Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Tuesday November 22 Ag News

Grateful Observations
Alfredo DiCostanzo, NE Beef Systems Extension Educator

Our world has gone through extensive transformation since 2019. From a cattle business perspective, great challenges surged in the fall of 2019, along with high beef production.  A few months later, the country (and the world) stopped functioning as we know it in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Packers slowed slaughter pace due to health and sociological impacts of the pandemic, at a time of high beef production.  In the streets of some American cities, social unrest brewed, and the election process changed dramatically.  Meanwhile, politicians debated, and continue to debate, the best path for America as inflation rages and threats of a recession continue.  

Closer to farm or ranch, the old nemeses of beef cattle production rested none. Activists, and others, did not stop reminding us that ruminants, including beef cattle, are to blame for current climate trends. Although at some point 30 to 60 million bison roamed North America while there were no humans on automobiles, trains, or airplanes.  (One is inclined to think that bison and other herbivores roaming North America then must have had similar contributions of methane to those ascribed to the current population of ruminants).  Concurrently, corporate start-ups of plant-based foods purporting to taste like meat products were launched and threatened to take a portion of meat buyers away from the meat case.  If, as a feedyard owner or rancher, you think of your own situation back to anytime in 2021, you might have found yourself feeling disappointed and concerned for the future.

Although some of the larger issues, perhaps ones we cannot change immediately or do something about remain, I will propose that there is much to be thankful for.  At the time this column was written, drought spread to over 50% of the US, the US beef supply in 2022 was projected to reach 27 billion pounds, and corn grain prices were holding at over $7/bu.  Yet, fed cattle price reached past $150/cwt, 5-cwt calves are selling for over $200/cwt, yearlings are selling for $180/cwt, and the Choice-Select spread is close to $30/cwt.  The last time fed cattle prices reached past $150/cwt was in 2014; beef production was 24 million pounds.  In 2014, aggregated beef retail value was $5.97/lb with an inflation rate (year-over-year) of 0.8%.  So far in 2022, aggregated beef retail value is $7.64/lb with an inflation rate of 8.3%.  So, at a time of high inflation, greater beef supply, and higher beef prices, we are selling more beef and of greater quality.  

This is something to be thankful for. Uncertainty remains; it always will. On the consumer side, some might ask:  how long before the nation’s economic conditions lead to true tightening of the belt?  Others might ask: what is tightening of the belt?  Consumer expenditure in entertainment has climbed rapidly since 2020 and steadily since 2000 despite recessions in 2001, 2007 to 2009, and 2020.  To which some of us ask, where does the money come from?  If some of it is government distributions and beef is the object of attention along with Hollywood productions (or wherever entertainment originates), then tax dollars are simply being recycled.  Although appetite for beef may be supported unorthodoxly, it is still something to be grateful for:  the consumer has a choice of what to do with the dollars available to them regardless of how they secured them.  

What will tomorrow bring for beef demand? Who really knows, predictions are based on prior information and experience.  The response by today’s consumer of beef is nothing anyone could have predicted given prior information and experience.  

At the present time, what remains is to be thankful for having come through four tough years and one rough drought, which, locally, nearly caused serious disasters for humans and beasts.  Beef’s appeal to consumers is key to its success in the marketplace.  You, cattle feedyard owners and ranchers, achieved this through production of a high-quality, safe, wholesome, and enjoyable product.

Lastly, I hope your Thanksgiving menu might include a roast, steak, short ribs or even some ground beef product (stuffing).  Mine will.

Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance

Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance will be offering Beef Quality Assurance and Beef Quality Assurance Transportation Certifications. The dates and locations include:
Wednesday, January 4, 2023. 4:00 – 6:00pm, Riverside Headquarters, Beemer

Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) will be presenting the latest on the BQA and BQA Transportation (BQAT) programs and certifying/recertifying producers in BQA and BQAT. The BQA and BQAT programs educates beef producers and transporters on animal health best management practices, proper stockmanship, and proper animal welfare guidelines. “Beef cattle producers, who are committed to producing a quality, wholesome and safe beef and beef products for consumers, are encouraged to attend to stay up to date on BQA practices,” says Jesse Fulton, Director of Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance.

“By becoming or staying BQA and BQAT certified you are an integral part of beef's positive story to consumers. A story that can increase their understanding - and confidence - in how you and your operation are raising and transporting an animal that is fit to enter the beef supply chain,” says Fulton.

Many commercial beef packing facilities require producers who sell fed cattle to them to be BQA certified and those who deliver cattle to their facilities to be BQAT certified. If you have questions on how this may affect you, call Nebraska BQA.

All producers are invited to attend. BQA and BQAT certification is valid for three years. If your last BQA or BQAT training occurred prior to 2021, your certification could soon be or already be expired. Beef producers are encouraged to attend in order to keep their BQA and BQAT certification current. The certification fee is $20/person or a flat fee of $100 for operations who bring 5+ people.

Attendees will need to register online at or by calling the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at 308.632.1230. Those who call in their registration, will need to be prepared to give name, phone number, for all those registering. Additionally, an email address will need to be provided for certificates to be electronically issued.

For all other inquiries, contact Nebraska BQA via email at or by phone at 308.633.0158.

Nebraska Cattlemen Announces Young Cattlemen’s Connections Class of 2023

Nebraska Cattlemen is proud to announce the Young Cattlemen’s Connections (YCC) Class of 2023. The selection committee chose ten emerging leaders for the prestigious two-year program to help these participants develop a solid foundation of industry knowledge and to strengthen the future of Nebraska’s beef industry.

Nebraska Cattlemen President-elect Steve Hanson stated, “There were many outstanding applicants who made our decision process difficult, and we are grateful for their participation. The YCC Class of 2023 is a talented group of individuals. I look forward to watching this group strengthen their industry knowledge and leadership skills as we set up the future of the beef community for success.”

Young Cattlemen’s Connections Class of 2023
Austin Aksamit, Denton
Connor Biehler, Lincoln
Catie Blessin, Kenesaw
Jon Caraway, Lexington
Rachel Eickman, Chester
Devin Jakub, Dwight
Tanner Justesen, Mitchell, South Dakota
Natalie Jones, Stapleton
Christina Lammers, Hartington
Morgan Rhea, Blair

During the two-year program, YCC members are provided with extensive communication training, given the opportunity to tour multiple Nebraska-based agriculture production facilities, and trained on how to navigate state agencies and legislative processes.

This program is made possible by the sponsorship of Farm Credit Services of America and the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.

To learn more about the Young Cattlemen’s Connections Program, please visit

Webinar - 2023 Nebraska Crop Budgets: Estimating Costs, Margins, Yield and Price Breakeven

Dec 1, 2022 12:00 PM
With Glennis McClure, Farm and Ranch Management Analyst, UNL
Presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska

Newly published 2023 Nebraska Crop Budgets will be presented, along with a discussion of their potential uses and how producers and farm managers can create enterprise budgets using the UNL budgets as a guide. We’ll view estimated cash and economic costs, potential margins, along with yield and price breakeven figures and additional enterprise budget uses.

With the 2023 enterprise budgets available to download in the Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC) program, any of the budgets can be modified to fit individual farm or field situations. We’ll highlight the analysis features built into the program, including a risk module where price and yield risk exposure scenarios can be calculated at various levels of crop insurance coverage.

Get more information and register at  

AMVC, Landus Share Progress on Hamlin Feed Mill Project

After announcing collaborative plans in March 2022 to build a new feed mill in Hamlin, Iowa, AMVC and Landus today announced that construction is underway at the Hamlin Feed Mill site.

Last week, the concrete structures, including a day bin, loadout area, and milling towers, were poured using a slipform process. The 145-foot mill took eight consecutive days to construct, rising approximately 20 feet each day, and a crew of 200 people worked 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day. The roof is expected to be poured throughout the winter. Once complete, the project will enter the next construction phase, adding milling and mixing equipment and warehouse space. The project first broke ground in August and is expected to be fully operational in the summer of 2024.

“We are excited to see this project come to fruition as it will add long-term economic and agricultural value to Audubon County and surrounding areas,” said Dr. Steve Schmitz, veterinarian and managing partner of AMVC Management Services. “The Hamlin feed mill allows AMVC and our clients more control over ingredient sourcing, quality assurance, and biosecurity, and creates an additional market for area crop producers.”

The feed mill will produce up to 400,000 tons of swine feed per year, generating demand for roughly 8.5 million bushels of corn and 48,000 tons of soybean meal annually. Once the project is complete, the mill will create 22 additional jobs – eight full-time mill employees and 14 local truck drivers.

“This investment into our nutritional program will provide cost savings and performance benefits for area pigs and enables us to better serve local swine operations.” shared Dr. Trey Kellner, swine nutritionist and managing partner of AMVC Nutritional Services. “AMVC, Landus, and project partners, Empire Ag, KC Engineering, and Agriculture Solutions International, have been drafting and designing the mill for over a year. It is exciting to see those efforts become a reality.”

Through this partnership, AMVC will own and operate the feed mill. Landus will be responsible for originating grain through its network of local farmer-owners.

“Our collaboration with AMVC showcases what’s possible when partners work together with an optimized approach to serving our local communities,” said Matt Carstens, president and chief executive officer, Landus. “The Hamlin facility provides additional grain origination, marketing and storage opportunities for Landus farmer-owners in western Iowa, keeping 8.5 million bushels of grain local. And all this was brought to life through an improved feed model that better serves both partners. AMVC will experience better control of their long-term biosecurity and traceability needs while Landus can focus on sourcing quality grain from our farmer-owners. Landus continues to seek responsible and impactful investment opportunities into insights and infrastructure, giving our farmer-owners access to more value in the supply chains in which they participate.”

Commercial Manure Applicator Training Scheduled for Jan. 5

Commercial manure applicators can attend annual training to meet commercial manure applicator certification requirements on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will conduct Commercial Manure Applicator training from 9 a.m. to noon at 72 locations in Iowa. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

There is no fee for the workshop. Pre-registration is required. No walk-ins allowed. Applicators must register by Dec. 29, 2022, with the ISU Extension and Outreach county office where they plan to attend. A complete list of workshop locations can be found online

Commercial manure applicators needing to recertify and those wanting to certify for the first time should attend. All currently certified commercial manure applicator licenses will expire on March 1, 2023. Those wanting to renew must complete training requirements and submit forms and fees to the Department of Natural Resources prior to March 1, to avoid paying late fees. The law requires all commercial manure applicators to attend three hours of training annually to meet certification requirements. Businesses that primarily truck or haul manure of any type or from any source are also required to meet certification requirements.

Those unable to attend the program on Jan. 5 need to schedule time with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office to watch the training videos. Due to scheduling conflicts, many extension offices will no longer accept walk-in appointments to watch these videos but do offer scheduled dates and times to provide this training.

If you can’t attend training during one of the scheduled reshow dates at your county extension office, you will be charged a $10 fee to view the training at your convenience. If attending the workshops or watching the three-hour video is not convenient, commercial applicators may contact their local Department of Natural Resources field office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam. Another option for commercial manure applicators is to take their training online at DNR MAC eLearning site at The applicator will need to sign in and get an A&A account.

In addition to the commercial manure applicator training offered on Jan. 5, ISU Extension and Outreach will also offer six dry/solid manure workshops for commercial manure applicators in February 2023. Information regarding these workshops and locations is also contained in the link to the brochure listed above. Program requirements are the same as the regular commercial training program, but this training program is geared more toward dry/solid manure issues.

For more information about the commercial manure applicator certification program, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office.

USDA Cold Storage Report - October 2022 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2022 were down 4 percent from the previous month but up 11 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 8 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 5 percent from the previous month but up 16 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 10 percent from last month and up 246 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2022 were down 9 percent from the previous month but up 9 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 18 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 32 percent from last month and down 12 percent from October 31, 2021.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2022 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down slightly from October 31, 2021. Butter stocks were down 10 percent from last month and down 14 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on October 31, 2022 were up 12 percent from last month and up 15 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 5 percent from last month but down 3 percent from a year ago.

NCBA Welcomes Comment Extension for Packers and Stockyards Act Rulemaking

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a 45-day extension of the comment period for the proposed rule titled, “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Under the Packers and Stockyards Act.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) welcomed the extension while urging USDA to proceed in a cautious, deliberative manner.

“While we appreciate the additional time to submit thorough comments, overall USDA should tap the brakes on this rulemaking effort,” said NCBA Senior Director of Government Affairs Tanner Beymer. “This is a significant undertaking rooted in decades of legislative, regulatory, and judicial history. Stakeholders must be afforded the opportunity to holistically evaluate the effects of both this rule and those which the Department has suggested are forthcoming.”

NCBA, along with other national livestock partners, requested an extension of the comment period last month in a letter to USDA. In addition, this coalition secured 100 bipartisan signatures on a congressional letter, led by Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Steve Womack (R-AR), to USDA echoing this request.

The proposed Packers and Stockyards Act rule spans 180 pages, poses 44 specific questions, and covers over 14 years of regulatory history, making the initial 60-day comment period too short for stakeholders to provide meaningful feedback.

Ethanol, Petroleum and Ag Groups Express Support for Year-Round E15 Legislation

In a letter sent yesterday to U.S. Senate and House leadership, a broad coalition of energy and agriculture organizations called on Congress to quickly adopt legislation that would resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations. Specifically, the groups expressed support for legislation that would result in equal regulatory treatment for all gasoline blends containing 10 percent ethanol (E10) or more, including gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15). Such legislation would permanently remove the regulatory barrier that has historically made it extremely difficult for retailers to offer E15 in the summertime.

The letter, sent to Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, was signed by Growth Energy, the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, NATSO, representing truckstops and travel plazas, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and SIGMA: America's Leading Fuel Marketers.

“Due to the current policy, it is extremely difficult for many fuel marketers and retailers that may desire to offer E15 to their customers in the summer months to source that product,” according to the letter. “Our groups have come together—for the first time ever—to support legislation that would resolve this issue once and for all.”

The groups are advocating for a simple legislative fix that would provide equal treatment nationwide to all gasoline blends containing 10 percent ethanol or more, while simultaneously superseding state regulatory action recently sought by a group of governors. “By ensuring uniformity across the nation’s fuel supply chain, federal legislation will provide more flexibility and result in more consistent outcomes than a state-by-state regulatory landscape,” the letter says.
“In the absence of such legislation, we could see gasoline marketplace uncertainty and political disputes over E15 that would continue to resurface every summer. Thus, we urge Congress to act quickly to adopt legislation that will bring certainty and consistency to the fuel market, while also finally resolving long-standing differences among many stakeholders about fuel volatility regulations.”

ACE: Latest Round of USDA Infrastructure Funding Closed, More Becoming Available to Expand Higher Ethanol Blends

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has closed its application period for the latest round of the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), which provides $100 million in grants to pay up to 50 percent of the cost of equipment for station owners to add or upgrade equipment and sell higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85. This round of funding is separate from the $500 million provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Chief Marketing Officer Ron Lamberty assisted fuel retailers throughout this latest application window and is providing feedback on new funds designated for this purpose under the IRA. Lamberty issued the following statement following the closure of the application period:

“ACE is happy to have assisted marketers who applied for grants for nearly a hundred new retail locations as well as some blending facilities, and we appreciate USDA HBIIP Program Manager Jeff Carpenter’s efforts to make the program more accessible to retailers, by reaching out to ACE and others early in the process and allowing us to provide our observations and input we received from our industry partners in previous rounds of the program.

“Over the summer and fall, ACE promoted USDA’s biofuel infrastructure program through our website, advertising in c-store industry publications, and by connecting with retailers in person at trade shows and a workshop we hosted featuring Carpenter and some top fuel marketers. We also made it easier for retailers to find information online with a new portal on to sign up for updates, and submit questions and concerns surrounding the program, and we updated the short, fuel marketer-focused videos featuring Jeff (Carpenter) and breaking down the daunting HBIIP application process in to smaller pieces we hope are easier to follow and complete.

“This program helps make lower carbon ethanol blends available in more locations to help meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, and ACE looks forward to providing input next week on how to improve future rounds of funding, including making funds more accessible to small marketers. As this HBIIP deadline approached, we heard from prospective high-blend retailers waiting to apply for upcoming IRA funds, citing 75 percent cost share versus HBIIP’s 50 percent. Marketers know 75 percent is only an option, but 50 percent max is a certainty this round. If HBIIP applications end up being down, it's an indication of increased interest in the next round, not decreased interest in this one.”

ACE continues to provide the Flex Check E15 equipment compatibility tool as a resource station owners can use to determine whether their existing fuel infrastructure can already store and sell E15 (and possibly higher blends) without needing new equipment or federal grants. This year the tool was accessed by thousands of retailers who entered information about their pumps, tanks, dispensers and other equipment, to find out if they could sell E15 using existing infrastructure. Many came directly from a link on EPA’s Emerging Fuels and Underground Storage Tanks page, which lists Flex Check as a “resource for determining equipment compatibility and meeting federal requirements for storing biofuels.”

NSP Applauds RMA Expansion of Coverage for Grain Sorghum

National Sorghum Producers commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) for creating enhanced coverage for irrigated grain sorghum producers. The new coverage will be effective November 30, 2022, for the upcoming 2023 crop year.

“This expanded coverage for irrigated sorghum producers is the culmination of a decade of work between NSP, Congress and RMA, and we thank the agency for continuing to work with our industry to improve coverage options for sorghum producers,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “Improved rates and yields for sorghum producers will offer a greater level of aid and new opportunity for the 2023 growing season.”

RMA said in its announcement it has developed a modification to the Area Risk Protection Insurance (ARPI) program to improve crop insurance options for irrigated grain sorghum producers in select counties in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. This modification was pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill, a policy component NSP advocated to include, that required RMA to research and develop potential improvements to insurance for grain sorghum.

RMA said it will now allow irrigated grain sorghum producers to index grain sorghum indemnities to corn, which will be used as a “proxy” crop, and producer data shows when there is a loss for irrigated corn, there is a high correlation to a loss for irrigated grain sorghum.

“The existing rates for irrigated corn will be used for irrigated grain sorghum and 80 percent of the irrigated corn yield will be used to determine the guarantee,” RMA said. “There is no change to the grain sorghum price. This modification will be available for Area Yield and Revenue Protection, as well as Area Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion. If there is not an irrigated corn ARPI offer in a county, there will not be an irrigated grain sorghum offer.”

Genetics Drive Conversation for Profitability of Commercial Cattlemen

Cost of gain increases, black-hided cattle market saturation and tight supplies due to weather are all challenging the commercial cattlemen today. How do they stay profitable amidst the market? During the 2022 Angus Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah November 5, the AngusLinkSM team hosted the Capturing Value session. The session aimed to help commercial producers learn how to capture more value for their calves so they can continue to face challenges but remain profitable.

Troy Marshall, director of commercial industry relations for the American Angus Association®, moderated a panel including Terrill Ostrum, livestock broker; Jordan Willis, cow-calf producer; Joe Goggins, Angus breeder and auctioneer; and Jed Connealy, Angus breeder and cattle marketer. Each panelist actively engages with cow-calf producers, but also have a hand in other sectors of the industry.

Regardless of their positions, panelists talked optimistically about the future, especially when discussing ways to earn a premium or a few more dollars for their calves. There are plenty of programs and opportunities, said Ostrum.

Connealy agreed. "I think there is a pile of opportunity and the gap between good cattle and bad cattle gets wider all the time," he said.

For those focused on raising good cattle, panelists shared ways those producers could earn more money and stay profitable. For many of them, genetics were key. Goggins said the number one thing to consider is buying good bulls with genetic value.

"Those invested in the feeding industry, we know the people who buy good bulls. We know the people who have watched their Ps and Qs as far as not only carcass but performance and fertility and everything," said Goggins.

Connealy takes those superior genetics and quantifies them through AngusLink’s Genetic Merit Scorecard. Understanding exactly what kind of bulls those producers bought and how those cattle are geared, it’s easy to make a connection and know where cattle would fit best, said Connealy.

"We work pretty closely with customers, so I don’t know who else would be better versed to do that [match cattle to buyers] rather than the genetic guy in the equation," said Connealy.

Willis said commercial producers have opportunities to capture more value if they start thinking about marketing. He stressed that marketing is what sets themselves apart on sale day.

"I think as cow-calf producers, we must put our marketing caps on," said Willis. "We work our tails off every day doing the daily jobs, but when it comes to marketing, I think we fall short."

Cow-calf producers also need to find the right seedstock producer and build a relationship with them. Seedstock providers needs to know what works and what we need in our operation said Willis. Connealy adds that producers should get behind a program that already aligns with their goals to help build consistency in their operation. Ostrum said he purchases program cattle because of their consistency.

"The most predictable cattle I buy on an annual basis are cattle who have tied to a program year after year after year and are taking some advice and some counsel from the seedstock producer," said Ostrum.

Flipping the script, seedstock producers can communicate with their customers to build relationships and help them be successful. One step can be helping their customers interpret the important data needed for bull buyers to make better decisions based on their environment and situation, said Ostrum. For Goggins, he said people buy people they like, know and trust.

"We all work in the agricultural business, but we are also in the people business," said Goggins.

Through genetics and marketing programs, the panel shared several tactics and thought processes commercial cattlemen can use to grow their operation. At the end of the day, getting better might just mean doing something new.

"Let’s get out of that paradigm and dare to do something no matter what part of the world you’re in," said Ostrum. "Look at those different opportunities and dare to do something different."

No comments:

Post a Comment