Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tuesday January 31 Cattle Inventory Report + Ag News


All cattle and calves in Nebraska as of January 1, 2023 totaled 6.50 million head, down 4% from January 1, 2022, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

All cows and heifers that had calved totaled 1.76 million head, down 5% from last year.

Beef cows totaled 1.70 million head, down 5% from last year.

Milk cows totaled 57,000 head, down 2% from January 1, 2022.

All heifers 500 pounds and over totaled 1.88 million head, down 4% from last year.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.45 million head, down 4% from last year.

Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 90,000 head, down 18% from last year.

Calves under 500 pounds totaled 320,000 head, unchanged from January 1, 2022.

All cattle on feed fed for slaughter in Nebraska feedlots totaled 2.78 million head, down 1% from the previous year.

The 2022 calf crop totaled 1.64 million head, down 2% from 2021.


All cattle and calves in Iowa as of January 1, 2023, totaled 3.65 million head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle report. This was down 210,000 head from January 1, 2022. Beef cows, at 860,000 head, were down 45,000 head from last year. Milk cow inventory was up 15,000 head at 240,000 head.

All heifers 500 pounds and over were down 9 percent at 790,000 head. Heifers for beef cow replacement were down 19 percent from 2022 at 130,000 head; heifers for milk cow replacement, at 120,000 head, were unchanged from the previous year; and all other heifers were down 8 percent at 540,000 head.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were down 4 percent from last year at 1.24 million head. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over were unchanged at 60,000 head. Calves under 500 pounds on January 1, 2023, totaled 460,000 head, down 10 percent from last year.

The 2022 calf crop was estimated at 1.07 million head, down 5 percent from the 2021 calf crop. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots on January 1, 2023, totaled 1.15 million head, down 2 percent from one year ago.

January 1 Cattle Inventory Down 3 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States as of January 1, 2023 totaled 89.3 million head, 3 percent below the 92.1 million head on January 1, 2022.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 38.3 million head, were 3 percent  below the 39.4 million head on January 1, 2022. Beef cows, at 28.9 million head, were down 4 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.40 million head, were up slightly from the previous year.

All heifers 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2023 totaled 19.2 million head, 4 percent below the 19.9 million head on January 1, 2022. Beef replacement heifers, at 5.16 million head, were down 6 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.34 million head, were down 2 percent from the previous year. Other heifers, at 9.67 million head, were 3 percent below a year earlier.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2023 totaled 16.1 million head, down 3 percent from January 1, 2022.

Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2023 totaled 2.03 million head, down 4 percent from January 1, 2022.

Calves under 500 pounds as of January 1, 2023 totaled 13.6 million head, down 3 percent from January 1, 2022.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 14.2 million head on January 1, 2023. The inventory is down 4 percent from the January 1, 2022 total of 14.7 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for
82.5 percent of the total cattle on feed on January 1, 2023, up 1 percent from the previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) at 25.3 million head, was 3 percent below January 1, 2022.  

Calf Crop Down 2 Percent

The 2022 calf crop in the United States was estimated at 34.5 million head, down 2 percent from the previous year's calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2022 were estimated at 25.3 million head, down 2 percent from the first half of 2021. Calves born during the second half of 2022 were estimated at 9.16 million head, 27 percent of the total 2022 calf crop.


All inventory and calf crop estimates for July 1, 2021, January 1, 2022, and July 1, 2022 were reviewed using calf crop, official slaughter, import and export data, and the relationship of new survey information to the prior surveys. Based on the findings of this review, January 1, 2022 all cattle and
calves increased by 0.2 percent and 2021 calf crop increased by 0.2 percent. July 1, 2022 all cattle and calves decreased by 0.2 percent and 2022 calf crop decreased by 0.4 percent.


All sheep and lamb inventory in Nebraska on January 1, 2023 totaled 74,000 head, up 1,000 from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Breeding sheep inventory totaled 63,000 head, up 3,000 from last year. Ewes one year and older totaled 51,000 head, up 2,000 from the previous year. Rams one year and older totaled 3,000, unchanged from last year. Replacement lambs totaled 9,000 head, up 1,000 from last year.

Market sheep and lambs totaled 11,000 head, down 2,000 from last year. A total of 1,000 head were mature sheep (one year and older) while the remaining 10,000 were under one year. Market lamb weight groups were estimated as follows: 3,500 lambs were under 65 pounds; 1,500 were 65-84 pounds; 1,500 were 85-105 pounds; 3,500 were over 105 pounds.

The 2022 lamb crop totaled 65,000 head, up 1,000 from 2021. The 2022 lambing rate was 133 per 100 ewes one year and older, compared with 128 in 2021.

Sheep deaths totaled 3,000 head, unchanged from last year. Lamb deaths totaled 7,500 head, down 500 from last year.

Sheep and lambs slaughtered on farm totaled 1,000 head, down 500 from last year. Shorn wool production during 2022 was 410,000 pounds, up 10,000 from 2021. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 58,000 head, up 2,000 from 2021. Weight per fleece was 7.1 pounds, unchanged from 2021. The average price paid for wool sold in 2022 was $0.70 per pound, compared with $0.67 in 2021. The total value of wool produced in Nebraska was 287,000 dollars in 2022.

Milk goats and kids inventory in Nebraska totaled 3,300 head, down 400 from last year.


All sheep and lambs inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2023, totaled 162,000 head, up 2,000 head from 2022, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. Total breeding stock, at 117,000 head, was 3 percent above one year ago. Market sheep and lambs decreased 2 percent from a year ago and totaled 45,000 head. The 2022 lamb crop was estimated at 120,000 head, up 4 percent from the 2021 lamb crop. Wool production for 2022 was 800,000 pounds, up 8 percent from 2021, with fleece weights averaging 5.7 pounds.

Milk goat inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2023, was 26,000 head, 7 percent below January 2022, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. Total meat and other goat inventory was 46,000 head, 12 percent above the previous year.

January 1 Sheep and Lambs Inventory Down 1 Percent

All sheep and lambs inventory in the United States on January 1, 2023 totaled 5.02 million head, down 1 percent from 2022. Breeding sheep inventory at 3.67 million head on January 1, 2023, decreased 1 percent from 3.71 million head on January 1, 2022. Ewes one year old and older, at 2.87 million head, were 1 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs on January 1, 2023 totaled 1.36 million head, unchanged from January 1, 2022. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

The 2022 lamb crop of 3.11 million head was down 2 percent from 2021. The 2022 lambing rate was 107 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on January 1, 2022, unchanged from 2021.

Shorn wool production in the United States during 2022 was 22.2 million pounds, down 1 percent from 2021. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.17 million head, down 1 percent from 2021. The average price paid for wool sold in 2022 was $1.53 per pound for a total value of 33.9 million dollars, down
11 percent from 38.2 million dollars in 2021.

Sheep death loss during 2022 totaled 205,000 head, up 3 percent from 2021. Lamb death loss increased 3 percent from 365,000 head to 375,000 head in 2022.

January 1 All Goats and Kids Inventory Down 2 Percent

All goats and kids inventory in the United States on January 1, 2023 totaled 2.51 million head, down 2 percent from 2022. Breeding goat inventory totaled 2.06 million head, down 2 percent from 2022. Does one year old and older, at 1.52 million head, were 2 percent below last year's number. Market goats and kids totaled 451,000 head, down 1 percent from a year ago.

Kid crop for 2022 totaled 1.58 million head for all goats, down 1 percent from 2021.

Meat and all other goats totaled 2.00 million head on January 1, 2023, down 1 percent from 2022. Milk goat inventory was 400,000 head, down 2 percent from January 1, 2022, while Angora goats were down 3 percent, totaling 107,000 head.

Mohair production in the United States during 2022 was 520,000 pounds. Goats and kids clipped totaled 99,000 head. Average weight per clip was 5.3 pounds. Mohair price was $6.35 per pound with a value of 3.30 million dollars.

Feed loss during storage eats away at profits

Alfredo DiCostanzo, NE Extension Beef Systems Educator

Farmers and ranchers understand that net margins in the cattle business are narrow. Long-term datasets indicate that, on average, cow-calf or feedlot operations rarely net double digit profits.  

Furthermore, farmers and ranchers understand that the main drivers of profit are cattle prices (sale or purchase), and that feed cost is dictated by corn grain and hay price, which are affected by weather events and oil prices.  This leaves two main areas of focus to manage cost: health and feed management.  Health and feed are managed to prevent loss: one is related to loss of health and subsequent loss of cattle and the other one is related to loss of feed resources and subsequent effect on feed costs.  

As weather patterns improve, effects of drought on feed and forage supply should improve crop and forage production in 2023. However, we are still dealing with the effects of the drought of 2022 on forage and grain prices.  Corn grain is trading at $7/bushel and hay, if available, is still selling for over $180/ton.  Yet, as winter gives way to spring and summer, cattle producers considering investing in improvements on the farm should focus on preventing feed loss where feed is stored, prepared or fed.

Investments in building structures to preserve grain or forage are fixed costs (interest, maintenance, insurance, and taxes) while losses resulting from poorly preserving grain or forage are variable costs, which are extremely difficult to quantify.  Because of this, investments in storage structures tend to be put off (until a “good year” comes around).  This promise to self is seldom followed through.  

What is intriguing about this attitude towards investing in preserving feed resources is that even some large cattle feeding operations feel this way.  A national survey of cattle feedlots conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture National Animal Health Monitoring System reported that out of 403 feedlots with capacities above 1,000 head 61% (8,000 head or more) or 64% (1,000 to 7,999 head) did not have storage structures for hay.  Similarly, 31% (8,000 head or more) and 35% (1,000 to 7,999 head) of feedlots surveyed did not cover silage piles.  Interestingly, 13.6% of feedlots under 7,999 head and 8.5% of feedlots over 8,000 head did not protect corn grain.  A total of 403 feedlots were included in this survey (237 with capacity under 8,000 head and 166 with capacity over 8,000 head).  There were no regional differences observed in attitude toward storage of corn grain, hay or silage.  Although one might conclude that inventory and use of these commodities at cattle feedlots is large and it turns over fast, exposing feed to environmental conditions, even for a short time, can lead to substantial losses.

Hay loss (dry matter) from round bales stored outside with the flat side of the bales facing north-to-south was 14%.  Facing bales east to west reduced losses to 10%, covering bales stored on pallets with a tarp reduced losses to nearly the same proportion as that observed when storing bales in a barn (3%).  

Similarly, leaving silage piles uncovered led to 34% in dry matter losses.  Even when using 6-mil plastic cover, silage dry matter losses reached 12%.  

For a 100-cow operation that must meet a hay feeding requirement of 6,000 lb of dry matter in a year with hay price at $150/ton of dry matter ($176/ton), reducing hay loss from 14% to 3% (11%) would save that operation $4,950 a year.  A hay barn (100’ x 60’) with an initial cost to build of $65,000 financing $50,000 for 20 years, including 3% in annual maintenance, and 1% in annual insurance and tax would cost this cow-calf operation $5,193 ($2,593 interest, $1,950 maintenance, and $650 insurance and tax).  This is really a break-even proposition considering that this barn will likely last over 20 years providing additional years of hay preservation.

The case for covering silage piles is a bit different. A reduction of 20% in dry matter losses from corn silage put up using $7/bushel corn grain ($70/ton as is or $200/ton of dry matter) easily pays for the plastic, labor to cover, and cost to remove and dispose of plastic ($40/ton of dry matter).  Applying this reduction in losses to a feedlot using corn silage to feed 100 head space of cattle for a year at a rate of 10 lb dry matter daily (182 ton of dry matter) would save 36 ton of corn silage dry matter ($1,460).  The cost of 6-mil plastic sheeting to cover 182 ton of silage would be well under $1,000.

In the case of preserving silage, the loss of dry matter resulting from not covering the material is sufficiently high to justify using plastic covers.  Based on other research results, use of limestone, other feeds or soil instead of plastic is not justified.  

In the case of preserving hay, one might be inclined to consider use of gravel beds or pallets (depending on cattle inventory) and tarps as a step before considering building a barn to store hay.  In many cases, sheer cattle inventory might make building sufficient hay storage space impossible.  

In the weeks to come, I will review the economics of preserving feed where the diet is prepared or delivered.  Considerations of feed loss during mixing and delivery have implications beyond the loss of dry matter itself:  mixing and delivery losses also affect performance.

Chvatal Named as Executive Director of the Nebraska Soybean Board

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is pleased to announce that Andy Chvatal has been named as executive director of NSB, effective Monday, January 30, 2023.

In his position, Chvatal will work on behalf of the state’s soybean farmers and contribute to the mission of NSB, which is to grow value for Nebraska farmers by maximizing their checkoff investments. Chvatal will work to meet NSB's goals through the leadership of strategic programming in the areas of farmer support, production research, community engagement and demand. He will direct program development, maintain and establish partnerships, and oversee fiscal and contract management.

Prior to joining NSB, Andy spent eight years as an ag advisor for Frontier Cooperative, overseeing other advisors and assisting farmers with agronomic inputs and new technology. Previous to his career with Frontier Cooperative, Andy spent four years working in industry relations with NSB. In addition to agribusiness experience, Chvatal also farms with his family near Malmo, Nebraska.

“I am excited to welcome Andy Chvatal as our new executive director,” said Doug Saathoff, NSB chairman and farmer from Trumbull. “Andy brings great talent, knowledge and a true passion for Nebraska farmers and the entire agricultural industry. He will be a major asset to our organization and will effectively lead the board and staff, ensuring that the Nebraska Soybean Board remains at the forefront of innovation and industry advancements.”

Chvatal grew up on a diversified farm near Malmo where his family continues to raise corn and soybeans and manages a breeding heifer operation. He attended Bishop Neumann Catholic High School in Wahoo followed by Nebraska Wesleyan University where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“I am very honored to be back and working on behalf of Nebraska soybean farmers,” said Andy Chvatal, new NSB executive director. “We will make sure the checkoff remains a great investment by continuing to maintain relevance for today’s progressive farmers, while also balancing the needs of the evolving consumer. The staff and board of directors share a strong passion for agriculture, and I’m excited to bring my experiences and ideas to this team.”

Chvatal started his role on January 30. He can be contacted and welcomed at andy@nebraskasoybeans.org.

Flood Control Plan Approved for Saunders County

Recently, the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District (NRD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) approved the Upper Wahoo Creek Watershed Plan to protect the lives, property, and the future of Nebraskans.

“NRCS is happy to partner with local sponsors like the Lower Platte North NRD to provide funding to address flood control needs,” said Nebraska State Conservationist Rob Lawson. “This watershed plan will help prevent the flooding seen in the watershed for years.”

The Upper Wahoo Creek Watershed Plan focuses on constructing 10 floodwater-reduction dams within a 100-square-mile-area in the Wahoo Creek Watershed, generally located west of Wahoo, in Saunders County. This is the first Watershed Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) plan approved in Nebraska since funding for watershed operations was reestablished by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2017.

Lower Platte North NRD directors considered several potential methods to control flooding in the watershed, including levees, wetland storage, conversion of cropland, raising roads and bridges, building small or large structures, and wet and dry dams. The $19.7 million project includes 10 wet dams on sites south of Prague, west of Weston and west of Wahoo.

“Our district selected sites that have the greatest potential to reduce flood damages to agriculture, county roads and bridges, urban land, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife and aquatic habitats,” said Eric Gottschalk, Lower Platte North NRD general manager.

In addition to the Nebraska NRCS WFPO funding, the Lower Platte North NRD received funding for the Wahoo Creek Watershed from the Nebraska Legislature in 2022.

“This project provides a critical link in reducing flood damages in the Wahoo Creek Watershed,” Gottschalk said. “After many years of planning, it is satisfying to see all components come together for completion by the end of 2026.”

New Leadership for NE Pork Producers

Mark Wright of Fremont, Nebraska has been elected President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) at a director’s meeting held on January 19, 2023. Connor Livingston, Director of Sites and Mill Operations for Livingston Enterprise based in Fairbury was elected at President-Elect and Ryan Priester, a producer from Humphrey was elected as Vice President. Jared Lierman of Beemer will continue to serve as Past President.

Wright is the Assistant Manager of the Nebraska division for the Wiechman Pig Company and the Animal Handling and Welfare Coordinator. Mark along with his wife Jennifer and daughter Olivia reside in Fremont. With over 30 years in the pork industry, Wright brings a comprehensive background to the leadership role. First elected to the NPPA board in 2020, Mark was placed into the officer’s rotation as vice president in 2021. He was part of the 2020 National Pork Leadership Institute, has represented producers in Washington, D.C. as a participant in the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Legislative Action Conference (LAC), served as a delegate to the National Pork Forum.  Represented Nebraska pork producers on a trade mission to Columbia with then Lt. Governor Mike Foley in 2022.

Mark will be traveling to Monterrey Mexico in late February on a trade mission with the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Mexico is the largest destination for U.S. pork exports. During the 4-day trade mission, Mark will gain an understanding of Mexico’s market dynamics, have market briefings, tour retail outlets to view USMEF activities and merchandising techniques. and take part in promoting U.S. pork at Expo Carnes, the largest meat industry trade show in Mexico.

As NPPA President, Mark, “stated that his goals are, to promote the pork industry at the local, state, national, and international levels and to ensure that NPPA is a resource to help Nebraska pork producers be successful now and in the future. I also want to extend my appreciation to NPPA’s Past Presidents for advancing our mission and continually telling our story. Their service to the industry has been invaluable. I am honored to serve the pork industry in Nebraska as President in 2023.”  


United, Tallgrass, and Green Plains Form Joint Venture to Develop New Sustainable Aviation Fuel Technology Using Ethanol

United Airlines, Tallgrass, and Green Plains Inc. today announced a new joint venture – Blue Blade Energy – to develop and then commercialize a novel Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) technology that uses ethanol as its feedstock. If the technology is successful, Blue Blade is expected to proceed with the construction of a pilot facility in 2024, followed by a full-scale facility that could begin commercial operations by 2028. The offtake agreement could provide for enough SAF to fly more than 50,000 flights annually between United's hub airports in Chicago and Denver.

Blue Blade's new SAF technology was developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a leading center for technological innovation in sustainable energy. SAF, which uses non-petroleum feedstock, is a low-carbon alternative to traditional jet fuel that offers up to 85% lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

"The production and use of SAF is the most effective and scalable tool the airline industry has to reduce carbon emissions and United continues to lead the way," said United Airlines Ventures President Michael Leskinen. "This new joint venture includes two expert collaborators that have the experience to construct and operate large-scale infrastructure, as well as the feedstock supply necessary for success. Once operational, Blue Blade Energy has the potential to create United's largest source of SAF providing up to 135 million gallons of fuel annually."

United, Tallgrass, and Green Plains will each provide their unique industry expertise to help develop the joint venture. Under this collaborative approach:
    Tallgrass will manage research and development of the technology, including pilot plant development, and will manage the construction of the production facility.
    Green Plains will supply the low-carbon ethanol feedstock, and use its ethanol industry expertise to manage operations once the pilot facility is constructed.
    United Airlines will assist with SAF development, fuel certification and into-wing logistics, and has also agreed to purchase up to 2.7 billion gallons of SAF produced from the joint venture.

"At Tallgrass, we are striving to innovate how we deliver the energy that powers our nation and enables our quality of life," said Alison Nelson, Vice President, Business Development at Tallgrass. "Air travel uniquely connects people and improves lives, and the advancement of this novel SAF technology presents a meaningful opportunity to reduce emissions from aviation.  We are excited to partner with industry leaders United Airlines and Green Plains on this initiative."

If the technology is commercialized, the location of Blue Blade's initial plant would allow easy access to low-carbon feedstock from Green Plains' Midwest ethanol production facilities. While the initial SAF facility intends to use ethanol, the technology has the capability to work with any alcohol-based feedstock as its fuel source.

"Our transformation to a true decarbonized biorefinery model has positioned Green Plains to help our customers and partners reduce the carbon intensity of their products by producing low-carbon proteins, oils, sugars and now decarbonized ethanol to be used in SAF," said Todd Becker, President and CEO of Green Plains. "This partnership with world class organizations like United Airlines and Tallgrass, shows the value creation that is possible with our low-carbon platform. The potential impact of this project is a gamechanger for US agriculture, aligning a strong farm economy and a robust aviation transport industry focused on decarbonizing our skies."

Blue Blade Energy marks one of the largest direct investments from United Airlines Ventures (UAV), United's corporate venture arm, into SAF. Launched in 2021, UAV targets startups, upcoming technologies, and sustainability concepts that will complement United's goal of net zero emissions by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets. United has aggressively pursued strategic investments in SAF producers and revolutionary technologies including carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft and air taxis.

UNL students participate in Nebraska Beef Leadership Experience

Six University of Nebraska-Lincoln students participated in the Nebraska Beef Leadership Experience January 16 through 19. This is the first time the Nebraska Beef Council has held this event, which offered many different opportunities to the students involved to help them better understand and promote the beef industry.

Kylie Dierks of Hastings, TaraLee Hudson of Belvidere, Laura Reiling of Lincoln, Amber Staab of Ord, Chaylee Tonniges of Gresham, and Abigayle Warm of Staplehurst spent the week in and around Kearney experiencing new sectors of the beef industry they had, for the most part, not been exposed to before. Through the experience, the students earned a digital badge from UNL which will be applied to their school transcripts.

“The students were delightful to get to know and work with throughout the week. I feel very confident in the future of our industry because they all care deeply about beef from the ranch to the plate,” said Ann Marie Bosshammer, executive director of the Nebraska Beef Council. “I believe the experience gave them an excellent perspective of the Beef Checkoff, its programs, and how vast the beef industry really reaches around the globe.”

During the week-long event, the students participated in a grocery store tour and visited the US Meat Animal Research Center. The students also met with the Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors, sat in on a board meeting, and listened to a multitude of speakers address current issues facing the beef industry. During a hands-on activity, the group shopped for ingredients and then spent time in the kitchen learning how to prepare beef as part of a healthy diet.

Amber Staab, a Junior studying agribusiness, has her own direct to consumer beef business. Staab says she enjoyed learning more about what the Nebraska Beef Council does.

“I've always been super passionate about the beef industry, I grew up on a cow calf operation, and in the beef industry is where I want to end up after college,” said Staab.  “So, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to network and learn more about the Beef Council, and that it would really help me in my future.”

Chaylee Tonniges, a Junior majoring in animal science, says she has a newfound respect for the board of directors after seeing what they do. Tonniges plans to work as a business intern at Merck this summer and has started her own herd of Red Angus cattle.

“I knew that this was going to be a great learning opportunity and a way to expand my knowledge of the industry,” said Tonniges. “It’s been really neat to see how an actual board meeting operates and that it's driven by volunteer producers.”

For more information and to learn more about the Nebraska Beef Council, visit www.nebeef.org.

Iowa Pork Regional Conferences are Feb. 20-23

There will be four one-day educational conferences for pig farmers that will be held across the state, Feb. 20-23. The conferences are planned and supported by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC). Pig farmers are invited to register and attend one of the four events.

The conference locations are:
    Monday, Feb. 20 – Orange City at the Sioux County Extension Office, 400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700
    Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Webster City at the Briggs Woods Conference Center, 2501 Briggs Woods Trail
    Wednesday, Feb. 22 – Nashua at the Borlaug Learning Center, 3327 290th St.
    Thursday, Feb. 23 – Washington at the Washington County Extension Office, 2223 250th St.

In addition to the regional conference program that runs from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. each day, a separate morning session from 9 a.m. to noon will provide Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus® training. The PQA Plus training is sponsored by IPPA and provided by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Producers can attend one or both sessions.

There are four topics for the afternoon sessions.
    European ASF Report – Producers and veterinarians will talk about African swine fever (ASF) herd management in different European countries. The information is the result of a trip was organized by the National Pork Board last fall.
    Economic Issues Update – ISU Extension Livestock Economist Dr. Lee Schulz will give an overview of economic activity that will impact pig farmers.
    Heat Stress Research & Strategies to Mitigate It – Dr. Brett Ramirez of ISU’s Ag & Biosystems Engineering, will talk about studies for improving barn ventilation, as well as strategies to reduce heat stress.
    The Value of Manure – the Extension Ag Engineer for the area will discuss ISU’s manure research and the information that can help you determine it’s value.

“Topics for the conferences were determined by the farmer members of the IPPA producer education committee. They partnered with IPIC to identify relevant speakers on the topics,” says Cory Van Gilst, IPPA producer outreach director.

Check-in starts 30 minutes before the start of each part of the day. Pre-register for the conference and/or PQA Plus certification training to ensure adequate materials are available to all. To pre-register:
    Go online to IowaPork.org/IPPA-Regional-Conferences; or
    Call IPPA at (800) 372-7675; or
    Email croepke@iowapork.org.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to Receive RFA’s 2023 Industry Award

The Renewable Fuels Association is proud to announce that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will visit the upcoming National Ethanol Conference to receive the RFA’s annual Industry Award, the ethanol industry’s highest honor. Each year, the award is presented to an individual or entity who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the renewable fuels industry and the value-added agriculture sector. Gov. Reynolds’ accomplishments and determined leadership on renewable fuel and farm policy issues made her the obvious choice for this year’s award, according to RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

“Gov. Reynolds has always been a leading voice and champion for renewable fuels and farmers, but her remarkable efforts in 2022 went above and beyond,” Cooper said. “She led a bipartisan group of Midwest governors in a groundbreaking effort to secure air quality improvements and year-round E15 in their states. Last year, she also charted the course for passage of the ‘Biofuels Bill,’ which established the first statewide E15 standard in the country. Under Gov. Reynolds leadership, Iowa continues to set an excellent example for other states to follow on lower-cost, lower-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol. We are honored to welcome Gov. Reynolds to the National Ethanol Conference so we can personally present her with this well-deserved award.”

In 2018, Gov. Reynolds was the first woman elected to her state’s highest office, and she was re-elected to a second term last November by an overwhelming margin. Iowa is the leading producer of ethanol in the United States and recently broke its annual production record, with 4.5 billion gallons produced in 2022. Last year, Reynolds signed HF2128, the Biofuels Bill, making Iowa the first state in the nation to adopt an E15 standard and expanding access to higher blends of ethanol. She also rallied a bipartisan group of governors together to notify EPA of their intent to allow the E15 blend to be sold year-round.

The National Ethanol Conference is the nation’s most widely attended executive-level conference for the ethanol industry, taking place February 28 to March 2 at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.

Since 2010, winners of the RFA Industry Award include ethanol industry pioneers Ron Fagen, Dave VanderGriend, and Ron Miller; the first E15 retailer in the country, Scott Zaremba; technology innovators Gerson Santos-Leon and Quad County Corn Processors; outstanding industry advocates Ron Alverson, Neil Koehler, East Kansas Agri-Energy, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, and the National Corn Growers Association; and political champions former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and former Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson.

USDA Continues Laying Foundation for More and Better Markets with Launch of Pilot Cattle Contracts Library

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched its pilot Cattle Contracts Library today at Noon Eastern Time on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Cattle Contract Library webpage. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 directed USDA to create a pilot library to increase market transparency for cattle producers. This pilot library will provide new disclosure to the industry and public regarding the key terms, conditions, and volumes under which cattle are contracted, bringing sunshine to practices in what is now the largest part of the cattle market. This will empower cattle producers to negotiate better terms, more carefully monitor risks relating to marketing preferences and pricing practices, and ultimately take better advantage of market opportunities to produce cattle that the market demands.

“USDA is committed to creating a more level playing field for cattle producers and a more balanced, equitable economy for everyone working in food and agriculture,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The Cattle Contracts Library Pilot Program supports this commitment by providing producers with the market information they need to make informed production, marketing, and business decisions.”

“With this Cattle Contract Library pilot, America’s ranchers will enjoy an exciting new window into market opportunities and trends in cattle contracts, one of the most critical parts of the cattle marketplace,” said USDA’s Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Transparency is the foundation of fair and competitive markets and critical for producers seeking to grow economic opportunities. As we continue to lay the groundwork for more and better markets, USDA looks forward to working with all stakeholders and Congress to enable this pilot library to deliver meaningful and lasting value to producers.”

The library will have the same look and feel as the working library model developed and shared with stakeholders last year but will now be populated with information from active contracts. Packers that slaughtered an average of not less than five percent of the number of fed cattle slaughtered nationally during the immediately preceding five calendar years were required to submit this information to AMS, as outlined in a final rule published Dec. 7, 2022, and that became effective on Jan. 6, 2023.

The initial release of the library will allow users to browse a range of terms and information contained in active contracts used for the purchase of fed cattle. In addition to active contracts in use, the library will provide information on terms most commonly used in cattle contracts, such as base price determination, base price adjustments and selling basis options; contract specifications for such things as quality, yield, breed, weight, delivery, financing, profit/risk-sharing, and more (where present in a contract); and the full range of premiums and discounts used in final price determination.

Upcoming enhancements to the library will display information on the number of head of cattle moving through current contracts defined by contract base price source, including the actual numbers for the prior month and estimates for the current month. Additionally, volume information by contract specification for quality, breed, weight, source-verified and others will provide users with information about how often each specification is used. During the term of the pilot, AMS expects to further enhance transparency through additional reports and features as they are developed, subject to confidentiality.

With the library, producers will be able to see a much more complete picture of marketing practices and trends, including upcoming volumes. This transparency will empower producers to take advantage of new economic opportunities, improve their marketing strategies, and manage risks relating to contractual terms including pricing references on which they rely. AMS will conduct a series of meetings and webinars in the coming weeks and months to help stakeholders understand how to use the pilot library. The first webinar is scheduled for February 8, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. ET. Details on that webinar, and all other information related to the pilot, can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/livestock-poultry-grain/cattle-contracts-library.

NCBA Statement on Launch of the Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program

Today, NCBA Senior Director of Government Affairs Tanner Beymer released the following statement on the launch of the Cattle Contract Library pilot program:

"We have been looking forward to the launch of the Cattle Contract Library pilot program and will review the product to determine if its current format provides value to cattle producers. We will continue engaging with officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and providing feedback on this resource.”

United States Establishes Second USMCA Dispute Panel on Canadian Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Policies

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced that the United States is establishing a dispute settlement panel under the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) regarding Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quota (TRQ) allocation measures. In this new panel proceeding, the United States is challenging Canada’s revised dairy TRQ allocation measures that use a market-share approach for determining TRQ allocations, and impose new conditions effectively prohibiting retailers, food service operators, and other types of importers from utilizing TRQ allocations.  Through these measures, Canada undermines the market access it agreed to provide in the USMCA.

“Although the United States won a previous USMCA dispute on Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation policies, the Canadian government’s revised measures have not fixed the problem,” Ambassador Katherine Tai said.  “With this panel request, we are utilizing our available tools to enforce our trade agreements and ensure that U.S. workers, farmers, processors, and exporters receive the full benefits of the USMCA.  Canada made commitments to the United States in the USMCA, and the Biden-Harris Administration is ensuring that they honor those commitments.”  

“Canada is a valued and important trading partner, but they continue to fall short of their USMCA obligations by denying U.S. dairy producers and exporters fair access to the Canadian market,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “International trade is critical to economic growth and stability for American producers. This panel request is necessary to ensure Canada honors their commitments as they relate to dairy, and so American producers have greater export opportunities as intended.”

The United States has raised concerns under the USMCA previously about Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures.  In December 2021, a USMCA dispute settlement panel found Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures to be inconsistent with Canada’s USMCA obligations.  In response to the adverse findings of the panel, Canada introduced changes to its TRQ allocation measures, but these new policies are still inconsistent with Canada’s obligations under the USMCA.  

In May 2022, the United States requested consultations with Canada to address its updated dairy TRQ allocation measures.  In December 2022, the United States again requested consultations with Canada after identifying additional areas of deep concern with Canada’s dairy TRQ polices. The Parties held consultations on January 17, 2023, but were not able to resolve the matter.  This is the second panel request that the Biden Administration has filed under Chapter 31 (Dispute Settlement) of the USMCA, specifically Article 31.6.1.  Under the USMCA’s revised dispute settlement procedures, the panel is established upon delivery of the request (Article 31.6.4).  Under the timeline provided in the USMCA, the panel is expected to issue a report later this year.  

USTR officials have worked closely with staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on this matter, and both agencies will continue working together, in consultation with stakeholders, to obtain Canada’s full compliance with its USMCA dairy commitments.


This panel request is the most recent in a series of enforcement actions the United States has taken under the USMCA.  

In July 2022, the United States requested USMCA dispute settlement consultations with Mexico concerning certain measures by Mexico that undermine American companies and U.S.-produced energy in favor of Mexico’s state-owned electrical utility, CFE, and state-owned oil and gas company, PEMEX.  Those consultations are ongoing.   

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the United States has initiated the USMCA Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) six times, seeking review by the Government of Mexico for alleged denial of rights at facilities in Mexico, including a request sent to Mexico yesterday.  In addition, the U.S. Government engaged with Mexico to highlight issues at two other facilities prior to invoking the mechanism.  Each of the concluded actions resulted in outcomes that are producing important, concrete results for workers, such as reinstatement and backpay for dismissed workers, increased opportunities for unions to organize and compete on equal footing, and monitoring of union representation elections, in which workers selected unions to represent them in free and fair elections.  

In February 2022, the United States launched consultations with Mexico under the USMCA Environment Chapter regarding Mexico’s obligations to effectively enforce its fisheries-related laws, regulations, and other measures designed to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Upper Gulf of California, to prevent trafficking of protected species such as the totoaba fish, and to protect and conserve the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.  Those consultations are ongoing.  

Also, on three occasions, Ambassador Tai has requested Mexico’s cooperation under the bilateral Environment Cooperation and Customs Verification Agreement between the United States and Mexico (CVA) and Mexico agreed to work jointly with the United States on environmental enforcement matters.  

These enforcement actions reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing commitment to enforce the USMCA and to ensure that U.S. trade policy works for America’s workers.

U.S. Dairy Praises USTR Move to Hold Canada Responsible for USMCA Violations

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) commended today’s announcement that the U.S. Trade Representative has formally moved to advance a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute settlement proceeding and establish a second panel to determine whether Canada has been in violation of its market access obligations under the agreement.

Canada’s unwillingness to abide by the tariff-rate quota provisions of USMCA has been an issue since the agreement’s implementation began. The United States won its first dispute panel on the matter in Dec. 2021, which found that Canada was reserving most of its preferential dairy TRQs for Canadian processors that have little incentive to import product. Canada’s revised approach to USMCA TRQs, released in May, also provided inequitable advantages to Canadian processors.

“Canada’s TRQ allocation system is not only a violation of USMCA -- it directly harms American dairy farmers, processors, and other workers by unfairly restricting access to their market,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “USTR’s action is an important step in righting this wrong and sending a message that the U.S. will fight violations of trade deals in Canada and wherever else they may be committed.”

“The U.S. dairy community greatly appreciates the Biden Administration’s decision to prioritize steps to address Canada’s USMCA violations,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Unfortunately, Canada has shown a pattern of not living up to the dairy commitments it has made in trade agreements. As long as they continue to drag their feet, we’ll continue to work with USTR and USDA to fight back, and propose retaliatory action if necessary.”

If the panel ultimately confirms that Canada has been violating its obligations under USMCA, the U.S. would be granted the right to impose retaliatory duties should Canada fail to fix its unfair TRQ administrative practices.

Canada Must Abide by USMCA Dairy Commitments

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the latest U.S. Trade Representative investigation into Canadian dairy imports.

“We’re pleased USTR continues to put pressure on Canada to live up to its commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. America’s hardworking dairy farmers deserve the opportunity to sell their products to Canada, but they have run into persistent roadblocks.

“We appreciate Trade Representative Tai for her work to enforce the tariff-quota provisions of the trade agreement. We value Canada as a trading partner, but its leaders must honor the agreement to ensure Canada’s families have choices at the supermarket, and America’s farm families have fair access to markets.”

Commodity Classic Announces Registration Is Up 28% Over 2022 Event

Farmers across the country are getting excited for the 2023 Commodity Classic, which has just announced registration is up 28% over last year’s event in New Orleans.

The 2023 Commodity Classic will be held March 9-11 in Orlando. Attendees can register for all three days of the event; single-day passes are also available.

Attendee surveys indicate that networking with other farmers is one of the top reasons producers enjoy Commodity Classic. Hallway conversations and in-person connections are an important part of the educational experience at Commodity Classic as farmers share their knowledge, passion, and insight with colleagues from across the nation.

“We saw near-record attendance the last time the event was held in Orlando in 2019, and our registrations this year are already up 28% over last year,” said George Goblish, a Minnesota farmer, ASA member, and co-chair of the 2023 Commodity Classic. “Thousands of America’s best farmers from across the nation love Commodity Classic because we share a passion for agriculture, a thirst for knowledge, and we’re all interested in how we can make our farms more profitable. Learning little improvements we can make to help save money down the line really adds to the value of attending Commodity Classic.”

“Striking up conversations with other farmers is one of the most valuable aspects of Commodity Classic,” added Kenny Hartman, an Illinois farmer, NCGA member, and fellow 2023 co-chair. “Everywhere you look, you’ll see other farmers who are just as serious about their operation as you are. There’s just nothing like those in-person conversations, and there’s no better place to have them than at Commodity Classic.”

The 2023 Commodity Classic includes an impressive lineup of educational sessions, inspiring speakers, a huge trade show, entertainment, and a wide range of technology, innovation, and agronomic information.  Discover more and register online at CommodityClassic.com.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience. It is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Merck Animal Health Announces Results of Consumer Transparency Research Study

Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside of the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), announced today the results of the company’s first-ever consumer transparency research study, finding that two-thirds of consumers say transparency in animal protein is extremely or very important.

     The consumer transparency study focused on consumers’ growing interest in transparency and its importance in their purchasing decisions and brand trust. The study explored consumer desire for transparency in animal protein, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy, and their perceptions of industry transparency when it comes to animal welfare and sustainability. It also looked at the interplay of transparency and traceability and consumers’ willingness to pay for transparency label claims.

     “The survey results tell us consumers want more information than ever in order to make informed decisions about the food they put on their dinner tables,” said Allison Flinn, DVM, Executive Director, Value Chain and Consumer Affairs, Merck Animal Health. "We work to be the industry leader in improving animal health through our biopharmaceutical and technology portfolio solutions, and we also have the technology that can provide greater transparency and allow consumers to make informed decisions. In fact, our DNA TRACEBACK® technology, which uses nature’s bar code – DNA – with data analytics, provides an evidence-based animal protein traceability solution to accurately trace meat and seafood that is verifiable from farm-to-table to help build trust in food labels.”

     The DNA TRACEBACK platform is the most advanced meat traceability solution and the leading technology on the market that verifies the exact origin of meat products for the food producer, food retailer and consumer. Each animal in the program is DNA sampled so that in every stage of the production chain – from the farm gate, the processing plant and right through to the restaurant plate – the exact origin of meat or seafood is verified. A sample of each animal’s DNA code is captured at slaughter and assigned a unique barcode number. This DNA number is then linked to the animal and can be traced through the supply chain all the way to individual cuts of meat served in restaurants.

Study Methodology
     The consumer transparency study surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who represent the U.S. shopper. The study defined transparency as knowing how food was grown, raised, and made. Traceability was defined as knowing where foods come from, or more specifically, being able to follow the movement of food products and ingredients through the supply chain. Highlights from the study include:
    Two-thirds or 66% of consumers reported transparency in animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs and dairy) is extremely or very important and the reasons are personal – health and nutrition top the list;
    86% of consumers who reported transparency is important also rank traceability as extremely/very important and 40% of those consumers also want to know where the livestock comes from;
    Over 50% of consumers surveyed reported they were willing to pay a 5% premium for transparency on the label and want more information than ever about how their food is grown and raised to make informed decisions at the grocery store;
    High-transparency seekers, or those who consider transparency most important to their purchasing decisions and are willing to pay for it on the label, are typically millennial, non-Caucasian, educated males who live in urban areas with their children – and they do the grocery shopping;
    Environmental sustainability and animal welfare are important animal protein purchase considerations with 55% surveyed reporting environmental sustainability as very/extremely important and 66% reporting animal care/treatment as extremely important/very important.

     “Sustainability, nutrition, food safety, and animal welfare are all topics consumers want to know more about, and we know greater transparency builds trust,” said Dr. Flinn. “Consumers also want to know the brands they buy from are transparent, and this research provides insights into how farmers, ranchers, food brands, and allied industry partners like Merck Animal Health can collaborate to meet their expectations.”


Ag Silo has launched its farming equipment marketplace to help farmers buy and sell equipment without high buyer or auction fees. The service makes it easier for farmers to find equipment outside their city and state.

"From Lincoln to Lubbock, we heard about farmers’ struggles with equipment auctions and hefty fees," said CEO and Co-Founder of Ag Silo Martyn Gross. "We created Ag Silo to provide a better option for America's farmers, who are the backbone of this country."

Ag Silo's online platform features competitive pricing nationwide.

"Ag Silo is not an auction site, but instead aims to keep more money in farmers’ pockets," said Gross. "Farmers see the value in our pricing transparency and model; we already have $20 million in inventory listed on Ag Silo.”

Buyers and sellers can compare farm equipment prices across the country, which includes shipping costs.

"Farmers have needed a way to leverage the internet to market their equipment at reasonable fees for years,” said Mike Ratke, a farmer from Farwell, Texas.  “Ag Silo does that. Finally, someone that cares about ag.”

Ag Silo does not charge a buyer's fee; sellers pay a 4% fee on items sold.

For more information, visit agsilo.com.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday January 30 Ag News

Heifers on Feed Indicate Long-Term Liquidation Still Occurring 
Elliott Dennis - UNL Assistant Professor and Livestock Marketing Economist

Beef cow herd liquidation occurred in a significant way in 2022 due to a combination of strong lean beef demand, higher cull cow prices, and forage issues due to drought. Fewer cows results in fewer feeder cattle, tightening supplies for fed cattle, and ultimately lower beef production in 2023. The USDA-NASS Cattle Inventory report is released at the end of this January and analysts' estimates for beef cow reduction are in the 3-4% range. This will directly affect feeder cattle numbers in 2023.  

A herd of 100 cows with 90% breeding efficiency and non-sexed semen would be expected to have about 90 feeder cattle to sell (45 steers and 45 heifers). On average, cows stay in a herd for about five years so this herd would be expected to have sold 20 cows in 2022. To maintain long-term feeder cattle output, the herd must either retain or buy 20 heifers that will be bred in the coming year. Producers make tradeoffs between either selling or retaining more heifers. Selling more heifer calves today will lower future feeder cattle production but increase operational income today whereas retaining more heifers will decrease current income while increasing future feeder cattle production. Thus, feeder cattle production in 2023 is a result of both heifer retention and cull cow sale decisions during 2022. The USDA-NASS Cattle Inventory report released at the end of January will indicate how many heifers were held back in herds. This will primarily affect feeder cattle numbers in 2024. 

Each quarter, in addition to their monthly cattle on feed report, USDA-NASS releases the total number of cattle, steers, and heifers on feed for the US and 13 primary states. During periods of contraction, heifer placements into feedlots, as a percentage of total cattle on feed, is high and during periods of herd rebuilding, it is low. Currently, that percentage is 39.74% - the highest percentage since 2002. This is the first indicator that heifer replacements will decrease in 2023. 

Combining the historical quarterly percentage of heifers on feed and cattle inventory report can provide an indicator of how many heifers will be held back for replacement in the 2023 report. If the percentage of heifers on feed during 2022 is high, then we could expect a decrease in the number of heifers retained for breeding in 2023. This relationship and implies that the change in heifer retention could be approximately a 4-4.5% decrease in the January Cattle Inventory report. 

But what indicator is there that this trend of heifers on feed will continue in the future? Each week the USDA-AMS releases a summary report of all the feeder cattle that are sold by weight, sex, and marketing method. Using this we can see the trend of heifers weighing more than 600 lbs. that are sold throughout the US. After accounting for historical seasonal changes, the trend of increasing heifers as a percentage of cattle on feed should be slowing. This trend began to shift in the latter part of 2022. This provides some evidence that while heifers held back for replacement may be lower in the January 2023 Cattle Inventory report, herd rebuilding could begin to occur seriously during 2023. However, the true extent of the rebuilding likely depends on the weather, overall beef demand, and input costs. 

So what does the combined effect of accelerated beef cow harvest and reduced heifer replacement decisions mean for herd liquation and prices received? In short, the supply of feeder cattle should be less in 2023 compared to 2022. The CME futures seems to support this idea with Fall 2022 deferred contracts trading in the $200-210’s range. For places like Nebraska which generally has a +6.00 basis in the Fall for 700-900 lb. steers, expected cash prices are projected to be approximately $210-220. For context, 700-900 lb. steers sold between October-December in Nebraska averaged approximately $169 per cwt. in 2013, $240 per cwt. in 2014, $181 per cwt. in 2015, and $185 per cwt. in 2022. 


– Todd Whitney, NE Extension Educator  

Ground Hog Day (Feb. 2) pegs the mid-point of winter; so now may be a good time to inventory your remaining hay and forage. Remember you can’t effectively manage; what you do not measure.

Do you have enough hay and forage to last the remainder of winter? Your final answer may depend on weather factors beyond your control such as heavy snow cover impacting pasture grazing? Will your pastures still need extra early season rest due to previous drought?

When making your feed management decisions, consider using ‘best case’ and ‘worst case’ scenarios.

Focus on completing a thorough inventory, account for all feed resources; even counting all bales available. Calculate remaining bunker silage. Also, estimate remaining forage grazing and assign economic values.

Compare what feed resources you have versus what your herd may need. For example, a 200 head lactating cow herd average cow size of 1,200 pounds will need about 3.2 tons of hay per day (not accounting for waste).

Focus on making the best use of your feed resources. Would it be financially beneficial to sell extra highest quality forage and feed the rest? If mild winter conditions continue, selling your higher value forage could generate more cashflow toward paying taxes and land payments. On the flip side, if your feed reserves are too low, will you need to cull your cow herd more and/or buy more forage.

If your cows are thin, consider the opposite; sell your lower quality forage and feed your higher quality.

Thin condition score cows need more protein and energy to keep from dropping body condition and maintaining their milk production.

If you need assistance managing your remaining feed resources and evaluating your hay and forage needs, Nebraska Extension educational resources are available online at: cropwatch.unl.edu and beef.unl.edu.  

Congressman Flood and House Republicans Slam Biden WOTUS Overreach

U.S. Congressman Mike Flood, along with more than 190 House Republicans, slammed President Biden’s final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule which dramatically expands federal oversight of America’s waterways. For almost a decade now, regulatory uncertainty and litigation have surrounded the scope of federal authority over our nation’s waterways as the Obama Administration and now Biden Administration have repeatedly attempted to expand the federal government’s power.

“The American people deserve certainty and an assurance that existing rules and regulations will not fluctuate with the threat of criminal penalties and significant financial hardship for failing to abide by the ever-changing rules,” wrote the members of Congress in their letter to the Biden Administration. “This new WOTUS definition will only increase regulatory uncertainty and worsen conditions for farmers, ranchers, job creators, and landowners. Given this, we urge you to rescind the rule and postpone any subsequent agency action on WOTUS to allow the Supreme Court to issue an opinion on Sackett v EPA.”

Governor Pillen Signs Letter Condemning New WOTUS Rule

Today, Governor Jim Pillen joined two dozen governors from across the nation in defending water rights and access for farmers, ranchers, developers, businesses, and landowners. The governors are requesting that President Joe Biden delay the new rule defining the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision. The ruling is expected this summer.

The new WOTUS rule would expand the definition of "navigable waters" to include ponds, certain streams, ditches, and other bodies of water under the Clean Water Act, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  

“The revised rule creates greater government overreach, produces additional red tape, and leads to uncertainty for landowners and businesses,” said Governor Pillen. “This will have a negative economic impact at a time when our state is already dealing with increased costs, supply chain issues, and staffing shortages.”


The Nebraska Poultry and Egg Development, Utilization, and Marketing Committee has planned a meeting for Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 10:00 AM at the River’s Edge Conference Center Ramada Inn - Columbus, Nebraska.

The current agenda of subjects to be discussed at this meeting is available for public inspection at the offices of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Poultry and Egg Division, 521 First Street, Milford, Nebraska.

This meeting will be held in conjunction with the Nebraska Poultry Industries Annual Conference.

Register For Conference Here... https://nebraskapoultryindustriescoadvancedassociationmanagement.growthzoneapp.com/ap/Events/Register/VLzo258r?mode=Attendee.  

Please contact the PED office at 402-761-2216 or alyssa@nepoultry.org if you have any questions.


For the week ending January 29, 2023, topsoil moisture supplies rated 18% very short, 37% short, 39% adequate, and 6% surplus, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 34% very short, 46% short, 20% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 14% very poor, 26% poor, 38% fair, 20% good, and 2% excellent.

The next report will be issued February 27, 2023.

Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference Returns to Ames

The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council annual conference will return to Ames with a full day of information. Set for Feb. 28, the event will be held at Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd., just to the southwest of Jack Trice Stadium.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome and introductions at 10 a.m. Two presentations are on tap for the morning session, and lunch at noon is followed by the IFGC annual meeting. There are two afternoon sessions beginning at 1:15 p.m. and closing remarks at 3:15 p.m. The program concludes at 3:30 p.m. To register, visit https://agribiz.swoogo.com/2023ifgc.

Conference topics and speakers:
    “Swath Grazing – A Winter Feeding Strategy,” Garland Dahlke, research scientist with the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University.
    "The Compound Effects of Livestock on Soil Health," Kayla Creek, livestock specialist with Iowa NRCS; Stacy Prassas, grassland specialist with Iowa NRCS; Hillary Olson, state soil health specialist with Iowa NRCS.
    "Climate Challenges for Agriculture over the Next Three Decades," Gene Takle, emeritus distinguished professor in agronomy at Iowa State.
    "Management of New Weed Threats in Iowa Forages," Bob Hartzler, retired extension weed specialist and emeritus professor of agronomy at Iowa State.

The conference is open to the public for $45. IFGC members pay $30 and those who have not yet paid dues can do so during the online registration process. All attendees will be able to explore the exhibits that are open at Reiman Gardens, including the popular Butterfly Wing, during the day.

See the agenda, registration form and map to Reiman Gardens on the conference website.

Building trust and demand for dairy in 2023

Programs from the Midwest Dairy Association are reaching more consumers than ever in the 10-state region with 39 million consumers. Already, the year is off to a running start with dairy products playing a key role in consumers’ resolutions for a healthier version of themselves.

“Our accomplishments and progress towards building trust and demand show the value of our checkoff at work,” said Molly Pelzer, Midwest Dairy CEO. “In 2023, we’ll build on our relationships with new and existing retail partners and continue to increase trust in dairy through nutrition and education.”

Since starting the three-year strategic plan in 2021, Midwest Dairy has worked towards the vision of bringing dairy to life for a better world and the mission of working with others to give consumers an excellent dairy experience. In 2023, Midwest Dairy will expand reach and increase impact of checkoff funds through partnerships, work in schools and industry innovation.

Better together

Collaboration is a key focus for all programs and activities to expand dairy’s footprint and consumer trust. Midwest Dairy is maximizing dairy farmers’ checkoff investment impact by working with and through partners to share information and real-time experiences that showcase how dairy products resonate with today’s consumers.
    A new partnership with Godfather’s Pizza Express has received great consumer engagement from the Five Cheese and Sausage Pizza limited time offer. Midwest Dairy is funding the point-of-sale materials used in the three-month-long program.
    Dairy continues to reach younger consumers through well-known social media influencers such as MrBeast, a gaming and YouTube icon, who shares insights and promotes dairy to his millions of followers.

Dairy in schools

Midwest Dairy continues to support dairy in schools based on research and a legacy of leadership in student health and wellness.
    Current work on business case studies will help school administrators grow meal participation with dairy based smoothies, coffee stations and breakfasts. Studies show an opportunity to increase the number of students choosing school meals when paired with a coffee beverage, which encourages students to consume milk who otherwise may not. These dairy-based programs generate excitement both for nutritious milk and the school meal program.
    A high school STEM pilot program gives dairy farmers an opportunity to shape the next generation and share science-based explanations. Students are learning how dairy is part of a healthy lifestyle, the scientific principles behind production decisions and get an inside look at related career opportunities.

Innovation for tomorrow

Midwest Dairy collaborates with processors, farmer-owned cooperatives, and dairy food and beverage manufacturers with the Cooperative and Processor Support (CAPS) program. Through this program, Midwest Dairy provides market research and consumer insights, ongoing communications resources and marketing assistance for new and innovative dairy products.

The farmer’s dairy story is always at the center of what Midwest Dairy does. Undeniably Dairy Grants are available to Midwest Dairy farmers, dairy groups and agricultural organizations to share this story. These grants turn great ideas for promoting the dairy community to consumers into reality. In 2022, grants were used to bring dairy to new places and audiences, host on-farm events and engage with Gen Z consumers. Applications are now open again for the 2023 funding cycle.

Optimistic outlook

A solid foundation from 2022 successes sets Midwest Dairy up to adapt and respond to consumer needs.

“We will continue to build on our dairy promotion work into the new year to assure the dairy farm family’s investment in checkoff is serving them well,” Pelzer said. “We’ll continue to focus on five areas: increasing dairy sales, growing trust, advancing research, creating dairy checkoff advocates, and developing farm and community leaders.”

Follow along with Midwest Dairy to see the checkoff at work. For more information, visit www.midwestdairy.com.

NCGA Joins Effort to Protect Crop Insurance as a Critical Risk Management Tool

The National Corn Growers Association joined over 60 groups in sending letters to key decision makers in the Biden administration and Congress opposing cuts to the federal crop insurance program during the upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget and appropriations processes.

“The last several years have brought an onslaught of uncertainty for America’s farmers and ranchers – from weather extremes to the disruptions of international markets to COVID-19 and all of its unique challenges,” the letter explains. “During this tumultuous time, one of the few certainties that farmers could rely on was the protection provided by the federal crop insurance policy purchased with their hard-earned dollars.”

Protecting crop insurance continues to be a top issue for NCGA and our grower members. NCGA President Tom Haag has provided congressional testimony on the importance of the program.

“Our number one priority for the farm bill is to protect crop insurance from harmful budget cuts and reforms,” Haag said.  

The Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, American Association of Crop Insurers and National Crop Insurance Services lead the crop insurance industry and organized the letter. NCGA joined the letter with others representing farmers, lenders, agricultural input providers and conservation groups.

2022 Census of Agriculture due next week Feb. 6

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds our nation’s farmers and ranchers that the deadline to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture is Feb. 6. Producers can respond online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail.

Last month, NASS mailed the Census of Agriculture questionnaires to every known ag producer in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Conducted just once every five years, the ag census provides a complete account of the nation’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by federal law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all individual operations’ information confidential, use the data for statistical purposes only, and publish the data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.

“By participating in the 2022 Census of Agriculture, producers show the value and importance of American agriculture,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “This nation owes a lot to our farmers and ranchers for providing safe and abundant food, feed, fiber, and more. To tell this story, we need to hear from all of our farmers and ranchers, no matter how big or small their part of agriculture. If you have already responded, thank you. If not, I encourage you to respond today.”

The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state, county, and U.S. territory. U.S. farm operations of all sizes, urban and rural, which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022, are included as well as Puerto Rico farm operations which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $500 or more of agricultural products in the ag census year.

“It is important that every producer respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture so that they are represented and reflected in these influential data,” said Hamer. “These statistics will directly impact producers for years. Without their input, our hardworking ag producers risk being underserved.”

Producers who have submitted their completed ag censuses may disregard any additional ag census letters and forms. Whether producers responded online or by mail, they can verify their reports were received by going to agcounts.usda.gov, entering their survey codes, and checking the submitted date under the status column of the My Surveys tab. The status update is not always immediate. The update can take a few minutes up to several days, especially if the questionnaire was returned by mail.

NASS will release the results of the ag census in 2024. Visit nass.usda.gov/agcensus, for more information.

Livestock Marketing Association Announces New Scholarship Program    

The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) is pleased to announce the release of a new scholarship program. With the goal of investing in the next generation, the program is designed to award five (5), $2500 scholarships to individuals that are interested in or display knowledge of the importance of the agriculture industry and its supporting entities, with plans to use their career to advocate for or advance the livestock marketing industry.
“We are excited to launch this new scholarship program to encourage and recognize the next generation of leaders in our industry,” said LMA President Mark Barnett. “We are always looking for ways to get the younger generation involved, and I believe this is a step in the right direction.”  
Applicants must be a graduating high school senior and/or currently enrolled at an accredited, postsecondary institution and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. A letter of recommendation from an active LMA member must accompany the application at the time of submission. LMA members may not recommend more than two (2) applicants for the LMA scholarship in the same academic year.
Applications will remain open until March 31, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. Following the deadline, scholarship applications will be reviewed by a panel of LMA leadership, LMA membership and allied-industry relations.  
For more information on the LMA Scholarship Program, visit https://lmaweb.vercel.app/About/scholarships or contact LMA at lmainfo@lmaweb.com.   

Growth Energy Responds to 5th Circuit Order on SREs

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy issued the following statement in response to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granting motions to stay compliance obligations pending final resolution for two refineries under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“We’re disappointed the court issued an order delaying compliance by two facilities, but we’re confident that the RFS will be fully enforced once the merits are considered. The EPA’s position is backed by reams of real-world data and analysis by public- and private-sector experts. The supposed ‘cost’ to these refiners is an accounting fiction. Moreover, Congress never intended for these temporary exemptions to become a permanent handout. We agree with EPA’s view that it’s past time to end abuse of SREs, which destroy demand for low-carbon fuel and create needless uncertainty for all stakeholders, large and small."

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Friday January 27 Ag News

 Final Reminder to Sign Up for Balancing Species Protection and Soybean Production Workshop

Soybean growers, consultants, and ag professionals are reminded to email soon if you'd like to attend the Balancing Species Protection and Soybean Production workshop on Feb 9th and 10th in Lincoln, NE. Registration for the event will close this Tuesday, January 31st, 2023.

This workshop is an important opportunity to weigh in on the “picklist” that EPA is considering for runoff mitigation measures. Some of this pick list could conflict with current management tactics for soybean gall midge or other emerging pests. It should be noted, that this will not be Endangered Species Act specific, this is what EPA will be applying to labels just to meet FIFRA obligations as we’ve seen with atrazine and most recently in December with 4 registration review decisions….so it doesn’t matter if a farm is near endangered species habitat or not, if EPA is concerned about a pesticide running off the field the pick list with these practices will be added to the label and farmers will be required to implement a certain number of practices from the list depending on the chemical:

    Vegetative filter strip (30 ft minimum width for solution runoff, 20 ft. minimum width for soil erosion of adsorbed pesticides))
    Field terracing/ contour buffer strips
    Contour farming
    Cover cropping
    No/reduce tillage
    Grassed waterways
    Riparian buffer zone/ riparian herbaceous zone
    Vegetative/grassed ditch banks
    Runoff retention pond/ water and sediment control basin/ sediment catchment basin/ constructed wetland
    Strip cropping
    Vegetative barriers
    Mulching with natural materials
    Alley cropping

In addition to the conservation practices, there will also be additional setbacks (ex: do not apply within 30 ft. from a stream, pond, waterbody, etc.) applied where EPA identifies risk. They have recently identified setbacks from “conservation areas” as a new type of setback they are considering for drift mitigation, so we will be interested in talking about what this means for operations in the workshop. Again these setbacks may not be Endangered Species Act specific but across the board, so if you’re farming next to CRP anywhere in the country, you would have to observe some setback distance.

The workplan update (US EPA - ESA Workplan Update - Nontarget Species Mitigation for Registration Review and Other FIFRA Actions) is one of the only opportunities we have to weigh in on this since it’s open for public comment, and what they decide here will be applied moving forward. They have specifically asked for feedback in various sections throughout the workplan, for example:

"EPA seeks feedback on the example label language in the table below. Additionally, EPA is requesting specific feedback for the following questions:
- Regarding the surface water protection statements, are there additional criteria for proposing mitigation that EPA should consider
- Are the descriptions of the pick list mitigation measures in Section 4 clear? If not, please suggest alternative language.
- Are there other measures that are effective in controlling dissolved runoff that should be included in the pick list? Please include supporting data with any suggestions."

We are really hoping to use the workshop to inform EPA about the challenges local stakeholders are experiencing/will experience in implementing these new requirements. And through these discussions, can we identify better approaches that work at least to resolve endangered species concerns? EPA identified regional approaches as an option they are considering and the efforts we take on here could be the first example of what that could look like…so I see a huge opportunity to inform the process if we can get more grower voices involved in the conversation.

Send an email to justin.mcmechan@unl.edu if you are interested in attending.


Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Regarding Appointment of Congressman Adrian Smith to Lead the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee

“On behalf of Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB), I want to congratulate Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-3) for being selected to serve as the senior member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. Given the importance of trade to the financial futures of Nebraska’s farm and ranch families, the selection of Congressman Smith, a long-time proponent of growing international markets and a key agricultural ally in the House, is a win for agriculture and a win for Nebraska.”

“Congressman Smith not only understands the importance of trade but has taken an active role in advancing trade agreements which have benefited farmers, ranchers, and businesses across our great nation. He will work across the aisles to fix long-term issues with our trading relationship with China, find new markets for Nebraska agricultural products, work on a series of reforms needed within the World Trade Organization, and use our trade tools to address supply chain and inflation issues. There is no one better to push the Biden administration to act on trade than our long-time friend, Congressman Smith. We look forward to working with him to advance our trade initiatives.”

NCGA Announces Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest Winners for 2022

Amanda Johnson of Nebraska is the grand prize winner of NCGA’s 2022 Fields-of-Corn photo contest. The photo – “All the Fall Colors – was submitted under the Scenery and Landscapes category.

The most popular entry came from the Farm Family Lifestyle category, by Kari DeMoss of Iowa with the photo, “The Future of the Farm.”

Other popular categories included Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farming Challenges, Equipment and Conservation, and a new category, Farm Babies.

“There are a lot of very talented photographers who enter the contest, and each year we get a wide variety of photographs,” said NCGA Graphic Communications Manager Beth Musgrove.

“After nine years, there should be some exciting changes for the tenth contest in 2023.”

In total, 26 prizes were awarded across the eight categories. Winners are determined through a combination of Facebook likes and consideration of a panel of judges. Images submitted to the contest are valuable assets for NCGA in publications, social media channels and the website.

USDA Announces 40 appointments to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the appointment of 40 members to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. Thirty-nine members will serve three-year terms and one member will serve a one-year term. The term of board members appointed to three-year terms start February 2023 and end February 2026.

Newly appointed members are:
    Alabama – Bill Lipscomb, Prattville, Ala.
    Arkansas – Donald Hubbell, Batesville, Ark.
    Colorado – Jody Rogers, Yuma, Colo.
    Florida – LuJean Waters, Bartow, Fla.
    Georgia – Kristy Griffis Arnold, Screven, Ga.
    Idaho – Patricia Dowton, Ellis, Idaho
    Illinois – Paul Walker, Danvers, Ill.
    Indiana – Edmund R. Hildenbrand, Huntingburg, Ind.
    Iowa – Hayley Moss, Hull, Iowa, and Ross Havens, Atlantic, Iowa

    Kansas – Amy Lyons Langvardt, Alta Vista, Kan., and Jack Geiger, Robinson, Kan.
    Kentucky – Mitchel Logsdon, Munfordville, Ky.
    Minnesota – Jeri L. Hanson, Comfrey, Minn.
    Missouri – Patty Wood, La Monte, Mo., and Marsha Corbin, Dover, Mo.
    Montana – Benjamin J. Peterson, Judith Gap, Mont.
    Nebraska – Michael W. Crosley, Niobrara, Neb., and Jaslyn Livingston, Broadwater, Neb.

    New York – John E. Kriese, Branchport, N.Y.
    North Dakota – Mary Graner, Huff, N.D.
    Ohio – Joe Foster, Gallipolis, Ohio
    Oklahoma – Jason Hitch, Guymon, Okla., and Rodney E. Cowan, Watonga, Okla.
    Oregon – Wendy Bingham, North Powder, Ore.
    Pennsylvania – Diane M. Hoover, Lebanon, Pa.
    South Dakota – Larry C. Stomprud, Mud Butte, S.D.
    Tennessee – Celeste D. Blackburn, Jefferson City, Tenn.
    Texas – Chloe Wilson, Sabinal, Texas, Seth A. Denbow, Weatherford, Texas, Claudia S. Wright, Richmond, Texas, Anne Ilse Anderson, Austin, Texas, and Debbie Gill, Chico, Texas
    Virginia – James Edward Calhoun, Jr., Callands, Va.
    Wisconsin – Terry Quam, Lodi, Wis.
    Northwest Unit – Marty Stingley, Ellensburg, Wash.
    Southwest Unit – Ted L. Kingsley, Colusa, Calif., and Cathy Jauch, Plymouth, Calif.
    Importer Unit – Andrew Kopic, Jacksonville, Fla., and Doug McNicholl, Washington, DC (1-year term)

The board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 and is composed of 101 members representing 34 States and 5 units. Members must be beef producers or importers of beef and beef products nominated by certified producer organizations. More information about the board is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Cattlemen's Beef Board webpage https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion/beef.

ICGA Hosts Informational Farm Bill Priorities Session

Today, members from across the state joined farmer leaders from Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), to discuss priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. Panelists included Mark Recker, former ICGA President serving on the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Risk Management and Transportation Action Team, Stu Swanson, ICGA District 2 Director and chair of the Animal Ag and the Environment Committee and Mark Mueller, ICGA District 3 Director and At-Large Director on the U.S. Grains Council.

“ICGA policy is established at the grassroots level and farmer member engagement is valued in ongoing policy development,” said Iowa Corn VP of Policy, Mindy Larsen Poldberg who attended the call. “By hosting conversations like the call today, crop fairs across the state and other local actives, we answer questions and gain insight into what farmers want to know most, allowing us to have clearer communication on our efforts both here in Iowa and in Washington, DC as we advocate for solid ag policy."

Priorities Discussed:
    Crop Insurance - Iowa corn farmers believe Congress should maintain premium offsets for harvest price coverage in crop insurance. Farm programs are written to provide a basic level of risk protection to help offset bad economic times and severe weather. At this time, we are advocating that congress should do no harm to crop insurance and avoid reductions or changes that will hurt its effectiveness.
    Conservation Programs - Iowa corn farmers believe the priority for conservation needs to be simpler programs that help farmers address challenges on working lands and better incorporate the farmer perspective, especially around risk management, which would make them more fair, equitable and workable programs.
    MAP & FMD Funding - Iowa corn farmers support continued efforts to improve demand and develop market opportunities both domestically and internationally, including increasing funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) by $200 million and Foreign Market Development (FMD) by $35 million. This program has not been increased in over 20 years and is one of the most effective trade programs in the country.

“A strong farm bill doesn't just support farmers, it supports a unified front on agriculture and its many products, including food,” said Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa. "Food and nutrition programs make up the bulk of Farm Bill programs. We see the linkage of these programs and our on-farm programs as a benefit and hope consumers do too, as we all benefit daily from a predictable and affordable agricultural value chain. Many of the more consumer-facing programs, such as SNAP, are also ag-related as it’s for food products such as corn-fed meats, dairy, eggs, poultry, cereals and more. The connection is important for both rural and urban to work together for the implementation of the Farm Bill. "

The Farm Bill is revised every five years with the current bill being up for reconsideration during this calendar year.

Liljedahl Farms Honored with Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Liljedahl family during a ceremony at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines. Owned and operated by Dennis and Diane Liljedahl, along with their son, Drew, and daughter-in-law, Candice, Liljedahl Farms is a third-generation family farm located near Essex in Page County.

The farm was established by Dennis' parents Charles and Eileen Liljedahl in 1958, with Dennis returning to the farm in 1975 and Drew joining the operation in 2006. Dennis and Diane's daughter Abbey was raised on the farm but has since moved away with her husband Justin. Dennis and Diane have four grandchildren.

"Multi-generational farm families like the Liljedahls are at the heart of so many of our communities across Iowa. They have a family tradition of being good stewards of their land and excellent caretakers of their livestock," said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. "The Liljedahls are also leaders in their community and within Iowa agriculture and I am pleased to present them with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award."

The Liljedahls raise corn, soybeans, seed soybeans and 2,500 – 3,000 wean-to-finish hogs annually.

The family has implemented numerous conservation practices, including the utilization of no-till planting and the seeding of 1,000 acres of cereal rye as a cover crop each year for the past four years. They have installed terraces, grassed waterways, grassed buffer strips and pollinator habitat on their land, and they participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program.

The Liljedahls have demonstrated a high level of care for their animals and take pride in ensuring consumers can have access to nutritious and delicious pork products. The operation has received the Pork Quality Assurance certification and Transport Quality Assurance certification, and it has implemented an active Secure Pork Supply Plan.

Dennis is the past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and has served on the board since 2016. He is a delegate for the National Pork Forum, a member of Page County Pork Producers Association, a 1994 Master Pork Producer, and a former assistant swine superintendent for the Page County Fair. He serves as a member of the Essex Education Foundation, Essex School Board, and St. John's Lutheran Church, where he is also treasurer. Diane serves as chair for the St. John's Lutheran Church Council, chair of the committee to restore the Essex Opera House and is active with the Page County Endowment.

Drew is a member of the Page and Fremont County Corn and Soybean Growers Associations as well as the Page County Extension and Outreach Council. Candice is active with the Essex Community Club as well as the Study and Service Club. The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), The Big Show on WHO Radio and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment, their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

Iowa AG Bird Leads Multistate, Bipartisan Effort to Hold Biden Administration Accountable on Governors’ Request for Year-Round E15

Today Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and six of her colleagues sent a letter to the Biden Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and EPA Administrator Michael Regan demanding they promptly comply with Clean Air Act (CAA) deadlines as established by Congress. It has been over 270 days since Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and seven other governors notified the EPA of their decision to exercise their CAA authority to allow year-round E15 sales. By law, the EPA should have finalized that decision no later than 90 days after receiving notification.

“Iowa and other Midwest states have been more than patient with the EPA and White House OMB,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “The farm economy and consumers can literally not afford to lose the ability to sell E15 during this summer. IRFA members applaud Attorney General Bird for organizing seven states to demand the Biden Administration act on the Governors’ decision. The Clean Air Act is clear, and the Biden Administration is clearly tardy. Any further delay simply plays into the hands of oil refiners who are scared to face competition from lower-priced, lower-carbon E15.”

Attorneys General from South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois joined Bird in demanding the Biden Administration abide by the Clean Air Act provisions.

On November 3, 2021, Gov. Reynolds and a bipartisan coalition of eight states notified the EPA of their interest in utilizing authority granted to them under the CAA to request the regulations for E10 and E15 be equalized, thereby ensuring that lower-cost E15 is available to consumers in their states year-round. On April 28, 2022, Gov. Reynolds and seven other governors formally notified EPA of their determination to equalize the regulations and supplied the EPA the required air quality documentation. Under the CAA, EPA “shall” finalize such a request from a governor no later than 90 days after receiving the request.

On December 7, 2022, the draft EPA rule approving the governors’ request appeared on the OMB docket. OMB is the White House office that conducts interagency reviews of rules prior to their being officially released for public notice and comment. On December 22, 2022, IRFA and other state ethanol trade groups held a conference call with OMB to discuss the draft rule.

After no further OMB action was observed, on January 17, 2023, Gov. Reynolds sent a letter to the EPA and OMB urging them to move quickly in order to ensure the new regulations can be in place by the summer driving season. Since that letter was sent, IRFA has received unofficial reports that instead of moving the draft rule forward, OMB has sent it back to EPA for “revisions.” This is a highly unusual move and is viewed by many as a tactic used to “slow walk” regulations.

“The White House delay of the bipartisan governors’ request is not only unacceptable and contrary to law, it is confusing and frustrating given that President Biden himself took emergency action to ensure E15 was available during the summer of 2022,” stated Shaw. “Biden’s E15 announcement, made in Iowa, was probably the single biggest thing he did to address high gas prices last year, as E15 is routinely selling for 15 to 20 cents less than E10. Why the Biden OMB is slow-walking a permanent Midwest E15 fix that is clearly required under the CAA is mind boggling. Delaying action is thumbing your nose at the Clean Air Act, at Congress, at consumers, at bipartisan Midwest governors, and at farmers and ethanol producers. We hope President Biden will step in and get this moving immediately before formal legal action is necessary to bring the Administration into compliance with the law.”

LMA Applauds Bill to Allow Livestock Auction Investment in Small and Regional Packers  
Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) applauds Congressmen Mark Alford (R-Mo.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) for introducing the Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States (A-PLUS) Act. If enacted, the bill would remove an outdated regulatory barrier and allow livestock auction market owners to own or invest in small and regional meatpackers.  

The Administration, Congress, and the livestock industry agree there is a need for increased packer competition and additional processing capacity. Currently, livestock auctions owners are not able to own, invest, or participate in the operation of a packing plant or meat marketing business due to dated Packers and Stockyards Act restriction. This prohibition falls under a 102-year-old law and predates the current, transparent method of selling livestock at an open auction to the highest bidder. The A-PLUS Act is essential in removing this unnecessary barrier to cattle industry investment in the packing sector. The bill would allow livestock auction owners to own or invest in cattle and hog packers smaller than the current ten largest packers.  

“We greatly appreciate Congressmen Alford, Panetta, and Johnson introducing the A-PLUS Act,” said LMA President and owner of Kentucky-Tennessee Livestock Market Mark Barnett. “Livestock auction markets, like mine, are in the competition business. Allowing livestock auction owners to invest in small and regional packers will create competition against large packing entities that already exist. The A-PLUS Act could spur additional capacity and especially additional packers to increase competition and improve profitability for producers.” 

If you have questions about the A-PLUS Act, please reach out to Chelsea Good, Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs & Legal at cgood@lmaweb.com or 816-305-9540. 

FBN Partners with Boveta Nutrition to Launch Proprietary Feeding System for Beef Cattle to Reduce Feeding Costs in the Beef Industry

Farmers Business Network (FBN®), the global AgTech platform and farmer-to-farmer network today announced FBN Livestock has partnered with Boveta Nutrition™​​ to deliver a proprietary feeding system for beef cattle that improves feed efficiency and carcass yield while reducing methane gas emissions and wet waste.

“With our optimized feeding algorithms, producers get more planned beef production from less feed, meaning a reduction in costs and an increase in profit potential,” says Rod Jones, co-founder and chairman of Boveta Nutrition. “In addition, beef cattle that follow the Boveta diet see a reduction in methane gas production.”

Boveta Nutrition’s optimized feed formulation ensures nutrients are being delivered more precisely so cattle consume less feed yet maintain, or even increase, their gain or milk production.

Ben Row, farm manager at Talcott Land and Cattle outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, participated in an FBN-managed independent study of the Amino balancing program. “Our cost of gain is around $0.71 now. We were at about $1.20 before so that’s a big drop. Plus, the health of the cattle and their overall performance has gone up greatly,” says Row. “Everything is growing better because it’s the right nutrition to grow them the right way.”

“Amino acid balancing has been a standard nutritional practice in the swine and poultry industries to drive margin and animal growth but we haven't been able to solve the riddle with beef cattle until now,” says Dr. Monty Kerley, FBN’s Senior Ruminant Nutritionist. “After decades, we finally believe we’re able to deliver this solution to beef producers and its unique potential to decrease feed costs while maintaining optimal growth.”

The proprietary algorithm from Boveta is initially available to FBN cattle operators in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota, with plans to expand nationally and internationally. A team of experienced FBN nutritionists, led by Dr. Monty Kerley, will help bring the industry-leading system to the market.

"With feed costs on the rise, we know just how important it is to bring an innovation to this sector that truly benefits our livestock producers. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Boveta to help change the beef feed industry," says Luiz Beling, president of FBN Direct.

Boveta has conducted a series of research studies and found:
    Backgrounding cattle on a forage diet showed a $0.20/lb. cost of gain advantage when on Boveta’s balanced diet supplement.
    Cattle on Boveta’s amino acid balanced finishing diet consumed 15% less feed, maintained daily gain, delivering an average savings of $0.07 per pound gained.
    A large commercial feedlot study produced a $30/head advantage for steers on the Boveta diet.

“Our studies clearly demonstrate the economic benefits of our system. It’s exciting because we’re delivering on our goal of enabling livestock operations to function more efficiently and profitably while minimizing feed waste and lowering the environmental footprint of meat and milk production,” says Greg Mills, president and CEO of Boveta Nutrition.

The Boveta optimized diet improves income over feed costs and reduces methane by 8-12%. In addition, roughage can be scaled back from beef feedlot diets to further decrease input costs and reduce methane up to 30% or more in a healthy and practical way.

The reduction in feed costs is significant for many ranchers who continue to face higher fertilizer and corn prices. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, prices for beef cattle feed were up 16% in May 2022 relative to May 2021.

First Few Farm Bill Hearing Dates Set

The United States Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry announced upcoming Farm Bill hearing dates. The first hearing scheduled for Feb. 1, will focus on issues under the trade and horticulture titles of the next five-year agricultural blueprint.

Scheduled to testify before the panel are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Alexis Taylor, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs; Jenny Moffitt, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; and U.S. Agency for International Development’s Sarah Charles, Assistant to the Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

    Feb. 1: Trade and horticulture programs
    Feb. 9: Commodity programs, crop insurance and farm credit programs
    Feb. 16: Nutrition programs
    March 1: Conservation and forestry programs
    March 16: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testifies

The Farm Bill legislative package is updated every five years, and the last bill was approved in 2018. With the current law set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, lawmakers are preparing to draft new measures affecting agriculture, rural and nutrition programs. For NPPC, the 2023 Farm will be an opportunity to renew and expand key Farm Bill programs that protect the pork industry.
To stay up to date and listen in, check out the hearing calendar here https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/hearings.

Ranking Member David Scott Welcomes New and Returning House Agriculture Committee Members

Below is a statement from Ranking Member David Scott on the Democratic Members approved today to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture for the 118th Congress.

“I am honored to welcome this talented team of agricultural advocates to the Committee. These Members represent a variety of districts, covering the diversity of our industry and our country. As we continue important conversations and making critical decisions surrounding the farm bill, their input will be invaluable. I anticipate the diligence of these Members, combined with the valuable perspectives they bring on behalf of their constituents, will help the Committee deliver on its commitment to provide positive outcomes for food and agriculture in America.”

Democratic Members of the House Agriculture Committee for the 118th Congress:
• Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Ranking Member
• Rep. Jim Costa (CA-21)
• Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02)
• Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12)
• Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
• Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05)
• Rep. Shontel Brown (OH-11)
• Rep. Stacey Plaskett (VI-AL)
• Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03)
• Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-07)
• Rep. Yadira Caraveo (CO-08)
• Rep. Andrea Salinas (OR-06)
• Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03)
• Rep. Don Davis (NC-01)
• Rep. Jill Tokuda (HI-02)
• Rep. Nikki Budzinski (IL-13)
• Rep. Greg Casar (TX-35)
• Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-30)
• Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-01)
• Rep. Eric Sorensen (IL-17)
• Rep. Gabe Vasquez (NM-02)
• --
• --
• --

NOTE: Three additional Democratic Members will receive assignment to the House Agriculture Committee at a date to be determined.

ASI Elects New Leadership at Annual Convention

As he works through the transition process to step away from a daily role on his family’s fifth-generation ranch outside Casper, Wyo., Brad Boner stepped into a new role during the American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.

He will serve as ASI president for the next two years after unanimous election on Saturday by the ASI Board of Directors. Boner joined ASI’s officer team in 2019 when he was first elected secretary/treasurer after representing Region VII on the ASI Executive Board. He was elevated to vice president in 2021 and now takes over as president from Susan Shultz of Ohio.

“I thought about this day occasionally the last few years,” said Boner. “But it’s not something I thought about much before today. We’re blessed with such great people in this organization, and it’s so much fun to work with them to lead the industry. There’s no backing out now, so here we go.”

The family ranch includes both ewe-lamb and cow-calf operations along with selling Black Angus seedstock. Brad and his wife, Laurie, have three children who all live close to the home place, but only Ryan works on the ranch on a daily basis. Ryan’s involvement allows his parents to spend additional time with their grandchildren.

“This generational transition is an interesting process,” Boner said. “As was alluded to by a few other speakers this week, there comes a point where it’s time for the next generation to step up and start doing what they can do. That’s where we’re headed. Plus, that grandparent thing is pretty cool stuff.”

Boner is joined on the ASI officer team by Montana’s Ben Lehfeldt as vice president and California’s Joe Pozzi as secretary/treasurer. Pozzi – a former member of ASI’s Executive Board from Region VIII – ran unopposed for the secretary position.

“I’m looking forward to working with Joe,” Boner said. “What an innovator and entrepreneur he is in this industry. I believe he’ll be a great addition to our team for the next several years.”

In addition, Virginia’s Lisa Weeks in Region II and New Mexico’s Bronson Corn in Region VI were reelected to second terms on the ASI Executive Board. Lynn Fahrmeier of Missouri was selected to represent Region IV, while Ryan Indart of California was elected from Region VIII. Steve Clements and Sarah Smith of those respective regions were term-limited and not eligible for reelection.

The National Lamb Feeders Association elected Kate Harlan of Wyoming to fill the NFLA representative spot on the ASI Executive Board. She replaces her father, Bob Harlan, who also wasn’t eligible for reelection.

That team will have to hit the ground running in 2023 as Congress debates funding for the next Farm Bill. The ASI Executive Board established a list of goals for 2023 late last year and the top priority is to continue to be a “proactive force on legislative issues effecting sheep producers.”

Priorities for the industry in the new farm bill include issues such as reauthorizing an updated marketing loan program for wool, extending the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant program, and Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund/U.S. Wool Research in addition to funding U.S. Department of Agriculture export programs.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time this year on the Farm Bill,” said Boner. “I just have to keep plugging away at everything I can to keep this industry moving forward. We’ve been blessed with a lot of great leadership in the past, so there’s some pressure not to disappoint.”