Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tuesday November 29 Ag News


For the week ending November 27, 2022, there were 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 48% very short, 41% short, 11% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 54% very short, 34% short, 12% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:
Winter wheat condition rated 16% very poor, 23% poor, 41% fair, 19% good, and 1% excellent.

Livestock Report:
Pasture and range conditions rated 50% very poor, 32% poor, 17% fair, 1% good, and 0% excellent.


Farmers closed the season with 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 27, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Warmer weather allowed tillage and fertilizer applications. There were reports of a few scattered corn fields remaining to be harvested.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 23 percent very short, 33 percent short, 43 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. The 56 percent short to very short topsoil moisture rating is the highest percentage of short to very short to close out the season since 2012 when 72 percent fell into the short to very short categories. Subsoil moisture condition rated 30 percent very short, 35 percent short, 34 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Livestock were doing well with reports of calves being weaned and cattle grazing on corn stalks.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report

Winter wheat conditions improved slightly last week but remained at a two-decade low, USDA NASS reported in its final weekly national Crop Progress report of 2022 released Tuesday. The weekly reports, which run from the beginning of April to the end of November each year, will resume on Monday, April 3, 2023.

-- Crop development: 91% of winter wheat was emerged as of Sunday, Nov. 27, equal to last year and 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 90%.
-- Crop condition: 34% of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, up 2 percentage points from the previous week's 32% but 10 percentage points below last year's rating of 44% good to excellent and the lowest reading in 20 years.

Topsoil moisture: In the lower 48 states, topsoil moisture was rated 50% very short to short and 50% adequate to surplus. That compares to last year's ratings of 34% very short to short and 66% adequate to surplus.
Subsoil moisture: 56% very short to short and 44% adequate to surplus. That compares to last year's ratings of 38% very short to short and 62% adequate to surplus.

Multi-state land management and leasing workshop planned for Midwestern women in ag

The Nebraska Women in Agriculture program, in conjunction with women in agriculture programs at Purdue University and Kansas State University, will host a four-part extension workshop on the basics of land management, leasing and conservation for landlords and tenants.  

“The Power of Negotiation and Communication: Land Leasing Strategies for Midwestern Ag Women” will begin Jan. 18 at numerous sites in Indiana, Kansas and Nebraska. The series will focus on writing agricultural lease agreements, landlord-tenant relationships, negotiations and conservation practices.   

Workshops will be held on Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, and Feb. 8.  

According to Department of Agriculture census data from 2017, there are over 90,000 women producers and over 51,000 female landlords in the three states.  

“Women represent an important and growing demographic in agricultural land management and this workshop series will teach essential management information while providing women the chance to ask questions, connect with each other and share their experiences,” said Jessica Groskopf, director of the Nebraska Women in Agriculture program.  

Each state will host multiple satellite workshop sites with local extension personnel. Keynote speakers will be simulcast to each location and each site will provide additional speakers and hands-on activities. Dinner will be included.  

Groskopf said the program’s structure is intended to strengthen networks of women in rural areas, which can provide opportunities for building trust and sharing information. “Connections are so important to women farmers,” she said. “We have seen the benefits that come from knowing your peers, having a place to share difficulties and mitigate the isolation that so many of us in agriculture often feel.”

These workshops seek to help participants increase their awareness of local land values and cash rental rates and the factors that influence them. They will also cover the importance of having a written lease and the items that should be included in it to ensure an equitable agreement for all parties. Participants will learn negotiation strategies as well as best practices to improve relationships between landlords and tenants.  

Conservation programs will also be covered, so that participants will have a greater understanding of compliance requirements and increase their awareness of voluntary conservation programs that are available to them.  

The workshop costs $50 per person and participants should plan to attend each session. A virtual option is available for those unable to attend a workshop site, for $75 per person. In-person attendance is highly encouraged to better network with other attendees and interact with speakers. A list of locations in Nebraska is available on the Nebraska Women in Agriculture website, Register there by Jan. 13.  In-person sites include:
Concord - Haskell Ag Lab
Lincoln - Lancaster County Extension Office
Omaha - Nebraska Extension in Douglas- Sarpy County

This material is based upon work supported by USDA NIFA under Award Number 2021-70027-34694.


Lincoln Premium Poultry Announces Grower Recognitions

Lincoln Premium Poultry announced this week that three families will be honored in 2022 as top producers in Nebraska/Iowa, and one family will be recognized with an award for environmental stewardship.

“This is the first year we are giving out awards,” said Jessica Kolterman, Director of Administration for Lincoln Premium Poultry. “With the pandemic behind us and with most of our grower partners having several years of experience, we thought this was the opportune time to recognize their work,” said Kolterman.  “We hope to give these awards each year going forward.”   

The families receiving recognition for 2022 are the Oster Family – County Line Growers LLC in Pottawattamie County Iowa for Top Pullet Producer, the Fehlhafer Family – 2JF Poultry LLC in Seward County for Top Breeder Producer, and the Borchers Family – Borchers Farm LLC in Seward County for Top Broiler Producer.  The Environmental Award is given to the Schmid Family – RC Chicken Ranch of Nebraska in Butler County.

“We are proud of the work our grower families have done the past few years,” said Mike Ellington, Complex Manager for Lincoln Premium Poultry. “They have shown great resilience with a steep learning curve, supply chain issues, and weather challenges, all while continuing to produce food to feed American families during an unprecedented time in our world with a global pandemic disrupting the food supply,” said Ellington.

Farm families were selected using varying criteria.  Pullet producers were evaluated on the average uniformity of the birds and their farm audits, breeder producers were evaluated on the number of chicks produced per hen and their farm audits, and broiler producers were evaluated on cost per pound of produced product and their farm audits.  The environmental award was determined using the best average on farm audits over the course of a year.  All farm audits score on measures relating to animal welfare, facility management with an environmental emphasis, biosecurity, and overall best practice use on the farm.  Lincoln Premium Poultry’s grower network has farms in Butler, Cass, Colfax, Cuming, Dixon, Dodge, Lancaster, Madison, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Washington, and York counties in Nebraska and in Crawford, Harrison, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Shelby counties in Iowa.  The approximate 100 farm families involved with Lincoln Premium Poultry primarily began operation over the course of 2018 and 2019, with the last grower being added to the grower network in 2022.  

2022 Census of Agriculture now underway in Nebraska, Iowa

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mailed survey codes to all known agriculture producers in Iowa with an invitation to respond online to the 2022 Census of Agriculture at The ag census is the nation’s only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county, and territory. By completing the survey, producers across the nation can tell their story and help generate impactful opportunities that better serve them and future generations of producers.

The 2022 Census of Agriculture will be mailed in phases, with paper questionnaires following in mid-December. Producers need only respond once, whether securely online or by mail. The online option offers timesaving features ideal for busy producers. All responses are due Feb. 6, 2023. Farm operations of all sizes, urban and rural, which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022, are included in the ag census.

"The 2022 Census of Agriculture is a powerful voice for American agriculture. The information gathered through the ag census influences policy decisions that will have a tremendous impact on ag producers and their communities for years to come," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I strongly encourage all farmers, no matter how large or small their operation, to promptly complete and return their ag census. This is your opportunity to share your voice, uplift the value and showcase the uniqueness of American agriculture."

Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840 and now conducted every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census of Agriculture is a complete picture of American agriculture today. It highlights land use and ownership, producer characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, among other topics.

“Our farmers and ranchers have an incredible impact on our nation and the world. I want to thank them in advance for responding to the ag census,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We recognize how valuable their time is, so we have made responding more convenient and modern than ever before.”

Between ag census years, NASS considers revisions to the questionnaire to document changes and emerging trends in the industry. Changes to the 2022 questionnaire include new questions about the use of precision agriculture, hemp production, hair sheep and updates to internet access questions.

Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105- 113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the ag census in early 2024.

To learn more about the Census of Agriculture, visit On the website, producers and other data users can access frequently asked questions, past ag census data, special study information, and more. For highlights of these and the latest information, follow USDA NASS on twitter @usda_nass.

One Million Servings of Pork Donated to Food Banks

The National Pork Board and several state pork associations partnered with Farmland, a brand of Smithfield Foods, and country music superstar Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour concert series to donate 210,000 #poundsofpork this fall to food banks.  

That’s an estimated total of 1 million servings of pork divided among the following food banks:
    Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana
    Greater Lansing Food Bank (Michigan)
    Second Harvest Ohio
    Second Harvest Heartland (Minnesota)
    Food Bank of Iowa
    Food Bank for the Heartland (Nebraska)

Food and nutrition insecurity is at an all-time high, and pork is a nutrient-dense protein that satisfies many tastes and cultural preferences.  
As the gap continues to widen between the farm and the fork, there is an opportunity to help share the story of people and practices involved in pig farming today.

“I have so much respect for pig farmers,” said Bryan. “I know how hard they work – from sun-up to sundown to raise our food, and it’s exciting to be a part of a project helping show consumers the real care that happens on pig farms around the country.”

Farm Transitions Conference to Be Held in Ames Feb. 9-10

The two-day Farm Transitions Conference will return to the Gateway Hotel in Ames Feb. 9-10, 2023. Whether you want to begin farming, are looking to transition your farm business to the next generation or simply want to know more about farm estate planning, this conference will provide expert answers and insight.

Hosted by the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, participants will hear from more than a dozen professionals including attorneys, farmland owners and managers, financial experts and mediators.

This two-day conference is full of practical resources to help farmers make educated farm transition and succession planning decisions. Students, individuals and families will all learn how to identify next steps in the planning process and how to work more effectively with their professional advisors. The opening day includes an overview of the current farm economy with Chad Hart and Alejandro Plastina, economists with ISU Extension and Outreach, and a presentation by Chris Cornelius, a native Iowan and co-owner of Cornelius Seed.

In her presentation called “Succession Tips from the Field,” Cornelius will share practical experiences and lessons learned from her family’s fifth-generation seed business, which started in 1935. She co-owns and manages Cornelius Seed, alongside her husband, Chuck, and their two sons, Will and James, and daughter-in-law, Janie. She also just completed her term as president of the Independent Professional Seed Association and is an active partner in their farming entity, Cornelius Land & Cattle.

In-person attendees will have networking opportunities, including an optional tour of Jack Trice Stadium (limited to 50). Both in-person and online attendees can interact with speakers and ask questions. All attendees will receive a free Farm Transitions workbook.

In-person registration is $175 per person and webinar-only registration is $150. Participants can register online.

Groups of two or more can use code GROUP50 to receive $50 off each in-person registration (does not apply to student registration).

University or college students can register in-person or online for $100. To apply for student scholarships, contact Tovar Jensen at

The Gateway Hotel & Conference Center is located at 2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames, Iowa. A room rate of $114 has been reserved. Reserve your room online or call 515-292-8600.

Fischer Introduces Year-Round E15 Legislation with Landmark Support

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022. The legislation would allow the year-round, nationwide sale of ethanol blends higher than 10%. Increasing the availability of biofuels like E15 would benefit the economy and the environment. This federal legislation would also end years of regulatory uncertainty and prevent a patchwork of uneven state regulations.

Importantly, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022 has support from an unprecedented mix of stakeholders, including the National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels of America, Growth Energy, and the American Petroleum Institute.

Additional cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

“We’ve long known that unleashing the full power of ethanol saves consumers money at the pump, supports family farmers, and boosts U.S. energy security. Now, however, we’ve been able to bring critical oil/gas, biofuel, ag, and transportation stakeholders to the table around a common-sense solution. With this strong coalition of support, it’s time Congress act to make year-round E15 a reality,” said Senator Fischer.

Other bill endorsements include:
Agriculture: National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, the America Farm Bureau Federation, National Sorghum Producers, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Biofuels: Renewable Fuels of America, Growth Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol
Oil/Natural Gas Sector: American Petroleum Institute
Transportation: SIGMA, National Association of Truck Stop Operators, National Association of Convenience Stores

State Stakeholder Support
“Renewable Fuels Nebraska is thrilled beyond measure to have Senator Fischer introduce this important legislation. With its passage, we will not only eliminate burdensome summer regulations for fuel retailer and distributors; we will create consistency of fuel choice for consumers and reliability of market for Nebraska’s corn farmers, as well as continued access to distillers grains for beef and dairy producers. Nebraska’s ethanol plants are a critical sector of our state’s economy with an annual economic impact of over $4.5 billion,” said Nebraska Renewable Fuels Executive Director Dawn Caldwell.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry is a key component of our state’s agricultural and overall economies. Allowing for the nationwide sale of E-15 year-round is long overdue. The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act forces common sense regulatory changes that will allow American consumers the opportunity to purchase higher blends of ethanol at any time during the year. Sen. Fischer’s steadfast leadership on this issue, one which is so vital to the future growth of the ethanol industry, brought both the ethanol and petroleum industries together in support of this legislation. It is because of her long-time support and determination we are hopeful the Consumer Fuel and Retailer Choice Act finally becomes law,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation President Mark McHargue.

“Nebraska Corn Growers Association thanks Senator Fischer for leading the efforts to allow year-round sales of E15. Allowing year-round access to E-15 reduces the cost for consumers, leads to cleaner air and paves the way for longer term opportunities for the Next Generation Fuels Act,” said Nebraska Corn Growers Association President Andy Jobman.

“Nebraska Farmers Union applauds Senator Fischer’s efforts to resolve a longstanding technical issue of conflict between ethanol supporters and the petroleum industry with the introduction of her amendment to the Clean Air Act. Sen. Fischer’s compromise enjoys support from both the ethanol and petroleum sectors and will produce a national solution that will allow E-15 and higher blend ethanol products to be sold year around. The result of this long overdue compromise will lower fuel prices, carbon dioxide and cancer-causing tailpipe emissions, support family farmers, corn producers, and rural communities while dramatically improving air quality. House and Senate passage of Sen. Fischer’s legislation would be welcome economic shot in the arm for rural America and all fuel users,” said Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen.

NCGA Applauds New Legislation Resolving E15 Uncertainty

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and 13 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act today, which would ensure permanent, full-market access to E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauded the new legislation, which has drawn support from a wide range of agriculture, fuel and retail stakeholders as a new opportunity to address a persistent issue.

“Ethanol saves Americans millions of dollars a year at the pump and is a critical part of our nation’s energy security,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “We thank Sens. Fischer and Klobuchar and their cosponsors for introducing legislation today that will ensure drivers across the country continue to have year-round access to safe, low-cost, low-emission E15 and provides a commonsense resolution to a long-standing outdated barrier to consumer choice.”

Despite EPA approving E15 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles and a 2019 update to regulations, a 2021 court decision would have ended year-round market access to E15 last summer without the Biden administration using emergency authority to keep E15 in the market. The administration’s temporary action increased the fuel supply and reduced fuel prices, but fuel choice is again in question for 2023.

This legislation would provide a permanent remedy to the problem on a national basis, even as several Midwest governors have also initiated a state-by-state solution.

“Following roadblocks and uncertainty on federal actions, governors took matters into their hands this year, and their initiative spurred renewed interest in a nationwide solution,” said Haag. “Corn growers support EPA moving forward to implement the governors’ notices for 2023 until a national solution, like the one senators introduced today, becomes law and resolves this issue once and for all.”

Ensuring continued E15 sales year-round keeps a lower-emission fuel choice in the marketplace that costs less. E15 cuts evaporative, carbon and tailpipe emissions compared to standard 10 percent ethanol blended fuels. Blending more ethanol to make E15 displaces more toxic components in gasoline, reducing exhaust emissions for cleaner air.

Growth Energy: Year-Round E15 Would Save Americans Money, Lower Carbon Emissions

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of a bill to allow the year-round sale of E15 by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and 13 other senators:

“This summer, in the face of record-high gas prices, drivers across the country found savings at the pump of nearly a dollar per gallon thanks to E15 availability. In addition to putting money back in the pockets of American families and enhancing U.S. energy security and independence, E15 offers a lower-carbon fuel choice. In fact, a nationwide move to E15 would reduce carbon emissions by more than 17.62 million tons, the equivalent of taking 3.85 million cars off the road each year. While last summer’s temporary E15 waiver from the Biden Administration helped show the consumer benefits of E15, a permanent fix is vital to delivering and growing lower-cost, lower-carbon options at the pump and providing certainty to the fuel market. We’re grateful to Senators Fischer, Klobuchar, and other biofuel champions across the country for working with all involved stakeholders to finalize a solution for year-round E15 ahead of the 2023 driving season.”  

RFA Welcomes Legislation Providing Year-Round E15 Availability

New bipartisan legislation introduced today by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and 13 other senators will help lower fuel prices for hard-hit American families by making E15 ethanol blends available year-round, the Renewable Fuels Association said.

“For the first time in history, ethanol producers, oil refiners, fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers, and farmers have all come together to support legislation that ensures American families can choose lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 at the pump every single day of the year without interruption,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We thank Sens. Fischer, Klobuchar, and other renewable fuel supporters in the Senate for introducing this legislation, which brings much-needed consistency and stability to the marketplace. It provides a simple, straightforward solution that will finally remove a burdensome and nonsensical barrier to broader deployment of cleaner, more affordable fuels. We are highly encouraged by the broad and diverse support that this effort is receiving, and we urge Congress to move quickly to adopt this commonsense legislation.”

Specifically, the legislation would harmonize fuel volatility regulations for ethanol-blended fuels across the country, allowing for the year-round sale of E15 in conventional gasoline markets. The legislation would supersede an effort by eight Midwest state governors to make regulatory changes that would assure the availability of E15 sales year-round in their states.

Additional bill co-sponsors, listed alphabetically, include Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tina Smith (D-MN), and John Thune (R-SD).

Last week, RFA and the American Petroleum Institute led a broad coalition of energy and agriculture organizations that called on Congress to quickly adopt legislation, like the bill introduced today, that would permanently resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations.

“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,” the letter stated. “Our groups have come together—for the first time ever—to support legislation that would resolve this issue once and for all. … 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.”

In addition to RFA and API, the letter was signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Growth Energy, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, NATSO, representing truck stops and travel plazas, and SIGMA: America's Leading Fuel Marketers.

RFA estimates that nearly 97 percent of registered vehicles on the road today are legally approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use E15, and the vast majority also carry the manufacturer’s endorsement to use E15. Recent analyses by RFA and the U.S. Energy Information Administration confirm that expanded use of E15 provided meaningful consumer savings at the pump last summer, as war in Ukraine pushed crude oil and gasoline prices to historic highs. A new survey released by CSP found that one out of every five fuel retailers plan to add the E15 blend at their locations in the coming year; more than 2,800 fuel stations currently carry the blend.

America’s Leading Ag Organizations Call for McKalip and Taylor Nominations to be Taken Up in Lame Duck

A broad and diverse group of America’s leading food and agriculture organizations today sent a letter to Senate Leaders Schumer and McConnell asking them to secure the Senate confirmation of Doug McKalip to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Alexis Taylor to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at USDA before the end of the year.

“Despite unanimous support by the committees and widespread and bipartisan support the Senate has yet to confirm these highly skilled candidates. Time is of the essence to confirm these nominees.” the letter points out. “American agriculture needs experienced leaders representing us in international negotiations. We urge the U.S. Senate to confirm Doug McKalip and Alexis Taylor by the end of this year and appreciate your assistance with this critical matter.”
The letter also highlights the important role that exports, and U.S. agriculture plays on the entire economy.

“Twenty percent of American farm revenue comes from exports and America’s farmers, ranchers, food processors, and manufacturers rely on complex and highly integrated supply chains that stretch across international borders. The food and agriculture products we export support over 1,000,000 U.S. jobs.”

Dover Fueling Solutions Announces E40 Upgrades to Wayne Ovation Fuel Dispensers

Dover Fueling Solutions becomes the first manufacturer to offer optional UL-certified E40 fuel dispensers as standard

Today, Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS), part of Dover Corporation and a leading global provider of advanced customer-focused technologies, services and solutions in the fuel and convenience retail industry, announced all North American Wayne Ovation Fuel Dispensers will be supplied as compatible and UL-listed to E40/B20 as a standard feature. The announcement extends DFS’ UL compliance from E25 to E40, with the continued option of up to E85 available across all models and configurations, and cements DFS as the first manufacturer of fuel dispensers to offer an E40 UL listing.

“In response to consumer demands for greater fuel efficiency and a desire to lower greenhouse gasses, DFS and Wayne’s Ovation Fuel Dispensers are proud to provide E40 UL listings,” said Scott Negley, Senior Director, Product Management at Dover Fueling Solutions. “This reflects DFS’ commitment to supplying retailers with the most flexible, reliable and future-proofed equipment options. Regardless of the direction policy and next-generation vehicle technologies take, retailers can rest assured that their investments in our fuel dispensers will be viable for years to come.”

DFS works in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to prepare for fueling advancements, enhance dispenser offerings and meet infrastructure needs for future mid-level ethanol blends. Over the past six years, DFS, with the support of NCGA, have produced and sold fuel dispensers certified to deliver fuel with up to 25 percent, and now, 40 percent ethanol.

“DFS continues to innovate by producing and selling dispensers certified to deliver fuel containing up to 40 percent ethanol,” said NCGA Vice President of Market Development Jim Bauman. “This initiative complements our policy priorities like the Next Generation Fuels Act and supports future demand for ethanol and corn farmers.”

“We want to congratulate DFS for being the first manufacturer to offer UL-certified E40 fuel dispensers,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “This is an important step toward offering consumers additional choices at the pump supplied by ethanol, an affordable, domestically-produced source of octane that helps to reduce the environmental footprint of liquid fuels.”

Growth Energy Urges USDA to Prioritize Bioethanol in IRA Implementation

Growth Energy yesterday submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), making recommendations to the agency's Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) on how to make the most of certain provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

"Our industry is poised to work with you and the administration to help achieve the ambitious climate goals sought by the enactment of the IRA," said Growth Energy in its comment. "To that end, we look forward to working with you on the implementation of the new law including section 22003 that provides $500M in funding for biofuels infrastructure."

Specifically, Growth Energy recommended that USDA administer the aforementioned $500 million in a way that maximizes the use of higher ethanol-blended fuels like E15, a blend of gasoline and 15% ethanol that can be used in more than 96% of the vehicles currently on the road today.

Among its recommendations, Growth Energy urged USDA to
    Release the full $500 million in funding as soon as possible;
    Prioritize projects that replace gasoline with higher bioethanol blends;
    Remove the $5 million cap on projects funded under section 22003;
    Streamline its environmental review process; and
    Work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clarify lingering regulatory uncertainties on the year-round sale of E15.

ACE Provides Feedback on Implementation of IRA Biofuel Infrastructure Funds to Improve Higher Blend Availability

In written comments submitted yesterday, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Chief Marketing Officer Ron Lamberty utilized his fuel retailing expertise and input from retailers to share feedback with the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) on implementation of funds for biofuel infrastructure under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Section 22003 of the IRA provides $500 million in grants for infrastructure for blending, storing, supplying, or distributing biofuels and may provide a federal share at up to 75% of the total project cost. This funding builds on previous rounds of funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), which closed its application window for the latest round of funds last week.

Lamberty’s comments centered around 1) how to ensure funds are more accessible to small retail marketers and incentivize conversions beyond those directly funded, and 2) how progress can be measured to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals when expanding infrastructure for renewable, clean biofuels.

Previous HBIIP grants have been awarded mainly to large retailers and Lamberty points out while those chains have added hundreds of E15 locations, they own and operate nearly 10,000 stations, and appear to be converting only locations for which they’ve received grants. Lamberty says small retailers are not following the big chains’ example because they are used to seeing large retailers offering products they don’t offer and often assume competitors have those products because they’re better funded. “To the contrary, when small retailers get funds and build or convert sites to become the first in their market to offer higher blends, the new fuels become part of the station’s identity, and historically, the larger chains add the same fuels to regain market share, using their own money,” Lamberty said.

To incentivize greater E15 and flex fuel availability, Lamberty advises the following:
    Application assistance and grant writing funds be reimbursable for small retailers, or funds be provided to nonprofits and other groups who assist these retailers in the application process.
    A change in “ownership” definitions to apply to the owners of the actual equipment for which the grant was awarded, rather than the property the equipment sits on. This would allow suppliers or others with financial interest in small retail locations and stations in disadvantaged areas to add renewable fuel infrastructure in those locations where it may be difficult to borrow money to upgrade or replace equipment.
    USDA-RD should recognize that conversion of existing assets does have a value and allowing a station owner to claim a depreciated value of existing infrastructure as a reimbursable cost of adding higher blends would allow many retailers to participate in the program without having to buy all new equipment and prematurely retire existing compatible equipment and/or find financing for whatever new conversion expenses they incur.
    Utilize reimbursement percentages to incentivize conversion of a majority of the owner’s locations and/or rewards retailers who already offer higher blends. The reimbursement schedule could provide retailers offering E15 or flex fuels in less than half of their locations a maximum 50% cost share, while those offering higher blends in more than 50%, or whose project(s) puts the share of stations offering higher ethanol blends over 50% of the chain, could receive 75% reimbursement. Lamberty suggests the higher percentage, perhaps coupled with a higher maximum grant amount could motivate larger retailers to offer E15 in stations that have compatible equipment and could offer the higher blend with little conversion expense.

AFBF Urges Congress to Prevent Rail Strike

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on President Biden’s request to Congress to prevent a rail worker strike.

“America’s economy is driven, in large part, on its rail system, which makes the smooth operation of the railroads crucial. Farmers not only rely on trains to transport food and feed, they also rely on rails to bring important supplies like fertilizer to the farm. A shutdown or slowdown would have devastating consequences to our national and global food security.

“We appreciate President Biden for recognizing the damaging impact a strike would have, and we urge Congress to act now, well in advance of the December 9 deadline, to prevent damage to the economy and the food supply chain.”

RFA Thanks President Biden for Urging Resolution to Rail Dispute

The Renewable Fuels Association thanked President Biden for calling on Congress late Monday to pass legislation that would end the ongoing U.S. rail labor dispute. Earlier that day, RFA had joined more than 400 other organizations in a letter to Congress urging swift resolution to the dispute, the latest in a series of actions by the trade association.

“We are pleased to see President Biden calling for a speedy resolution to avert this potential disaster,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Our country’s ethanol producers rely greatly on the railroads to move their products to market, and if the nation’s trains stop running, the nation’s ethanol biorefineries stop running too. We need a resolution quickly so the 400,000-plus jobs supported by our nation’s ethanol industry, and the rural economy itself, will not suffer the dire consequences of an interruption in rail service.”

The majority of the ethanol produced in the United States—more than 70 percent—is transported via railway across the lower 48 states as well as into Canada and Mexico. In fact, over the last five years, U.S. railroads have transported an average of nearly 395,000 carloads of ethanol per year. In addition, roughly 25 percent of grain comes into ethanol plants by train, and an estimated 30 percent of outbound distillers grains, an important livestock feed produced at biorefineries, departs via rail.

U.S. Wheat 2022 Crop Quality Videos Available

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has posted video presentations at a dedicated website,, to support the organization’s report on 2022 U.S. wheat crop quality. The video content includes eight presentations by wheat class and export location, a global wheat supply and demand summary and five special topic presentations.

The annual effort to report on comprehensive milling, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes is an essential part of USW’s trade service to the world’s wheat buyers and wheat food processors. It provides objective information buyers need to get the wheat they need at the best value possible.

In-season, USW and its state wheat commission members share early crop conditions through webinars. Sample testing and analysis is conducted during and after harvest by partner laboratories. The results are shared with customers in several ways including a summary report, by-class reports, in-person Crop Quality Seminars, and video summaries.

USW Crop Quality reporting is funded by the Market Development Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program administered by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

Verdant Robotics Raises $46.5 Million to Reduce Ag Chemicals, Improve Farm Profits

Verdant Robotics announced the close of a $46.5 million Series A funding to scale its advanced robotic technology and accelerate broad adoption of its regenerative and precision ag solutions. Lead investor Cleveland Avenue was joined by DCVC Bio, Future Ventures, SeaX Ventures and all existing investors, including Autotech Ventures, Cavallo Ventures, and AgFunder, making the series one of the largest investments in ag robotics to date.

Verdant’s commercial Robotics-As-A-Service (RaaS) is in high demand, actively servicing a wide variety of specialty crops on thousands of acres with orders pending for tens of thousands of additional acres. This investment enables Verdant to rapidly scale its fleet while developing next generation products that massively increase RaaS efficiency. Verdant’s multi-action, autonomous platform is the only ag robot in the U.S. market that can simultaneously weed, fertilize, and treat plants for pests and diseases – all while collecting data on each plant allowing farmers to make key decisions in real time.

“Increasingly, consumers are demanding food that meets the trifecta of good for me, for my community and for the planet,” said Don Thompson, Founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue, LLC. “Verdant offers next-level precision that growers – and our global food supply – need to meet these demands, not only in the next 20 years but in the next five.”
Robot-As-A-Service expands access, reduces technology burden on growers
From its inception, Verdant’s mission has been to work side-by-side with farmers to solve their biggest future challenge – a shortage of farm labor – all while ensuring its robotic solution enables more growers to access regenerative and precision practices supporting soil health, water conservation, carbon sequestration and nutrient-dense crops. Verdant’s combination of automation, deep-learning, machine vision and sub-millimeter accuracy designed by a world-class team of roboticists has garnered industry-wide attention for its ability to solve multiple problems facing agriculture.

“Verdant’s ultra-precision spraying platform is here today — adding new value while doing more with less. Thanks to the ongoing support from our investors, growers can thrive as we deploy this transformative technology together,” said Gabe Sibley, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Verdant Robotics. “At Verdant, we believe that an outsized opportunity requires an oversized effort that only robotics can deliver for agriculture.”

The global agriculture autonomous robots market is projected to reach $10.5 billion in 2027, growing at a CAGR of 19 percent during the forecast period 2022-2027; driven by the growing need for precision, digital, and smart agriculture practices to meet food and sustainability demands.

“Autonomous vehicles and dancing robots may get headlines, but there really is no more impactful area for robotics, automation, and machine learning to be applied than agriculture. Growing abundant foods in sustainable ways is our generation’s biggest challenge and the founding principle behind Verdant Robotics,” said Sibley.

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