Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Monday November 14 Ag News


For the week ending November 13, 2022, there were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 48% very short, 38% short, 14% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 50% very short, 40% short, 10% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 95%, ahead of 89% last year and 86% for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 19% very poor, 19% poor, 40% fair, 20% good, and 2% excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 93%, near 90% last year, and ahead of 87% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 45% very poor, 32% poor, 18% fair, 4% good, and 1% excellent.

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition

Harvest was mostly complete with 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 13, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork included wrapping up fall tillage, applying fertilizer, baling stalks, and hauling and spreading manure.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 18 percent very short, 35 percent short, 45 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 25 percent very short, 38 percent short, 36 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Harvest of the corn for grain crop reached 95 percent complete, eight days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of the average. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 16 percent. Farmers in Northeast and South Central Iowa still have over 10 percent of their corn for grain crop remaining to be harvested.

Livestock were mostly doing well, although the abrupt change to colder temperatures caused some stress.

USDA Crop Progress Report: 7% of Corn, 4% of Soybeans Left to Harvest

The U.S. corn and soybean harvests inched ahead to within single digits of completion by the end of last week, USDA NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

-- Harvest progress: 93% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, Nov. 14, up 6 percentage points from 87% the previous week. This year's harvest progress is now 3 percentage points ahead of last year's 90% and 8 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 85%.

-- Harvest progress: 96% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, up 2 percentage points from 94% the previous week. That is now 5 percentage points ahead of both last year's 91% and the five-year average of 91%.

-- Planting progress: 96% of winter wheat was planted as of Sunday, 2 percentage points ahead of last year's 94% and 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 93%.
-- Crop development: 81% of winter wheat was emerged as of Sunday, equal to the five-year average.
-- Crop condition: 32% of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, up another 2 percentage points from 30% the previous week but 14 percentage points below last year's rating of 46% good to excellent.

Weborg Feedlot of Pender, Nebraska announced as the 2023 Event Location for the Cattlemen’s Ball

The Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska, a charity whose mission is to raise money for cancer research through an annual fundraiser, announced that the 2023 event will take place near Pender, Neb, on June 2 and 3. This year’s event will be hosted by the Weborg family.

The Cattlemen’s Ball is held in a different location each year, giving Nebraska communities the opportunity to showcase their unique area of the state while raising money for research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha. The event also promotes beef, one of the state’s largest industries, as part of a healthy diet.

The 2023 site will be near the Weborg Feedlot, just a few miles south of Pender. The host families include Kent and Colleen Weborg and their sons, Tyler; and wife, Rebecca and Tony; and wife, Meghan; Craig and Darlene Weborg, and their sons, Adam; and wife, CharLee; Alex; and wife, Jessica; Austin; and wife, Makenna, and Brian and Renee Weborg along with their children; Emily; and husband, Kelly; Evan; and wife, Jessica; and Easton, and wife, Tori. Approximately 450-500 volunteers from the local area are needed to help support the event.

2023 marks 25 years
Since the inaugural event in 1998, the Cattlemen’s Ball has raised more than $17 million to fund cancer research. Ninety percent of the proceeds go to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, while 10% is returned to the local communities for health and wellness initiatives.

2023 marks the 25th year for the event. “Every person has been directly or indirectly impacted by cancer and we are proud that this event provides an opportunity to help fund cancer research while simultaneously showcasing an industry that is particularly important, not only to our family, but to the state of Nebraska,” said Kent Weborg. “We are honored and proud to host this event near our family’s feedlot that started in 1944, especially with the commemoration of 25 years of this impactful event.”

No ball gowns required
While the term “ball” typically refers to a formal event with dancing, the Cattlemen’s Ball is not that. Activities for the upcoming event include a 5K fun run in West Point, golf tournament in Beemer, cancer survivor style show, beef experience tent, art show and wine tasting, general store, Buffett Cancer Center Health & Wellness tent, silent and live auctions, prime rib dinner, concerts, live music, and more.

“We’re excited about the local support that is already rallying around this event. We look forward to putting our local spin on the activities of the Ball to make for a unique event that pulls in people from across the state,” said Craig Weborg.

While the event is open to all, there is a level of exclusivity. Ticket sales will be capped at 1,500 for a two-day pass and 3,000 for a Saturday-only pass.

“With the 25th anniversary, we expect this to be a sell-out event,” said Brian Weborg. “Those who are interested in attending or volunteering at the 2023 Cattlemen’s Ball event, we encourage you to stay tuned as planning progresses. We look forward to seeing you in Pender in June!”

To learn more about the Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska and stay up-to-date on event announcements, visit cattlemensball.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Open for Voting

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began mailing ballots last week for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county and urban county committee elections to all eligible agricultural producers and private landowners across the country. Elections are occurring in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for these committee members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Producers and landowners must return ballots to their local FSA county office or have their ballots be postmarked by Dec. 5, 2022, in order for those ballots to be counted.   

“County committees provide an opportunity for producers to play a meaningful role in delivering farm programs, but in order for county committees to be effective, they must truly represent all who are producing,” said John Berge, state executive director for FSA in Nebraska. “Voting in these elections is your opportunity to help ensure our county committees in Nebraska reflect the diversity of our agriculture. Your voice and vote matter, so don’t miss your chance to cast your ballot.” 

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Additionally, producers who are not of legal voting age but supervise and conduct farming operations for an entire farm are eligible to vote in these elections.  

Each committee has from three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms, and at least one seat representing an LAA is up for election each year. Ballots must in the mail or delivered in person by close of business Dec. 5, 2022, to be counted. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2023.   

Producers can find out if their LAA is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local FSA county office.


As the 2022 growing season comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine year-end off-farm grain and oilseed stocks.

“These surveys are the largest and most important year-end surveys conducted by NASS,” explained NASS’s Northern Plains Director Nicholas Streff. “They are the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States as well as grain and oilseed supplies. Data from the survey will benefit farmers and processors by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial year-end business decisions and begin planning for the next growing and marketing season.”

“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county-level yields which have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency may use the data in administering producer programs and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Streff. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2021, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to an insufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Streff continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on January 12. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov. For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at (800) 582-6443.

Webinar: Culling Cows for Profit

With: Jay Parsons, Professor and Farm and Ranch Management Specialist, UNL; and Matt Stockton, Professor and Agricultural Economics, UNL.
Nov 17, 2022 12:00 PM
Presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska

Ranches and farms typically make 10 to 30% of their revenue from the sales of cull animals. Culling cows is more than hauling them to the nearest auction to get rid of them. There are many different strategies for increasing profitability of this important part of the cow-calf enterprise. Jay and Matt will discuss some of those options and why you might consider using them

Details and registration can be found here:  cap.unl.edu/webinars.


– Samantha Daniel, NE Extension Educator

With elevated fertilizer prices, determining the current fertility of pastures and hay fields through soil sampling is more important than ever. Sampling now, before the ground freezes can help with planning this winter and give time to develop a fertility plan if soil tests show fertilizer is needed.
The process for taking soil samples is straightforward. Pull 10-20 cores at a consistent depth of 8 inches for every 40 acres sampled.  These samples can be taken in a representative area of the field or arranged by soil type and topography.  Mix the samples together and take about a pint’s worth out to send off for analysis.
Soil cores and recommendations are often based on cores taken down to 8 inches. However, if previous samples have been taken at a different depth, such as 6 inches, continue with the consistent historical depth and adjust accordingly by communicating your actual sampling depth with your soils lab to assure accurate fertilizer recommendations. Due to mineralization, soils have more nutrients readily available nearer the soil surface; so deeper sampling depths can dilute the samples and increase nutrient supplement recommendations.
Keep in mind that soil sampling may not reduce the overall cost of fertilizer needed but will help ensure appropriate application rates, which can result in a better yield. Additionally, moisture is the most limiting factor in pasture production, not fertility.  You can apply all the fertilizer in the world but doing so in a drought won’t help plants grow.  Fertilizer applications on dry land areas, especially for nitrogen, should be based on expected moisture.

USDA Denies an Appeal filed by Bruce Camenzind for Violating the Packers and Stockyards Act

On Oct. 5, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Judicial Officer, John Walk (JO), issued a decision and order denying Bruce Camenzind’s, Blair, Neb (Camenzind) appeal to a Decision and Order issued by the Chief Administrative Law Judge, Channing Smothers (CALJ).

The order affirmed the CALJ June 2, 2022, Decision and Order. Camenzind, doing business as Clarence E. Camenzind Funnel Trust, BK Farms, and Dixon Ranch, his agents and employees, directly or indirectly or through corporate or other device,   shall cease and desist from operating as a livestock dealer without possessing adequate bond coverage, without paying timely for every livestock purchase, and from issuing checks without sufficient funds to cover those checks. Camenzind was assessed a civil penalty of $24,450, and his livestock dealer registration was suspended for 90 days.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed that from June through October 2019, Camenzind operated as a livestock dealer, purchasing 178 head of livestock valued at $133,947 and selling 218 head of livestock valued at $125,313 without maintaining bond coverage. In addition, the investigation revealed that in four of these transactions, Camenzind issued checks for $36,751 that were returned unpaid or denied by the bank because Camenzind failed to maintain sufficient funds to cover the checks.

The P&S Act is a fair trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat, and poultry industries.

Center’s farm bill recommendations seek to protect, ease enrollment for USDA programs

After months of gathering feedback from farm and rural leaders across the Midwest, the Center for Rural Affairs has released its 2023 farm bill platform.

The platform outlines opportunities for improvement within working lands conservation, access to USDA programs, crop insurance, rural entrepreneurship, and small meat processing.

“These recommendations will protect and improve the Conservation Stewardship and Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance programs,” said Kayla Bergman, policy manager for the Center. “They will also improve access to USDA programs for underserved producers, better serve organic producers or those using cover crops looking to purchase crop insurance, and secure long-term support for small meat processors.”  

The farm bill priorities continue the Center’s decades-long work of addressing the real needs of rural America, Bergman said.

“We want to make sure farmers, ranchers, and rural communities have access to farm bill programs and understand how they work,” she said "This platform was developed after dozens of one-on-one conversations with agricultural producers, several round table discussions, a paper survey sent to nearly 5,000 individuals, and numerous conversations with organizations and individuals participating in U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.”

The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, 2023.

To read and download the Center's “A Farm Bill for Rural America: 2023 Farm Bill Platform,” visit cfra.org/publications.

Iowa Corn Supports Låkril Technologies with $500,000 Investment in Corn to Chemicals

The Iowa Corn Growers Association led a pre-seed financing round to support Låkril Technologies with a $500,000 venture capital investment to replace petroleum adhesives and super absorbents with home-grown, corn-based alternatives. The Kentucky Corn Growers Association joined with an additional $100,000 investment.

Låkril’s underlying, proprietary technology was developed at the University of Minnesota and allows for breakthrough acrylic acid yields of greater than 90% from plant-based lactic acid. Låkril has broken through the yield barrier on its way to delivering a plant-based alternative for existing products, at cost parity with petroleum key ingredients. Acrylic acid, which has a global production of over 15 billion lbs. per year from petroleum equivalent to about 800 million bushels of corn, is used in a diverse array of consumer products like diapers, paints and adhesives.

“Iowa Corn is dedicated to finding new uses and markets for corn to meet our mission for long-term Iowa corn farmer profitability,” says Denny Friest, Farmer and President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. “Corn farmers effectively produce corn in a sustainable way, and plant-based products, like acrylic acid, provide consumers with the green materials they are looking for while creating demand for home-grown products from rural America.”

The Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Kentucky Corn Growers Association were joined by grants from the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Corn Marketing Council of Michigan, and the National Corn Growers Association. This investor coalition represents corn farmers in the fight to replace petroleum-based materials and products with bio-based products in our everyday lives.

“This technology will provide a significant increase in demand for corn which is why we are proud to be a part of the project,” said Ray Allan Mackey, Kentucky Corn. “We work hard to continuously create new markets and technology like this can only push us forward in developing advanced uses of corn.”

“The Indiana Corn Marketing Council’s Board of Directors has designated development of new uses for corn as a strategic focus area. With that focus, the board is fostering development of new technologies that utilize corn as a feedstock for renewable chemicals due to the growing concerns around petroleum-based products,” said Corey Crafton, Value Creation Research Manager. “Låkril’s technology has the potential to allow sustainable production of acrylics, which is of great interest to the State of Indiana due to its in-state corn processing and paint plants.”

“The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan supports research that will develop and enhance market opportunities for Michigan corn farmers. Låkril Technologies’ process to develop sustainably produced bio-acrylics from corn-derived lactic acid and ethanol has the potential to create an exciting new market for corn that will increase demand and add value to our crop.”

In addition to previously announced non-dilutive grant funding from USDA, DOE, and CRI, Låkril’s total funding now exceeds $1,400,000. Earlier this summer, Låkril announced Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awards from both the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the Department of Energy (DOE-EERE-AMO) as well as admission to the Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Program at Argonne National Laboratory as part of Cohort 6. Låkril’s President Dr. Chris Nicholas was also recognized with the 2022 Award for Excellence in Applied Catalysis from the Southwest Catalysis Society.

“These projects allow us to develop key portions of our technology platform,” noted Låkril Technologies President Chris Nicholas. “We’re pleased with the progress scaling our breakthrough lactic-to-acrylic technology this summer, and appreciate the support from the corn growers, USDA, and DOE which have brought us to over $1,400,000 in pre-seed funding.”

Managing Drought Is the Topic of Upcoming Pasture, Hay and Forage Meetings

Continuing drought conditions across northwest Iowa have cattle producers wondering how to prepare for 2023. Pastures were overgrazed and the U.S. Drought Monitor has most of northwest Iowa rated as “severe” or “extreme drought.”   

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran is planning a series of three meetings to help producers manage previous drought conditions and prepare for more drought.

"Our speakers will cover USDA financial assistance programs, a new insurance program, hay stand assessment and repair, and considerations for different forages," she said. "All meetings are offered at no charge, but please preregister with the ISU Extension and Outreach office in the hosting county."
    Dec. 6, 10 a.m.–noon, ISU Extension and Outreach Pocahontas County, 305 N. Main, Pocahontas. Register by calling 712-335-3103.
    Dec. 12, 1-3 p.m., St. John’s United Methodist Church, 212 S. 7th St., Mapleton. Register by calling 712-423-2175.
    Dec. 19, 1-3 p.m., Le Mars Convention Center – lower level, 251 12 St. SE, Le Mars. Register by calling 712-546-7835.

A representative from Farm Credit Services of America will discuss pasture, range and forage insurance. This relatively new insurance program covers perennial forages and grazing land used to feed livestock that is based on a grid system and rainfall index.   

Farm Service Agency representatives will provide an explanation of three USDA financial assistance programs: Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, and Livestock Indemnity Program.

Gentry Sorenson and Leah Ten Napel, field agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach, will share how to assess pasture/hay stands and how they should be prepared for next year. In some cases, frost seeding may be adequate. More extreme losses may require interseeding or starting over with a new seeding.

Doran will present considerations for alternative and short-term forages. She will discuss annual cool-season and warm-season forages that may be used to reduce the grazing pressure on perennial pastures.

For more information, contact Doran at 712-737-4230 or doranb@iastate.edu

Crop Advantage Series Will Help Producers Make Smart Decisions for 2023

The 2023 Crop Advantage meetings will give producers a solid foundation of current research-based crop production information to help make smart, informed decisions for their farming operation.

The meetings are an opportunity for farmers and crop advisers to hear current research and crop production information from Iowa State University. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists will travel to 14 locations around Iowa from Jan. 3-26, providing updated management options and recommendations on crop production issues facing Iowa growers.

Meetings include continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisers and pesticide applicator recertification. All sites offer private pesticide applicator continuing instruction which is included in the registration fee.

“There is no other program in our crop production education year where we are able to bring this many Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists together to sites across the state. We’re excited to provide the quality, in-person education farmers have come to expect,” said Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Over 1,500 individuals attended one of 14 Crop Advantage meetings across the state in 2022, representing all 99 Iowa counties and surrounding states. Approximately 85% of attendees said information from Crop Advantage would likely save them between $5 and $20 per acre.

“Our goal is always to prepare producers to manage potential issues when they arise, or even before they arise, by sharing the most up-to-date scientific knowledge from Iowa State University researchers,” said Anderson. “Each location’s program is unique as content is driven by local needs and production issues.”

2023 Meeting Dates and Locations:
Jan. 3 – Sheldon
Jan. 4 – Storm Lake
Jan. 5 – Burlington
Jan. 10 – Okoboji
Jan. 11 – Webster City
Jan. 12 – Cedar Falls
Jan. 13 – Mason City
Jan. 17 – Ankeny
Jan. 18 – Chariton
Jan. 19 – Atlantic

Jan. 20 – Davenport
Jan. 24 – Le Mars

Jan. 25 – Coralville
Jan. 26 – Denison

Program topics vary by location and are selected for regional issues. Topics on this year’s agenda include tar spot in corn, crop market outlook for 2023, changes to P and K guidelines, soybean gall midge, climate outlook, risks and rewards of ag carbon credits, weed management issues and many more. For locations, times and program details visit www.aep.iastate.edu/cas.

Early registration for each location is $75; late registration made less than seven days prior to the meeting, or on-site, is $100. Registration includes lunch, private pesticide applicator recertification, and CCA credits. Online registration and additional information are available at www.aep.iastate.edu/cas. For more information, contact ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429, or anr@iastate.edu, or contact your regional ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist.

More than 300 Agriculture, Environment, Academic, & Other Industry Groups Call for Congress to Reaffirm Federal Pesticide Preemption

In a letter to congressional leadership, more than 300 agriculture, environment, academic, infrastructure, and other stakeholder groups are calling on Congress to reaffirm federal pesticide preemption on labeling and packaging. Failing to do so, the groups warn, could hold disastrous consequences for our food security, the environment, public health, vital infrastructure, and other uses where pesticides provide important societal benefits.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act is clear that states “shall not impose or continue in effect any requirements for labeling or packaging in addition to or different from those required” by the federal government. However, in recent years, states have sought to impose health claim label requirements that directly contradict federal findings. This not only risks eroding public trust in science and evidence-based regulation, but also opens the door for a patchwork of conflicting state and municipal labels that could disrupt commerce and limit access to vital tools.

The letter, which drew 332 signers, calls on Congress to reaffirm that states may not impose additional labeling or packaging requirements that conflict with federal findings.

Brad Doyle, soy farmer from Arkansas and president of the American Soybean Association, said, “Farmers and other pesticide users need predictable access to these tools to protect their crops and maintain important conservation practices. Contradictory state labels that would create an unworkable patchwork risk disrupting access to pesticides, which would harm our food supply and the ability to protect our environment.”

“Science-based crop protection tools are critical to the success of America’s farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “State labels that conflict with EPA’s scientific guidance threaten public confidence in EPA’s authority and science-based regulation and contributes to the misunderstanding of the critical role pesticides play in sustainably feeding a growing world.”

“Between drought, war and supply chain issues, farmers’ viability to feed the world is now more critical than ever,” said Nicole Berg, Washington state wheat farmer and president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “Farmers rely on crop protection tools to grow healthy, sustainable and affordable food. Too much is on the line to allow the emergence of an unscientific patchwork of state pesticide labels that would threaten grower access to these tools.”

Many signers of the letter sent a separate letter to President Biden in May urging him to withdraw a brief submitted by the Solicitor General to the Supreme Court that erroneously suggested that state health claim labels are not preempted by federal regulatory findings. While today’s letter is not specific as to when or how Congress should act, the groups are clear that action is needed to prevent this dangerous, misguided legal interpretation from undermining important societal needs.

NCGA Announces National Search for New CEO

The National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors has hired Hedlin Ag Enterprises of Ankeny, Iowa to assist with the search for a new CEO. The initial part of the search involves identifying and vetting potential candidates for the position which will occur through the end of this year and into the beginning of 2023. Candidate interviews for the CEO position will be held in February with the intention of introducing the new CEO during Commodity Classic in March.

“We have been very thoughtful and put a lot of time and effort into this process,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “We started with a task force who developed the qualities and characteristics we want in our next CEO and now a search committee will work with Hedlin Ag Enterprises on finding the next leader of our organization to help us meet the many challenges we face.”

The board will entertain both internal and external candidates. Anyone interested in applying for the CEO position with NCGA can email their resume (cover letter optional) to Kevin Drury with Hedlin Ag Enterprises. You can reach Kevin at  kdrury@hedlinag.com or by calling 515-964-7997.

“I want to publicly thank our current CEO, Jon Doggett, for his time with the organization,” Haag said. “Jon has worked for NCGA for more than 20 years as our Vice President of Public Policy, Executive Vice President and since 2018, as CEO. He has more than 30 years of agricultural policy experience. Jon made his intentions known to the board earlier this year and his last day with the organization will be December 31, 2022.”

The NCGA management team will oversee the association between the end of 2022 and the arrival of our next CEO.

Lower Retail Beef Prices

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The October Consumer Price Index (CPI) was released last week to a lot of headlines given the importance of the latest inflation numbers. Retail beef prices are included in the CPI and beef is one of the items that has been below a year ago and falling further. Two average retail beef prices are reported: Choice beef and the All Fresh beef.  The Choice beef price is an average beef price of USDA Choice quality grade. The All Fresh includes fresh beef of any USDA grade. They both represent a number of different cuts.

The Choice beef retail price was reported to be $7.42 per pound in October. That was 6.1 percent below the record high of $7.90 per pound in October 2021. The Choice beef price was below a year ago for the third consecutive month. The All Fresh average retail price was $7.25 per pound, about 4 percent below a year ago. Prices are typically compared to a year ago because many items exhibit a seasonal trend and beef is no exception. Summer grilling tends to boost ground beef and some steaks. Fall and colder weather tends to boost roasts. And the rib primal gets a boost at the holidays. Over the last 5 years, on average, Choice and All Fresh beef prices tend to peak seasonally during May and June. This year, both exhibited fairly flat month-to-month prices with a slow decline in price with no pronounced seasonal peak. The Choice retail beef price declined $0.18 per pound from September.

Across a variety of cuts that make up the retail average price, only ground beef prices were reported higher than a year ago. Extra lean beef was 4.9 percent higher than a year ago. Of the ground beef categories reported, only extra lean ground beef was reported higher than the previous month, by less than 1 percent. But, it was a record high at $6.68 per pound. Chuck roasts and sirloin steaks led the way with price declines of 9 and 10 percent compared to a year ago, respectively.

It should not be a surprise that beef prices have been declining and fallen below year ago levels. Wholesale Choice beef prices, as reported by the boxed beef cutout, have been lower than a year ago for most of the year. In late Summer, the Choice cutout was as much as 25 percent lower than last year. Those lower wholesale prices have been slowly translated to lower retail prices. On the live cattle side, weekly average fed cattle prices have been above a year ago every week this year. The 5 market average fed steer price hit $152 for the week of November 7th, up 18 percent from the same week last year.  

Beef Quality Assurance Doesn't End at the Farm Gate

Cow-calf producers, stockers and feedyards implement Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) practices on their operations to produce the highest quality cattle and provide consumers with the best possible eating experience. However, BQA doesn’t end at the farm gate, and those transporting cattle are encouraged to become BQA Transportation (BQAT) certified.

“Hauling can be one of the most stressful times in the life of cattle,” said Colby Carpenter with W&J Carpenter Trucking Inc., a 2022 BQA Award winner. “BQAT provides anyone transporting cattle with the information and resources they need to make sure animals are handled properly, resulting in less stress and a higher quality product for consumers.”

BQAT is a comprehensive management program that incorporates responsible practices in all phases of transporting cattle. In-person training and free online courses are designed for both ranchers hauling cattle in gooseneck trailers and professional drivers who are transporting animals in semi-trailers. These courses teach proper methods for hauling cattle including biosecurity, fitness for transport, pre-trip planning and loading, and emergency management.

BQAT is science-based, and producer-driven and online modules have been updated. A working group of industry leaders from all sectors of the cattle industry came together to revise BQAT material and provide updates needed to fit industry needs for hauling cattle.

“As the industry changes and evolves, educational materials are revised,” said Trey Patterson, Wyoming rancher and chair of the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group. “We work with producers and those hauling cattle to create a program that meets the needs of the animals and the industry.”

The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, funded by the Beef Checkoff, provides information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers about how common-sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

BQA and BQAT certifications are available through in-person trainings and online courses. To learn more about BQA and to become certified, visit www.bqa.org.  

CHS Names Megan Rock Chief Sustainability Officer

CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, today announced the appointment of Megan Rock as vice president, sustainability and innovation and chief sustainability officer (CSO). She is responsible for developing and executing sustainability and innovation strategies across the $48 billion enterprise.

Before CHS, Rock served as VP of corporate responsibility, sustainability and sustainable solutions at Bunge, Inc. She also held sustainability and environmental management positions in the government and banking sectors.

"I'm thrilled to join CHS and guide the formalization of our sustainability and innovation business function. As the company's first CSO, I am proud to bring my experiences to the organization and my deep expertise to the job," said Rock.

In the newly created position, Rock will oversee the integration of sustainability-related topics, including reporting, and Cooperative Ventures, a capital fund focused on creating advancements in breakthrough technologies for the agriculture industry.

"Megan will help CHS develop the internal governance and processes needed to execute long-term financial success related to environmental and social factors, along with our strategic investments in innovation through our Cooperative Ventures fund," said David Black, senior vice president, enterprise transformation and chief information officer.

Rock holds a Bachelor of Science degree in soil, environmental and atmospheric science from the University of Missouri and a graduate certificate in advanced studies in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver.

Rock has served on the board of directors for Field to Market and Ag Future of America. In 2015, she received the Changemaker of Tomorrow award from Keep Akron (Ohio) Beautiful and is a member of the St. Louis Business Journal's 40 under 40 class of 2020.

Vilsack Highlights USDA’s Climate Initiatives and Investments at COP27

At the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) this week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighted the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s initiatives and investments in climate-smart agriculture and forestry, noting that global food security depends upon the ability of farmers and producers worldwide to increase their productivity while strengthening their climate resilience and minimizing their climate impacts.

“As we face down the dual crises of climate change and food insecurity, USDA recognizes that changes to our agriculture and food systems can only happen at the needed scale and speed if farmers are at the center of our solutions,” Vilsack said. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the United States is making unprecedented investments in innovative approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation. USDA is proud to play a pivotal role through our new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, once-in-a-generation investments through the Inflation Reduction Act, and other initiatives that position American agriculture as a leader in delivering climate solutions through voluntary, incentive-based, market-driven and collaborative approaches. It was an honor to highlight at COP27 the Administration’s leadership role, and that of American agriculture, in tackling the climate crisis.”

Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities
Vilsack used the international platform of COP27 to showcase the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, through which USDA is investing in new revenue streams for America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. These projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

At numerous COP27 events, Vilsack highlighted USDA’s initial $2.8 billion investment in 70 pilot projects from the first funding pool that will deliver significant benefits for producers and communities in all 50 U.S. states. The projects will result in the application of climate-smart production practices on more than 25 million acres of working land, with expanded market opportunities and revenue streams for producers of all sizes and types. All of these projects require meaningful involvement by underserved producers.

Today, Vilsack announced that USDA will direct an additional $300 million to the second pool of pilot projects by the end of the year, bringing USDA’s total expected investment to $3.1 billion. More than 65 additional projects will focus on enrolling small and underserved producers, as well as on methods to be developed at minority-serving institutions for monitoring, reporting and verifying the benefits of climate-smart agricultural practices.

“Small and underserved producers are at the frontlines of the worst impacts of climate change around the world. At the same time, there is enormous and growing market demand for agricultural goods that are produced in a sustainable, climate-smart way. Our goal is to expand markets for climate-smart commodities and make sure that small and underserved producers reap the benefits of these market opportunities,” Vilsack said.

International Climate Hub
“As USDA and our partners worldwide invest in new programs and innovations around climate, we recognize that sharing information – on successes, challenges and approaches – can have broad global benefits. A sustained commitment to learning and action among the international community will be critical to accelerating the uptake of proven climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices,” Vilsack said.

As part of USDA’s commitment, Vilsack announced that USDA will establish an International Climate Hub, modeled after USDA’s domestic Climate Hubs, which serve as the premier model for developing and delivering science-based, region-specific information and technologies to U.S. agricultural managers to enable climate-informed decision-making. The International Climate Hub will provide information and resources tailored to specific regions and needs, including a focus on the countries and producers most vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. The Hub will leverage results and innovations generated via USDA’s domestic and international programs and initiatives, including the Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities pilot projects.

Global Fertilizer Challenge
Earlier this year, President Biden invited world leaders to join the United States in the Global Fertilizer Challenge, with a goal of raising $100 million in support by COP27. Today, Vilsack joined Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in announcing the United States’ $25 million commitment to the challenge, which includes:
    $20 million for the Fertilize Right initiative, through which USDA will work with governments and local organizations worldwide to advance fertilizer efficiency and nutrient management, starting with Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan and Vietnam.
    $5 million for the Efficient Fertilizer Consortium, to be established by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and implemented in partnership with AIM for Climate, to advance applied research on efficient fertilizer products and practices in collaboration with the private sector.

“Simply put, farmers need nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to grow crops. But lack of access to fertilizer hampers productivity in many low-income countries, while in most major economies more than 50 percent of fertilizer fails to reach the intended crop. The adoption of innovative and efficient fertilizer and cropping practices will alleviate pressure on supplies, lower nitrous oxide emissions and reduce food insecurity globally,” Vilsack said.

Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate
In a series of events focused on the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, which was launched by the United States and the United Arab Emirates last year at COP26, Vilsack highlighted the initiative’s progress and achievements to date. He also announced that the United States will host the AIM for Climate Summit in Washington May 8-10, 2023, bringing together public- and private-sector partners from around the world to collaborate and further elevate their groundbreaking work on climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation.

Vilsack also announced two new USDA contributions to AIM for Climate:
    $5 million for the Enteric Fermentation Research and Development Accelerator, an AIM for Climate innovation sprint led by the Global Methane Hub, to accelerate cost-effective solutions to reduce enteric methane emissions; and
    $5 million for the Efficient Fertilizer Consortium as a component of U.S. support for the Global Fertilizer Challenge.

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero
Recognizing the vital role of sustainably managed livestock and dairy systems in combatting climate change and ensuring food security, Vilsack highlighted USDA’s domestic and international efforts to advance climate-smart dairy production, including:
    Awarding more than $400 million for nine dairy-focused projects under the first round of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, which will help create additional revenue streams for U.S. dairy producers by developing markets for climate-smart dairy commodities and will help the U.S. dairy sector more effectively monitor, verify and report greenhouse gas reduction benefits.
    Collaborating with the State Department, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Dairy Platform and the International Food Policy Research Institute to help mobilize $1 billion from the Green Climate Fund to accelerate sustainable dairy sector transformation in East Africa, Asia and the Americas as part of Pathways to Dairy Net Zero.

NFU President Rob Larew Participates in COP27 Panel

This week, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew participated in the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27) summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. In addition to serving as an official observer of the proceedings as a representative of the World Farmers Organization, Larew also joined the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Agriculture panel – hosted by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. President Larew highlighted NFU’s support for the USDA climate-smart agriculture pilots that were recently announced.

“It’s my honor to bring the voice of American family famers to the global stage as world leaders convene to discuss how we navigate the climate crisis,” said NFU President Rob Larew.  “Family farmers and ranchers have led the way in sustainable and innovative practices. The USDA climate-smart pilots will accelerate this good work by further leveraging the resources of private and public partners to even greater gains, while keeping farmers and ranchers at the heart of the efforts. Secretary Vilsack and the Biden Administration show the international community that agriculture can be part of the solution to the climate crisis while creating resilience for farmers. Voluntary, incentive-based measures that are science-based provide benefits to all.”

FFAR Announces Efficient Fertilizer Consortium

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) announced the Efficient Fertilizer Consortium today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The Efficient Fertilizer Consortium is a public-private partnership conducting research to advance efficient, environmentally beneficial and cost-effective fertilizers and management practices. The Consortium is part of the Global Fertilizer Challenge, an international effort to strengthen food security and reduce agricultural emissions, launched by President Biden earlier this year at the Major Economies Forum.
The effects of COVID-19 and international conflict are driving fertilizer prices to record high levels, increasing farmer costs. These factors, combined with climate change, are causing major disruptions for global food systems, threatening global food security. At the same time, significant quantities of applied nitrogen fertilizers never reach the intended crop, reducing yields and creating environmental concerns. Advancing fertilizer use efficiency and alternatives can reduce the impact of fertilizer shortages on food security, while also reducing nitrous oxide pollution.
Numerous innovative fertilizer products are currently available; however, there is little independent information validating the efficacy of these products and how they compare to other products. Without information about practices and products that work in specific farm systems and climates, farmers cannot make informed decisions about their nutrient needs.
The Efficient Fertilizer Consortium will address these challenges by funding applied research that accelerates development and wider adoption of novel fertilizers that increase nutrient-use efficiency and reduce direct emissions of nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases from fertilizers. The Consortium is a vehicle for collaboration and exposure to new ideas that also leverages resources, de-risks research and development and accelerates solutions for end users.
“FFAR is excited about this research, which can ultimately help farmers to use fertilizer more efficiently, build soil fertility, decrease input costs, reduce nitrous oxide emissions and improve global food security,” said Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director at FFAR. “This Consortium provides a coordinated research structure that leverages collaboration and innovation to address problems facing producers globally.”
FFAR is leveraging $4.45 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and actively seeking matching funders, to amplify investment in pre-competitive research that accelerates novel solutions to common challenges facing the fertilizer industry.

SCN Management Key to Breaking Yield Plateaus on Ory Farm

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a stealthy thief, robbing yields from seemingly healthy fields. “Our yields seemed to stagnate in that 55 to 60 bushel an acre range. Explosive yields for some fields showed we had good genetics, but we didn’t have the consistency across our acres to pull up the average,” says Dan Ory, a fifth-generation farmer in southwest Iowa. “We knew we had issues with sudden death syndrome (SDS). We dug deeper and realized we had problems with SCN.”

SCN is widely distributed across the Midwest. But due to the lack of visible symptoms and because the pathogen had for decades been suppressed by the PI 88788 source of SCN resistance, farmers like Ory weren’t actively managing it.

To build awareness about SCN’s $1.5 billion annual toll and how farmers can protect soybean yields, The SCN Coalition and BASF Agricultural Solutions partnered on a video series featuring Ory, Iowa State University Nematologist Greg Tylka and BASF Senior Field Technical Representative for Seed Treatment for the Western Corn Belt Troy Bauer.

This isn’t the Orys’ first battle with SCN
“We’ve had SCN problems with beans in the past,” Ory says, referencing a soybean field that his dad and uncle farmed for 40 years. “Even though it had one of their best CSRs [corn suitability ratings], they could not obtain the soybean yields they had on other farms. They found one of the first genetic lines that had the PI 88788 source of SCN resistance. They pushed the yield envelope by implementing that new technology.”

But after decades of use, SCN has developed resistance to PI 88788, which is used in more than 95% of SCN-resistant varieties in Iowa. Consequently, farmers like Ory are now battling the same pathogen their parents did.  

Ory suspected some of his fields had issues with SCN, but the degree of pressure revealed by soil tests was eye-opening. “We had counts as high as 9,000, and we had counts as low as 1,000,” Ory says, noting the highest SCN population densities came in a field along a heavily trafficked gravel road with high soil pH.

Fighting SCN and pushing boundaries to ensure the longevity of the Ory farm
The Ory family manages SCN by soil sampling in the fall, keeping fields in a rotation between corn and soybeans, planting SCN-resistant varieties (including varieties with the Peking SCN resistance trait, when possible) and using a nematode-protectant seed treatment. “ILEVO® is our preferred seed treatment,” Ory says. His trials indicate the seed treatment has pushed yields and diminished SDS.

“Our goal moving forward is to continue to push boundaries and stay on the cutting edge with genetics, treatments and technology to make sure we’re relevant and sustainable 10, 20 and 30 years down the road,” Ory says. “I believe a true sustainable farm shows profit,” Ory continues. “You continue to improve soil health, air quality, water quality and the area around you by implementing new technologies, by finding new ways to do things that don’t hurt the bottom line.”

Ory, who farms with his wife and brother, concludes, “If one of our three children or my brother’s children would like to farm, we want to have the opportunity to present it to them.”

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