Monday, February 27, 2023

Monday February 27 Ag News

 Lower Platte North Local Working Group Meeting - February 28th - 1 to 4 p.m.
Aaron Nygren, NE Extension Educator

If you are a local grower or a land manager and would like an opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort to improve natural resources and support rural communities within your county, you are invited to attend the Lower Platte North Local Working Group Meeting, which will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, February 28th from 1 to 4:00 p.m. at the Lower Platte North NRD Building at 511 Commercial Park Road, Suite 1, in Wahoo.

Attendees are invited to:
    Review performance of the past year’s projects.
    Help shape plans and prioritize future projects.
    Connect with partners and new audiences to seek opportunities to leverage partnership funds.
    Learn about other NRCS programs which may prove beneficial to you.

Please note, Nitrogen Certification will be given to those qualified and in attendance for this meeting.

Viterra brand launches across Gavilon network

Gavilon is pleased to announce that effective today it will be known as Viterra, and the Viterra brand will begin to be implemented across its business in the United States and Mexico. Omaha, Nebraska will continue to be the headquarters for Viterra’s U.S. and Mexico business.

Viterra, which means “life from the earth”, is a world-leading, fully integrated agriculture network connecting producers and consumers to sustainable, traceable, and quality-controlled agricultural products.

“Today’s launch of the Viterra brand across our operations in the U.S. & Mexico sets the stage for the continued growth and investment across our network,” said Rayner Freyberg, CEO of Viterra US & Mexico. “We will continue to look for ways to strengthen our business and create additional opportunities for our employees, producers, and customers.”

“We are proud to implement the Viterra brand throughout our network. This change will not impact who our producers, customers, and vendors work with within our company, nor change the high level of service they have come to expect from us,” added Freyberg.

Today the Viterra name and logo will begin to roll out across the U.S. and Mexico and this process will continue until all aspects of the Gavilon brand have been updated. This change will not impact any open contracts, banking information, or tax identification numbers.


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Are you looking to increase production from pastures or hay fields? Interseeding legumes might just work in your operation.

Nitrogen is one of the key ingredients for productive pastures. A way to get more nitrogen in a pasture is to plant legumes. Alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, clovers, and other legumes all fix atmospheric nitrogen and can reduce nitrogen costs. These legumes are also very high in forage quality.

Not all pastures are good candidates for adding legumes, however. First, legumes need adequate phosphorus and a pH usually above 6 while some prefer a pH closer to 7. Next, good seed placement is needed. When interseeding with a no-till drill is not an option due to frozen ground or topography, frost seeding is an option to consider. Frost seeding uses broadcasting seed in winter to allow the natural freezing and thawing of the ground to plant the seed for you, resulting in good seed to soil contact. Frost seeding success can vary and while more invasive, drilling is almost always a better option if the pasture would allow it. Because frost seeding requires seed to be close to the soil surface after broadcasting, snow-free or very little snow is preferred.

Lastly, heavy flash grazing several times in the spring will reduce the competition from existing grasses and help promote the legume seedlings. Once the grass is 3 to 4 inches taller than the seedlings, graze quickly until the grasses are grazed down to the height of the legume seedlings.

Legumes can help reduce fertilizer cost and create higher quality pastures and hay. Frost seeding is an economical approach that might work to establish legumes in your operation.


For the week ending February 26, 2023, topsoil moisture supplies rated 13% very short, 35% short, 44% adequate, and 8% surplus, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 30% very short, 43% short, 26% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 11% very poor, 29% poor, 41% fair, 18% good, and 1% excellent.

The next report will be issued March 27, 2023.


All layers in Nebraska during January 2023 totaled 6.21 million, down from 8.43 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during January totaled 148 million eggs, down from 210 million in 2022. January egg production per 100 layers was 2,378 eggs, compared to 2,496 eggs in 2022.

IOWA: Iowa egg production during January 2023 was 1.06 billion eggs, up 1 percent from last month but down 15 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during January 2023 was 42.3 million, up 3 percent from last month but down 13 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for January were 2,498, down 2 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last January.

January Egg Production Down 6 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.06 billion during January 2023, down 6 percent from last year. Production included 7.76 billion table eggs, and 1.30 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.19 billion were broiler-type and 102 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during January 2023 averaged 375 million, down 5 percent from last year. January egg production per 100 layers was 2,413 eggs, down 2 percent from January 2022.
All layers in the United States on February 1, 2023 totaled 376 million, down 4 percent from last year. The 376 million layers consisted of 309 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 63.2 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.80 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on February 1, 2023, averaged 77.6 eggs per 100 layers, down 2 percent from February 1, 2022.

Crop Nutrient Guide Updated to Reflect Current Recommendations in Iowa

Newly updated crop nutrient recommendations are available in a recent publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Antonio Mallarino, professor in agronomy and extension specialist at Iowa State, announced research-based updates to the extension publication PM 1688 A General Guide for Crop Nutrient and Limestone Recommendations in Iowa, available on the Iowa State University Extension Store and Soil Fertility websites.

The publication provides phosphorus (P), potassium (K), zinc (Zn) and lime application guidelines based on soil testing for the major agronomic crops grown in Iowa.

Soil-test interpretations and nutrient application recommendations in this publication always have been based on short and long-term field experiments conducted across Iowa farmers' fields and research farms, from the major soils used for production agriculture in Iowa.

Mallarino said the last update was in 2013, and new recommendations were necessary because of improved crop genotypes that lead to higher yields, and because of changes in farming practices across Iowa.

The updated publication describes new soil-test interpretations and categories of soil testing as well as new suggested nutrient application rates.

“Crops are constantly changing and improving, and so are yields and the ways that Iowans farm,” said Mallarino. “Since 2013, nearly 200 field response trials have been conducted with each nutrient, and the results provide a solid foundation of how much nutrients we should be applying, to each crop and growing practice.”

He added, "However, the basic concept used for developing the new soil-test interpretations and application guidelines remains the same, which is to accomplish long-term profitability and reduced risk of yield loss while improving the sustainability of crop production."

Trials conducted since 2013 included several P or K fertilizer application rates and placement methods at multiple Iowa State research and demonstration farms – in the central, northeast, northcentral, northwest, southeast and southwest regions. The research farms have different soil types and slight weather differences that should be taken into consideration.

“The testing of numerous soil samples has increased our awareness of largely unavoidable, intrinsic variability of soil-test results mainly due to large spatial variability, which should be considered when interpreting test results and making fertilization decisions,” said Mallarino.

Key changes:
    Boundaries of the interpretation categories were adjusted – mainly by moving upward the boundary for the optimum category to make it wider. Removal-based P and K application is recommended to maintain these desirable soil-test values over time.
    The suggested P and K fertilization rates for the very low and low interpretation categories needed to be increased to assure fertilization for these categories maximize yield for most growing conditions and gradually buildup soil-test levels.
    Interpretations for zinc by the Mehlich-3 test were added.

The soil pH and lime management guidelines, which are also included in the publication, were not updated because the recent research has confirmed changes made in 2013.

New physical copies are being printed and will soon be available from the Iowa State University Extension Store.

Iowans Invited to Nominate Conservation Leaders for the 2023 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon invite Iowans to nominate individuals or families in their communities for the 2023 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award.

To be considered for inclusion at the 2023 awards ceremony held at the Iowa State Fair, nominations will be accepted through Monday, May 1, 2023.

Farmers and landowners who invest in conservation and water quality practices and incorporate best management practices into their farming operations to improve and protect the state’s natural resources are eligible for the award. Awardees must also actively serve as leaders in the Iowa agriculture community.

“Iowa farmers have a strong record of conservation and improving water quality. They understand that our land feeds and fuels the world, and provides future generations with the same opportunity,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “The 2023 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards serve as a reminder to celebrate the work our farmers do to preserve our state’s deep farming tradition.”

“Our dedicated farm families work year after year to protect our soil and improve water quality with proven conservation practices and their important work should be recognized,” said Secretary Naig. “These families lead by example and encourage others to adopt similar conservation practices, all of which moves us closer to achieving our Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals.”

“We are grateful for these leaders who have gone above and beyond to implement sustainable conservation practices and show their commitment to protecting our natural resources,” said Director Lyon. “We are thrilled to honor them and recognize that their work will have a positive impact on generations of Iowans. Their efforts do not go unnoticed.”

An appointed committee representing conservation and agricultural groups will review the nominations and select the winners. The recipients will be recognized on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, at the Iowa State Fair. Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg, Secretary Naig and Director Lyon will present the winners with an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award and a sign sponsored by Bayer.

Since the creation of the award in 2012, 738 farm families have been recognized. The nomination form and a list of previous awardees can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website

The Future of Sustainable Pork

Acceligen, a leading innovator in sustainable agriculture, is proud to announce the breeding of gene-edited pigs with resistance to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). This breakthrough represents a significant step forward in the pursuit for sustainable and ethical pork production.

PRRS is the most devastating disease to the swine industry in the United States, affecting not only the productivity of pigs, but also their health and wellness.  This regularly occurring and complex disease has been documented to cause an estimated $500 million USD of losses to the pork producers, thus affecting the food security of countless people around the world.

Deploying protein modifications developed by Kansas State University, Acceligen is able to breed pigs naturally resistant to PRRS.  The use of new breeding technology enabled by gene-editing to prevent PRRS will improve the overall animal well-being leading to healthier animals and a safer food supply. Breeding of pigs naturally resistant to PRRS may reduce the environmental impact of pork production by improving efficiency. The resistance to PRRS virus infection was proven effective through a collaboration with Professor Bob Rowland at the University of Illinois.

"This is an exciting time to be at the forefront of this impactful breeding application in sustainable agriculture," said Tad Sonstegard, CEO of Acceligen. "Our goal is to use the best tools for breeding and selection to create a better future for animals, farmers, consumers and the environment. Gene-editing is one of the most powerful breeding tools that allows us to address some of the biggest challenges facing the pork industry and to create a more sustainable and ethical food system."

About Acceligen
Acceligen is a leading innovator in sustainable agriculture, employing cutting-edge technology to create better and more ethical food systems. We are committed to using the best science and technology to build a better future for animals, farmers, and the environment. Learn more about our company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Recombinetics Inc., at

Cattle on Feed and Beef Cold Storage Stocks

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

The latest USDA cattle on feed report was released on Friday February 24th and it was largely in line with expectations. The total number of cattle on feed was down 4.1 percent from the prior year. Marketings were up 4.2 percent over the same number of slaughter days in January this year as last year. Placements were 3.6 percent smaller than the year before and were the smallest January placements since 2016.

Each year the February cattle on feed report includes data on the number of feedlots, inventory, and marketings by size of feedlot. The report indicated there were 26,093 feedlots in the U.S. in 2022. That was 1,027 fewer than reported in 2021. The smallest category reported, less than 1,000 head, declined by 1,000 to 24,000 feedlots. Each feedlot size category with fewer than 7,999 head declined in number between 2021 and 2022. Each size category over 8,000 head either had the same number or grew in number over the year. Two more feedlots with over 50,000 head were reported in 2022. Feedlots in that largest category marketed about 35.2 percent of fed cattle marketings, up from 34.6 percent in 2021. The data would indicate a slightly more concentrated feeding sector.

Cold Storage Stocks Remain Large

There was another interesting report released Friday and that was the Cold Storage report. The report indicated 533 million pounds of beef in storage, about 1 percent more than January of 2022, but less than in December. The amount of beef in storage is historically large.

Beef in cold storage has been pretty interesting for a number of months. Cold storage stocks of beef tend to peak in December-January and reach a low in June-July. The seasonal decline in stocks has been, on average, about 82 million pounds over the last 5 years. In 2022, there was very little seasonal decline and supplies grew to 544 million pounds by the end of the year.

Why are stocks so large? One factor is that beef production was a record large 28.3 billion pounds in 2022. U.S. total beef trade, exports plus imports, was also a record large 6.78 billion pounds in 2022. Beef exports were a record large 3.43 billion pounds and imports, 3.35 billion pounds, the most since 2015. That’s a lot of beef moving in, out, and around the country. Putting this level of stocks in context is that 533 million pounds is about 1.6 pounds per person, which is not a lot different than per capita stocks over the last several decades. Per capita cold storage stocks were over 2 pounds back in the early to mid-1970s when the U.S hit peak cattle numbers and beef demand began to decline.

“Onward to Orlando” for 2024 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show

While the largest cattle industry event in the country wrapped up only a few weeks ago, plans are already underway to get “Onward to Orlando.” Mark your calendars for the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, which is heading to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, January 31-February 2.
Thousands of cattlemen and women will gather to learn, conduct business, network and have fun. In a city known for sun and family fun, entertainment will also delight kids of all ages. Cattlemen’s College, which immediately precedes convention, will bring thought-provoking, stimulating sessions that provide producers with information they can put to work on their farms and ranches.
The award-winning NCBA Trade Show will feature a new layout with several acres of indoor and outdoor displays as well as live cattle handling demonstrations, educational sessions and entertainment. Trade show exhibitors will offer products and services such as animal health products, equipment, irrigation technology, software, trailers and so much more.
Additional information will be available soon at

New University Study: Ethanol Cuts Gas Prices by 77 Cents per Gallon

Adding low-cost ethanol to the nation’s gasoline supply improves energy security and saves the average American household more than $750 per year, according to a new study conducted by energy economists from the University of California-Berkeley and leading universities in Brazil and the Czech Republic.

The analysis concluded that “adding ethanol to gasoline decreases the price paid by U.S. drivers at the pump. We estimate the average discount per gallon to be $0.77 between 2019 to 2022 and averaged across our models. …this would add up to total savings of $95.1 billion per year for U.S. consumers.”

Spread across 124 million U.S. households, this equates to an average annual savings of $767 per household. Adding ethanol to gasoline reduces demand for petroleum, which in turn puts downward pressure on prices for crude oil and refined products. In addition, ethanol is typically priced below other octane boosters and gasoline blendstocks at wholesale terminals where fuels are blended. The combination of ethanol’s lower cost and its ability to pressure oil prices by extending fuel supplies results in large savings for consumers. The authors of the new study attribute much of this benefit to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which created the investment certainty needed to rapidly expand ethanol production.

“The accessibility of renewable fuels limits the bargaining power of the largest oil producers and brings about a higher degree of fuel security to the U.S.,” the study’s authors concluded. “We estimate that blending roughly 330 million barrels of ethanol into U.S. gasoline lowers global crude oil prices as well as retail gasoline prices. The main conclusion is that the RFS program has lowered the prices of gasoline at the pump at a statistically significant level.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said the study’s results come at a critical time for U.S. policymakers. “American consumers would be paying much higher prices at the pump if not for the inclusion of more than 14 billion gallons of low-cost, low-carbon ethanol in our nation’s gasoline supply each year,” Cooper said. “This new study confirms that adding ethanol to gasoline is a proven solution for significantly reducing gas prices and providing economic relief to American families. As war in Eastern Europe continues to wreak havoc on global energy markets, and as abnormally high inflation rates continue to bedevil the U.S. economy, the Biden administration and Congress should take note of this study’s findings. And they should act immediately to allow increased use of higher ethanol blends, like E15 and E85, year-round and nationwide.”

The new study was commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association.  

NACD Releases 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations

Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) released policy recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill. Over the last year, NACD’s Farm Bill Task Force has convened more than a dozen times to review USDA conservation programs and consider policies to strengthen support for voluntary, locally led conservation efforts. The recommendations were recently approved by NACD’s Board by Directors at NACD’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

NACD’s most important priority is for Congress to keep conservation investments provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in farm bill conservation programs. The 2023 Farm Bill provides Congress with an important opportunity to integrate IRA conservation funding into the conservation title to administer these investments over a longer period of time, make bipartisan decisions on the exact funding allocations within the title, and eliminate administrative and management redundancies. This request is critical to addressing the high unmet demand for NRCS conservation programs, which are currently only able to serve about one in every three eligible producers.

To support locally led conservation efforts, the recommendations also push back against one-size-fits-all policies, the addition of national carve-outs within programs, and limitations on conservation practices. NACD also calls on Congress to provide strong support for historically underserved producers, tribes, and the development of our nation’s conservation workforce.

“NACD will continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to develop an inclusive farm bill that provides strong support for conservation,” said NACD President Kim LaFleur. “The 2023 Farm Bill provides an exciting opportunity to strengthen federal conservation programs, bolster our local conservation delivery systems, and support our nation’s producers.”

“As Chair of NACD’s Farm Bill Task Force, I am proud of the work we’ve done over the past year to review conservation programs, consider input from our members and other stakeholders, and develop policy positions that support sustainable, productive working lands'' said NACD’s Immediate Past President Michael Crowder. “I look forward to advocating for an effective, locally led approach to conservation as Congress develops the 2023 Farm Bill."

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Friday February 24 Cattle on Feed, Crop Values Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.57 million cattle on feed on February 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 3% from last year. Placements during January totaled 490,000 head, down 8% from 2022. Fed cattle marketings for the month of January totaled 500,000 head, up 9% from last year. Other disappearance during January totaled 20,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.

Iowa Cattle on Feed

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 620,000 head on February 1, 2023, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service -- Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from January but up 2 percent from February 1, 2022. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 535,000 head on feed, up 1 percent from last month but down 9 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,155,000 head, up slightly from last month but down 3 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January 2023 totaled 105,000 head, up 25 percent from December but down 5 percent from January 2022. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 58,000 head, up 16 percent from December but down 32 percent from January 2022. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 163,000 head, up 22 percent from December but down 16 percent from January 2022.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January 2023 totaled 103,000 head, up 12 percent from December and up 5 percent from January 2022. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 50,000 head, up 6 percent from December but down 21 percent from January 2022. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 153,000 head, up 10 percent from December but down 5 percent from January 2022. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 4 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on February 1, 2023. The inventory was 4 percent below February 1, 2022.

Placements in feedlots during January totaled 1.93 million head, 4 percent below 2022. Net placements were 1.87 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 405,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 420,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 540,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 402,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 100,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 65,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.85 million head, 4 percent above 2022.  Other disappearance totaled 63,000 head during January, 2 percent below 2022.

On Feed - By State  (1,000 hd - % Feb 1 '22)

Colorado ......:              1,030           90                 
Iowa .............:               620            102                 
Kansas ..........:              2,450           96                  
Nebraska ......:              2,570           97                  
Texas ............:              2,770           94                  

Placements by State (1,000 hd - % Jan '22)

Colorado ......:                    165            83             
Iowa .............:                   105            95            
Kansas ..........:                   500           104             
Nebraska ......:                   490            92             
Texas ............:                   380            97            

Marketings by State (1,000 hd - % Jan '22)

Colorado ......:                  170            92             
Iowa .............:                 103           105            
Kansas ..........:                  430           102         
Nebraska ......:                  500           109         
Texas ............:                  370           104        

Cattle on Feed and Annual Size Group Estimates

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head represented 82.5 percent of all cattle and calves on feed in the United States on January 1, 2023. This is comparable to the 81.9 percent on January 1, 2022.

Marketings of fed cattle for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head during 2022 represented 87.2 percent of total cattle marketed from all feedlots in the United States, up slightly from 87.2 percent during 2021.

CAP Webinar: USDA Farm Service Agency Disaster Programs

Date: Mar 2, 2023 12:00 PM  
With: Brad Lubben, Associate Professor and Extension Policy Specialist, UNL
and Patrick Lechner, USDA Nebraska FSA Price Support Programs Chief
and Cathy Anderson, USDA Nebraska FSA Production and Compliance Programs Chief

USDA continues its efforts to address natural disaster and pandemic-related farmer and rancher losses through two new assistance programs, the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase 2 and the 2020 Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). Both are ad-hoc, revenue-based assistance programs that rely largely on producer personal financial records as part of the application process. FSA will review what is needed to successfully apply for assistance. In addition, given the ongoing drought across Nebraska, FSA also will briefly review drought disaster programs that may be needed in 2023.

Presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska.  Register at  

Saunders County Quarterly Ag Breakfast – Friday, March 3rd at 7:30 a.m.

Please plan on joining NE Extension on Friday for a hot breakfast sponsored by Union Bank & Trust starting at 7:30 a.m. and an update from Brad Lubben, UNL agricultural economics professor, about making Farm Bill decisions for 2023 between ARC and PLC as well as update on the direction of the 2023 Farm Bill discussions in Washington from 8:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held at the ENREEC Building located at 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE near Mead. Pre-registering by March 1st is appreciated by calling the Saunders County Extension Office at 402-624-8030.

Nebraska Beef Council March Board Meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will meet at the NBC office in Kearney, NE located at 1319 Central Ave. on Tuesday, March 7, 2023  beginning at 8:00 a.m. CST. The NBC Board of Directors will discuss strategic planning. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at   


The value of Nebraska’s 2022 field and miscellaneous crops is forecast at $15.3 billion, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is down 10% from 2021.

The value of corn production is expected to total $10.0 billion, down 9% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska’s corn price is projected to average $6.90 per bushel, up $0.94 from the last marketing year.

The value of soybean production is expected to total $3.98 billion, down 11% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska’s soybean price is projected to average $14.30 per bushel, up $1.60 from the last marketing year.

The value of winter wheat production is expected to total $222 million down 22% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska's winter wheat price is projected to average $8.45 per bushel, up $1.58 from the last marketing year.

The value of alfalfa production is expected to total $492 million, down 18% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska's alfalfa price is projected to average $201.00 per ton, up $41.00 from the last marketing year. The value of other hay production is expected to total $229 million, down 13% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska's alfalfa price is projected to average $121.00 per ton, up $18.00 from the last marketing year.


The production of Iowa's field and miscellaneous crops was valued at $25.9 billion in 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Values 2022 Summary. This was up 5 percent from 2021.

The value of corn for grain production totaled $16.9 billion, up 9 percent from the previous year. Iowa's corn price averaged $6.80 per bushel, 70 cents above the last marketing year.

The value of soybean production was $8.39 billion, down 1 percent from 2021. The average price increased 90 cents from the previous year to $14.30 per bushel.

Value of production increased from 2021 to 2022 for other hay and oats.

Biofuels Caucus Re-Launches for the 118th Congress

Biofuels Caucus Leadership Reps. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Mark Pocan (D-WI) re-launched the Congressional Biofuels Caucus for the 118th Congress.

The Congressional Biofuels Caucus is a bipartisan caucus keeping Members of Congress and their staff informed and engaged on developments in the biofuels industry. The caucus works with stakeholders to ensure policy reflects the role biofuels play in bolstering our nation’s domestic fuel supply and production, and creating jobs across rural America.

“I am proud to be named one of the co-chairs of the Biofuels Caucus again this Congress,” said Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03). “The Biofuels Caucus has been impactful in promoting the availability and importance of biofuels as an energy source. Nebraska is a biofuels powerhouse, and I am committed to ensuring Nebraskans are always part of these policy discussions.”

“Biofuels are a tool in unleashing the full potential of American-made energy,” said Johnson. “The Biofuels Caucus organizes support and takes action at the Congressional level to protect the production and use of biofuels across America, lowering prices, increasing energy supply, and increasing American energy security.”
“Every summer, Minnesota’s Second District is 60% covered in corn and soybeans, so we know firsthand the power of biofuels,” said Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02). “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Congressional Biofuels Caucus to increase bipartisan support for those farmers and producers, expand access to biofuels as an energy source and bring fuel costs down for Minnesotans.”
“I am glad to join my colleagues in the Congressional Biofuels Caucus to fund investment in biofuels infrastructure and update the EPA’s greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02). “Corn growers in Wisconsin deserve to have an even playing field in the market dominated by the oil and gas industry. These bills will help us further understand how biofuels can help us reach our emissions reduction goals while investing in rural jobs and infrastructure.”
“Part of what keeps our industry so strong is the unwavering support we receive from this bipartisan group of legislators,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We look forward to working with the Congressional Biofuels Caucus in the 118th Congress to expand consumer access to American-made biofuels like ethanol, and to educate other policymakers about the impact our industry is having right now on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering costs for American families.”
“RFA is excited to see the Congressional Biofuels Caucus is being reconstituted for the 118th Congress,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The Caucus serves a vital role in educating House members on the numerous benefits of renewable fuels, and advancing crucial legislation. We thank Representatives Dusty Johnson, Adrian Smith, Angie Craig and Mark Pocan for leading the Caucus, and we look forward to working with them to promote and advance biofuel policies that benefit the rural economy, the environment, and consumer pocketbooks.”
“Corn farmers appreciate Reps. Dusty Johnson, Angie Craig, Adrian Smith and Mark Pocan taking the lead and co-chairing the House Biofuels Caucus in this Congress,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “Biofuels like ethanol offer solutions for energy, environmental and economic issues that Members of Congress from both parties care about. The bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus works together to advocate for those solutions, and NCGA encourages House members to join the Caucus.”

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation pledges $1 million for Iowa FFA

The National Association of Agricultural Educators reports mounting losses of ag educators since 2015, significantly limiting ag education opportunities for the next generation of Iowa’s agriculturalists and threatening Iowa’s national status as a leader in agriculture.  To help combat the crisis and reverse the decline in ag educators, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has pledged $1 million to Iowa FFA, with a portion of the funds dedicated to its ‘All in for Ag Education’ strategic initiative.  

Since 2015, Iowa has lost 204 ag educators to retirement and other pursuits, including losing teachers to neighboring states with more competitive teaching contracts.  The ag teacher shortage is at a critical point today, with nearly half of net instructor losses within the past two years. In addition to recruiting, training, and retaining ag educators, the FFA ‘All in for Ag’ campaign outlines a goal of ag education access for 100% of Iowa high school students by 2029.     

“Iowa agriculture is a national leader in so many areas of production: corn, pigs, eggs, ethanol and biofuel, and in conservation: water quality wetlands, bioreactors, grassed waterways, buffer strips, pollinator habitat and conservation tillage. Our state depends on the next generation of youth to fill critical roles in agriculture to maintain that status and provide solutions to a growing global population. Without qualified ag educators to train and inform young people of future career opportunities in agriculture, we lose out as a state – and nation,” said Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson.

“Iowa Farm Bureau has been one of the Iowa FFA Foundation’s longest and most dedicated supporters, and we are so grateful for this gift that will have a lasting and meaningful impact in communities across the state,” said Josh Remington, Iowa FFA Foundation executive director.  “IFBF’s support will allow us to tackle our state’s ag educator crisis head-on and remove hurdles to attract and retain talent so we can deliver valuable opportunities to Iowa’s next generation of leaders.”

IFBF has supported Iowa FFA for decades and serves as the presenting sponsor of the annual FFA Leadership Conference.  Iowa Farm Bureau’s support has allowed Iowa FFA to keep annual dues and State Leadership Convention registration fees consistent for the past 15 years, even during times of inflation and rising costs for other youth programs and activities.

“Supporting youth and education is a pillar of IFBF’s mission, and we are proud to lead the ‘All in for Ag Education’ campaign through this gift to grow opportunities for the next generation of Iowa leaders,” said Johnson.   “Agriculture is the backbone of Iowa, and if current trends hold true, one in five Iowa students will have a career supported by agriculture.  We know ag education opportunities for high school youth can have a profound impact on their future, and we feel this support is mission critical to the future of Iowa agriculture.”  

Donations to the Iowa FFA Foundation through February 2025 are eligible for a 50% match. To learn more about ag education opportunities in Iowa and the ‘All in for Ag Education’ campaign and 50% donation match, visit .

Iowa Women in Agriculture Conference to Be Held in Washington, Iowa

“What is YOUR legacy” is the theme for this year’s Women in Agriculture Conference, to be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Washington on March 25.

The event is being hosted by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Washington County office, along with the Washington County Women in Agriculture Advisory Board.

The goal is to get women of all ages thinking about what they want their legacies to be. Whether looking to transition into agriculture or transition their farms to the next generation, attendees will get valuable information to help them tackle their goals with confidence.

“We are looking forward to our fifth Women in Ag Conference and we’ve got a great lineup of speakers to help attendees think about what they want their legacy to be,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach and member of the Washington County Women in Agriculture Advisory Board.

The conference will feature three speakers: Ben Isaacson, general manager of Growthland, and an appraiser; Kitt Tovar Jensen, staff attorney, Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State; and Emma Humphreys, FFA and 4-H member.

Isaacson will start the conference with a session titled “Value of Ag Real Estate as Part of your Portfolio,” which will help attendees with decision making related to ownership of land and livestock facilities, and he will provide an overview of ag real estate value.

Following Isaacson, Jensen will be joining to discuss two different topics related to farm transitions. The first is “Legal Tools and Strategies in Farm Succession Planning,” in which she will discuss some of the well-known tools such as wills and trusts and will go over strategies available to farmland owners to help make farm succession planning less of a daunting task.

Jensen’s second session will follow lunch, and is called “Avoiding Pitfalls in Farm Succession Planning.” She will share more about the three main issues that lead to farm estate litigation.

Prior to lunch, Humphreys, a local FFA and 4-H member, will share her speech on “Mental Health in Agriculture.” Humphreys won the Iowa FFA State Prepared Public Speaking contest and placed in the top 16 at the national level with her speech. She touches on historical dates, personal stories and ways to find help. Her speech not only opens the eyes of those on the outside, but also helps farmers to find the courage to share their own stories and the strength to realize it is OK to ask for help.

Registration details

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 2:15 p.m.

The registration fee is $25; $15 for students. A light breakfast and lunch will be included. The early registration deadline is March 17. Late registrations and walk-in registrations will be accepted based on availability and the registration cost jumps to $35; $25 for students.

For more information or to register, call the ISU Extension and Outreach Washington County office at 319-653-4811 or visit

The conference is being made possible in large part thanks to ISU Extension and Outreach, the Azariah and Martha Foster Heritage Endowment, Hills Bank and other local sponsors.

USDA Cold Storage January 2023 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on January 31, 2023 were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 9 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 1 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 13 percent from the previous month and up 19 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 11 percent from last month and up 57 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on January 31, 2023 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 13 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 7 percent from the previous month but up 12 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 50 percent from last month and up 17 percent from January 31, 2022.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on January 31, 2023 were down slightly from the previous month and down slightly from January 31, 2022. Butter stocks were up 21 percent from last month and up 20 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on January 31, 2023 were down 11 percent from last month but up 17 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 7 percent from last month but up 2 percent from a year ago.

South Korea Reports Another Case of ASF

South Korea recently reported a case of African swine fever (ASF) at a hog farm in Yangyang-gun in the northeast part of the country. It was the fourth case reported this year and the 32nd since the pig-only virus was first confirmed in the country in September 2019.

The South Korean government culled nearly 2,000 hogs at the commercial farm and issued a 48-hour standstill order on livestock facilities in most areas of the Gangwon Province. It is estimated that more than 21,000 hogs are being raised within about a 6-mile radius (10 kilometers) of the infected farm.

In 2022, South Korea was the number five destination for U.S. pork exports when the country imported more than $608 million of product. That was 9% more than in 2021.

The U.S. pork industry is dependent on exports, which in 2022 were nearly $7.7 billion, represented 23.5% of total pork production, and added $61.26 to the price producers received for each hog marketed.

R-CALF USA Statement on Aerial Slaughter of Cattle in the Gila National Forest

On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, Humane Farming Association, Spur Lake Cattle Company and others filed a complaint and application for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction against the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to stop the aerial slaughter of what the USFS calls “unauthorized cattle” in the Gila National Forest.

But on Wednesday, February 22, US District Judge James Browning denied the Temporary Restraining Order to stop the aerial hunt by helicopter of estray cattle, citing that “the court does not see a legal prohibition on the operation. It would be contrary to public interest to stop the operation from proceeding.”

R-CALF USA Region V Director (Texas) and Property Rights Committee Chair Shad Sullivan issued the following statement in response to the impending aerial slaughter of cattle in the Gila National Forest.

“The cattle in question are descendants of herds that legally grazed on rancher-owned allotments decades ago. An estimated 150 to 200 head currently roam the Gila Wilderness that may possess DNA and genetic markers. In some cases, estrays may have intermingled with adjacent allotment owners branded and tagged cattle, proving they are domestic livestock. NMCGA and the group believe there is a great likelihood of this in the aftermath of the Black Fire last year, which destroyed over 30 miles of fencing near the aerial gunning operation area. But Browning and USFS officials don’t agree.

“The plaintiffs in the case contend that not only is the gunning down of the animals inhumane and cruel, but an environmental issue as well. The results of the aerial hunt in 2022, were in some cases considered grotesque, as some cattle were shot but were not killed. Calves were left motherless, and mature cattle received injuries that prolonged suffering, leading to an inevitable death and leaving carcasses strewn about the land and in waterways. It is estimated that the current 2023 aerial hunt will leave 65 tons of beef to decompose.

“The issue at hand, however, may not be the inhumane aerial slaughter of the cattle. Instead, the issue may be the unchecked power by unelected bureaucrats within governmental agencies setting a precedent for how federal officials handle authority. The ranchers in this case are challenging the authority of USFS actions contending that the USFS isn’t abiding by its own regulations. In fact, Daniel McGuire, the plaintiff’s attorney, said to Judge Browning, ‘There’s a severe danger here, not just in this particular case and the horrific results that it will actually bear if this is allowed to go forward. But it also has long-term ramifications for the power of federal agencies to disregard their regulations that they, themselves passed.’

“The estray cattle issue in the Gila Wilderness has been decades in the making. Over the years, by over-regulation or otherwise, allotment owners have left or have been removed from the area, leaving the land vacant and without proper management. This resulted in remnants of cattle herds being left behind. With no plans by USFS to reactivate vacant allotments and lengthy and unsuccessful contract applications for a more humane cattle removal plan, the decades-long problem has come to a head. NMCGA President Loren Patterson recognizes the removal of the livestock but opposes the lethal methods and is concerned that the abuse of authority by federal agencies will set a precedent across the nation and especially the West. R-CALF USA agrees with Patterson.

“Unfortunately, the slaughter is moving forward. With pressure from environmental groups and because of the rugged and vast terrain, the Forest Service feels this is the most humane way to deal with the immediate removal of the cattle. R-CALF USA and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association disagrees. We call on the Forest Service to step back and consider other options, such as seeking applications for private individuals to gather the cattle over time or, at least, putting the meat from the estray cattle to good use such as for feeding people in need.”

Friday, February 24, 2023

Thursday February 23 Ag News

 Annual Nebraska LEAD Recognition Banquet March 17 in Lincoln

Douglas Kristensen, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney will be the keynote speaker at the annual LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program recognition banquet Friday, March 17.

Kristensen’s address will provide insight on leadership development while addressing the need for quality leadership at all levels and aspects of society. The banquet will be held to honor Nebraska LEAD Class 40 at the Nebraska East Union on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus.

During the banquet, the Nebraska LEAD Alumni Association will also be presenting the 2023 “Dr. Allen G. Blezek Friend of LEAD” award. “This very prestigious award is presented annually to an individual and/or organization who has a distinguished history of providing outstanding support to the Nebraska LEAD Program. The award honors Dr. Blezek, the long-time director who passed away in 2020.” according to LEAD Program Director Dr. Terry Hejny. This year’s recipient is Dr. Ronnie Green, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Prior to the banquet, the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council will conduct its annual meeting at 4:30 p.m.  The council will elect 2023-24 officers to its board of directors.

Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the 6:30 p.m. banquet.

Banquet reservations are $25 and may be made by calling the Nebraska LEAD Program office at (402) 472-6810 no later than March 7.

Nebraska LEAD 40 Fellows by hometown that are completing the two-year leadership development program are:  
AURORA: Mitch Oswald
COZAD: Andrew Bellamy
DAVID CITY: Nate Parde

GREENWOOD: Steve Landon
HEMINGFORD: Timothy Hashman
KEARNEY: Abe Smith, Hannah Swink
LINCOLN: Austin Benes, Kurtis Harms, David Moss, Rachel Prosser, Stephanie Schuler, Logan Sheets, Curtis Welsh
LITCHFIELD: Cole Lewandowski
MINDEN: Stephanie Nelson
NORFOLK: Trentee Bush

SCOTTSBLUFF: Blake Wohlers
UPLAND: Chris Grams
WAHOO: Eric Coufal

The Nebraska LEAD Program includes men and women, currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness and is a two-year leadership development program under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 42, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 Agricultural Communications Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0940, telephone 402-472-6810 or email the Nebraska LEAD Program at The application deadline is June 15.


USDA AMS Establishes Cattle and Carcass Grading Correlation Training Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln would be the site of one of three regional Cattle and Carcass Grading Correlation Training Centers on Wednesday.

West Texas A&M University and Colorado State University join Nebraska as the other regional sites.

Also known as Cattle and Carcass Training Centers or Training Centers, the sites will foster collaboration between industry and academia and provide educational and training opportunities to stakeholders interested in the official quality grading of feeder cattle, fed cattle, and beef carcasses in the United States.

"This partnership with the USDA gives us an opportunity to provide cattle producers in Nebraska and throughout the region with great educational resources on grading cattle and beef carcass merit," said Ty Schmidt, Associate Professor of Meat Science and Muscle Biology.

"It provides our stakeholders with a larger network of information to assist them in making the best choices for their operations."

The Nebraska training center will host an event targeted to producers, feeders, and other stakeholders who want a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the market value of cattle on June 15-16 showcasing technology used in the meat and livestock industries. Speakers from the USDA, the university, and the CME Group will share their knowledge and offer information covering a wide range of topics related to CME live cattle specifications and deliveries. AMS will also provide updates on the USDA’s supply chain initiatives, including an overview of USDA’s Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA), which ensures that participants in USDA’s meat and poultry supply chain initiatives can access full-range technical assistance to support their project development and success.

The two-day event is free and open to the public but will be first come, first served, and limited to 75 participants. Those interested in attending are asked to pre-register for the event here

Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance

Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance will be offering Beef Quality Assurance and Beef Quality Assurance Transportation Certification.

The date and location is:
Thursday, March 9th, 2023. 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Casey’s Building, W, South St., Albion, NE 68620.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fischer, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Protect Nebraska Consumers and Producers from Radical Environmental Policies

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) joined several of her Senate Republican colleagues in reintroducing the Food and Energy Security Act, which would prohibit the Biden administration from forcing its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda onto the American economy.

Specifically, the bill would require federal financial regulators to estimate the impact of their rules on businesses involved in the agriculture or energy supply chains. If any rules are estimated to drive up food, energy, or gas prices, the regulators would then be prohibited from implementing the rules during times of high inflation. U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) led the reintroduction of the bill in the Senate.

“Inflation continues to devastate Nebraskans, yet the Biden administration is determined to force its radical environmental agenda onto our economy. Aggressive financial regulations would hurt Nebraska’s agricultural sector and raise prices for hardworking families. Our legislation would prevent these damaging ESG rules from moving forward to ensure costs aren’t driven up even further,” said Sen. Fischer.

In addition to Sens. Fischer and Thune, the legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

Commercial Red Meat Production Up 4 Percent from Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.77 billion pounds in January, up 4 percent from the 4.56 billion pounds produced in January 2022.

Beef production, at 2.33 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year.  Cattle slaughter totaled 2.83 million head, up 5 percent from January 2022.  The average live weight was down 18 pounds from the previous year, at 1,380 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.4 million pounds, 4 percent below January a year ago.  Calf slaughter totaled 30,600 head, 5 percent below January 2022.  The average live weight was up 2 pounds from last year, at 249 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.43 billion pounds, 6 percent above the previous year.  Hog slaughter totaled 11.1 million head, 7 percent above January 2022.  The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 293 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 10.2 million pounds, was 3 percent above January 2022.  Sheep slaughter totaled 162,800 head, 6 percent above last year.  The average live weight was 123 pounds, down 4 pounds from January a year ago.

By State         (million lbs  -  % Jan '22)

Nebraska .......:     654.6            101       
Iowa ..............:     788.6            106       
Kansas ...........:     498.9            103       

Weekly Ethanol Production for 2/17/2023

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending February 17, ethanol production rose 1.5% to a 9-week high of 1.029 million b/d, equivalent to 43.22 million gallons daily. Production was 0.5% above the same week last year and 7.0% more than the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 0.4% to 1.018 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.61 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks rose 1.0% to a 46-week high of 25.6 million barrels. Stocks were 0.3% higher than a year ago and 6.9% above the five-year average. Inventories built across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, surged 7.7% to an 8-week high of 8.91 million b/d (136.59 bg annualized). Demand was 2.9% more than a year ago and 4.2% above the five-year average.

Conversely, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol declined 2.3% to 854,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.09 bg annualized. Net inputs were 2.0% below the same week last year but 0.3% above the five-year average.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the eleventh consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of December 2022.)

 USGC Identifies Top Five Ethanol Market Priorities For 2023

At the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC’s) 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Annual Membership Meeting in Savannah, GA, the Council's Ethanol Advisory Team (A-team) solidified key market priorities for 2023. U.S. ethanol exports for marketing year (MY) 2021/2022 totaled 1.45 billion gallons (Bgal), the third-largest marketing year on record, worth $4 billion. As the 2022/23 MY takes off, the Council continues to work worldwide to promote U.S. ethanol's quality, reliability and value worldwide, with a renewed focus on Canada, Japan, the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (U.K.), India and the Southeast Asia (SEA) region.

Canada has been the most consistent ethanol export market for the U.S. since 2010. Canada was the top market destination for U.S. ethanol in MY 2021/22, totaling a record 466 million gallons (Mgal). The current national average blend rate has exceeded the clean fuel standard (CFS) requirement of E5 since 2012 and with Canada’s Clean Fuel Regulation (CFR) coming into force in July 2023, the country is gearing up to reach nationwide E15 by 2030. This will both cut carbon emissions by more than 26 million tons and increase net ethanol demand. In the first four months of the current marketing year, U.S. exports to Canada total more than 180 Mgal, on track for potentially another marketing year record if monthly trends hold.

“With renewed commitments to carbon reduction and a keener focus on energy diversification efforts, we have seen many countries begin to make the transition to include or commit to ethanol blending targets,” said Doug Berven, vice president of corporate affairs for POET, and the Council’s current ethanol A-team lead. “The Council’s expanded ethanol promotion programs are seeing a wider range of countries importing and implementing low carbon fuel standards that will allow U.S. ethanol to compete in high value and high margin export markets like never before.”

One of the largest markets for U.S. ethanol is Japan. In MY 2021/22, more than 140 million gallons of ethanol were exported in the form of ethyl tertiary-butyl ether (ETBE), an oxygenate for gasoline averaging a country-wide ethanol blend rate of only 1.9 percent. The longer-term goal is to see Japan expand total ethanol consumption, begin direct blending of ethanol at a three percent ethanol blend and expand to a 10 percent ethanol blend, representing a 1.2-billion-gallon market. In 2018, the U.S. industry was able to enter the Japanese market for the first time with a market share of up to 44 percent, the revised policy will be issued in April 2023 and the Council and various industry stakeholders have been diligently pursuing 100 percent market access for U.S. product.

The EU has also been setting records and was the third-largest market for U.S. ethanol in MY 2021/22, totaling nearly 140 Mgal, more than double from the previous marketing year. Member states such as France and Germany continue to increase their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions through increased consumption of ethanol and the Netherlands and Sweden have rolled out their own E10 mandates.

The U.K. continues to increase its consumption of ethanol and was the sixth-largest market for U.S. ethanol in MY 2021/22, totaling over 80 Mgal, up over 300 percent from the previous marketing year. In the first four months of the current marketing year, U.S. exports to the EU and U.K. total more than 55 Mgal. With a continued focus on energy diversification and reducing consumer costs, the EU and the U.K. represent a timely opportunity to increase the emphasis on ethanol’s pricing, energy security and decarbonization benefits to the region.

“The Council will be more prominently engaging within the EU and U.K. region in 2023 to continue the momentum around increased ethanol consumption. With success stories of E85 or E10 in many EU member countries, it’s becoming more evident to decision makers the integral role ethanol has in a viable decarbonization strategy that can significantly reduce prices at the pump,” said Mackenzie Boubin, USGC director of global ethanol market development.

India is a top 10 market for U.S. ethanol year-over-year. It was the fourth-largest market for U.S. ethanol in MY 2021/22, totaling nearly 130 Mgal. Industrial ethanol will continue to represent a short-term opportunity for U.S ethanol producers with the removal of the five percent customs duty on imported denatured ethanol. Given the country’s ambitious blending target of E20, U.S. ethanol can facilitate supply gaps, with the Council’s office there anticipating a potential 200 million gallon market by 2025.

Record U.S. ethanol exports to Singapore placed it as the ninth-largest market in MY 2021/22, totaling 51 Mgal, up more than 1,000 percent from the previous marketing year. The majority of those exports had an end destination of Indonesia in the form of preblended E3 gasoline. The Southeast Asia (SEA) region represents many promising transportation markets receptive to ethanol’s octane economics and carbon reduction impacts. Countries like Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam all have robust blending policies and strong domestic industries that complement the Council strategy to increase education and expand awareness of ethanol’s blending benefits.

“With the diversification of our ethanol programs reaching the many various regions, all of which are experiencing similar growth opportunities and renewed ethanol enthusiasm, the Council’s ethanol staff looks forward to achieving a productive 2023 year,” Boubin said.

FDA Proposing to Allow Fake Milk to be Labeled As Real Milk

American Dairy Coalition

It has been a long five-year wait since former FDA commissioner Scott Gottleib said ‘almonds don’t lactate’ in 2018 when FDA called for public comments about their (lack of) enforcement of milk standards of identity in the labeling of fake milk alternatives. FDA’s draft guidance, “Labeling of Plant-based Milk Alternatives and Voluntary Nutrient Statements: Guidance for Industry,” was just released on Feb. 22.

This is a huge disappointment, but we aren’t giving up and will provide additional Public comments to the FDA as soon as the new FDA guidance opens up for comments.

Specifically, the FDA draft guidance “recommends that a plant-based milk alternative product that includes the term ‘milk’ in its name, and that has a nutrient composition that is unlike milk, may include a voluntary nutrient statement on their label that conveys how the product compares with milk based on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) fluid milk substitutes nutrient criteria.

USDA’s FNS sets specific levels of calcium, protein, vitamins A and D, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin B-12 for milk substitutes in federal feeding programs. The voluntary statement for a fake milk alternative -- if they decide to redo their product labels and include it -- would state the difference in content between their non-milk product and the USDA criteria, not their product compared to actual real MILK, and not their product vs. bioavailability of these and other nutrients in actual real MILK.
Remember, this disclaimer is voluntary, and not required. The FDA draft guidance allows the food industry to continue to use the term 'milk' to describe fake alternatives with no plan to enforce the FDA's own policy standards of identity for milk. For decades, FDA has disregarded 'enforcement discretion' to allow this.

Simultaneously, FDA also released a “Consumer Update” on Feb. 22 attempting to educate consumers on how to interpret nutrient labels, stating: “The milk section of the dairy case isn’t what it used to be. Along with milk, there’s a growing variety of plant-based milk alternatives. While many plant-based milk alternatives have the word ‘milk’ in their name, the nutritional content can vary between the products, and many of them don’t have the same amount of calcium and vitamin D, or other nutrients as milk. So, what should you look for when choosing plant-based milk alternatives? The Nutrition Facts label on the packaging can help you choose the best products to meet your nutrient needs and those of your family. to make their own choices when buying plant-based milk.”

"Engaging Gen Z" Webinar Highlights New Research and Strategies to Connect

Gen Z is poised to change the face of food, according to new research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI). CFI conducted digital ethnography, quantitative research and immersive Gen Z experiences for a 360-degree look at this unique segment and how to engage to earn trust.

“The findings equip the food industry with insights to engage Gen Z consumers, Gen Z farmers and ranchers, and the Gen Z workforce,” said Roxi Beck, CFI Consumer Engagement Director, who led the Gen Z initiative.

Beck will detail the research and engagement strategies during the "Engaging Gen Z" webinar, Tues., Feb. 28, 1 to 2 p.m. CT. Specifically, Beck will:
    Highlight the research and the impact of immersive on-farm Gen Z influencer experiences.
    Detail engagemenet strategies agriculture organizations can use to attract and retain young members and future leaders.
    Show how food companies, restaurants, retailers, agribusinesses and others involved in the business of food can attract and integrate this up-and-coming generation into today's multigenerational workforce.

The research culminated in a communications guide, “Engaging Gen Z: The Consumer, The Farmer/Rancher, The Workforce,” that details CFI research and other Gen Z findings, along with specific strategies to engage each audience.

To register for the webinar and download the guide, visit

New Holland and Raven Industries Donate Precision Agricultural Education Simulators to 11 FFA Chapters to Grow Understanding of Precision Agriculture Tech

New Holland North America and Raven Industries today, on the occasion of supporting and celebrating National FFA Week's Give FFA Day, announce the donation of agricultural technology education simulators to 11 FFA chapters across the United States.

After a rigorous selection process, the FFA chapters picked as finalists are Botkins FFA in Ohio, Cedar Crest FFA in Pennsylvania, Chicago Ag Sciences FFA in Illinois, Dodgeville FFA in Wisconsin, Graves County FFA in Kentucky, Imbler FFA in Oregon, Mosinee FFA in Wisconsin, Rossville FFA Chapter in Indiana, South Hamilton FFA in Iowa, Stockbridge Valley FFA in New York and Whitehall FFA in Wisconsin.

“For 75 years, New Holland Agriculture has been a proud sponsor of National FFA, and we are excited to continue to support the future of agriculture in new ways,” states Ben Sheldon, precision agriculture segment lead for New Holland Agriculture North America. “Involvement in FFA allows students to explore a broad range of career pathways to help discover their passion. Through this donation, we hope to raise interest in the precision agriculture technology sector and showcase the opportunities it offers the next generation of agriculturists.”

“National FFA is grateful for New Holland and Raven’s continued support and dedication to creating opportunities for our members,” says Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation and chief marketing officer of the National FFA Organization. “This precision ag technology will help FFA members gain hands-on experience and develop new skills that will serve them well in future careers.”

New Holland and Raven technology applications
Designed as an educational simulator for teachers and students, the technology presents market-leading precision tools and accessories in a compact format that easily fits into any learning environment. The simulator includes two key elements of Raven technology: the Viper® 4+, Raven’s premier in-cab display, and the RS1™, Raven’s three-in-one GPS, Connectivity and autosteer sensor. Together with a monitor, receiver, cabling and adapters, steering wheel and auto-guidance collar, these elements simulate real-world farming applications to create a hands-on training experience.

“In a world revolving around technology, Raven sees the importance of providing unique training opportunities to convey the robust capabilities of autonomous farming technology," says Mitch White, sales strategist for Raven Industries. “With the Raven RS1 demo simulator, we are providing an opportunity for students to learn about the breadth and depth of a career path focused on precision ag technology.”

Along with the technology, each of the selected FFA chapters will receive access to training resources to support their use of the simulators. These include detailed explanatory videos and a dedicated training session provided by a qualified New Holland or Raven precision technology staff member on how best to operate and optimize the functions, setup and basic operation of the simulator.

Sparking student interest in precision agriculture
New Holland and Raven further collaborated to provide complimentary precision agriculture technology curriculum to any FFA advisor or agriculture teacher in North America. These online resources have been designed to equip teachers with the tools and materials to successfully implement a precision agriculture curriculum in the classroom. Course materials will cover the basics of precision farming, connectivity and benefits to producers. Specific subjects covered in the curriculum include how to use rate controls to deliver inputs at the right place at the right time and a special section on the future of technology, like autonomous farming equipment.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Wednesday February 22 Ag News

 Midwest Dairy offers six Nebraska division scholarships to young dairy leaders

Midwest Dairy is seeking students to apply for the Nebraska division scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic school year. High school and undergraduate students accepted or enrolled in an accredited college are invited to apply for this scholarship. Students must apply by March 1, 2023. Students can apply by visiting Midwest Dairy’s website under Young Dairy Leaders -> Scholarships.

Recipients of the Nebraska Division Scholarship will receive either %1,500 or $1,000 to further their educational endeavors. Applicants will be evaluated on contributions to and involvement in the dairy industry, leadership, career plans, and academic standing.

“Recognizing young dairy leaders who are committed to building up the dairy industry and carrying it forward into the future is important to Midwest Dairy as we continue to invest in creating dairy advocates as well as developing the next generation of dairy leaders,” said Molly Pelzer, CEO of Midwest Dairy. “It’s a privilege to recognize the achievements of these young leaders with this scholarship program, and we are proud to continue our commitment to the hardworking dairy farm families we represent.”

Last year, six students were awarded the Nebraska division scholarship. These students are now enrolled at universities across the country, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wayne State College, and Texas A&M University.

In addition to the Illinois division scholarship, Midwest Dairy offers scholarships for young dairy leaders in other states throughout our region. Dairy students are also invited to apply to scholarships from Dairy Management Inc., which offers checkoff-funded scholarships at the national level.

For more information about the Illinois division scholarship, please visit

You're Invited: Dodge County Cattlemen Meeting

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Social hour: 6:30 p.m. CT
Meal/Program: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Z’s Bar and Grill
                  436 Main St, Scribner, NE
Speakers: Jacy Schafer, Nebraska Cattlemen
                  Buck Wehrbein, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President
Meal: A complimentary meal will be provided for paid-up members
Sponsors: Zoetis and Central Valley Ag


USDA to Host Educational Events at USDA Cattle and Carcass Training Centers and Introduces New Center

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host three educational events focused on animal handling and its effects on the quality, yield, and market value of cattle, the CME live cattle specifications, and emerging technology in the cattle industry as part of its ongoing outreach conducted by the USDA Cattle and Carcass Training Centers (Training Center). One of the events will be hosted by the newly established Training Center at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Lincoln, Neb. While anyone can attend the events, they are targeted to producers, feeders, and other stakeholders who want a better understanding of factors that contribute to the market value of cattle, and how these factors can inform marketing and production decisions.

The first event will be hosted by Colorado State University on March 28 – 30, 2023, and will focus on animal handling and its effects on quality and yield factors with several live cattle demonstrations. Guest speakers include representatives from USDA, Colorado State University, and the CME Group, along with industry analysts, cattle buyers, and keynote speaker Dr. Temple Grandin.

The second event will be hosted by West Texas A&M University on May 17 – 18, 2023, and will focus on how cattle and beef are evaluated by USDA for quality and yield, how these factors play into CME specifications for cattle deliveries and beef carcass certification, and the relationship between cattle production practices, the USDA grading and acceptance process, and producer prices.

The third event will be hosted by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln on June 15 – 16, 2023, and will focus on a wide range of topics related to emerging technology in the livestock and meat industries, and CME live cattle and carcass specifications and deliveries.

At all three events, AMS will provide an overview of USDA’s Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program, which ensures that participants in USDA’s supply chain initiatives can access technical assistance to support their project development.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) directed USDA to establish the Training Centers to conduct activities that limit subjectivity in the application of beef grading standards, provide producers with a greater understanding of the value of their cattle, and provide investors more confidence in the cattle delivery system.

Pre-registration is required for the events, which are free and open to the public. Information about these events, including how to pre-register, is on the AMS website

Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Climate-Smart Agriculture Available Nationwide

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making funding available for agricultural producers and forest landowners nationwide to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate smart agriculture through several of the conservation programs that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) implements. NRCS is making available $850 million in fiscal year 2023 for its oversubscribed conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

“The Inflation Reduction Act provided a once-in-a-generation investment in conservation on working lands, and we want to work with agricultural and forest landowners to invest in climate-smart practices that create value and economic opportunity for producers,” said Vilsack. “We know that agriculture plays a critical role in the nation’s effort to address climate change, and we’re using this funding to bolster our existing programs, maximize climate benefits, and foster other environmental benefits across the landscape.”

The IRA funding includes an additional $8.45 billion for EQIP, $4.95 billion for RCPP, $3.25 billion for CSP, and $1.4 billion for ACEP. The increased funding levels begin in fiscal year 2023 and rapidly build over four years. These additional investments are estimated to help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply conservation to millions of acres of land. Additionally, the IRA provides $300 million to quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gases (GHG) through the collection and use of field-based data to assess conservation outcomes. Information gained through this effort will be used to improve practices and technical assistance to customers. Further guidance on this important work will be provided as the implementation of this portion of the IRA continues.

These funds will provide direct climate mitigation benefits and will expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farm, ranch or forest land through practices like cover cropping, conservation tillage, wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, tree planting and more. To ensure we can quantify the benefits of these IRA investments, NRCS is working to support Department-wide work on Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MMRV). The IRA provided targeted funding to support this effort. In administering the Inflation Reduction Act climate investments, USDA will also support other environmental co-benefits, including – among other things – water conservation, wildlife habitat improvements, and reducing runoff.

How to Apply

NRCS accepts applications for its conservation programs year-round, but producers interested in EQIP or CSP financial assistance through IRA should apply by their state’s ranking deadline to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Nebraska’s ranking deadline is March 31, 2023. Funding is provided through a competitive process and will include an opportunity to address the unmet demand from producers who have previously sought funding for climate-smart conservation activities.

For ACEP Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) or Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE), applications for the current IRA funding cycle must be submitted by March 17, 2023, for the first funding round. This year, NRCS will prioritize ACEP-ALE for grasslands in areas of highest risk for conversion to non-grassland uses to prevent the release of soil carbon stores. Meanwhile, NRCS will prioritize ACEP-WRE for eligible lands that contain soils high in organic carbon.

NRCS plans to roll out the next RCPP funding opportunity in early spring, which will include IRA funds from fiscal year 2023.

Other opportunities for agreements and partnerships at the state level will be announced for fiscal year 2023 in the coming months. The IRA provides funding to support those strategic partnerships with local, regional and national organizations. This will include outreach to underserved producers to ensure IRA climate funding is reaching those who have been previously unable to access conservation assistance.

Water Supply Investments

USDA also released recently the Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action that identifies 13 strategies that guide NRCS’s investments for helping agricultural producers and communities respond to the significant challenges resulting from threats to the water supply in the Nation's most arid landscapes. Assistance delivered through these water-related strategies also helps build resilience to climate-change impacts such as droughts, wildfires and floods. Many of the resilience-focused activities and systems are also Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry mitigation activities, which support carbon sequestration or greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Climate-smart mitigation activities are supported by the additional investments available from the IRA. As part of the Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action, USDA is also announcing and highlighting other drought focused investments, including the WaterSMART Initiative.  

Final Cattle Producer Forums offered by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will host three educational programs during the month of March. Madyson Thill, ICA southeast member services said each program will include a meal, educational sessions, a trade show, and an industry update from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Beef Industry Council.

“We felt it was important to bring more educational opportunities to you this year. Each forum in March will feature guest speakers talking about a variety of industry topics and a trade show with vendors ready to share their newest products and technologies to help make your operation more efficient and profitable,” she said.

On March 1, in Washington, Iowa, Stockguard will discuss the importance of preparing and protecting your operation from declines in market practices for financial stability. Carl Babler will also provide a Cattle Market Outlook update that evening.

Babler will also travel to Keystone, Iowa, on March 21 for the Benton County Cattle Producer Forum. In addition to Babler’s Cattle Market Outlook update, other industry updates and tips will be shared.

The final Cattle Producer Forum will be held on March 28 in Newton, Iowa. Attendees can again count on hearing from Stockguard as well as from Deb Klopenstein of Purina on preparing cow-calf pairs for pasture.

Producers can register to attend by calling 515-296-2266. Registration is not required, but appreciated. Walk-ins are welcome. Non-members are encouraged to attend for $20.

All events begin at 5 p.m.

January Milk Production up 1.5 percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during January totaled 18.5 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from January 2022. December revised production, at 18.1 billion pounds, was up 0.7 percent from December 2021.  The December revision represented a decrease of 32 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,069 pounds for January, 18 pounds above January 2022.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.93 million head, 51,000 head more than January 2022, and 9,000 head more than December 2022.

IOWA: Milk production in Iowa during January 2023 totaled 506 million pounds, up 7 percent from the previous January according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during January, at 241,000 head, was 2,000 above last month and up 16,000 from January 2022. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,100 pounds, up 5 pounds from last January.

2022 Annual Milk Production up 0.1 percent from 2021

The annual production of milk for the United States during 2022 was 226 billion pounds, 0.1 percent above 2021. Revisions to 2021 production increased the annual total 35 million pounds. Revised 2022 production was down 158 million pounds from last month's publication. Annual total milk production has increased 12.5 percent from 2013.

2022 Milk Production by state

                             (million lbs  -  % change from '21)

Nebraska .....:         1,416.0          -0.5    
Iowa ............:         5,770.0           4.2    

Production per cow in the United States averaged 24,087 pounds for 2022, 138 pounds above 2021. The average annual rate of milk production per cow has increased 10.4 percent from 2013.

The average number of milk cows on farms in the United States during 2022 was 9.40 million head, down 0.5 percent from 2021. The average number of milk cows was revised down 2,000 head for 2022. The average annual number of milk cows has increased 1.9 percent from 2013.

Dairy Market Report: Record Exports Show Dairy's Global Reach; Cheese Demand Rises

2022 ended with U.S. dairy exports setting a second consecutive record for percent of domestic production exported during an entire calendar year, with 17.8 percent of U.S. milk solids production exported. That helped temper sluggish domestic consumption; while the year’s final quarter saw the strongest quarterly annual growth of domestic American-type cheese consumption since the first half of 2021, even as overall domestic use of all dairy products was below year-ago levels on a milk equivalent basis. U.S. dairy cow numbers were up over year-ago levels by just under 30,000 cows each month during the fourth quarter, while U.S. milk production growth, which resumed last July, has done so at a steadily diminishing rate from August onward.

The December DMC margin was $9.76/cwt, down $1.13/cwt from the month before, driven mostly by a $0.90/cwt fall in the U.S. average all-milk price, to $24.70/cwt. For all of 2022, the DMC margin fell below the highest coverage level of $9.50/cwt during just two months, as record high feed costs were generally topped by record high milk prices. U.S. average retail prices for fluid milk, both whole and lowfat, and for natural cheddar cheese dropped in January from a month earlier. DMC margins are expected to be lower in 2023.


FDA Guidance On Plant-Based Beverages’ Use of Dairy Terms is a First Step, NMPF Says While Calling for Complete Transparency in Labeling

In response to today’s FDA guidance on plant-based beverages, which guides manufacturers of plant-based beverages to disclose their nutrient inferiority and acknowledges the public health concern of nutritional confusion over such beverages, the National Milk Producers Federation, which has led the fight for labeling transparency, released the following statement:

From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation:

“Today’s FDA announcement is a step toward labeling integrity for consumers of dairy products, even as it falls short of ending the decades-old problem of misleading plant-based labeling using dairy terminology. By acknowledging both the utter lack of nutritional standards prevalent in plant-based beverages and the confusion over nutritional value that’s prevailed in the marketplace because of the unlawful use of dairy terms, FDA’s proposed guidance today will provide greater transparency that’s sorely needed for consumers to make informed choices.

“Still, the decision to permit such beverages to continue inappropriately using dairy terminology violates FDA’s own standards of identity, which clearly define dairy terms as animal-based products. We reject the agency’s circular logic that FDA’s past labeling enforcement inaction now justifies labeling such beverages as “milk” by designating a common and usual name. Past inaction is poor precedent to justify present and future inaction.

“Because FDA’s proposed guidance is meaningless without action, enforcement will be necessary to ensure that this limited progress is reflected on grocery shelves. For these reasons, we will continue our work in Congress to pass the DAIRY PRIDE Act, which would direct FDA to enforce its own rules and clarify that dairy terms are for true dairy products, not plant-based imposters.

“FDA’s last three Senate-confirmed commissioners — from both parties — have each acknowledged the problem of consumer confusion over nutritional content created by beverage labels that use dairy terms to imply qualities they simply don’t have. Medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, concur with this concern. Today’s proposed guidance at least recognizes this reality: That nutritionally inconsistent concoctions of water, factory-processed powders and other additives simply don’t contain the same nutrition that milk provides.
“As the agency entrusted with protecting consumers from mislabeled products, FDA’s action here takes a step in that direction. And after more than four decades of efforts that have often fallen on deaf ears, we appreciate that today’s agency leadership is beginning to treat plant-based beverage labeling more like the critical issue of nutrition and agency integrity that it is.

“We also would like to thank consumers, who sales data show drank fewer fake dairy beverages in 2022 than in 2021, part of a broader awakening to the bogus marketing of fake milk manufacturers that have been accepted uncritically for far too long. Despite the misinformation spun in advertisements and media, consumers are seeing through the marketing and recognizing these beverages for the fakes that they are. But consumers shouldn’t have to make choices in a marketplace that’s less than fully transparent, and until the federal government fully lives up to its mission, NMPF will continue to lead the battle for labeling transparency.”

Dust Explosion Incidents Up Last Year, No Fatalities

The annual summary recording nationwide grain dust bin explosions reported nine incidents in 2022. This compares to seven reported incidents in 2021 and a 10-year average of 7.8 explosions annually.

Kingsly Ambrose, Purdue University professor of agricultural and biological engineering and report author, said that despite the increase in explosions from the previous year and 18 total injuries this year, no fatalities were reported.

The explosions occurred in one ethanol plant, two feed mills, two grain elevators, two rice mills and two grain processing plants. The probable ignition sources were identified in three cases as a fire and one incidence as welding, while five cases were from unknown sources. Fuel sources for all nine explosions were identified as grain dust.

The dust explosions occurred in seven different states, with two each occurring in Arkansas and Louisiana, and one each in New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Ohio.

"Often, five of the conditions needed for a grain dust explosion to occur are present in most grain feed, milling and processing facilities," Ambrose said. "These conditions include dust, dispersed dust, confined space and oxygen. The presence of the fifth factor, an ignition source such as overheated bearing or mechanical friction, could lead to an explosion."

He emphasized the importance of developing and implementing a detailed housekeeping program to mitigate the hazards and utilizing government and industry resources that are publicly available to provide guidance on developing such a program.

Neil Caskey Named CEO of National Corn Growers Association

Neil Caskey, a long-time professional in the agricultural arena, has been tapped to lead the National Corn Growers Association as its new CEO, according to the organization’s board of directors. Caskey will assume the role on Monday, February 27.

NCGA board members say they are pleased to name someone of Caskey’s caliber to the top job.

“Neil’s experience in agriculture is extensive, and he is well known as someone who gets the job done well,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “The board and I are certain that Neil will usher in new ideas and take the organization to new heights.”

Caskey has served as NCGA’s vice president of communications and industry relations for over four years and spent over a decade promoting agricultural issues as executive vice president at OBP Agency, a leading advertising and public relations firm. His professional background also includes work for the American Soybean Association and as a legislative aide for a U.S. member of Congress.

Caskey said he is looking forward to leading the organization.

“It is quite an honor to lead an organization that I care so much about,” said Caskey. “We have a great team in place, and I look forward to forging full-speed ahead and pushing for wins on some of our top issues, like the Next Generation Fuels Act, fighting Mexico’s ban on genetically modified corn and securing reauthorization of the farm bill. NCGA is on the move.”

As vice president of NCGA, Caskey has been at the forefront of some of the organization’s top issues. Most recently, he has played a leading role in challenging Mexico on its efforts to ban genetically modified corn. Thanks to the efforts of NCGA on that front, the Biden administration has threatened to file a dissent decree if Mexico doesn’t reverse its actions.

Caskey holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MBA from Webster University.

FACA Releases Farm Bill Policy Recommendations to Support Economic Opportunities and Address Climate Change

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance today released policy recommendations for the 2023 farm bill. The farm bill is essential legislation that impacts every family in America and has enormous potential to help the food, agriculture and forestry sectors achieve their climate mitigation potential while preserving and creating new economic opportunities.

Further reducing emissions throughout agricultural and forestry supply chains will require a comprehensive effort involving financial and technical assistance, research investments, proactive response to innovation, public-private partnerships and a commitment to equitable opportunities for all producers.

FACA’s recommendations, developed by the 23-member steering committee, are divided into six categories:
    Conservation, risk management and credit
    Food waste
    Livestock and dairy
    Research, Extension and innovation

FACA’s past recommendations have provided guidance to members of Congress and administration officials and have been credited with shaping federal laws and programs. We now urge both chambers of Congress and the president to act this year to pass a farm bill that advances voluntary bipartisan climate solutions.

FACA’s founding organizations and co-chairs celebrated the policy recommendations and the impact they will have:

Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said: “Despite a pandemic, severe weather, volatile markets and rising costs, farmers continue to meet the growing needs of America’s families, and the farm bill helps make that possible. We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen Title I programs, improve risk management tools, and utilize these FACA recommendations to advance our sustainability mission in a manner that respects farmers and ranchers as partners.”

Rob Larew, President of National Farmers Union, said: “Climate change continues to be a serious threat to farmers, ranchers and their communities. Farmers are already implementing practices to address the climate crisis and make their farms more resilient. The farm bill presents an opportunity to build upon the programs that support these voluntary, incentive-based practices. FACA’s farm bill recommendations will establish a strong foundation to support farmers and ranchers in sequestering carbon, building soil health and reducing emissions for years to come.”

Chuck Connor, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said: “Throughout our work, FACA has been driven by the recognition that the farm bill is also a food bill, having importance beyond agriculture and impacting every family in America. Consumers are increasingly interested in both where their food comes from and the climate impact of what they eat. By helping America’s farmers, ranchers, and growers continue adoption of more climate-friendly farming practices, the recommendations will help producers meet growing consumer preferences. Also, by building on and strengthening efforts to combat food waste in the 2018 farm bill, the recommendations would ensure that the resources put towards growing and producing food are used as efficiently as possible.”

Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President for Political Affairs at Environmental Defense Fund, said: “The farm bill is one of the biggest opportunities to advance conservation and climate solutions in the U.S. FACA’s recommendations will make it easier for farmers, ranchers and foresters to help stabilize the climate, while building resilience to climate impacts that are already affecting crops and livestock. In doing so, they can continue to produce food for a growing population and support vibrant agricultural and rural economies.”

From Congress to Courtrooms NCBA is Defending You

Todd Wilkinson, NCBA President

Today, cattlemen and women across the United States face turbulent times. The return of long standing issues like “Waters of the United States,” and new Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings are just two examples of misguided, ineffective, and poorly implemented policies coming from federal regulators in Washington.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is leading the fight against these harmful regulations, not only in the halls of Congress and federal agencies, but in the courtroom as well. Currently, NCBA is engaged in two lawsuits against federal authorities: the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently announced Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) final rule and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
On December 30, 2022, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announced the final “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” rule. Scheduled to take effect in March 2023, this rule will create new uncertainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners across the country. Immediately after the final rule was released, NCBA and a coalition of national associations filed a lawsuit to stop the rule from taking effect. Rather than clarifying the WOTUS definition, this new rule allows EPA inspectors and the Army Corps of Engineers to exert federal authority over small creeks or ponds that might only hold water right after a rainstorm—a far cry from the oceans, large lakes, and rivers that traditionally fall under the EPA’s purview. Worst of all, the rule would impact our ability to effectively manage water features on our property, including ditches and isolated ponds. Imagine having to get a federal permit before building a new stock pond or road across your pasture. This is unacceptable, which is why we are in federal court to make sure this rule is dead in the water.
While we continue our years-long fight against WOTUS, NCBA is also engaged in litigation on ESA listings. In January 2023, NCBA sent a Notice of Intent to sue the Department of the Interior and the FWS over the listing of the lesser prairie chicken.
Cattle producers’ conservation efforts are the only reason the lesser prairie chicken survives today. The bird favors a habitat with a variety of plants, which is best achieved through cattle grazing. Despite our good work, the FWS has further penalized cattle producers and created a system ripe for abuse. For cattle producers in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, the FWS has opened the door to activist groups having an outsized say over livestock grazing practices. The FWS arbitrarily divided the population into two Distinct Population Segments (DPS); in the Southern DPS when the lesser prairie chicken is considered “endangered,” any take of the bird could mean legal liability for landowners. In the Northern DPS, the FWS created a 4(d) rule which offers a way for producers to limit their liability in case of incidental take (the accidental killing of a lesser prairie chicken) by having a grazing management plan on file. Unfortunately, the FWS will rely on third parties to review those grazing plans, putting special interest groups over producers who know the land best.  
Beyond our formal litigation efforts, NCBA worked with our allies in Congress to delay the effective date of the lesser prairie chicken designation. While this is only a temporary solution, NCBA is working hard to protect cattle producers from the harmful effects of this listing.
As a cattle producer myself, I am extremely proud of NCBA’s work defending our policy priorities in court. I certainly couldn’t fight FWS in court myself or read each new bill introduced in Congress, but NCBA fights on our behalf—on Capitol Hill, through agency rulemakings, and in courts across the country. I want to make sure that generations 100 years from now can still enjoy our farming and ranching way of life. That is only possible if NCBA has the strength to keep fighting for us. If you have already joined NCBA, thank you for your membership, but we need your friends and neighbors to join us too. Take a moment to talk to those around you and explain the importance of joining NCBA. NCBA is our voice from Congress to the courtroom and these fights are too important to sit out.
Todd Wilkinson is a South Dakota cattle producer and president of NCBA. NCBA’s policy work is only possible because of our members. To join NCBA, please visit or call 1-866-BEEF-USA.