Friday, March 24, 2023

Thursday March 23 Ag News

 Preliminary Agenda Announced for the 2023 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

Ethanol Producer Magazine announced this week the preliminary agenda for the 2023 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW) taking place June 12-14, 2023 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

This year’s agenda includes three co-located events: Biodiesel Summit: Sustainable Aviation Fuel & Renewable Biodiesel,  Carbon Capture & Storage Summit, and the annual Ethanol 101.

“In addition to ethanol production, management, and product diversification for ethanol producers, this year’s agenda is covering multiple topics about carbon capture and storage, biodiesel and renewable diesel production, as well as sustainable aviation fuel production,” says John Nelson, vice president of operations, sales and marketing at BBI International. “And as we have in the past, the agenda will allow those new to the industry to learn some of the basics in Ethanol 101, taking place Monday, June 12th.”

The program includes nearly 150 presentations across multiple consecutive tracks and co-located events, including:
    Track 1: Production and Operations – Biological Processes
    Track 2: Production and Operations – Mechanical Processes and Plant Control
    Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification
    Track 4: Leadership and Financial Management
    Carbon Capture & Storage Summit
    Biodiesel Summit: Sustainable Aviation Fuel and Renewable Diesel

"We were excited by the number of abstracts submitted this year," says Tim Portz, program director at BBI International. "The FEW agenda, along with the co-located events is robust, expansive and allows attendees to learn from some of the industry's top thought leaders."

The conference begins Monday, June 12 at 8:30 am (CDT) and will be open to all registered attendees.

To view the online agenda for the FEW and all other co-located events, click here https://few.bbiconferences.com/ema/DisplayPage.aspx?pageId=Agenda___Fuel_Ethanol_Workshop.



Commercial Red Meat Production Down 4 Percent from Last Year


Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.26 billion pounds in February, down 4 percent from the 4.43 billion pounds produced in February 2022.

Beef production, at 2.09 billion pounds, was 7 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.55 million head, down 5 percent from February 2022. The average live weight was down 21 pounds from the previous year, at 1,374 pounds.

Veal production totaled 3.8 million pounds, 10 percent below February a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 25,700 head, down 16 percent from February 2022. The average live weight was up 12 pounds from last year, at 255 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.16 billion pounds, down 1 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.97 million head, up slightly from February 2022. The average live weight was down 2 pounds from the previous year, at 291 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 10.1 million pounds, was up 9 percent from February 2022. Sheep slaughter totaled 154,800 head, 8 percent above last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, up 1 pound from February a year ago.

By State                   (million lbs  -  % Feb '22)

Nebraska ........:               596.7             93       
Iowa ...............:               698.4             98       
Kansas ............:               440.8             94       

January to February 2023 commercial red meat production was 9.03 billion pounds, up slightly from 2022. Accumulated beef production was down 2 percent from last year, veal was down 7 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 6 percent.



USDA Cold Storage February 2023 Highlights


Total red meat supplies in freezers on February 28, 2023 were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 2 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were  down 6 percent from the previous month and down 6 percent from last year.  Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from the previous month and up 9 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 1 percent from last month and up 42 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on February 28, 2023 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 10 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down slightly from the previous month but up 10 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 11 percent from last month and up 10 percent from February 28, 2022.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on February 28, 2023 were down slightly from the previous month and down 1 percent from February 28, 2022. Butter stocks were up 12 percent from last month and up 12 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on February 28, 2023 were down 9 percent from last month but up 17 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 6 percent from last month but up 3 percent from a year ago.



NEBRASKA CHICKENS AND EGGS
 

Nebraska egg production during February totaled 143 million eggs, down from 193 million in 2022. February egg production per 100 layers was 2,183 eggs, compared to 2,262 eggs in 2022. All layers in Nebraska during February 2023 totaled 6.56 million, down from 8.52 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Iowa egg production during February 2023 was 988 million eggs, down 6 percent from last month and down 9 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during February 2023 was 43.3 million, up 2 percent from last month but down 8 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for February were 2,283, down 9 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last February.

US - February Egg Production Down 5 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.23 billion during February 2023, down 5 percent from last year. Production included 7.03 billion table eggs, and 1.19 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.10 billion were broiler-type and 94.0 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during February 2023 totaled 379 million, down 3 percent from last year. February egg production per 100 layers was 2,171 eggs, down 2 percent from February 2022.
                                    
Total layers in the United States on March 1, 2023 totaled 382 million, down 3 percent from last year. The 382 million layers consisted of 313 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 64.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 4.01 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on March 1, 2023, averaged 77.4 eggs per 100 layers, down 2 percent from March 1, 2022.



Livestock Groups Support Bill to Expand Options for Packing Capacity     


National livestock groups have come together to support Congressional efforts to expand opportunities for industry to invest in meat packing capacity.
 
The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, and United States Cattlemen’s Association sent a letter to the Chairpeople and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees expressing the groups' support of legislation to allow livestock market owners and operators to own or invest in small or regional livestock packing facilities.
 
The bipartisan legislation, the Expanding Local Meat Processing Act (S. 813), was reintroduced by Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) last week. This is the Senate companion to the Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States (APLUS) Act (H.R.530), being led by U.S. Representatives Mark Alford (R-MO), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD). If enacted, these bills would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to update a regulatory prohibition under the Packers and Stockyards Act which bars livestock auction owners from owning or investing in packers.
 
“This is an antiquated rule that does not fit with the current, transparent method of selling livestock at an open auction where sellers can view the transaction either in person or by streaming the auction online,” the letter states.  
 
The bills would allow for investment in the packing industry at local and regional levels by those active in the livestock marketing business.
 
“We appreciate our partners, both on Capitol Hill and at fellow livestock groups, fighting for opportunities to enhance participation in livestock packing,” said Mark Barnett, LMA President and owner of Kentucky-Tennessee Livestock Market. “Livestock auction markets, like mine, are in the competition business. Allowing livestock auction owners to invest in small and regional packers could enhance competition which equates to needed additional profit for producers who are being squeezed by high inputs and low margins.”



Remembering Iowa's E. Thurman Gaskill


The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) remembers the life of E. Thurman Gaskill who passed away recently. A one-time Iowa state senator and agricultural leader, Gaskill served as chairman of the U.S. Feed Grains Council (USFGC) in 1981. Gaskill’s work during his lifetime has impacted those in the ag community across the United States and around the globe.

During his time as Council chairman, Gaskill saw many changes that have impacted the work of the Council today - from the closing of the organization’s West European office to initiating activities in Latin America and China. Gaskill was a proponent of checkoff programs and was instrumental in the creation of the Iowa Corn Checkoff, urging Council members to support checkoff referendums taking place in many states at the time. Without his work in this area, the Council’s membership roster would look very different today.

“Looking back at his work and accomplishments, it’s clear that Mr. Gaskill was a force in our industry and I can see clearly how his contributions have had positive reverberations around the world in the work we continue to do,” said Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “We thank him for all he did to make the Council the premier organization it is today and send our condolences to his family.”

In addition to his service at the Council and in the Iowa Senate, Gaskill also was the first chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, a president of the National Corn Growers Association, an Iowa Master Farmer and he was inducted into the Iowa State University Ag Hall of Fame.

Please join the Council in celebrating the life and accomplishments of E. Thurman Gaskill.



RFA to EPA: If Governors’ E15 Petition is Delayed, Emergency Waivers Needed


If the Environmental Protection Agency decides to defer implementation of year-round E15 petitions from eight state governors until 2024, then the agency must exercise its authority to issue emergency waivers allowing continued sales of E15 this summer to address extreme and unusual fuel supply conditions, according to a letter sent today by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Earlier this month, EPA proposed to approve petitions from eight states that would allow the year-round sale of E15 in their states. Unfortunately, EPA is also proposing to delay implementation of the governors’ petitions until the summer of 2024, meaning E15 would not be permitted in most of the country during the summer of 2023. However, in today’s letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper noted that the same fuel supply circumstances that justified emergency waivers last summer still exist in the marketplace today.

“War in Ukraine continues to disrupt the U.S. fuel supply,” Cooper wrote. “Total U.S. gasoline stocks fell to just 229.6 million barrels last week, 5 percent below year-ago levels and the lowest for this time of year since 2015. Meanwhile, total stocks of crude oil and petroleum products are also down 5 percent from a year ago and have fallen to a 19-year low for this time of year.” The letter also highlights recent warnings by market analysts about further tightening of gasoline inventories as summer approaches and the potential for gas prices to hit $5 per gallon again.

EPA’s decision to issue emergency waivers during the summer of 2022 helped avert potential shortages and lowered prices at the pump, according to the RFA letter.

“During the summer of 2022, consumers choosing E15 saved an average of 20-30 cents per gallon compared to regular E10 gasoline,” Cooper wrote. “Nationwide, the availability of E15 last summer reduced consumer spending on gasoline by nearly $60 million. Emergency waivers allowing summer sales of E15 would yield even greater economic benefits in 2023, as more retail stations are offering the fuel than at this time last year. In addition, E15 reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and cuts tailpipe pollution linked to poor air quality. Clearly, it is in the public interest to grant a waiver allowing E15 sales to continue this summer.”

Today’s letter follows Cooper’s testimony at an EPA hearing on Tuesday and a letter sent that same day by a bipartisan group of governors calling on EPA to ensure consumers have year-round access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15.



Dairy Market Report: Exports Stoke Dairy Demand


The U.S. dairy economy entered 2023 notably affected by milk production growth and sharply higher dairy-product retail price inflation. But with total U.S. dairy exports well over year-ago levels during November–January, export growth was able to more than make up for the loss in total domestic use and keep total commercial use, domestic and exports, positive during the period.

Milk and dairy product prices have receded from their often record levels last year, with the U.S. average all-milk price falling from its all-time record high of $27.30/cwt last July to $23.10/cwt in January. But feed costs under the Dairy Margin Coverage program have stayed mostly in the high-$14/cwt to low-$15/cwt range during this period, squeezing producer margins, which are currently expected to remain below the maximum $9.50/cwt DMC coverage level until the fourth quarter of this year.

VIEW FULL REPORT: https://www.nmpf.org/exports-stoke-dairy-demand-as-inflation-bites-u-s-consumption/.  



USDA Announces Upcoming Changes to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Wheat Tables


Starting with the May 12, 2023, release (issue No. 636), the following change will be made to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report:
-    The wheat WASDE by-class tables (page 11) will add separate lines for imports, food use, seed use, and feed and residual use.

Sample WASDE tables, including the revised table, are available on the WASDE website https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde.

The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates is prepared and released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB). The report is released monthly, and provides annual forecasts for supply and use of U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, and cotton. The report also covers U.S. supply and use of sugar, meat, poultry, eggs and milk, as well as Mexico’s supply and use of sugar. The WAOB chairs the Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees (ICECs), which include analysts from key USDA agencies who compile and interpret information from USDA and other domestic and foreign sources to produce the report. For more information about the WASDE process and data, visit the WASDE FAQ page.



R-CALF USA Warns Congress of Catastrophic Consequences Unless Farm Bill Includes Meaningful Reforms


The largest cattle industry trade group that exclusively represents U.S. cattle producers recently submitted its comprehensive 2023 Farm Bill Platform to both the Senate and House agriculture committees. The group, R-CALF USA, warned Congress of catastrophic consequences if the 2023 Farm Bill does not include meaningful reforms to restore competition to U.S. cattle markets and profitable opportunities for independent cattle producers.

Referencing the upcoming Farm Bill as a narrow window of opportunity for Congress to reverse the disastrous decline of the U.S. cattle industry before it reaches the point of no return, the group states the highly concentrated and vertically integrated U.S. hog and poultry industries have already reached that point and the U.S. sheep industry has already been gutted by the same forces now destroying the cattle industry.

The group describes those industry-destroying forces as a combination of decades of unrestrained industry concentration and globalization.

Using a series of industry charts, the group illustrates prolonged and steep declines in the cattle industry’s competitive infrastructure, including its number of participants, size of its cattle herd, and availability of marketing outlets and opportunities. It further illustrates prolonged downward trajectories for financial returns earned by cow/calf producers and cattle feeders.  

The group asserts its industry charts can portend the future by extending their respective long-term trendlines: “That future will be marked by even further erosion to both the industry’s competitive market infrastructure and the economic viability of its participants. When the critical mass of competitive market infrastructure disappears…the U.S. cattle industry will become unrecognizable. It will become another corporate-controlled, vertically integrated industry from birth to plate, and rural America will lose tens of thousands more, if not hundreds of thousands more of its critical economic cornerstones.

“Whatever incremental reforms Congress has implemented to address U.S. cattle markets over the past several decades has done nothing to curb the industry’s systemic decline, putting in peril the viability of the very heart of the U.S. cattle industry,” wrote the group.

Some of the group’s recommendations for reversing the cattle industry’s negative trajectory, along with the expected impact of those recommendations include:
    Ignite competitive forces in the beef supply chain by enacting the American Beef Labeling Act (S.52) that restores mandatory country of origin labeling for beef, which will empower consumers to competitively choose from which country they want their beef produced.
    Force the packers to competitively bid for domestic cattle in the domestic market by requiring the largest packers to purchase at least half their weekly needs in the competitive cash market.
    End the market power disparity between disaggregated producers and highly concentrated packers by prohibiting certain anticompetitive cattle procurement practices known to cause market distortions. These include alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) that are tied to the residual cash market; bonuses, financial arrangements, and risk-sharing contracts offered only to select cattle feeders but not to all feeders; packer ownership, feeding, or control of cattle for more than seven days prior to slaughter; and top-of-the-market pricing schemes.
    Provide market transparency by requiring all cattle purchasing agreements to be in writing and publicly disclosed.
    Make the beef checkoff program accountable to cattle producers by enacting the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act (OFF Act) (S.557; H.R. 1249) that will prohibit farm advocacy groups from receiving checkoff funding and grant producers the right to a periodic vote.
    Address price-distorting trade deficits by requiring all federal beef expenditures, including food stamp purchases, to be for beef exclusively produced in the United States.

The group urges Congress to adopt its recommendations following Congress’ decades-long adherence to the status quo – described as the combination of no market structure reforms and reliance on globalization to cure market ills. The group asserts the status quo has wrought severe damage to the integrity of the U.S. live cattle industry and the economic viability of its participants.



Agricultural perspectives to be heard at UN Water Conference


Big ideas are formulating in agriculture on how to better manage and reinvigorate water supplies in the face of climate change. None of them can be accomplished alone—without collaboration among farmers, ranchers, foresters, crop breeders, agricultural technology companies, and other value chain partners.

Solutions from the Land will bring together water stakeholders and advance farmer-centered water solutions during an event today at 12:30 p.m. Eastern in the Nature Hub of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference. The event, “Sustainable Agricultural Water Use Offers Solutions: Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration to Advance Shared SDGs,” will interject agricultural expertise and showcase land-based solutions as international, UN leaders set out to develop a Water Action Agenda.

Land-based water solutions come in the form of precision technologies, improved institutional and infrastructural capacity, production practices, and crop breeding. They should be context-specific and circular in nature, with higher efficiencies and waste reduction achieved through the use and reuse of resources while producing food, fiber, feed and fuel.

Panelist speakers will include Jocelyn Anderson, an SfL farmer envoy who is the fourth generation on her family’s farm in Northern California, where they grow almonds and walnuts. Anderson’s family monitors moisture in their orchard soils using probes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 feet and in the trees by testing leaves for water stress. They set their irrigation to release just the right amount of water when and where it’s needed, targeted to the row.

Other speakers include representatives from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Cargill, Nutrien, The Nature Conservancy, Netafim and Ducks Unlimited, all of whom are working on tools, technologies and programs to further support agricultural producers across the globe in reducing water consumption while boosting productivity.

Dr. Jerry Hatfield, recently retired director for the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and a SfL senior adviser, will be the keynote speaker for the event. He will moderate the panel discussion with insight on land-based water management opportunities and needs.

Organizing event partners include Solutions from the Land, Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition, Cargill, ComNet Mekong, Ducks Unlimited, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, General Mills, Global Water Partnership, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Irrigation Association, Netafim, Nutrien, The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Water Policy Group and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.



Shane Brockhoff Joins Meristem Team as Regional Director, Iowa


Another leading agronomic professional has joined Meristem Crop Performance, one of the fastest-growing crop input suppliers in America. Shane Brockhoff becomes Meristem’s Regional Director, Iowa. Brockhoff has deep experience in helping growers boost their profitability with the right products and practices, especially in western Iowa and surrounding states.

“We’re really grateful to have signed up Shane Brockhoff to help us carry out our mission of creating real productivity for farmers,” says Mitch Eviston, Meristem founder and CEO of his most recent new team member. “I’m very happy we’ve added Shane to our all-star team and eager to turn him loose in Iowa to serve farmers with our growing portfolio of high-quality products.”

Shane Brockhoff grew up near Walnut, Iowa and started working for a neighboring farmer when he was 13-years old. During that time, he decided to make a career in agriculture and enrolled at Iowa State University (ISU), where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in agronomy and crop science. “My graduate school work took me deep into soil biology and soil chemistry,” he says. “That’s been very helpful as I work with farmers. I can talk about soil health and break it down into layman’s terms.”

After ISU, he first became a regional seed specialist for Landus Cooperative in Oakland, Iowa, for several years and then joined AgriGold where he spent nearly 10 years before becoming division sales lead for AgReliant Genetics. He says Meristem’s products and approach intrigued him.

“I’m a high-yield geek,” he laughs. “I love working with farmers to gain every edge possible to get a better ROI (return on investment) from every acre. Meristem is a great fit for me. They are very intentional about cutting waste in the distribution channel and developing technology to help growers make the most of biologicals. Their patented BioCapsule™ Technology is a great example.”

Brockhoff and his wife Lacey have six children – five daughers and a son – and reside near Walnut, where they also assist Lacey’s parents in their farm operation.

“In my work with farmers, I focus on optimizing the genetics of every seed they plant,” said Brockhoff. “That’s what has drawn me to Meristem Crop Performance. They have products that are helping farmers make the most of every seed, and with every pass those farmers make through the field all season long.”




Thursday, March 23, 2023

Wednesday March 22 Ag News

Congressman Flood Salutes Nebraska’s Farmers and Ranchers during House Floor Address

U.S. Congressman Mike Flood recently delivered short floor remarks saluting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers during National Agriculture Week. The full text of the speech is below.

Mister Speaker, I rise today to salute our farmers and ranchers as we celebrate National Agriculture Week.

In Nebraska, we grow the food, fuel, and fiber we need to feed the world.

We are known as the Cornhusker State and the Beef State.

We are number one for cattle on feed. Number two for ethanol production. And number three for corn exports.

We are home to the four largest center pivot irrigation manufacturers who help farmers efficiently apply water resources around the globe.

These are just a few of the things that have made Nebraska the number one ag state and the number one in the nation for ag receipts per capita.

We are also home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Daugherty Water for Food Institute, which is leading the research we need to ensure that our world’s natural resources support food security for years to come.

As we celebrate ag week, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the farmers and ranchers who work hard and sacrifice each day to feed the world.




NDA ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE 2023 AG POSTER CONTEST


Today, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is adding to the celebration of National Ag Week by announcing the winners of this year’s annual poster contest. NDA received a record number of entries (more than 2,100) from students in grades 1-6 from around the state all highlighting agriculture, Nebraska’s number one industry.

“The students who participated in this year’s contest really understand how important agriculture is to Nebraska and had fun ways of showing how to celebrate our number one industry,” said NDA Director Sherry Vinton. “NDA teammates look forward to this poster contest every year and are amazed at how many talented, young artists we have in Nebraska. All the posters we received are winners in our eyes, and I’d like to thank everyone for participating.”

The posters, depicting this year’s theme of “Celebrating Nebraska Agriculture,” were judged in three separate categories: first and second grade; third and fourth grade; and fifth and sixth grade. The poster contest is in its 20th year.

In the First and Second Grade Division:
• 1st place: Maleki McLeod, 2nd grade, Thedford Public Schools
• 2nd place: Isabel Larson, 2nd grade, St. Francis School in Humphrey

• 3rd place: Joel Adle, 2nd grade, Chase County Schools in Imperial
• Governor’s Choice: Easton McIntyre, 2nd grade, One-R Elementary School in Grand Island

In the Third and Fourth Grade Division:
• 1st place: Kamiyah Williams, 4th grade, Lincoln Elementary School in North Platte
• 2nd place: Claire Sievers, 4th grade, Randolph Public Schools
• 3rd place: Abby Durkop, 4th grade, Humphrey Elementary School

• Governor’s Choice: Riley Kliewer, 3rd grade, Waverly Intermediate School

In the Fifth and Sixth Grade Division:
• 1st place: Kiersten Hans, 6th grade, Wynot Public Schools
• 2nd place: Vivian Tran, 5th grade, Cathedral of the Risen Christ School in Lincoln
• 3rd place: Abby Hickenbottom, 5th grade, Ansley Public School
• Governor’s Choice: Addison Heard, 6th grade, Howells Community Catholic School

NDA announces the winners of its annual poster contest during National Ag Week to highlight the diversity of agriculture and to celebrate the food, feed and fuel that farmers, ranchers and ag industry workers provide every day. The winning posters and the names of the schools submitting entries are on NDA’s website at nda.nebraska.gov/kids.



Ricketts Hammers EPA on WOTUS Overreach, Failure to Address 2023 Year-round E15


Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) hammered Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over the new, overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and the EPA’s failure to announce year-round E15 for 2023.

“Now I get that I’m from a landlocked state, but to me, navigable waters means you can put a boat on it and go someplace,” said Senator Ricketts. “You cannot do that from a pond on a farm, or a roadside ditch that is temporary, or a puddle on a construction site. It seems you’re trying to extend that very clear definition of navigable to waterways that are clearly not navigable. You talked about exemptions, but you don’t need exemptions when the law is clear, and it’s very clear what Congress’ intent was. This, to me, seems to be an expansion of executive power.”

Ricketts also pushed Regan on why the EPA failed to consider the perspective of farmers and ranchers as a part of the public comments used to develop the WOTUS rule.

In a second round of questioning, Senator Ricketts criticized Regan for failing to announce year-round E15 for 2023.

“Ethanol is something that will help consumers save money at the pump,” said Senator Ricketts. “It helps clean up the environment… and then of course, it's also great for our farmers and ranchers. So, we asked to be able to sell E15 all year round. The Clean Air Act states that the administrators should publish the regulation resolving this action no later than 90 days after receipt or a notification from a governor. Our renewable fuels industry and producers and refiners didn't receive anything until March 1, and this should have been done in July. I want to know why it took more than the 90 days to respond.”

Senator Ricketts’ comments came during questioning of Michael Regan, Administrator of the EPA during the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s hearing on the EPA’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget.



AGI Celebrates #2,000 of its Flagship NECO Grain Dryer Made in Omaha, NE
 

Ag Growth International Inc. (“AGI”) is marking a “milestone moment” at its Omaha, Neb., manufacturing facility on Friday, March 24, as it celebrates the delivery of its 2,000th AGI NECO mixed flow grain dryer since its 1000-dryer milestone in 2014. Purchased by AGI in 2017, the facility – a steady contributor to the Greater Omaha business economy since 1959 – has earned global recognition as AGI's sole manufacturer of its flagship NECO mixed flow dryers and other grain drying solutions distributed to dealers, farmers and commercial grain operators.

“The success in the engineering, production, marketing and distribution of AGI’s NECO dryer is due to the dedication of our employee team in meeting customer needs,” said Matt Schneider, AGI Senior Director, U.S. Farm. "That includes delivering on time, every time; hearing customer feedback; and making continuous product improvements.”

The AGI NECO mixed flow grain dryer is considered an industry leader in sophisticated drying technology. The dryer is designed to quietly and efficiently heat kernels evenly to avoid damage and can be used to effectively dry all type of grain, seeds, and nuts. The systems’ screen-free operation and computerized moisture control deliver consistently higher quality grain and heavier test weights per bushel with optimized value for customers.  

Founded in 1959 by Bill Patterson as the Nebraska Engineering Company, the first NECO mixed flow dryer rolled off Omaha, Neb., production lines in 1990 and the first dryer was sold to Tom Condon, a farmer in Clara City, Minn.  

Since AGI’s purchase in 2017, the NECO legacy of quality craftsmanship, engineering and innovative design has expanded into new product lines and technology enhancements focused on advancing in-unit grain circulation, conditioning and drying. Today, with over 120,000 square feet of manufacturing space, AGI’s Omaha facility and 85-employee team combine hands-on experience with state-of-the art-technology to build grain dryers for use by farms and commercial grain operations in North America, Europe and Mexico.

“I remember when the #1 NECO grain dryer rolled off the line,” said Ken Kohrt, AGI’s master scheduler and one of the facility’s longest-running 37-year employees. “At first American farmers did not understand the mixed flow dryer. But they learned through experience. They saw how much more efficient the dryer was. It used less propane. It had a dryer capacity that could keep up with harvest. There were no screens to unclog, and it was a much gentler drying method which improved value and quality.”  

Kohrt says many great moments flag his career at the plant. “Basically, I was born here. I worked at the plant when I was in high school. I knew Bill Patterson when I was a kid. He had horses and a ranch... In the summer of 1986 my mom, who was the controller and office manager, asked me to help.” And that was it. Kohrt never left with a career ranging from computing and drafting to engineering, management and scheduling.

According to Schneider, it is that kind of work ethic that guides the Omaha team.  “From engineering and manufacturing to sales and delivery, I am immensely proud of our people. This milestone achievement is all about their hard work, commitment, experience and ability to really dig deep and listen to dealers and farmers," said Schneider.

On March 24, AGI will officially honor the 2,000th AGI NECO dryer milestone at a special luncheon with employees and members of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and business and civic community. AGI leaders – Matt Schneider; Abdallah Alkhaleel, Plant Manager; Harsha Bhojraj, Vice President of Manufacturing; and Subroto Pyne, Vice President, Global Product Management – will welcome guests, recognize team achievements; honor the longstanding, positive economic impact on the city; and announce AGI’s #3,000 Dryer Challenge.

“We are honored to celebrate this milestone with our employee family along with members of Omaha’s business and civic community,” said Schneider. “We thank the city under the leadership of Mayor Jean Stothert and the City Council for more than six decades of their support for agricultural equipment manufacturing."



Naig Presents Ag Leader Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Iowa Agriculture


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig this week recognized organizations and individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the state’s agriculture community. Naig presented Ag Leader Awards to Agriculture in the Classroom, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, John Mortimer and Dr. John Lawrence at the 11th Annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner held at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny on March 21.

“The Ag Leader Award recognizes the inspiring individuals and outstanding organizations positively impacting all aspects of Iowa agriculture,” said Secretary Naig. “This year’s Ag Leader awardees have demonstrated tremendous leadership in many areas, including conservation, livestock production and promotion, agriculture education, workforce development and community betterment.”

2023 Iowa Ag Leader Awardees:

Leadership in Agriculture Education - Agriculture in the Classroom
Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC), which is part of a nationwide network, educates Iowa Pre-K through high school students about all aspects of agriculture. AITC presently works with approximately 3,000 teachers to reach nearly 150,000 Iowa students across hundreds of schools. Their important work seeks to inspire well educated students who understand agriculture and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Leadership in Community – Central Iowa Shelter and Services
Central Iowa Shelter and Services (CISS) performs an essential role in our community by providing emergency shelter, food and other services to people facing homelessness. In addition, through its agri-hood, CISS is finding creative ways to educate and empower individuals by teaching them valuable life skills and giving them hope – all with a focus on agriculture. By providing education, training and opportunity, CISS is positively changing lives.

Outstanding Service in Agriculture – John Mortimer
Nearly 40 years ago, John Mortimer had a vison for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters at the Iowa State Fair. He poured his time and energy into the restaurant, which quickly grew from one tent to a huge and iconic enterprise. John’s innovation, perseverance and leadership benefited many, including Iowa consumers and Iowa’s cattle farmers. As he retires from running the long-standing restaurant, John has left an indelible mark on the world’s greatest fair.

Outstanding Service in Agriculture – Dr. John Lawrence
Dr. John Lawrence has held various leadership roles at Iowa State University over the past three decades. From teaching students and assisting beef producers to helping develop the Nutrient Reduction Strategy and serving as Vice President for Extension and Outreach, Dr. Lawrence’s dedication to Iowa agriculture and conservation is unmatched. As he retires this spring, he will long be remembered as one of the state’s most influential agriculture and conservation leaders.

The Ag Leaders Dinner is hosted and funded by the Iowa Economic Development Foundation.



Iowa House Passed Legislation Will Derail Carbon Capture Technology, Hurting Iowa Ethanol Producers, Farmers, and State Economy


Today the Iowa House passed amended legislation that would create a de facto ban on new projects that allow Iowa ethanol producers to install carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. While an amendment removed several problematic provisions, the bill still singles out CO2 pipelines for strict regulations that would not be applied to pipelines carrying flammable or explosive liquids.

“We are disappointed that the Iowa House singled out CCS projects with what in reality is an effective ban,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “If this is about property rights, why doesn’t the legislation impact all projects? If this is about safety, why doesn’t the bill apply to pipelines that carry explosive or flammable substances? Singling out CCS is a mistake for Iowa’s future. This bill will hurt Iowa ethanol production, which hurts Iowa corn prices, which hurts Iowa farmers and the economy.”

IRFA recently released a study that found without viable access to CCS, Iowa could see 75 percent of its ethanol production migrate to states that facilitate sequestration. Losing nearly 3.5 billion gallons of Iowa ethanol production would reduce the local corn grind by over one billion bushels. Phase 2 of the study found that the loss of local corn demand would reduce the profitability of corn production in Iowa by an average of 85 percent, resulting in over $1 billion of lost income for Iowa corn farmers.

“IRFA will continue to fight for a fair and equitable path forward for CCS technology in the Iowa Senate,” continued Shaw. “IRFA members are largely Iowa farmers and landowners. They understand the emotions at play in this type of debate. It is important to remember that a super majority of landowners actually impacted by the CCS projects have already signed voluntary easements.”

IRFA does not object to the provisions in the bill that clarify and expand landowner rights that apply to all projects that come before the IUB.



Five Major Fertilizer Prices Decrease Significantly


Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second full week of March 2023 continue to show lower levels. This trend has been in place for two and a half months. All eight of the major fertilizer prices are once again lower compared to last month. Five of the eight fertilizers had a substantial price decline. DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or more.

Leading the way lower was anhydrous. The nitrogen fertilizer was 13% lower compared to last month and had an average price of $1,059/ton. UAN28 was 11% less expensive looking back a month and had an average price of $428/ton. UAN32 was 9% lower compared to a month earlier and had an average price of $521/ton. Urea was 7% less expensive compared to the previous month with an average price of $638/ton. Potash was 5% lower compared to last month with an average price of $655/ton.

The remaining three fertilizers were all just slightly lower compared to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $825/ton, MAP $821/ton and 10-34-0 $740/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.69/lb.N, anhydrous $0.65/lb.N, UAN28 $0.76/lb.N and UAN32 $0.81/lb.N.

All fertilizers are now double digits lower compared to one year ago. DAP is 15% less expensive, 10-34-0 is 16% lower, MAP is 18% less expensive, potash is 22% lower, UAN32 is 26% less expensive, anhydrous and UAN28 are both 30% lower and urea is 33% less expensive compared to a year prior.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 3/17/2023


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending March 17, ethanol production declined 1.7% to a 10-week low of 997,000 b/d, equivalent to 41.87 million gallons daily. Production was 4.3% below the same week last year and consistent with the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production rate decreased 0.8% to 1.006 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.42 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks eased 0.8% to 26.2 million barrels. Stocks were 0.2% more than a year ago and 9.7% above the five-year average. Inventories thinned across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2) and West Coast (PADD 5).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, swung 4.3% higher to 8.96 million b/d (137.36 bg annualized). Demand was 3.7% more than a year ago and 0.9% above the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 0.3% to 881,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.51 bg annualized and a 12-week high. Net inputs were 1.8% above the same week last year and 0.2% more than the five-year average.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the fifteenth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of January 2023.)



Senators Reintroduce Next Generation Fuels Act


The Next Generation Fuels Act was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate today, drawing praise from the National Corn Growers Association. The legislation, which has been one of NCGA’s top advocacy priorities, would lower fuel prices, reduce carbon emissions and help shore-up America’s energy security.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led the bipartisan Senate reintroduction along with Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

“We’re very grateful to Sen. Grassley, along with Sens. Klobuchar, Ernst and Duckworth, for taking the lead on this priority legislation for corn growers,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “The Next Generation Fuels Act addresses some of the country’s most pressing concerns by providing consumers with more options in the transition to cleaner fuels and vehicles and supporting our long-term energy security.”

The Next Generation Fuels Act would clean up our nation’s fuel supply and transition new vehicles to use cleaner, more efficient fuels that also lower costs for drivers. By establishing a clean, high-octane standard for fuel and requiring that sources of additional octane result in at least 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, the legislation would allow automakers to significantly improve vehicle fuel efficiency through advanced engines.

The legislation builds on our nation’s clean energy progress by advancing higher ethanol blends and new vehicles that work together to deliver greater emission reductions, cost savings and consumer choice.

As NCGA has called on the Biden administration to act to prevent a disruption in access to higher blends of ethanol this summer, the Next Generation Fuels Act would also permanently remove regulatory barriers, allowing for higher ethanol blends and advanced vehicles that deliver greater emission reductions and cost savings in order to maintain a wider range of competitive fuel and vehicle choices.



ICGA Thanks Senators Grassley and Ernst for Re-Introducing the Next Generations Fuels Act


The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) applauds the re-introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act by Senators Grassley and Ernst. This bipartisan legislation reduces the carbon intensity of liquid fuels, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality and human health, and increases fuel efficiency through increased use of higher ethanol blends, all while supporting agriculture’s contribution toward addressing climate change and decarbonizing transportation.

“The Iowa Corn Growers Association fully supports the Next Generation Fuels Act, which will expand ethanol’s access to fuel tanks by setting an octane standard for vehicles and eliminating outdated legislative and regulatory barriers that have stood in the way of higher ethanol blends for far too long,” said Denny Friest, a farmer from Radcliffe, Iowa, and Iowa Corn Growers Association President. “Corn growers have been focused on this transition not only because ethanol is a top market for corn, but it’s also the climate solution that we need now.”

Once enacted, The Next Generation Fuels Act would increase ethanol demand by over 5 billion gallons per year, which would utilize 1.7 billion bushels of additional corn. This bill would also lead to a reduction of 111.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which is the equivalent of removing 23.7 million cars from the road every year.

Additionally, this bill provides automakers with more options to meet increasingly stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards by utilizing ethanol blends up to 30% in vehicles designed and warranted for these fuels. The Next Generation Fuels Act is co-sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA, Senator Joni Ernst, R-IA, Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-MN and Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-IL. The same bipartisan group that led Senate introduction in the last Congress.



RFA Salutes Senate Reintroduction of Next Generation Fuels Act


The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for reintroducing the Next Generation Fuels Act. The bill establishes a high-octane, low-carbon fuel standard that would lower pump prices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enable greater engine efficiency, and encourage competition in the fuel market. In addition, the legislation addresses regulatory impediments that have slowed the commercialization of high-octane, low-carbon fuels and the vehicles that can consume them.

A similar bill was introduced last year in both chambers of Congress and secured numerous bipartisan co-sponsors. A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult for RFA found strong support among registered voters for the Next Generation Fuels Act. Among poll respondents who had an opinion on the Next Generation Fuels Act, more than three out of four expressed support for the legislation. Among all poll respondents (including those with no opinion on the legislation), 60 percent supported the legislation and just 18 percent said they oppose it.

“We thank Sens. Grassley and Klobuchar, along with Sens. Ernst and Duckworth, for reintroducing the Next Generation Fuels Act in the Senate,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Americans will continue to rely on liquid fuels and internal combustion engines for decades to come, and this legislation will ensure drivers have access to more efficient high-octane, low-carbon, lower-cost fuels for their vehicles well into the future. We look forward to working with clean fuel supporters in both chambers of Congress to turn this bold vision into a reality.”

In addition to saving drivers money with each fill-up, low-carbon liquid fuels like ethanol are an essential part of the strategy to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by mid-century, Cooper said, and RFA’s member companies have unanimously committed to achieving a net-zero carbon footprint for ethanol by 2050 or sooner.

Specifically, the Next Generation Fuels Act would establish high-octane (95 and 98 RON) certification test fuels containing 20-30 percent ethanol, while requiring automobile manufacturers to design and warrant their vehicles to allow these fuels beginning with model year 2026. The bill also includes a low-carbon requirement, specifying that the source of the octane boost must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least 40 percent compared to a 2021 gasoline baseline, as measured by the Department of Energy’s GREET model. The legislation also includes a restriction on the aromatics content of gasoline, ensures parity in the regulation of gasoline volatility (Reid vapor pressure), corrects key variables used in fuel economy testing and compliance, requires an update to the EPA’s MOVES model, ensures infrastructure compatibility, and addresses many other regulations impeding the deployment of higher octane blends at the retail level.



Growth Energy: Next Generation Fuels Act Would Unleash Environmental, Economic Benefits of Ethanol


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement today upon the reintroduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act in the U.S. Senate:

“American-made ethanol already makes a positive impact every day, but we've still only scratched the surface of the benefits this renewable fuel can deliver to the environment and to drivers across the country. The Next Generation Fuels Act recognizes that ethanol is the only fuel available today that can be immediately deployed to decrease our nation's carbon emissions, decrease our reliance on foreign oil, and decrease fuel costs for American families all at once. This legislation would give ethanol a greater role in decarbonizing our economy while decreasing volatility and lowering prices at the pump, and we urge all lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to join Senators Grassley and Klobuchar to see the bill quickly signed into law.”  



ACE: Next Generation Fuels Act Supports Market Growth for High Octane Ethanol


The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today thanked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for reintroducing the Next Generation Fuels Act. The bill is designed to overcome a host of barriers to the use of higher ethanol blends by creating a new high octane fuel standard, limiting aromatics in gas, ensuring all blends of ethanol receive the same RVP treatment as E10, and requiring future vehicles and retail fuel stations to be compatible with higher ethanol blends, among addressing other regulatory impediments to the deployment of higher octane blends.

“We support this legislation because it would overcome a host of regulatory barriers currently standing in the way of expanding the use of ethanol, from E15 to high octane blends such as E25 or E30, and reinstate incentives for the production of more flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs),” said ACE CEO Brian Jennings. “We thank these lawmakers for recognizing the value of ethanol as an immediate solution to decarbonize the transportation sector and improve the efficiency of vehicles, as liquid fuels will continue to be used in the decades to come, despite the rise of electric vehicles.”

“Enactment of the clean fuel performance-based §45Z tax credit late last year in the Inflation Reduction Act enables ethanol and other clean fuel producers the opportunity to obtain a tax credit based on their unique carbon intensity score,” Jennings added. “Enactment of the Next Generation Fuels Act would complement that tax credit by helping lower pump prices while enabling greater engine efficiency and biofuel demand, and we look froward to promoting the legislation during our fly-in next week.”



NFU Supports Reintroduction of Next Generation Fuels Act


Today, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota reintroduced the Next Generation Fuels Act in the United States Senate, which increases gasoline octane to a minimum standard through low-carbon, renewable fuels, like ethanol. Farmers and consumers stand to gain from the economic and environmental benefits brought about by this legislation.

“We’re proud to continue to support common sense solutions like the Next Generation Fuels Act,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “With this bill, consumers would see more choice and lower costs and farmers would see greater opportunities for profitability and new markets, all while reducing emissions.”

NFU has been a strong supporter of higher-level blends of ethanol and welcomes the reintroduction. NFU supported this legislation in July 2022 when it was originally introduced in the Senate.



USDA Seeks Nominees for the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominees for the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. The deadline for nominations is April 28, 2023.

From the nominees, the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint thirteen individuals to succeed members whose terms expire on October 31, 2023. Newly appointed members will serve three-year terms from November 1, 2023, through October 31, 2026. The Secretary of Agriculture will also appoint one individual to fill a vacancy, with the term ending October 31, 2024.

The USDA is seeking nominees for:
    One seat for Region 1 (Alaska, Oregon and Washington)
    One seat for Region 2 (California and Hawaii) (Vacant seat)
    One seat for Region 3 (Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming)
    Two seats for Region 4 (Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)
    One seat for Region 5 (Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota)
    Two seats for Region 6 (Wisconsin)
    One seat for Region 7 (Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska)

    One seat for Region 8 (Idaho)
    One seat for Region 9 (Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia)
    One seat for Region 10 (Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia)
    One seat for Region 12 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont)
    One seat for an Importer

Nominees must be dairy producers who produce milk in the region for which they are nominated, and nominees for the importer position must be dairy importers. The 37-member board consists of 36 dairy producers from 12 regions and one dairy importer. Nomination forms are available on the AMS National Dairy Promotion and Research Board webpage. For more information, contact Jill Hoover at (202) 720-1069 or jill.hoover@usda.gov.



Agricultural solutions shared at UN Water Conference


Water is complex. We drink it, fish swim in it, and our crops need it. Water falls from the sky as rain, snow, and sleet. It’s also found in and above the ground. The water cycle touches each living thing on the planet. And, as the ultimate land stewards, farmers, ranchers, and foresters have opportunities to keep water moving and providing clean, abundant H2O while producing food, fiber, feed, and fuel.

We don’t often think of bodies of water—lakes, streams, oceans—as part of the land, but their health is tightly intertwined with that of soils, plants, animals and people. With droughts and other extreme weather events holding back or dumping too much rain on the land, global leaders are trying to ensure the planet’s water supply can support its 8 billion people now and into the future. Agricultural producers, who both use and restore water through their management practices, are right in the middle of these water challenges—and they are part of the solution.

As international leaders set out to develop a Water Action Agenda during the United Nations 2023 Water Conference this week, Solutions from the Land will lead a side event in the Nature Hub that will interject agricultural expertise and stimulate collaborative conversation on how farmers, ranchers, foresters and the entire agricultural value chain are leading the way in enhancing water management and what they need to take what they are doing to the next level.

The session, “Sustainable Agricultural Water Use Offers Solutions: Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration to Advance Shared SDGs,” will feature case studies of how enhanced agricultural water management practices—including precision irrigation, conservation drainage and well-organized, voluntary collaborations—are cleaning up watersheds, including the Ganges River and Ogallala Aquifer, and making more efficient use of water across the world.  

Jocelyn Anderson, an SfL farmer envoy who is the fourth generation on her family’s farm in Northern California, will share a producer’s perspective on water management during the event. Her family grows almonds and walnuts in a region where drought and competing needs make water a major concern. They monitor moisture in their orchards’ soils using probes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 feet and in the trees themselves by testing leaves for water stress. Then they set irrigation to release just the right amount of water when and where it’s needed, targeted to the row.

Other speakers will include representatives from Cargill, Nutrien, The Nature Conservancy, Netafim and Ducks Unlimited, all working on tools, technologies and programs to further support agricultural producers in reducing water consumption while boosting productivity.

Solutions may come in the form of precision technologies, improved institutional and infrastructural capacity, production practices, and crop breeding. Big ideas are formulating in agriculture on how to better manage and reinvigorate water supplies, but none of them can be accomplished alone.

“Scalability is one of the major hurdles we need to consider in being able to transfer information and practices about water management,” says Dr. Jerry Hatfield, recently retired director for the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and a SfL senior adviser. “Water in agriculture is complex.”

Hatfield is the keynote speaker for the event and will moderate the panel discussion with insight on land-based water management opportunities and needs.

This event seeks to catalyze collaboration, innovation, and leadership—emphasizing the inextricable linkages between agricultural water resource management, water quality, climate resilience, biodiversity, food security, and multi-sector and multi-state collaboration and investment—to advance sustainable development goals.

Solutions from the Land looks forward to bringing together water stakeholders and advancing farmer-centered water solutions that will benefit all of society.



NK Seeds Extends Partnership with John Force Racing for 2023 Race Season


NK Seeds announced today a renewal of its partnership with John Force Racing. The legendary racing team and the fastest-growing national seed brand are partnering once again to celebrate speed, precision and power, bringing farmers to the racetrack to watch the NK Seeds logo speed down the track.

Originally signed on as a sponsor two races into the 2022 drag racing season, the 2023 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series season will be NK the first complete season to pair NK and this legendary team. The season kicked off March 10-12 with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

Jim Shertzer, Head of Branded Marketing, Syngenta Seeds, says this is the ideal time of year not only to celebrate the speed, precision and power inherent to both farming and racing, but also to recognize the careful planning that goes into both to start a season with the foot on the gas pedal.

“In farming, just like racing, spring is a time of optimism, as well as preparation and planning,” says Shertzer. “Before farmers hit the planters, there’s already a good bit of planning underway to set the team up for success. Before they plant the first seed in the ground, farmers are analyzing data, finalizing inputs and seed commitments, checking equipment, and prepping fields — relatable tasks to members of JFR, who are double- and triple-checking their cars and reviewing last year’s race stats before they touch the track.”

Celebrating a Successful 2022 and Kicking into High Gear for the 2023 Season
Last year, nearly 100 NK Seeds guests attended an NHRA race and rooted for John Force Racing firsthand. The 2022 season was marked by performance records from both teams. Across the Corn Belt, NK Seeds beat many competitor products in head-to-head yield comparisons,1,2 while Brittany Force set 16 track records, including the national Top Fuel speed record at 338.94 mph, which pushed her to a 2022 championship. Both teams are looking forward to building on this momentum for the season ahead.

“It’s great to welcome NK Seeds back for the 2023 NHRA season. NK Seeds is all about precision and providing its customers with the very best in the business. These race cars need that same care and precision to perform at a competitive level and end up in the winner’s circle,” says Robert Hight, President of John Force Racing and driver of the Cornwell Tools / AAA / Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. “It’s going to be another exciting year having NK Seeds and their customers in hospitality and in the winner’s circle with us. We’ll be looking forward to more success and growing this partnership.”

NK Seeds will host VIP events at six races in 2023, including:
    May 19-21, Chicago, Illinois
    June 22-25, Norwalk, Ohio
    Aug. 11-13, Topeka, Kansas
    Sept. 14-17, Reading, Pennsylvania
    Sept. 29-Oct. 1, St. Louis, Missouri

NK Seeds guests will get to experience the races from VIP sections, network with other farmers and like-minded professionals, meet members of JFR and take home branded NK swag.

“At NK Seeds, we’re proud of the speed at which our R&D team develops and commercializes new hybrids and varieties, improving speed to market without sacrificing precision or quality,” says Shertzer. “Through our John Force Racing sponsorship, we get to not only celebrate speed, we get to do so in a way that allows us to say ‘thank you’ to the farmers who harness this speed to produce our food, feed and fuel. That’s what this sponsorship is all about.”



AGCO’s Massey Ferguson® Reveals SimplEbale™ for Improved Hesston® Baler Operations


AGCO Corporation, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology, revealed SimplEbale™ from its Massey Ferguson® brand at World Ag Expo in Tulare, California on February 14, 2023. SimplEbale is an electronic aftermarket monitoring and control system that retrofits onto new and existing Massey Ferguson Hesston® 1800 Series Small Square Balers and simplifies the work required to make consistently high-quality hay for operators of all experience levels. SimplEbale will be released for limited commercial availability in 2024 and full commercial availability in 2025.

Balers upgraded with SimplEbale will deliver improved bale consistency, increased operational efficiency, and higher reliability than non-equipped balers. The solution’s modular format allows farmers to select the options that best suit their unique operations with minimal modifications to their existing machines. The kit will include the sensors, components, and harnessing needed to update the baler’s operating system. The base package is compatible with select aftermarket moisture systems and consists of the user interface, electronic fan control, flake counter, bale length monitoring, and cab-based hydraulic pressure readout. These components provide increased visibility of the machine while in operation and real-time updates of the bale being produced. Optional upgrades include an automatic knotter lubrication pump, bale scale, LED lighting, and hydraulic density control.

The SimplEbale electronics package does not require proprietary hardware or software to implement, and it will be compatible with future features. The intuitive interface provides guidance that simplifies operation and maintenance, such as a flake-by-flake indicator that provides immediate feedback so operators can adjust ground speed without waiting on a bale to tie.

“SimplEbale delivers better hay with less work,” said Dane Mosel, tactical marketing manager for Massey Ferguson North America. “By retrofitting onto new and existing 1800 Series small square balers, SimplEbale is an affordable solution that demonstrates AGCO’s and Massey Ferguson’s farmer-first commitment to our customers and their operations.”




Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Tuesday March 21 Ag News - Happy National Ag Day!!

 FNBO Invests in the Future of Agriculture with $41,500 Donation

FNBO (First National Bank of Omaha) is investing in the future of agriculture by supporting FFA with donations in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, South Dakota and Wyoming, announced Barry Benson, Vice President, Agribusiness Banking. In addition, the bank is sponsoring a campaign to promote agricultural education with the American Royal in Kansas City. FNBO’s contributions are part of its broader efforts to celebrate National Ag Week and will help provide positive educational experiences for the students enrolled in agricultural education across the region.

“We’re proud to continue our support of the agriculture industry and the development of the next generation of agriculturalists through our multiple donations and volunteer efforts across the region,” added Benson. FNBO and its affiliates are among the largest agribusiness lenders in the country.

In Nebraska, FNBO is sponsoring the Nebraska FFA Launch! Program for the sixth year with a $10,000 donation. The funds will support the year-long program that serves as a catalyst in entrepreneurship-based education for Nebraska FFA members and agricultural education students.

The bank is also continuing its support of the Colorado FFA Foundation with a $2,500 donation. The funds will support agricultural education for students in Colorado.

FNBO is donating $24,000 to local FFA chapters in Nebraska, Illinois, South Dakota and Wyoming. In addition, FNBO Agribusiness Lenders will volunteer at various FFA chapters in their communities to provide agribusiness education to the students.

FNBO is also supporting ag education in its Kansas market and surrounding area through a $5,000 campaign sponsorship with the American Royal, a non-profit organization based in Kansas City that provides a platform for agriculture that inspires future leaders and creates an arena for agricultural learning.



Sensor-based Fertigation Management Research Boosts Efficiency, Profitability


For the past four years, University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers have studied the prospects for using sensor-based fertigation management, or SBFM, to increase the efficiency and profitability of nitrogen use. The latest results are now in from multiple Nebraska sites, and they show that the technology enables major gains in both regards.

“This method allows the sensors and imagery to detect what that crop needs, so that you’re not overapplying nitrogen,” said Taylor Cross, a graduate research assistant who oversaw the project last year. “You’ll really see a lot of nitrogen savings with this method.”

For the project, drones provided weekly updates on crop-condition data by using multispectral imagery that showed nitrogen levels. Analysis of the data via N-Time software then directed specific applications of liquid fertilizer by irrigation equipment in a set of eastern Nebraska cornfields.

At all three on-farm test sites in 2022, the approach produced greater efficiency in nitrogen use than did conventional management, with efficiency measured in pounds of nitrogen per bushel of grain. The two SBFM-recommended approaches produced about 44 pounds more grain per pound of nitrogen than did the growers’ traditional method. The two SBFM-recommended methods also showed the potential for boosting profitability. The increases ranged from $28 per acre to just over $40 per acre, on average, across the three sites.



Build a Better Plate with Beef during National Nutrition Month


"Build a Better Plate with Beef," during National Nutrition Month this March, and beyond. Beef is packed with key essential nutrients that complement the nutrients and flavors found in fruits and vegetables, making them the perfect team to help you reach your health goals. Director of Nutrition and Education for the Nebraska Beef Council, Mitch Rippe, says it is a month to focus on the power of lean beef.

“National Nutrition Month is a campaign focused on making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits,” said Rippe. “During National Nutrition Month, we’re celebrating lean beef’s incredible nutrient profile. Meaning, as part of a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle maintained consistently over time, the nutrients found in beef like protein, zinc and iron support good health and a healthy immune system.”

The Nebraska Beef Council is collaborating with registered dietitians to showcase beef’s nutritional value and versatility in the meal planning process.  High-quality protein, like that found in beef, plays an increasingly important role in muscle maintenance, weight management, and the prevention of chronic diseases. NBC will highlight beef as a great protein option through these programs and through social media campaigns as well.

“Through our classes at high schools, healthcare facilities and professional conferences, we’re recognizing beef as a nutritional powerhouse given its high nutrient density that contain a wide variety of nutrients to support overall health,” Rippe said. “Coupled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, beef provides big nutrition in a small, 3 ounce package.”

This year's theme for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is, "Fuel for the Future." By choosing beef, we are choosing a sustainable food source for ourselves and the environment. Since not only is beef a great source of protein, but it also comes without the long and sometimes confusing list of other ingredients. Research from the Consumer Beef Tracker shows that beef has a slight advantage over chicken to have a higher nutritional value in terms of consumer perceptions.

Find more sustainable, nutritious recipes on nebeef.org.



New Nebraska Custom Rates Survey Related to Livestock Services

Glennis McClure, Extension Educator, Farm and Ranch Management Analyst


Many farmers and ranchers make inquiries to Nebraska Extension about prevailing rates paid for various kinds of custom farm services. In addition to the regular biennial custom rates survey, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability has launched a new survey designed to provide market rate information for the Nebraska livestock industry. Producers and operators that perform and provide custom services for others, or that utilize custom services and pay others, are invited to participate in the survey.

Anyone interested in participating in the livestock-related custom rates survey can request a printed copy and return envelope to complete the survey or register to receive the online survey version link at: cap.unl.edu/customrates/livestock. Your area beef systems extension educator or county extension office staff may also assist in obtaining a survey or the online link.

Services covered in the survey include charges for pasture maintenance, fencing and trenching services, livestock processing fees and yardage rates, hauling fees, custom feed preparation, haying services, facility and equipment rental rates, manure pumping, hauling and application charges.

Even if only one or just a few custom services are utilized or performed by an individual operation, providing the rate information for services that you utilize or that you charge is important. Individual survey responses are kept anonymous and confidential. Nebraska regional information and state ranges and averages will be published.

By completing the survey, you will help ensure that the most accurate information possible is provided to Nebraska livestock producers and those that provide related services. The survey should take only a few minutes to complete. The livestock-related custom rates survey may become a biennial survey in opposite years of the regular biennial custom rates services survey and report, which tends to be more crops-oriented.

If you have questions about the survey, email or call: Glennis McClure, UNL Department of Agricultural Economics, gmcclure3@unl.edu or 402.472.0661.



Understanding Soil Residual Nitrogen and its Dollar Value for Next Crop

Javed Iqbal - Extension Nutrient Management and Water Quality Specialist


The 2023 cropping season is just around the corner. Unfortunately, drought continues to influence nutrient management decisions for the upcoming season, as seen in the latest Drought Monitor map, even with significant snowfall in parts of the state.

The 2022 corn grain yield in Nebraska was reported at 1.46 billion bushels (USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service), down 22% from 2021. The 2022 average corn yield was 165 bushels/acre, down 29 bushels from 2021. Lower yields in 2022 were likely due to hot and dry growing conditions as well as hail events. These conditions might have reduced crop nitrogen uptake, leaving higher-than-normal residual nitrogen in many growers’ fields. Drier conditions could also reduce nitrogen losses through leaching or denitrification, resulting in a build-up of nitrogen from the mineralization of soil organic matter. Residual nitrogen should be accounted for and used at “no cost” to help supply the nitrogen needs of the next fertilized crop. This will help to reduce the cost of N fertilizer applied, especially when the prices for nitrogen fertilizer are higher than a couple of years ago.

If you plan soybean following last year’s corn, then no N fertilizer management would be desired. However, if you plan corn-on-corn and applied normal amounts of N fertilizer to corn in 2022 corn, but had a low yield, a significant amount of residual nitrogen is likely available for the 2023 corn crop. Therefore, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommends a lower N application rate when you account for residual nitrate-nitrogen in the N fertilizer prescription for the 2023 growing season. Here we provide an example of N recommendation with and without accounting residual N in the N recommendation. Table 1 provides a comparison of N recommendations with vs. without residual N credit. In this example, growers can save $27 per acre by crediting 36 pounds of N per acre. Of course, the saving can vary across the grower’s field, owing to previous crop, precipitation pattern, geographical location and irrigated vs. dryland fields.

Read more on this topic, along with techniques to test for residual nitrogen, at this CropWatch article.... https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2023/understanding-soil-residual-nitrogen-and-its-dollar-value-next-crop.  



Flood: President Biden’s Ag Week Actions Harm Future of Family Farming


Today, U.S. Congressman Mike Flood issued a statement regarding President Joe Biden’s actions impacting farm and ranch families in the midst of National Agriculture Week.

“During National Ag Week, the Biden Administration has finalized implementation of their draconian Waters of the U.S. Rule and expanded the reach of its 30 x 30 land grab. Rather than taking action to grow agriculture, President Biden is advancing the agenda of environmental activists by slapping new red tape on family farms and ag producers who are trying to grow the food we need to feed the world. At a time when the president should be helping American farm and ranch families thrive, he’s instead been using the power of the federal government to make it harder for the next generation of farm families to live the American dream.”

The Biden Administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule took effect in 48 states earlier this week. Additionally, President Biden has also made new announcements regarding his 30 x 30 plan, locking away hundreds of thousands of acres.



DOUBLE CROPPING FORAGES ON CROP GROUND

- Jerry Volesky, NE Extension Pasture & Forage Specialist

 
There are many producers looking at ways to grow more forage for hay or pasture.  Double cropping annual forages can be an option.
 
Successful double cropping of annual forages requires good planning and timely operations along with some timely moisture.  To use this approach this spring, small grains like oats or spring triticale, would need to be planted here in late March to early April.  Grazing of these plantings can begin around the third week of May last until early July if stocked and managed properly.
 
As portions of this spring planting get grazed out, the double crop of a summer annual grass like sudangrass or pearl millet can be planted.  With adequate moisture, the summer annual grass will be ready to graze in forty-five to fifty days and may last through September.
 
This double crop forage strategy works even better if winter annual cereals like winter rye, wheat, or triticale were planted last fall for spring forage.  They will be ready to graze earlier than any spring planting and like the spring plantings, as portions are grazed out, plant summer annual grasses to begin grazing them by mid-summer.
 
Another strategy is to plant the summer annual grasses first in mid- to late May.  Graze portions of them out in August, then plant oats or turnips or both for late fall and winter grazing.
 
Of course, adequate moisture or irrigation is needed for these options to produce both double crops.  Thus, it is wise to have a nearby pasture where animals can be placed and fed temporarily if extra time is needed to grow sufficient forage for grazing.



Workshop to Help Cattle Producers Plan for Successful Breeding Season


Research has consistently shown that calves born earlier in the season are more profitable. To help beef producers optimize the potential for getting more females bred earlier, the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University and Select Sires are partnering on a breeding season workshop set for April 13.

The program will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Community Building at the Guthrie County Fairgrounds, 402 W State St., Guthrie Center. The workshop is free to attend, and pre-registration is encouraged but not required.

Erika Lundy-Woolfolk, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist for southwest Iowa, is coordinating the workshop and said attendees will benefit from classroom presentations and hands-on opportunities.

“The workshop will address taking advantage of available technologies, production information, and best management practices to positively impact overall reproductive success,” she said.

The program includes the following classroom style presentation topics and speakers:
    Utilizing Reproductive Technologies to Improve Efficiency – Burke Suckow, Select Sires.
    The Genetics of Reproduction – Randie Culbertson, ISU Extension and Outreach cow-calf specialist.
    Maximizing Herd Bull Care – Erika Lundy-Woolfolk, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist.

Over the lunch hour, several hands-on stations will be available for attendees to build on their existing knowledge base at their own pace, and to seek one-on-one guidance from speakers and sponsors.

The stations will include semen handling, nitrogen tank care, Iowa State Estrus Synch planner usage and exploring reproductive technologies. There will also be a discussion on reproductive herd health led by Guthrie County Veterinary Services.

The workshop is free, including a noon meal, thanks to sponsorship of Select Sires and ISU Extension and Outreach Guthrie County. Walk-ins are welcome, although pre-registration is strongly encouraged by April 11 to ensure adequate meals and supplies. Register by calling the ISU Extension and Outreach Guthrie County office at 641-747-2276 or emailing Erika at ellundy@iastate.edu.



RFA Applauds Governors’ Action in Support of Year-Round E15


The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked a bipartisan group of governors who called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action to ensure consumers in their states will have uninterrupted access to lower-cost E15 throughout the summer 2023 driving season. Signing onto today’s effort are Govs. Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Jim Pillen (R-NE), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Kristi Noem (R-SD).

“We applaud the efforts of these governors to secure year-round access to E15 for consumers in their states,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We agree with the governors that EPA still has time to implement their petition in time for this summer. But if EPA fails to do that, the governors have made a strong case that EPA could and should use its authority to issue emergency waivers, just as it did last year. The governors’ letter underscores the point that year-round access to E15 saved consumers more than 20 cents per gallon last summer, or about $3 to $5 per fill-up. Those savings are in jeopardy this summer unless EPA acts quickly.”

The governors’ letter notes that if EPA fails to implement their petition before this summer, emergency waivers are justified by current conditions. “The market conditions that justified emergency action last summer still exist today; indeed, fuel supplies are even tighter than they were a year ago and there is greater risk of disruption heading into summer,” the governors wrote. “U.S. inventories of crude oil and petroleum products recently hit a 19-year low, and nationwide gasoline stocks are 3 percent lower than a year ago. Gasoline futures prices are up roughly 15 percent in just the last two weeks; and with a larger-than-usual amount of refining capacity offline for maintenance, supplies and prices could experience greater pressure as summer approaches. These are the same sort of circumstances that led EPA to issue emergency waivers last year.”

Earlier today at an EPA virtual hearing on the governors’ proposal, Cooper stressed that action needs to take place as soon as possible to ensure drivers can take advantage of E15 savings this summer. Even though EPA’s proposal is more than seven months late, there remains no economic, environmental, or legal justification for the agency to delay implementation by another year, Cooper said.



ICGA Applauds Governor Reynolds for Summer E15 Efforts


The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanks Governor Reynolds for leading a joint, bipartisan letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue an emergency waiver for E15 sales during the 2023 summer. In doing so, the EPA would ensure consumers have uninterrupted access to homegrown, cleaner-burning, more affordable fuel options at the pump during the summer driving season.

“We are very appreciative for all Governor Reynolds has done in leading the charge for access to higher blends of ethanol at the pump. Reynolds has been a champion for biofuels and believes in the products we grow right here in Iowa that help alleviate the stress on many consumers’ wallets when fueling up at the pump,” said Denny Friest a farmer from Radcliffe, Iowa, and Iowa Corn Growers Association President. “Not only are higher blends of ethanol more affordable by 15-16 cents a gallon, but also cleaner burning, which is why we continue to encourage the EPA to use its authority to increase the fuel supply through uninterrupted access to E15 year-round.”

In early March, the EPA delayed the implementation of a plan, created by a group of bipartisan Midwest Governors, that would allow for the sale of E15 year-round in each respective state until April of 2024. However, based on precedent of the EPA exercising its emergency authority during the summer of 2022 for continued availability of E15 sales, there is hope a waiver will be granted before the 2023 summer driving season begins. The Iowa Corn Growers Association continues to urge the EPA to act now, and give consumers access to reliable, homegrown, affordable fuel this summer.



IRFA Thanks Governor Reynolds for Action in Support of Year-Round E15


In response to Governor Kim Reynold's bipartisan letter to the EPA regarding summertime E15 sales, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw released the following statement today:

"IRFA members thank Governor Kim Reynolds for her continued leadership to ensure consumers have access to year-round E15. Today, she led a bipartisan, multistate letter to the EPA urging them to issue an emergency E15 waiver for this summer. EPA needs to act quickly to ensure consumers don’t pay the price at the pump for the the agencies inaction."



NCGA President to EPA: Ensure Consumer Access to Higher Ethanol Blends


The president of the National Corn Growers Association urged EPA officials today to implement a petition from Midwest governors that would remove barriers to higher blends of ethanol and avoid further delay.

EPA’s public hearing reviewed the agency’s recent proposal to implement a plan from eight Midwest governors to require lower-volatility gasoline so drivers in those states continue to have year-round access to fuel with 15 percent ethanol, often marketed as Unleaded 88. EPA has proposed delaying implementation of the governors’ plan until 2024.

Haag took issue with the delays to date and urged EPA to avoid further delays in implementation. He also highlighted the emissions reduction benefits of E15 and the current cost savings of up to 20 cents or more per gallon when drivers choose E15.

“We are disappointed with EPA’s delayed response to states,” Minnesota farmer and NCGA President Tom Haag told EPA officials during the public hearing. “Governors submitted their initial request a year ago, allowing sufficient time for EPA to respond and implement for 2023. However, given the delayed response, we now strongly urge EPA to implement this rule with an effective date of April 28, 2024 -- as proposed --without further delay.”

Haag also took the opportunity to renew the ask for the Biden administration to also again act as summer approached to prevent a disruption in E15 availability in 2023 and increase the fuel supply, the same successful action EPA took last year.



Growth Energy Thanks Governors for Pressing EPA on E15 Emergency Waiver


Growth Energy applauded a bipartisan group of governors today for continuing to lead on E15 by urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue an emergency waiver that would allow fuel retailers to sell E15—a fuel blend made with 15 percent ethanol—this coming summer.
 
“Without an emergency waiver, the summer of 2023 would become the first time since 2019 that American drivers didn’t have access to E15, a fuel blend that’s less expensive, better for the environment, and usable in 96 percent of all cars on the road today,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We applaud this bipartisan group of governors for urging EPA to do the right thing and issue a waiver that would keep this lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel option on the market for American consumers this summer.”
 
At Growth Energy’s recent Executive Leadership Conference, some retailers voiced their agreement that EPA must address the 2023 waiver for them to ensure continued access to E15 for their customers. “We need regulators to provide an emergency waiver this summer to continue to offer our guests the low-cost E15 that they’ve been able to buy for years,” said Sarah Blodgett, fuel category manager at Casey’s General Stores, at the conference. “Retailers and American drivers need certainty.”



USGC Signs Ethanol MOU In Panama; USDA Undersecretary Taylor Witnesses


The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) hosted a regional seminar in Panama City, Panama, held on Mar. 21-22, that brought together critical stakeholders and high-level government officials from Central American (CTA) countries and the Dominican Republic to learn about and discuss the technical aspects, benefits and challenges of ethanol and gasoline blending in the region.

While there, the Council and the Industrial Association of Sugar Cane of Panama (AZUCALPA) signed – and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor witnessed – an ethanol memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU recognizes the importance of assessing the role and benefits of biofuels and ethanol in the promotion of economic growth, diversification of the energy matrix and decarbonization of transportation in the global energy transition to address global greenhouse gas emissions.

“This MOU bolsters economic and energy security through both domestic production and strengthening trade ties between our two nations,” said Taylor. “Ethanol blending helps countries meet their climate change goals by boosting the use of renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. I hope these benefits encourage other nations throughout the region to explore ethanol blending policies of their own.”

Participants included ministers and vice ministers from the mines and energy, environment and agriculture sectors, along with representatives from national refineries, agro-industrial industries, oil and gas, finance, logistics and transportation.

“Cultivando Energia is an incredibly impressive event that brings together like-minded individuals from across the region who can share their concerns and explore areas of collaboration in developing coherent and robust biofuels programs in their countries,” said USGC Regional Director for Latin America Marri Tejada, who signed the MOU on behalf of the Council.

“We are encouraged by the high-level of distinguished representatives at the conference, further demonstrating the interest and willingness to continue the development of ethanol use in their countries.”

The seminar - Cultivando EnergĂ­a - also included extensive discussions around ethanol’s role in the global energy transition; dispelling ethanol myths; ethanol’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction; the ethanol production chain; ethanol pathways in Latin America; and regional challenges to ethanol policy.

“We want to thank the U.S. Grains Council for organizing this seminar and for their support and accompaniment with technical, strategic and best practices contributions which have been of great value and which we are sure will continue to be of great importance for the biofuels sector in Panama,” said Rodrigo Cardenal, CEO of Grupo Calesa and President of AZUCALPA.

“As a national agricultural industry with a tradition of more than 100 years operating in Panama, we are very optimistic about implementing a national biofuel and renewable energy program. We know the direct, positive impact and benefits the program will provide in terms of creating direct and indirect employment, ensuring investments in agriculture and the impact on several communities.”

Global ethanol consumption has grown from 16 billion gallons in 2010 to more than 27 billion in 2022. CTA, with an area of 523,000 square kilometers (Km2) and a population of around 51 million, consumes on average 244 gallons of oil and oil products per person per year. Fuel consumption for transportation has increased 9.1% over the last few years, driven by an increase in population, a growing middle class and an increased vehicle ownership.



State agriculture officials celebrate National Ag Day recognizing the contribution of each state’s agriculture industry through “Feeding the Economy” report


Today on National Ag Day, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture celebrates the many contributions agriculture makes to our nation’s security and prosperity. NASDA is a proud partner of the seventh annual Feeding the Economy report revealing food and agriculture industries and their suppliers contribute over $8.6 trillion to the U.S. economy.
 
NASDA CEO Ted McKinney shared his support of the report and National Ag Day celebrations.
 
“Feeding the Economy” in concert with National Ag Day celebrates the collective impact that everyone working to grow, process and produce our food has on the economy. State departments of agriculture recognize that a thriving U.S. agricultural industry feeds our U.S. economy and nourishes the world through international trade. We’re proud that today’s report proves our industry’s continued strength across the states and around the globe,” McKinney said.
 
Learn more about the report at FeedingtheEconomy.com and celebrate National Ag Week all week long as NASDA highlights the impact of each state's agriculture and food industry on social media and NASDA members’ efforts to ensure agriculture leads the way toward a healthy and resilient world.