Friday, October 28, 2022

Thursday October 27 Ag News

 Crop Input Costs, Drought, Top Concerns for Nebraska Farmers, Ranchers

The drought, crop inputs, and other farm costs expected in 2023 are top of mind concerns for farmers and ranchers across Nebraska according to a non-scientific poll conducted by Nebraska Farm Bureau. According to the survey, producers' top concerns over the next year continue to be input prices (35%), followed by drought (32%), supply chain disruptions (20%), and crop and livestock prices (11%).

“It is abundantly clear rising input costs, and the drought are among the top stories for Nebraska agriculture this year. Rising costs clearly impact the current and future financial health of agriculture and it will eventually trickle down and impact Nebraska’s economy. Agriculture remains critically important to the economic prosperity of Nebraska. When agriculture does well Nebraska does well,” said Mark McHargue, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

According to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Senior Economist Jay Rempe, input costs for farmers and ranchers have risen significantly since January 2021.

“Diesel and fertilizer prices are well above levels seen over the past decade. The fertilizer price index earlier this year was 94% higher than the January 2021 index, nearly doubling. The diesel index was up 118%. The chemical price index has risen 55% over an 18-month period. Hay prices (a proxy for feed costs) have also seen increases, with the index increasing 28% compared to January 2021. History shows hay prices are greatly influenced by drought,” said Rempe.

The extraordinary cost increases to absorb in a short period of time has created tremendous management challenges for farmers and ranchers.

“These increases are occurring because of the strong demand, higher energy cost and the supply disruptions due to COVID, the war between Russia and the Ukraine, trade policy, and drought. These challenges are especially difficult to manage for young people who are just getting started in agriculture,” McHargue said.

Rempe also analyzed how the drought would impact crop producers, but to do that it's important to imagine what production would have been in the absence of drought. For crop producers overall, production will be down with the impacts becoming better understood as harvest continues.

“Making some assumptions regarding yields and prices in a world without drought, the value of this year’s corn crop could be $1.1 billion less compared to what might have been. And the value of the soybean crop could be $674 million less. Adding an estimated figure for the forgone value of wheat production—wheat production this year was 31 percent less than what might have been expected—the total loss in value to Nebraska’s corn, soybean, and wheat producers could reach nearly $2 billion. But it’s likely to be worse because these estimates do not account for other crops like sorghum, sugar beets, sunflowers, and dry beans,” Rempe said.

Those who raise cattle and other livestock have also felt the impacts of drought. Much of Nebraska’s pasture and rangeland is rated in poor or very poor condition. Alfalfa production is projected to be down 22 percent this year compared to last year. Other hay production is expected to be off 18 percent compared to 2021. Less forage production means higher forage prices. Additionally, the cost of other feedstocks like corn and distillers grains have risen too. These impacts—less forage production, stressed pastures, and higher feed costs—stem largely from the drought.

“Nebraska cow/calf producers are making decisions whether to keep the herd intact and pay higher feed costs or liquidate cows to reduce costs. Nebraska’s beef cow herd was already shrinking prior to the onset of the drought. Several factors point to the decline continuing in 2022. First, the average weekly beef cow slaughter for region 7 (Nebraska; Iowa; Missouri; Kansas) through early October was 34 percent higher compared to the same period last year. Second, weekly heifer slaughter numbers through mid-September were running 5 percent ahead of last year,” Rempe said.

The Livestock Market Information Center (LMIC) reports heifers are entering feedlots at a higher rate this year. So, selling cows and marketing calves earlier can mean increased revenues this year, but the sales that shrink herd size will impact the operations in the years to come.

“Fewer cows mean fewer calves. Fewer calves mean fewer cattle to sell next year and fewer available for feeding and ultimately for processing into meat. Thus, the impacts of this year’s drought on cow/calf producers and other cattle sectors could linger for years,” Rempe stresses.

International association honors Hejny’s service in heading LEAD Program

Terry Hejny, director of Nebraska LEAD Program, has been saluted for outstanding service by the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership (IAPAL). The association has selected him as its 2022 Outstanding International Leadership Program Director.

Hejny has headed the LEAD Program, Nebraska's only comprehensive state-wide agricultural leadership development program, since 2007. LEAD participants, who are currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness, are selected each year for a two-year fellowship in which they develop their leadership skills and deepen their understanding of Nebraska institutions and public issues.  

Bobby Soileau, director of the Agricultural Leadership Development Program at Louisiana State University, presented the award to Hejny during IAPAL’s 2022 annual conference hosted by the Rural Ontario Institute and held Oct. 18-22 in Ottawa, Canada.

“When I’m asked by our alumni in Louisiana about other agricultural leadership programs,” Soileau said, “I always discuss the Nebraska LEAD Program. They are one of the few gold standard programs. Dr. Terry Hejny is one of my most trusted colleagues. His ability to educate and lead the Nebraska program is truly impressive.”

IAPAL is a consortium of agricultural and rural leadership development programs in almost 40 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. The association’s membership also includes several other countries including Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

Hejny grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Seward County. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and began his career as an agricultural education instructor, FFA advisor and Young Farmers advisor for the Geneva Public Schools in Filmore County. During his 18 years with the school system, he was a head or assistant coach in football, track and field and volleyball.

He received a master’s degree in curriculum from Doane University and in 1998 became an Extension educator for UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Much of his programming involved marketing, risk management and cropping systems education for producers.  

After becoming director of the Nebraska LEAD Program in 2007, he received a doctorate in Human Sciences with a specialization in leadership studies. He was a participant in Class 20 of the LEAD Program, which is part of IANR. The current class is 41.  

Applications are now being accepted for the next LEAD class at

The program is governed by the nonprofit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with IANR and 13 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.

“You admire the trail blazed by others and wrap your arms around their tradition,” Soileau said of Hejny during the IAPAL award presentation. “At the same time, you set the direction for the future. There is no doubt in my mind that the Nebraska program is in great hands with Dr. Terry Hejny.”

IANR celebrates third consecutive year of record-breaking research funding in 2022

Researchers in UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources received nearly $71 million in externally sponsored research funding during the 2022 fiscal year – the highest annual total in the institute’s history.

The total 2022 awards exceeded the previous record of $63.9 million in 2021 by nearly 11%, and extends average annual increases of 6 percent since 2013. In all, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers within IANR received 511 sponsored awards during the 2022 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, including 14 awards of $1 million or more. This is the highest number of awards of $1 million or greater in a single year over the past decade.

“IANR has seen huge strides in its research funding over the past decade, which is a testament to the amazing work of our faculty, post-docs, students and staff across the institute,” said Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harland Vice Chancellor for IANR. “We’ve hired many extraordinarily talented, hardworking, creative and collaborative scientists in the past decade, and the sharp rise in research funding is a direct reflection of their dedication and talent, and the talent of all of our faculty.”

Nearly 81% of 2022 external awards were sponsored by federal agencies, with around 8% coming from industry partners. The USDA was the top single funding agency, contributing about 45% of federal awards. Other top funding agencies were the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.

Researchers in all disciplines of study across the institute received funding for a wide variety of projects to advance agriculture and natural resources resilience across Nebraska and around the world. Highlights of awards received in 2022 include:
    $1.19 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to explore the role of a nanoparticle found in chives that could help suppress inflammation that contributes to many obesity-related diseases.
    $1.9 million from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to better understand how genetic properties of sorghum can protect against sugarcane aphid.
    $1 million from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to advance knowledge and utilization of cover crops for conservation measures in Nebraska.
    $1 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for mosquito control research that could reduce instances of malaria worldwide.
     $998,000 from the U.S. Air Force Weather to support the National Drought Mitigation Center’s work to develop a Global Composite Drought Indicator, which could help identify areas across the world at risk for severe drought and corresponding civil unrest.
    $770,000 from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agricultural to work toward the development of an effective vaccine for African swine fever.
    $743,000 from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to enhance underrepresented minority participation in the agricultural STEM workforce through training on an innovation platform that connects crop trait inception to product marketplace delivery.

Archie Clutter, dean and director of IANR’s Agricultural Research Division, said the upward trend in sponsored awards is helping IANR fulfill its land-grant mission.

“Our faculty, post-docs, students and staff are incredibly passionate about advancing Nebraska agriculture and supporting our state’s natural resources,” Clutter said. “That was central to our mission when IANR was founded 50 years and ago and remains true today. The integrated research programs of our faculty teams are helping to ensure resilient cropping and livestock systems and advances in workforce development and human health, not just in Nebraska, but across the United States and around the world.”

Deere, ISU Announce New Demonstration Farm Partnership

Deere & Company announced a strategic partnership with Iowa State University to establish a demonstration site consisting of four different fields and processes that will enable Deere to test sustainable solutions for large grain production systems in real-world scenarios.

"Farmers are working in constantly changing environments where every decision will impact their end result, which means they can't afford to adopt experimental practices that aren't proven to deliver the yield they anticipate," said Jill Sanchez, Director of Sustainability at John Deere.

"This demonstration farm, in partnership with ISU, allows us to experience the same uncertainties and challenges as our customers, so that we can test and identify which methods are successful, and deliver proven, innovative, and sustainable solutions to farmers."

The 80-acre demonstration farm will allow Deere and ISU to test sustainable farming practices in real world scenarios and experience successes and failures through trial and error. Over a five-year production cycle, four different crop production systems will be implemented. The data and insights collected will measure crop productivity, economic cost of production, soil health, water quality, carbon intensity, and biodiversity.

"ISU has a longstanding relationship with John Deere, which has allowed us to translate agronomic sciences to practice through field demonstrations to unlock opportunities for farmers," added Matt Darr, Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at ISU. "This new research allows us to test new sustainability solutions, so that farmers can adopt practices they have confidence in."

The demonstration farm will not only enable Deere and ISU to prove the success of sustainable practices at scale, but it will also provide significant opportunities for educating employees and students, dealer and customer outreach, and equipment demonstrations.

This partnership builds on Deere's Leap Ambitions, which are focused goals designed to boost both economic value and sustainability for customers, ensuring that every hour, every drop, every seed, every pound, and every pass counts to optimize their operations.

NPPC Taps Kelly Cushman for New Role as Vice President of Domestic Policy

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has appointed Kelly Cushman as its new vice president of domestic policy. In this newly created position, Cushman will oversee U.S. government engagement, advocacy and lobbying efforts on behalf of the U.S. pork industry.
“Kelly comes to NPPC with a proven track record as an effective leader and political strategist, developing and executing government affairs outreach programs,” said Bryan Humphreys, chief executive officer, NPPC. “We are pleased to have her step into this new role at a consequential time when policies such as the Farm Bill, visa reform and funding for foreign animal disease are on the table.”
Cushman is a seasoned public affairs and communications professional with over 25 years of experience. She has a blended background of political, government agency and corporate experience and has served as a trusted thought partner and strategic advisor to elected officials, major corporations and trade associations across the globe.
“I am excited to support America’s pig farmers who prioritize the health and well-being of their animals to provide consumers with high-quality and affordable pork products,” Cushman said. “I look forward to expanding and integrating NPPC’s government affairs engagement in Washington and across the country.”
Cushman has a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University and a Master of Science in environmental science and policy from Johns Hopkins University.

AGCO’s Fendt Donates to the National FFA Organization Thanks to Collaboration with Luke Bryan

AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO), a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology, today donated $25,000 to the National FFA Organization, the premier youth organization that prepares members for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture, at the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo. The donation is tied to Fendt and Luke Bryan’s collaboration to harvest and sell limited-edition popcorn.

Fendt & Luke Bryan’s Boldly Grown Popcorn, packaged in Bold Butter and Chart Toppin’ Churro flavors, was made available for purchase in August. As a strong supporter of FFA’s educational mission, AGCO announced its intent to donate to the National FFA Organization once the limited supply of Boldly Grown Popcorn sold out.

“As a farmer-first company, we are delighted by the enthusiastic reception generated by our collaboration with Luke and we’re still amazed that the popcorn sold out in minutes,” said Conor Bergin, senior brand manager for Fendt. “Boldly Grown Popcorn proved to be a fun opportunity for AGCO, Luke, and his fans to help FFA prepare tomorrow’s farming leaders.”

AGCO representatives attended the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis to make the $25,000 donation in person and celebrate the next generation of leaders.

“We appreciate AGCO’s continued support of FFA and our mission to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population,” said Christopher Bell, FFA's regional director for corporate contributions. “This latest donation will help our organization continue to develop our young members’ potential through hands-on experiences to achieve real-world success.”

USDA Announces Early Release of Select Commodity Tables for Agricultural Projections to 2032

On November 7, 2022, at 3 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release selected tables from the upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2032 report prepared in support of the President’s annual budget process as defined in the Budget Control Act. These tables will include 10-year projections for major U.S. crops and livestock products and will be followed in February 2023 by USDA’s Agricultural Projections to 2032 report that will include a full discussion of the commodity supply and use projections, and projections for farm income and global commodity trade.

These projections, commonly referred to as the “USDA Baseline,” assume that current laws affecting federal spending and revenues remain in place throughout the projection period, and do not attempt to predict global policy or political outcomes, abnormal weather events, or other external shocks that could affect market outcomes. Instead, they reflect USDA’s assessment of how markets would evolve under current conditions, existing laws, and normal weather patterns. Rather than serving as a prediction of the future, they are intended to serve as a neutral benchmark for measuring the effects of proposed legislation or external developments that could have enduring effects on agricultural markets.

These projections use the October 12, 2022, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report as the starting point, and macroeconomic forecasts developed in August 2022.

The data will be simultaneously posted in MS Excel tables to the Office of the Chief Economist’s (OCE) website at and will be uploaded to the Economic Research Service’s (ERS) Baseline database at USDA ERS - Agricultural Baseline Database.

USDA Opens Registration for the 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that registration is now open for the 99th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), USDA’s largest and premier annual event. The two-day event will be held in-person at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott on February 23-24, 2023, and all sessions will be livestreamed on a virtual platform.

The 2023 Forum will feature a keynote address by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a presentation on the 2023 agricultural economy by USDA’s Chief Economist Seth Meyer, a plenary panel of distinguished guest speakers, and 30 breakout sessions organized by agencies across USDA and covering a range of timely issues impacting the agriculture and food sector.

More than one hundred government, industry, and academic leaders will share insights on a wide array of topics including commodity and food price outlooks, U.S. and global agricultural trade developments, supply chain disruptions, and innovations to mitigate impacts of climate change.

Participants can attend the Agricultural Outlook Forum in person or virtually. Registration is required for both virtual and in-person attendance. There is no cost to attending the Forum virtually.

To view the 2023 Forum program and register, visit the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum website.

About USDA’s Outlook Forum

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum began in 1923 to distribute and interpret information developed through economic forecasting to farmers so they had the tools to read market signals and avoid producing beyond demand. Since then, the event has evolved into a unique platform where key stakeholders from the agricultural sector in the United States and around the world come together every year to discuss current and emerging topics and trends in the sector. More than 4,500 people attended the 2022 virtual Forum.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum, which is organized by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist together with other USDA agencies, is independent of commercial interests and aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports more, better, and fairer markets for producers and consumers alike.

Warden® CX II Soybean Seed Treatment Receives EPA Approval

Warden® CX II soybean seed treatment from WinField United is now registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Warden CX II provides broad-spectrum protection against early-season diseases and insects to help improve root health, plant vigor and optimize yield potential.

“Warden CX II is built from the same formulation growers and retailers have come to know and trust through years of proven performance,” said Joe Rickard, crop protection product manager, WinField United, “This innovation builds on our existing offering to provide a superior solution for soybean disease and insect protection.”

Warden CX II has proven success in varying planting conditions, providing growers with more flexibility and less risk when it comes to early planting or planting in less than ideal conditions.  Through extensive Answer Plot® testing and field trials, the improvements we’ve made have translated into a 2.2 bu/ac yield advantage compared to Warden CX.

“The technology in the product combined with our retail network’s agronomic expertise pack a powerful one-two punch when it comes to getting soybeans off to a strong start as part of a total acre solution for ensuring varieties reach their genetic potential,” said Rickard.

With four fungicide active ingredients (AI) and an insecticide, Warden CX II protects against a wide spectrum of early-season diseases, including Pythium and Phytophthora, as well as Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, seed-borne diseases and early-season insects. Such diseases cause reduced plant stands, root rot, stunting and limited yield potential.

Warden CX II features a new fungicide AI, picarbutrazox, an important resistance management tool. This AI is critical for controlling Pythium, which has become one of the most common early-season soybean diseases with resistance becoming more prevalent in major soybean-growing areas of the USA. As U.S. soybean growers continue to plant earlier with reduced seeding rates, early-season Pythium protection is more important now than ever before.

Warden CX II is a premix formulation with a low use rate, allowing for flexibility to add in additional treatments. It contains additional polymer and enhanced colorant for improved seed flow and handlings.

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