercial purchasers, a group that includes restaurants.

Some of the other defendants are Hormel Foods Corp, Tyson Foods Inc and data provider Agri Stats Inc.

Smithfield agreed to provide cooperation that the plaintiffs' lawyers said will strengthen their cases against the remaining defendants.

The Biden administration has announced plans to bolster competition in the meat sector, amid concern that some meat packers could dictate prices and add to inflationary pressures.

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