NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending October 6, 2019, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 78 adequate, and 14 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 83 adequate, and 10 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 56 good, and 17 excellent. Corn mature was 74 percent, behind 91 last year and 85 for the five-year average. Harvested was 12 percent, behind 22 last year and 17 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 21 fair, 62 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 86 percent, behind 95 last year and 93 average. Harvested was 14 percent, well behind 35 last year, and behind 30 average. Winter wheat planted was 88 percent, near 85 both last year and average. Emerged was 41 percent, behind 56 last year and 60 average. Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 16 fair, 66 good, and 15 excellent. Sorghum mature was 75 percent, behind 88 last year and 82 average. Harvested was 4 percent, behind 22 last year and 17 average. Dry edible beans harvested was 80 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 63 good, and 18 excellent. IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT Excessive rainfall throughout Iowa limited farmers to only 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending October 6, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Very little harvesting took place this past week as farmers wait for field conditions to improve with drier weather. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. Ninety-four percent of the corn crop has reached the dented stage or beyond, nearly 3 weeks behind last year and 16 days behind the 5-year average. Fifty-two percent of the crop reached maturity, 3 weeks behind last year and over two weeks behind average. Three percent of corn has been harvested for grain, 2 weeks behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. Ninety-two percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Sixty-eight percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 15 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Five percent of soybeans have been harvested, 12 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 64 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 90 percent complete, 18 days behind average. Pasture condition improved slightly from the previous week to 47 percent good to excellent. Feedlots remain muddy. Corn 58% Mature, 15% Harvested; Soybeans 72% Dropping Leaves, 14% HarvestedThe gap between the current percentage of U.S. corn and soybeans that has reached maturity and the five-year average narrowed slightly last week, but harvest progress for both crops slipped further behind the average pace, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.As of Sunday, 58% of corn was estimated as mature, 27 percentage points behind the five-year average of 85%. That was slightly closer to the average pace than last week, when corn mature was running 30 percentage points behind average.Nationwide, corn harvest progressed another 4 percentage points to reach 15% as of Sunday, 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 27%. That was further behind average than last week, when harvest was 8 percentage points behind average.The condition of corn still in fields was estimated at 56% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from the previous week, and still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013. The poor-to-very-poor category moved up another 1 percentage point to 15%.Soybeans dropping leaves reached 72% as of Sunday, 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87% -- an improvement from last week when the percent of the crop dropping leaves was running 21 percentage points behind average.Soybean harvest moved ahead 7 percentage points last week to reach 14%, 20 percentage points behind the five-year average of 34%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report, when soybean harvest was running 13 percentage points behind the average pace.Soybean condition was rated 53% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 55% the previous week. As with corn, that remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating in six years.Winter wheat planting progress, which had been slightly ahead of average in last Monday's report, stood at 52% as of Sunday, falling slightly behind the five-year average of 53%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 26%, equal to the five-year average.Spring wheat harvest stalled last week, moving ahead only 1 percentage point to reach 91% as of Sunday, 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%.Sorghum mature was estimated at 65%, behind the average of 73%. Sorghum harvested reached 33%, behind the five-year average of 40%.Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 83%, ahead of the average of 75%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 25%, also ahead of the five-year average of 20%. Rice harvested was 76%, behind the average of 80%. Nebraska Corn encourages safety this harvest seasonAs combines pop up in fields across the Midwest, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association encourage farmers, as well as local residents and visitors, to take a second for safety in rural areas this harvest season.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous industries in America. Over 2 million workers are employed full-time in production agriculture, which does not account for part-time help or family members who also live and work on farms. In 2016, there were 417 reported fatalities of agricultural workers, which equates to 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. While harvest season is an opportune time to be mindful of safety precautions, safety should be implemented year-round in the agricultural industry.“There are lot of moving parts in agriculture, and people need to be responsible,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “A lot of accidents can be prevented by just allowing a little extra time and care. We like to tell people to ‘take a second for safety.’ It’s a great reminder for all of us not to get in a hurry and be mindful of our surroundings.”With factors like fluctuating weather, field conditions and machinery availability, farmers typically have a narrow window to complete their harvest work. Therefore, it’s important farmers take care of themselves to ensure a safe and productive season.“Farmers need to remember to look out for their own well-being during harvest,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “So often, farmers want to move fast in order to take advantage of good weather, but a tired farmer puts him or herself in danger. It’s important for farmers to get enough rest and take short breaks, when needed. A well-rested farmer is a safe and alert farmer.”Farmers are not the only people who should be cautious during the harvest season. Anyone who may be visiting or traveling through rural areas should be mindful of increased farm traffic on roads and highways. Harvest equipment should be visible with front and rear warning lights, as well as slow moving vehicle emblems to notify motorists of approaching machinery. In rural areas, parents of small children should also develop safety rules to prevent youth from playing on or near harvest equipment.Additional tips for farmers, farm workers and rural residents to consider while on the farm this fall (adapted from the National Corn Growers Association):Equipment SafetyBe careful when approaching harvest equipment. Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.Entanglement HazardEntanglement hazards can happen very quickly.Do not ever try to unplug any equipment without disengaging power and removing energy from the equipment.Never pull or try to remove plugged plants from an operating machine.Always keep shields in place to avoid snags and entanglement when working around equipment.Fall HazardBe careful climbing on and off equipment.Be alert and extremely careful when working in wet or slippery conditions.Keep all walkways and platforms open and free of tools, dust, debris or other obstacles. Clean all walkways and platforms before use.Wear clothing that is well fitting and not baggy or loose. Also wear proper non-slip, closed toe shoes.Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery. Face machinery when dismounting and never jump from equipment.Never dismount from a moving vehicle.Fire PreventionCarry a fire extinguisher with you in your vehicle (A-B-C, 5 or 10 pound).Remove dust and buildup from equipment. Check bearings regularly to prevent overheating and chance of fire.Grain Wagon SafetyBe careful to monitor grain wagon weight to never exceed maximum weight limits. As weight increases, grain wagons can be more difficult to control.Load grain wagons evenly to distribute weight to prevent weaving or instability across the grain wagon.Inspect grain wagon tires and replace any worn or cracked tires.Grain Bin SafetyIf entering a bin, wear a harness attached to a secure rope.Never work alone.Never allow children to get too close or inside the bin.Wear a dust filter or respirator when working in bins.Stay out of bins when equipment is running.“This may be a unique year where harvest occurs over many weeks,” said Bruntz. “All farmers are excited to see the fruits of their labor, but we all need to be safe in the process.”Nebraskans Celebrate Pork MonthThis year Celebrate National Pork Month in October by enjoying delicious pork for your family meals. Get creative with new pork recipes, fix old favorites and try substituting pork for other proteins in your meal plans.  You can enjoy the pork on your fork, knowing it was raised by a farmer that cares about people, pigs and the planet. “If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer,” said Tim Chancellor, pork producer and President of the Nebraska Pork Producers. “October Pork Month is a time to reestablish that producer-to-consumer relationship. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner, and we need to share how we do that with consumers.  This October cook a ham, slice a marinated loin, make a pork roast, fry some bacon or create a pork surprise for the family and enjoy while talking about everyone involved in producing your meal.”The six We Care ethical principles guide the U.S. pork industry and demonstrate our commitment to produce a safe, high-quality pork supply. Producers are committed to: • Producing safe food • Ensuring practices to protect public health     • Protecting and promoting animal well-being • Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices • Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent for our people • Contributing to a better quality of life in their communitiesThe principles are summed up in the Pork Checkoff’s purpose to build trust by doing what is right for people, pigs and planet. Nebraska’s pork producers raise 3.7 million pigs each year making it one of the top pork producing states in the Country.  “We know that today’s consumers are putting more pork on their fork,” Chancellor said. “They have the trust in our product as a flavorful healthy protein choice that creates a wonderful exciting eating experience.”Effects of a Freeze on ForagesBruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage SpecialistSorghum-related plants, like cane, sudangrass, shattercane, and milo can be highly toxic for a few days after frost. If you haven’t experienced a freeze yet this fall, you soon will. And remember, a freeze can cause hazards for using some forages.When plants freeze, changes occur in their metabolism and composition that can poison livestock. But you can prevent problems.Sorghum-related plants, like cane, sudangrass, shattercane, and milo can be highly toxic for a few days after frost. Freezing breaks plant cell membranes. This breakage allows the chemicals that form prussic acid, which is also called cyanide, to mix together and release this poisonous compound rapidly. Livestock eating recently frozen sorghums can get a sudden, high dose of prussic acid and potentially die. Fortunately, prussic acid soon turns into a gas and disappears into the air. So wait 3 to 5 days after a freeze before grazing sorghums; the chance of poisoning then becomes much lower.Freezing also slows down metabolism in all plants. This stress sometimes permits nitrates to accumulate in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats, millet, and sudangrass. This build-up usually isn't hazardous to grazing animals, but green chop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous.Alfalfa reacts two ways to a hard freeze, down close to twenty degrees, cold enough to cause plants to wilt. Nitrate levels can increase, but rarely to hazardous levels. Freezing also makes alfalfa more likely to cause bloat for a few days after the frost. Then, several days later, after plants begin to wilt or grow again, alfalfa becomes less likely to cause bloat. So waiting to graze alfalfa until well after a hard freeze is a good, safer management practice.Frost causes important changes in forages so manage them carefully for safe feed.Sioux City FFA Agriculture Dinner - With IA Ag SecThe first-ever Sioux City FFA chapter has been formed and officers elected. Now your support is needed to help send the new FFA officers to the National FFA Convention at the end of October. You're invited for a dinner and conversation with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig.Date and TimeWed, October 16, 20195:00 PM – 8:00 PM LocationCountry Celebrations Event Center5606 Hamilton BoulevardSioux City, IA 51108 Tickets are $40 per individual tickets, or $400 to sponsor a table.  Proceeds support the trip to FFA Nationals and the upstart costs associated with building a new FFA chapter.Please purchase tickets by Friday, October 11th here...  Unions Sue USDA, Seeking to Halt New Pork Processing Rule(AP) -- The union representing workers at pork processing plants sued the federal government on Monday to challenge a new rule that allows companies to set line speeds and turn over more food safety tasks to company employees.The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and local unions in Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas joined with nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen to file the lawsuit in federal court in Minneapolis.The lawsuit alleges that the new rule announced in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it isn't backed by reasoned decision-making and should be set aside.A spokeswoman for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.UFCW International President Marc Perrone said there is no evidence that line speed increases can be done in a manner that ensures food and worker safety."Increasing pork plant line speeds not only is a reckless giveaway to giant corporations, it will put thousands of workers in harm's way," he said.Swine slaughter workers regularly have reported extreme pressure to work as quickly as possible, which increases the risk of knife injuries, knee, back, shoulder and neck traumas, and repetitive motion injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome, the union said in a statement.In June, the USDA's Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into its rulemaking procedure at the request of 17 members of Congress. Public Citizen and UFCW are asking the court to block implementation of the rule and to set it aside.Local UFCW units joining the lawsuit represent pork slaughter workers in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; Denison, Iowa and Bel Aire, Kansas. August Exports Strong for U.S. Pork; Beef Exports Below Last YearU.S. pork exports continued to post very strong results in August, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), while beef exports were below the record-large totals of August 2018.August pork exports increased 22% from a year ago to 221,586 metric tons (mt), while export value climbed 19% to $588.8 million. These results pushed January-August export volume 4% ahead of last year's pace at 1.7 million mt, while value increased 1% to $4.35 billion.Pork export value averaged $54.18 per head slaughtered in August, up 22% from a year ago. For January through August, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.70. August exports accounted for 27.1% of total U.S. pork production and 23.7% for muscle cuts only, up significantly from a year ago (21.9% and 19.2%, respectively). January-August exports accounted for 26.4% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts, both up slightly year-over-year.August beef exports totaled 114,119 mt, a 4% decline from last year's large volume, while export value ($690.3 million) was down 8%. January-August beef exports were slightly below last year's record pace, declining 2% in volume (881,526 mt) and 1% in value ($5.44 billion).Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $298.94 in August, down 7% from a year ago, while the January-August average was down 3% to $309.85. August exports accounted for 14% of total U.S. beef production and 11.3% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.3% and 12.2%, respectively, last year. Through the first eight months of the year, exports accounted for 14.2% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.Emerging markets strong for U.S. pork, even as exports rebound to China and MexicoAlthough still held back by China's retaliatory duties, China/Hong Kong was the largest destination for U.S. pork in August at 63,656 mt, more than tripling the August 2018 volume, while export value climbed 160% to $137.6 million. For January through August, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 38% in volume (356,322 mt) and 17% in value ($717.9 million).Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but are still trailing the record-large numbers posted in 2017. August exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year in volume (61,365 mt), but value increased 18% to $121.1 million. A slow start to the year still weighs on January-August exports to Mexico, which were down 11% from a year ago in both volume (473,309 mt) and value ($821.8 million)."China's demand for imported pork has increased steadily over the past few months and the U.S. industry is well-positioned to help fill that need," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "But the really positive story behind these numbers is that even as U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong have surged and exports to Mexico rebounded after the removal of retaliatory duties, demand in other markets is proving resilient and continues to grow. This is exactly why the U.S. industry invested in emerging markets over the years, and it is definitely paying dividends."The U.S. and Japan recently announced an agreement that will bring tariffs on U.S. pork in line with those imposed on major competitors, and August export results illustrated the pressing need for tariff relief. August volume was down 19% to 28,240 mt, while value fell 18% to $120.1 million. Through August, exports to Japan trailed last year's pace by 6% in both volume (250,540 mt) and value ($1.03 billion). U.S. exports of ground seasoned pork to Japan have been hit particularly hard by the tariff gap (20% compared to 13.3% for the European Union and Canada), with Japan's imports through August falling by 28% — nearly $60 million — compared to last year.January-August highlights for U.S. pork include:-    Led by steady growth in mainstay market Colombia and surging demand in Chile, exports to South America climbed 28% above last year's record pace in volume (105,344 mt) and 30% in value ($264.7 million). Shipments to Peru cooled in August but have also contributed to export growth in 2019.-    Exports to Central America were 16% above last year's record pace in volume (60,727 mt) and 19% higher in value ($147 million). Honduras and Guatemala are the largest Central American destinations for U.S. pork, and exports trended higher to both markets. Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua also contributed to regional growth, with exports increasing by double digits.-    Exports to Oceania were up 38% from a year ago to 77,556 mt, while value increased 32% to $217.1 million. A key destination for hams and other muscle cuts used for further processing, exports to Australia jumped 36% from a year ago to 69,692 mt, valued at $192.5 million (up 31%). Growth to New Zealand was also impressive, with exports up 52% in volume (7,864 mt) and 48% in value ($24.6 million).-    While January-August exports to South Korea were down 9% from last year's record pace in volume (145,690 mt) and fell 10% in value ($411.8 million), August exports were up significantly as volume climbed 27% to 14,336 mt and value surged 35% to $42.2 million. In mid-September, South Korea confirmed its first cases of African swine fever (ASF), with 13 outbreaks reported in the northwest corner of the country near the border with North Korea. While the disease is still confined to a relatively small area, ASF is certainly a pressing concern for Korea's domestic pork industry.-    ASF has also impacted pork production in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam but also recently spreading into the Philippines. While U.S. exports to the ASEAN trailed last year's pace by 10% in volume (35,164 mt) and 19% in value ($81.1 million), the region's need for imported pork is likely to trend higher in coming months. U.S. beef exports cool in August, but remain on strong paceAfter setting new value records in June and July, U.S. beef exports to South Korea slowed 9% from a year ago in August to 22,307 mt, while value dropped 11% to $157.4 million. But for January through August, exports to Korea were still 8% ahead of last year's record pace in volume (174,290 mt) and 10% higher in value ($1.26 billion). Korean import data through August showed double-digit growth for U.S. beef in the top two cut categories: short rib and short plate/brisket. The United States accounted for more than 55% of Korea's chilled/frozen beef import volume, up from 53% in the first eight months of 2018.Similar to pork, the U.S. beef industry looks forward to gaining tariff relief in leading market Japan, where August exports slipped 15% from a year ago to 28,646 mt. Value was down 22% to $164.3 million, although it is important to note that exports in August 2018 were a post-BSE record $209.3 million. For January through August, exports to Japan were 3% below last year's pace in volume (217,698 mt) and 4% lower in value ($1.36 billion). Beef variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues and skirts) have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 31% in volume (44,617 mt) and 18% in value ($260 million). U.S. tongues and skirts face higher duty rates than competitors' products but are tariffed at 12.8% compared to 38.5% for U.S. muscle cuts."The U.S. beef industry is extremely excited at the prospect of lower tariffs in Japan, as 38.5% is the highest rate assessed in any major market," Halstrom said. "As we've seen in Korea, where the tariff rate was once 40% but has been reduced by more than half, lower tariffs make U.S. beef even more affordable for a wider range of customers. While the agreement still needs parliamentary approval in Japan, importers are already enthused and preparing for long-awaited tariff relief."January-August beef exports to China/Hong Kong fell 24% from a year ago in volume (60,259 mt) and 20% in value ($510.7 million). Several factors have impacted U.S. exports to the region, including street protests in Hong Kong that have slowed commerce and tourism. While supermarket sales remain strong in Hong Kong, the disruption has been particularly hard on the restaurant sector. Although China remains a small destination for U.S. beef and exports are hampered by China's retaliatory duties, January-August volume increased 23% from a year ago to 5,625 mt, valued at $44.7 million (up 12%).January-August highlights for U.S. beef include:-    Exports to Mexico, the third-largest international market for U.S. beef, were slightly lower than a year ago in volume (156,528 mt, down 1%), but value increased 5% to $729.5 million. Beef variety meat exports to Mexico were down 3% from a year ago to 62,504 mt, but commanded better prices as export value increased 12% to $166 million.-    Although beef exports to Taiwan were modestly lower year-over-year in August, January-August exports were still 10% percent above last year's record pace in volume (42,785 mt) and 7% higher in value ($383.9 million).-    Led by surging demand in Indonesia and solid growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region were 27% above last year's pace in volume (37,206 mt) and 12% higher in value ($180.6 million).-    Strong August results in Central America pushed exports 4% above last year's pace in volume (9,898 mt) and 10% higher in value ($56.7 million), led by a strong performance in Panama and steady growth in Guatemala and Honduras.-    Beef exports to the Dominican Republic continue to reach new heights, as volume increased 45% from a year ago to 6,060 mt, while value climbed 35% to $48.6 million.Halstrom noted that the temporary loss of a major processing plant to a fire likely had a negative effect on August exports, but he does not expect to see a lasting impact."Beef supplies are tight throughout the world but the U.S. maintains a supply advantage, as production is expected to be record-large in 2020," he said. "Both domestic and international demand for U.S. beef remains strong, and there is significant potential for further export growth, especially once the U.S.-Japan agreement is implemented."Lamb exports trend lower in AugustAugust exports of U.S. lamb were down 12% year-over-year at 1,193 mt, while value declined 8% to $1.84 million. For January through August, exports remained 32% above last year's pace at 10,626 mt, while value increased 13% to $17.5 million. Lamb muscle cut exports were 17% lower than a year ago in volume (1,397 mt) but slightly higher in value ($9.5 million, up 1%). Markets showing promising muscle cut growth included the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama.Farmers and Ranchers Celebrate Japanese Trade Deal, Look Forward to MorePresident Trump today signed the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, which is an important step forward with U.S. agriculture’s fourth-largest export market. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Today’s signing marks the successful end to more than a year of negotiation between Japan and the United States. This agreement means sharply lower tariffs on our farm and ranch exports with the promise of more to come. And while we aren’t yet finished opening this market, the conclusion of these talks means we can now trade with Japan with the same advantages enjoyed by signers of the CP-TPP trade agreement. That’s great news.Duvall continues, “We hope the momentum from this win carries through to the negotiations with China this week and sets the stage for similar bilateral agreements with other countries involved with the CP-TPP. We appreciate this Administration’s efforts to improve trade opportunities for farmers.”BACKGROUNDU.S. negotiators have been working to develop new trade agreements with Japan and other countries in the wake of U.S. withdrawal from the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership process.The Japan bilateral agreement keeps intact essentially all the trade benefits the United States would have gained in Japan under TPP.The agreement immediately eliminates all tariffs on U.S. exports of sweet corn, almonds, broccoli and prunes, among other things. Other tariffs on products such as ethanol, cheese and whey, fresh cherries and other farm and ranch products will be phased out over a number of years.The U.S. will also benefit from increased export quotas on products such as corn starch, malt, potato starch, fructose and more.Fischer Statement on U.S.–Japan Trade AgreementsU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Trump signed the official text of new trade agreements with Japan:“This agreement between the U.S. and Japan is a victory for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and ethanol producers. By securing reduced tariffs on a variety of exports like beef, pork and ethanol, this agreement expands markets for Nebraska’s great ag products. I appreciate the administration’s hard work on this deal, and look forward to continuing to work with the president toward additional trade agreements.”Under these trade agreements, Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs on American beef, pork, wheat, ethanol, and more, as well as expand digital trade between the two countries.Statement on Trade Agreement with JapanJennifer Houston, President, National Cattlemen’s Beef AssociationNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement after attending a White House ceremony in honor of the bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will lower Japan’s massive tariffs on U.S. beef.“I was deeply honored to attend the ceremony at the White House where we celebrated a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. As the top market for U.S. beef exports, Japan accounts for one quarter of our exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales. As a beef producer, I understand the value of exports to my bottom line, and President Trump understands that increased access to foreign markets like Japan is the economic stimulus we need. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and for the hard work of our trade negotiators who fought hard to strengthen our access to the Japanese market. Because of their efforts, future generations of American ranching families will benefit from trade with Japan.”Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry.“For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefitted greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”In 2018, Japanese consumers purchased $2.07 billion of U.S. beef. Currently, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan, while our competitors from Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand face a 26.6 percent tariff. Leveling the playing field in Japan is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.NCGA Joins President Trump for U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement SigningNCGA President Kevin Ross today joined leaders of other farm and commodity groups at the White House to commemorate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The agreement secures the second-largest export market for corn farmers. Ross made the following statement.“Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high-value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”U.S. Grains Council Statement On Signing Of U.S.-Japan Trade AgreementUSGC Chairman Darren Armstrong, a corn farmer from Hyde County, North Carolina, on the signing of the U.S.-Japan trade agreement:"I was very pleased to join President Trump and other U.S. agriculture leaders at the White House today for the signing of the agreement recently negotiated to solidify our country's trade relationship with Japan."This agreement provides certainty and stability in our second largest corn market, brings sorghum imports to a zero tariff level immediately and reduces the import markup on barley. We anticipate additional market access measures related to ethanol to be addressed in the next round of negotiations with Japan coming soon."We truly appreciate the deep ties we have built with our Japanese customers through decades of mutual work, and we appreciate the efforts of both governments to take this step forward into the future together."U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement Confirms Equal Access for U.S. WheatThe text of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement signed today in Washington, D.C., confirms that the agreement will provide imported U.S. wheat the same preferential advantage that is now given to Canadian and Australian wheat under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Japan’s Diet must approve the agreement before it is implemented. “As we hoped, the text confirms that the agreement will put U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia when it is implemented,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson who attended the event at the White House. “In addition, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports. The Trump Administration and negotiators for both countries clearly understood what was at stake for U.S. wheat farmers and made sure to have our backs in this agreement.” “NAWG is thrilled to be present during the signing of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement, a major milestone for wheat growers,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We would like to thank staff and leaders at USTR, USDA, and the Administration for working with the wheat industry as this agreement nears the finish line.” As USW and NAWG noted when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe announced the tariff agreement last month in New York, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries. U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states. NGFA commends signing of U.S.-Japan trade deal National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) President and CEO Randy Gordon issued the following statement after President Trump on Oct. 7 signed the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement:“NGFA commends the United States and Japan for consummating, effective Jan. 1, a stage one trade agreement that will preserve significant market access for U.S. agricultural products, including wheat and wheat products, pork and beef. Japan represents America’s third largest agricultural market, and this agreement was essential so that U.S. agricultural products were not put at a competitive disadvantage compared to the preferential tariff treatment accorded the 10 other countries signing onto the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership following the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord, as well as the Japan-European Union trade agreement. NGFA is grateful that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe and their respective trade negotiators worked intensively to complete this agreement in a remarkably short, one-month period. "NGFA also commends U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators for their commitment to engage in a second stage of trade negotiations starting in April that will focus on addressing additional agricultural tariffs, as well as important sanitary and phytosanitary and non-tariff barriers to trade, to enhance further the positive, mutually beneficial and long-standing U.S.-Japan trade relationship to benefit consumers, economic growth and job creation in both countries.” USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Dairy Margin Coverage ProgramDairy producers can now enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for calendar year 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened signup today for the program that helps producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.“We know it’s tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “As Secretary Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”The DMC program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. The deadline to enroll in DMC for 2020 is Dec. 13, 2019.Dairy farmers earned more than $300 million dollars from the program in 2019 so far. Producers are encouraged to take advantage of this very important risk management tool for 2020.All producers who want 2020 coverage, even those who took advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in the coverage level for five years of margin protection coverage are required to visit the office during this signup period to pay the annual administrative fee.“Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments,” said Northey. “Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market.”Congress Must Compel FDA to Enforce Butter Law, American Butter Institute SaysNoting that the Butter Act of 1923 gives the Food and Drug Administration no leeway in enforcing a congressional statute that defines the food as a dairy product, the American Butter Institute sent letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, urging them to compel FDA to enforce federal law against plant-based imposters that illegally misuse the term “butter” as a marketing trick.“When it comes to violations of the Butter Act specifically, Congress did not give the Food and Drug Administration any enforcement discretion on the matter,” Tom Balmer, executive director of the American Butter Institute, said in the Oct. 4 letter. “Congress stated very precisely the ingredients from which butter is to be made and its final composition. FDA’s non-action in enforcing what Congress has mandated represents, in essence, a federal agency’s rewriting of a Congressional act and usurping Congressional authority.” Butter’s definition has been settled law for more than a century, covered by legislation dating to 1886. Imitators made from vegetable oils have been able to use terms such as “margarine” and “spread,” ensuring a transparent marketplace. However, as butter’s popularity has grown in recent years – per-capita U.S. consumption last year reached its highest since 1968 – marketing departments at brands such as Country Crock® have been breaking the law by calling their margarines and spreads “plant-based butter” – an attempt to cash in on butter’s popularity that tarnishes a product that has had a consistent identity for generations.“Words have meaning, power, and consequences,” Balmer writes. “We know this. You know this. ‘Misregulation,’ ‘confusion,’ ‘misinformation,’ and ‘obfuscate’ are not terms that should be used to describe the marketing of our nation’s food supply. Accordingly, we urge you to continue efforts to compel the Food and Drug Administration to enforce the statutory definition of the term ‘butter.’The letter was released in conjunction with the organization’s annual conference, held this year in Tucson, Arizona. One year ago, ABI filed a lengthy complaint to the FDA in September calling out imitators. The organization also supports the National Milk Producers Federation’s citizen petition with the agency filed in February, outlining a roadmap toward a constructive resolution of the problem of mislabeled, fake dairy products.Cattle Recordkeeping Booklet For 2020 Available from NCBACattle producer record-keeping can be improved and simplified through the Redbook, a pocket-sized recordkeeping tool from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Made available yearly for more than three decades, NCBA’s 2020 edition helps cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, helping enhance profitability.                In addition to an area for recording Beef Quality Assurance practices and proper injection technique information, the 2020 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, AI breeding records and more. It also contains a calendar and notes section.                Redbooks can be purchased for $7.00 each, plus shipping and handling. To order, visit       ASA Soy Recognition Awards Nomination Period Ends Oct. 14The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is open through Oct. 14, 2019.The Recognition Awards categories are:-    ASA Outstanding State Volunteer Award–Recognizes the dedication and contributions of individuals who have given at least three-years of volunteer service in any area of the state soybean association operation.-    ASA Distinguished Leadership Award–Distinguished and visionary leadership of ASA or a state soybean association is recognized with this award to either a soybean grower-leader or association staff leader with at least five-years of leadership service.-    ASA Pinnacle Award–An industry-wide recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of contribution and lifetime leadership within the soybean family and industry.All nominations must be received online, no later than Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas at Commodity Classic.INTL FCStone Completes the Acquisition of the Futures and Options Brokerage and Clearing Business of UOB Bullion and Futures Limited in SingaporeINTL FCStone Inc. today announced that its Singaporean subsidiary INTL FCStone Pte Ltd has met all conditions of the Asset Purchase Agreement it entered into on 18 March 2019, and completed the acquisition of the futures and options brokerage and clearing business of UOB Bullion and Futures Limited, a subsidiary of United Overseas Bank Limited.As part of the acquisition, IFP upgraded its Capital Markets Services license in Singapore so it can offer full service brokerage encompassing dealing in exchange-traded derivatives contracts, over-the-counter derivatives contracts and spot foreign exchange contracts for the purposes of leveraged foreign exchange trading.   IFP was also admitted as a Trading Member of Singapore Exchange Derivatives Trading Limited and Clearing Member of Singapore Exchange Derivatives Clearing Limited.Greg Kallinikos, Chief Executive Officer of IFP and Deputy CEO, Asia for INTL FCStone Group, commented on the closing of the transaction, “The successful completion of our acquisition of UOB Bullion and Futures Limited’s F&O business in Singapore marks the beginning of a new, exciting era for INTL FCStone in Asia. We are both thrilled and honoured by the prospect of serving our new customers and look forward to building long lasting relationships with all of them. This transaction significantly enhanced our regional and international capabilities with the addition of SGX as another major exchange we now offer clearing and execution services on. This is an important milestone in expanding INTL FCStone’s presence in Asia and fully supports our plans of offering a one-stop solution for all our customers’ market access needs for listed derivatives globally.”

President Trump Delivers on a Key Promise to American Farmers as EPA, USDA Announce Agreement on Promoting BiofuelsToday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statements after President Donald J. Trump successfully negotiated an agreement on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):“President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers.""President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation's farmers and rural America," said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. "The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant.”Under this agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA:-    In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.       + EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.       + EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year.       + In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions.-    Building on the President’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.-    EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform.-    USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends.-    The Administration will continue to work to address ethanol and biodiesel trade issues.Since taking office in 2017, the Trump Administration has enacted tax and regulatory policies that have helped make America energy dominant.  The Administration has cut burdensome red tape through deregulation, including signing a record number of Congressional Review Act (CRA) legislation, repealing the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, reforming the Section 401 process under the Clean Water Act, proposing a new methane rule, and removing the U.S. from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord.  The Administration has also expedited permitting approvals, has opened up federal land for development, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and will continue to enact pro-growth energy policies to expand American energy dominance.NCGA: Farmers Thank Trump Administration for Listening and Upholding the RFSThe National Corn Growers Association today welcomed an announcement from President Trump directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the letter of the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. The RFS and corn farmers have repeatedly come under attack from big oil and the EPA, including the most recent approval of 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, reducing corn demand for ethanol and increasing total waived biofuels demand to 4.04 billion gallons under the Trump Administration. Today’s announcement that EPA will reopen the rulemaking for the 2020 RFS volumes and propose to account for waivers in the volume requirements allows EPA to follow the law and restore integrity to the RFS.“We’re very grateful the President listened to our concerns and is upholding his commitments to put the RFS back on track,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “Corn farmers weren’t shy in telling the President that the impact of these waivers would lead to significant consequences for farmers, folks working at ethanol and biodiesel plants, and the countless other rural jobs that depend on this market.”Earlier this year, Ross joined President Trump at an Iowa ethanol plant and pressed that he address the impact waivers are having on the RFS. NCGA has advocated that the EPA use its available tools to account for expected waivers in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking so that waivers do not reduce the RFS volumes. The EPA, to date, had ignored these calls and the clear requirement of the law, refusing to take steps to keep the RFS whole or even consider comments pertaining to waived gallons in RVO rulemakings.“The President is finally telling the EPA that enough is enough, they must follow the law, and we appreciate that,” Ross said. “NCGA is thankful to our elected Senators, Representatives, Governors and other state lawmakers who consistently pressed the Administration to find a real solution to the harm caused by refinery waivers. A special thanks to USDA Secretary Perdue who continues to be an outspoken advocate on this issue and for farmers. We stand ready to work with them to ensure these commitments are finalized.”In addition to the commitment to redistribute waived gallons, the Administration is also proposing to take further steps supported by farmers, including removing additional barriers and supporting infrastructure to help grow demand for higher blends of ethanol. Soy Growers Pleased with Administration’s New RFS AgreementThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced a supplemental proposed rule to the recently announced 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-based Diesel Volume for 2021. EPA will seek public comment on the agreement, which aims to address the impacts of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) by incorporating into the RFS volumes a projection of expected waivers based on a 3-year average.“We are very pleased to see something positive for biofuels and thank both the President and the members of Congress who have been champions of this revised proposal,” said Davie Stephens, Kentucky soybean farmer and American Soybean Association president. “Addressing the flood of waivers issued in recent years by EPA is the most immediate need, and this proposal, if finalized, will account for future waivers. We will also continue to advocate for growth in RFS volumes and improved implementation of the program.”Biofuel and farm advocates are urging the administration to act swiftly on the president’s commitment to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and address the economic crisis created by EPA’s overuse of SREs. The following joint statement has been issued by ASA, the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board, and Fuels America:“We thank President Trump for today’s announcement, which shows that the voices of farm families and biofuel producers are being heard in Washington. Efforts to restore hope for rural communities cannot come soon enough, and we will continue to work closely on that process with our elected champions and this White House until a plan is finalized and gallons start flowing again. The EPA must uphold the president’s commitment to restore demand, based on a 3-year average of all the exempted gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel standards.”Nebraska Corn thanks President Trump for upholding the law and the integrity of the RFSThis morning, the White House released its intention to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by reallocating waived gallons of ethanol. The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association thank President Trump and his administration for following through in their commitment to our nation’s corn farmers and our ethanol industry. Nebraska Corn also thanks the USDA, our state’s congressional delegation, Gov. Pete Ricketts and Nebraska’s corn farmers who took a unified stand in demanding the law is upheld and the goals of the RFS are reached.“We’ve been waiting for a reallocation of waived gallons for a long time,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “To say we were upset with the refinery waivers is an understatement, so today’s announcement is welcome news. We’re very happy with today’s announcement.”“I’m extremely excited with today’s announcement,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Today’s news just goes to show what our growers can achieve when our voices are unified. Thanks to all of Nebraska and our nation’s corn farmers who rallied together to ensure we have vibrant corn and ethanol industries for years to come.”Nebraska Corn looks forward to working with the administration to ensure the RFS is fully realized and the clean-burning, renewable ethanol industry continues to thrive.Corn Farmers Thank Trump Administration and Biofuels Champions for Upholding the Integrity of the RFS Statement from ICGA President Jim GreifIowa corn farmers received positive news today for momentum in the right direction to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanks President Trump for his commitment to address the demand destruction of corn ethanol brought on by expanded use of small refinery exemptions and prospectively account for those exemptions using a three-year rolling average of actual waived gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel standard. This gives hope to Iowa’s rural economy, especially at a time when corn farmers need it most.We also want to thank Iowa’s elected leaders and Iowa Corn Growers Association members who overwhelmingly responded to communicate with the President the top priority of ICGA -- to retain the RFS and reduce regulatory barriers for higher blends of ethanol. We are grateful for the dedication of our biofuels champions, Senators Ernst and Grassley along with Governor Reynolds, who fought for Iowa’s corn farmers, ethanol plants and rural communities.We appreciate the Trump Administration is taking steps to make it right to help Iowa corn farmers. ICGA will continue to work with our elected champions and the Administration to ensure the commitments made today are implemented and demand for Iowa corn is restored.  RFS Deal Provides Certainty for Farmers and Ethanol ProducersU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) deal. Among other changes, the EPA will begin to account for projected numbers of gallons exempted when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations for refiners, providing farmers and ethanol producers with more certainty.Senator Fischer was an integral part of a concerted effort over a series of months involving numerous meetings and phone calls with President Trump, White House staff, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and her Midwest Senate colleagues to secure this deal.“In my discussions with the president, I fought hard for a fair deal for Nebraska’s farmers and ethanol producers. I thank the president for following through on his commitment to rural America. Today’s announcement means more certainty for families, businesses, and communities across the Good Life,” said Senator Fischer.More information on the deal:Under the deal, the EPA will factor in recent waivers exempting oil refineries from blending renewable fuels when setting new annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) starting with 2020. Accounting for these exemptions will ensure the 15 billion net gallons of conventional biofuel obligation is met in the 2020 RVO.This deal follows an announcement by the EPA earlier this year to allow the year-round sale of E-15. Senator Fischer long fought for year-round sales and was a lead sponsor of the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act which would have allowed retailers to sell E-15 and other higher-ethanol blends all year. She traveled with President Trump to Council Bluffs, Iowa, this summer, where the announcement was made alongside U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.Senator Fischer is also the lead sponsor of the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. The bill aims to add order and transparency to a messy and opaque Small Refinery Exemption process. It sets a deadline for refiners to apply for exemptions and requires the EPA to account for lost gallons when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations. Additionally, the legislation mandates more transparency in how and when the EPA reports Small Refinery Exemptions. Currently, the RFS Integrity Act has 15 cosponsors, including five Republicans and 10 Democrats.Sasse Praises Trump Administrations Ethanol DealU.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s biofuels deal that was announced today.“This is good news for Nebraska farmers and producers. The President and I have talked repeatedly about how important it is for our farmers to have clarity, and I’m glad that he’s focused on this issue. This is a tough time for agriculture but Nebraskans are grateful that the EPA is committed to E-15 being available year-around and following the law when it comes to small refinery exemptions. Nebraskans deserve this.” Smith Welcomes President Trump’s RFS ActionCongressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Trump administration released the details of his plan to uphold the RFS.“The RFS has been widely successful, bipartisan, and benefits producers and consumers alike. I am glad the President took action to rectify the hardships RFS waivers granted by the EPA have created. This action restores credibility to the RFS consistent with congressional intent and compliments the President’s action to expand E-15.”The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for large or unqualified refiners under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program, has been harmful to the RFS by exempting refineries from the RFS. The White House announced today President Trump’s plan to ensure biofuel targets are met by accounting for the gallons lost due to SREs based on a three year average.Ricketts Thanks President Trump for Delivering on Ethanol PromiseToday, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following a key announcement from President Donald J. Trump aimed at bolstering ethanol production.“Ensuring RVOs do not go below 15 billion gallons and expanding access to E15 will bolster the RFS and ethanol production at a critical time for our nation’s rural economy, which has been suffering from low commodity prices,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Thank you to President Trump for taking these important steps for ethanol and our great farm families!”Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Trump Administration Action on Ethanol, Biofuels“We appreciate President Trump and the administration taking progressive steps to address the concerns of Nebraska farmers regarding the promotion and further development of domestic ethanol and biofuels. The administration’s announcement that it will ensure the blending of 15 billion gallons of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply by 2020 is welcome news in farm country and music to the ears of our farm families who rely on the biofuels industry as a critical market for our homegrown corn, soybeans, and other commodities. Equally important to the future of biofuels is the administration’s actions and commitment to create opportunities for moving U.S. biofuels into international markets as announced with this deal. We thank President Trump for his actions, Gov. Ricketts, as well as the Nebraska Congressional delegation, for helping get us to this point, especially Sen. Deb Fischer and Congressman Adrian Smith who have championed the need for action to provide certainty to farmers in this critical market.”Nebraska Ethanol Board eager to see action on Trump administration’s promises to the biofuel industryThis morning, the White House announced its intentions to honor the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by upholding the existing law that requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year, starting in 2020. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to implementing a process that will eliminate barriers that inhibit the sale of higher ethanol blends and cause confusion among consumers and fuel retailers.“The wait for this decision has been agonizing, especially for Nebraska farmers and biofuel producers struggling in today’s industry,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and farmer from Cambridge. “Thank you to the White House for listening, and, to our Congressional delegates for working tirelessly to ensure our voices are heard. As you contemplate how this decision will unfold, hear this: our life’s work is to take the land we are privileged to call home and nurture it to sustain the masses. The decisions made today impacts the now and the future. Thank you for recognizing the importance of the biofuel industry and your commitment to its prosperity.”   The Nebraska Ethanol Board’s mission is to see that the production of ethanol continues and grows. Over the past several months, the future of ethanol has looked dismal due to the trade wars and refinery exemptions. Seventeen ethanol plants across the country have ceased operation, which has directly affected the price of corn for Nebraska farmers. When the Board submitted comments to the EPA on its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for ethanol, it urged the EPA to redistribute the more than four billion gallons of ethanol that have been stripped out of the RFS over the last three years. Today’s statement from the White House is a step in the right direction but it does not address the wrongs of the past.    “We are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s announcement to uphold the law by way of the RFS and to remove barriers that are holding back the biofuel industry’s ability to compete and thrive,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Today’s announcement is good news and we appreciate the step forward but we are disappointed in its lack of details. There is a lot of work that still needs to take place to help stabilize the damage already done and increase biofuel consumption. We look forward to working with the administration and our Congressional champions to help shape a concrete plan of action soon, as our farmers and ethanol producers cannot take any more hits and need immediate relief.”Iowa Farm Bureau statement on EPA renewable fuels announcementIowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill:"Iowa Farm Bureau is encouraged that promises to farmers made for 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels will be kept by the Administration. Burdened by six years of a downturned ag economy, depressed commodity prices and weather challenges that have wiped out crops for many, Iowa farmers welcome the good news."The 15 billion EPA biofuel requirements, coupled with promised action to keep biomass-based diesel sales and a recent decision to allow year-round sales of E15, is needed by grain farmers to remain sustainable and to help reduce carbon emissions for us all. But, it’s not just farmers who rely on Iowa-grown fuels; it’s all Iowans. More than 48,000 Iowans are employed by or depend upon the continued operation of the state’s biorefineries. Iowans who depend on those biofuel jobs also welcome today’s news to keep that 15-billion-gallon promise to farmers."Agriculture provides the food and fiber for a growing world, and farmers are pleased to see support for our Iowa-grown fuels continue, to assure a future of sustainable energy for this nation."Secretary Naig Calls Biofuels Announcement Welcome News for IowaIowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response to today’s biofuels announcement.“This is welcome news for Iowa’s farmers and the renewable fuels industry,” said Secretary Naig. “President Trump listened to our producers’ concerns and took action to address them. This is what happens when farmers, biofuels producers and government leaders work together to make our voices heard. We are grateful to President Trump for directing EPA to uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, and we look forward to working with EPA and USDA to implement today’s announcement.“As the number one producer of ethanol and biodiesel in the country, Iowa is proud to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We will continue to work to restore and build demand for these critical markets for Iowa agriculture.”Growth Energy Applauds President Trump's Plan to Uphold RFSGrowth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today applauded the White House’s announcement of President Trump’s plan to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by ensuring biofuel blending targets are truly met each year. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement:“It’s been a long process, but when the chips were down, President Trump delivered for farm families and biofuel producers. This is a victory for rural America, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress, USDA Secretary Perdue, and governors across the heartland who fought to put homegrown energy back on the market. We also thank President Trump for hearing the voices of farmers and biofuel producers and his commitment to finding a solution that will make an immediate difference for rural families."By accurately accounting for lost gallons from this point forward based on a 3-year average of all exempted gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel targets, and breaking down regulatory and infrastructure barriers to higher biofuel blends, we will be able to realize the true potential of the opportunities President Trump opened by approving year-round sales of E15. Our industry and farm suppliers are eager to put this plan in place and deliver more lower-cost, lower-carbon biofuels to American consumers. We look forward to finalizing this rule to help America's farmers."To restore growth and revitalize farm income, it’s vital that the EPA stay true to the president’s promise, and we will be working closely with leaders in Washington to ensure that happens. What matters now is how quickly we can restore demand for U.S. farmers and put biofuel gallons back to work for America’s economy.”NBB Thanks President Trump and Iowa Leaders for Restoring Integrity to RFSToday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked President Donald Trump for directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to properly account for future small refinery exemptions in annual Renewable Fuel Standard rules. NBB also thanked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) for their steadfast defense of the renewable fuel industry and the RFS program.NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen stated, "On behalf of NBB's members and soybean growers, we are grateful that President Trump is taking a huge step to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Biodiesel producers continue to be severely harmed by EPA's misuse of small refinery exemptions. Nine producers from across the country – including in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Georgia and Iowa – have closed their doors or reduced operations and laid off more than 200 employees. Today's announcement is a first step in reversing the loss of production and restoring those jobs. The biodiesel industry deeply appreciates the consistently strong advocacy of Agriculture Secretary Perdue and Iowa’s political leaders.”Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "Proper accounting of the exemptions is vital to ensure that the annual RFS volumes send a reliable signal to biodiesel producers, who are making investments and plans for the future. The biodiesel industry relies on the RFS program to support continued growth and market development. While today's proposal addresses the lost gallons from future exemptions, it does not provide for additional volumes of biomass-based diesel in 2021. We will continue to press EPA to send signals for future growth for biodiesel producers and soybean farmers."We appreciate President Trump's commitment to make biofuels producers and soybean farmers whole by accounting for waived biofuel gallons using a three-year average of exempted gallons as an estimate. We look forward to working with EPA to ensure that the President's commitment is fully and faithfully implemented and the RFS program is made whole from the prior damage."RFA: President’s Renewable Fuels Plan a Crucial Step ForwardThe Trump Administration announced today that it is taking action to begin reversing the damage done to rural America by refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today’s plan requires EPA to keep the statutory RFS volumes whole by prospectively redistributing exempted renewable fuel blending requirements to non-exempt refiners. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement:“We thank President Trump for hearing the concerns of ethanol producers, farmers and consumers across the country. The plan announced today takes a crucial step toward repairing the damage done by EPA’s small refinery waivers and re-establishes the RFS as a driver of growth in the production and use of low carbon renewable fuels. Once finalized and implemented, this plan will ensure EPA follows the law in setting annual biofuel blending obligations under the RFS.“President Trump’s action today not only begins to restore integrity to the RFS, but also starts to revive hope for farmers and ethanol plant workers who have seen small refinery exemptions wreak havoc on their markets and destabilize their rural communities.“It is important to remember that today’s announcement marks the beginning—not the end—of an EPA regulatory process, and much work remains to be done. We will continue to diligently work with EPA and the administration to ensure this action is finalized in a way that guarantees a 15-billion-gallon requirement in 2020 truly is a 15-billion-gallon requirement.“We are especially grateful to the many members of Congress, state governors, and USDA leaders who voiced their concerns to the President and stood steadfast with farmers and ethanol producers. America’s farm families and biofuel workers have an incredibly powerful voice when we pull together, and we applaud the President for responding to our concerns and upholding his promise to protect the RFS.” ACE thanks rural leaders for speaking out on the RFS, urges continued vigilanceAmerican Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings thanks rural leaders for prompting today’s announcement following White House discussions over the past few months with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA says it is seeking comment on actions to ensure that the statutory volume for conventional biofuel is met by prospectively accounting for waived volumes beginning in 2020, as well as initiating a rulemaking to ‘streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.’ Jennings issued the statement below following today’s announcement.“Because this plan is short on details and the final outcome is dependent upon a new rulemaking process, it’s unrealistic and premature for me to conclusively praise it at this stage. Instead, my sober assessment of the good and bad in this plan, based on the few details we currently have to work with, is as follows:“It’s good the President is directing EPA to account for future Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) beginning in 2020 to ensure more than 15 billion gallons is blended under the RFS next year. We are grateful for this step in the right direction, but it isn’t a special deal, it is the White House finally directing EPA to follow the law. We will carefully examine how EPA proposes to offset future SREs in the supplemental rulemaking and will submit comments to shape an outcome to get the RFS back on track starting with the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). Of course, this implies EPA will continue issuing SREs in the future, likely following the recent pattern whereby an average of 30 small refineries were allowed to escape blending obligations. The difference is hopefully those blending obligations will be reallocated to non-exempt refiners going forward as required by law.“Speaking of reallocation, it’s bad that the Trump Administration is doing nothing to reallocate the more than 4 billion gallons of RFS blending obligations waived for refineries from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 compliance years. These 85 waivers combined with the trade war and weather-related disasters have taken a terrible economic toll on rural America. It’s unfortunate our only remaining remedy is our joint litigation in the DC Circuit Court. It’s also disappointing the plan appears silent on whether EPA will finally restore 500 million gallons to the RFS as ordered by the DC Circuit Court. Our comments to the supplemental 2020 RVO rulemaking will encourage EPA to comply with the court order.“Most importantly, I want to thank the farmers, biofuel producers, and elected leaders for speaking out about the need for the Trump Administration to reverse the damage done through EPA’s abuse of the SRE provision of the RFS. Your vigilance and grassroots leadership will be necessary to help achieve a positive outcome in the upcoming rulemaking process.”Renewable Fuel Action Crucial for Farm EconomyAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall“Farm Bureau is pleased the Administration is returning integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard while ensuring the policy will continue to provide economic opportunities in rural America.“Today’s actions put us on a path toward greater ethanol use in nearly all vehicles now on the road and recognize the loss in demand caused by small refinery waivers. Today’s proposal will also encourage increased biofuel infrastructure through the federal budget process.“It’s no secret we face a difficult farm economy, so this announcement comes at a crucial moment in time. Farmers across the nation applaud this decision.” Plan to Expand Biofuels a Step in the Right DirectionAfter several months of negotiations and much fanfare, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a broad plan to offset a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated due to the ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs). More specific details will be rolled out within the next week, but EPA is expected to release a supplemental proposed rule that would add about 1.35 billion gallons to its annual biofuel blending quota for 2020.Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 2.4 billion gallons of biodiesel are required to be blended into transportation fuel. However, EPA has waived that requirement for 85 oil refineries over the past three years, a rate quadruple that of the previous administration. As a result, the amount of corn ethanol and biodiesel in the transportation sector during that time has been under the benchmark, representing a 1.4-billion-bushel decline in demand for corn and an 825-million-bushel decline for soybeans.National Farmers Union (NFU) has consistently voiced opposition to this administration’s ongoing efforts to undermine the American biofuels industry. Though the organization was relieved that the administration intends to expand the market for biofuels in the coming years, NFU President Roger Johnson is concerned that it will not go far enough to compensate for all of the economic losses incurred by farmers and rural Americans.“Family farmers have been waiting many months for this announcement. In the meantime, they have continued to lose millions of dollars of hard-earned income, upwards of 30 biofuels plants have halted production, and hundreds of rural Americans have lost their jobs.“The damage inflicted on rural communities by these waivers cannot be emphasized enough. While this plan will make important progress in making the biofuels industry whole, we worry that it may be too little, too late.“We should have been taking several steps forward to expand the market for homegrown biofuels over the past several years, but instead we’ve taken many steps backwards. Though this plan will hopefully return the market back to where it was at the beginning of 2016, it won’t move us forward to where we would have been today, if it weren’t for the waivers. In order to bring biofuels to where they ought to be, NFU encourages this administration to not only reallocate the lost waivers, but to also substantially increase the amount of biofuels in our transportation sector and to find new opportunities for the use of higher level blends of ethanol like E30.”Safety tips provided for farm equipment damaged by floodsFarmers and ranchers across the Midwest continue to work recovering their equipment damaged in the spring 2019 flooding. The safety team at the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center reminds those working to restore equipment to consider personal safety at each step of the process.Exposing farm equipment to any kind of water can result in serious problems and can turn a normally safe piece of equipment into a safety hazard.Submerging electric and internal combustion engines or electric appliances in floodwater only adds to the potential for damage and complicates cleanup. Look for a dirty water line on the equipment to get an idea of how high the floodwater rose.“If you have an internal combustion engine under water, get it out of the water and dried out as quickly as possible because the integral parts of the engine will quickly corrode,” said University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator Steve Melvin, an expert in irrigated cropping systems. “Drain oil out of the crank case and fuel out of the fuel system. Replace all the filters.”Injectors or spark plugs must be removed to ensure there is no water in the cylinders. With electric motors, make sure they are completely dried out, free from any dirt, sand, or other flood debris, and grease motor bearings by removing the relief plug and adding grease until the old grease is expelled.Whether an engine is internal combustion or electric, all parts must be thoroughly dried out before attempting to start it. Any water remaining in the cylinders of the engine could cause the engine to lock up if not drained, and any dampness in an electric motor may result in damaging electrical shorts and potentially hazardous electrical shocks.Once the motor has been taken apart, it can be placed in a warm (not too hot) oven to speed drying. Ideally an electrical or internal combustion professional can inspect the motor before it’s reassembled to ensure it’s safe to operate.Because floodwater contains a wide range of particles such as sand, silt, and contaminants that include an abundance of fuel, pesticides and other chemicals, carefully inspect engine parts for traces of contamination. Always wear gloves to protect yourself when handling contaminated parts. Ensure that those working around you are aware of possible contamination. Always keep children away from flood-contaminated equipment.“You could use compressed air or something similar to help clean the engine,” said University of Nebraska Extension Educator Troy Ingram. “If it’s an electric motor, the water may affect bearings, windings and rotor. It’s best to take electric pump units to an electrical shop to have them evaluated, since you rely on them all summer to keep water on crops.”There’s good reason to believe most internal combustion engines and electric motors can be restored after being submerged in floodwater. However, it’s possible an engine could suffer enough damage that it requires a complete rebuild.“If a center pivot is submerged in water, you’ll want to inspect every electrical component to make sure floating debris didn’t crash against it and damage wiring or tear things loose,” Ingram said.Components of a center pivot that should be checked include the wheel and center drive gearboxes, center drive motors on electric drive pivots, tower boxes if the water reached them, and the pivot panel. Hydraulic drive pivots would still need to have wheel gearboxes checked, but the hydraulic system should be OK as long as the pump and/or oil reservoir were not submerged.“With gearboxes, drain any water that’s present,” Melvin said. “If the oil appears contaminated, drain it and refill with new oil. The center drive motors should be inspected to make sure they are dry and free of debris. That may require removing the stator housing from the motors.”If water reached the pivot panel and/or the tower boxes, it’s recommended to have a service technician or electrician inspect them.“Be sure they are completely dried out before servicing them,” Melvin said. “Both basic and computer panels may operate after drying out and cleaning, but sometimes they need to be repaired or replaced.“It’s also a good idea to contact your local well or pivot company service technicians and involve them in the system inspection. If something was missed, additional damage could occur by operating the system.”To help protect irrigation equipment from floodwater, consider moving it to a side hill (if there’s one in the field) or set the system as far away as possible from creeks, rivers and known flood plains.“If it’s set on a side hill, the center pivot may be more susceptible to wind damage,” Melvin said. “But that would help keep it out of floodwater.”Farmers who pump irrigation water out of a creek or river typically move irrigation equipment away from the water source when it’s not being used, helping to protect it from flooding.“In those situations, the farmer is likely to be accustomed to watching for signs of a pending flood,” Melvin said. “Any type of equipment you can protect from potential floodwater will help avoid a nighttime trip to move it or deal with costly repair or replacements caused by floodwater.”Once a center pivot’s power unit has been checked for damage, the well should be inspected, too. Wells with an open discharge pipe that is not plugged or connected to a gravity irrigation system are of more concern. Wells with proper backflow valves should be less susceptible to contamination and collection of debris.“Make sure the well pump turns freely before operating it or you could incur damage to the impellers,” Melvin said. “Once the power unit is operable, it’s probably helpful to pump any contaminants out of the well or shock chlorinate it to kill any bacteria that might be present.”Well gearheads are usually sealed. However, it’s advisable to drain the oil, flush if possible, and refill it with new oil.Melvin also noted that securing propane or diesel tanks or moving them to higher ground helps keep them from floating away, keeping everyone safer in the event of a flood.Often, insurance policies don’t provide coverage for flooding. To thoroughly understand the details of equipment coverage, consult your insurance agent and request specific information about whether or not your policy includes coverage for flood-damaged equipment. It may be helpful to request a written statement of specific coverage details.“Above all else, stay safe when you’re working in a flood damaged area and when repairing damaged equipment,” Melvin said. “Make sure all power is shut off to these engines and center pivots. Double check to make sure that’s done. Don’t attempt to use a system that hasn’t been thoroughly restored and inspected.”Nebraska Soybean Board names Ritzman as associate executive directorThe Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is pleased to announce the hiring of Scott Ritzman as associate executive director.In his position, Ritzman will work on behalf of the state’s soybean farmers to contribute to the mission of the NSB, which is to effectively invest and leverage soybean checkoff resources to maximize profit opportunities for Nebraska soybean farmers. Ritzman will work on the achievement of NSB’s mission and strategic objectives, program development and administration, employee oversight and leadership, communications and relationship-building, and fiscal and contract management.“As a member of the Nebraska Soybean Board, I am excited to welcome Scott Ritzman to our staff as associate executive director,” said Eugene Goering, vice chair of the NSB and farmer from Columbus. “We conducted a search and interviews this summer with good candidates and the board selected Scott at our September meeting. Scott brings great talent and experience to serve our soybean farmers in Nebraska.”A native of Omaha, Ritzman graduated from Midland University with a degree in accounting. Prior to joining the NSB, Scott spent seven years in the international grain export industry working for Mishek Inc. & Associates launching projects for clients, enhancing existing programs, and solving client problems in foreign markets. More specifically, Ritzman has experience in the global soy supply and demand chain.“I look forward to serving the Nebraska Soybean Board and advancing the checkoff into the future and always evolving soybean industry,” said Ritzman. “I’m excited to work on increasing the awareness and marketing of Nebraska soybeans and the entire U.S. soybean industry with the collaboration of valuable partnerships. It’s vital that we work to move the products that our farmers work so hard to grow and to assist them on the research, marketing and promotion of soybeans distributed both domestically and internationally.”Ritzman joined the NSB as a new employee as of October 1, 2019.ISU Bee Research and Best Management Practices Topic of Monthly WebinarIowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. about the research being done at Iowa State University on bees in agricultural settings.There are between 300 and 400 species of bees in the state of Iowa, according to Randall Paul Cass, extension entomologist at Iowa State University. Cass will present Iowa State research which focuses on observing the challenges and opportunities for bees in Iowa’s agricultural landscapes.“We thrive when bees thrive,” said Cass, whose research focuses on honey bees and native bees, and on exploring how Iowa’s landscapes impact bee health and abundance. Join the webinar at noon Oct. 16 to learn more about Iowa’s native bees and the research being done at Iowa State University on the relationship between bees and agriculture.To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12 p.m. on Oct. 16, to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable.A Certified Crop Adviser board approved continuing education unit (1 CEU: Crop Management) is available for those who are able to watch the live webinar. Information will be provided at the end of the presentation for submitting CCA/CPAg/CPSS/CPSC number to earn the credit.Study: Mandatory Labeling had Minimal Effect on Meat DemandA Kansas State University agricultural economist says a law that once required mandatory reporting of the origin of meat sold in grocery stores likely did not have an impact on consumers' demand for those products.Glynn Tonsor has completed an analysis of meat demand before, during and after the U.S. Department of Agriculture had implemented mandatory country of origin labeling for meat products.Known as MCOOL, the law was in place in the United States from 2009 through 2015, and required food labels in grocery stores to include a statement indicating where the animal was raised before it was harvested for a meat product.Essentially, said Tonsor, "if beef and pork products went through the grocery store, then they had to be labeled. With that (labeling) comes the cost of compliance, which goes into a benefit-cost assessment, and an attempt to quantify the benefit. So what we tried to determine is the impact on the demand for meat of that law, and ultimately whether there was a positive benefit-cost ratio."There's no evidence of a positive demand development following implementation of the law," Tonsor said. "So if you don't have evidence of a benefit, and you do have evidence of a cost, that's not a desirable benefit-cost ratio," which led to the law being repealed in late 2015.Four years later, Tonsor said there is "no reason to think" that repeal of MCOOL would provide a measurable boost to the demand for meat products. "One of the estimates we have reported looks that way, but there are a lot of things that change. Beef demand or pork demand could be better after MCOOL, and have nothing to do with MCOOL being repealed."Recent drivers in meat demand are more likely due to consumers' higher preference for protein diets, and the population mix from 10 years ago has changed, Tonsor said.He and his colleagues have published a paper outlining many factors that have affected meat demand before, during and after MCOOL was in place. The fact sheet is available online at, and titled, "Overview of MCOOL Impact on KSU Domestic Beef and Pork Demand Indices.""I would encourage those who read this to read the other publications we have on beef demand and pork demand," Tonsor said. "There are a lot of resources that say the last two or three years have been very good on domestic meat demand, and I am not going to attribute that to the absence of MCOOL. There are other factors that are in play, such as consumer incomes rising, favorability of protein in the diet, and more."The fact sheet may be especially valuable as there is some renewed interest in bringing MCOOL back."I hope all policy decisions and industry leaders make their decisions based on information and research-based knowledge, and less on emotion," Tonsor said. "I hope this and other resources are part of the knowledge set that guides that process."Registration Opens for Massive 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade ShowRegistration and housing for the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade show is now open. The annual convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 5-7, 2020, and it’s recommended attendees register early, as convenient housing will fill quickly. Annual meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and National Cattlemen’s Foundation will be held at this event.Thousands of cattle industry members are expected at this event. Convention participants will gain insights on industry trends at a CattleFax Outlook Seminar, learn about current products and services at the NCBA Trade Show – the industry’s largest, with more than 350 exhibitors on 7 acres. Attendees will also enjoy entertainment throughout the event, including a Sunset Music Festival on Thursday, Feb. 6 and NCBA Invitational PBR Bull Riding on Friday, Feb. 7.  U.S. astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain Scott Kelly will share his lessons from space during the Opening General Session, and other noted speakers will be on hand to inform, energize and motivate audiences. Participants will also work with other industry leaders on both Beef Checkoff and NCBA policy programs, and they will appreciate fellowship with thousands of other cattle producers from around the country.The convention will again be preceded by 27th annual Cattlemen’s College, which is famous for stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that can help generate high returns for cattle operations. The event will begin Tuesday, Feb. 4, with afternoon sessions and be followed by an evening reception. It will be continued the next morning with a morning full of educational sessions. In addition, the National Environmental Stewardship Award winner will be named at a special reception Wednesday, Feb. 5. Winners of Beef Quality Assurance awards will be recognized at the Closing General Session Friday, Feb. 7.NCBA President Jennifer Houston of Tennessee says the convention represents an important annual get-together for cattlemen and women from around the country. “In addition to the important decision-making sessions at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, there are valuable education, information, entertainment and engagement opportunities at this event,” says Houston. “The 2020 experience in San Antonio Feb. 5-7 will be a terrific chance to come together to do good, have fun and learn more.”To register and secure housing for the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, visit Judge Won't Block Meat Label Law(AP) -- A federal judge has declined to block a Missouri law that bans companies from labeling plant-based meat products or meat substitutes as meat.U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. said last week that he wouldn't issue a preliminary injunction to stop Missouri agriculture officials from enforcing the law, which says a product cannot be marketed as meat unless it comes from an animal with two or four feet, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .Turtle Island Foods, which produces Tofurky products, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Good Food Institute appealed the decision on Wednesday. They argue the law violates their free-speech rights.The law, which was approved by the Legislature in 2018, gives the Missouri Department of Agriculture the power to investigate and refer potential labeling violations to the Attorney General's office or a county prosecutor.Supporters contend they are trying to protect the products raised by ranchers, pork producers and chicken and turkey farmers during a time when plant-based products are increasing in popularity.Gaitan wrote in his opinion that Tofurky would not be affected by the law because its labels disclose that its products are plant-based or grown in labs."Thus, plaintiffs have not shown that they are at any risk of either prosecution for violating the statute or that there is any need to change their labels or advocacy efforts," the judge said.The two sides of the dispute reached a tentative agreement last year but the talks broke down in July and no final resolution was reached.The coalition earlier this year sued Arkansas , saying a similar law in that state also censors speech and similar law in Mississipp i is also in litigation. Other states with labeling laws include Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana and Wyoming.Ranch Group Files Lawsuit to Stop USDA's RFID Ear Tag MandateToday, Harriet Hageman, Senior Litigation Counsel with the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Casper, Wyoming representing the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and four ranchers from Wyoming and South Dakota, to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) effort to eliminate all animal identification options other than radio frequency identification (RFID) devices and premises registration for adult cattle and bison moving interstate.    The lawsuit seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction against Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and USDA Administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Kevin Shae, who together issued the RFID mandate in April of this year.The lawsuit alleges that USDA's mandate that livestock producers use RFID ear tags, along with the requirement that they obtain a premises identification number (PIN), and the elimination of all other animal identification options currently available to U.S. cattle producers, violate current traceability regulations. The existing regulations, adopted in 2013, allow livestock producers to use the types of effective animal identification techniques and devices that have been widely used by the industry for over 100 years, including brands, tattoos, permanent metal ear tags, group/lot identification, and backtags on animals destined for harvest.The lawsuit further alleges that the USDA violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by relying exclusively upon a hand-picked group of individuals who have been advocating for the use of RFID, including industry officials and ear tag manufacturers who stand to earn windfall profits from the mandate. The USDA created this advocacy committee simply by winnowing out those U.S. cattle producers who oppose RFID. The defendants' actions in that regard violate federal law, which requires balanced representation on advisory committees. According to Harriet Hageman: "This case is important well beyond the livestock industry. Under our Constitution, Congress is the legislative branch responsible for making the law. The executive branch, which encompasses USDA and APHIS, is tasked with carrying it out. Congress has not passed legislation requiring animal RFID, these agencies have. Of even greater concern is the fact that they did so through the back door and without following the law. Forcing livestock producers to adhere to an RFID program will have an enormous impact on their operations, with noncompliance resulting in the denial of access to interstate markets. The USDA and APHIS are seeking to force compliance through extralegal lawmaking. That practice violates our clients' Constitutional rights. This situation is exactly why NCLA was formed-to stop federal agencies from violating the law by circumventing rulemaking."R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said the U.S. cattle industry developed numerous and highly effective traceability systems over the past many decades, making the U.S. cattle industry's disease resistance capabilities the envy of the world. Then, in the years leading up to 2013, cattle producers worked with USDA to further improve what was already a highly effective traceability system. That effort resulted in the 2013 Traceability of Livestock Moving Interstate regulation that improved traceability for adult animals through identification during interstate travel."Today, the USDA is catering to special interests and running roughshod over the rights of America's cattle producers by forcing them and their industry to incur costs that could run into the billions of dollars. The agency wants to gift RFID ear tag manufactures even more profits and is continually subjecting our industry to greater risks of foreign disease introduction through unrestrained imports of cattle from Mexico, a known reservoir of bovine tuberculosis; and from Canada, a known reservoir of brucellosis. "Our lawsuit draws a line in the sand telling the USDA that our industry will no longer stand for the agency's blatant government overreach." Bullard said.The individual plaintiffs in this case are Tracy and Donna Hunt, cattle ranchers from Newcastle, Wyoming, and Kenny and Roxie Fox, cattle ranchers from Belvidere, South Dakota.Sentera FieldAgent Analytics Toolset Expands to Include Tassel CountsTassel Counts available for the 2020 growing seasonSentera announces that its Tassel Count analytics product will be available to all FieldAgent™ customers in March 2020. Instead of forecasting yield using a small number of spot samples, the Sentera tassel count analytics tool allows users to more precisely calculate yields using tassel population data gathered across the entire field. Understanding tassel population can also help to more accurately time the application of certain crop protection products. This addition to Sentera’s toolbox will help growers and ag professionals leverage late-season data for crop marketing decisions to maximize profit and optimize storage costs.Accurate Data. Applicable Analysis.“We’ve validated the accuracy of our tassel counting technology over several seasons of testing. It’s another tool to improve economic outcomes for FieldAgent customers,“ said Eric Taipale, CEO of Sentera. “FieldAgent continues to build out as the go-to platform for in-season, whole field, real-time insights for advisors, retailers, cooperatives, and growers. Tassel count is also one of many advanced analytics products that we provide to our enterprise customers.“Tassel Count capabilitiesThe product delivers tassel count density throughout a field so users can more easily forecast and refine their crop yields prior to harvest and make other management decisions. Visualization is available in FieldAgent and data layers can be exported via shapefile. Users can also convert their results into zone maps, which provide an average tassel count per acre per zone and total acreage per zone. API connected partners have the option to integrate these new data layers directly into other digital platform products.Availability and PricingTassel count analysis will be available starting March 2020 through Sentera’s FieldAgent Platform. The new analytics tool will be $1200 for 1-year unlimited use and users can run the analysis on all or part of a field.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Suggests Cattle Market Reforms to USDANebraska Farm Bureau has offered the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) a series of recommendations to reform the way beef cattle are marketed. The underlying concept of Farm Bureau’s suggestions are to create a more transparent and value-based system that would more closely link the prices farmers and ranchers receive for their cattle to the value of beef products sold at the wholesale and retail levels. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson shared the recommendations with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in an October 2 letter.“With only four major meatpackers, many Nebraska cattle producers have expressed concerns about the level of control that exists within the consolidated meat packing industry, specifically in the way of packer captive supplies of cattle and the diminishing cash market for live cattle. We believe reexamining the cattle pricing system and moving toward one where cattle prices and cattle contract prices are discovered under a more transparent and value-based system would be beneficial in addressing producer concerns and allow the cattle market to better respond to actual supply and demand conditions,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.Beef producers’ concerns about the potential for anti-competitive actions in cattle markets heightened after a July fire at a Tyson meat processing facility in Holcomb, Kan. with producers seeing prices paid for cattle drop while meatpackers made significant profits. Nebraska Farm Bureau had urged, and USDA stepped forward, in investigating the situation under the powers given to the agency under the federal Packers and Stockyards Act; the long-standing legislation targeted to eliminating anti-competitive measures in livestock markets.“We have no preconceived outcome in mind for the Packers and Stockyards investigation and our state’s cattle producers are grateful USDA is doing its due diligence. However, we believe the best way to address real or perceived manipulation concerns is to move to a value discovery system that more closely links what cattle producers receive for the beef they produce and the value of that product as it nears the end consumer,” said Nelson.Nebraska Farm Bureau’s recommendations to USDA for changes under the Packers and Stockyards Act include:    Create regulatory standards requiring that cattle marketing contracts have a set, negotiated base price before cattle are committed for delivery.      Assure that cattle marketing contracts utilize reference or base prices that are more broad-based and publicly available rather than the shrinking cash markets.    Consideration of requiring contract standards that have reference prices or base prices that are more value-based such as using wholesale price cuts, retail meat values, or beef cut-out values. Requiring base or reference prices for cattle contracts that are more value-based up the beef supply chain would reduce, by market forces, any real or perceived incentives for packers to manipulate captive supplies in order to drive down local cash markets.    Consideration to developing a live cattle value index which would be required to be used as a reference or base price standard for cattle marketing contracts.  The index could use a combination of average spot cash prices, average weekly close of nearby live cattle futures, weekly average of beef cutout value, and weekly average of retail meat values.  Using this live cattle value index would help ensure that cattle are marketed on a value discovery system rather than a price discovery system.    “This has been a challenging year for Nebraska beef producers as weather, trade disputes, rising debt issues, increased input costs, and now difficult marketing conditions have created great stress on the largest sector of Nebraska’s agriculture-based economy. We appreciate the work USDA has done on many fronts for farmers and ranchers. It’s our hope Secretary Perdue and USDA will consider these ideas for reforms to move our beef industry forward toward a value-based cattle marketing system that would offer true reform,” said Nelson. SOIL AND WATER: ANALYSIS IDS AG PRACTICES TO FIGHT FLOOD, DROUGHTA synthesis of 89 studies across six continents has helped clarify which agricultural practices hold water when it comes to helping soils soak up precipitation — a factor critical to mitigating floods, outlasting drought and stabilizing crop yields.The roots of the solution? Put down and preserve some, said the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Andrea Basche.“There are a number of ways to improve water getting into the soil, but what we found to be the most consistent are the practices that offer continuous roots,” said Basche, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture.When acting like sponges, soils can alleviate the worst consequences of torrential rains that now strike with increasing frequency and are abruptly redefining terms such as “500-year flood.” Absorbent soils can also make the most of water when it’s most precious, allowing crops and other plants to better survive droughts that many researchers predict will become more severe going forward.Though some agricultural producers have adopted management practices designed to minimize the disruption or maximize the enrichment of soils, little research has systematically compared how those practices influence water absorption, Basche said.“We talk about a lot of (landscape) conservation practices as if they’re equal,” she said. “My perspective was that we didn’t have a good sense of the benefits that different practices provide.”So Basche and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Marcia DeLonge decided to analyze the effects of five emerging ag-related practices: no-till farming, cover crops, crop rotations, perennial plantings and cropland grazing.Their meta-analysis found that planting perennials such as grasses or trees near cropland increases the rate of water absorption by an average of 59%. Cover crops — those planted primarily to combat erosion and restore soil nutrients — boosted water absorption by an average of 35%, according to data from 23 studies.By contrast, the synthesized data from 52 studies found no overall effect from practicing no-till agriculture.“That was probably the most surprising finding,” Basche said. “Very commonly, you hear people talk about how important no-till is to increasing (water) infiltration. There were some environments and management combinations where no-till led to an increase in infiltration, but on average, that’s not what we found.”Rotating among cash crops also seemed to have no substantial influence, at least in the aggregate. Allowing livestock to graze on cropland, meanwhile, reduced water infiltration by an average of 21%, though the team found relatively few studies on the practice.The differences that emerged from the meta-analysis could partly account for the flood-related phenomena that farmers have noticed and recounted over the years, Basche said. Nebraska farmer Noah Seim told the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a rye-heavy cover crop seemed to spare his land from the worst aftermath of the widespread flooding that hit the state in March.“You hear all these anecdotes about soil health,” Basche said. “Producers love to tell these stories about, ‘I got this 6-inch rain event. My neighbor’s farm had flooding, and my farm let all that water soak into it.’ I’ve heard (versions of) that story numerous times.”Prior research has suggested that the continuous presence of root systems, like those that perennials and cover crops can offer, may open up more pores for water to infiltrate, Basche said. Undisturbed soil might also encourage more biological activity, such as the burrowing of earthworms, that does the same.“It’s hard in an analysis like this to say exactly what’s the process behind that,” Basche said. “But when you put these (practices) all together, you can see the relative differences and make some new hypotheses about what might be impacting infiltration.”Basche recently returned from Washington, D.C., where she presented to a congressional caucus focused on soils. After illustrating the post-1980 jumps in heavy rainfall across much of the United States, Basche shared lessons from the meta-analysis, other research and an ongoing study of 17 field sites across Nebraska.Part of the challenge ahead, she said, lies in demonstrating the value and feasibility of soil-friendly practices to agricultural producers. Less than 10% of U.S. cropland, for instance, currently supports cover crops.“Ultimately, with anything that we do research on in agriculture, it has to work on the farm,” Basche said. “We have to figure out how to do it and how to make it economically sustainable, too.“But when it comes to improving outcomes with heavy-rain events, I think this work illustrates that soil can be a solution.”Basche and DeLonge published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE. They received support from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the TomKat Foundation and The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.ACE welcomes ethanol producer members Heron Lake BioEnergy and Southwest Iowa Renewable EnergyThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) recently welcomed two new ethanol producer members Heron Lake BioEnergy (HLBE) located in Heron Lake, Minnesota, and Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. HLBE’s 65-million-gallon-per-year (MGY) plant provides jobs to 40 full-time employees and has approximately 1,200 investors. “Over the years, I have been able to see and experience the value ACE offers first hand,” said Kenton Johnson, HLBE and ACE board member. “ACE provides the best value in the industry. The return on investment for ACE’s policy and market development work is bar none the best in the business. In a time where our industry is working with difficult margins, it is more important than ever to invest in trade organizations that keep up the fight for ethanol’s access to the market.”The 130 MGY SIRE ethanol plant employees 62 people and has over 800 investors. SIRE hosted President Trump to celebrate the lift on the summertime E15 ban this past June. SIRE CEO, and 18-year veteran of the ethanol industry, Mike Jerke said, “joining ACE was an initiative we wanted to accomplish this year.”“ACE’s grassroots approach to public policy and market development is top notch, making the decision to join an easy one,” Jerke added. “They work with the folks who are in the trenches on environmental policy and international market development. Their proven experience and expertise in these areas only strengthened our cause for joining. We need industry champions who are willing to help place us in an offensive position, ACE is doing just that. We look forward to our continued work with this organization.”“ACE is proud to represent farmer and community-owned ethanol plants,” said Liz Bunkers, ACE Director of Member and Industry Relations. “We take great pride in being a voice for farmers and ethanol producers who are committed to making a superior renewable product that supports local agriculture and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. With the addition of Heron Lake BioEnergy and Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, ACE is growing our membership roster to represent a bigger slice of rural America.” Survey Finds Strong Opposition to EPA Oil Refinery Waivers, Strong Support for RFSRegistered voters oppose the Trump administration’s actions to exempt oil refineries from renewable fuel blending obligations by a margin of nearly two to one, according to new polling data released today by the Renewable Fuels Association. The nationwide survey, by Morning Consult, also found strong support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard. In fact, support for the Renewable Fuel Standard reached its highest level since RFA began polling on RFS support in 2016.“The massive increase in secretive small refiner waivers has been all over the news recently and we wanted to find out how registered voters really feel about the EPA giving highly profitable oil companies a free pass to ignore their Clean Air Act obligations,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of voters with an opinion on the issue opposed the small refinery exemptions. At the same time, public support for the RFS reached its highest rate since we began polling on the issue more than three years ago. As the White House and EPA move to finalize a relief package to mitigate the negative impact of these refinery waivers on rural America, we hope they take this information into account. It’s time for EPA to follow the law and implement the RFS as intended by Congress.”The survey of nearly 2,000 voters found opposition to the refinery waivers, with 55 percent of respondents opposed compared to 29 percent supporting and 17 percent having no opinion. When it comes to ethanol, the survey found 64 percent of voters have a favorable view, with support reflected across all key demographics, regardless of gender, location and political party. Support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, at 62 percent, represented an increase of six percentage points from May 2018 and was the highest since RFA began regular polling with Morning Consult on the rate of support for the RFS in 2016. The percentage of respondents indicating “strong support” for the RFS also hit its highest level since RFA started polling. Only 13 percent of respondents opposed the RFS, the lowest rate since polling began on RFS support.The top reasons cited for a favorable opinion for ethanol are the environmental benefits of ethanol, the fact that renewable fuels are domestically produced, and that they offer consumers an affordable choice at the pump.The poll was conducted by Morning Consult for RFA between Sept. 26-28, among a national sample of 1,998 registered voters. The interviews were collected online and the data weighted to represent a target sample of voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, education attainment and region; results have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.NCBA Exposes Relationship of OCM and HSUSThe National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane, today released the following statement in response to a Nebraska rally demanding government intervention to alleviate price disparities impacting cattle markets:“Yesterday, an HSUS-funded organization called the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) held a rally in Omaha, Nebraska entitled the “Rally to Stop the Stealin’ (sic)”.  According to OCM, this event was intended to place pressure on the Trump Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to “fix” our cattle markets in response to the price disparity producers are currently having to endure.“First and foremost, I think it’s important to make clear – once again – that these producers have every right to be angry. Down markets are horrible, and can leave a wake of financial and operational hardships that can persist for years after the boards in Chicago have moved on. Our stance remains consistent: NCBA is committed to the USDA’s investigation into the events surrounding the Holcomb plant fire and stand ready to respond to the results of that investigation to ensure that our members – 95 percent of which are boot-on-the-ground producers – have a fair market in which to thrive. Unfortunately, this continues to be the focus of much of HSUS and OCM’s misinformation and deception campaign. What’s worse, they’ve found willing allies in the leadership of both the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and R-CALF.   “It’s no secret that our industry is divided at the moment. I’ll be the first to stand up and say that a healthy debate about the future of our industry is appropriate as we see tremendous advances in technology, production practices, conservation, quality, and markets. However, these discussions need to be amongst those who love, work, and make their living in this industry. Regardless of our positions, we must stand together against the onslaught of detractors and dividers that do not care about our internal struggles. These outside forces want to end animal agriculture – full stop. Chief among them HSUS, and anyone who watched yesterday’s rally witnessed that point illustrated in high definition.“These people have told us who they are. In 2012, OCM President Fred Stokes told a crowd that “…every cowboy out there owes a debt of gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States.” Further, on their website, OCM argues passionately on behalf of HSUS’s work to end our industry. Finally, OCM’s executive director is a well know and unapologetic HSUS operative, as outlined by Protect the Harvest several years ago. “As if to add insult to injury, yesterday’s event included pleas for President Trump to be voted out of office in favor of Elizabeth Warren, among other positions that likely don’t reflect the views of most cattle producers I know. Oh, and they served turkey for lunch. Around this office, we don’t even serve turkey at Thanksgiving.“There’s an old saying that most definitely applies here; if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and if the duck TELLS you it’s a duck, believe it.”  Dairy Products August 2019 Production HighlightsTotal cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.11 billion pounds, 2.2 percent above August 2018 and 1.6 percent above July 2019.  Italian type cheese production totaled 457 million pounds, 0.8 percent above August 2018 but 1.8 percent below July 2019. American type cheese production totaled 458 million pounds, 5.1 percent above August 2018 and 4.7 percent above July 2019.  Butter production was 136 million pounds, 2.1 percent above August 2018 but 4.3 percent below July 2019.Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with August 2018)Nonfat dry milk, human - 132 million pounds, up 2.5 percent.Skim milk powder - 51.4 million pounds, up 8.0 percent.Whey products (comparisons in percentage with August 2018)Dry whey, total - 84.5 million pounds, up 7.2 percent.Lactose, human and animal - 92.8 million pounds, down 4.6 percent.Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.6 million pounds, down 7.7 percent.Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with August 2018)Ice cream, regular (hard) - 65.7 million gallons, down 6.4 percent.Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 40.2 million gallons, down 3.8 percent.Sherbet (hard) - 2.48 million gallons, down 23.8 percent.Frozen yogurt (total) - 3.79 million gallons, down 5.4 percent.SSGA speaks up for identity-preserved farmers in D.C. testimonyIdentity-preserved (IP) crop farmers were represented at a hearing Wednesday about China’s compliance with its commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), regarding China’s current zero threshold presence limit placed on imports of non-genetically modified (non-GM) field crops.On behalf of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA) and with coordination and support of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and American Soybean Association (ASA), SSGA Executive Director Eric Wenberg provided testimony to the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) in preparation of the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual report about China’s compliance with WTO rules. Wenberg was one of six individuals providing testimony on a range of issues, including intellectual property among others.Non-GM food variety soybeans from the United States have been excluded from Chinese imports, although genetically modified soybeans are allowed for import, due to China’s lack of a nonzero low level presence threshold allowing for biotech soybeans to be mixed in.“Farmers growing identity-preserved and non-GM crops must abide by stringent standards to produce specific varieties and traits to produce food for customers around the globe,” Wenberg said. “They deserve an additional market opportunity for their products. The soybean industry’s concern about this issue helps draw attention to the need to see a solution to this problem along with the other barriers to U.S. product sales. According to customs and trade data, food variety soya exports to all destinations for IP can reach $1.7 billion (2018), but we could sell more if the China market was open to us.”IP soybeans and specialty grains are grown coast-to-coast, but are predominately exported from North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

Gillespie receives Master Conservationist AwardDan Gillespie of Battle Creek was recently honored with the Master Conservationist Award.  The Master Conservationist Awards recognize people and organizations who excel in managing and conserving Nebraska’s water and soil.  The awards are sponsored by the Omaha World-Herald and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.The award was recently presented to Dan at the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Annual Conference at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) assisted in nominating Dan for this award in the Agriculture category.Dan began experimenting with no-till corn into soybean stubble in 1986 on his farm south of Meadow Grove.  Since 1991, he has practiced Continuous No-Till Farming on all his 412 corn-soybean acres.  Dan was the first one to start no-tilling in the area.After continuous no-till for 13 years, Dan began planting cover crops in the fall of 2005 in response to intense rainfall events.  He has planted cereal rye cover crops on all soybean stubble acres since 2006 while also experimenting with legumes and brassicas in seed mixtures. After several years of utilizing aerial application, he has settled on drilling all cover crops after harvest.In the spring of 2007, the Battle Creek watershed endured a seven-inch rainfall. Dan was able to plant in his cover cropped field only three days later while having no need to repair any waterways or flow areas.  No sediment left the 11-16% slopes on his farm with valuable nutrients and he maximized his rainfall infiltration and storage in the soil profile. Dan said, “I haven’t repaired a concentrated flow area in the fields since I implemented continuous cover cropping.  I believe the top benefit or return on my conservation investments is the elimination of soil erosion.  The regeneration of my cropland soils has allowed me to spend less on fertilizer, herbicide and irrigation inputs.”In the spring of 2012, Dan drilled soybeans into the green, living cereal rye he had planted the previous fall and let both soybeans and rye cover crop grow until cover crop termination in May. The practice worked well, yields were excellent, and he has continued to utilize this practice. He is one of the leaders in the state regarding “planting green.”In the fall of 2012, Dan drilled the flow areas (high probability of soil erosion) in his corn fields with a bushel of rye per acre. The concept was to augment the residue cover from the corn crop in the stable flow areas with a living root system. The fields were drilled to soybeans in spring 2013 and the cover crop in the flow areas was left to grow until the first herbicide application.  Dan said, “The practice worked very well and is now used for treating ephemeral gully problems by many farmers.”Dan’s use of soil moisture monitoring with telemetry gives him real time available water capacity for the crop, allowing him to take advantage of the increased infiltration and water storage capabilities that healthy soils provide. Dan has averaged 5.14” of irrigation water on corn and 4.94” on soybeans annually since installation of flow meters and adoption of electronic soil moisture monitoring.  The reduction in applied irrigation has also reduced issues with fungal diseases in Dan’s cornfields. He has not applied a fungicide to his corn since the implementation of soil moisture monitoring.  Dan added, “I have cut back on N application as the soil organic matter improves and increased soil biological activity continues to mineralize nitrogen at greater rates.”The 2% soil organic matter improvement in Dan’s fields allows him to infiltrate intense rainfall events and store that moisture in the soil profile. That 2% additional soil organic matter can store an additional 1.5 inches of rainfall in the soil profile, releasing it to the crop as needed and this happens repeatedly through the year.  Dan added, “Night crawler populations are a good soil health indicator and have gained rapidly since the implementation of cover crops. The macropores they create when burrowing add significantly to the infiltration rate for rainfall and irrigation water in the field.”Dan had 30 acres of cropland in CRP from 1981 through 2001 and enrolled 20 acres into Pollinator CRP in 2015-2016 to enhance habitat for pollinators. The 30 acres of CRP, returned to crop production, routinely out yields the cropland next to it due to the soil organic matter improvements from CRP years.When you visit with Dan about his farming practices, he says, “I want to leave the land in better shape than it was in when I started farming it.”Julie Wragge, LENRD Information & Education Specialist, said, “His credibility comes from experience. Dan wouldn’t ask another farmer to do something that he hasn’t tried and proven himself.  Speaking to agri-business groups, soil health workshops, No-till Conferences and Expos, college classes, high schools and grade schools, Dan has spoken to or presented to over 18,000 people since 2012.”  Wragge added, “Dan is very deserving of this high honor.  He continues to ‘sell’ conservation to everyone he encounters.”Two instructors from Madison High School receive Educators of the Year AwardTwo instructors from Madison High School received the Educators of the Year Award from the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD).Suzy Foley and Patrick Kratochvil, both science teachers at Madison High, were recently honored at the NARD Annual Conference held at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.  The awards were presented by Jim Johnson, Chairman of the NARD Information & Education Committee, and NARD President Larry Reynolds.The two were nominated by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) for their work in developing the Taylor-Union Watershed Team.  The team was started in the summer of 2011 to introduce minority students to fieldwork in science and to see how the concepts taught in the classroom can be used in real work situations.Kratochvil said, “A total of eight sites on the Taylor and Union Creeks are tested once a month on consecutive days from June through August. The water quality is calculated based on the Water Quality Index (WQI) System, developed by the National Sanitation Federation.  Macro-invertebrates are also studied, allowing us to obtain a more complete survey of the Taylor and Union Creeks.  A macro-invertebrate count is made giving a water quality rating based on a formula developed by the Nebraska Wildlife Federation’s Adopt-a-Stream program.”Kratochvil added, “Through the project we are using a cross-curricular strategy, which includes science, language arts, math and technology. This project also teaches the students about the different areas of science including Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Chemistry.”Suzy Foley said, “We have students that started as young as incoming 6th graders and have continued through their first year of college. Through this process we have seen that the skills learned lead to higher achievement on tests such as the ACT and a more diverse set of skills for the job market.”Foley added, “Students use their critical thinking skills while collecting and analyzing the samples collected during the Watershed class.  Excel is used to analyze the data that has been gathered throughout the summer and from past summers.  Once the data is entered, we generate graphs to visually display the information.  This allows the students to obtain a better grasp of the information they have collected.  They also create a Power Point presentation to share with the Madison Public School Board of Education, local community groups, the LENRD Board of Directors, and local Universities and Colleges.”Kratochvil commented, “Each year we have some of the students involved in the program go to the Middle School and do a presentation about what the program is and how it’s exciting and fun as well as educational.  This is one way that we keep recruiting students into the program.”LENRD Information & Education Specialist, Julie Wragge, said, “I was happy to nominate such a great team of leaders for our youth.  I have worked with Suzy and Patrick for a long time and they continue to step it up each year as they grow their program.  I’m very proud of the partnership the LENRD has developed with Madison Public Schools.  We congratulate Suzy and Patrick on this very deserving award.”The Watershed Team has also become involved with the “Know Your Well” program through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the Nebraska Water Center.  The students have had to gain an understanding of how land and water conservation apply to real world situations.  In this project, the students collect well samples from rural drinking wells in the area.  They run tests on the water and reports are given to the well owners with a discussion about the results.  Students were given the task of trying to discover where any possible contaminants came from.The Taylor-Union Watershed Team has received grants from the LENRD, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Groundwater Foundation, and Farmland.Patrick lives in Albion, and is originally from Pierce.  Suzy lives in Madison, and is originally from Blair.Grain donations accepted for Northeast’s Nexus campaignA Randolph area grain producer is donating grain to Northeast Community College as a way to support the construction of new ag facilities at the College in a tax advantageous approach.Mike Korth, of Randolph, has pledged 200 bushels of corn each year for five years to the Nexus project, a plan to relocate the College farm and build a new veterinary technology building near the existing Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex.“Donating the grain to Northeast is easy,” Korth explained. “I just turn the corn over to Northeast when I take my crop to the CVA (Central Valley Ag) 81/20 Grain Hub. The elevator then sells the grain and sends the proceeds directly to Northeast. In that way, I get to deduct 100 percent of the value of the grain from my income for tax purposes.”Korth encourages other producers to consider this option.“Pledging to donate as little as one acre’s production each year for five years is an easy way to make a significant contribution to the new ag facilities at Northeast without having to write a big check,” he said.Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, said the College has more information on how a gift of grain would work to the advantage of both Northeast and the producer. Forms to be used to make the donations and other information on the process for giving a gift of grain can be found online at“We do encourage producers to talk with their tax professionals if they have questions about how this process works,” Kruse said. “It is important that the producer give up title to the grain before it is sold in order to achieve the best tax advantage.” Kruse noted that there is a similar process for giving gifts of livestock.Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.LISTENING SESSIONS ON RURAL COMMUNITY PROSPERITY SCHEDULED IN NORTH PLATTE, LINCOLNTwo regional convenings in October will offer Nebraskans opportunities to share their best ideas on how the University of Nebraska can help rural communities position themselves for economic success. The listening sessions, which are open to the public, will be held in North Platte on Oct. 15 and in Lincoln on Oct. 24.“The University of Nebraska is a key resource for the state’s rural communities,” said Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “As part of our efforts to ensure the continued competitiveness of our state, we want to help rural communities position themselves for long-term economic prosperity.”The sessions are organized by a working group charged with creating a comprehensive strategic framework for an innovative, robust and integrated approach to rural community vitality, prosperity and resilience. The upcoming discussions, to be hosted by Boehm, will invite Nebraskans to share experiences in rural community development and to explore how the University can be most effective in strengthening the economic prosperity and vitality of rural communities.Session times and locations:    NORTH PLATTE: Oct. 15, 1:30 – 5 p.m., West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Rd.    LINCOLN: Oct. 24, 8:30 a.m. – noon, Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Dr.To register to attend in person or online, visit more information, visit Weed Seed Control Clinic Will Explore Harvest as a Control MethodControlling weeds has always been one of the biggest challenges of producing a crop, and with the ever-present issue of herbicide resistance, farmers are constantly searching for new solutions.Some practical, but innovative ideas will be explored during an Oct. 21 workshop, when Australian researcher Michael Walsh visits Iowa State University to talk about the various ways farmers can harvest and destroy weed seeds from the combine.Walsh is director of weed research at the University of Sydney, Australia. Weed resistance in Australia is among the worst in the world, and Walsh has explored a number of seed harvest solutions, including removing chaff from combines, grinding chaff and weed seed, and windrowing/tramlining the chaff.Walsh will host a harvest weed seed control clinic at the Iowa State University Field Extension Education Laboratory Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The morning session will focus on the principles of harvesting weed seeds as a method of control, and following lunch, Walsh will demonstrate the types of combine and equipment modifications used to separate weed seeds from other materials entering the combine.Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach, said the workshop will be a great opportunity for participants to learn about weed management tactics of other countries, while also considering the potential for use on their own farm.“'Harvest weed seed control’ is an alternative weed control tactic that targets weed seeds before they are shed from the plant, using the combine to intercept the seeds and prevent them from entering the seedbank and contributing to future problems,” she said.According to Anderson, some Australian farmers are using combines that are modified to either pull a machine that collects and crushes the weed seed, or modified internally, in a way that collects and grinds the seed, or deposits the chaff behind the combine.Anderson said some of the methods may not work in the United States, at least not currently, but there may be some ideas for the future.“While the technology is not currently available for our system, it is likely this will be a tool that will be of value in the near future,” she said.One thing she’s certain about is the continued fight against herbicide resistance. Harvesting weed seeds before they have a chance to fall to the ground could provide farmers one more option.The clinic is free and open to the public. Attendees may be eligible to receive up to 4.0 pest management Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) continuing education units for their attendance at the clinic (pending approval). Iowa State’s Field Extension Education Laboratory is located at 1928 240th St., Boone, Iowa.To help with the lunch count, RSVP by Oct. 14 to Meaghan Anderson at or 319-331-0058.National Pork Board Report Calls for Pork Industry to Better Meet the Needs of Hispanic ConsumersA National Pork Board report shows U.S. Latinos’ affinity for pork and growing purchasing power make it a critical audience for the industry, but as Hispanics acculturate, their pork consumption declines. The new report, Time to Tango: Latinos are Pork’s Future, reveals steps food retailers and packers must take to connect with these influential consumers who represent the biggest growth opportunity of the next several decades.The report is the latest in the National Pork Board’s Insight to Action research program examining key behaviors, attitudes, and cultural nuances of U.S. Hispanic shoppers. It outlines top motivators for Hispanics when selecting their preferred retailer and protein choice.“Pork is entrenched in Hispanic heritage and culture, and extremely relevant to the fast-growing and economically powerful Hispanic segment,” said José de Jesús, director of multicultural marketing for the National Pork Board. “The pork industry must proactively engage them and better meet their needs, otherwise we risk losing the Latino consumer.”According to the report, as Hispanic consumers become acculturated in the United States, the link between pork and culture weakens. Often, they can’t find the cuts they want for traditional dishes in mainstream stores, so they use other proteins or shop at specialty stores that offer the service to deliver the cuts they want. Nearly half (49%) of Hispanics do not choose mainstream retailers as their go-to store, and instead opt for specialty stores, ethnic markets and bodegas. The meat case is a contributing factor — 44% of Hispanics choose to buy their fresh meat at non-mainstream grocery stores.To maintain and increase loyalty among Hispanic consumers, the report outlines three key motivators retailers and packers must address:-    Accessibility: Most (79%) Hispanic consumers shop with someone else in their family and seek out stores that offer a family friendly experience. More than half seek out stores offering specialty cuts. Therefore, the shopping experience and value must meet Latinos’ expectations, and the cuts and preparations they want need to be more easily available in mainstream stores.-    Authenticity: Traditional family recipes are important to Hispanic consumers, but those traditions vary by the country of origin. What’s relevant to the Cuban or Puerto Rican consumer will be different than those from Mexico or Central American countries. While two of three Hispanics in the U.S. are originally from Mexico, a third are from other nations. A “hyper-local” strategy is best and should extend beyond the meat case. Having the right cuts available is key, but also offering the seasonings, spices and ingredients that are needed to complete those traditional pork dishes is just as important. -    Health: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of unacculturated Hispanics mistakenly believe pork is unhealthy. The industry must focus on the nutritional value of specific cuts, including pork’s protein profile.“The food industry is changing rapidly; foresight and adaptability are the keys to survival. U.S. Hispanics spend $95 billion a year on consumer packaged goods and their purchasing power is growing,” said David Newman, a pig farmer and president of the National Pork Board. “It’s no longer enough to offer a Hispanic aisle or packaging in Spanish. We need to look at each area of the store and ensure we’re meeting Hispanic consumers’ needs.”The report is the first in a series of reports, articles and updates the National Pork Board will provide in the months ahead to help the food industry better respond to Hispanic consumers’ needs.  The Pork Board has also developed a free marketing toolkit that includes content and information for retailers and packers to leverage in their own communications channels. The full report, and more information about the National Pork Board’s Insights to Action research, is available at Statement on U.S. Response to Illegal EU Subsidies Under WTO“Subsidies and barriers that handicap U.S. businesses in the global marketplace by violating international trade commitments shouldn’t be tolerated. We strongly support the World Trade Organization’s imposition of $7.5 billion in retaliatory duties on European products, including dairy foods, to prod the EU to uphold its World Trade Organization commitments and reinforce the importance of two-way trade.“NMPF strongly endorses the U.S. Trade Representative’s new list of European dairy exports that will now face higher tariffs, including cheeses, yogurt and butter. “The U.S. is running a $1.6 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe because of unfair EU trade practices that block our access to their market while they enjoy broad access to ours.“Trade authorities should also address one particularly egregious example of EU trade practices: the EU’s abusing the use of geographical indications to limit competition from cheese exporters in the U.S. that use common food names. Rather than compete head-to-head with high-quality American-made foods by allowing the use of common food names to coexist alongside GIs relating to those products, Europe instead blocks sales of these everyday food products from the United States and aggressively pressures other countries to do the same.“The retaliatory tariffs announced today are a clarion call for fair trade and an indication that trade must be a two-way trade. What better way to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Europe than by selling them award-winning US cheeses?”DMC Payments Top $300 Million as Signups, Aid Exceed Previous ProgramThe popular Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program signed up more than 22,000 dairy farmers – more than participated in the last year of the Margin Protection Program (MPP) that it replaced -- and paid out more than $302 million in its first year. That’s $302 million more than what farmers would have received under the MPP, which would have actually cost farmers money in 2019, according to an analysis of USDA data done by NMPF. Monthly milk price/feed cost margins so far in 2019 have been above the $8 per hundredweight coverage cutoff that existed under MPP, but below the new $9.50 per hundredweight coverage limit under DMC, the stronger dairy safety net enacted last year in the farm bill. Under the old MPP rules, the total paid out under the entire program so far this year would have been $75,000 -- about $3 per farmer and a net loss for them after premium costs. Instead, the new DMC threshold has triggered hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed assistance for dairy producers, showing the program’s value and helping farmers stay afloat who otherwise may not have been able to continue.With 2020 signup beginning on Oct. 7, that success is worth keeping in mind as farmers weigh the program’s affordable cost versus its proven benefits.“The Dairy Margin Coverage program has proven its worth, with more than $300 million in farmers’ pockets as a result of our work on the farm bill with Congress and USDA,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “None of that assistance would have occurred under the MPP. We encourage farmers who haven’t already signed up for all five years of Dairy Margin Coverage to re-new their sign up for 2020, and for farmers who decided not to participate in the 2019 program to consider it in the future.”According to the latest USDA data, 22,631 dairy producers signed up for DMC. Based on reported margins for the first eight months of the year, payouts so far for 2019 have been $302,906,824. Wisconsin signed up the largest number of farmers, while California enrolled the highest production volume of any state. A key change to the program that boosted aid was the inclusion of dairy-quality alfalfa into the feed-cost calculation, which narrowed the difference between milk prices and feed costs and adjusted margins to better reflect dairy expenses, a change that NMPF pushed for throughout legislation and implementation.“We thank USDA not only for prioritizing the DMC in farm-bill implementation but adjusting it in a way that provided additional benefit to producers,” Mulhern said. “The DMC’s success has truly been a partnership throughout, from a united dairy community that aided Congress as it crafted and approved the program, to USDA’s work with that community in making it reality.”CWT-assisted sales contracts top 94 million pounds of dairy product exportsCooperatives Working Together in September assisted member cooperatives in capturing 39 contracts to sell 2.4 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 299,829 pounds of butter, 7.8 million pounds of whole milk powder, and 668,001 pounds of cream cheese. The products will be going to customers in 12 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America and are being shipped during the period from September 2019 through next February.These contracts bring the 2019 total CWT-assisted product sales contracts to 94.4 million pounds, which includes of 42.6 million pounds of cheese, 4.5 million pounds of butter, 42 million pounds of whole milk powder, 277,782 pounds of anhydrous milkfat, and 5 million pounds of cream cheese. These transactions will move the equivalent of 848 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis overseas.Assisting CWT member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share through the Export Assistance program in the long-term expands the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, helps all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.NMPF Requests Dairy Farmer Input on Zero-Day Withdrawal Period AntibioticsThe National Milk Producers Federation is requesting dairy farmers respond to this survey to better understand how dairy farmers interpret an antibiotic with a zero-day withdrawal period of zero-day milk discard time.  Survey link here: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration opened a docket Aug. 9 requesting information regarding transit times to slaughter, milking frequency, and how end users interpret zero-day withdrawal period or zero-day milk discard time statements found on new animal drug labeling. This request is driven by the recognition that the animal agriculture industry has drastically changed since original assumptions were determined in 1980, and FDA is requesting information to ensure their regulations are in line with what is practiced today.  Survey responses are completely anonymous and cannot be traced back to the respondent. No personally identifiable information is captured, and your responses will be combined with those of other farmers and summarized to further protect anonymity. The answers will be used to inform NMPF’s comments to the FDA to ensure they have the most accurate information from dairy farmers.Farm Bureau Releases Milk Program RecommendationsThe American Farm Bureau Federation today released a proposal for the future of U.S. milk-pricing provisions and marketing-order reform. The recommendations aim to bring more democracy and a more equitable program for all dairy farmers. Although federal milk marketing orders have been a pillar of the dairy industry for more than 80 years, the program has not undergone substantial change in nearly two decades. A working group consisting of Farm Bureau grassroots leaders and other contributors from the Farm Bureau family prepared the report after broad consultation with industry and academia.The Farm Bureau Federal Milk Marketing Order Working Group recommendations are contained in the report “Priorities, Principles and Policy Considerations for FMMO Reform.”Key recommendations would:-    Give every dairy farmer a voice by eliminating the ability of coops to vote on behalf of member-producers on changes to federal milk marketing orders (bloc voting);-    Improve risk sharing across the supply chain in the product pricing formulas by adjusting the “make allowance” (a fixed deduction or credit for processing milk into finished dairy products) to be variable on a commodity-by-commodity basis;-    Collect more robust pricing information by significantly expanding the Agriculture Department’s mandatory price reporting survey; and-    Simplify milk pricing rules in the Southeast by aligning the qualifying criteria for pooling and eliminating transportation subsidies.Farm Bureau leaders will convene in January to consider and vote on these priorities and policy recommendations. Based on the outcome, Farm Bureau staff will work with stakeholders in the dairy industry and policymakers to advance the recommendations.The working group was formed in January 2019 when AFBF’s voting delegates recommended the formation of a dairy task force to review methods to restructure and modernize the current Federal Milk Marketing Order system.Most Fertilizer Prices Continue to DeclineThe streak is over.  The retail price of one of the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN increased in the fourth week of September 2019, ending a six week run in which all of the fertilizers' prices declined.The price of 10-34-0 increased to $471/ton, up $1 from the same time last month.Prices for the remaining seven fertilizers were lower but not by a significant amount, which DTN considers at 5% or more. DAP had an average price of $479/ton, down $12; MAP $475/ton, down $19; potash $384/ton, down $3; urea $404/ton, down $8; anhydrous $511/ton, down $17; UAN28 $254/ton, down $2; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $1.On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, two fertilizers' prices dropped to being lower in price from a year ago. DAP is now 3% less expensive, and MAP is 9% lower from last year at this time.The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. UAN32 and anhydrous are both 4% more expensive, both urea and UAN32 are now 5% higher, potash is 6% more expensive and UAN28 are 7% higher compared to last year.Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/27/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 27, ethanol production expanded 15,000 b/d or 1.6% to 958,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 40.24 million gallons daily. Output is 5.6% below year-ago volumes and 5.1% below the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 1.4% to 982,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.05 billion gallons and the lowest average in nearly three years.Ethanol stocks rebounded 3.2% to 23.2 million barrels. However, inventories were 1.0% lower than the same week last year. Stocks built in the East Coast (PADD 1), Midwest (PADD 2), and West Coast (PADD 5) but declined across the other regions.There were zero imports recorded after 113,000 b/d hit the books last week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied decreased 2.2% to 9.137 million b/d (383.8 million gallons per day, or 140.07 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol narrowed 1.3% to 923,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.15 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.48%.ACE introduces updated fuel marketer website, videos at NACSThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is introducing its revamped fuel marketer-to-marketer website and new videos to prospective E15 and flex fuel retailers attending the 2019 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show this week in Atlanta, Georgia. The NACS show is the largest annual gathering of convenience and fuel marketing professionals, drawing nearly 25,000 industry stakeholders from around the world to see the newest and best products and strategies available to station operators. This year, ACE is also accompanied on the trade show floor by Helena Jette, Director of Biofuels for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.“Based on input from retailers who stopped to talk to us at trade shows, emails and phone calls we received from marketers, and conversations we had with station owners and operators we work with, ACE updated the website to provide more in-depth information for retailers considering adding E15 and flex fuel, and more answers from fellow marketers to questions retailers frequently ask about ethanol,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President and Market Development Director. “ started out as a ‘landing page,’ where marketers could find general information on higher ethanol blends and then link to other existing sites with more detailed information on the topic they were searching for. We still do that, however, retailers told us they like the E15 & Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap, and with more in-depth video and testimonials from real-world ethanol retailers, prospective higher-blend marketers can now have more of their questions answered without leaving a site they trust.”Studies show people trust information they get from “A person like me,” and that fact drives ACE’s approach to developing new markets. After helping wholesalers and retailers add or expand their ethanol offerings, ACE follows up with those marketers to share their successes and challenges with other retailers who may be considering adding higher ethanol blends. The website was created to provide 24/7 access to those peer stories. Station owners can read information or watch short film clips from other station owners who have already done the things they are considering.“Earlier this year, we had a conversation with Mike Lorenz from Sheetz, and single store owners Bruce Vollan of Midway Service, and Charlie Good of Good & Quick,” Lamberty said. “We talked to them about questions they’ve been receiving from other retailers and asked them some of the questions we’ve gotten from marketers considering adding E15 and flex fuels. Several videos from those conversations are up on the website. The look of the site has also changed to emphasize current news including updates to rules or policy changes as they happen, answers to retailer questions, and easier access to our E15 & Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap.”Visit to check out the website and new videos. Student Leaders Preparing for 92nd National FFA Convention & ExpoIn a few weeks, the city of Indianapolis will transform into a sea of blue jackets when the National FFA Convention & Expo kicks off for the 92nd time. This time-honored tradition will be held in the Circle City Oct. 30- Nov. 2, 2019.More than 67,000 FFA members from across the U.S., representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are expected to attend the event. It’s an opportunity for students to be exposed to new career paths and opportunities – while celebrating the accomplishments these future leaders have made over the past year.Throughout the week, convention and expo attendees will also be able to experience the FFA Blue Room, a 17,000+-square-foot interactive area that showcases the cutting-edge technology, research and innovation taking place in agriculture. Through experiential learning and specific focus on the most critical challenges facing our communities—from respecting the planet to feeding the world—the FFA Blue Room will inspire and equip students to activate their potential.With an estimated $33 million impact on the city, attendees will be seen throughout the city, staying at more than 115 hotels in the area as well as giving back to the community through the National Days of Service.In fact, during the week, more than 2,500 student members will be lending a helping hand to the greater Indianapolis area as part of the National Days of Service. Places, where students will be giving back to the community, include Gleaners Food Bank, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis City Market, the Wheeler Mission and more.Convention and expo events will take place at several venues in downtown Indianapolis and other surrounding areas. FFA members and advisors will meet in Lucas Oil Stadium, where the eight general sessions will be held. At the Indiana Convention Center, members can explore the expo or expand their minds by attending a variety of workshops or participating in educational and career success tours.The convention and expo will kick off on Wed., Oct. 30 with the opening general session in Lucas Oil Stadium, where the organization will be celebrating 50 years of women in FFA.  On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 2, American FFA Degrees, the highest degree for an FFA member, will be bestowed upon more than 4,000 FFA members. The event concludes that afternoon with the election of the 2019-20 National FFA Officer team.The National FFA Convention & Expo is scheduled to be held in Indianapolis through 2031.

In Tough Year for Agriculture, Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Builds Awareness, SupportNebraska Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC), a program of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, headed back to school this fall with new, grade-specific lessons and activities for Nebraska teachers. AITC has a long history of creating resources tied to state education standards to assist teachers in connecting students to their source of food, fiber, and fuel – agriculture!“The Foundation has taken big steps forward this year and looks forward to continued  positive momentum. There has been growth in the number of participating schools, students, and lessons offered,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director.Classroom Visits provide students with opportunities to develop an awareness that agriculture is their source of food, clothing, and shelter. Since the beginning of the school year, Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation staff has taught in 21 classrooms, reaching 453 students. Over the summer, staff developed Classroom Visit lessons that complement core subject area learning and focus on a unique commodity related to the grade level.“For the 2019-2020 school year, the classroom visit program was updated to offer two unique agricultural lessons for each elementary grade level that aligns to science, social studies, and language arts learning targets. Each lesson builds year-to-year for sustained impact in the classroom. Programming continues to build and link experiences together for a lasting effect,” said Schafer.The third year of the Connecting Chapters program kicked off this fall with 72 FFA chapter participants. The Connecting Chapters program equips high school FFA members to connect with elementary students and peers to introduce agricultural literacy – awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of agriculture – in their communities.“Through Connecting Chapters, FFA members gain practice with listening, understanding, and sharing agriculture in a meaningful way. This program builds confident agricultural advocates and community leaders,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education and program leader.Newly created interactive displays rolled out this fall for engagement outside of classroom walls. These displays share with students and consumers about careers in agriculture, food labeling, and biotechnology. The volunteers of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee have led these activities and conversations at the state fair and other public events across the state. Through these events, the committee and staff have reached approximately 2,650 Nebraskans.“The number of students and families reached through volunteers nearly doubled this past year. Volunteers enrich programs, bring together a community of leaders, and share a passion for helping Nebraskans understand the importance of Nebraska agriculture,” said Schafer.The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is grateful for the support of numerous volunteers and partners. “We are proud to partner with all the major commodity groups and the University of Nebraska to provide comprehensive agricultural literacy programming statewide. In a year where devastating storms and floods have impacted much of rural Nebraska, we know it is more important than ever for all Nebraskans to understand and support the work of farm and ranch families and their contributions to our great state,” said Schafer.Agriculture in the Classroom® is a program coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture through the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. In Nebraska, the Agriculture in the Classroom program is managed by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. October is National Pork MonthLarry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming CountyOctober is a month where we celebrate many things.  It is a time that our trees begin to turn colors as a sign that fall is arriving. Our farmers are moving forward with the harvest of our crops. Families are spending time with their children at the Pumpkin Patches and Halloween is celebrated at the end of the month. But most importantly, October is National Pork Month. This is a time to celebrate our nation’s thriving swine industry and learn as much as we can about swine production and thank the pork producers for everything they do for the agriculture industry.According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture (most recent data), the United States had 64,871 farms selling nearly 235.3 million hogs and pigs that were valued at almost $26.3 billion.  The U.S. is the world’s third largest producer and consumer, as well as largest exporter of pork and pork products. The Census also shows that Nebraska has 1,346 farms selling over 14.3 million head that were valued at almost $1.5 billion. Locally, Cuming County had pork sales of over $66.5 million which ranks sixth in Nebraska and is the 92nd ranking county in the U.S.Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 36 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. So pork producers play a major role in helping us feed the world. Each market hog represents about 371 servings of pork. That makes for hundreds of meals that feed families from the US and around the world.  Pork provides an abundance of nutritional qualities, including amino acids, vitamins and protein.Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork is lean with 16 percent less fat and 27 percent less saturated fat as compared to pork in 1991. In fact, many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken.  Pork tenderloin is certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association with its heart-check mark, indicating that it contains less than 6.5 grams of fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat.Along with offering many great products for consumers, the nation’s pork industry plays a significant role in job creation. The U.S. pork industry supports about 550,000 jobs ranging from pork producers and meat processors, to transport and Main Street businesses.As our global population continues to grow, be assured that our pork producers will play an even more important role in the future. As the demand increases, our pork producers, with the assistance of the supporting industries, will continue to grow and enhance their production methods to meet the needs.So this month, make sure that you take time to thank our friends and neighbors that raise and produce pork for all of their hard work.  We can all celebrate by eating extra pork this month to show our support of local swine producers.Porktober19 Tells the Pork Story to IowansIowa's pig farmers do their work every day of the year, so it's only fitting that one month be dedicated to the delicious and nutritious product they produce.The Iowa Pork Producers Association has dubbed the tenth month of the year Porktober - An Iowa Pork Celebration. "We encourage you to follow great nutrition and cooking information about pork by following #Porktober19 on all your social media channels," says IPPA President Trent Thiele."While we encourage consumers to include pork in their meals all year long, this time set aside for the traditional October Pork Month recognition is an opportunity to remind you about a great product and the men and women who produce it," says the Elma pig farmer. "Nearly one of 12 Iowans has a job connected to the pork industry," says Thiele.Pork is the leading animal protein for consumers across the globe. "But our most important consumers will always be those here at home," Theile said. "#Porktober19 let's us reinforce our producer-to-consumer relationship so we can tell our story about producing safe, nutritious food right here in Iowa."To learn more about pork and Iowa's pig farmers, go to There, you'll see recipe videos and a video featuring three Iowa pig farmers. You'll find preparation information for preparing pork and serving this quintessential Iowa food in your home. And, there's a simple infographic to tell you about the sustainability results from the work pork producers do.Finalists Named for Iowa's 2019 Best Breaded Pork TenderloinThe top five finalists have been announced for the 17th annual Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest in Iowa, sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).They include: Big Al's BBQ in Des Moines; Night Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater; The Pub at the Pinicon in New Hampton; Stumble Inn in Bradford; and West Side Family Restaurant in Grinnell.The first- and second-place winners will be named later this month as part of #Porktober19, or October Pork Month."All of the top five finalists scored highly in our first round of judging this summer, which included 40 restaurants from around the state," said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA marketing and programs director. "And we're excited to announce Iowa's Best for 2019."IPPA received 5,390 nominations for 470 different establishments during the spring nomination period. Those numbers are up significantly from nearly 1,600 nominations for 380 establishments in 2018."We made some improvements to simplify the nomination process, and we're thrilled to see that it resulted in more tenderloin enthusiasm from loyal fans across the state nominating their favorites," Sutter said.Any Iowa restaurant, café or tavern that has hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloins on its menu is eligible to be nominated. In order to win, the nominated business must be open year-round; however, seasonal restaurants can be in the final top five.The winning restaurant will receive $500, a plaque, a banner to display and statewide publicity that will bring in new business.Winners from the past five years (past winners are not eligible for the competition): 2018 - Three C's Diner, Corning; 2017 - Grid Iron Grill, Webster City; 2016 - Nick's, Des Moines; 2015 - The Belmond Drive-In, Belmond; 2014 - The Lucky Pig Pub & Grill, Ogden.IOWA FARMER REFLECTS ON NCGA LEADERSHIP WITH AN EYE ON THE FUTURE  The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year today and seated the 2020 Corn Board with Kevin Ross of Minden, Iowa assuming the presidency.  Looking at the year ahead, Ross is grateful for the chance to serve and to create opportunities to fully utilize the talents of his fellow grower leaders.“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to facilitate the growth amongst our board and to lead the organization in which I have spent so much time,” said Ross. “It is such a privilege to be able to step into this role. In doing so, I hope to represent fellow neighbors and farmers across the country well.”Over the year ahead, he sees many opportunities to build markets and impact change for farmers. A true believer in the power of grassroots action, he sees the power of NCGA coming directly from the farmers who join, act and lead.“When it comes to taking action, I cannot stress enough that sometimes one person’s voice can make the difference on if a piece of legislation goes through. It is their story that makes the difference.”Noting that growers can make an impact in Washington, in their district or at the local level, Ross urges all farmers to play an active role in creating the change they wish to see for the industry.“When you have an opportunity, you need to take action. That one voice, that one story, can make a real difference in decisions that are made in agriculture.”NCGA ACTION TEAM AND COMMITTEES ANNOUNCED FOR 2020The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve their industry as members of the action teams and committees beginning on January 1, 2020. These volunteer farmers will actively shape the future of their industry by guiding programs and carrying out the policies and priorities that drive NCGA.Current FY 2019 teams, committees and members will remain in place until the beginning of the new calendar year.Leadership for NCGA’s seven major teams in 2020 will be:    Ethanol Action Team: Mark Recker, chair; Kelly Nieuwenhuis, vice chair; Gary Porter, board liaison.    Market Development Action Team: Dan Wesely, chair; Jed Bower, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison.    Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team: Debbie Borg, chair; Lindsay Bowers, vice chair; Dennis Maple, board liaison.    Production Technology Access Action Team: Chad Wetzel, chair; Kate Danner, vice chair; Brandon Hunnicutt, board liaison.    Risk Management Action Team: Doug Noem, chair; Bill Leigh, vice chair; Harold Wolle, board liaison.    Stewardship Action Team: Carl Sousek, chair; Andy Jobman, vice chair; Ken Hartman, board liaison.     Sustainable Ag Research Action Team: Randy DeSutter, chair; Bob Hemesath, vice chair; Deb Gangwish, board liaison.Pennsylvania Farmer Named America’s Pig Farmer of the YearChris Hoffman, a pig farmer from McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, is America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM for 2019-2020 after netting the highest combined score in third-party judging and online voting. The award recognizes the pig farmers in the U.S. that exemplify industry leadership, a demonstrated focus in raising pigs following the We CareSM ethical principles and a commitment to connecting consumers with the farmers who raise the pork they consume.“Chris is both a strong advocate for our industry as well as the embodiment of a responsible, progressive producer,” said National Pork Board President David Newman. “He will do a great job in leading pig farmers as we all work to demonstrate to our consumers that we aspire to ethically raise the safest, most wholesome protein supply in the world.”Though he originally aspired to work in law enforcement, Hoffman found himself in the business of raising pigs and discovered it to be his ideal career. He’s faced challenges unique to being a first-generation pig farmer, but with a progressive yet realistic philosophy, he’s been able to gradually grow and evolve his Lazy Hog Farm to integrate the next generation and secure a bright future.“For me, it’s been slow and steady, and we’ve evolved over a period of time,” Hoffman said. “When my son comes in a few years from now, he will hopefully have a lot of opportunities to think outside the box and try new things.”Hoffman was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year after an on-farm audit of animal health, safety and management practices, a series of personal interviews and an online vote. Since being named to the position, Hoffman said he’s excited to lead discussions with consumers and food retailers in order to help promote pig farming and demonstrate farmers’ commitment to always doing the right thing for their animals, the environment and the families who consume their product.“While I’ll begin the year by discussing our business with consumers and food retailers, my ultimate goal is to appear on regional and national television and radio programs to talk about how we raise pigs in this country. I want to meet with our nation’s leaders, including the president, and show them that we are an integral part of our food supply and the nation’s workforce,” Hoffman said. “Farmers do a great job at raising pigs the right way, and now it’s my turn to help show the rest of the country how passionate we are about what we do and whom we do it for.”The panel of expert judges who met with finalists in August, were Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Jayson Lusk, department head and distinguished professor, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Jessie Kreke, senior marketing manager, Culver’s Franchising System; and Patrick Bane, the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.Learn more about Hoffman and the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award at Field Days to Spotlight Forage Management and CrossbreedingThe I-29 Moo University will host two on-farm dairy field days in November. Topics will include managing forages and silage, crossbreeding, housing and parlor setup.The field days are free to attend. Each will start at 12:30 p.m. and conclude around 3:30 p.m.Summit Dairy, Nov. 13. Location: 5564 390th St., Primghar, Iowa.Dairyman John Westra will lead participants through his Summit Dairy milking parlor, cattle housing, the commodity and mixing building, and also discuss the farm’s breeding program.Westra and his family purchased Summit Dairy in 2012. They moved from California and immediately began caring for the 400 cows. Over the years, the Westras expanded the dairy to over 800 cows. The cows are housed in free-stalls and milked three times a day. As part of the expansion, Westra built a commodity and feed mixing building, which allows feed to be loaded and mixed indoors, which reduces waste and decreases moisture variability in the feedstuffs.Hugo Ramirez, assistant professor and extension dairy specialist at Iowa State University, will discuss feeding this year’s silage, feeding issues he is seeing, and pile management.Tri Cross Dairy, Nov. 20. Location: 45144 289th St., Viborg, S.D.Owners Tom Koolhaas and Wes Bylsma, and farm manager Kris Vander Kooy will lead a tour of this 4,000-cow operation that includes a 1,200-foot cross-ventilated free-stall barn, and a 100-head rotary milking parlor.The tour guides will share their experiences using crossbreeding within dairy to create a durable and productive cow herd. Amy Hazel, researcher with the University of Minnesota, will discuss reasons that interest in crossbreeding in dairy cattle is growing globally, explain the basics of rotational crossbreeding for dairy cattle, and present the detailed results of a 10-year study in high-performance Minnesota dairy herds where ProCROSS cows were found to be more profitable than their Holstein herd mates.Brother-in-laws Wes Blysma and Tom Koolhaas founded Tri Cross Dairy in 2017. They both grew up on California dairies and wanted to expand their farms and landed in the I-29 Dairy Corridor, near Viborg, South Dakota. The dairy is named for its Tri-crossed, or Pro Cross breed of cattle, which are a combination of Holstein, Montbeliarde, and Swedish or Viking Red.Registration detailsRegister for one or both field days at Light refreshments and South Dakota State University ice cream will be served.For more information, contact Jim Salfer at, 612-360-4506, Fred Hall, 712-737-4230, or Tracey Erickson at, 605-882-5140.The field days are hosted by I-29 Moo University, a collaboration of South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, North Dakota State, and University of Nebraska Extension Services; Iowa State Dairy Association; South Dakota Dairy Producers Association; Nebraska State Dairy Association and the MN Milk Producers Association.USDA Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and StocksSoybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.33 million tons (178 million bushels) in August 2019, compared with 5.38 million tons (179 million bushels) in July 2019 and 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in August 2018. Crude oil produced was 2.05 billion pounds down 2 percent from July 2019 but up 5 percent from August 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.52 billion pounds during August 2019 increased slightly from July 2019 and increased 5 percent from August 2018.Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 156,132 tons in August 2019, compared with 145,547 tons in July 2019 and 170,472 tons in August 2018. Canola crude oil produced was 126 million pounds, up 4 percent from July 2019 but down 9 percent from August 2018. Canola once refined oil production, at 72.8 million pounds during August 2019, was down 29 percent from July 2019 and down 34 percent from August 2018. Cottonseed once refined oil production, at 39.6 million pounds during August 2019, was up 16 percent from July 2019 but down 13 percent from August 2018.Edible tallow production was 87.2 million pounds during August 2019, up 8 percent from July 2019 but down 5 percent from August 2018. Inedible tallow production was 315 million pounds during August 2019, up 1 percent from July 2019 but down 5 percent from August 2018. Technical tallow production was 118.6 million pounds during August 2019, up 33 percent from July 2019 but down 1 percent from August 2018. Choice white grease production, at 107 million pounds during August 2019, increased 15 percent from July 2019 but decreased 5 percent from August 2018.Grain Crushings and Co-Products ProductionTotal corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 508 million bushels in August 2019. Total corn consumption was up slightly from July 2019 but down 6 percent from August 2018. August 2019 usage included 91.4 percent for alcohol and 8.6 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.34 million bushels, down 35 percent from July 2019 and down 6 percent from August 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 455 million bushels, was up 1 percent from July 2019 but down 6 percent from August 2018. Corn consumed in August 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.3 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 2.01 million tons during August 2019, up 1 percent from July 2019 but down 8 percent from August 2018. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.28 million tons in August 2019, up 7 percent from July 2019 but down 2 percent from August 2018.Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 306,375 tons during August 2019, up 2 percent from July 2019 but down 6 percent from August 2018. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 261,243 tons in August 2019, up 4 percent from July 2019 and up 2 percent from August 2018.Agriculture Groups Urge USDA to Quickly Establish Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine BankRepresentatives of the National Pork Producers Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Corn Growers Association and Iowa State University today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move as quickly as possible to establish a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank.At a press conference today, these groups recognized the steps USDA has taken to establish the bank, but called for expedient use of mandatory funding included in the 2018 Farm Bill to purchase the volume of vaccines required to effectively contain and eradicate an FMD outbreak. Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine to avoid devastating economic consequences to the U.S. economy, should an outbreak occur.FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including the immediate loss of export markets. According to Iowa State University research, an outbreak would result in $128 billion in losses for the beef and pork sectors, $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively, to the corn and soybean farmers, and job losses of more than 1.5 million across U.S. agriculture over 10 years."If the U.S. had a large outbreak of FMD, it may be impossible to control without the rapid availability of adequate supplies of vaccine," said Dr. James Roth, a professor in the department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventative Medicine at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, during today's press conference.  "The U.S. vaccine bank is our best insurance policy to respond to an FMD outbreak in the United States. As with most insurance policies, we hope to never use it, but it's paramount that we have fast access to enough vaccine if we ever need it. The funding provided in the 2018 Farm Bill provides a good start toward building up a more robust FMD vaccine stockpile to help protect American agriculture," he added."U.S. pork producers and other farmers are currently faced with a wide range of challenges, including export market uncertainties, flooding and other weather events," said NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom. "Unlike challenges beyond our control, a solution for FMD preparedness is in our grasp. We urge USDA to move as quickly as possible to establish the bank.""Livestock is a very important customer for U.S. corn farmers and each is crucial to the success of the other," said Sarah McKay, director of Market Development at the National Corn Growers Association. "A foreign animal disease outbreak would have an estimated $4 billion a year impact on corn farmers, which would be disastrous on top of current market conditions. In addition, an outbreak may also impact exports of animal ag products. On average, pork exports contribute 28 cents a bushel to the price of corn, so the control of infectious diseases via a vaccine bank is important not only to livestock producers but corn growers as well.""The time to build a best-in-class FMD Vaccine Bank is now," said Jamie Jonker, Ph.D., vice president for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs at the National Milk Producers Federation. "NMPF has been active in informing our members and the dairy community of the importance of preparation, and a vaccine bank is a crucial element of protection for the entire livestock industry. We are excited to work with other stakeholders and with USDA to reach this goal."Origin of Livestock Proposed Rule Comment Period — Open NowOn October 1, 2019, the National Organic Program (NOP) reopened the public comment period for the Origin of Livestock proposed rule originally published in 2015. The comment period is open for 60 days: October 1 - December 2, 2019.The proposed rule would change the requirements related to origin of livestock under the USDA organic regulations. NOP received 1,580 public comments during the original comment period in 2015. USDA will consider all public comments in developing a final rule. This includes public comments from 2015 and from this new comment period.You do not need to resubmit public comments provided on the 2015 proposed rule. However, they will welcome new or updated comments.Reopening the public comment period gives people a chance to submit comments who did not do so in 2015. It also allows people to submit updated information, if needed, to inform USDA's development of a final rule. Organic Farm Commodity Sales Doubled Between 2012 & 2017Although the total value of U.S. agricultural sales remained relatively flat between 2012 and 2017, U.S. organic sales more than doubled to $7.3 billion. Growth in the U.S. organic sector has accelerated since the early 2010s as retailers, food manufacturers, and livestock producers have increased demand for organic food and inputs.Agricultural sales averaged $400,603 for organic operations in 2017, more than double the average agricultural sales for all farms ($190,245).The organic share of U.S. agricultural sales doubled to 2 percent between 2012 and 2017, and was over 6 percent in some States.California was the top State in both organic and overall agricultural sales. Most other top organic States were in the Pacific Northwest (a major grower of organic produce), Upper Midwest (a major producer of organic milk), and Northeast (which has many small-scale organic farms).Pennsylvania and North Carolina were among the States with the fastest growth between 2012 and 2017, with organic sales up ten- and eight-fold, respectively.In contrast, Iowa ranked second in overall agricultural sales and twelfth in organic sales, reflecting the low adoption of organic systems for U.S. grain production.NCFC To Celebrate Co-op Month Throughout OctoberThe National Council of Farmer Cooperatives joins cooperatives across the nation to recognize October as National Co-op Month and honor the important role farmer-owned cooperatives play in strengthening the economy, providing jobs and improving life in local communities.“Co-op Month is a great time to share the farmer co-op story and discuss how America’s farmer-owned businesses allow individual farmers across the country the opportunity to truly participate in the food and agriculture system,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner.  “I’m excited to dedicate this month to co-ops, and showcase how farmer co-ops directly support rural America and help provide consumers with a safe, affordable and abundant food, fiber and fuel supply.”For more than 100 years, farmer-owned co-ops have given individual farmers a fair chance to compete and succeed in the global marketplace. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2.2 million farmers own the nearly 2,000 farmer cooperatives in the nation. The farmer-owned cooperatives generate around $200 billion annually in economic activity and generate about 300,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs.Throughout the month, NCFC plans to highlight the role that farmer-owned co-ops play in improving economic opportunity and the quality of life in rural America.Doug Keesling Joins NSP Board of Directors, Three Re-Appointed and Officers ElectedThe National Sorghum Producers board of directors recently elected Doug Keesling of Chase, Kansas, and re-elected three board members who will serve a three-year term respectively beginning Oct.1. Officers were also elected.Keesling is a fifth-generation farmer from central Kansas where he grows sorghum, wheat, corn, soybeans and livestock. He also owns Keesling Seed Farms, a comprehensive farm input supplier. Keesling has previous experience with state and national wheat grower organizations, the Trump Agriculture Advisory Committee, International Grains Program and many others.“Doug Keesling brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NSP board of directors,” said Dan Atkisson, NSP chairman and sorghum farmer from Stockton, Kansas. “We look forward to the insight he will bring as we tackle ongoing issues like trade and other policy initiatives that are important to U.S. sorghum farmers.”Kody Carson of Olton, Texas, was re-elected to the board along with Bobby Nedbalek of Sinton, Texas, and Larry Richardson of Vega, Texas. The NSP board also recognized outgoing director Larry Earnest, a sorghum farmer from Star City, Arkansas, for his leadership and dedication to the sorghum industry."We are incredibly grateful for the contributions Larry has made to the NSP board," Atkisson said. "Larry has been composed and stable voice for the industry as we have worked toward valuable improvements for sorghum producers."NSP Chairman Dan Atkisson and Vice Chairman Kody Carson were re-elected to their respective officer positions. Don Bloss of Pawnee City, Nebraska, remains as past chairman.USDA Appoints Members to New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory CommitteeU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 20 members to serve on the Advisory Committee for New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (ACBFR). The newly appointed members serve terms of up to two years through 2021.Members newly appointed to serve two-year terms are:    Davon L. Goodwin, Raeford, N.C.    Katie R. Carpenter, Attica, N.Y.    Casey Spradley, Cuba, N.M.    Jacob W. Handsaker, Radcliffe, Iowa    Adam M. Brown, Decatur, Ill.    Amanda Jo Carey, Morley, Mich.    Paul Bickford, Ridgeway, Wisc.    Jason Brand, Honolulu, Hawaii    Jeffry R. Gittins, Smithfield, Utah    Denis Ebodaghe (USDA NIFA)    Latrice Hill (USDA FSA)    R. Alan Hoskins, Evansville, Ind.    Tony Gudajtes, Minto, N.D.    Juli Obudzinski, Washington, D.C.    John Bailey, Ukiah, Calif.    Elicia L. Chaverest, Madison, Ala.    Shelby Swain Myers, Crawfordsville, Ind.    Liya Schwartzman, Sacramento, Calif.    Anusuya Rangarajan, Freeville, N.Y.    James Carl Hafer, Colstrip, Mont. is re-appointed to serve a one-year term.“USDA welcomes the voices of this new advisory team,” said Secretary Perdue. “The Committee’s recommendations have been, and will continue to be, thoughtful and representative of feedback from America’s farmers, ranchers, and stakeholders served by the Department. New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture, and we must ensure they are successful.”The Committee is made up of 20 members, including representatives for: state beginning farming programs; commercial lenders; private nonprofit organizations with active beginning farmer or rancher programs, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture; the Farm Service Agency; community colleges or other educational institutions with demonstrated experience in training beginning farmers and ranchers, and other entities or persons providing lending or technical assistance for qualified beginning farmers and ranchers. Congress authorized the Committee in 1992 and since its inception, the ACBFR has been an important part of the USDA strategy to engage, support and service new and beginning farmers. The Committee is funded by the Farm Service Agency. USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) provides oversight which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity.Bayer committed to shaping a more sustainable food systemBayer welcomed farmers, academics, leading global industry experts, journalists and other stakeholders for its 2019 Future of Farming Dialogue, to engage in a collaborative discussion on the future of agriculture.“Agriculture needs to feed a growing world without starving the planet”, said Liam Condon, member of the Bayer Board of Management and president of the Crop Science Division. “Breakthrough innovations are needed so that farmers can grow enough food for a growing world population while preserving natural resources.”Under the theme “Tomorrow belongs to all of us” the event gathers speakers and participants from around 40 countries for two days of robust panel discussions, talks and interviews on issues and opportunitites facing the industry. Topics discussed include the need to find a balance between production of food and preservation of our planet; consumer demands to have a healthy diet with no negative impact on the environment; and the importance of crop protection tools for sustainable agriculture.“As an agriculture leader, we have the opportunity and responsibility to address the global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and food security to help create a better tomorrow for our planet,” Condon said.During today’s event, Condon shared that Bayer is introducing three ambitious commitments to address some of the most pressing challenges our world is currently facing by 2030:1. Reduce the environmental impact of crop protection by 30 percent by developing new technologies that help farmers to scale down crop protection product volumes and enable a more precise application.2. Reduce field greenhouse gases emissions from the most emitting crops systems in the regions Bayer serves by 30 percent.3. Empower 100 million smallholder farmers in developing countries around the world by providing more access to sustainable agricultural solutions.“By combining agricultural innovation with a business model that has sustainability at its core, we can in line with our purpose contribute to a truly better life”, Condon summarized in his keynote presentation, pointing out that investment in tomorrow’s breakthroughs will require collaboration and engagement with scientists, innovators, regulators, farmers and consumers to build trust and gain societal acceptance. Condon explained that the long-term success of Crop Science lies not in selling more products, but in providing farmers with personalized solutions, enabling them to achieve better harvests more sustainably using less resources such as water, land, inputs and energy.Today’s progress, tomorrow’s possibilitiesLast year Bayer invested 2.3 billion euros in Crop Science R&D on a pro forma basis – more than any other competitor in the industry and this figure is expected to rise to over 25 billion euros accumulated over the next 10 years. Some 7,300 scientists are working in over 35 R&D sites and more than 175 breeding stations to deliver innovation. The division’s combined breeding, biotech, crop protection and environmental science pipelines have the potential to deliver up to 30 billion euros in peak sales, with 17 billion euros expected to come from recent and near-term launches alone.“Many of today’s innovations are the result of both continous improvement and disruptive innovation, as we use the power of human ingenuity to drive scientific advances in health and nutrition to improve our world”, said Bob Reiter, Head of Research and Development for the Crop Science Division.Last month, Bayer further demonstrated its research capabilities with the launch of an innovative fungicide, marketed under the iblon™ technology brand. Based on the active ingredient isoflucypram, the new wheat fungicide provides excellent disease control across cereal crops to deliver healthier crops and consistently higher yields compared to currently available market standards.Continued investments in data science and new technologiesData science and innovative digital tools also enable Bayer to sustainably improve the efficiency of its business operations while, at the same time, empowering farmers to make better decisions about how to grow crops. Combining Bayer’s leading germplasm libraries in corn, soybean, cotton and vegetables, next-generation traits, its strong discovery platform for small molecules and thousands of microbes with the largest seeds performance database, means that Bayer has beyond the current pipeline also the highest innovation potential in agriculture as well.Last year, Bayer signed more than 60 new collaborations or extensions to existing collaborations. Most recently, the company finalized an agreement with biopharmaceutical research company Arvinas to create a joint venture – newly named Oerth Bio (pronounced “Earth”) – and explore how molecular-degrading proteins found in plants and animals can protect crops against threatening pests and diseases. The outcomes of this partnership not only have significant implications for agriculture but could potentially provide significant benefits to human health through Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division. As of today, John Dombrosky is named the chief executive officer of Oerth Bio. He previously served as CEO of the AgTech Accelerator, which sourced, formed, and developed emerging big-vision agtech startups.“We are very proud of our leading R&D pipeline with 75 projects in seed & traits, crop protection and Digital Ag pipelines”, added Reiter. “With hundreds of new hybrids and varieties commercialized annually, we are best-positioned to discover, combine and tailor solutions for growers around the world.”Increasing productivity with digital farming toolsToday, Bayer provides farmers across millions of acres globally the leading platform in the digital ag space. “Through the combination of Bayer’s world-class product and technology portfolio, R&D pipeline, and the integration of robust data insights delivered through our FieldView™ platform, the future of agriculture has never been more exciting”, said Sam Eathington, Chief Science Officer at The Climate Corporation. FieldView is available in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina and 15 countries in Europe, including key markets such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Ukraine. In 2018, Climate also launched a digital solution for smallholder farmers called FarmRise™, providing key agronomic information to farmers through their mobile devices to help improve their operations.“Digital farming is enabling individual, personalized solutions, tailored to each farm’s needs: Eathington added. In 2018, FieldView was on more than 60 million paid acres globally. This year, the company is currently on track to achieve its target of 90 million paid acres. The platform enables farmers to easily collect and visualize field data, analyze and evaluate crop performance and manage their field variability through customized fertility and seeding plans, to optimize crop productivity. “We see a one-billion-acre opportunity where our digital technologies can be used to positively and sustainably improve the world’s food system”, said Eathington. “Our over-arching goal is to lead in innovation and pioneer the digital transformation to help implement new standards of sustainable agriculture.”To learn more about Bayer’s vision of modern agriculture visit here: More about Bayer’s sustainability initiatives online at:

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending September 29, 2019, there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 79 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 83 adequate, and 7 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 56 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dented was 95 percent, near 99 last year and 98 for the five-year average. Mature was 52 percent, well behind 82 last year and 72 average. Harvested was 8 percent, behind 16 last year, and near 11 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 75 percent, behind 91 last year and 84 average. Harvested was 6 percent, behind 25 last year and 17 average. Winter wheat planted was 71 percent, near 69 last year and 73 average. Emerged was 23 percent, behind 28 last year and 38 average. Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 14 fair, 70 good, and 13 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 98 percent, near 97 last year, and equal to average. Mature was 38 percent, well behind 68 last year and 66 average. Harvested was 2 percent, behind 15 last year and 11 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 57 good, and 7 excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 95 percent. Harvested was 71 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 14 fair, 62 good, and 20 excellent. IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORTIowa farmers experienced wet field conditions as rain continued to fall throughout the State, limiting farmers to 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 29, 2019 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field work activities included seeding cover crops; chopping silage; and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans and corn for grain. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus. Ninety percent of the corn crop has reached the dented stage or beyond, 17 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Thirty-six percent of the crop reached maturity, 18 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind average. Two percent of corn has been harvested for grain, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. Eighty-three percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, nearly 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Forty-nine percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Three percent of soybeans have been harvested, 8 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 89 percent, nearly 2 weeks behind average. Pasture condition rated 45 percent good to excellent. Feedlots remain muddy. Less Than Half of US Corn Crop Mature at End of SeptemberWith average freeze dates for much of the U.S. just weeks away, less than half of the corn crop and just over half of soybeans had reached maturity as of Sunday, Sept. 29, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.As of Sunday, corn dented was estimated at 88%, 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 98%. Forty-three percent of corn was estimated as mature, still far behind 84% at the same time last year and 30 percentage points behind the five-year average of 73%. The percentage of the crop that has reached maturity slipped further behind average than the previous week, when maturity was running 28 percentage points behind average.Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 4 percentage points to reach 11% as of Sunday, behind last year's 25% and 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 19%.The condition of corn still in fields was estimated at 57% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week, and still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013. The poor-to-very-poor category moved up 1 percentage point to 14%.Soybeans dropping leaves reached 55% as of Sunday, 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 76% -- a slight improvement from the previous week when the percent of soybeans dropping leaves was running 25 percentage points behind average. In its first soybean harvest report of the season, NASS estimated that 7% of the crop was harvested, 13 percentage points behind the five-year average of 20%.Soybean condition improved 1 percentage point from the previous week to reach 55% good to excellent as of Sunday. As with corn, that remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating in six years.Spring wheat harvest inched ahead another 3 percentage points to reach 90% as of Sunday, 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%.Winter wheat planting progress pulled slightly ahead of the average pace, reaching 39% as of Sunday compared to 38% for the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 11%, also near last year's 12% and the five-year average of 13%.Sorghum coloring was estimated at 95%, equal to the five-year average. Sorghum mature was estimated at 54%, behind the average of 63%. Sorghum harvested reached 30%, behind the five-year average of 35%. Barley harvested reached 96%, behind the average of 100%.Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 77%, ahead of the average of 67%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 16%, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 16%. Rice harvested was 68%, slightly behind the average of 71%. NEBRASKA SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 GRAIN STOCKS Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 233 million bushels, up 11 percent from 2018, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 79.0 million bushels are stored on farms, up 30 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 154 million bushels, are up 3 percent from last year. Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 64.1 million bushels, up 57 percent from last year. On-farm stocks of 10.5 million bushels are up 91 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks, at 53.6 million bushels, are up 51 percent from 2018. Wheat stored in all positions totaled 71.5 million bushels, down 1 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 8.60 million bushels are up 48 percent from 2018 but off-farm stocks of 62.9 million bushels are down 5 percent from last year. Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 2.92 million bushels, up 66 percent from 2018. On-farm stocks of 170,000 bushels are up 17 percent from a year ago, and off-farm holdings, at 2.75 million bushels, are up 70 percent from last year. On-farm oat stocks totaled 1.00 million bushels, up 67 percent from 2018. IOWA GRAIN STOCKS SUMMARYCorn stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2019, totaled 396 million bushels, down 17 percent from September 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 33 percent were stored on-farm. The June-August 2019 indicated disappearance totaled 598 million bushels, 4 percent below the 623 million bushels from the same period last year. Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2019, totaled 159 million bushels, 81 percent above the 87.9 million bushels on hand September 1, 2018. This is the highest September 1 total stocks on record, 856 thousand above the previous record of 158 million bushels set in 1986. Of the total stocks, 28 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for June-August 2019 is 142 million bushels, 8 percent above the 132 million bushels from the same quarter last year. Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on September 1, 2019, totaled 2.80 million bushels, up 33 percent from September 1, 2018. Corn Stocks Down 1 Percent from September 2018Soybean Stocks Up 108 PercentAll Wheat Stocks Down SlightlyOld crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 2.11 billion bushels, down 1 percent from September 1, 2018. Of the total stocks, 753 million bushels are stored on farms, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.36 billion bushels, are down 10 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2019 indicated disappearance is 3.09 billion bushels, compared with 3.16 billion bushels during the same period last year.Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 913 million bushels, up 108 percent from September 1, 2018. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 265 million bushels, up 162 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 648 million bushels, are up 92 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2019 totaled 870 million bushels, up 11 percent from the same period a year earlier.Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2018 soybean production is revised down 116 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is revised to 89.2 million acres, and harvested area is revised to 87.6 million acres. The 2018 yield, at 50.6 bushels per acre, is down 1.0 bushel from the previous estimate. A table with 2018 acreage, yield, and production estimates by States is included on page 17 of this report.All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 2.38 billion bushels, down slightly from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 776 million bushels, up 23 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.61 billion bushels, are down 8 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2019 indicated disappearance is 657 million bushels, up 11 percent from the same period a year earlier.2019 NEBRASKA SMALL GRAIN ACREAGE AND PRODUCTION Winter wheat production is estimated at 55.3 million bushels, up 12 percent from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The area harvested for grain totaled 970,000 acres, down 4 percent from 2018. Planted acreage totaled a record low 1.07 million, down 3 percent from a year earlier. The yield is a record high 57.0 bushels per acre, up 8 bushels from last year. Oat production is estimated at 1.13 million bushels, down 25 percent from 2018. Area harvested for grain, at 18,000 acres, is down 18 percent from last year. Planted acreage totaled 120,000, down 4 percent from a year earlier. Average yield is 63.0 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from 2018. 2019 IOWA SMALL GRAINS SUMMARYOat production is estimated at 4.00 million bushels, up 92 percent from last year, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Small Grains 2019 Summary. Oats planted, at 215,000 acres, is up 59 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain is 69,000 acres, more than double the number of harvested acres in 2018. Oat yield, at 58.0 bushels per acre, is down 5.0 bushels from last year. U.S. Small Grains 2019 SummaryAll wheat production totaled 1.96 billion bushels in 2019, up 4 percent from the revised 2018 total of 1.89 billion bushels. Area harvested for grain totaled 38.1 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous year. The United States yield was estimated at 51.6 bushels per acre, up 4.0 bushels from the previous year. The levels of production and changes from 2018 by type were: winter wheat, 1.30 billion bushels, up 10 percent; other spring wheat, 600 million bushels, down 4 percent; and Durum wheat, 57.7 million bushels, down 26 percent.Oat production was estimated at 54.2 million bushels, up 1 percent from 2018 for comparable States. Yield was estimated at 64.4 bushels per acre, down 0.9 bushel from the previous year for comparable States. Harvested area, at 842,000 acres, was 2 percent above last year for comparable States.Barley production was estimated at 171 million bushels, up 12 percent from the revised 2018 total of 154 million bushels. The average yield per acre, at 77.4 bushels, was down 0.1 bushel from the previous year. Producers seeded 2.72 million acres in 2019, up 7 percent from last year. Harvested area, at 2.21 million acres, was up 12 percent from 2018.---------------------------------------Stalk Quality Concerns Widespread in Areas of NebraskaTamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant PathologistExtremely stressful growing conditions occurred during much of 2019 in Nebraska, including wet conditions early that delayed planting, record rainfall during July and August, and continued wet conditions into September. Stressful growing conditions anytime during the season can lead to poor plant health and subsequent impacts on late season stalk quality. Corn plants in many areas are showing poor stalk quality that may indicate a need to scout fields to determine which may need to be harvested first or earlier than planned to avoid losses due to lodged corn.Stalk rot and lodging was evident as early as August in some York, Seward, Clay, and Nuckolls county cornfields, particularly in those along waterways that experienced flooding earlier in the season. In Boone, Nance, and Platte counties, weak stalks and stalk rot was confirmed to some extent in 90% of cornfields surveyed recently. This number indicates the presence of weak stalks/stalk rot, but does not indicate the severity within the field. This would need to be categorized by completing the push test.Flooding and wet conditions in the spring delayed planting for many producers across the state. Late planting generally reduces corn yield, but, it can also impact plant height, leaf number, ear height, stem diameter, and other plant characteristics. The effects of late planting potentially causing thinner stalks with ears set higher on plants puts them at greater risk for lodging. In addition, corn diseases, such as those in recent samples submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic from across Nebraska, will contribute to stalk problems. Many of the diseases developing in Nebraska cornfields are stalk rot diseases, caused by common fungal pathogens decaying the internal pith tissue inside the stalks.Stalk rot diseases occur every year in cornfields. Stalk rot disease can prematurely kill plants causing direct impacts to yield. Greater incidence and severity of stalk rot diseases can also have a serious impact at harvest as plants may lodge, falling to the ground out of reach of combine heads during harvest.The risk of stalk rot diseases is increased in some fields, especially when:    Leaf diseases, such as gray leaf spot, southern rust, Physoderma brown spot, and others, are severe. Loss of leaf area can lead to stalk cannibalization as the plant fills grain.    Plants were in standing water.    Stalks were wounded due to hail and/or insect damage, allowing for infection by some pathogens.    Susceptible hybrids were planted.    Soil fertility challenges – too much or (especially) too little nitrogen that may have leached away during  wet conditions.    Higher than recommended plant populations.    Fields have a history of stalk diseases, especially in continuous corn with carryover fungal inoculum from the previous season(s).BOSTELMAN TO SEEK REELECTIONToday, Senator Bruce Bostelman of Brainard announced he will seek reelection to the Nebraska Legislature in District 23. District 23 includes Butler and Saunders Counties as well as most of Colfax County. “Over the past three years, I have been fighting for you in the Legislature,” said Sen. Bostelman. “From Second Amendment issues to helping protect unborn life, I have been putting my conservative principles to work. It would be an honor to continue to serve District 23. In my second term, I will continue to fight for meaningful property tax relief and to bring consistent conservative leadership to the Nebraska Unicameral.”During his first term in office, Sen. Bostelman has built a conservative voting record:     Property Tax Relief: Successfully worked to increase the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by 23% for $275 million in relief annually, and voted to deliver meaningful property tax relief for ag producers.     Pro-Life: Championed efforts to end taxpayer funding of abortion in Nebraska, and voted to help pass three other pro-life bills, including the Compassion and Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act.    Second Amendment: Successfully led efforts to pass the only pro-Second Amendment bill in the Legislature in the last three years with LB 902, a bill to protect the private information of gun owners when it is held by a public agency.    Veterans: Worked with the American Legion and VFW to pass multiple pro-veteran and pro-military bills, including legislation that cut red tape and unified two state agencies under the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.     Death Penalty: Voted to stop a new attempt to repeal the death penalty this year, which would have effectively overturned the will of the people of Nebraska, who voted to keep the death penalty in 2016.     Human Trafficking: Supported measures to strengthen state laws against human trafficking, including LB 519, which eliminated the statute of limitations for sex trafficking of a minor and labor trafficking of a minor.The Bostelmans live on their family farm near Brainard. Sen. Bostelman has been active in serving his country and community. He enlisted in the United States Air Force after high school in 1980 and retired from the USAF in 2000. In 2002, Bostelman received his bachelor's degree in Business Management from Bellevue University. He has since partnered in research with the University of Nebraska in several areas of agriculture.Growing up in rural Nebraska, Bostelman has deep roots in agriculture and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska's LEAD XXVII class. He has been active in helping others in their small business ventures as an Advisory Board Member to the UNL Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, Board Member Nebraska Woody Florals Nonstock Cooperative and Heartland Nuts’N More as well as a member of the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association. Bostelman is a member of Rejda Post 273 of the American Legion and has served one year as the Post Adjutant. He also served as a youth coach for the Oak Creek 4H Trap team and youth baseball.Sen. Bostelman has the endorsement of Governor Pete Ricketts and Lt. Governor Mike Foley as well as former Governors Dave Heineman and Kay Orr. He also has the endorsement of many State Senators including Senator Joni Albrecht, Senator John Arch, Senator Tom Brewer, Senator Tom Briese, Senator Rob Clements, Senator Steve Erdman, Senator Curt Friesen, Senator Suzanne Geist, Senator Tim Gragert, Senator Mike Groene, Senator Steve Halloran, Senator Ben Hansen, Senator Mike Hilgers, Senator Dan Hughes, Senator Mark Kolterman, Senator Andrew La Grone, Senator Lou Ann Linehan, Senator John Lowe, Senator Mike Moser, Senator Dave Murman, Speaker Jim Scheer, Senator Julie Slama, and Senator John Stinner. Sen. Bostelman has received the sole endorsement of the Nebraska Republican Party. In the Legislature, Senator Bostelman serves as Vice Chairman on the Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. He is also a member of State of Nebraska Broadband Task Force that is working to connect schools, libraries, and communities. Bruce has been married to his wife, Jan, for 27 years. They are the proud parents of a son, daughter, and three grandchildren.Choose American Ethanol to Fuel the Cure for Breast CancerThroughout October, drivers can help Fuel the Cure for breast cancer by choosing American Ethanol at the pump. More than 30 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends – E15 to flex fuel E85 – sold between October 1­‑­October 31. All donations will support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha. Why support this important cause? Chemicals in gasoline are known to cause cancer. Higher blends of biofuels dilute the toxicity and helps reduce cancer-causing emissions. Last year’s campaign raised more than $6,000.”Cancer touches the lives of nearly everyone in some way,” said Ashley Christensen, Director of Development, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer. “We appreciate that Nebraska fuel retailers are joining forces to empower drivers to support cancer research at the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which provides life-saving care to people throughout our state. With donors like yourself, we are able to fund researchers working on new treatments each and every day.”For a complete list of participating fuel retailers, please visit Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows, and at the counter.E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline), also called Unleaded 88, is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.“The Fuel the Cure program has been a tremendous partnership between Nebraska’s ethanol industry and the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Ethanol blends already help clean up our air from toxic, cancer-causing chemicals emitted from burning traditional gasoline, but throughout the month, you can make an even bigger impact by using higher ethanol blends to support breast cancer research. Ethanol benefits our health, our environment, our engines and our wallets.”The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations. Preparing Grain Bins and Equipment for Harvest Amy Timmerman – NE Extension Educator With harvest approaching, it’s time to prepare grain bins and harvesting equipment to help ensure that grain going into storage will remain in good condition. Don't wait until the middle of harvest to discover that a bin foundation is severely cracked, or find even later that insects from grain that was left in the combine last fall have severely infested a bin of new grain. Proper bin and equipment preparation is a key to preserving stored grain quality.Cleaning and treating grain bins, as well as the surrounding area, can reduce pest and rodent problems in stored grain. The key to good grain storage is to put the highest quality grain into the bin, or bring it to the proper moisture condition as quickly as possible. Overall quality of stored grain always deteriorates, it is just a matter of how fast. Having a good marketing plan and selling as much as possible before the grain heats up next spring is the best way to have quality stored grain. It is never as good as the day it is put into the bin. Storing the grain longer than next spring requires much more vigilance in management.Harvesting EquipmentRemove all traces of old grain from combines, truck beds, grain carts, augers, and any other equipment used for harvesting, transporting, and handling grain. Even small amounts of moldy or insect-infested grain left in equipment can contaminate a bin of new grain.Adjust combines according to the manufacturer's specifications to minimize grain damage and to maximize removal of fines and other foreign material.Proper cleaning and bin preparation will help assure that grain going into storage will remain in good condition.Bins and Other System ComponentsCheck the bin site, and remove any items or debris that would interfere with safe, unobstructed movement around the bin. Remove any spilled grain and mow the site to reduce the chances of insect or rodent infestation. If necessary, re-grade the site so that water readily drains away from bin foundations.Inspect bins and foundations for structural problems. Uneven settlement of foundations can cause gaps between the foundation and bottom edge of the bin. This can result in grain spills and provide entry points for water, insects, and rodents. If perforated floors are used, a gap between the foundation and bin will allow air that would normally be forced through the grain to escape from the bin. Small gaps can usually be filled with a high quality caulking compound. If deterioration is extensive, the mastic seal may need to be replaced. Be sure all anchor bolts are tight and not damaged.Inspect the bin roof and sides, inside and out, for leaks, loose or sheared bolts, rust or other corrosion, etc. Check the roof vents and access hatch, and caulk any cracks at the roofline. Be sure the access ladder is complete and securely fastened to the bin. Repair or replace any deteriorated components.Wiring for fans and other electrical components should be inspected for corrosion and cracked, frayed, or broken insulation. Exposed wiring should be run through waterproof, dust-tight conduit. Avoid kinking the conduit, and make sure all connections are secure.Check fans, heaters, transitions, and ducts for corrosion and damage. Remove any accumulated dust and dirt that will reduce the operating efficiency. Be sure that all connections are tight.Ensure Bins Are CleanRemove any old grain with brooms and vacuum cleaners. Never put new grain on top of old. Also, clean bins not being used for storage this year to keep insects from migrating to other bins.Apply InsecticidesIf you think there is any chance you might hold grain in the bin into May or later, it would be prudent to apply residual insecticides to the empty bin after thoroughly cleaning it. You may also apply certain insecticides onto the grain as it is being augered into the bin. A surface application is often recommended to prevent Indian meal moths from infesting the top surface of the grain.If the bin has a raised drying floor and was known to be infested with grain storage insects last season, consider hiring a professional pest control operator to fumigate the empty bin prior to filling with new grain.NCGA BRINGS FARMER’S PERSPECTIVE TO WOMEN IN AGRIBUSINESSNational Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Deb Gangwish, who farms in Shelton, Nebraska, brought her experiences and insights as a farmer to a group of 850 industry professionals during the Women in Agribusiness Summit this morning. During a panel discussion, Gangwish, CommonGround Minnesota volunteer Katie Brenny and poultry producer Amy Syester shared their ideas, concerns and perspectives with the rest of the supply chain.Moderated by Successful Farming Agronomy and Technology Editor Megan Vollstedt, the farmers delved into topics such as the adoption of technology, sustainability and the importance of markets. The discussion emphasized the importance of working as a team to make change possible and farming profitable.Gangwish highlighted the need to focus on the many goals shared by all in the industry.“I respect every farmer every acre no matter their production method,” she said. “There aren’t enough of us to focus on our differences or work against one another.”The perspectives shared played a unique role in the Summit, which focuses largely on the issues facing the industry from a corporate point of view. Strong attendance and engaged participation from the audience demonstrated a strong desire to find new or improved ways to work with farmers for mutually beneficial outcomes.Midwest Dairy Names Molly Pelzer as Next CEOMidwest Dairy, the organization representing 7,000 dairy families across the Midwest, announced that the Corporate Board of Directors has chosen Molly Pelzer as the organization’s next chief executive officer. Pelzer, who currently serves as Midwest Dairy’s chief experience officer, succeeds outgoing CEO Lucas Lentsch and will assume the role October 1. “Given her leadership experience and longstanding commitment to dairy farmers and the dairy checkoff program, Molly embodies everything we want in Midwest Dairy’s next leader,” said Allen Merrill, chairman of Midwest Dairy’s board of directors. “We’re excited to see how she leads our organization as we fulfill our vision and mission to bring dairy to life and give consumers an excellent dairy experience.”Pelzer joined Midwest Dairy in 1984 and has held various executive leadership roles. In her most recent position as chief experience officer, Pelzer led the development of the organization’s strategic priorities. Prior to Midwest Dairy, she worked with the Midland Dairy Association, as well as Dairy Council, Inc., both former checkoff organizations that are now part of the Midwest Dairy region. A registered dietitian, Pelzer graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Pelzer is the organization’s third CEO in its 19 years of dairy history. Her proven experience in developing programs and resources comes at an exciting time as the organization continues its focus on consumer-centric goals to drive sales and enhance consumer trust for dairy.“I am proud and humbled to represent dairy farmers and Midwest Dairy staff as we continue to work with our partners to increase sales and trust in dairy and reinforce the importance of dairy foods and dairy farming to our communities” said Pelzer. “I am eager to continue to build strong relationships with dairy farmers, industry leaders and partners as we continue to maximize the investment dairy farmers make in their checkoff organization.”Pelzer succeeds Lucas Lentsch, who is leaving Midwest Dairy for a leadership role with Dairy Management, Inc.ICGA Announces 60-Day Harvest Weight Proclamation Starting Tomorrow, October 1During harvest to support the haul of this year’s crop, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed today a proclamation granting a temporary 60-day weight limit exemption for trucks operating on Iowa roads. The proclamation will be effective as of Tuesday, October 1. The 2019 Harvest Weight Proclamation specifically increases the weight allowable for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw, and stover, by 12.5 percent per axle (up to a maximum of 90,000 pounds) without the need for an oversize/overweight permit.The 2019 proclamation again applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the federal interstate system. Trucks cannot exceed the truck’s regular maximum by more than 12.5 percent per axle and must obey the posted limits on all roads and bridges.“On behalf of Iowa’s farmers, we extend a big thanks to Governor Reynolds for approval of this proclamation as it provides tremendous help to us as we work to efficiently transport this year’s crop,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Jim Greif, a farmer from Monticello. “Governor Reynolds made the decision to grant the petition as requested by Iowa Corn, it is not a right by law.”ICGA made the request to Governor Reynolds in August and worked with the Governor’s office to ensure the proclamation moved forward to benefit Iowa’s farmers in time for harvest. The proclamation directs the Iowa Department of Transportation to monitor the operation of the proclamation and assure the public’s safety by facilitating the movement of the trucks involved. Farmers who are transporting grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights.The exemption will be granted for 60 days beginning October 1, 2019.Crop Insurance Discounts Available for Farmers Who Plant Cover CropsIowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that farmers who plant cover crops this fall may be eligible for a $5 per acre reduction on their spring 2020 cash crop insurance premiums. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs. Farmers who received prevent plant payments in 2019 are still eligible for the discounted insurance premiums.  “All Iowans have a role to play in improving water quality in our state and downstream,” said Secretary Naig. “Cover crops are proven to reduce nutrient loads and improve soil health. As part of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, our goal is to have at least 14 million acres of cover crops planted in the state of Iowa. This program represents just one of many funding sources available to help farmers add conservation practices to their fields.”Planting rye or oat cover crops helps improve the health of the soil and prevents erosion, especially during high-intensity rainfalls. Cover crops are also proven to reduce nitrogen loads by 28-31 percent and phosphorous loads by 29 percent, which helps improve water quality.Program DetailsThis is a joint, three-year demonstration project administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). It is intended to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa. More than 1,200 farmers have applied for this program and planted 300,000 acres of cover crops in the past two years.Farmers can sign up for the cover crop – crop insurance premium reduction program at beginning on Oct. 1, 2019. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15, 2020.Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agency to maintain eligibility.Farmers are encouraged to visit their local USDA service center offices to learn more about other cost share funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.Crawford Livestock Market LLC to host World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier October 11Crawford Livestock Market, LLC, 100 W Beech St., will host the first of three regional qualifying events for the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC). The western regional qualifying event will be October 11. Opening ceremonies will commence at 10:00 a.m. (MDT) with the awards ceremony to follow. A total of 36 contestants will compete for a top 10 placing, granting them a spot in the semi-finals for the 2020 WLAC at Dickson Regional Livestock Center, LLC, in Dickson, Tenn.Each qualifying event is a live sale where each contestant auctions 8 drafts of livestock (traditionally cattle) to actual bidders. Contestants are judged on the clarity of their auction chant, professionalism and their ability to conduct the sale while catching bids. Contestants competing are Jared Anstine, Holden, Mo.; Zach Ballard, Mitchell, S.D.; Ted Baum, Elgin, Neb.; Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Ala.; Spencer Cline, Kingston, Ark.; Eric Drees, Caldwell, Idaho; Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alb.; Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa; Brandon Frey, Ft. Collins, Colo.; Collin Gibbs, Miles City, Mont.; Steven Goedert, Dillon, Mont.; Brandon Hamel, Damar, Kan.; Jacob Hills, Ridgeway, Wis.; Travis Holck, Ruthton, Minn.; Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Neb.; Jase Hubert, Olpe, Kan.; Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kan.; Josh Larson, Haxtun, Colo.; Kyle Layman, North Platte, Neb.; Curt Littau, Carter, S.D.; Jalen Mathis, Hutton, Texas; Gregg Matney, Lusk, Wyo.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla.; Terry Moe, Watford City, N.D; Drake Morrow, Opp, Ala.; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Larry Nisly, Quaker City, Ohio; Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wis.; Kirk Otte, Rushville, Neb.; Sixto Paiz, Portales, N.M.; Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.; Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla.; and Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.The public may attend the livestock auction and competition free of charge. It will also be streamed live on The remaining qualifying events are balanced regionally across the LMA Membership. The eastern regional will be held at Farmers Livestock Exchange, Inc. Winchester, Va. on November 18. The midwestern regional will be held at Stockmen’s Livestock, Inc. Yankton, S.D. on January 8, 2020. NBB, ASA Ask Commerce Secretary Ross for Meeting Before Final Decision on Argentine Biodiesel Duty RatesToday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and American Soybean Association (ASA) sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, requesting he meet with the groups before the U.S. Department of Commerce finalizes its review of countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina. The letter notes that Ross met with the Government of Argentina after issuing a preliminary decision in the review but has not yet met directly with U.S. biodiesel producers."Since Commerce issued the preliminary results in the review on July 9, our multiple requests to schedule a meeting with you have gone unanswered," the groups write. "We still hope that you can provide us the same courtesy that you provided to representatives of the government of Argentina and meet with us."Commerce finalized countervailing duty rates on Argentine biodiesel imports in January 2018, following a lengthy investigation that found U.S. biodiesel producers were harmed by Argentina's unfair trade practices. Then in November 2018, Commerce granted Argentina's unprecedented request for a "changed circumstances" review, based on the Argentine government's claims that it had changed its tax structure. In July 2019, Commerce issued a preliminary decision that would virtually eliminate countervailing duties for Argentina's biodiesel producers."It remains unclear why Commerce is rushing to issue final results when recent developments in Argentina suggest a likely change in leadership and tax policy," the letter continues. "It seems clear that Argentina's tax policies are likely to continue to change, as they have on numerous occasions in recent years. It is far more important for Commerce to make the right decision in this review, rather than a quick decision."Argentina is holding the first round of a presidential election on October 27. A runoff, if necessary, would occur on November 24.Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with NBB, added, "The administration's rush to provide a boost to Argentina's farmers and biodiesel producers is difficult to understand. This year, U.S. farmers are earning half what they did five years ago because of trade disputes. And nine U.S. biodiesel producers have been forced to cut production, close facilities, and lay off workers because of the administration's favors to the oil industry. Opening the door to a resumption of unfairly priced biodiesel imports will only do more harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry and U.S. farmers."NIHC & Farm Bureau Submit Comment to EPALast week, the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation, in submitting a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding adding hemp to the labeling of currently registered pesticide products. EPA requested comments regarding the ten applications that it received seeking to add hemp to the labels of products registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). We thank EPA for providing an opportunity to submit comments on this important first set of applications following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.The letter calls for EPA to approve these and additional applications in order to expand the range of approved pesticides and provide our members with lawful options for pest control. It goes on to state that "in order for hemp to reach its full potential, it is essential that EPA take a leadership role in consistent review of applications for use on hemp, to facilitate a consistent and equal playing field to the degree possible across state jurisdictions."The NIHC and Farm Bureau joint letter urges the EPA to promptly approve these ten applications to provide for use during the 2020 growing season and beyond.

NEBRASKA HOG INVENTORY UP 9 PERCENT Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2019, was 3.75 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 9 percent from September 1, 2018, and up 1 percent from June 1, 2019. Breeding hog inventory, at 450,000 head, was up 5 percent from September 1, 2018, but down 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.30 million head, was up 9 percent from last year, and up 2 percent from last quarter. The June - August 2019 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.21 million head, was up 6 percent from 2018. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 190,000 head, up 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.65 for the June - August period, compared to 11.30 last year. Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 205,000 sows during the September - November 2019 quarter, up 8 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2019 - February 2020 are 200,000 sows, up 8 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Iowa Hogs & Pigs ReportOn September 1, 2019, there were 24.9 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. This is the highest inventory on record, up 6 percent from the previous year. The June-August 2019 quarterly pig crop was 6.13 million head, up 3 percent from the previous quarter but 6 percent below last year. A total of 540,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.35 for the June-August quarter, down 0.10 head from last quarter. As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 530,000 sows and gilts in the September-November quarter and 520,000 head during the December 2019-February 2020 quarter. United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2019 was 77.7 million head. This was up 3 percent from September 1, 2018, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2019. This is the highest September 1 inventory of all hogs and pigs since the estimates began in 1988.  Breeding inventory, at 6.43 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.Market hog inventory, at 71.2 million head, was up 4 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter. This is the highest September 1 market hog inventory since the estimates began in 1988.By State                (1,000 hd  -  % Sept 1 '18)Iowa .................:        24,900     106  North Carolina ..:         9,500     102  Minnesota ........:          9,000     105  Illinois ..............:         5,300       97  Indiana .............:         4,300      102  Nebraska ..........:         3,750      109  Missouri ...........:         3,600       96  Kansas ..............:         2,080     102  South Dakota ....:         2,000     116  The June-August 2019 pig crop, at 35.3 million head, was up 3 percent from 2018. This is the largest June-August pig crop since estimates began in 1970. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.18 million head, down 1 percent from 2018. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.11 for the June-August period, compared to 10.72 last year. United States hog producers intend to have 3.16 million sows farrow during the September-November 2019 quarter, down 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2018, but up 2 percent from 2017. Intended farrowings for December 2019-February 2020, at 3.11 million sows, are down slightly from 2019, but up 2 percent from 2018. The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from the previous year. Nebraska Corn thanks Hastings farmer Lynn Chrisp for his national service to the industryThe Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association extend their appreciation to Lynn Chrisp for serving as the president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Chrisp, a corn farmer from Hastings, spent the last year in the leadership role, which concludes Sept. 30.“It’s always great to see a farmer from Nebraska at the helm of a national organization,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “Lynn not only served our state’s farmers well during his year as president, but he also was a powerful advocate for all American corn growers.”Throughout his term, Chrisp dealt with many difficult issues including trade tariffs, challenges with the Renewable Fuel Standard, small refinery waivers and misleading corn syrup advertisements from Anheuser-Busch. He traveled through corn country, Washington, D.C. and around the world advocating for American corn farmers.“From leading us through the Super Bowl response to visiting the White House on two different occasions, Lynn had the reins during one of the most interesting years in my time at NCGA,” said Jon Doggett, CEO of NCGA. “We’re grateful for his leadership and thankful for the difference he made for corn farmers through it all. Congratulations, on a job well done.”“While serving in leadership roles often go without recognition, Lynn deserves so much more,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Serving as the NCGA president meant Lynn was often away from his family, friends and from the farm, but he served to improve the corn industry for all farmers. We need more farmers like Lynn willing to engage in key leadership roles. Hats off to Lynn for a job well-done!”On Oct. 1, Chrisp will advance to NCGA’s chairman position. Kevin Ross, farmer from Underwood, Iowa, will replace Chrisp as president at that time.State Corn Grower Leaders to Trump: Uphold Commitment to Farmers and RFSState leaders of corn grower organizations in 23 states today sent a letter to President Trump, calling on him to follow the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. The letter to the President comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s most recent approval of 31 new RFS waivers to big oil companies. The 85 total waivers approved under the Trump Administration amount to 4.04 billion gallons, resulting in reduced corn demand due to lower ethanol blending and consumption and a rising number of ethanol producers slowing or idling production.The state corn grower leaders urge the President to stop the harm caused by waivers and restore integrity to the RFS by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule.Full text of the letter is below.President Donald J. TrumpThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NWWashington, DC 20500Dear President Trump,We are writing on behalf of the more than 300,000 corn farmers across the country who are being negatively impacted by a perfect storm of challenges in rural America. The 31 new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies, recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and bringing total waivers issued under your Administration to 85, could not have come at a worse time for agriculture.Ethanol plants in several states, including Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota and Mississippi have closed or idled. These closures have cost 2,700 rural jobs and impacted demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn. Corn farmers are beginning harvest and continuing to lose markets to deliver their corn. Frustration in the countryside is growing.Corn farmers are not asking for a special deal. We are simply asking, as we have been for the past two years, that your EPA uphold the law.To effectively stop the harm caused by RFS waivers, EPA needs to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule. Accounting for waivers in the annual RFS volume process restores integrity to the RFS. It also allows your Administration to continue granting waivers, as allowed by the law, while keeping the RFS whole.While adding gallons and improving market access for higher blends of ethanol are all policies farmers appreciate and support, future waivers will continue to minimize the RFS, unless your Administration acts to account for waivers beginning this coming year first.We were pleased to see press reports indicating that, following a meeting with farm-state lawmakers, an agreement had been reached to address the harm caused by waivers. With more than 4 billion gallons waived out of the RFS, we appreciate you listening to our elected representatives about what is needed to restore meaning to the RFS. Farmers across the country are anxiously awaiting the release of more details about this agreement. Ethanol plants will continue to close if you don’t act soon, creating a rippling effect throughout the rural economy.Corn farmers are appreciative of your past support for agriculture and ethanol. We especially appreciate your efforts to remove the barrier to year-round sales of E15, but EPA’s current use of waivers undermines growth potential for higher blends of ethanol, reduces demand, lowers the value of our crop, and puts the outlook for the rural economy in jeopardy.Mr. President, we firmly ask that you uphold your commitment to America’s farmers and the RFS.Sincerely,Dan Nerud, President, Nebraska Corn Growers AssociationJim Greif, President, Iowa Corn Growers AssociationSteve Rome, President, Kansas Corn Growers AssociationDoug Noem, President, South Dakota Corn Growers AssociationBrian Thalmann, President, Minnesota Corn Growers AssociationJeremy Wilson, President, Alabama Soybean and Corn AssociationDave Eckhardt, President, Colorado Corn Growers AssociationRodney Harrell, President, Georgia Corn Growers AssociationTed Mottaz, President, Illinois Corn Growers AssociationSarah Delbecq, President, Indiana Corn Growers AssociationMark Roberts, President, Kentucky Corn Growers AssociationJason Condrey, President, Louisiana Cotton and Grain AssociationLenny Evan Miles, Jr., President, Maryland Grain Producers AssociationMatt Frostic, President, Michigan Corn Growers AssociationMike Pannell, President, Mississippi Corn Growers AssociationMark Scott, President, Missouri Corn Growers AssociationJason Swede, President, New York Corn and Soybean Growers AssociationAlex Jordan, President, Corn Growers Association of North CarolinaRandy Melvin, President, North Dakota Corn Growers AssociationJon Miller, President, Ohio Corn and WheatElizabeth Hinkel, President, Pennsylvania Corn Growers AssociationWesley Spurlock, President, Texas Corn Producers AssociationDoug Rebout, President, Wisconsin Corn Growers AssociationELD Mandate UpdateNE Cattlemen NewsletterPreviously, livestock haulers were exempt from ELDs through September 30, 2019 (our ELD delay “policy rider” is contained within the government funding bill). Congress has now officially passed a short term spending bill to keep the government open until November 21, 2019. As such, the ELD delay for livestock haulers now runs until November 21, 2019. This delay will buy some needed time as we continue to work on our ultimate Hours of Service fix. The plan going forward is to keep the pressure on Congress to continue delaying the ELD mandate until HOS finally works for hauling livestock.HOUSE BILL INTRODUCED FOR ADDITIONAL AG INSPECTORSOn Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Vincente Gonsalez (D-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) introduced the Protecting America's Food & Agricultural Act (H.R. 4482), which would authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire more agriculture inspectors in order to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever in the U.S. The bill is a companion to Senate legislation introduced in July by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Western Iowa Energy’s Brad Wilson elected to lead Iowa Biodiesel Board Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy, has been elected by his peers to serve as the new chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. The board of directors elected Wilson during the Iowa Biodiesel Board and National Biodiesel Board Regional Annual Meeting, September 18 – 19 in Des Moines.“I look forward to playing an active role in leading the Iowa Biodiesel Board for many reasons, but the most important is the organization’s focus on bringing additional value up and down the entire supply chain, from the farmers and feedstock suppliers through the end user,” he said. “Iowa is not only the top biodiesel producing state, but a strong leader in driving critical federal policy like the Renewable Fuel Standard and biodiesel tax credit,” Wilson said. “I look forward to stepping up to the challenge this position brings.”  Wilson, who previously served as IBB’s vice chair, replaces Tom Brooks, general manager of biodiesel producer Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa. He stepped down after serving as chair for three years. The full slate of officers for the organization is now as follows:    Chair: Brad Wilson, Western Iowa Energy     Vice Chair: Doug Lenhart, REG    Secretary: Reed Herzig, Bayer     Treasurer: Courtney Lawrenson, AGP Wilson became president and general manager of WIE in 2016. The multi-feedstock plant recently grew its capacity from 30 to 45 million gallons per year. It employs about 30 people, many with young families in Wall Lake, Iowa, a town of about 800 residents.Iowa's First Biodiesel Plant ShutteredThe unknown future of the biodiesel tax credit and the endless granting of small refinery waivers has forced one Iowa biodiesel plant to close. W2 Fuel announced earlier this week that it would be shuttering two of its biodiesel plants in Crawfordsville, Iowa and in Adrian, Michigan.Nearly 50 employees have lost their jobs and demand for millions of bushels of soybeans has been destroyed."This is one more example of how the federal policies have an impact on real peoples' lives," said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association.At full capacity, the Crawfordsville plant produced nearly 10 million gallons of biodiesel. The Adrian plant produced about 15 million gallons per year. That's now a lost market for roughly 16.67 million bushels of soybeans."And there's no end in sight until these issues are resolved," Kimberley said.W2 Fuel CEO Roy Strom testified before the EPA in March, warning the agency and the Trump administration of the harm caused by granting small refinery exemptions."To succeed, the biodiesel industry needs signals that allow us to forecast market demand. While the RVO (renewable volume obligation) should be the forecast, the current practice of granting retroactive small refinery exemptions undermines that signal," he said on the record.Now, almost six months after his testimony, Strom is directing cleanup crews before turning the lights off for good."I think if the biodiesel tax credit came back, I would need to see it include 2020 to make a go of it again," Strom said.The ultimate fix would be a reallocation of lost gallons as a result of the small refinery exemptions and an extension of the federal $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit to producers which blend biodiesel with petroleum.Only the White House and the EPA can change the demand at this point. And it's up to Congress to pass the biodiesel tax credit extension."When the tax credit is up in the air, you're just gambling. Do I want to bet on the tax credit or not? It makes it very difficult to run a business," Strom said.The biodiesel industry is now running 21 months without the biodiesel tax credit. It's clearly hurting the industry, said Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy and the newly-elected chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.Iowa Participates in USDA’s Multi-State Foreign Animal Disease Functional ExercisesThe Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship participated in a four-day simulation led by USDA APHIS to test current foreign animal disease response plans. The Department was joined by USDA representatives, state organizations and industry leaders to walk through plans that would be put into action in the event of a real foreign animal disease outbreak.This four-day workshop focused on an African Swine Fever outbreak, which affects feral, production and pet pigs. The top 14 swine producing states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas) participated in a series of exercises and drills specific to African Swine Fever.“An African Swine Fever outbreak does not represent a human health or food safety threat but it could be devastating to Iowa’s farmers and economy,” said Secretary Mike Naig. “Our first goal is to prevent a foreign animal disease from entering the U.S. and this workshop is one of many steps the Department has taken to prepare. Over the last four days, we’ve worked with USDA, state agencies, legislators, pork industry representatives and 14 other states to test our plans. I want to thank everyone who participated in the exercise. I am pleased with the outcome, we’ve discovered what works well and identified a few scenarios we still need to talk through so we can respond quickly if a real outbreak occurs.”Each day of the exercise focused on different tactics deployed during an outbreak — detection, containment, eradication and cleaning and disinfection. This allowed the USDA, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, state agencies, industry representatives and producers to put response plans into action to make sure they could be executed quickly and effectively.African Swine Fever is a highly infectious disease that causes high mortality rates in pig populations. Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine available for pigs. The virus has been detected in countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. The disease has not been found in North America at this time.The disease is not a threat to human health and is not a food safety issue. The pork industry provides over 140,000 jobs and contributes $36.7 billion to Iowa’s economy.To learn more about African Swine Fever visit Agriscience Sponsors SDSU Precision Ag Facility ExpansionSouth Dakota State University is the first land-grant university to offer a precision agriculture major, a precision agriculture minor and an engineering for precision agriculture minor, as part of their curriculum. Corteva Agriscience is donating $600,000 to help expand facilities for student learning and engagement with precision ag tools.“The launch of a precision ag-focused major is a big opportunity for the future of agriculture and can help make a difference in the lives of farmers everywhere,” said Jamie Williamson, Corteva Agriscience Area Leader – Northern Plains. “Precision agriculture is just one in a long list of innovations that help us find the solutions needed to solve the problems of today and anticipate tomorrow’s challenges. Corteva Agriscience is focused on providing farmers with complete solutions, and digital agriculture is a key component to meet the needs of farmers.”Corteva will receive the naming rights to the Student Atrium of the new Raven Precision Agricultural Building. The hallway will have two naming plates, one at each end, a Corteva logo, as well as a Corteva branded digital display with events and calendars for students.The Raven Precision Agricultural Building is funded by internal university funds, private support, state appropriations and an approved bond. The effort is part of a $46.1 million precision ag facility expansion designed to support the educational needs of agriculture-related majors.“This facility will help us continue to create the high-quality workforce that will enable South Dakota State University and Corteva Agriscience to continue leading with a tradition of excellence in agriculture, food and environmental sciences,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean – College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.“We understand there are increasing needs of precision ag education,” Williamson said. “As a champion of responsible agriculture and an industry-leader in digital technology, we look forward to what these capable students and this historic university can accomplish going forward.”USDA Seeking Comments on Conservation Reserve Program Environmental AssessmentThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the availability of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The 2018 Farm Bill made changes to CRP, and the assessment evaluates those changes as they relate to the National Environmental Policy Act. The assessment only covers programmatic changes that have not been evaluated previously.The environmental assessment is available to the public for review, and FSA is requesting comments on the proposed alternatives and their potential impacts on the human environment. FSA will incorporate the feedback into the final assessment, as appropriate, prior to a decision.The assessment can be accessed at: FSA will consider comments received by October 27, 2019 . Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent possible.Comments may be submitted:-    By mail at Conservation Reserve Program PEA Comments, c/o Cardno-GS, 2496 Old Ivy Road, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA, 22903 -    Electronically at FPAC.Comments@usda.govMcDonalds Testing Beyond Meat in CanadaMcDonald's Corp. is getting on the plant-based bandwagon.The world's biggest fast-food company by revenue said Thursday it is testing Beyond Meat Inc. patties at restaurants in Canada for 12 weeks. Dubbed the "P.L.T." for plant, lettuce and tomato, the sandwich will be on sale at 28 restaurants in southwestern Ontario starting Monday.Many of McDonald's rivals have already introduced meat substitutes made by Beyond Meat or rival Impossible Foods Inc. Sales of plant-based burgers and other meats from those companies have surged this year.A few months ago, McDonald's executives said they were watching whether the trend would last and those companies could maintain supply before deciding to add meatless products to the chain's menu.The small 12-week test in Canada will allow McDonald's to better understand customer demand and the impact on restaurant operations, said Ann Wahlgren, McDonald's vice president of global menu strategy. Beyond Meat honed a patty recipe specifically for the chain, McDonald's said.Tim Hortons, the coffee-and-doughnut chain owned by Restaurant Brands Inc., introduced Beyond Meat sausage breakfast patties and burgers in Canada this summer. The chain cut back the plant-based burger offering earlier this month, saying demand was better for real beef.McDonald's has served vegetarian offerings for some time in other markets, including the McAloo Tikki, made of potatoes and peas, in India. It tested a vegetarian burger made by Nestle SA earlier this year in Germany.In Canada, the P.L.T. will be priced at 6.49 Canadian dollars (US$4.90), McDonald's said. That compares with a retail price at Tim Hortons of C$5.69 (US$4.36).

U.S. Drought Monitor celebrates its 20th yearCory Matteson, National Drought Mitigation Center at the School of Natural ResourcesIn the late 1990s, National Drought Mitigation Center founding director Don Wilhite assigned Mark Svoboda to find every drought-related index, indicator and tool that existed, and request access to the data that was used to create them. Unfortunately, Google didn't debut until after he began his search.“There wasn’t a whole lot out there, and I remember the response to my request for operational data was getting a hard copy map in the mail of the Palmer Drought Severity Index from the National Climatic Data Center,” Svoboda said. “That wasn’t even delivered digitally at the time.”With scarcity of information in mind, Svoboda presented on drought mapping at the 1998 American Meteorological Society annual meeting. Another presenter at the session, Douglas Le Comte of the Climate Prediction Center, was interested in combining various drought indices into one map. The two talked after the meeting about joining forces.“That’s where the idea was born to make a higher resolution map made from combining several indicators together that shows where drought is and how severe it is,” said Svoboda, who is now the NDMC director.Their collaboration spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Every week since the Drought Monitor was unveiled at a White House press conference on Aug. 11, 1999, the NDMC, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up to release an update of the USDM.An extensive network from an array of agencies has contributed data and on-the-ground observations to produce more than 1,000 maps, and the USDM has grown to include all U.S. states and territories, including the additions of the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2019. It has triggered billions of dollars in federal aid and low interest loans. Federal, state, tribal, local and basin-level decision makers use it to detect emerging droughts.And it all started as a map made with CorelDRAW 8.“I think I have a curled-up map that actually shows one of the original drafts of the Drought Monitor,” Le Comte, now retired from the CPC, recently said from his Arlington, Virginia, home. A few minutes later, he found the map.Dated July 13, 1999, the prototype features some classifications familiar to those who have used the USDM over its 20-year existence. Yellow blobs indicating abnormally dry areas covered much of the Southwest and Northeast. Encircled in red were portions of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic, including all of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. These were the only two colors on the draft, though, with red being an all-encompassing indicator of drought. (Each level of drought now has its own designated color.) Arrows specified the class and types of drought in those locales, with one pointed directly at our nation’s capital. That drought, the USDM’s early authors believe, helped provide the project with a big green light.“Serendipity is the word,” Le Comte said.Not long after creating that mid-July map, a secretarial briefing regarding the USDM was held at the White House. The USDM’s proponents told officials that it could help heighten awareness of drought as an environmental hazard, provide the public and decision-makers vital information about the creeping disaster and decrease response lags to drought, like the rare one building in the Northeast in the summer of ‘99.“The Palmer wasn’t showing that drought evolving nearly fast enough,” said Svoboda, who was a USDM author for 17 years. “Our new prototype showed potential to pick up the signal earlier given we weren’t solely relying on any one drought indicator in particular. So they informed us that this new prototype drought indicator was going to go operational this summer. After production of the first operational map in early August, the very next week, the experimental label was off the map. So I think that might be the shortest experimental product in government history. That drought is really what made it all happen, in a way. So we quickly ramped up from two authors to six authors in the span of just a few months.”The first six USDM authors were Svoboda and Michael Hayes from the NDMC, Le Comte and Rich Tinker from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), and Brad Rippey and David Miskus, who was on assignment from the CPC at the USDA, where he joined Rippey. Nearly 30 authors have taken two-week shifts creating the map over its 20-year history. Since late 2000, once the map is released each Thursday at, the author’s name has been included alongside it. Tinker (135 shifts), Miskus (122) and Rippey (96) have authored the most so far.The map is now created with GIS software, and authors consider data from more than 50 sources, including precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration, the Palmer Drought Severity Index, the Standardized Precipitation Index, soil moisture indicators, hydrologic data, snowpack data, satellite-based assessments of vegetation health, land-data assimilation models and many more. Some of those sources have been vital to the map’s creation since its early stages, when the final drought report was essentially hand-drawn onto the maps utilizing late-’90s graphic design software.“Maps all over my desk,” Svoboda recalled. “Maps on the floor. And you’re trying to piece them together in your head. That’s hard to do for 50 states in just over two days. Once you get into GIS, everything’s digital. You can overlay those together and make a much quicker assessment of the situation. You really start to see the patterns and determine where they agree or disagree. And the subject matter expertise is vitally important when those areas diverge to determine which indicators are going to be the best ones telling the story.”Le Comte said he realized early on that the map was going to be a vital tool when he saw versions of it broadcast on the Weather Channel and reprinted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and elsewhere.“It is really something I enjoyed doing,” Le Comte said. “I felt like a little bit of a pioneer doing this, because it was a feeling that this is something important, and that probably would be widely used if done correctly.”Rippey saw the first sign that the weekly publication could be a vital aid trigger in late 2002, when then-USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins invited him to his office in the midst of a drought in the High Plains.“They said we’ve got this drought going on, and we’ve got some nonfat dry milk to give away to these drought-ravaged producers,” Rippey recalled. Rather than base the program eligibility on state-level pasture condition reports, as had happened previously, Collins authorized the USDM to trigger aid for livestock producers with the 2003 Surplus Non-fat Dry Milk Sales for Feed Program.“And that was the first time that anybody in a position to make high-level decisions had come to me as an author and asked if we should use the Drought Monitor (as a trigger), and I said yes,” Rippey said.In the summer of 2006, with nearly half of the U.S. experiencing drought, attention once again turned to the USDM’s drought designations as a trigger for aid in the form of $50 million in state block grants for livestock producers. The USDM has been written into the Farm Bill since 2008 as a trigger for drought relief under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, and after widespread drought in 2012, it became a trigger for fast-track Secretarial Disaster Designations. As of 2019, the USDM had been used to distribute approximately $7.2 billion in aid to livestock producers. The USDM helps producers receive aid faster, said Brian Fuchs, NDMC Monitoring Coordinator and USDM author since 2006.“Back in the early days when USDA would try to have these different aid programs, a lot of times it was tied to the Palmer Drought Severity Index, and that’s a monthly tool at that,” Fuchs said. “With the Drought Monitor being this consolidation of evidence, you’re getting that signal and the information is coming through more rapidly because of all the different tools that we’re using, and you’re getting the best of all the indicators and not relying on a single indicator.”Along with multiple datasets, USDM authors have come to rely on the team of local, state and regional experts on the Drought Monitor network listserv, where climatologists and evaluators provide updates from their locations and also respond to drafts of the map as publication dates near. They often also share news stories about experiences of drought, like a village in Alaska that recently ran out of stored water as the state grappled with persistent drought throughout 2019.“I think if the Alaska drought that is going on now had happened 20 years ago, we might have missed it,” Rippey said. “There's no drought that's going to happen anymore without somebody knowing about it. And that’s a good thing.”Svoboda said that as computing evolves and allows for further combination of drought indicators using deep learning, that will add to the Drought Monitor process, but not override it.“I think we have a process called the Drought Monitor,” he said. “It also involves ownership of people on the ground, those 420 or so evaluators that are now part of the Drought Monitor network. Once they felt that they have a voice, and they have ownership, then we had the buy-in and credibility on the ground, and no single indicator or model integrated validation on the ground better than the USDM.”Added Fuchs: “It’s this process of data and people coming together, and the end result is the map.”Producers to Receive Automatic Prevented Planting ‘Top-Up’ PaymentsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that producers currently participating in federal crop insurance who had in 2019 a payable prevented planting indemnity related to flooding, excess moisture or causes other than drought will automatically receive a “top-up” payment. Producers will receive the payment from their Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) starting in mid-October.Producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent. They do not need to sign up to receive payments; all producers with a 2019 prevented planting indemnity will receive the top-up.“It was a challenging planting season for many of our farmers,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We are doing everything we can to ensure producers receive the help they need.“USDA is working with AIPs so that producers can receive additional payments as soon as possible,” Northey added, “and we appreciate the AIPs for helping us help America’s farmers.”The crop insurance industry will deliver the payments as part of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. After the initial payment, additional payments will be made in the middle of each month as more prevented planting claims are processed.“Crop insurance is an important program for many producers to help them manage their production and price risks,” said Martin Barbre, Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). “We’re leveraging that system to efficiently and effectively deliver much needed support to our farmers.”RMA received commitments from all 14 AIPs to deliver the top-up payments:    ACE Property and Casualty (Rain and Hail) Insurance Company    American Agri-Business Insurance Company    American Agricultural Insurance Company    CGB Insurance Company    Church Mutual Insurance Company    Country Mutual Insurance Company    Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company    Great American Insurance Company    Hudson Insurance Company    NAU Country Insurance Company    Producers Agricultural Insurance Company    Rural Community Insurance Company    Stratford Insurance Company    XL Reinsurance America Inc.The prevented planting top-up payments are different from the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) payments. (For more information on WHIP+, visit Starting Mid-October, Nebraska Producers Will Receive Automatic ‘Top-Up’ Payments for Prevented Planting Due to FloodingU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that producers participating in federal crop insurance who had a payable prevented planting indemnity related to flooding in 2019 will automatically receive a “top-up” payment from their Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) starting mid-October:“With wet fields from the severe flooding, many of our farmers lost planting acreage this year. Because of our work to include Nebraska in the disaster relief bill, our state’s producers who are enrolled in crop insurance can access these ‘top-up’ payments through their insurance provider. These additional resources will be of assistance as families and businesses recover from a rough year.”More information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:The crop insurance industry will deliver the payments as part of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. After the initial payment, additional payments will be made in the middle of each month as more prevented planting claims are processed.Producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent.Chairman Peterson Statement on Delivery of Prevented Planting AssistanceHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota issued a statement Thursday in response to news out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the delivery of additional prevented planting assistance, as authorized by the Disaster Relief Act of 2019.“As weather continues to throw wrenches into farmers’ plans, both in Western Minnesota and across the country, I appreciate USDA and crop insurance providers moving forward in delivering the prevented planting plus-up that Congress provided,” said Peterson. “This will provide direct help to farmers without additional paperwork, and allow them to focus on the range of other challenges they face.”According to a corrected announcement from USDA, “producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent.”Iowa State University Enrollment Reflects Land-Grant MissionIowa State University's fall enrollment of 33,391 reflects the state's largest freshman class and more Iowa undergraduate students than any other university."We have one of the most beautiful campuses in the world located in the nation's best college town," said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. "At ISU we have a 95 percent post-graduation placement rate, which speaks to how we empower students to reach their full potential through exceptional teaching and research programs and a growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship."The largest freshman class in the state (5,597) is part of 28,294 undergraduates on campus. The number of first-year students from Iowa high schools is up slightly from last year, 3,380 compared to 3,362. Nearly 60 percent of undergraduate students -- 16,865 -- are from Iowa. With both undergraduate and graduate levels, there are 18,341 students from Iowa.A record 6,892 undergraduates earned degrees in 2019, surpassing an all-time high set the previous year. The four-year graduation rate is also a record, with the average time to degree for all students at 4.4 years. Laura Doering, associate vice president for enrollment management and student success, says record graduating classes are a factor in Iowa State's changing enrollment.Demographic shifts in the number of students going to college, fewer international students attending U.S. universities and more prospective students entering the workforce directly out of high school also have affected enrollment. Fall enrollment is down 1,601 or around 4.5 percent from 2018.Iowa State's freshman class set a record for average high school rank (77.68), average GPA (3.68) and percentage in the top 10 percent of their high school class (28.4 percent). The student body represents all 99 Iowa counties and all 50 U.S. states (plus Washington, D.C.; Guam; Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands and Mariana Islands), as well as 115 countries. It's also more diverse -- 15.3 percent of undergrads are multicultural students. There are fewer international students on campus this fall -- 3,189 compared to 3,671 in 2018.Doering says ISU students are actively engaged. In fact, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2020 College Rankings recently ranked Iowa State in the top 50 for student engagement. More than 41 percent of undergraduates participate in two or more high-impact experiences during their time on campus including 6,176 in learning communities, 440 in the first-year Honors program and 400 in undergraduate research, annually. An additional 1,800 students study abroad each year and 10,528 compete in intramural sports.Fall 2019 enrollment by college- Agriculture and Life Sciences 4,821- Business 4,820- Design 1,905- Engineering 8,778- Human Sciences 4,124- Liberal Arts & Sciences 7,876- Veterinary Medicine 599 professional, 149 graduate- Interdepartmental units and graduate undeclared 319"Our students have so many opportunities in the classroom as well as learning that happens outside of the classroom," Doering said. "They have an amazing experience here at Iowa State and then go on to have great success with the next steps in their lives."U.S. Pork Producers Seeking Expanded Export OpportunitiesThe U.S. pork industry ships more product to the 20 countries covered by free-trade agreements than we do the rest of the world combined. Therefore, expanding export opportunities through trade agreements remains a top priority for U.S. pork producers, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Director of International Affairs Maria Zieba said today at a Global Business Dialogue event in Washington, D.C.NPPC was very pleased this week when the U.S. and Japan signed a trade agreement, returning U.S. pork to a level playing field in one of its most important export markets. With a trade deal in place with Japan, NPPC is focusing on trade agreements with numerous other countries, Zieba said at the event, sponsored by NPPC and held at the National Press Club.One of NPPC's most pressing priorities is rapid congressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, securing long-term zero-duty access to two of its largest export markets, Zieba explained. Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. USMCA will strengthen the strong economic ties with our North American neighbors and ensure tariff-free trade with the two countries, Zieba explained.Unfortunately, the trade situation with China remains frustrating, Zieba said. The trade dispute with China has cost U.S. pork producers $8 per animal, or $1 billion on an annualized basis. "While recent Chinese media reports have suggested tariff relief for U.S. pork, we need to remove market access uncertainty and gain permanent, competitive access to China," she said.U.S. pork producers are seeking the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers in a variety of other export markets promising significant growth opportunities, said Zieba. For instance, a trade deal with India, the second-most populous nation in the world, would provide a tremendous opportunity for U.S. producers to provide safe, wholesome, and nutritious pork products to consumers in that country.NPPC is also working to expand other export markets as well, including Jamaica, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa and Brazil."Pork is one of our country's most competitive export products and we will continue to fight for the chance to meet the rising global demand for the world's most popular protein," Zieba concluded.NCBA Grants Itself $27 Million of Your Beef Checkoff FundsOrganization for Competative Markets press releaseLast week the Beef Checkoff Program budget for 2020 was released, outlining how cattle producers’ $40,900,000 in research and promotion funds will be spent in the coming year. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) named seven organizations as contractors that will be granted the beef checkoff funds. Once again, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) won the top award, of $27,383,347 beef checkoff dollars.More than half of NCBA’s annual budget is made up of checkoff dollars, and the trade and lobbying group uses those funds to build their influence to push pro-packer policies. NCBA has used its ill-gotten influence to end mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and to hinder Packers and Stockyards Act rules that would stop predatory market practices against cattle producers. NCBA does this while claiming to be the voice of U.S. cattle producers, while only 4% of U.S. cattle producers are actually NCBA members. Since the NCBA has been administering the lion’s share of the beef checkoff funds, the U.S. has lost nearly half of its cattle producers, beef consumption has declined by 30%, and the four largest meatpacking corporations control 82% of the market.How does NCBA come out every year as the number one contractor receiving the bulk of the annual budget? They maintain this top spot through a rigged system where one of their own divisions selects half of the members of the BPOC, which then chooses the beef checkoff contractors.Here is how the beef checkoff contracting process works:The federal Beef Promotion and Research Act, established in 1985, requires a “federation” be formed with membership consisting of representatives from the USDA-designated Qualified State Beef Councils (QSBC). QSBCs are the state-based organizations that are authorized by USDA to collect the mandatory $1.00 per head beef checkoff assessments from the cattle producers. The purpose of this federation of QSBCs is to give cattle producers from across the country a voice in how their mandatory checkoff dollars are being administered and spent at the national level. The Beef Promotion and Research Act grants the “federation” the authority to pick 10 members of the BPOC, while the CBB picks the other 10. The 20-member BPOC has the sole authority to choose which organizations receive beef checkoff funding. By having the power to select half of the members of the committee, the “federation” is a critical and powerful organization within the beef checkoff contracting process. Following the passage of the Beef Promotion and Research Act, USDA named the Beef Industry Council as the “federation” and everything worked as planned.Here’s where it went wrong: In 1996, in order to seize control of the beef checkoff funds, NCBA acquired the Beef Industry Council. NCBA then organized the “federation” as a division within its own organizational structure and not as a separate entity organized to be the voice of all U.S. cattle producers.What does that mean? NCBA’s Federation Division is operating with the authority to select 50% of the members of the BPOC. Since only BPOC-selected contractors can be considered to receive funding, this means NCBA controls who receives beef checkoff contracts and funds. And guess what? NCBA chooses NCBA every time to get the lion’s share of the beef checkoff funds. What a surprise.What adds fuel to the fire of this scandal is the fact that NCBA has set up a pay-to-play scheme for federation membership. The Beef Promotion and Research Act states the federation is to be made up of the SQBCs. NCBA’s “federation” is made up of SQBCs, but NCBA requires a SQBC to pay for each board seat on the federation, and they can buy as many seats as they want. It is a pure pay-to-play scheme: the more you want to play the more you pay. Who is the biggest buyer of these seats? NCBA state affiliates like the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), who in 2018 bought nine seats. In 2016, KLA paid over $2,000,000 for its nine seats. So much for giving cattle producers from across the country a say in how their checkoff dollars are being administered and spent at the national level. Where do the NCBA affiliates get their money to buy the seats? Well of course, from another scam. They keep fifty cents of every beef checkoff dollar they collect from the sale of cattle in their state, even though the law doesn’t allow for it. This scheme guarantees NCBA control of the CBB beef checkoff contracting process while funneling an additional $10,000,000 a year of beef checkoff funds into NCBA’s coffers.But it is time to stop the charade. Farm organizations, journalists and cattle producers need to stop referring to “The Federation of State Beef Councils” as if it is some independent group of cattle producers, as this article does. The federation is a division of NCBA. NCBA says so on their website. So call it for what it is: NCBA’s Federation.Here is what we should say: “Once again, NCBA is the big winner because the whole system is rigged from the state level all the way to the top. The fact is, NCBA’s Federation Division chose NCBA as the 2020 primary contractor for beef checkoff funding. Under the law, the CBB does not have the authority to pick any organization that the NCBA Federation doesn’t recommend. It is all rigged.”It is time to clean this mess up and restore the U.S. cattle producers’ voice within the beef checkoff program by stripping NCBA of the federation. The NCBA’s gravy train should be derailed.Response:  Smear CampaignsColin Woodall, CEO, National Cattlemen's Beef Association The activist-funded Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has again resorted to half-truths and smear tactics to pit beef producers against one another. It’s clear that their allies at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have taught the staff some new tricks to help tear the beef industry apart from the inside. It should come as no surprise that they’ve chosen a time when the industry is struggling with market-related challenges and producer unrest to fire their latest shot.OCM/HSUS would like you to think our industry is weak, when in fact, beef demand is strong and has been climbing for many years both in the United States and overseas. Much of that strength is a result of programs funded by the Beef Checkoff. The folks at HSUS know and understand this, and because they oppose the consumption of animals, they have partnered with OCM to organize and fund this ongoing smear campaign.Discrediting the Beef Checkoff and the work being done by contracting organizations allows OCM, HSUS and their bedfellows at R-CALF to build their own membership ranks. These organizations also depend on members, and they’re loudest when conditions are at their worst. By accepting the help of activists (OCM has widely acknowledged their close ties with HSUS and it’s well known that R-CALF is working closely with attorneys at Public Justice, a group that works closely with PETA and organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund to attack and divide the beef industry) these groups are able to capitalize on the unrest in our industry and divide beef producers. Ultimately, twin campaigns by OCM/HSUS and R-CALF will tear the industry apart and cause irreparable harm unless producers speak up.That’s the point of my response. I’ve had enough and it’s time to set the record straight. Let’s begin with the OCM/HSUS claims about funding for NCBA’s Beef Checkoff authorization requests. About the only information that’s correct is the dollar figure. NCBA was awarded $27.3 million in contracts for work related to promotion, research, consumer information and industry information. NCBA was one of eight contractors who received funding for proposals brought forward for consideration.The groups which had proposals funded include:    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (five proposals for $27,383,347)    U.S. Meat Export Federation, a subcontractor to NCBA (one proposal for $8,279,846)    North American Meat Institute (four proposals for $1,953,345)    Cattlemen’s Beef Board (one proposal for $1,645,993)    American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (one proposal for $698,300)    Meat Import Council of America (one proposal for $498,786)    United States Cattlemen’s Association (one proposal for $359,126)    National Livestock Producers Association (one proposal for $99,757)It’s important to note that United States Cattlemen’s Association is a new contractor to the process and is an outstanding example of the fact that many industry organizations can bring forward proposals and receive funding for work that falls within the scope of the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. NCBA’s critics would like you to believe that the association has the ability, or even the desire, to control the Beef Checkoff and its funding mechanism.Contrary to the headline of the OCM/HSUS release, NCBA did not “grant” itself any funding. NCBA submitted authorization requests into the same competitive process to which each of the eight contractors were subjected. Submitted authorization requests were evaluated, scored and then reviewed by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC). The 20 members of the BPOC then made funding decisions based on the merits of those proposals. It should be noted that there are 14 votes required to pass a budget, so even though 10 members of the BPOC are cattlemen and cattlewomen appointed by the Federation of State Beef Councils, NCBA does not, and cannot, control the process or the funding decisions made by the BPOC.OCM/HSUS has gone out of its way to smear the Federation of State Beef Councils. The men and women who make up the Federation are volunteer cattle producers. They offer up their time freely because they believe it’s important to represent the industry, to build beef demand and combat lies about the products we produce. The more than 700 cattlemen and cattlewomen who serve on state beef council boards are working on your behalf. These volunteers are your voice and they help determine how investments in the checkoff are directed. These volunteers deserve a nod of thanks for their service and time spent away from their operations. They don’t deserve to be attacked by activists disguised as cattle producers.Now that we’ve discussed the funding process, and how it actually works, rather than the OCM/HSUS version, let’s turn to some of the other smears, lies and half-truths contained in the piece.NCBA is a membership organization. Yes, we lobby every day on the issues our members identify as priorities, to ensure their voices are heard in Washington, D.C., and we’re damn good at it. No, we won’t apologize for doing the job our members pay us to do. But on this point, let me be crystal clear: WE DO NOT USE CHECKOFF FUNDS FOR ANY POLICY OR LOBBYING WORK. First, using checkoff funds for lobbying and policy work is illegal. Secondly, our members believe in the work we’re doing on their behalf and they willingly fund that work with their membership dues. We’ve had some big wins to benefit our members this year and we’re proud of that work. We had two victories in September alone, including the announcement of a trade agreement with Japan that lowers tariffs on U.S. beef and a rollback of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulations that would have cost producers dearly. Our members feel that kind of work is worth the investment.Ultimately, this division in the industry will drive beef producers to a breaking point, serving no one but our adversaries. It’s discouraging that the animal rights activists have partnered with a small band of vocal producers to give them a foothold in the industry. If we stand silently and allow the attacks and smears to continue, the only winners will be the activists who pit cattlemen and cattlewomen against each other in the first place.Ag Deputy Secretary Censky To Keynote Global Ethanol Summit In Washington, D.C.The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed late Wednesday that Deputy Secretary Steve Censky will speak at the Global Ethanol Summit (GES) in Washington, D.C., scheduled for Oct. 14-15.The Summit, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), is planned to engage a broad array of global ethanol leaders about the benefits of expanding ethanol use. Censky’s comments will focus on delivering U.S. ethanol potential through collaboration and trade.“We are very pleased Deputy Secretary Censky has agreed to be with us during this important event,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO. “We are encouraged that ethanol means as much to the administration as it does to us and to American corn farmers dedicated to making our country and many others around the world environmentally safer for generations to come.”More than 300 ministerial-level officials and senior-level industry leaders, ethanol producers and refiners from more than 60 countries have been invited to attend.With informative general sessions, networking and dedicated business-to-business meetings, the GES will provide attendees direct access to thought leaders on the future of global ethanol use and the opportunity to build partnerships with industry leaders.First-day conference highlights include discussions about ethanol trade policy, global decarbonization of fuel and the environmental benefits of ethanol, air quality and human health implications of ethanol, opportunities for ethanol expansion in the bio-economy and industrial uses of the product.“We look forward to welcoming Deputy Secretary Censky to the event, which will feature presentations from the industry’s foremost experts, insightful discussions and unparalleled networking opportunities,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “U.S. ethanol isn’t just an important part of the economy in America’s rural communities, it is driving economic development and environmental benefits around the world. Bringing together so many leaders and decision-makers from so many places is an important part of our work in raising awareness about the benefits of U.S. ethanol, so we all can breathe easier with a high-octane, low-carbon, affordable fuel solution.”The second day of the meeting will focus on delivering on ethanol’s potential through collaboration, trade and global use. Sessions planned include discussions about octane economics, vehicle compatibility with ethanol and handling and logistics of ethanol use.“The Global Ethanol Summit will bring together some of the biggest players in the industry, and we are fortunate to have one of the U.S.’ most invaluable biofuel supporters, USDA Deputy Secretary Censky, be part of this conversation,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We look forward to a robust discussion on building the global market, as well as the opportunity to hear from industry experts on how critical fostering stable trade relationships will continue to be for future growth. We look forward to joining our partners and USDA Deputy Secretary Censky at this one-of-a-kind event in October.”The meeting will end by looking at future opportunities for ethanol, its expanded use potential and the outlook for developing and cultivating new markets around the world.The GES follows two previous regional ethanol summits – the Ethanol Summit of the Americas held in October 2017 and the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific held in May 2018. Additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program and other sponsors will support the expanded focus of the GES.The GES will also feature a U.S. sales component that builds on current ethanol trade. For the last 10 years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing U.S. agricultural export, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS).Following the Summit, the Council and its members will organize specialized tours of U.S. ethanol production facilities and terminals for international Summit attendees.Interested domestic ethanol industry leaders and other members of the ethanol value chain can register for the event at RFA Corrects EPA Misstatements About Ethanol Demand and SREs in House TestimonyIn a letter sent today to the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Renewable Fuels Association noted several misstatements in testimony offered recently to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and provided background information to help the Agency better understand the real impacts of small refinery exemptions (SREs). Today’s note follows a letter sent to EPA in August after the Agency asserted there was “zero evidence” that SREs are negatively impacting ethanol producers.“In light of our August letter and the further deterioration of ethanol market conditions that has subsequently occurred, we were disappointed to hear you repeat similar claims about the impact of SREs on ethanol producers during your testimony,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in the letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Several statements made during the hearing about ethanol supply and demand are inconsistent with government data and market intelligence. I write today to challenge several of your statements and provide additional information regarding the very real impact of SREs on the ethanol industry.”Specifically, RFA questioned the accuracy of EPA statements regarding recent trends in ethanol production and use. Specifically, Administrator Wheeler told the Committee that ethanol production and consumption is on the rise, when data from the Department of Energy and EPA itself indicate otherwise. “We encourage you and your staff to more carefully and more thoroughly analyze the actual marketplace implications of retroactive SREs,” Cooper concluded. “EPA statements suggesting there has been no negative economic impact from SREs are an insult to the thousands of biofuel industry workers and farmers who are experiencing very real pain today because of EPA decisions.”FARM Animal Care Program Announces Version 4.0 Changes for 2020The National Milk Producers Federation, with support from Dairy Management Inc., today announced updates to animal care standards under the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management, or FARM, Animal Care program after a rigorous 16-month stakeholder review.The fourth iteration of the FARM Animal Care Program’s standards supports closer farmer-veterinarian relationships, requires continuing education for all employees and adds a new standard for pain management when disbudding animals. As with previous versions of FARM Animal Care, a robust suite of materials that include templates, FAQs, continuing education videos and other resource tools will be made available to help producers meet the outlined standards. These resources are available to producers through their cooperative or processor and can be found on the FARM Resources web page. Hard copy resources are also available upon request.“FARM’s Animal Care Program 4.0 underscores the dairy community’s commitment to continually improving animal care and incorporating the latest animal-welfare research, demonstrating to consumers that dairy is a leader in the humane and ethical care of our animals,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We are committed to ensuring that farms are prepared to meet the updated standards and that the supply chain – from farm to fork -- has full transparency as well as high-quality dairy products.”FARM Animal Care is updated once every three years to ensure relevance to current industry best management practices and scientific research related to on-farm animal care. Farmers nationwide, dairy veterinarians and animal-welfare experts and dairy-industry leaders are all represented in drafting and approving new standards received 370 submissions that guided final decisions made on Version 4.0.Significant changes going into effect beginning Jan. 1 include:-    If tail docking is found to have continued to occur, immediate action must be taken to cease the practice.-    Standards that generate a Mandatory Corrective Action Plan -- ranging from veterinarian engagement (Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship and herd health plan review), calf care, non-ambulatory, euthanasia and fitness to transport management practices, and disbudding prior to 8 weeks of age -- will need to be addressed within nine months of the evaluation. For additional specifics around the standards updates, please visit this site.FARM staff will be attending and exhibiting at the World Dairy Expo from Oct. 1-5 at booth EH4508. FARM is also hosting a lunch at Expo on Thursday, Oct. 3rd at noon CT to more broadly discuss current initiatives within FARM. RSVP is required and can be completed by emailing the FARM Inbox at IGC Raises Grain Stockpile ForecastThe world will carry over more grain into next season than previously expected, the International Grains Council said on Thursday, a factor that could put pressure on food prices in the coming months.In a monthly report, the IGC revised up its forecast for global grain inventories at the end of the 2019-20 season by 3 million tons, to 601 million tons.The change stems from a tweak to the IGC's estimate of grain stores at the start of the season, rather than revisions to its production and consumption forecasts.The IGC cut its forecast for grain production in Australia by 3 million tons, to 31 million tons, as a result of hot and dry weather.The European Union's recently completed harvest was the largest in four years, the IGC said, producing 326.2 million tons of grain. President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. Beth Ford joins FFAR Board of DirectorsThe Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is thrilled to announce that Beth Ford, President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. is joining the Board of Directors.Ford leads one of the country’s largest food and agricultural cooperatives. Since joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, she has led record performance and growth at the company as Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes business, in addition to holding other executive positions at the Fortune 500 Company. Ford brings more than 20 years’ experience in technology and R&D in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. “Beth Ford brings corporate leadership and a deep understanding of research and development to the table, making her a perfect fit for FFAR’s Board of Directors,” noted FFAR Chairman of the Board and President of Mississippi State University Dr. Mark Keenum. “Ford’s experience and leadership will be much valued as we guide FFAR towards even greater success in generating actionable science to solve food and agriculture’s most pressing challenges.”Ford is changing the face of agricultural leadership. She is only one of 33 women leading Fortune 500 company and Land O’ Lakes’ first female CEO, a position to which she was promoted by an all-male board. FFAR similarly takes an audacious, collaborative approach to fill research gaps and seeks to energize the agricultural research field. The Foundation is excited to add Ford’s pioneering spirit to the FFAR Board of Directors.“We are honored to have one of our country’s most dynamic business leaders join our Board of Directors,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “Our Board has been instrumental in helping us become the innovative organization we are today. We look forward to working with Ford to continue achieving FFAR’s goals.”Rep. Kind Introduces the 'CURD Act' to Protects Quality of CheeseWisconsin Congressman Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Codifying Useful Regulatory Definitions, or CURD Act, which would create a formal definition of 'natural cheese to ensure consumers are fully informed when purchasing cheese.The La Crosse Democrat says the term natural cheese is historically used to identify cheeses made directly from milk and distinguish those products from process cheeses."Folks here in Wisconsin are proud of the high quality, international award-winning, delicious cheese made in the state," Kind said. "Ensuring Wisconsin cheese can continue to be labeled as 'natural cheese' will give customers the information they need to continue buying the quality Wisconsin cheese their families have used for generations."

Developing rural communities goal of Nexus campaign co-chairDeveloping rural communities is one of the strongest arguments in support of building new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. That’s according to Russ Vering, one of the co-chairs of the Nexus capital campaign for the project.Vering is co-owner of Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus and vice president of nutrition for the newly merged Frontier/Midwest Cooperative. He is a past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and a current member of the National Pork Producers Association Board of Directors. Vering and Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, are spearheading the Nexus campaign to raise the funds to relocate the Northeast college farm and build a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.Vering said that an investment in the Nexus program at Northeast serves local communities.“The importance of investing in this program really helps build our communities, helps educate our children, brings them back to our communities and helps build our populations in northeast Nebraska,” he said. “It’s going to bring more ideas to the farm; it’s going to bring more ideas back to our businesses.”Vering has hosted Northeast student interns at Central Plains Milling, and has several Northeast graduates as employees.“I was so surprised when Northeast staff approached me and asked how they could help my business. They seem to understand the need for more, better trained workers in agriculture and are trying to meet that need.”Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, said it would not be possible to find better co-chairs than Vering and Reigle.“They represent different facets of agriculture and agri-business, and understand that the demand for trained employees is a drag on the rural economy,” she said. “With their help in this fundraising effort, Northeast will be better able to meet the need for workers with highly technical skills and a passion for agriculture.”Vering said the support of businesses across the state for the Nexus program demonstrates the need to develop agriculture in Nebraska.“They realize that there is a need for educated students,” he said. “There’s a need for ag education; there’s a need for row crop education; there’s a need for lhighly qualified employees in northeast Nebraska.”Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College. NRCS Offering More Than $4 Million to Restore Flood-Prone Lands in NebraskaIn response to flooding in Nebraska, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing the availability of over $4 million to fund conservation easements in Nebraska counties damaged by flooding and other natural disasters.Funds are available through the floodplain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program – Floodplain Easements. NRCS field offices are accepting applications through Oct. 31, 2019.Through the Floodplain Easement Program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the United States through NRCS. Compensation is based on the value of the easement as determined by an appraisal or market analysis. These easements may occur on private agricultural land damaged by flooding and natural disasters. NRCS will work to restore the easement to its natural floodplain condition.“Landowners across Nebraska have faced - and continue to face - significant challenges from flooding and natural disasters,” said Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson. “To provide relief and assist agricultural landowners during this difficult time, this easement program offers an option that alleviates the stress of operating in a floodplain while still retaining ownership of their property.”Nebraska landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS field offices to apply or learn more about floodplain easement opportunities. Visit the Floodplain Easement Program website at for more information. Nebraska Water Center Conference set for Oct. 9 and 10 in NorfolkBuilding a clean water future in northeast Nebraska is the theme for the Nebraska Water Center’s annual conference Oct. 9 and 10 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk, Neb.“Our center has a long tradition of working within our state on water quality issues. What’s different about this year’s conference is the specific focus on northeast Nebraska and locally-based solutions to their challenges,” said Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center, part of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.The conference is based around three pillars – water quality and public health, innovative solutions to current problems and community engagement. More than 40 speakers, including producers, policymakers, non-profit professionals, university researchers, agency experts and high school students and teachers will share what they are doing to ensure a clean water future.Day one begins with a “State of the State’s Water Quality” overview featuring a slate of state, university and local water managers. A lunch keynote follows featuring USDA National Water Quality Initiative Coordinator Dee Carlson. That afternoon, the focus will move into the field with two sessions on innovative farming solutions. Sessions on policy and stakeholder engagement close out the day portion. The evening will feature area high school students and teachers presenting their work on citizen science and water quality monitoring.The second day kicks off with a discussion of the public health impacts of water quality. On its heels, several University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers will present innovative treatment options for water contamination. The second to last session discusses how best to engage stakeholders. Lastly, a closing panel comprised of members of the university’s Water Resources Advisory Panel (WRAP) will reflect on key messages and actionable next steps.Information and registration details for both events are available here...  92nd AKSARBEN STOCK SHOW, SEPT 26-29, 2019A big event is coming to Grand Island, Nebraska featuring agricultural youth ages 9 to 19 years from a 14-state region including Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming showing cattle, sheep, swine, goats and poultry. Here are some highlights:-    Over 900 exhibitors are entered. The furthest participating states are Arkansas, Montana, Indiana and Wisconsin.-    The barns (cattle, swine, sheep, goat and broiler) numbers are pushing 2,700 animals.-    The Quiz Bowl presented by Bank of the West has 18 teams entered. -    The Livestock Judging Contest presented by American Foods Group has four divisions – Youth, Jr. College Freshman, Jr. College Sophomore and Sr. College.-    The Livestock Judging Contest (470 students from 21 states) with teams from as far away as Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.-    The western market and vendor trade show expanded and in now located in the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center.-        Thursday - Grand Island Chamber Business After Hours from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.    The Barn Bar (open to the public) will also be the host site for two alumni and friends’ functions.-        Thursday - UNL CASNR from 6-8 p.m.-        Friday - South Dakota State University from 6-8 p.m.-    The Purple Ribbon Auction moved to Saturday evening – The VIP Purple Ribbon Reception presented by Five Points Bank begins at 5pm in the loft (tickets available at the door for purchase); The auction begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.-    Livestock shows are Friday, Saturday and SundayFor more information visit The complete show schedule and vendors attending with hours of operation are listed under the Exhibitor tab and Sponsor tab. Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference Dec. 11Female agriculture landowners, farmers and ranchers looking to increase their business management skills are encouraged to register for the 2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land conference. The conference will be held Dec. 11 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln.The Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference will allow women to build relationships with each other, attend workshops and gain valuable knowledge. Three keynote speakers and 12 workshops will focus on helping Nebraska farmland owners and tenants navigate the challenges they face.Participants will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts in land values, Nebraska property taxes, cash rental rates, and cultivating landlord tenant relationships. Jim Jansen, co-author of the Nebraska Farm Real Estate survey, will discuss trends in Nebraska land values. Mykel Taylor, Kansas State University, will share resources related to negotiations and communication between landowners and tenants. Cathy Anderson from the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency will discuss the 2018 Farm Bill and its implications for Nebraska agriculture.Registration will open Nov. 1 and available online at Registration is $45 per person. The registration fee includes conference materials, meals and breaks.The conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and is inspired by Annie's Project. In Nebraska, Annie's Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America. For more information about the Women Managing Agriculture Land conference, go to Announces Taiwan Companies’ Intent to Buy Nebraska Ag CommoditiesOn Tuesday evening, Governor Pete Ricketts and representatives from Nebraska’s corn and soybean boards signed letters of intent (LOIs) with company officials from Taiwan.  The LOIs outline Taiwan’s agreement to purchase more than $2.1 billion in U.S. soybeans, corn, and distillers grains.  Members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission visited Lincoln to show their continued willingness to buy U.S. agricultural products.“The United States supplies more than one-quarter of Taiwan’s major agricultural imports, and Nebraska has been a key supplier to the country for decades,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Signing these letters of intent builds on Nebraska’s existing trade relationship with Taiwan.  It also positions us to grow the market for our quality agricultural products in Taiwan.”“Nebraska is one of the country’s top corn and soybean producing states, making it vital for us to continue to increase international demand for our products,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “Taiwanese officials have signed similar agreements in past years that have resulted in millions of dollars of purchases of Nebraska agricultural products.”Two letters of intent were signed this week.  One outlines the Taiwan Feed Industry Association’s intent to purchase 197 million bushels of U.S. corn and 0.5 million metric tons of U.S. distillers grains with solubles in 2020 and 2021.  These products are valued at approximately $1.1 billion.  According to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service, in 2018, Taiwan was Nebraska’s fifth largest export market for corn.  Out of Nebraska’s total corn export value of nearly $1.5 billion for 2018, Nebraska sent $70.2 million worth of corn to Taiwan.  David Bruntz, Chair of the Nebraska Corn Board, was on hand Tuesday night to sign the letter of intent on behalf of Nebraska corn farmers.A second letter outlines the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association’s intent to purchase between 96 million and 97 million bushels of U.S. soybeans over the next two years.  That purchase represents an estimated value of $1.0 to $1.1 billion.  Eugene Goering, Vice Chair of the Nebraska Soybean Board, signed the letter of intent representing soybean farmers in the state.Signed by commodity officials and Gov. Ricketts, these letters of intent pledge the purchase of crops through negotiations between importers and private suppliers.“The signing of these agreements with our Taiwanese partners is of critical importance,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “The international marketplace is vital to growing opportunities for the quality commodities produced here in our state.  We will continue to work to open up new markets for the food our farm and ranch families grow to feed the world.”Timmerman family receives CAB honorsMiranda Reiman, Certified Angus BeefThey were raising children with diverse skillsets and diverging dreams. Veteran cattle feeders Norm and Sharon Timmerman, of McCook, Neb., encouraged their children to follow their own passions, and they did. After college, Jason started with Timmerman Feeding near Omaha, while CPA Kristin ran her own accounting firm and Ryan pursued a degree in business management with a sports and recreation option.Today, they have all returned to the family business that now includes, Jason and Wendy, Kristin and husband Jeff Stagemeyer, and later Ryan and wife Nicole.“It’s nice to be that good of friends with your family members, who like to work together,” Norm says. “It all fell into place.”The family brings a shared trust and camaraderie to the work they do for the feeding company they jointly own: NA Timmerman Inc. They started in 2012 with yards at Indianola, Neb., and McDonald and Colby, Kan., now also including locations near Holyoke and Sterling, Colo., with a one-time feeding capacity of 80,000 head.  For their dedication to grid marketing, feeding premium cattle and a call to doing the best job every time, the Norm Timmerman family received the 2019 Feedyard Commitment to Excellence Award from the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand. The quality kind “There are a lot of small feedlots that specialize in the high-quality type, but larger feeders don’t always have the benefit of picking and choosing what cattle they feed. They need to keep the pens full and often feed a wide variety,” says Paul Dykstra, beef cattle specialist for the brand. “They’ve really evolved over the last 20 years or so, under Jason’s vision, to procure cattle that will do well on a grid.”In 2005, the Timmermans tested grid marketing with sales of 2,100 head on a Cargill formula. Today that number is closer to 150,000 annually. It’s changed their procurement and it’s changed their harvest targets.“We keep the feedyard full and we manage our risk and we try to maximize our performance to the best of the ability of our cattle,” he says, “versus the old cash system: hurry and sell, or wait and make them too big. When they’re ready, they’re ready, we just keep rolling and just manage the risk on the other side of it.”Despite a difficult winter and early spring for Great Plains cattle feeding, the Timmerman marketings still hit 38% CAB and Prime for a three-month average into this summer. In recent years with more cooperation from Mother Nature, their branded quality numbers have been significantly higher across the board. Jason and Jeff have extensively used artificial insemination on the 700-head cow herd they own together, which shows them the impact of genetics on the final results. Three years of feedyard data on the progeny reveals more than half of make CAB and Prime.“When we get a pen of high-grading cattle that have a lot of CABs, it directly affects us,” Jason says, “because it’s money in our pocket.”Extra effort “Hard work will give you a lot of luck,” Norm says.Pen maintenance, feed delivery and cattle health monitoring—they all add up. “There is no room for error. It’s a sole responsibility,” Ryan says. “The job we do at the feedlot impacts our customers. There’s a lot of money involved…it’s their livelihood.”It’s not like a Timmerman to let people down.“These are the things that are important to the Timmerman family: their faith, being a good family member, working hard at what you’re doing,” Kristin says. She and Jeff bring a fresh perspective to the finances, giving purchasing advice and making insurance decisions.“My dad and I knew the outside very well, but needed someone in the back that could complement us--luckily we had family that could do that,” Jason says.Leo’s legacy They had a good example of seeing partnership in action. Timmerman Feeding of Springfield, Neb., started by Leo Timmerman, was into the hands of the next generation, brothers Gerald, James, Ronnie and Norm, when they expanded to Indianola, some 250 miles west. “This was a farm and we built it from scratch. The office started in our trailer house, where we lived,” Norm says, giving credit to Sharon. She kept the books there by day and made it a home by night.By this decade, with the third generation involved, it was a natural time to let each Timmerman branch individually exercise their entrepreneurial spirit.They gave their children the opportunity Leo Timmerman gave them. “It evolved to where I was doing more, more and more,” Jason says, noting the risk management shifted to him through the years. “Then it’s how do you keep it organized? Trial and error. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.” Years like 2014 remind them it’s fun to make money. Years like 2015 keep them humble.“I don’t think it will ever be easy. You’re in an environment dealing with people, dealing with Mother Nature. You’ve got the element of risk,” Jason says. “It will never be easy, it’s just about how you manage your way through it.” History says they’ll do it. Being a Timmerman means they’ll do it well.Perdue Statement on Signing of US-Japan Trade AgreementU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the signing of the new United States-Japan Trade Agreement:“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers. When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the U.S. is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for delivering on their promise to open markets around the world for America’s farmers and ranchers.” Background:The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will provide America’s farmers and ranchers enhanced market access in our third largest agricultural export market. When implemented, this Agreement will enable American producers to compete more effectively with countries that currently have preferential tariffs in the Japanese market. The deal President Trump is delivering will provide our farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses with market access for high quality U.S. food and agricultural products to 127 million Japanese consumers.In the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, Japan has committed to provide substantial market access to American food and agricultural products by eliminating tariffs, enacting meaningful tariff reductions, or allowing a specific quantity of imports at a low duty (generally zero).  Importantly, the tariff treatment for the products covered in this agreement will match the tariffs that Japan provides preferentially to countries in the CP-TPP agreement. KEY ELEMENTS: U.S. AG EXPORTS TO JAPANOut of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.Tariff Reduction: For products valued at $2.9 billion, Japan will reduce tariffs in stages. Among the products benefitting from this enhanced access will be:-    fresh beef-    frozen beef-    fresh pork-    frozen porkTariff Elimination: Tariffs will be eliminated immediately on over $1.3 billion of U.S. farm products including, for example:-    almonds-    blueberries-    cranberries-    walnuts-    sweet corn-    grain sorghum-    food supplements-    broccoli-    prunesOther products valued at $3.0 billion will benefit from staged tariff elimination. This group of products includes, for example:-    wine-    cheese and whey-    ethanol-    frozen poultry-    processed pork-    fresh cherries-    beef offal-    frozen potatoes-    oranges-    egg products-    tomato paste Country Specific Quotas (CSQs): For some products, preferential market access will be provided through the creation of CSQs, which provide access for a specified quantity of imports from the United States at a preferential tariff rate, generally zero. CSQ access will cover:-    wheat-    wheat products-    malt-    glucose-    fructose-    corn starch-    potato starch-    inulin Mark Up: Exports to Japan of wheat and barley will benefit from a reduction to Japan’s “mark up” on those products. Japan’s imports of U.S. wheat and barley were valued at more than $800 million in 2018.Safeguards: This agreement provides for the limited use of safeguards by Japan for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time. KEY ELEMENTS: JAPAN AG EXPORTS TO THE UNITED STATESThe United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018. Products include:-    certain perennial plants and cut flowers-    persimmons-    green tea-    chewing gum-    certain confectionary products-    soy sauceThe United States has also agreed to modify its global WTO tariff rate quota for imports of Japanese beef, enabling Japanese beef producers to compete for a larger share of the global TRQ quantity. Ricketts Applauds President Trump’s Trade Agreement with JapanToday, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump had signed a new trade agreement with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan.“The agreement signed today is a big win for the Beef State,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “For four years now, we have been working to get a trade deal done with Japan because it is Nebraska’s largest export market for ag exports including our beef, pork, and eggs.  Thank you to President Trump for the personal attention he’s paid to working with our Japanese friends to get this deal done.  This agreement will help ensure that our quality ag products remain affordable to our Japanese customers for years to come.”Gov. Ricketts recently returned from his third trade mission to Japan where he encouraged Japanese officials to work with the Trump Administration to finalize this trade agreement.BACKGROUND ON THE U.S.-JAPAN TRADE AGREEMENTBackground provided by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:·       The United States and Japan have reached an agreement in which Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs for certain U.S. agricultural products.  For other agricultural goods, Japan will provide preferential U.S.-specific quotas.    ·       Once this agreement is implemented, over 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. For example, under the agreement, Japan will:o  Reduce tariffs on products such as fresh and frozen beef and pork.o  Provide a country-specific quota for wheat and wheat products.o  Reduce the mark-up on imported U.S. wheat and barley.o  Immediately eliminate tariffs for almonds, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, grain sorghum, broccoli, and more.o  Provide staged tariff elimination for products such as cheeses, processed pork, poultry, beef offal, ethanol, wine, frozen potatoes, oranges, fresh cherries, egg products, and tomato paste. ·       This agreement provides for the limited use of safeguards by Japan for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time.·       When the agreement is implemented by Japan, American farmers and ranchers will have the same advantage as CP-TPP countries selling into the Japanese market.·       The United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018, including products such as certain perennial plants and cut flowers, persimmons, green tea, chewing gum, and soy sauce.·       The United States will also reduce or eliminate tariffs on certain industrial goods from Japan such as certain machine tools, fasteners, steam turbines, bicycles, bicycle parts, and musical instruments.Sasse Statement on US-Japan Trade DealU.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a strong advocate for Nebraska agriculture and increased trade, released the following statement after it was announced that the U.S. and Japan reached a trade deal.“There’s still more work to do, but this is really great news for Nebraska’s producers. We need more trade deals in the Pacific because they are great for business in Nebraska and it helps build allies as we turn up the pressure on China to stop their constant cheating.” Smith Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade AgreementCongressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the completion of “Phase One” of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan.“This agreement is a huge win for U.S. agriculture, bringing Japanese tariff rates on U.S. agriculture in line with our competitors and relieving a burden for our farmers and producers. I thank President Trump and Prime Minister Abe for their dedication to furthering U.S.-Japanese relations and trade. As the Co-chair of the U.S. Japan Caucus, I am excited for the future of U.S.-Japan relations, and look forward to seeing the benefits and successes from this relationship."These tariff adjustments, along with the executive agreement on digital standards, are referred to as “Phase One” of a two-part process. The tariff changes are expected to take effect by the first of the year.Nebraska Cattlemen Issue Statement Supporting Recent Trade Agreement with JapanNebraska Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin issued the following statement regarding today's announcement that tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Japan will be significantly reduced:"Year after year, Nebraska's beef producers have seen demand for our product continue to grow in Japan's market. Unfortunately, these gains have been offset by Japan's massive 38.5% tariff attached to U.S. beef. Today's announcement means that Nebraska's livestock industry will finally be at a level playing field with our biggest competitors in our number one export market. Given the current volatility in the cattle market, crippling floods, and a devastating fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, KS, Nebraska's cattle industry desperately needed a win. Today, we have it, and we thank the Administration for delivering this key victory." Statement by Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau President, Regarding Trade Deal with Japan“Today’s announced trade deal between the United States and Japan is great news for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. From the beginning of the Trump administration, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) has strongly urged the President to work to finalize an agreement with Japan so that Nebraska agriculture would not be left behind following the decision to pull out of the now CP-TPP agreement.”“U.S. beef is king in Japan, and Nebraska exported more than $253 million of beef products in 2017 to Japan. Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner overall with total agricultural sales at more than $552 billion in 2017, this agreement is big news for Nebraska’s economy.”“With this vital agreement now checked off the ‘Trade To-Do’ list, the passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and reaching a deal with China must be next.”“It is time to send a clear message to the rest of the world: The United States is open for business.”Iowa Cattlemen Statement on Trade Deal with JapanPresident Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan made another step towards a bilateral trade agreement that is expected to greatly benefit the U.S. cattle industry. The agreement will include significant tariff reductions for U.S. beef imported into Japan."This bilateral trade agreement with Japan is significant for two reasons. First, Japan is our number one export market by value, and the Japanese are hungry for U.S. beef," says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. "Second, a positive advancement on the trade front is good news for all of Iowa agriculture. Hopefully, this momentum will carry forward to the ratification of USMCA and trade talks with China."International trade adds over $300 to the value of every head of cattle in the state of Iowa, and approximately one-quarter of that value is due to exports to Japan. Currently, U.S. beef faces a 38.5% tariff while competitors from other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada have a tariff rate of only 26.6%.Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, together with NCBA, will continue to lobby for increased export opportunities for U.S. beef.Naig Says U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Creates New Opportunities for Iowa FarmersIowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig was in New York City today as President Trump signed a trade deal with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe. Secretary Naig, along with other agricultural leaders, participated in a signing ceremony recognizing the bi-lateral trade agreement.“Japan is one of Iowa’s most important trading partners,” said Secretary Naig. “Today’s agreement is a win for agriculture and welcome news as our farmers gear up for harvest. By lowering tariffs on agricultural products, Iowa producers can be more competitive in the Japanese market. This deal helps build the momentum we need to ratify USMCA and reach a long-term trade agreement with China. Thank you, President Trump, for getting this trade agreement done.”Secretary Naig remains focused on expanding markets and trade for Iowa agriculture. He will be joining Iowa Governor Reynolds on a trade mission to Japan in November. Export StatisticsBeef    Iowa exported $135 million of beef to Japan in 2018.    Japan is the largest export market for Iowa beef producers.    U.S. producers sold $2 billion of beef to Japan in 2018, one-fourth of total U.S. beef exports.    The U.S. exported 330,217 metric tons of beef to Japan in 2018.    U.S. beef sales to Japan could increase by 7-10 percent ($200 million a year).Pork    Iowa exported almost $370 million of pork to Japan in 2018.     Japan was the largest export market by value for Iowa pork producers in 2018.    U.S. producers sold $1.6 billion of pork to Japan in 2018.    The U.S. exported 394,300 metric tons of pork to Japan in 2018.Corn    Iowa exported $491 million of corn to Japan in 2018.    Japan was the second largest export market (behind Mexico) for Iowa corn growers in 2018.    Japan purchased 11.5 million metric tons of corn from the U.S. in 2018.    Japan purchased $2 billion of corn from the U.S. in 2018.Soybeans    Iowa exported $122 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018.    The U.S. exported $947 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018.NPPC Officers Join President Trump for Japan Trade Pact Signing CeremonyPresident Trump and Japanese Prime Minster Abe today signed a trade agreement that will once again allow U.S. pork producers to compete on a level playing field in Japan. NPPC President David Herring and President-Elect Howard "A.V." Roth joined President Trump for the signing of the agreement in New York during the United Nations General Assembly meeting."I am honored to represent U.S. pork producers today at a signing ceremony so important to my fellow hog farmers around the country," said Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. "We've seen market share declines in Japan, historically our largest value export market, since the start of the year when international competitors gained more favorable access through new trade agreements. Once implemented, the agreement signed today puts U.S. pork back on a level playing field with our competitors in Japan."Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan could grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years under market access terms included in the agreement. U.S. pork is highly dependent on exports, shipping more than 25 percent of total production to foreign markets. Other NPPC trade priorities include ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, which preserves zero-tariff pork trade in North America, and resolving trade disputes with China that will enable U.S. pork producers to capitalize on an unprecedented sales opportunity with the world's largest pork-consuming nation.NCBA Praises Important Step Forward in Trade with JapanNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement in support of a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will lower Japan’s massive tariffs on U.S. beef:“Japan is the number one export market for U.S. beef, accounting for one quarter of our exports. The only way for U.S. beef producers to remain competitive in our leading export market is to remove trade barriers through a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. NCBA thanks President Trump for his continued support in removing trade barriers on U.S. beef, and we encourage the United States and Japan to sign and implement the bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible.”  Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry. “For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefitted greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”Houston praised the Trump Administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan. “President Trump answered the call and took on the difficult task of expanding access to Japan for U.S. beef exports. America’s ranchers are incredibly thankful for the leadership of President Trump and the yeoman’s work of Ambassador Lighthizer and his team whose diligent work and tough negotiating will benefit generations of U.S. beef producers.”In 2018, Japanese consumers purchased $2.07 billion of U.S. beef. Currently, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan, while our competitors from Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand face a 26.6 percent tariff. Leveling the playing field in Japan is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.USMEF Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade AnnouncementToday President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced completion of an agreement that will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan. Key provisions are outlined in this fact sheet from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:With Japan being the largest value destination for U.S. pork and beef exports (combined export value in 2018 was $3.7 billion), there is no market more critical to the profitability and prosperity of the U.S. red meat industry. It is therefore imperative that we achieve a level playing field for U.S. pork and beef in Japan, so that the U.S. industry can further expand its customer base in this increasingly competitive market. Today's announcement is not only excellent news for U.S. farmers and ranchers, but also for Japanese consumers who will have greater access to U.S. pork and beef products.USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan and for securing this agreement, which is a major step forward for the U.S. pork and beef industries and for all of U.S. agriculture.NCGA: U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Bright Spot for Agriculture The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the news of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will increase market access for American agriculture products in Japan. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement.“Japan has been a strong trading partner and friend for American agriculture, now the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn. NCGA has long-advocated for an agreement with Japan and, with many farmers struggling amid challenging times in agriculture, this is very welcome news. While we await further details, it seems this phase one agreement will deliver for corn farmers and build upon our successful partnership with Japan.”Soy Growers: Japan Trade Deal Positive for AgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) supports a strong global marketplace and is pleased the White House has finalized a trade agreement with Japan, a top 10 export market for soybeans.Davie Stephens, president of ASA and grower from Clinton, Kentucky, spoke on behalf of the association, “Japan has long been a valued and reliable trading partner for soybeans, and we appreciate that the agriculture component of this deal will assure continued market access for our beans and other ag products. As we go through the details of the agreement, we extend a thank you to the Administration for finalizing this deal.”With a 63% market share, the United States is the largest soybean supplier to Japan, with exports totaling $976 million in 2017. ASA looks forward to working with the Administration on the next steps towards reaching a comprehensive free trade agreement.U.S. Grains Council Statement on U.S.-Japan AgreementThe U.S.-Japan agreement announced by the President will solidify our longstanding partnership for the future and create a platform for growth into new sales and new sectors, including the potential for sales of U.S. ethanol.Japan is one of the largest and most loyal U.S. corn customers, having bought more than $2 billion of U.S. corn in the most recent marketing year. It is an important market for food and feed barley and sorghum. And as a country looking to improve the environmental impact of its fuel, it is an important future market for U.S. ethanol products.The details revealed today about the trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan show that this pact would bring commodities the U.S. Grains Council represents largely back in line with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and put these commodities on equal footing with other current Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) countries. This access is welcomed by our members in the U.S. grains production and exports sectors, and we look forward to rapid implementation of the new agreement.While this is the first in several rounds of agreements yet to come and we hope to see continued improvement in the ethanol sector, this is a good first step. We encourage the administration to pursue broader access for all of agriculture and we move forward with our partner, Japan.U.S. Dairy Industry Encouraged by Interim Japan Trade Deal, Urges U.S. to Complete the Job in Negotiations to ComeThe U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today thanked the U.S. government for its work to reach an interim agreement with Japan that will deliver improvements in market access for the U.S. dairy industry, while noting that the work to secure a sufficient competitive landscape in Japan for dairy is not finished.NMPF and USDEC look forward to reviewing with their members the details of this first stage of a trade agreement with Japan to take advantage of the new opportunities it will provide on a near-term basis while continuing to work with the Administration to secure the additional elements that are still needed to ensure a strong final dairy package in a comprehensive agreement. “This enhanced access into the Japanese market is welcome news. Japan represents a rapidly growing market, and without a trade deal, our competitors are poised to seize valuable market share from U.S. dairy,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “This first stage of a US-Japan agreement will improve upon today’s status quo, which has been unsatisfactory ever since Japan’s treaties with the CPTPP nations and the EU went into effect. To continue that progress toward closing the competitiveness gap with both CPTPP and EU suppliers, it’s essential that the U.S. secure further market openings and assurances in the second stage of negotiations with Japan to best position the U.S. to compete against all of our major competitors in Japan.”“This interim trade agreement with Japan is welcome news for farmers across the U.S. who have seen their incomes damaged by trade disputes,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s news is not the end of the road though; it’s the first leg of the journey. We thank America’s trade negotiators for their pursuit of a deal aimed at benefiting our dairy farmers and expanding international markets for their high-quality milk. To reap those full rewards and ensure the U.S. is able to best compete in the Japanese market, the subsequent stage of negotiations must secure further inroads into Japan, building upon what our key competitors – the European Union and New Zealand – have secured there.”NMPF and USDEC agree with what Ambassador Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee during his testimony in June: “You cannot treat your best customer worse than you treat people from all these other countries in Europe and all the other TPP countries.”Last month, USDEC and NMPF coordinated a letter signed by 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to move swiftly to finalize a strong trade deal with Japan and secure critical market access for the U.S. dairy industry. The objectives outlined in that letter remain the industry’s expectation for a comprehensive agreement with Japan.The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018 with room for further growth. However, without a strong trade agreement that addresses the inequalities in market access granted to our competitors by the Japan-EU and CPTPP agreements, a 2019 USDEC study found that the U.S. risked losing $1.3 billion in exports over a decade, costing dairy farmers $1.7 billion in farm income.U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement is a Good Deal for Wheat Farmers and Their CustomersThe tariff agreement signed today by U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a most welcome deal that will keep exports of U.S. wheat flowing to a very large and crucial market for U.S. farmers.  “This agreement puts U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia that currently have a tariff advantage under a separate trade deal,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings. “We applaud the negotiators from both countries who worked very hard to reach an agreement that is so important to wheat farmers and to their flour milling customers in Japan.”  “Resolving trade issues like this and building new opportunities for our wheat and other agricultural products is absolutely needed at a time when wheat farmers are dealing with another year of low prices and a depressed farm economy,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We are very grateful for the efforts that the staff and leaders at USTR and USDA put in to reach this agreement.”When the tariff agreement is implemented, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.In addition to matching the Canadian and Australian tariff schedule for U.S. wheat, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports.In 1949, the Administrator of the Oregon Wheat Commission, Mr. E. J. Bell, and two other wheat representatives first traveled to Japan to learn more about this potential market. Over 70 years, U.S. wheat farmers continued to build a relationship with the Japanese milling and wheat foods processing industry. Today, the industry relies on U.S. soft white wheat to produce the highest quality cakes and pastries, and hard red spring and hard red winter wheat classes to produce dozens of different bread products demanded by Japan’s discerning consumers.U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states. Farmers Commend Agreement on Japanese Trade DealThe United States and Japan today announced they reached an agreement on a trade deal that further opens markets for both countries. Agriculture is among the biggest beneficiaries. The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:“Today’s announcement that the two countries have reached an agreement and have completed agricultural negotiations is a positive step for America’s farmers and ranchers.“Japan is American agriculture’s fourth-largest export destination and vital to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of farms and the families who live on them. We export nearly $13 billion a year in agricultural products to Japan, even as we continue to face steep tariffs on many exports.“This agreement, once signed, will lower tariffs and put U.S. farmers and ranchers on a level playing field to compete in Japan with countries that participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s good news.“The time for trade wars has come and gone. We are thankful the administration has reached this deal and we urge trade negotiators to achieve many more like it. Farmers and ranchers need to get back to doing what they do best: feeding a hungry world that needs what they produce.”BACKGROUND:The US and Japan have reached an agreement on agricultural and industrial tariffs and digital commerce.  While the agreement itself is not yet finished, a statement explaining the agreement was signed Sept. 25, 2019.Under the agreement, Japan will place the same level of agricultural tariffs on U.S. goods as it places on CPTPP countries and the EU. By way of example, the 38.5% tariff on U.S. beef will fall to the 26% placed on beef from Australia, Canada and the EU. Some other foods such as duck, geese, turkey peaches, melons and more would enter duty-free.The Japanese Parliament is expected to approve the agreement later this fall. It may take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2020.There is no action by the U.S. Congress necessary, as this is not a full trade agreement that involves substantive changes to existing U.S. law.Many other issues, contained in a “Phase 2” negotiation, will be dealt with in future talks with Japan.U.S. Pork Industry Facing Headwinds, Iowa Pork Producers President Tells CongressThe U.S. pork industry is facing serious headwinds both at home and abroad that need to be addressed to ensure the industry remains competitive, allowing for expanded production, greater job growth and continued contribution to rural communities across the country, Iowa Pork Producers President Trent Thiele testified this morning before the Senate Agriculture Committee.U.S. pork producers need trade certainty and ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement is one of the industry's top priorities, said Thiele, a hog farmer from Howard County, Iowa, testifying on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. "USMCA will strengthen the strong economic ties with our North American neighbors, and help ensure tariff-free trade on pork remains in place for the long term.... U.S. pork producers urge Congress to ratify USMCA, providing much-needed certainty in two of our largest export markets," he told the committee.Trade certainty is also critical in Japan, the largest value export market for U.S. pork, Thiele told the committee. The U.S. pork industry was pleased that a trade agreement with Japan was agreed in principle last month and, once implemented, will place it back on a level playing field with international competitors. We urge the administration to quickly ratify the agreement in one of our most important markets, Thiele said.However, U.S. pork producers continue to seek an end to the trade dispute with China, Thiele highlighted. Affordable pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. Yet the U.S. is missing out "on an unprecedented sales opportunity" in China due to punitive tariffs that have cost U.S. producers $8 per animal, or $1 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis over the last year, he said. "While recent Chinese media reports have suggested tariff relief for U.S. pork, we need to remove market access uncertainty and level the playing field in the world's largest pork-consuming nation," he added.In addition to trade issues, U.S. pork producers are working to prevent the spread of foreign animal diseases, including African swine fever, an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks, Thiele explained. The U.S. pork industry is urging Congress to add 600 additional agricultural inspectors at our borders and ports.In his testimony, Thiele also highlighted several other priorities for U.S. pork producers, including:-    Visa reform to address a serious labor shortage that could lead to farms and packing plants closing operations. NPPC supports visa system reform that provides agricultural employers with sustained access to year-round labor.-    The right regulatory framework for gene-edited livestock, an innovation that promises to strengthen U.S. pork's competitive position globally. Through its "Keep America First in Agriculture" campaign, NPPC is aggressively working to establish oversight within the U.S. Department of Agriculture where it belongs, not with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has claimed jurisdiction.NCBA President Jennifer Houston Testifies on State of Cattle IndustryJennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today testified about the current state of the cattle industry before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.Topics ranged from the effects of the recent fire at a Tyson beef processing facility in Kansas to the pending reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Mandatory Price Reporting to implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.“I want to start by thanking you, Chairman (Pat) Roberts and other members of the committee who have been helpful over the last few weeks as we have dealt with the recent fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, Kansas,” Houston said. “We also support the work of (Agriculture) Secretary (Sonny) Perdue and look forward to the results of the USDA investigation.”Houston also stressed the importance of foreign trade, better access to lucrative foreign markets like Japan and China, and the need for Congress to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)."The future success of the U.S. beef industry relies on competitive market access to a growing consumer base in Asia," Houston testified. "In 2018, we sold over $8 billion of U.S. beef to foreign consumers, with one-quarter of those sales coming from Japan. We also still need Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement as soon as possible to send a message to the rest of the world that the United States is open for business." Houston concluded her oral testimony with a pledge to keep doing the hard work that’s necessary to help improve prospects for America’s cattle producers."I’m proud to lead and represent the members of NCBA, as we fight tirelessly to improve the lives and business prospects of every single member of the cattle industry," Houston said. "As Henry Ford said, 'Don’t find fault – find a remedy.' That’s exactly what NCBA will continue to do."Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/20/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 20, ethanol production swung sharply lower, dropping 61,000 b/d or 6.1% (the second-largest weekly downturn since statistics have been reported) to 943,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 39.61 million gallons daily. This represents the smallest production rate since April 2016, with output 9.0% below year-ago volumes and 5.3% below the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 2.3% to a 24-week low of 996,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons.Ethanol stocks scaled back 3.2% to 22.5 million barrels. Stocks fell across all PADDs except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were a near-record 113,000 b/d, or 33.22 million gallons for the week—equivalent to more than 10% of the total ethanol supplied for the week. This was the fourth time in five weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied rebounded from the prior week’s slump, increasing 4.6% to 9.346 million b/d (392.5 million gallons per day, or143.27 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 3.3% to 935,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.33 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production shrank to a two-year low of 10.09%.World Beef Expo About to Kick-Off in MilwaukeeWorld Beef Expo is opening its gates Friday morning for its 27th run at Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee.The Open Show will begin at 8:00 a.m., with the Elite Cattle Show being held the following day.The event's trade show runs from 5 to 7 p.m. inside the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. And educational seminars will also be held throughout the weekend.  Details are here...  Last year, over 500 exhibitors from 18 states attended the expo with 1,100 entries being judged in 2018. Nearly half of those cattle were exhibited by junior participants.

Cuming County Youth Compete at 70th Annual Norfolk Beef ExpoThe Agri-Business Council of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Norfolk Beef Expo, a live market calf show and auction, every September, at the Northeast Community College Ag Complex. This event is open to youth throughout Nebraska between the ages of 8 & 19 as of January 1. The Beef Expo is a tradition for many families and celebrated its 70th year this year.Cuming County 4-H members Evie Schlickbernd, Jaleigh Hallsted, Trevor Steffen, and Josie Ritter competed at this year’s Expo. Results from Norfolk Beef Expo …In the Class 1 Division 1 Market Heifer class, Evie Schlickbernd received a blue ribbon. In the Class 2 Division 2 Market Heifer class, Jaleigh Hallsted received a purple ribbon. In the Class 3 Division 1 Market Steer class, Trevor Steffen received a blue ribbon. In the Class 2 Division 2 Market Steer class, Josie Ritter received first and second purple ribbons. In the Class 3 Division 2 Market Steer class, Jaleigh Hallsted received a purple ribbon. In the Class 1 Division 3 Market Steer class, Evie Schlickbernd received a blue ribbon. Josie Ritter was Division 2 Market Steer GRAND CHAMPION and she also was the Division 2 Market Steer RESERVE CHAMPION. Showmanship  Trevor Steffen competed in Junior Showmanship and Jaleigh Hallsted and Josie Ritter competed in Intermediate Showmanship.Hundreds of Tailgaters Enjoy Free Breakfast, Conversation with Nebraska Farmers at the “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party” September 21Pleasant late summer weather, the feel of college football in the air, and the promise of a free breakfast drew over 300 hungry people to the official “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party with Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers” Saturday, September 21. Russ’s Market at 33rd and Highway 2 hosted the event.The tailgate breakfast, organized by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), provided an opportunity for consumers to visit with the state’s farmers and ranchers about how they produce our food and care for their animals and land in a safe, sustainable way. Tailgaters were invited to visit information booths staffed by farm organizations to learn more about Nebraska agriculture. Each attendee received a “Farm Land” card they were to get stamped at each booth they visited. Those who got their cards stamped at every booth could return their cards to the AFAN booth to receive a Russ’s Market $5 OFF $50 coupon for use at the store, and were entered in the drawing for the grand prize. Heather Osnes of Lincoln was the grand prize winner, a Nebraska Agriculture gift basket filled with products provided by agriculture commodity organizations and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, and a $50 Russ’s Market gift card. “The event combined fun, a good breakfast and a chance for consumers to talk to farmers and ranchers about how their food is produced,” said Steve Martin, executive director of AFAN, “and to clarify such hot button topics as the use of GMOs, herbicides and antibiotics in row crop and livestock production. Thanks to our producers and tailgaters who made this a great event.”Tailgaters took advantage of the opportunity to talk directly to food producers about the importance of agriculture to the state.“It was a fun, interactive and I learned a lot about Nebraska agriculture,” said Caren Hansen of Lincoln. “I learned that we are responsible for a lot more ethanol that I realized, and about the global role that Nebraska has in our world.” “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party” sponsors included the Nebraska Pork Producers Association; Nebraska Poultry Industries; AFAN; Nebraska Corn Board; Nebraska Soybean Board; Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation; Nebraska Wheat Growers Association; CommonGround Nebraska; Nebraska Cattlemen; Midwest Dairy; Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board; the Nebraska Hop Growers Association; and Russ’s Market.ICON urges cattle producers to rally in OmahaCattlemen are invited to attend a rally in Omaha on Wednesday, Oct. 2, to protest the relatively low prices of cattle, compared to the high prices of retail beef.During the week of Sept. 23-27, cattle producers were losing more than $200 per head while meatpackers were making more than $400 per head, based on USDA price information.The cattle producers’ share of the retail price of beef has been as high as 70% in the past, but based on USDA price reports of live cattle and retail beef, today the cattle producer’s share is just 38.5%.Farmers and ranchers own and care for cattle 365 days a year and are going broke, while the “Big Four” packers/processors own the cattle for about a week and get rich.The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska and the Organization for Competitive Markets call on President Donald Trump and USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue to take charge and take action. They recommend six points of action, emphasizing the importance of “Buying American” and shielding U.S. farmers and ranchers from what has become a global meatpacking monopoly.The goal of the rally is to pressure Perdue and Trump to redress some of the wrongs. A large turnout in Omaha will help apply that pressure. "Packer concentration and price manipulation are gutting rural Nebraska's farm and ranch families,” ICON President Jim Dinklage said. “Farm foreclosures are at their highest in decades and calls to the Farm Crisis Hotline are higher than they have been since the 1980s. We're hoping a large crowd in Omaha will send the message to D.C. that rural America is in crisis and intervention is urgently needed.”OCM is hosting a rally and meeting called Stop the Stealin’ in Omaha from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the Ramada Inn at 3321 South 72nd.Among the slated speakers are OCM vice-president Vaughn Meyer, former Nebraska state senator Al Davis of Hyannis, cattle market analyst Corbitt Wall and Bill Bullard of R-CALF.For more information, see the OCM website, $65,000 Awarded Through Local Chapter Grant ProgramThirteen Nebraska FFA chapters or FFA members were awarded funds through the Nebraska FFA Foundation local chapter grant program.This program, in its third year, supports Nebraska agricultural education classrooms, FFA programs and individual student entrepreneurship Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Funds are provided by the Nebraska FFA Foundation and its general fund donors. The grant recipients for 2019 are:    Bayard: Greenhouse    Franklin: Plasma Table    Bishop Neumann: SawStop Table Saw    Sutton: Greenhouse Repairs    Minatare: Plasma Cutter and TIG Welder    Wood River: Greenhouse    Axtell: Greenhouse    Norris: Welder Replacement    Chase County: Welding Updates    McCool Junction: Animal Learning Barn Supplies- Camera and Generator    Waverly FFA Member: Audrey Sorensen: Pond Improvement SAE Project    Rock County: Welding Updates    Sutherland: Greenhouse“Our board worked many years to develop sustainable funding to provide this program. The board knew that there were many programs in need of more financial support to develop career-ready students in agriculture, and awarding $65,000 will give students in these schools some of the resources necessary to reach their full potential,” said Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.Many of these grant recipients will be showcased on the Nebraska FFA Foundation website and social media throughout the next couple years. Applications for the 2020 Local Chapter Grant Program will open in April.Nebraska Beef Council September zoom meetingThe Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a conference call at the NBC office in Kearney located at 1319 Central Ave. on Monday, September 30th,  2019 beginning at 11:00 a.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will review a draft of the FY 2019-2020 Marketing Plan.  For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at  Determine Cow Herd Productivity with New Weaning Weight Adjustment ToolAs beef cattle producers turn their attention to weaning, the Iowa Beef Center encourages producers to consider using its 205-day weight calculator. This free spreadsheet is a tool beef producers can use in calculating Standardized 205-day weaning weights. Producers enter calf identification, birth date, weaning date, weaning weight and cow age, and the Excel-based tool will calculate weaning weights to an adjusted 205-day weight.Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab said adjusting weaning weights to a common calf age is important for comparing cows based on the performance of the calves they produce. Weaning weights are used to evaluate differences in growth potential of calves and the milking ability of dams."In order to evaluate differences in weaning weights, individual calf records must be adjusted to a standard basis. The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) recommends that weaning weights be standardized to 205 days-of-age and a mature age-of-dam basis," she said. "These adjusted weights can then be used to rank the cow herd based on their productivity and sell low producing cows."This tool is available on the calculators page of the IBC website, For more information on the calculator or how to use it in your operation, contact an extension beef specialist or the Iowa Beef Center at Prices Drop for Sixth Week in a RowAverage retail fertilizer prices were lower the third week of September 2019, marking the sixth consecutive week prices have declined, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.Prices for all eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to the previous month, but unlike in recent weeks, none were down a significant amount, which DTN considers 5% or more.DAP had an average price of $480 per ton, down $11 from last month; MAP $478/ton, down $17; potash $384/ton, down $3; urea $404/ton, down $9; 10-34-0 $471/ton, down $4; anhydrous $509/ton, down $21; UAN28 $254/ton, down $3; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $2.On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.43/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.As prices have moved lower in recent weeks, two fertilizers are now cheaper than they were a year ago. MAP is now 8% less expensive, and DAP is 3% lower from last year at this time.The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. Anhydrous is 3% more expensive, UAN32 is 4% higher, both urea and 10-34-0 are 5% more expensive, while both potash and UAN28 are 6% higher compared to last year.Soy-Based Products Are on the Leading Edge of Sustainable HousingHigher performance, increased sustainability and lower cost — these are just a few of the demands that today’s modern customers expect from the home improvement industry. For companies relying on petroleum or formaldehyde in their products, this can seem like a challenging ask. But many find their sustainable solution in soy.“Choosing soy is a win-win,” said Lee Walko, biobased business developer and technical advisor to the United Soybean Board. “Corporate sustainability initiatives and consumer demand for safe products drive soy technology development to replace petrochemicals and other additives.”Although several biobased ingredients can appear as suitable replacements for petrochemicals, manufacturers need the most cost-effective and highest-performing ingredients — which in many cases presents an opportunity for soy. Not only is soybean oil traditionally more affordable than canola or sunflower oil, its abundance of C-18 links (linolenic acid, etc.) and its fatty-acid profile make soybean oil very versatile. These qualities have allowed countless leading industrial product makers to successfully introduce soy, replacing chemicals based in petroleum while reducing volatile organic compounds.Soy has already proven successful in this segment, and many of the success stories can be found in and around the home. A growing list of large and small companies already implement soy in their products and reap the benefits of how effective it can be. In fact, there are more than 1,000 soy-based products currently on the market, from flooring and roofing products to candles and carpets.  Several leading biobased home products using soybeans include:Plywood: PureBond®A decade ago, the International Agency for Cancer Research reclassified formaldehyde from a suspect carcinogen to a known carcinogen. Plywood producers who used formaldehyde to bond wood needed an alternative. With the support of USB, researchers developed a soy-based, formaldehyde-free resin that bonds wood naturally and tightly. Since 2005, the technology has spurred production of more than 100 million formaldehyde-free plywood panels at a price comparable to urea-formaldehyde panels.“Our customers want to know what they’re buying, how it was made, what it was made with and where it’s from,” said Todd Vogelsinger, with Columbia Forest Products, which is a business utilizing soy in their PureBond plywood products. “We’re proud to say we shrank our environmental footprint with U.S. soy.”Roofing Products: Roof Maxx®Roof Maxx is the first soy-based, roof-rejuvenating spray treatment, developed by Battelle Labs, that is formulated with natural soybean oil to penetrate roof materials. This application restores a roof’s flexibility and waterproofing protection, extending the life of a roof by up to 15 years and reducing both the waste created from disposing of an old roof and the waste generated by manufacturing new roof shingles. Due to its incorporation of soy, Roof Maxx provides a safe option for people, pets, property and the environment.“Today, with all the environmental concerns, it only makes sense to look at renewable resources [like soy] to extend the life of anything,” said Roof Maxx Technologies CEO Mike Feazel.Wood Stains: Rust-Oleum®Long used by the coating industry, soybean oil is now a hit in wood stains and finishes, including those produced by Rust-Oleum. Rust-Oleum’s Varathane® wood stains deliver in both sustainability and performance. The soy-based stain line has seen their products penetrate wood twice as deep as other products on the market due to the properties soybean oil brings to the stain. Soy’s hydrophobic nature also increases the water resistance of wood stains, making it a great option for outdoor applications.“From a marketing standpoint, our products give a beautiful finish, which is a byproduct of the soybean oil,” says Jessica Bahn, brand manager at Rust-Oleum. “The soybean oil is like the secret sauce. It gives a beautiful end result, and it’s easy to apply due to the viscosity.”Sealers: Acri-Soy™Soy-based sealers have a superior ability to penetrate and protect a variety of porous substrate surfaces such as concrete, wood and grout. Biobased sealers create an integral bond and seal that allow the substrate to breathe while providing outstanding repellency. Because these sealers are nontoxic and high performing, they meet both consumer and producer needs.Insulation: Demilec Heatlok Soy 200 Plus®Environmentally friendly and energy-efficient insulation is possible with the introduction of soy. Demilec Inc.’s closed-cell spray foam polyurethane insulation contains 14% renewable and recycled materials, which is appealing to homeowners. The insulation also provides multiple control layers into a single application, saving both time and money in construction costs.“Environmental regulations and consumer demands are only going to grow stronger in the coming years,” Walko said. “So, it’s worthwhile for companies to get ahead of the curve now and invest in biobased solutions for their products.”U.S. Biofuels Help Drive Environmental ProgressGrowth Energy, the nation’s largest association of biofuel producers, released a new report examining the potential impact of a growing role for U.S. biofuels in America’s clean energy future. The report was authored by Ramboll, a global research and management firm specializing in sustainable development, at the request of Growth Energy. It presents the latest data on U.S. agricultural innovation, provides a detailed review of recent studies and illuminates gaps in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) understanding of U.S. biofuel production.“The tremendous success of the Renewable Fuel Standard fueled America’s rise as the world’s top producer of affordable, low-carbon biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “From the lab to the farm, new innovations have allowed us to ramp up production year after year, without expanding our environmental footprint. That track record of environmental progress is supported by a wide body of research from public, private, and academic sources. Today’s report will help regulators in Washington wade through misinformation and make decisions about the future growth of biofuels based on sound science.”The report has been submitted to the EPA as the agency crafts regulations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Among other issues, it examines factors raised in the agency’s 2018 Second Triennial Report to Congress, underlying literature relied upon by EPA, and an updated review of scientific literature. The report identifies fundamental flaws in studies purporting to show a causal link between the RFS and land use conversion, and debunks the narrative that increased ethanol production cannot be accomplished without environmental impacts.“The key conclusion of this report is that there are no proven adverse impacts to land and water associated with increased corn ethanol production under the RFS,” note the Ramboll authors. “Accordingly, EPA could decide to reset renewable volumes in a manner that would incentivize greater production and consumption of conventional corn ethanol in U.S. transportation fuel without discernible adverse environmental impacts to land and water, to the extent any exist. The major factors supporting this conclusion are that continued improvements in agricultural practices and technology indicate that increased demand for corn grown for ethanol in the United States can be met without the need for additional acres of corn planted, while at the same time, reducing potential impacts to water quality or water supplies.”Other notable excerpts:-    Increases in corn yield and decreases in land use: “Acres planted in corn across the United States has remained close to or below the total acres planted in the early 1930s, despite increases in demand for corn as human food, animal feed, and biofuels over this nearly 90-year period. The increase in demand has largely been met by an approximately 7-fold increase in yield (bushels per acre) … Efforts in better crop management, improved fertilizer use, and precision agriculture are all likely contributors to improved yields.” (pages 1-3)-    Improvements in agricultural practices: “The timing for increasing corn production and reduced potential environmental impacts due to precision agriculture coincides with increased biofuel demand, and the coincidence of these trends will benefit both producers and the environment into the future.” (page 3)-    Water resource availability: “Advancements in technology and water management techniques have continued to increase the efficiency in water resource management by stabilizing, and potentially reducing, the overall volume of water necessary for corn growth … Additionally, the USDA has shown that irrigation for all crops, including corn, has decreased even as the farming acreage has essentially been stable over the past 35 years.” (page 6)-    Water quality: “Advances in sustainable farm management, including substantial improvements in nutrient formulation and use, and technological improvements in pesticide and fertilizer application, will continue to reduce the potential for impacts to water quality in regional watersheds near corn growing areas regardless of the cause of historical water quality impacts.” (page 7)Ramboll authors also note the impacts of biofuel production should not be examined in a vacuum.,. They write, “Spills of petroleum, gasoline, and a wide range of other fluids used in the exploration, production, and refining processes as well as land use change to support those activities all have adverse effect on water quality, ecosystems (including wetlands), and wildlife. Additionally, both conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction place demands on water supply. Failure to address impacts associated with gasoline production relative to impacts from ethanol production does not present a balanced view of alternative energy sources and casts a negative bias on ethanol production.”Consumer Group: Fake Meat is Factory FoodToday, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is running a full-page ad in USA Today exposing the highly processed nature of fake, “plant-based” bacon. Roughly one-third of consumers believe “plant-based” is equivalent to “minimally processed.” The ingredient list of “plant-based” bacon, which can include tertiary butylhydroquinone and disodium inosinate, reveals this is far from true.  According to the NOVA classification system, ultra-processed foods are “formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes.” A recent National Institutes of Health study found that ultra-processed foods cause weight gain. This ad is the latest in an educational campaign to demystify the “plant-based” craze. CCF has previously placed ads on fake meat in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. In addition to the ads, provides consumers with a transparent look at fake meat as well as informational blog posts and other helpful tools.  CCF managing director Will Coggin commented: “Consumers should be aware that ‘plant-based’ is a euphemism for ‘ultra-processed.’ Fake meat doesn’t grow on vines—it’s made in factories.”Anuvia Plant Nutrients to Reopen Mosaic Plant City Facility as Second Florida LocationAnuvia Plant Nutrients has entered into a long-term strategic relationship with The Mosaic Company to help meet the increased demand for its biobased sustainable and environmentally friendly plant nutrients. The companies have signed a long-term lease arrangement which provides significant benefits to both parties and the surrounding community. Anuvia will utilize a portion of Mosaic’s shuttered Plant City phosphate production facility and repurpose existing infrastructure to increase its production capacity to up to 1.2 million tons.  Currently, Anuvia’s Zellwood facility produces 80,000 tons annually.In addition, as production increases, the company plans to add approximately 135 new employees with an average salary of $70,000. It will be the Zellwood-based company’s second Florida location and is expected to be operational by second quarter 2020.This expansion is in response to increased demand for Anuvia’s biobased sustainable and environmentally friendly plant nutrients. “In the three years since the Zellwood plant went online, the market has been receptive to our products and its unique benefits,” says Anuvia Plant Nutrients CEO Amy Yoder.  “And now in response to the increased demand, we are increasing our production capacity. It is gratifying that farmers are realizing the performance and environmental benefits Anuvia products bring to crop production.”“Mosaic has been looking to partner with successful, innovative companies and this arrangement which includes an equity position is an excellent fit for us,” says Walt Precourt, Mosaic Senior Vice President, Strategy and Growth. “Both companies are committed to operating safely and sustainably while providing customers with high quality crop nutrient solutions.  We look forward to exploring opportunities to further expand our relationship.”In agriculture, Anuvia products stand out because of their ability to help farmers increase productivity as well as the far-reaching environmental benefits which include improving soil quality, reducing nutrient loss and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Research and extensive use indicates a positive yield increase which allows farmers to produce more food in a less intensive manner. Anuvia’s innovative products address a key issue of our time—how to meet future food demand in a sustainable way.Their products offer benefits for both end-users and the planet with little to no barriers to implementation. Anuvia’s plant nutrients products are a plug-and-play technology primed for fast adoption. Their products work within current user practices and technologies, making their use a turnkey part of achieving sustainable goals.Anuvia's products include SymTRX™ for the agricultural sector, GreenTRX™ for the turf industry and ANUGREEN for the consumer residential lawn market.BASF launches Operation Weed Eradication to help growers eradicate weedsBASF launched a new industry-wide initiative to eliminate on-farm weeds. Operation Weed Eradication calls on growers and partners to take action against troublesome weeds in their fields, through cultural practices, chemical control and enhanced diligence.Research by Stratus Ag shows that nearly 75 percent of growers nationwide are dealing with glyphosate-resistant weeds in their fields and today’s management practices are not sustainable for long-term control of problem weeds such as pigweed.“Our approach to on-farm eradication will uproot problem weeds and help secure a sustainable farming future that builds a successful legacy for seasons and generations to come,” said Scott Kay, Vice President U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “Weed eradication will be a personalized, tailored journey for each grower with different start and end points. BASF will support growers with expertise and continuous innovation to support this journey.”Operation Weed Eradication takes a balanced approach of utilizing cultural practices such as conventional tillage, chemical control such as rotating chemistries, and eradication diligence such as hand weeding to help growers eradicating troublesome on-farm weeds.In the coming months, BASF will assemble a coalition of industry leaders, develop a specific eradication customer offering and launch an educational initiative to support its efforts with Operation Weed Eradication.

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending September 22, 2019, there were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 12 short, 76 adequate, and 11 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 82 adequate, and 7 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 20 fair, 55 good, and 16 excellent. Corn dented was 91 percent, behind 97 last year and 96 for the five-year average. Mature was 37 percent, well behind 65 last year, and behind 56 average. Harvested was 3 percent, behind 8 last year, and near 6 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 55 percent, well behind 81 last year, and behind 69 average. Winter wheat planted was 51 percent, near 49 last year and 53 average. Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 4 poor, 14 fair, 69 good, and 10 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 93 percent, near 94 last year and 96 average. Mature was 22 percent, well behind 45 last year and 43 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 15 percent very poor, 18 poor, 22 fair, 41 good, and 4 excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 84 percent. Harvested was 37 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 20 fair, 61 good, and 15 excellent. IOWA CROP PORGRESS & CONDITION REPORTAnother week of heavy rainfall across Iowa allowed just 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending September 22, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included harvesting hay and seed corn, chopping silage, and seeding cover crops. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Precipitation this past week helped increase topsoil moisture levels in all districts; however, the Southeast District remains the driest with a topsoil moisture rating of 36 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Nearly all of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage at 97 percent complete statewide, over 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Eighty-two percent of the crop has reached the dented stage or beyond, 17 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Eighteen percent of corn reached maturity, 19 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind average. There were a few reports of farmers in the central Iowa district that harvested corn for grain this past week. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. Sixty-five percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, 11 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. Twenty-two percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 12 days behind last year and 9 days behind average. There were also a few reports of soybeans being harvested in the west central and central Iowa districts. Soybean condition rated 62 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 87 percent, just over a week behind average. Pasture condition rated 43 percent good to excellent. Continuous rainfall this past week caused feedlots to become muddy. U.S. Corn Condition Up 2 Percentage Points; Soybean Condition UnchangedThe percentage of U.S. corn and soybeans that has reached maturity fell further behind the five-year average last week, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.As of Sunday, 29% of corn was estimated as mature, well behind 69% at the same time last year and 28 percentage points behind the five-year average of 57%. Corn dented was 79%, 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 94%.  Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 3 percentage points to reach 7% as of Sunday, behind last year 15% and 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 11%.  The condition of corn still in fields was estimated at 57% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from the previous week, but still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013.Like corn, the percentage of soybeans reaching maturity fell further behind the average pace last week. NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, 34% of soybeans were dropping leaves, 25 percentage points behind the five-year average of 59%. Soybean condition held steady at 54% good to excellent. Spring wheat harvest maintained its slow but steady progress last week, reaching 87% as of Sunday, 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.   Winter wheat planting progress, on the other hand, remained near the average pace at 22% complete as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of 24%.Sorghum coloring was estimated at 90%, equal to the five-year average. Sorghum mature was estimated at 42%, behind the average of 53%. Sorghum harvested reached 26%, behind the five-year average of 31%. Barley harvested reached 92%, behind the average of 99%. Oats were 96% harvested, also behind the average of 99%.Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 64%, ahead of the average of 57%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 11%, equal to the five-year average. Cotton condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 39% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from the previous week's 41% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 58%, slightly behind the average of 61%. Ricketts Submits Comments on Federal Labor Rule Regarding DetasselingRecently, Governor Pete Ricketts submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor on pending changes to rules governing the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Nonimmigrants in the United States. “Much of the seasonal farm work done for a seed company with fields in Nebraska is performed by a separate company (harvest company) that contracted with the seed company,” wrote Governor Ricketts in his comments.  “The seed company is the beneficiary of the work performed by the H-2A worker, but they are not the employer of the H-2A worker.  The contracted harvest company often comes in from other states.  The employer from out of state does not have the networking connections or known reputation to find available Nebraska workers.  Meanwhile, there are Nebraska harvest companies that have the workers available to perform the work.  In 2019, Nebraska detasseling (harvest) companies had 710 employees wait listed, but certifications were still granted for H-2A workers to perform detasseling.”Recently, some companies have been using the H-2A program to hire outside labor to detassel seed corn while hundreds of Nebraskans ready to do the work remain on wait lists.  In his comments, Governor Ricketts recommends adding a new labor availability check to the H-2A program to protect the program’s integrity.  This additional verification would ensure that Nebraskans willing to detassel get the opportunity before companies bring in other labor.“The State of Nebraska recommends that the petitioning harvest company be required to include with its petition a certification from the benefiting seed company that it solicited bids for the work and no bids were available that did not utilize H-2A workers,” wrote the Governor.Each summer, more than 7,000 Nebraskans work as detasselers, performing indispensable seasonal labor for seed companies.  They rise early to work in the cornfields and spend long hours in the summer heat to ensure that the cross-pollinating process yields a pure seed.  For students and schoolteachers, detasseling is a welcome source of summer employment and a great way to earn income.  For many Nebraskans, detasseling is their first job and serves as a formative, character-building experience.  Detasselers learn the value of hard work, the importance of teamwork, and skills in leadership.  Detasseling also connects the residents of small towns and cities with Nebraska’s farmers, helping more Nebraskans build ties to the state’s #1 economic industry—agriculture. Healthy Soils Task Force to Meet WednesdayKeith Berns, chair, has scheduled a meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force for Sept. 25. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District office at 319 E 25th Street, York.The Task Force will review objectives and discuss research regarding healthy soils activities in other states. The next steps in developing a state healthy soil initiative and action plan will also be discussed.For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.Who has the Hunting Rights for Leased Land? J. David Aiken – Extension Water and Agricultural Law SpecialistA written cropland or pasture lease can specify who has hunting rights. If the written lease does not reserve hunting rights to the landlord directly or indirectly, the hunting rights would go to the tenant for the duration of the lease. This surprises most folks who wrongly believe that the landlord automatically retains many property rights that in fact go to the tenant during the period of the lease term (unless the lease specifies otherwise). A lease written by an attorney would normally address hunting rights (typically reserving them to the landlord), but a lease written by a non-attorney might overlook that issue. I would advise tenants who want to keep their leases to discuss hunting rights with the landlord if those rights are not clear and to not take any action that could cost the tenant the lease when it is up for renewal. If the cropland lease is unwritten, the tenant would have the hunting rights unless the parties have a different agreement. This is under the general notion that in the absence of explicit limitations (as would be included in a well-written lease), the tenant has full rights to use the land to the exclusion of all others, including the landlord, during the term of the lease.  For a May 1-October 1 pasture lease, the same rule would likely apply but only during the May 1-October 1 period. That is, the tenant might have the hunting rights from May 1 to October 1, but not outside that period without the express permission of the landlord. This may seem like a peculiar result but is how I think Nebraska courts would rule on the issue in the absence of a written lease.Farm Bureau Developing Relationships with Food CompaniesFarm Bureau is increasing engagement with companies along the food supply chain to build strategic partnerships. Those relationships are yielding benefits for American famers.Sarah Brown Dirkes, is in her fifth year with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) as the Executive Director of Industry Relations. She is passionate about working to build strategic partnerships between farmers and ranchers and the companies who deal directly with consumers. Dirkes spoke to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors about the importance of farmers having open and tough discussions with supply chain companies across the country.“Every time I go home to my family’s apple farm in upstate New York, I see something new that we are implementing to improve our operation and to grow a better product for the consumer. My brother and I are the eighth generation on our farm and change is imperative for growth and to sustain generational family farm operations. We need to have tough conversations and identify where we can collaborate with food industry partners to pave the way for success for American farmers and ranchers in light of the competitive marketplace in which food companies operate.”As we look ahead, companies on each end of the supply chain will want to stay competitive and continue to seek marketing opportunities to differentiate their products. As this happens, Farm Bureau will continue to foster relationships to help companies make these decisions in a way that also work for farmers.Dirkes says food companies are now coming to talk to Farm Bureau about sustainability, animal welfare, and labor standards because of the relationships that have been formed and incubated over the past several years. “This is the dream and we hope this continues as we work to amplify the voice of America’s farm and ranch families.” Dirkes said.Lending and farm program resource guide for veterans released by Center for Rural Affairs With the average age of a U.S. farmer at nearly 60 years, and millions of acres expected to change hands over the next few years, many Americans are thinking about who the next generation of producers will be. Veterans could step in to fill the need, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.“Saluting Service: A Guide to Lending and Farm Program Resources for Veterans,” authored by Cora Fox, highlights the needs of America’s next generation of producers, which includes individuals who served their country and who are now pursuing a second career in agriculture.“Awareness of U.S. Department of Agriculture farm programs and key provisions, particularly with regard to lending, is important for veterans transitioning from the military to a second career in agriculture,” said Anna Johnson, policy manager with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Veterans must know what programs are available, and how to utilize them to fit the needs of their farming operations.”The white paper outlines farm programs that specifically target beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers, including Farm Service Agency loan programs and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs. Additionally, the author mentions programs and provisions that were added in the 2018 farm bill to help beginning farmers and ranchers.“The impact of these programmatic changes is to be determined, but we recognize these changes reflect positive progress toward the removal of barriers for the next generation of producers,” Johnson said.For more information and to view “Saluting Service: A Guide to Lending and Farm Program Resources for Veterans,” visit to Rally, Call on Trump Administration to Save American Cattle RancherOrganization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is hosting a rally and meeting to call on President Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue to take action to ensure fair prices for cattle farmers and ranchers. If they fail to take swift action, America’s farmers and ranchers will go broke.Organizers say, "We’re mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. Since the repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork in 2015, farmers and ranchers have seen the price they are paid for their cattle continually erode while meatpacking giants get rich. To make matters worse, following an August 2019 fire at a Tyson meatpacking plant, the Big Four meatpackers that control over 80% of the beef market have been gouging farmers and ranchers who now have even fewer options for selling their cattle. This past week, farmers and ranchers were losing over $200 per head while the monopoly meatpackers were making over $400. "Rural America helped get President Trump elected, and rural America needs the Administration's help. It is time for President Trump and Secretary Perdue to take charge and take action. OCM calls on President Trump and Secretary Perdue to take six actions that they have the power and authority to take without an act of Congress. These actions are in line with the Administration’s priorities to “Buy American” and drain the swamp of corporate monopoly power."Featured speakers:    Corbitt Wall, journalist, agriculture market specialist, Cattle Market Summary    Vaughn Meyer, Organization for Competitive Markets vice president and North Dakota cattle rancher    Bill Bullard, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) Chief Executive Officer    Wes Shoemyer, Family Farm Action board member and Missouri cattle farmerThe event is sponsored by the Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF USA, Family Farm Action, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Ameican Grassfed Association.  It will be on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM CT at the Ramada Inn Ballroom, 3321 South 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68124.  Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is a membership-based public policy research and advocacy organization headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. The mission of OCM is to work for transparent, fair and truly competitive agricultural and food markets. NEBRASKA CHICKEN AND EGGS All layers in Nebraska during August 2019 totaled 9.22 million, up from 7.85 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during August totaled 239 million eggs, up from 204 million in 2018. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,587 eggs, compared to 2,599 eggs in 2018. IOWA CHICKEN AND EGGSIowa egg production during August 2019 was 1.43 billion eggs, up 1 percent from last month and 2 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 August 2019 was 57.2 million, up slightly last month but down 2 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for August were 2,502, up slightly from last month and up 4 percent from last year. August Egg Production Up 2 PercentUnited States egg production totaled 9.45 billion during August 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.25 billion table eggs, and 1.20 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.12 billion were broiler-type and 82.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during August 2019 totaled 392 million, up slightly from last year. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,413 eggs, up 1 percent from August 2018.                                    All layers in the United States on September 1, 2019 totaled 393 million, up slightly from last year. The 393 million layers consisted of 331 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.5 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.29 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on September 1, 2019, averaged 77.8 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from September 1, 2018.Iowa Farm Income Appears Higher, but Farm Values DeclineThe “2018 Iowa Farm Costs and Returns” analysis is now available, and despite a slight increase in net farm income last year, farmers saw another year of tight margins and a decrease in total farm assets and net farm worth.The average accrual net farm income (adjusted for inventory changes and accrued expenses) increased by 6% in 2018, to $58,832.“It wasn’t a huge increase in income, but at least we didn’t see a decline,” said Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State University. “However, the rate of return on assets remains very low, compared to historical averages.”The average value of total farm assets declined by $147,471 (6%), and the average value of farm net worth declined by $121,876 (7%), according to the report, which is available in the September edition of Ag Decision Maker, a monthly newsletter of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.About 600 farmers provided income and expense data for this year’s report, which is organized through a collaboration of ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Farm Business Association.Kent Vickre, state coordinator with the Iowa Farm Business Association, said the data definitely reflects farmers’ struggles with profitability.“I think there are only so many years farmers can kind of borrow from their net worth,” Vickre said.The average debt to asset ratio remained stable in 2018, at 24%, but is also the highest level since 2009. The average current asset-to-debt ratio increased for the first time since 2012, to 3.14 in 2018, but is still below the 10-year average of 4.21.In addition to yearly comparisons, the report also compares farms based on total value of gross sales, and by their degree of profitability. The report was limited to farms with sales of $100,000 or more.Surprisingly, perhaps, is the decline in farm size, with the average farm size declining by 21 acres – the lowest since 2013, to an average farm size of 668 acres.Vickre said he’s not sure why farms may have decreased in acreage, unless some operators gave up some ground deemed unprofitable. He said it’s also possible some operators were frustrated and did not report their full acreage farmed.Because the data is delayed by one year, the report does not contain 2019 information. The current year saw severe flooding and planting delays that could delay harvest and reduce yields.Vickre said crop conditions vary widely across the state in 2019, depending on location, and if and when a crop was planted.Financial assistance will also play into the profitability of 2019, according to Plastina. Various forms of disaster assistance have already been made available, and farmers are compensating part of their trade war losses with the Market Facilitation Program.USDA August 2019 Cold Storage HighlightsTotal red meat supplies in freezers on August 31, 2019 were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 14 percent from last month but up 30 percent from last year.Total frozen poultry supplies on August 31, 2019 were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 1 percent from last month but down 7 percent from August 31, 2018.Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on August 31, 2019 were up slightly from the previous month and up slightly from August 31, 2018.  Butter stocks were down 7 percent from last month but up 5 percent from a year ago.Total frozen fruit stocks on August 31, 2019 were up 12 percent from last month but down 11 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 21 percent from last month but down 3 percent from a year ago.USDA Cattle on Feed Report for SeptemberStephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag Economics, Colorado State UniversityThe USDA NASS Cattle on Feed report for September was released last Friday. My take on the report is that it is reasonably bullish. The fear and panic that impact cattle markets after the news of the fire at, and temporary closure of, the Tyson Finney County Plant has not much abated over the past 6 weeks. The Cattle on Feed report communicates that the market is adapting to the situation and it appears to me that there is no overwhelming bad news in the report - or other supporting USDA reports.Cattle on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more head totaled 10.982 million head on September 1, 2019. The inventory was 1.3% below September 1, 2018. This is modestly fewer cattle than were anticipated prior to the report but well within the range of estimates by traders and analysts. Cattle on feed over 90 days and over 120 days were well above last year, and are uncomfortably large, but both appear to be following the typical seasonal declines.Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.953 million head, 1.5% below 2018. These are strong marketing as the numbers in 2018 was huge. Expectations were for a decrease of 1.7% below the prior year so the marketings were very modestly better than expected but well within the range of expectations. Placements in feedlots during August totaled 1.884 million head, 9 percent above 2018. Pre-report expectations were for placements to be modest and 5.7% below the prior year. Actual placements were more modest than expected and at the low of the range.Feedlots marketed reasonably aggressively and placed very modestly through August. From the cattlemen's perspective, this is exactly what was needed. We'll see how the futures and cash markets react through the trading week. The weekly Livestock Slaughter reports confirm one of the big concerns: steer and heifer carcass weights have increased 15-20 pound per head over the past 6 weeks. This increase is typical during the late summer, but weights are still below last year and do not appear to have been too exacerbated by the plant closure. Much will be said about packer margins for August and the remainder of 2019. The live-to-cutout spread jumped to just below $500 per head. This is well above the very strong May-June peaks during 2018 that were close to $400 per head. The plants that are open and running are making exceptional money. (As are likely the employees getting paid bonuses and overtime.) Saturday slaughter volumes are rather high and will likely remain so through October. Which reminds me, we still have October to go to get through this beef tonnage.Grain Barge Movements Up 36% Compared to Last YearFor the week ending Sept. 14, barge grain movements totaled 735,777 tons, a 106% increase from the previous week and 36% more than the same period last year. For the week ending Sept. 14, 473 grain barges moved down river. This is 252 more barges than the previous week. There were 374 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 45% fewer than the previous week.For the week ending Sept. 12, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions reached 1.60 million metric tons (mmt). Inspections are down 23% from the previous week, down 31% from last year, and 38% below the three-year average.Total inspections were the lowest since the middle of July, with corn inspections dropping 31% from the previous week and soybeans decreasing 32% for the same period. Wheat inspections, however, were up 11% from the previous week. Mississippi Gulf grain inspections decreased 45% from the past week, while Pacific Northwest inspections increased 40%.For the week ending Sept. 5, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 21 mmt. This indicates a 40% decrease in outstanding sales, compared to the same time last year. Net corn export sales reached .499 mmt for the beginning of the new marketing year; up significantly from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 1.17 mmt, also up noticeably from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales reached .611 mmt, up 96% from the from the previous week.For the week ending Sept. 12, 30 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf, 9% fewer than the same period last year.RFA Thanks Lawmakers for Letter to EPA on Restoration of Waived RFS VolumesThe Renewable Fuels Association today thanked a bipartisan group of 25 members of the U.S. House of Representatives for asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prospectively restore RFS volumes lost to small refinery exemptions. In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the House group also asked the Agency to stop the practice of “rubber-stamping” requests for exemptions, and to update its analysis on the benefits of renewable fuels on greenhouse gas emissions, the farm economy, and transportation fuel markets. “We appreciate Chairman Peterson and the other members of the Biofuels Caucus for their continued support of American farmers and ethanol producers, and for recognizing EPA’s legal obligation to account for the impact of refinery waivers in determining annual renewable volume obligations,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “These elected leaders understand that the Renewable Fuel Standard is an important tool for economic growth, energy security and greenhouse gas reduction. They also know that for these benefits to be enjoyed, EPA must faithfully enforce the law as written.” Proposed Rule Would Make Millions Vulnerable to Food InsecurityA proposed rule to change the eligibility guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would erode food security in the United States, according to the Alliance to End Hunger. If the rule is implemented, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 3.1 million hungry Americans would lose food assistance through SNAP, and more than 500,000 children from affected families would also lose automatic eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals.As a member of the Alliance to End Hunger, National Farmers Union (NFU) advocates policies that decrease hunger by improving access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food. Because the rule would achieve just the opposite, NFU President Roger Johnson reiterated the Alliance’s earlier opposition and emphasized the importance of the nutrition safety net.  “Too many Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Last year, about one in nine families experienced food insecurity. That number is still far too high, but it’s at its lowest level in over a decade – thanks in large part to SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs. Though there’s abounding evidence that the nutrition safety net works, this administration seems determined to limit its effectiveness and its reach. This latest proposal would remove one of the last lines of defense and leave millions of Americans – including hundreds of thousands of children - more vulnerable to hunger. We urge USDA to protect this critical program and ensure that all Americans are able to put food on their tables.”

NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED DOWN 7 PERCENT Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.16 million cattle on feed on September 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 7 percent from last year. Placements during August totaled 445,000 head, down 7 percent from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of August totaled 460,000 head, down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during August totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year. Iowa Cattle on Feed ReportCattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 630,000 head on September 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from August 1, 2019, but down 7 percent from September 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 480,000 head on feed, down 6 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,110,000 head, down 3 percent from last month and down 7 percent from last year. Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 71,000 head, up 16 percent from July but down 13 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 51,000 head, up 21 percent from July but down 7 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 122,000 head, up 18 percent from July but down 11 percent from last year. Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 69,000 head, down 10 percent from July and down 31 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 77,000 head, down 17 percent from July but up 5 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 146,000 head, down 14 percent from July and down 16 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 head. United States Cattle on Feed Down 1 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 11.0 million head on September 1, 2019. The inventory was 1 percent below September 1, 2018. On Feed by State   (1,000 hd   -   % Sept 1 '18)Colorado .......:                  930             103                Iowa .............:                   630              93               Kansas ..........:                 2,340           101                Nebraska ......:                 2,160            93               Texas ............:                 2,730           102                Placements in feedlots during August totaled 1.88 million head, 9 percent below 2018. Net placements were 1.82 million head. During August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 385,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 300,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 424,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 440,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 230,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.Placements by State   (1,000 hd   -   % Aug '18)Colorado .......:                         170            83            Iowa .............:                           71            87           Kansas ..........:                          440            85             Nebraska ......:                          445            93            Texas ............:                          435           105           Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.95 million head, 2 percent below 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 61,000 head during August, 11 percent above 2018.Marketings by State   (1,000 hd   -   % Aug '18)Colorado .......:                         205           108             Iowa .............:                          69            69                Kansas ..........:                         430           100                 Nebraska ......:                         460            98                 Texas ............:                         450           102              Crop Residue Exchange Updated and Available for ListingsMary Drewnoski - NE Extension Beef Systems SpecialistNew updates make the Crop Residue Exchange even easier to use to link cattle producers and available grazing resources. Crop producers who have listed residue available for grazing in the past are encouraged to log in and update their listings on the Exchange for the fall and winter grazing season.Recent updates to the Exchange have expanded its geographical reach to include large portions of the states that surround Nebraska. Crop producers in much of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota can now list fields they have available for grazing.Another update allows livestock producers to save their searches and receive an email notification when a crop producer lists something matching their criteria. There is a lot more searching going on than we have listings. If a crop producr creates a new listing, odds are pretty good that in the near future several livestock producers will be receiving an email letting them know about it.In addition to providing a winter feed resource, grazing corn residue can increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown. When grazed at proper stocking rates, small but positive impacts on subsequent crop production after grazing have been observed. University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommendations for establishing corn residue stocking rates are based on 50% utilization of leaves and husks (8 pounds per bushel or 20% of the total corn residue). Some additional corn residue disappears through trampling and wind loss, but there has been no increased erosion risks when only 40% to 50% of the corn residue was removed through grazing.Getting Started with the Crop Residue ExchangeAfter establishing a log-in account on the Crop Residue Exchange, producers can draw out the plot of land available for grazing by using an interactive map and entering basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. They also need to provide their preferred contact information. The land available for grazing can be described as a “Residue Type” (corn, wheat, sorghum, other) or pasture. Pricing can be listed as a cost per acre or a cost per head per day. Livestock producers can search the Crop Residue Exchange database for grazing available within a radius for the location of interest. Livestock producers must be logged in to view the contact information attached to each listing.The Crop Residue Exchange came online in August 2017. To date 281 registered users have posted 45 listings for grazing. Over 6,000 searches for grazing resources have been conducted on the Exchange and almost 600 views of contact information for available listings have occurred. The Exchange continues to expand in usage as well as features available to better connect livestock producers with forage resources.Thistle Control in OctoberBruce Anderson - NE Extension Forage SpecialistAs October starts to arrive, our thoughts naturally turn toward crop harvest, but don't forget this is the optimal timeto control thistles. They can be hard to see at this time, but that means they're small enough to provide for more successful control. Timing is everything. That's particularly true with thistle control and the time from October to early November is one of the best times to use herbicides.Walk out into areas where you know you had thistles this year. Look close and you're likely to find many thistle seedlings. Most thistle seedlings this fall will be small, in a flat rosette growth form. At this growth stage they are very sensitive to certain herbicides.Several herbicides are effective and recommended for thistle control.  Several newer herbicides like ForeFront, Milestone, and Chaparral work very well.  Two other very effective herbicides are Tordon 22K and Grazon.  Be careful with all these herbicides, but especially Tordon and Grazon, since they also can kill woody plants, including trees you might want to keep.  Applications of 2,4-D work well while it’s warm, but you will get better thistle control by using a little less 2,4-D and adding a small amount of dicamba to the mix.Other herbicides such as Redeem, Cimarron, and Curtail also can control thistles in pastures. No matter which weed killer you use, though, be sure to read and follow label instructions and spray on time.   Next year, avoid overgrazing your pastures so your grass stands get thicker and compete with any new weeds or thistle seedlings.Controlling thistle this fall can help provide a clearner pasture next spring.Nebraska State Grange Annual Session 2019The Nebraska State Grange held their 131st Annual Session at the Ramada Inn in Grand Island, NE September 13-15.  Roger Steele, Mayor of Grand Island, welcomed our group on Saturday morning. State Grange President Kevin Cooksley read the letter of greeting that National Grange President, Betsy Huber sent to the Nebraska State Grange.Shannon Cooksley, Weissert Ne., presented the Grange Deaf Awareness Scholarship to Mira Liebig from Columbus, NE. Mira is presently attending UNL and pursuing a degree in Deaf Education.Walt Dietz, from Broken Bow, NE was reelected to the Nebraska State Grange Executive Committee.State Grange President, Kevin Cooksley Weissert NE, in his report, mentioned that the Grange again participated in the efforts to bring about much needed property tax relief through the actions of the coalition we belong to (Nebraskans United). In last year's legislative session our group's efforts fell short, due mostly to the opposition by the Governor, of our revenue-production plan.  The politicians say they want property tax relief, but most will not consent to increasing state revenue in order to offset property tax cuts. The Nebraskans United coalition has been making adjustments to their plan, and will be making another effort at property tax relief in the upcoming legislative session.Resolutions adopted included:1. Pressuring the USDA to become more proactive in assuming its role in the current agricultural environment. This pertains particularly to the CFTC and its role in Futures Trading, and the UDSA Monthly Reports.2. Forcing the EPA to follow the federal law so as to ensure that the full amount of ethanol mandated by law to be blended with gasoline be met.3. Requiring that all Halal products having the Halal logo be labeled in such a way that is truthful and easily recognizable, so that customers can make an informed purchasing decision and know that some proceeds from certification is being used to fund various Muslim groups.Vernon Waldren, of Omaha was named the recipient of the 2019 Nebraska State Grange Distinguished Service Award.  “For his service to Nebraska farm and ranch families and 4-H youth through his leadership in the Extension Service, for bridging the divide and uniting the efforts between rural and urban patrons”. Vernon was also inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2018.The 2020 State Session will return to Grand Island.Free Ag Law and Farm Finance Clinics this OctoberFree legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at seven sites across the state in October. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.Clinic Sites and Dates    Norfolk — Wednesday, October 2    Grand Island — Thursday, October 3    North Platte — Thursday, October 10    Lexington — Thursday, October 17    Fairbury — Wednesday, October 23    Valentine — Tuesday, October 29    Norfolk — Wednesday, October 30To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.Siouxland Agricultural Lenders Seminar Nov. 7 near Orange CityAgricultural lenders will receive useful, research-based information during the Siouxland Agricultural Lender’s Seminar Nov. 7 at The Triple Box, near Orange City.The seminar will present current information to assist lenders and farm financial advisers in their portfolio management, which is especially important in this era of continued market variability.Lenders who serve agricultural clients – especially those who work with dairy producers – in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota are encouraged to attend, as the seminar will focus on market outlooks for livestock, grains and dairy, along with the issues of farm technology, new record data and reporting, plus tax laws affecting agriculture.“Ag lenders know that price risk management continues to be a major variable for profitability in ag enterprises,” said Fred Hall, northwest Iowa dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “For that reason, understanding the current market trends and risks is a necessary part of farm management assistance. Lenders and consultants working with dairymen have the additional necessity of understanding a complex system of milk marketing, labor inputs and federal policy implications.”Seminar presentations and registrationOn-site registration begins at 8:45 a.m. and the forum runs from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The list of nationally recognized presenters includes:-    Doug Johnson, Moody’s Analytics: “Convergence of the Big Three in Agriculture: Ag Economy, Ag Technology and Ag Experience.”-    Nathan Hulinksy, University of Minnesota: “Combining FINBIN and DHIA Data to Predict Expansion Success.”-    Mark Stephenson, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Dairy Market Outlook.”-    Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist with Iowa State University: “Agriculture Market Outlook.”-    Tom Thaden, Iowa Farm Business Association: “Agriculture Tax Law Changes.”-    Gary Vande Vegte, CPA, CMA, Van Bruggen & Vande Vegte CPAs and Financial Advisors: “How Dairies are Ramping Up Their Financial Reporting.”The Siouxland Ag Lenders Seminar is hosted through a partnership between the ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Team, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota Bankers Associations.“This local seminar has proven itself in assisting Siouxland lenders and financial advisors with current information, which they can use as they help producers manage risk,” Hall said.Registration is $85 for the first person from a business, and $60 for each additional person who has registered by Oct. 25. To register, use the online registration form  or download the flyer with mail-in form. After Oct. 25, all registrations, including at the door, will be $100 and will not guarantee lunch. For more information, contact Fred Hall at 712-737-4230 or  The Triple Box is located at 4758 Ironwood Ave., Orange City, Iowa.  Here is the link for more information...  HOUSE APPROVES STOPGAP FUNDING BILL THAT INCLUDES CCC FUNDINGOn Thursday, the House approved a stopgap funding bill to keep the government funded through Nov. 21. Contained in that bill is flexibility on the $30 billion Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which funds the Market Facilitation Program, or trade aid, for farmers in response to trade retaliation. Some lawmakers, including House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), sought to not include extension of the CCC funds in the short-term funding, calling for increased transparency on the program. As a compromise, language was included directing USDA to send information to Congress on CCC expenditures, including calculations for estimating trade dispute-related damage to farmers. The Senate is expected to approve the overall funding measure next week.US Ethanol Plant Run Rate at 93.8% YTDThe utilization rate of U.S. ethanol plants averaged 93.8% in 2019 through mid-September, with the June-to-August run rate at 95.6% of capacity.The run rate is based off 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in installed capacity as of Jan. 1 reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, reflecting a 2%, or 300 million gallon, year-on-year increase in 2018 to 16.9 billion gallons. In 2018, ethanol production capacity expanded by more than 700 million gallons.In its Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report, EIA data showed nameplate capacity in the Midwest PADD 2 jumped almost 3%, or more than 400 gallons a year in 2018 to 15.5 billion gallons.TRUMP ALERTS CONGRESS OF JAPAN TRADE DEAL 'IN THE COMING WEEKS'On Monday, President Trump sent a letter to Congress, saying his administration "has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers with Japan" and intends to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe may sign a trade agreement at next week's United Nations meeting in New York. An agreement in principle was announced on Aug. 25 at the G7 summit in France. The National Pork Proudcers Council, a leading advocate for the agreement, celebrated the deal that, once implemented, will place it back on a level playing field with international competitors in a critical export market. U.S. pork producers had been losing market share in Japan because international competitors entered into trade agreements with the country, including the EU and the CPTPP. Japan is the largest value market and the second volume market for U.S. pork exports. Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan will grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years as a result of the United States pork industry getting market access in Japan as favorable as its competitors.NPPC URGES ADMINISTRATION TO 'BREAK THE LOGJAM' ON U.S. PORK IMPORTS TO JAMAICAIn a letter sent Friday, NPPC urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to work with Jamaica for greater U.S. pork market access. "U.S. pork is exported to over 100 nations in any given year and the U.S. typically is the world's largest exporter of pork, but the barriers in Jamaica prohibit virtually all U.S. pork," the letter explained, noting that Jamaica imposes restrictions based on unwarranted claims about the pseudorabies virus (PRV). The U.S. hog herd has been free of PRV since 2003, and there is no scientific evidence to support Jamaica's claim that the disease can be transmitted to hogs through raw pork. No other country imposes PRV-related import restrictions on U.S. pork, the letter noted. "President Trump has called for reciprocity in our trading relationships. We strongly agree. We find it infuriating that Jamaica, the second-largest recipient of benefits from the Caribbean Basin Initiative program, continues to stonewall the United States on this matter. We urge you to break the logjam and open the Jamaican market to U.S. pork," the letter added.U.S./INDIA TRADE NEGOTIATIONS ONGOINGU.S. and Indian officials continue discussions on a possible trade deal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's team is aiming to conclude negotiations about a preliminary agreement by the end of this week. On Sunday, Sept. 22, President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a public event in Houston, aimed at discussing ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship. Meantime, the two world leaders will be together at next week's United Nations General Assembly in New York. Earlier this week, 44 members of Congress urged Lighthizer to restore trade concessions to India. In June, President Trump terminated India's participation in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which provides developing countries beneficial access to the U.S. market. India has a population of 1.26 billion and the potential market opportunity of a trade agreement with India would be significant for U.S. agriculture.Secretary Perdue Statement on Administrative Actions to Streamline H-2A ProcessU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement highlighting actions announced by the Department of Labor (DOL) which will modernize the burdensome H2A visa process. First, DOL published a common-sense rule that eliminates the requirement to advertise a job opening in print newspapers instead shifting to advertising on the DOL and State Workforce Agency websites, which are further reaching and more cost effective. Also, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification announced updates to the pertinent H-2A forms and online filing process for the H-2A temporary agricultural program. These two actions will ease regulatory burdens on our farmers and ranchers, making it easier for them to follow the law and hire farm workers through the H-2A program. “Both of these actions by DOL are critical changes the Administration is making to improve the H-2A application process,” Secretary Perdue said. “President Trump is committed to ensuring our farmers and producers have access to a stable, legal agricultural workforce. By streamlining these processes, DOL is bringing the H-2A process into the 21st Century allowing farmers to be able to better and cost-effectively advertise for workers they need and fill out the required forms faster and more efficiently, because no one should have to hire a lawyer to hire a farm worker. I commend President Trump for his continued support of America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.” Background:In addition to making it easier for Americans to find and fill open jobs, the Final Rule will reduce regulatory burdens like the requirement that all employers advertise in a print newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment as the method of recruitment. Department of Labor’s system updates increase ease of use for farmers and producers who apply for H-2A employees. As any employer knows, hiring forms, applications and rules are cumbersome, time intensive, and duplicative that lack flexibility and common sense. These changes demonstrate the Trump Administration’s commitment to releasing the regulatory burden from our agricultural producers, making it easier for them to hire a stable and legal workforce. The more time a farmer spends on paperwork, the less productive they are, hurting their business and way of life.DOL’s new labor application process modernizes two forms by making them electronic forms, removing time intensive paper applications that require delivery via mailing. The Department of Labor will continue to accept online submissions of the current Form ETA-9142A (and job orders uploaded using the current Form ETA-790, Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order) through the iCERT System until October 16, 2019. Beginning October 1, an employer seeking to employ emergency, H-2A workers or those starting on or after December 15, 2019 must submit a job order using the new form ETA-790/790A (and corresponding addendums) and an H-2A application using the new form ETA-9142A (and corresponding appendices) in the FLAG System.For more information, visit DOL’sForeign Labor Application Gateway(FLAG) page.DOL’s Electronic Recruitment Rule rescinds the requirements to advertise a job opening in the newspaper, expands and enhances electronic job register, and utilizes State Workforce Agencies to promote job openings.

Northeast Nexus campaign receives $250,000 contribution from CVAOne of the Midwest’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives has announced a donation to the Nexus campaign to improve agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.Central Valley Ag (CVA) President and CEO Carl Dickinson said the cooperative board of directors has approved a $250,000 investment in the Agriculture and Water Center of Excellence at Northeast.“Having a college in our community that’s drawing from the right type of people with rural backgrounds, getting them trained up and getting them started and bringing them to us is vital,” Dickinson said. “Not everyone needs a four-year degree,” he continued. “We need people that are trained in trades. We’ve been extremely happy with the students we’re getting out of Northeast.”CVA, headquartered in York, is a farmer-owned cooperative with locations in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. It provides products and services in grain, agronomy, feed, and energy. CVA has more than 900 employees at its 72 locations, and Dickinson says approximately 20 percent of them were trained at Northeast Community College.“All of the students that come out of Northeast today come more advanced,” said Chris Carlson, of Wausa, CVA director of sales and a 1997 Northeast graduate. “They’re ready to hit the field. They’ve got a jumpstart on other individuals. They’re more prepared and have a better idea of what’s happening in agriculture today.”Ed Burbach, of Randolph, the fertilizer operations lead for CVA and a 2013 Northeast graduate, said, “If you are looking to be in agriculture, Northeast is the place to go – and CVA is looking to hire.”Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs at Northeast and the executive director of the College Foundation, said CVA has joined a growing list of companies and agriculture organizations investing in the future of agriculture at Northeast.“CVA is a long-time partner on the College farm,” Kruse said. “They interact with students, bringing real world knowledge to the classroom and the farm field.”CVA also provides paid internships for many Northeast ag students, Kruse explained.Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College. September Rural Mainstreet Index Bounces Back Above Growth Neutral:  Four of 10 Bankers Report Recessionary ConditionsThe Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for September climbed above growth neutral according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.      Overall: The overall index rose to 50.1 from 46.5 in August. This marks the third time in the past five months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.The trade war with China and the lack of passage of the USMCA (NAFTA’s replacement) are driving confidence and growth lower for most areas of the region.“Despite a $16 billion federal government support package this year and somewhat stronger grain prices, more than four in 10 bankers are reporting that their local economy is in a recession,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.  As reported by Dale L. Leighty, chairman and CEO at First National Bank of Las Animas, Colorado, “Grain prices are (still) a big negative for our customers.”Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for September slumped to a weak 43.1 from August’s 46.3. This is the 70th straight month the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0.  The September farm equipment-sales index improved to 35.9 from August’s 30.3. This marks the 73rd month that reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. “This month bank CEOs were asked to project farm equipment sales in their area. On average bankers expected farm equipment sales to decline by another 7.4% in the next 12 months,” said Goss.Below are the state reports:Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for September rose to 47.6 from August’s 44.4. The state’s farmland-price index slipped to 42.3 from last month’s 43.5. Nebraska’s new-hiring index slumped to 45.2 from August’s 46.8. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.4% compared to a stronger 1.6% for urban areas of the state.   Jim Stanosheck, CEO of State Bank in Odell, said, “It doesn't look like Trump's tariffs are going to save the ag economy.”Iowa: The September RMI for Iowa increased to 48.7 from August’s 46.2. Iowa’s farmland-price index improved to 47.4 from August’s 46.1. Iowa’s new-hiring index for September expanded to 55.5 from 51.8 in August. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Iowa have experienced job additions with a gain of 0.4% compared to a much stronger increase of 1.4% for urban areas of the state.Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.   This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.August Red Meat Production Down from Last YearCommercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.65 billion pounds in August, down 2 percent from the 4.77 billion pounds produced in August 2018.Prod by State  (mil. lbs.    -    % Aug '18)Nebraska .....:     739.1            100  Iowa ............:     723.5            106       Kansas .........:     462.7             87       Beef production, at 2.37 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.93 million head, down 2 percent from August 2018. The average live weight was down 6 pounds from the previous year, at 1,338 pounds.Veal production totaled 6.0 million pounds, 9 percent below August a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 50,900 head, down 3 percent from August 2018. The average live weight was down 11 pounds from last year, at 205 pounds.Pork production totaled 2.26 billion pounds, down 3 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.9 million head, down 3 percent from August 2018. The average live weight was up 1 pound from the previous year, at 279 pounds.Lamb and mutton production, at 12.6 million pounds, was down 6 percent from August 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 201,500 head, 2 percent below last year. The average live weight was 126 pounds, down 5 pounds from August a year ago.January to August 2019 commercial red meat production was 36.0 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down 2 percent, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent. Iowa grocery shoppers strongly support real meat over imitation meatFor the 6th consecutive year, the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® finds that Iowans have a strong affinity for meat and dairy products with more than 9 in 10 (99 percent) saying their households eat meat, eggs or dairy at least weekly. Additionally, only a minority of Iowa grocery shoppers would be likely to buy imitation meat over the real thing, even if presented the opportunity. The 6th annual survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll, among 502 Iowans ages 20 to 60, with primary or shared household grocery shopping responsibilities, shows which choices and issues may be motivating them to make their food purchasing decisions. Although plant-based imitation meat options have grown over the years, 94 percent of shoppers still feel real meat is a healthy option, compared to 74 percent who say the same of plant-based imitation meat. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of Iowa grocery shoppers say they would not be likely to buy plant-based imitation meat over real meat and two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents don’t think plant-based imitation meat should be able to use “meat” on its label.  After learning more information about the benefits of animal protein in the human diet, three-quarters (72 percent) of grocery shoppers say they are likely to eat even more meat, eggs, and dairy.That news comes as no surprise to Iowa State University food scientist, Ruth MacDonald, RD, PhD. “Animal protein continues to be important because it is a high-quality or ‘complete’ protein containing all the essential amino acids. Pork, for example, contains one of the highest amounts of protein per serving and provides needed minerals like selenium, zinc, and iron and vitamins B12, B6, thiamin and niacin,” says MacDonald, chair of the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.The strong consumption of Iowa meat, milk and eggs has remained consistent over the last six years of the survey.  More than 8 in 10 grocery shoppers say their households eat beef (86 percent), chicken (83 percent), or eggs (84 percent) at least weekly, 6 in 10 (59 percent) eat pork at least weekly, and more than 9 in 10 (97 percent) consume dairy – cheese (93 percent), milk (87 percent), or yogurt (58 percent) at least weekly.   The survey also indicates that a small minority of shoppers showing an interest in imitation meat is due to perceived environmental impact. Among those likely to purchase plant-based imitation meat, only a third (34 percent) say this is due to environmental impact. Dr. Frank Mitloehner, an animal science professor at UC Davis, challenges the misinformation about the carbon footprint of livestock in the United States.“According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which looks at emissions for the U.S. across all sectors of society including transportation, power production and use, and agriculture, 30 percent of all greenhouse gases are due to electricity production and use, followed by transportation at about 27 percent, and animal agriculture at less than 4 percent,” says Mitloehner. “So all of livestock in the United States accounts for 4 percent.”  Additionally, the National Academies of Sciences found that eliminating all livestock in the U.S. would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.6 percent.Iowans Trust Farmers to Care for the Land, Animals and Trusted Source on Food SafetyThe survey also shows more than 9 in 10 (92 percent) of Iowa grocery shoppers continue to place trust in Iowa farmers.  Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) are confident that Iowa farmers care for their animals responsibly. More than three-quarters (78 percent) say they are confident that Iowa farmers care for the environment responsibly, and 71 percent say they are confident that Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality.Support for GMOsThe Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® again shows positive sentiment towards GMOs with nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) saying they will continue to eat food they normally do knowing it contains GMOs.  Large majorities of Iowa grocery shoppers say certain GMO benefits would influence their decision to purchase GMO foods: produce food with better nutritional value (74 percent), help feed more people around the world (72 percent), use less herbicide and other pesticides (71 percent), produce food that is scientifically proven over 20 years to be as safe as food produced from conventional and organic crops (66 percent), produce food with better texture or flavor (64 percent), produce better yields to make more efficient use of land (63 percent), and produce food with longer shelf life, to reduce food waste (60 percent). MethodologyThe July 11-July 25, 2019, Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the IFBF among 502 adults aged 20-60, residing in Iowa who have primary or shared responsibility for household grocery shopping. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.Former Agriculture Secretaries Announce Support for USMCAToday, all former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.” Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement:“President Trump has fulfilled a promise, which many said couldn’t be done, to renegotiate NAFTA and improve the standing of the entire American economy, including the agriculture sector,” said Secretary Perdue. “Support for USMCA crosses all political parties, specifically when it comes to the agriculture community, and I am proud to stand side by side with former agriculture secretaries who agree USMCA is good news for American farmers. I commend President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer, for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work to get USMCA across the finish line.”Former Secretaries Vilsack, Glickman, and Block joined Secretary Perdue at USDA today for a press conference to reiterate their support for USMCA. You may watch the press conference by visiting the USDA Facebook page.To see the letter from Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) to Congressional leadership, view the USDA Former Secretaries USMCA Letter.Background:USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement builds upon our existing markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support food processing and rural jobs.Canada and Mexico are our first and second largest export markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products.Key Provision: Increasing Dairy Market Access    America’s dairy farmers will have expanded market opportunities in Canada for a wide variety of dairy products. Canada agreed to eliminate the unfair Class 6 and 7 milk pricing programs that allowed their farmers to undersell U.S. producers.Key Provision: Biotechnology    For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology – including new technologies such as gene editing – to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies.Key Provision: Geographical Indications    The agreement institutes a more rigorous process for establishing geographical indicators and lays out additional factors to be considered in determining whether a term is a common name.Key Provision: Sanitary/Phytosanitary Measures    The three countries agree to strengthen disciplines for science-based measures that protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.Key Provision: Poultry and Eggs    U.S. poultry producers will have expanded access to Canada for chicken, turkey, and eggs.Key Provision: Wheat    Canada agrees to terminate its discriminatory wheat grading system, enabling U.S. growers to be more competitive.Key Provision: Wine and Spirits    The three countries agree to avoid technical barriers to trade through non-discrimination and transparency regarding sale, distribution, labeling, and certification of wine and distilled spirits.More Time Provided for Dairy Producers to Enroll in DMC ProgramThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today extended the deadline to September 27 for dairy producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019. The deadline had been September 20.Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), the program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. “More than 21,200 dairy operations have already signed up for DMC, but we’re providing an additional week to help ensure interested producers have time to come into the office,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “With smaller margins and increased feed costs, DMC has resulted in almost $230 million in payments disbursed. I know that some farmers may still be cautious given their experiences with former dairy support programs, but producers who have not signed up yet should come into a local office to learn how much money the program can put into their pockets.”Almost half of the producers who have signed up so far are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here. Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium. For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt. level for any remaining months of 2019. “My message to those dairy producers who are hurting out there: Don’t leave this kind of financial assistance on the table,” said Northey, who announced the deadline extension today as part of a hearing in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. “Producers across the country have told us that DMC is a great risk management tool that works well, and it can work for you, too.”NMPF Urges Dairy Farmers to Take Advantage of Dairy Margin Coverage Signup ExtensionThe National Milk Producers Federation is urging farmers to take advantage of a one-week extension in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program signup deadline to Sept. 27, announced by USDA today.“Dairy farmers have much to gain by signing up for this program, and another week to take advantage of this benefit can be nothing but helpful for them,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We urge producers to take advantage of this added opportunity to sign up.”The USDA said Thursday that more than 21,000 dairy farms have signed up for the new program, the main risk-protection tool for dairy farmers enacted in the 2018 Farm Bill, nearing the level that participated last year in the Margin Protection Program, which DMC replaced. DMC is guaranteed to pay all producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50/cwt. coverage level for every month of production through July, according to USDA data. DMC improvements from the MPP include:-    Affordable higher coverage levels that permit all dairy producers to insure margins up to $9.50/cwt. on their Tier 1 (first five million pounds) production history, a higher level than previous programs.-    A 25 percent premium discount for farmers who lock in coverage for the full five years of the program.-    Affordable $5.00 coverage that lowers premium costs by roughly 88 percent. This creates more meaningful catastrophic-type coverage at a reasonable cost for larger producers without distorting the market signals needed to balance supply with demand.-    An improved feed-cost formula to better reflect the true cost of feeding dairy cows.Peterson Credits House Democratic Leadership for Resolving Trade Aid Issue within Continuing ResolutionHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued a statement Wednesday thanking House Democratic leadership for resolving outstanding issues related to funding available through the Commodity Credit Corporation to aid farmers impacted by the Administration’s ongoing trade war.“Thanks to the Speaker and the rest of House Democratic leadership for ensuring that farmers can have the certainty this assistance will continue. The call for more transparency in this program is a good one, and I appreciate their willingness to ensure that help gets out the door in a timely manner to the farmers who need it, while at the same time enabling the taxpayer to see where those funds are going.”Conaway Commends Republican Leaders for Stopping Democrats from Imposing Devastating Cuts to Farmers, Ranchers, Rural America House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following statement concerning legislation released yesterday evening to keep the government open and requiring that USDA’s CCC be replenished, just as Republicans and a handful of Democrats demanded:“It’s ironic that as news was released about the budget deal some are implying that House Democratic leadership is somehow to be thanked, apparently for failing to follow through on the threat to do serious harm to rural America. That’s akin to Texans thanking Santa Anna for making Texas a Republic. The good news is the Democrats failed in their effort to use our hard-working farm and ranch families as pawns in their obsessive vendetta against the president."CHS expands soybean crush and production capacityCHS Inc. today announced plans for a significant renovation at its Fairmont, Minn., soybean processing plant. The expansion will increase market access for regional soybean growers and return value to its owners through increased production of high-demand soy-based food and feed ingredients."CHS is always looking for ways to expand market access for farmers' crops and improve operational efficiencies. This renovation project will deliver value on several fronts," says Scott Erdal, director, risk management and business development. "The processing expansion and improvements will allow CHS to grow market access, add value to our owners, capitalize on consumer demand for protein and ensure continued safe operations for our employees and the communities where CHS does business." The operational and safety improvements will increase the Fairmont plant's soybean crush and soybean oil production capacity, enhance product quality and optimize production at the CHS soybean refinery at Mankato, Minn.Soybeans grown by area farmers are processed into oil at the Fairmont facility and transported to the Mankato processing plant for further refining. CHS Processing and Food Ingredients serves food and feed ingredient companies across the U.S. and many export destinations."Regional livestock expansion has created new demand for quality soybean meal. This project will increase crush capacity at Fairmont and help us optimize our Mankato soy crush and refining platform," Erdal says.Construction is underway, and completion is expected by fall 2021.Farm Foundation Announces New President and CEO Farm Foundation is pleased to announce that Shari Rogge-Fidler will be joining the organization as president and CEO. Rogge-Fidler brings a breadth of executive, academic and managerial experience in production agriculture, business management, national and international finance, conservation and soil health issues. These skills align well with the varied and important work of the Farm Foundation. "We are very excited to have Shari join the Farm Foundation in this leadership role," says Farm Foundation Board of Directors Chair Larkin Martin. "Her track record of strong leadership, combined with her deep agricultural knowledge makes Shari uniquely qualified to lead the Farm Foundation into the future."Rogge-Fidler is a fifth-generation farm owner from Nebraska, who began her career in London in financial services and then with the Boston Consulting Group. She and her family launched and grew a branded gourmet organic food company, where she was vice president of sales and marketing. She was president of Cambium Strategies, LLC, a company focused on helping food and agriculture organizations navigate secondary growth. At Cambium Strategies, she led diverse teams working on projects with ag-tech firms, as well as a multi-crop supply chain project in Ethiopia and a soil health strategy for large global NGOs. She was also interim CEO at Applied GeoSolutions, LLC, focusing on commercializing its geospatial decision tools for agriculture and soil health purposes. Most recently, Rogge-Fidler was CEO of Family Farms, LLC, serving approximately 1,000 farms across the U.S. and Canada. "I'm thrilled to be joining the Farm Foundation," says Rogge-Fidler. "I have a real passion for food and agriculture. I look forward to the opportunity to help Farm Foundation grow-and to join an organization that does important work in the agriculture and food sectors, convening diverse groups of experts to work on important issues facing a wide variety of stakeholders."Rogge-Fidler received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Kansas, with an emphasis on international finance. She will assume the Farm Foundation role on Sept. 30 and will be based out of the Chicago office."Shari is a talented executive and thoughtful leader. It's exciting to have someone with her wide range of experiences joining the Farm Foundation team. We look forward to a bright future for the organization under her leadership," says Martin.New Study Stresses Ethanol’s Benefits for Energy SecurityA new study shows that the Renewable Fuel Standard not only saves drivers money at the gas pump every day, but also enhances energy security by greatly reducing or even eliminating the blow to our nation’s drivers when global oil production is disrupted. The analysis confirms that the growing supply of ethanol significantly helps dampen gasoline price shocks that result from sudden oil market disruptions. If renewable fuels were removed from the fuel supply, gas prices would be more than $1 per gallon higher, the study found.With gas prices now rising because of the recent attacks on Saudi oilfields, this research is especially relevant today, noted Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “This research underscores what should be common sense: We need a diverse domestic fuel supply for real U.S. energy security,” Cooper said. “We can avoid unnecessary price spikes at the pump by incorporating more renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply and ensuring that healthy competition exists in the marketplace.”The study, by independent economist and energy expert Dr. Philip K. Verleger, Jr., looks at oil market disruptions over nearly 50 years and provides an example in which the availability of ethanol avoids a significant impact to U.S. gasoline prices from a supply disruption. “Retail prices would today be above $4 per gallon, not $2.90, were renewable supplies removed from the supply mix,” Verleger writes. “The lower gasoline prices, in turn, allowed consumers to spend more on the things they wanted rather than motor fuels. ... The economic benefit of lower gasoline prices that is directly attributable to the availability of renewable fuels adds one to two percentage points to the U.S. GDP every year.”Dr. Verleger catalogs various crises and their impacts on the oil supply, from the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo to ongoing political and economic challenges in Venezuela. This week’s attack on Saudi Arabia, which took place after this report was prepared, are estimated to affect 5 percent of the daily global oil supply. When it comes to crises such as these, Verleger asserts that even “a modest amount of renewable fuels can significantly moderate the price impact of market disruptions.”The study incorporates and builds upon a May report by Dr. Verleger that found the RFS lowered gas prices by an average of 22 cents per gallon from 2015-2018, saving the typical American household $250 annually. Finally, Verleger looks at how the competition in the fuel marketing sector, together with the availability of renewable fuels, acts as a counterbalance to the impact of refinery consolidation on supply and pricing. “Consumers would likely pay even higher prices if the mergers that created the large oligopolistic independent refiners had not been accompanied by a second trend: the creation of an aggressive, competitive petroleum marketing sector,” Verleger writes.Taiwan Goodwill Mission Signs Letter of Intent for U.S. Wheat PurchasesRepresentatives from the Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) signed letters of intent to purchase wheat and other U.S. grown commodities over the next two years Sept. 18, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol. The millers are part of a biennial Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission demonstrating Taiwanese consumer preferences for high quality U.S. agricultural products. The wheat delegation members first stopped in Portland, Ore., Seattle and Idaho before travelling to Washington, D.C., for events. They will also visit Oklahoma and South Dakota to meet with farmers, grain handlers and state officials. Mr. Yi-Chuen “Tony” Shu, Executive Director of TFMA and President of Formosa Oilseed Processing Co., Ltd., the parent company of Top Foods Flour Mills, signed the wheat letter of intent along with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson. The letter states that TFMA intends to purchase a total of 1.8 million metric tons (equivalent to 66.1 million bushels) of U.S. wheat between 2020 and 2021. The value of these purchases is estimated to be around $576 million.“We have long had mutually beneficial trade relations with the Taiwan milling and flour products industry,” Peterson said. “U.S. wheat farmers pioneered the market more than 60 years ago by meeting with members of the developing flour milling industry. One innovative plan involved those flour millers donating the equivalent of $1.00 for every one metric ton of imported U.S. wheat to a wheat foods foundation that eventually established what is today the China Grain Products Research & Development Institute. The members of TFMA continue to be reliable trading partners that fully recognize the value of purchasing quality U.S. grown wheat.”The Republic of China, known as Taiwan, is on average the eighth largest market for U.S. wheat. TFMA imports wheat on behalf of all 20 Taiwanese flour mills and has imported far more wheat from the United States compared to other origins.  Today, the Taiwanese people consume more wheat flour per capita than rice. Significant hard red spring (HRS) imports reflect a need for strong gluten flour for breads, rolls and frozen dough products as well as for blending with hard red winter (HRW) to make traditional Chinese flour foods and noodles. Year-to-date sales to Taiwan in marketing year 2018/19 (June to May) are up 11% from 2017/18. Imports of soft white (SW), including Western White (a blend of SW and up to 20% club), help meet growing demand for cake, cookie and pastry flours.USW and its legacy organization Western Wheat Associates have maintained an office in Taipei for 53 years.

Cuming County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting    Monday, September 23    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.Join our Cuming County Annual Meeting at the Indian Trails Country Club (1128 County River Rd, Beemer, NE 68716).  Guest Speaker will be Bruce Rieker, NeFB VP of Gov't Relations.Knox County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting    Sunday, October 6    6:30 - 8:30 p.m.Join our Knox County Annual Meeting at the Z's Lindy Country Club (53891 890 Way S, Bloomfield, NE 68718).Dodge County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting    Thursday, October 24    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.Join our Dodge County Annual Meeting at  the Office Bar & Grill (121 N Main St, Hooper, NE 68031).Fertilizer Prices Still Trending LowerFertilizer prices continue to erode, but the pace of decline slowed, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the second week of September 2019. It's the fifth consecutive week that the price of all eight fertilizers fell.One difference, however, is that only one price dropped significantly, which DTN considers a price change of 5% or more.  The price of anhydrous was down 5% from last month's price at $516/ton, a $27 decline.  MAP prices dropped 4%, to $482/ton, a decline of $21/ton.The remaining six fertilizers were all lower in price than last month, but their moves were fairly slight. DAP had an average price of $486/ton, down $7; potash $385, down $2; urea $407/ton, down $6; 10-34-0 $471/ton, down $4; UAN28 $253/ton, down $5; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $6.On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, the price of two fertilizers fell below last year's prices. MAP is now 7% less expensive and DAP is 1% lower from last year at this time.The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. UAN32 is 4% more expensive; 10-34-0 is 5% higher; potash, anhydrous and UAN28 are all 6% more expensive; and urea is 7% higher compared to last year.NCBA Announces Leadership ChangesThe National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced two significant leadership changes today.The NCBA Executive Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association confirmed Colin Woodall to serve as the association’s new Chief Executive Officer. Woodall, who was named this morning after an exhaustive national search, managed NCBA’s efforts in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. Since joining NCBA in 2004, Woodall has been instrumental in ensuring the interests of NCBA members and the beef community, are well represented in the nation’s capital.“Colin has served NCBA members for 15 years, and in that time, he has done a great deal for beef producers everywhere. Much of his work and many of the victories registered by NCBA in Washington, D.C., is the result of his ability to build coalitions and bring people together across political divides,” said NCBA president Jennifer Houston.Houston expressed confidence that the same talents that made Woodall a success in the nation’s capital will translate to Woodall’s responsibility to lead NCBA’s work as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.“In his new role as NCBA CEO, there is no doubt that Colin will be an outstanding advocate for the Beef Checkoff and the essential work being done to build consumer demand,” said Houston. “Colin’s passion for the beef community has made him one of the most effective advocates in American agriculture and I’m excited that he will now be applying that same passion to the work NCBA is conducting on behalf of the Beef Checkoff.”Originally from Big Spring, Texas, Woodall graduated from Texas A&M University. Following graduation, he worked both as a grain elevator manager and sales manager for Cargill at several locations in western Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle before moving to Washington, D.C., to work on Capitol Hill.  “I am very thankful for the opportunity to lead NCBA and to serve the beef community as the next CEO of the association. American beef producers are the best people I know and although our industry faces many challenges, I am confident we can overcome them,” said Woodall.Ethan Lane was also named today to serve in the role of Vice President, Government Affairs. In his new role, Lane will guide NCBA’s policy efforts in Washington, D.C., where he has extensive experience advocating on behalf of cattle producers. Lane has been serving as Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands. In that role, Lane has been a driving force in many of NCBA’s most important policy wins. His leadership skills and extensive political experience make him an effective choice to lead NCBA’s Washington, D.C., office and the association’s ongoing policy efforts.“I am looking forward to the opportunity to lead NCBA’s office in Washington, D.C., and I’m fully committed to representing the policy priorities of NCBA members across the nation” said Lane. “By standing together, cattle producers have shown they can push back the burdensome impacts of government over-regulation and protect the interests of NCBA members for future generations.”Lane, is a fifth-generation Arizonan, with 18 years of experience in natural resource and land use issues. Prior to his tenure with PLC and NCBA, he owned and operated a consulting firm specializing in natural resource issues.   NCGA LEADERS FLY-IN TO WASHINGTONNational Corn Growers Association State Executives, representing eleven state associations travelled to Washington, D.C. this week to urge members of Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and continue the education effort on NCGA’s Low Carbon/High Octane proposal. The State Executives also pressed lawmakers to use their influence with President Trump regarding potential Administrative actions to mitigate the effects of RFS waivers.“Having representatives of NCGA’s state affiliates in Washington provides lawmakers and their staffs with a first-hand account of the importance of USMCA and ethanol policy to corn farmers,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “This week was also an opportunity for the State Executives to meet with members of Congress who may not have corn farmers in their district but whose votes will be needed to get USMCA across the finish line.”Passage of USMCA remains NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019. USMCA will solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some certainty to farmers facing a perfect storm of challenges. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.Taiwan Goodwill Mission Members Sign Agreement To Continue Purchases of U.S. Corn, DDGS in 2020/2021Members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Goodwill Mission visited Washington, DC, this week as part of their biennial pledge to continue purchasing U.S. corn and U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) between 2020 and 2021.Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday committing to purchase 5 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 500,000 tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), extending their stable buying commitment for another two years. The signing ceremony was held at the U.S. Capitol.The members of the Goodwill Mission also signed letters of intent to purchase soybeans and wheat. The team is part of a long-term effort to maintain economic ties between Taiwan and the United States.Taiwan has grown into a top 10 market for U.S. corn, a goal achieved with the support of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) work with the feed and livestock industries there since 1973.The Goodwill Mission has been organized by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) every other year since 1998 and allows Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. The Goodwill Mission also provides education on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and co-products as well as reconfirms the commitment by the United States to serve as a long-term, reliable supplier for Taiwan.“The recurring Goodwill Mission continues to demonstrate the commitment the two partners have to continued purchases and heightened confidence in U.S. agricultural products,” said USGC Chairman Darren Armstrong. “The programs we’ve worked on together have allowed the Council and our partners in Taiwan to develop the agricultural industries and improve the lives of all our citizens. We are very thankful to continue this healthy trading relationship with Taiwan.”Armstrong participated in the Wednesday signing ceremony on behalf of the Council and U.S. corn and DDGS producers.The Taiwanese delegation was also honored Tuesday at a reception in Washington with government officials and representatives of the agriculture industry, sponsored jointly by the Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other agricultural trade associations.While in the United States, the Taiwanese representatives will visit Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Nebraska they will sign additional purchasing memoranda with each state. During their travels, participants will tour farms and elevators, meet with local producers, agriculture groups and policymakers and learn about the U.S. agricultural value chain.Taiwan is the eighth largest market for U.S. agricultural products, led by U.S. grains, with a total value of $4.3 billion dollars in 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Taiwan purchased 3.21 million metric tons (126 million bushels) of U.S. corn at a value of $593 million in 2018, with U.S. corn holding a 76 percent market share.Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/13/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 13, ethanol production averaged 1.003 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 42.13 million gallons daily. Output receded by 20,000 b/d (-2.0%), from the previous week and was 48,000 b/d (4.6%) below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 0.5% to 1.019 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.62 billion gallons. This was a 21-week low and 3.6% below the average at the same time last year.In contrast, ethanol stocks grew 3.3% to 23.2 million barrels. A large majority of the increased stocks occurred on the East Coast (PADD 1), where stocks had been running a sizable deficit to 2018 for the past three weeks.Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were 11,000 b/d, or 3.23 million gallons for the week. This was the third time in four weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied slumped by 8.9% to 8.939 million b/d (375.4 million gallons per day, or 137.03 bg annualized), the lowest level since mid-February. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol reduced by 2.7% to 905,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.87 bg annualized and the lowest volume in 28 weeks.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.22%.August Milk Production in the United States up 0.2 PercentMilk production in the United States during August totaled 18.3 billion pounds, up 0.2 percent from August 2018. Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,962 pounds for August, 19 pounds above August 2018. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.32 million head, 71,000 head less than August 2018, and 2,000 head less than July 2019.IOWA:  Milk production in Iowa during August 2019 totaled 435 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous August according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during August, at 216,000 head, was the same as last month but down 4,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,015 pounds, up 20 pounds from last August. Conaway Calls on Pelosi, House Democrats to Stop Blocking Trade Aid for Struggling Farmers, Ranchers House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following statement concerning House Democrats’ attempts to deny USDA the funds necessary to make Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Farm Bill payments to farmers and ranchers via the CCC:“House Democratic leaders are not listening to their own rank and file members and continue to hold vital aid for our farmers and ranchers hostage by blocking replenishment of the CCC. I had not waded into this issue publicly because I had hoped that cooler heads would prevail. They have not. I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey to stop using our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural communities as pawns in your fight with the president. Fully fund USDA so it can do its job. It is no surprise that China would try to hold our farmers and ranchers hostage so it could continue to cheat on its trade commitments, but we should not expect the leaders of the United States House of Representatives to use rural America as a bargaining chip.”Saturday, The Washington Post reported that House Democrats were proposing to strip USDA of funding needed to pay trade aid to U.S. farmers and ranchers hit by unjustified retaliatory tariffs by China. The Continuing Resolution to keep the government open is delayed right now because House Democrats have been playing games with USDA’s ability to make trade aid and Farm Bill payments. As The Washington Post article reports, House Democrats planned to deny any new funding for USDA to do its work, which would not only prevent USDA from paying trade aid but also Farm Bill support. After House and Senate Republicans strongly objected to this tactic, House Democrats shifted gears to try and sharply cut funding for USDA and attach so many strings that USDA could not do its job. Yesterday, Republican Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including the Senate Majority Leader, wrote to Speaker Pelosi and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey calling on them to fully fund USDA as Congress has always done. House Republicans fully agree with their Senate colleagues. House Democratic leadership should abandon their efforts to inflict undue harm on America’s farmers and ranchers.Roberts, Stabenow Announce Livestock and Poultry HearingU.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow Tuesday announced the Committee will hold a hearing titled, "Perspectives on the Livestock and Poultry Sectors."It will take place Sept. 25 beginning at 10 a.m. in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.Those expected to testify at the hearing include:- Jennifer Houston, president, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and East Tennessee Livestock Center, Sweetwater, Tenn.- Ron Kardel, vice chairman, National Turkey Federation, and West Liberty Foods grower, Walcott, Iowa- Dr. Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and head, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.- Burton Pfliger, past president, American Sheep Industry Association, and Roselawn Legacy Hampshires, Bismarck, N.D.- Trent Thiele, president, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and KMAX Farms, LLC, Elma, Iowa- Shane Eaton, Member, United States Cattlemen's Association, and Eaton Charolais, Lindsay, Mont.The hearing will be webcast live on Must End NRCS AbusesFarmers and ranchers are being denied due process as part of an abuse of discretion by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, according to a scathing ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The ruling is highlighted in a letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to enact much-needed reforms in the agency.The letter focuses on the case of an Indiana farm owned by David and Rita Boucher, and Mrs. Boucher’s 17-year saga of unfair treatment at the hands of the NRCS staff. The Bouchers removed nine trees on 2.8 acres and NRCS, in turn, demanded they plant 300 trees per acre as compensation.The court found that NRCS wrongly accused the Bouchers of harming a non-existent wetland on their property but made no effort to correct the record even after the accusations were shown to be groundless. The NRCS judgment made the farm ineligible for a wide variety of government programs, creating a roadblock for the Bouchers to obtain the loans and crop insurance necessary to stay in operation.“The USDA repeatedly failed to follow applicable law and agency standards,” the court wrote. “It disregarded compelling evidence showing that the acreage in question never qualified as wetlands that could have been converted illegally into croplands. And the agency has kept shifting its explanations for treating the acreage as converted wetlands. The USDA’s treatment of the Bouchers’ acreage as converted wetlands easily qualifies as arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”The Bouchers are not the only victims of NRCS regulatory abuse, as noted in the letter and as previously conveyed to USDA by AFBF.“The wrongs identified by the Seventh Circuit are systemic throughout NRCS and representative of the experience of countless farmers,” AFBF wrote. “We hope that you find this case as shocking and troubling as does the Seventh Circuit.“USDA’s implementation of its conservation compliance programs transcends politics: the Bouchers’ battle began in the beginning of the Bush presidency and continued through the Obama and Trump administrations. The unanimous judges on the Seventh Circuit were appointed by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Obama. And the actions by USDA were not limited to a few individuals, but were endemic through all levels of review and appeal.”AFBF is calling on Secretary Perdue to accept the Seventh Circuit decision and compensate Mrs. Boucher for costs incurred in her fight against the federal government. More broadly, the letter urges USDA to view its finalization of the Interim Final Rule as an opportunity to correct the problems identified in the ruling.The letter explains, “In reality, affected farmers typically have been unable to challenge the agency’s decisions because they simply cannot afford to lose eligibility or the costs of a fruitless appeal. Generally, farmers follow the direction of the agency to avoid ineligibility instead of appealing.”Additionally, AFBF is asking USDA to:-    Retrain National Appeals Division judges and agency directors in how to provide a fair and balanced hearing;-    Require USDA to provide the entire record or decisional documentation to the farmers at the time of alleged compliance violation;-    Allow the farmer and his or her counsel to call NRCS technical staff as witnesses in the appeal;-    Accept evidence provided by the farmer as true, absent substantial evidence to the contrary; and-    Compensate the farmer for legal fees when the farmer wins an appeal – i.e., when the farmer is forced to incur costs as a result of an incorrect decision from NRCS.

Fall Application Deadlines Near for Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska reminds producers of approaching application deadlines for purchasing risk coverage for some crops through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass and more. Coverage varies by county and by crop, so producers who are interested should contact their FSA county office for more information.Upcoming application deadlines for NAP coverage for the 2020 production season in Nebraska, include:    Rye, triticale and wheat: Sept. 30, 2019    Alfalfa, mixed forages and grass: Nov. 15, 2019    Apples, aronia berries and grapes: Nov. 20, 2019“Natural disasters that are considered eligible causes of loss for NAP include floods, drought, freeze, hail, and excessive moisture, among others,” said FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner. “Given the variability of weather in Nebraska, we want to remind producers of the availability of NAP as a potential tool for risk management in 2020.”NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Buy-up coverage is available in some cases. NAP can protect against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for buy-up levels of NAP coverage from 50 to 65 percent of expected production in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Buy-up coverage is not available for crops intended for grazing.For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. Premiums apply for buy-up coverage.Producers qualifying as beginning, underserved, or limited resource farmers or those who can meet eligibility requirements as a military veteran are eligible for the basic level of NAP coverage at no cost and have the potential for reduction in the cost of buy-up premiums.To learn more about NAP visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center, visit  Iowans should prepare for propane needs this fallIowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged ag businesses, farmers, rural residents and other Iowans that use propane to consider taking steps to ensure adequate propane supplies this fall and winter.“As of the first week of September, propane inventories were significantly higher than what they were at this time last year and just shy of the five-year average high,” Naig said. “Due to the late planting season across the state, Iowans need to be aware of the length of time and amount of propane that will be needed this fall.”According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report on September 8, 60 percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond with four percent mature, 11 days behind the five-year average.  These figures were 87 and 28 percent, respectively, a year ago.  The later crop maturity in large portions of the state will likely mean a steady demand for propane use for grain drying throughout the fall months.Actions that farmers and other propane users can take now in order to prepare for this fall and winter include:      • Confirm propane supplies for grain drying, livestock facilities, homes and machine sheds are full going into the fall season.       • Take advantage of early buy/booking programs      • Consider expanding on-site capacity at facilities and homes      • Communicate early and regularly with propane suppliersPropane production has continued to increase across the country over the summer months and exports were down in August. Those two factors have helped to boost late summer supplies. It is estimated that just over a million more barrels of propane is currently being stored in the Midwest and about 21 million barrels more in the Gulf Coast region compared to this time last year.The increase in supply means prices have decreased since last year. The latest average for propane in Iowa is $1.11 per gallon, down 15-cents from fall 2018. Nevertheless, it is important for users to be prepared as fall and early winter weather patterns approach. With the chance of export pressures to increase this fall, ensuring adequate supplies on hand now can help avoid any possible unforeseen spikes in demand later this year.As of September 6, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports propane stocks in the Midwest “PADD 2” region at 26.9 million barrels. That is up from 25.8 million barrels a year ago. EIA reports that U.S. propane stocks as of that same date at 97.8 million barrels compared to 74.6 million barrels a year ago. Higher supply levels are attributed primarily to increased production levels and lower August export pressures.The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues to work with a number of Iowa agriculture organizations and the Iowa Propane Gas Association (IPGA).  The IPGA and the state propane suppliers work towards communicating the supply and demand for this vital agricultural energy resource.USDA Modernizes Swine Slaughter Inspection for the First Time in Over 50 YearsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection and bring it into the 21st century. For the first time in more than five decades, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is modernizing inspection at market hog slaughter establishments with a goal of protecting public health while allowing for food safety innovations.“This regulatory change allows us to ensure food safety while eliminating outdated rules and allowing for companies to innovate,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “The final rule is the culmination of a science-based and data-driven rule making process which builds on the food safety improvements made in 1997, when USDA introduced a system of preventive controls for industry. With this rule, FSIS will finally begin full implementation of that program in swine establishments.”Background:The final rule has new requirements for microbial testing that apply to all swine slaughterhouses to demonstrate that they are controlling for pathogens throughout the slaughter system. Additionally, FSIS is amending its meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for market hog establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS).In the final rule, FSIS amends the regulations to require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. The final rule also allows market hog establishments to choose if they will operate under NSIS or continue to operate under traditional inspection.FSIS will continue to conduct 100% inspection of animals before slaughter and 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated by Congress. FSIS inspectors will also retain the authority to stop or slow the line as necessary to ensure that food safety and inspection are achieved. Under the NSIS, FSIS offline inspectors will conduct more food safety and humane handling verification tasks to protect the food supply and animal welfare.NPPC Welcomes New Swine Inspection System, 'Reflecting a 21st Century Industry'The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) finalized today its New Swine Inspection System (NSIS)."We applaud the USDA for introducing a new inspection system that incentivizes investment in new technologies while ensuring a safe supply of wholesome American pork," said National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a producer from Lillington, N.C. "The U.S. pork production system is the envy of the world because we continuously adopt new practices and technologies, while enhancing safety, quality and consistency. This new inspection system codifies the advancements we have made into law, reflecting a 21st century industry."The NSIS, which has been piloted at five pork processing plants, was developed over many years of research and evaluation and recently received the endorsement of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, highlighting the strong science-based approach used in designing the program."The U.S. industry has long been a global leader in offering the highest quality, safest and most affordable pork to consumers here at home and abroad. We are proud of our record and welcome this program to further modernize our production process," added Herring.  Taiwan Prepares to Buy U.S. Ag ProductsThe U.S. ag industry could expand its relationship with another Asian trading partner while the Chinese and American governments try to work out a deal.Taiwanese officials, led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Chen Junne-Jih, will be in the United States this week to meet with representatives from the U.S. grain and meat industries. The Taiwanese representatives will sign a letter of intent to purchase $3.6 billion of American ag goods.Soybeans, corn, wheat and beef will be included in the trade package, reports indicate.Taiwan is using the diplomatic landscape between the U.S. and China to secure more trade."Undeniably, the U.S.-China trade dispute has affected U.S. agricultural exports, and the deal (with Taiwan) is beneficial not only to U.S. farmers, but also to Taiwan, as our nation is now in a better bargaining position in terms of prices," Chen said, the Taipei Times reported.The U.S. has seen an uptick in the amount of ag exports to Taiwan.Between 2008 and 2018, ag trade to Taiwan has increased by 15 percent from US$3.4 billion to US$3.9 billion annually, the USDA says. And the country ranks ninth among U.S. ag export markets.Whether the US$3.6 billion in ag exports is in addition to the 2018 figure is unknown at this point.Taiwan hopes to position itself as a reliable trading partner for the U.S. ag sector.Drought Causing Planting Delays for Brazil's Corn, Soybean CropsBrazil's soybean planting season for the 2019-20 harvest is officially underway, but there might not be too many planters out in the fields just yet as conditions are extremely dry.Weather forecasts call for practically bone-dry conditions in most of Brazil's growing regions for at least the next two weeks, and this stands to threaten not only the soybean crop but the heavily exported second corn harvest, as well.The farmers in the top soybean and corn producing state in the country's Center-West, Mato Grosso, cannot start planting soybeans until Sunday. But down south, No. 2 grower Parana's soybean planting window opened on Wednesday.Brazil is the world's top exporter of soybeans, and most of those shipments go to China, the largest buyer. Beijing has been keeping an extra close watch on Brazil's soybean market ever since the U.S.-China trade war began last year.But the timely sowing of soybeans in Brazil may be even more important for the second-crop corn, or safrinha, which is planted immediately after the beans are harvested. More than 70% of Brazil's total corn is safrinha and it is primarily used for export, while the first-crop corn is consumed domestically.Brazil's safrinha corn competes directly with the United States for export competition, and the recent record Brazilian harvest priced the U.S. product out of the global market. Brazil's corn exports hit record levels in the last two months, while U.S. shipments slid to six-year lows for the period.Farm Bureau Marks National Farm Safety and Health WeekThe American Farm Bureau is reminding everyone in agricultural communities about their role in staying safe on the farm and ranch during National Farm Safety and Health Week (Sept. 15-21).The theme of the week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear.”“The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network will be sharing resources with county and state Farm Bureaus and joining the conversation about farm safety and health on social media throughout the week,” said Maggie Good, assistant director of member engagement at AFBF.Resources include a series of free webinars coordinated by the AgriSafe Network on topics such as tractor safety, ergonomic safety for farm women, opioid use, safeguarding children and youth, and preventing agricultural injuries. Visit for details and to register.Additional information, including a social media kit, is available on the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety website,

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending September 15, 2019, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 8 short, 82 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 83 adequate, and 9 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 21 fair, 54 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dough was 97 percent, near 100 last year and 99 for the five-year average. Dented was 82 percent, behind 91 last year and 90 average. Mature was 19 percent, well behind 41 last year, and behind 35 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 21 fair, 61 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 98 percent, near 100 both last year and average. Dropping leaves was 22 percent, well behind 59 last year and 44 average. Winter wheat planted was 19 percent, equal to last year, and behind 26 average. Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 17 fair, 64 good, and 17 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 84 percent, behind 90 last year and 91 average. Mature was 6 percent, well behind 26 last year, and behind 23 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 10 percent very poor, 22 poor, 25 fair, 38 good, and 5 excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 61 percent. Harvested was 11 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 18 fair, 60 good, and 18 excellent. Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report Heavy rains fell across much of Iowa with just 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending September 15, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included harvesting hay and seed corn, chopping silage, and seeding cover crops. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 1 percent very short, 13 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Precipitation this past week helped increase topsoil moisture levels in all districts. However, the topsoil moisture rating in east central, south central and southeast Iowa districts remains above 25 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 3 percent very short, 18 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Ninety-four percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, over two weeks behind both last year and the 5-year average. Seventy-four percent of the crop has reached the dented stage, 15 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Eight percent of corn reached maturity, 19 days behind last year and 13 days behind average. Corn condition improved slightly from the previous week to 65 percent good to excellent. Nearly all of the soybean crop has started setting pods at 96 percent statewide, over two weeks behind average. Forty percent of the crop has begun coloring, 11 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. Five percent of soybeans began dropping leaves, almost 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Soybean condition also improved slightly from the previous week to 63 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 84 percent, 4 days behind average. Pasture condition rated 43 percent good to excellent. There were a few reports of high numbers of insects around livestock and concerns for livestock in permanent pastures. Corn Mature 21 Percentage Points Behind Five-Year AverageU.S. corn and soybean conditions held mostly steady last week, but both crops are still significantly behind the average pace in reaching maturity, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, Sept. 15, the U.S. corn crop was 55% in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. Only 18% of corn was estimated mature as of Sunday, according to NASS. Last year at this same time, half of the crop (51%) had reached maturity. The current maturity is also 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 39%. Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 93%, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 98%. Corn dented was 68%, 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%.In its first corn harvest report of the season, NASS estimated that 4% of the crop had been harvested as of Sunday, led by activity in North Carolina and Texas. That compares to last year's 8% harvested and the five-year average of 7%.While corn condition was unchanged last week, the condition of the nation's soybean crop fell slightly from 55% good to excellent the previous week to 54% as of Sunday. Soybeans setting pods reached 95% as of Sunday, behind both last year's and the average pace of 100%. Soybeans dropping leaves was estimated at 15%, far behind last year when half of the crop had leaves dropping and 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 38%.Spring wheat harvest slowed last week, moving ahead only 5 percentage points from the previous week to reach 76% as of Sunday. That is 17 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. Planting of next year's winter wheat crop was estimated at 8% complete as of Sunday, according to NASS, slightly behind the average pace of 12%.Sorghum coloring was estimated at 79%, behind the average of 84%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 34%, behind the average of 44%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 24%, behind the five-year average of 27%. Barley harvested reached 87%, behind the average of 96%. Oats were 92% harvested, also behind the average of 97%.Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 54%, ahead of the average of 47%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 9%, near the five-year average of 8%. Cotton condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 41% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from the previous week's 43% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 46%, slightly behind the average of 48%. LENRD budget reflects flood reduction projects and lower property valuationsThe fiscal year 2020 budget for the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) calls for a slight increase in the property tax levy.LENRD General Manger, Mike Sousek, said, “Last year the tax levy was the lowest it had been in 45 years.  The slight increase is the result of flood reduction projects stemming from the March floods as well as the lower property valuations across the district.”After months of discussions, the operating budget was approved by the LENRD board of directors at their September 12th meeting with a tax request of $4,332,004, an increase of $59,276 from last year or a 1.4% increase.  The overall operating expenditures show a 38% increase of $2,923,383 from last year.Sousek, said, “For the past 7 years there has been a decrease in property tax asking, reaching a historic low in 2018.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to continue decreasing the tax levy year after year.  With the 1.4% increase this year, we are expanding our public awareness of our 12 responsibilities and have more projects and programs on the table to meet the challenges of natural resources management.”The estimated levy, based on the property tax request, is 2.370 cents per $100 of valuation, which is a slight increase from the fiscal year 2019 levy of 2.314 cents per $100 of valuation.  For example, if a person owns a $300,000 house, the taxes owed to the LENRD would have been $69.42 in 2019 and will be approximately $71.10 in 2020.Sousek, added, “We continue to maximize the use of our local funds, by bringing in grant money to subsidize our projects.  The funds received by the LENRD are returned to the citizens of the district, through projects, programs, and studies across all or parts of 15-counties in northeast Nebraska.”Some of the major expenditures for FY 2020 include:  Levee and Flood Protection Projects - $1,858,150; Water Resources Programs - $622,000; Project Construction (including flood related repairs) - $983,000; and Conservation Cost-Share programs, including the Bazile Groundwater Management Area Project and Willow Creek Best Management Practices - $696,500.Other area conservation benefits include:  water quality and quantity programs such as groundwater management, flood control, and nitrate management; as well as erosion control, cost-share to landowners who apply for conservation practices, recreation areas and trails, urban recreation and community forestry programs, and many other benefits that protect our natural resources.  A copy of the budget documents can be found at: Annual NRD Conference Focuses on Flood Control, Water ManagementNatural resources stakeholders and experts will be in Kearney for the annual Nebraska Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) Conference at the Younes Conference Center Sept. 23-24.The conference brings together NRD employees and others integrally involved in conservation, technology and policymaking. The event kicks off with the Ron Bishop Memorial Golf Outing and trap shoot on Sunday, Sept. 22, to raise money for the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.Topics include an overview and discussion of successful natural resources programs, new technologies and research for future programs. Panelists at the forum will also provide insight on flood mitigation, Farm Bill changes, and irrigation yields and limits.Recognizing citizens for their conservation efforts, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts also will present awards during the noon luncheon Monday, Sept. 23. Winners include:    Tree Planter of the Year: Doak Nickerson – Chadron, Nebraska    Grassland Conservation Award: Schulte Family – Pleasanton and Kearney, Nebraska    Community Conservation Award: Niobrara High School – Niobrara, Nebraska    Soil Stewardship Conservation Award: Nick & Rose Keller – Spencer, Nebraska    Director of the Year: Steven Kelley, Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District    Educator(s) of the Year: Patrick Kratochvil and Suzy Foley, Madison High SchoolMonday evening includes a live and silent auction for the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation, which assists youth programs involved in natural resources and agriculture, followed by a dinner banquet at 6:30 p.m.During the banquet, three NRD Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized including: James Nelson, Cairo, Nebraska (Board Member); Tom Moser, Hartington, Nebraska (NRD Employee); and Tom Pesek, Brainard, Nebraska (NRD Supporter). The Omaha World-Herald will also present Master Conservationist Awards to Dan Gillespie of Battle Creek, Nebraska; Omaha Northwest High School Outdoor Environmental Classroom; and the Spring Lake Park Project Team.More than 300 natural resources stakeholders are expected to attend the conference. Online registration and a detailed agenda are available on the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts’ website.The annual NRD Conference is presented by Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts with a range of local and national sponsors.WEEDS IN ALFALFA MAY SUGGEST RESEEDINGBruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist               Did weeds take over your alfalfa this summer?  Well, join the crowd.  So, why were the weeds so vigorous and what might happen to your alfalfa?               Weeds seemed to show up everywhere in alfalfa fields during August and September.  And I'm not exactly sure why.  One thing is for sure, though.  The weeds were worst in older fields, thinner stands, and in areas where rainfall was higher than normal.               Summer weeds that invade alfalfa when rain is heavy isn't unusual, especially if it is wet right after harvest.  Alfalfa stubble just doesn't compete well with weeds, so weed growth gets a jump start on the alfalfa.               If the alfalfa plants are healthy and vigorous, though, this weed invasion should be just a temporary problem.  After the next cutting, or maybe as late a next year, most weeds will disappear and the alfalfa will take over again.               What I'm more concerned about are your older fields, those fields starting to get a little thin.  I've noticed this year that many alfalfa fields seemed to be getting weaker and weaker as the year went on, especially if they were harvested within a month of the previous cut.        What I think is happening is that alfalfa plants in many fields have slowly been weakened naturally by root and crown diseases, but they weren't killed.  Then, as the summer went on, the weakened root systems eventually couldn't handle the stress caused by frequent harvesting.  So plants slowly died.  And weeds invaded the open areas.               If this scenario describes one or more of your alfalfa fields, check it closely this fall.  It might be time to reseed.               Preparing to reseed now will help avoid bad surprises next spring.STORAGE METHODS TO REDUCE HAY LOSSES               As you bring in your round bales for winter storage and feeding, store them to minimize weather losses.               Hay stored outside will be damaged by rain, snow, wind, and ice this fall and winter.  The average round bale loses about one fourth of its original nutrients during storage, but these losses can be reduced to less than 10 percent or so.  Now, you may be better than average but let’s still look at ways to reduce spoilage by storing that valuable hay more carefully this year.               For instance, do you sometimes line up bales for easy access so the twine sides touch each other?  Or do you stack your bales?  If so, extra spoilage will occur where these bales touch because rain, snow, and ice will gather in spots where bales touch instead of running off.  Round bales butted end-to-end, cigar-like, usually have less spoilage.               Does snow drift around your bales?  Bales placed in east-west rows often have drifts on the south side.  Hay close to fencelines or trees can get extra snow.  As snow melts it soaks into bales or makes the ground muddy.  Plus, the north side never gets any sun so it's slow to dry.  This year, line your bales up north-and-south and away from trees for fewer drifts and faster drying as sunlight and prevailing winds hit both sides of the row.               Most important is the bottom of your bales.  Always put bales on higher, well-drained ground so water drains away from them.  Keep them out of terrace bottoms or other low spots.  If necessary, use crushed rock, railroad ties, or even pallets to elevate bales to keep the bottoms dry.  This also will reduce problems getting to your hay or getting it moved due to snow drifts or mud.               Just a little pre-planning can save lots of hay and frustrations.Representative Jeff Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers UnionNebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 380 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials.  Fortenberry was one of 26 House and Senate members honored this year.The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and NeFU Vice-President Vern Jantzen during their meeting with him Tuesday morning.  “We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s continued leadership on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and a wide range family farm and ranch issues that support farm and ranch families and their rural communities,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s thoughtful approach to understanding the issues that impact family farm and ranch agriculture and our state, and his always open door.” Thirteen Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.  In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants included NeFU Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth, NeFU District three Director Mary Alice Corman and husband Richard of Edgar, NeFU District seven President Art Tanderup and wife Helen of Neligh, Leo Hoehn of Gering, Camdyn Kavan and Midwest Regional Agency Insurances Business Specialist Jennifer Larabee of Lincoln, Julie Hindmarsh of Fremont, Jeff Downing, Midwest Regional Agency Insurances General Manager of Elkhorn, and Midwest Regional Agency Insurances Agent Nicole Johnson and Laura Thomas of Omaha.LISTENING SESSIONS ON RURAL COMMUNITY PROSPERITY SCHEDULED IN NORTH PLATTE, LINCOLNTwo regional convenings in October will offer Nebraskans opportunities to share their best ideas on how the University of Nebraska can help rural communities position themselves for economic success. The listening sessions, which are open to the public, will be held in North Platte on Oct. 15 and in Lincoln on Oct. 24.“The University of Nebraska is a key resource for the state’s rural communities,” said Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “As part of our efforts to ensure the continued competitiveness of our state, we want to help rural communities position themselves for long-term economic prosperity.”The sessions are organized by a working group charged with creating a comprehensive strategic framework for an innovative, robust and integrated approach to rural community vitality, prosperity and resilience. The upcoming discussions, to be hosted by Boehm, will invite Nebraskans to share experiences in rural community development and to explore how the University can be most effective in strengthening the economic prosperity and vitality of rural communities.Session times and locations:    NORTH PLATTE: Oct. 15, 1:30 – 5 p.m., West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Rd.    LINCOLN: Oct. 24, 8:30 a.m. – noon, Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Dr.To register to attend in person or online, visit more information, visit Nebraska Pork Officials Travel to Japan and Vietnam for Trade TalksPork is the number one meat consumed by the people of Japan and Vietnam. These countries have the potential to be a major export market for pork from Nebraska and the United States. These person-to-person trade missions are extremely helpful in increasing the potential for future sales and the impact to the bottom-line of rural America. Tim Chancellor, President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) was among the 30-member Heartland Team, which included beef, pork, corn and soybean producers and other agricultural industry leaders, met with key players in the Japanese trade, toured retail and restaurant sectors, explored Japanese domestic production and overall, gained a better understanding of the potential in the market and how USMEF works to develop the Japanese market for U.S. red meat products. The visit came on the heels of the trade agreement in principle that would bring Japanese tariffs on U.S. beef, pork and other agricultural products in line with tariffs of our competitors.“Knowing where product comes from and how it is produced is important with Japanese consumers,” says Tim Chancellor, President of the Nebraska Pork Producers.  “It is a fascinating and sophisticated market and consumers want assurances about the safety and quality of imported products.” NPPA Executive Director Al Juhnke recently returned from a trip led by Governor Pete Ricketts, with the Nebraska ag trade delegation and hosted by Dan Kritenbrink, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.   Ambassador Kritenbrink is a native of Nebraska and graduate of the University of Nebraska–Kearney.  During their time in Vietnam the group met with high ranking government officials in Hanoi, participated in a business seminar for Vietnam traders, made a stop at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, and visited the new deep-sea port of Hai Phong.“Vietnam is a growing market for our Nebraska pork producers,” said Al Juhnke. “Their local supply of pork is lessened with the onset of African Swine Fever and the U.S. has the potential to help by sending product to address this need. We are also exploring ways that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can cooperate with researchers in Vietnam to work on a vaccine for ASF.”New Kansas State University study confirms possible danger of imported feed contaminated with African swine feverA new study conducted by veterinary researchers at Kansas State University sheds new light on a threatening swine disease: African swine fever.The research team, headed by Megan Niederwerder, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, looks at the degradation of African swine fever virus in animal feed ingredients to understand the potential for disease spread through contaminated feed.Up to now, data has been limited. Niederwerder's latest study, "Half-Life of African Swine Fever Virus in Shipped Feed," is now available online in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. It examines the possible risk of African swine fever virus spreading to the United States through imported feed. The study provides more accurate half-life measurements that confirm the virus can survive a simulated 30-day transoceanic voyage in contaminated plant-based feed and ingredients."This study provides additional evidence supporting the potential risk that feed may play in the transboundary movement of African swine fever," Niederwerder said. "Our latest work provides robust half-life estimates, which include standard errors and confidence intervals, and characterizes the stages of viral decay over time for African swine fever virus in animal feed ingredients."Detailed analysis shows that the half-life of African swine fever virus in feed ranges from 9.6 to 14.2 days after exposure to varying temperature and humidity conditions simulating transoceanic shipment. This means it would take approximately two weeks for the total viable virus concentration to decay by half its original count under the conditions of a transatlantic voyage. Niederwerder said that all feed matrices provided a more supportive environment for viral stability when compared to media, where the shortest half-life was calculated.The new study expands on Niederwerder's previous work confirming the likelihood of African swine fever transmission through feed and can be used to implement science-based management practices such as storage time to reduce this risk."Transmission of swine viruses through feed has been recognized as a risk since around 2013, but the probability of African swine fever virus infection through plant-based feed was unknown until our publication earlier this year," Niederwerder said. "Our research reports novel data and important quantitative information that can be incorporated into risk models for introduction and mitigation of African swine fever virus through imported feed ingredients."Over the last year, African swine fever virus has emerged on new continents and spread to historically negative countries. If the virus can survive shipments overseas, this provides an opportunity to infect swine in the United States and other countries through imported feed, which would be devastating to U.S. pork production."African swine fever virus is a rapidly spreading and emerging transboundary animal disease that threatens pork production and human food security worldwide," Niederwerder said. "The emerging threat of African swine fever virus being introduced into the United States is staggering and significant efforts are focused on preventing entry."African swine fever is now considered endemic in China, where the world's largest population of pigs live. Chinese production of pork is estimated to be cut by 25% by the end of the year. The disease has also spread to several other Asian countries and recently to Western Europe.Funding for the study was provided by the Swine Health Information Center and the State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-defense Facility Fund. Co-authors on the publication include Ana Stoian, doctoral student in pathobiology at Kansas State University; Jeff Zimmerman, professor at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine; Ju Ji, doctoral student in statistics at Iowa State University; Trevor Hefley, assistant professor of statistics at Kansas State University; Scott Dee, veterinarian with Pipestone Veterinary Services; Diego Diel, associate professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Bob Rowland, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University.BEEF PROMOTION OPERATING COMMITTEE APPROVES FISCAL YEAR 2020 CHECKOFF PLAN OF WORKThe Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) will invest approximately $40.9 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications during fiscal 2020, subject to USDA approval.In action at the end of its September 10-11 meeting in Denver, Colorado, the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) approved checkoff funding for a total of 15 “Authorization Requests” – or grant proposals – brought by seven contractors for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2019. The committee, which includes 10 producers from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and 10 producers from the Federation of State Beef Councils, also recommended full Cattlemen’s Beef Board approval of a budget amendment to reflect the split of funding between budget categories affected by their decisions. The seven contractors brought a total of $50,766,964 million worth of funding requests to the BPOC this week, nearly $10 million more than the funds available from the CBB budget. “The BPOC is completely producer-driven. We have cattlemen and women from all over the U.S. as well as importers deciding where these checkoff dollars need to be spent,” said Cattlemen’s Beef Board and BPOC Chairman Chuck Coffey.  “It’s always great to hear about the programs and projects proposed by our contractors to utilize our checkoff dollars, yet on the other side, an equally diffcult decision to balance the budget and distribute those dollars according to where we believe will be most useful for driving beef demand.”    In the end, the BPOC approved proposals from seven national beef organizations for funding through the FY 20 Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget, as follows:    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (five proposals for $27,383,347)    U.S. Meat Export Federation, a subcontractor to NCBA (one proposal for $8,279,846)    North American Meat Institute (four proposals for $1,953,345)    Cattlemen’s Beef Board (one proposal for $1,645,993)    American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (one proposal for $698,300)    Meat Import Council of America (one proposal for $498,786)    United States Cattlemen’s Association (one proposal for $359,126)    National Livestock Producers Association (one proposal for $99,757)Broken out by budget components – which are outlined by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 – the Fiscal Year 2020 Plan of Work for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board budget includes:    $10.4 million for promotion programs, including continuation of the checkoff’s consumer digital advertising program, as well as veal promotion.    $9.5 million for research programs, focusing on a variety of critical issues, including pre- and post-harvest beef safety research, product quality research, human nutrition research and scientific affairs, market research, and beef and culinary innovations.    $7.6 million for consumer information programs, including a Northeast public relations initiative; national consumer public relations, including nutrition-influencer relations and work with primary- and secondary-school curriculum directors nationwide to get accurate information about the beef industry into classrooms of today’s youth.    $3.4 million for industry information programs, comprising dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti-beef groups and others, as well as funding for checkoff participation in a fifth annual national industrywide symposium focused on discussion and dissemination of information about antibiotic use.    $8.3 million for foreign marketing and education in 80 countries in the following regions: ASEAN region, Caribbean, Central America/Dominican Republic, China/Hong Kong, Europe, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Middle East, Russia/Greater Russian Region, South America, Taiwan and new markets.    $1.6 million for producer communications, which includes investor outreach using national communications and direct communications to producers and importers about checkoff results, as well as development and utilization of a publishing strategy and platform and a state beef council content hub.  The full fiscal 2020 Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget is approximately $44.5 million. Separate from the authorization requests, other expenses funded include $227,000 for program evaluation; $474,500 for program development; $800,000 for USDA oversight, which includes $400,000 for AMS oversight and $400,000 for CBB’s legal and compliance; and $2.1 million for CBB administration. The fiscal 2020 budget represents an increase of $614,600 from the $43.9 million FY19 budget.For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, contact the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at 303-220-9890 or visit Iowans should prepare for propane needs this fallIowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged ag businesses, farmers, rural residents and other Iowans that use propane to consider taking steps to ensure adequate propane supplies this fall and winter.“As of the first week of September, propane inventories were significantly higher than what they were at this time last year and just shy of the five-year average high,” Naig said. “Due to the late planting season across the state, Iowans need to be aware of the length of time and amount of propane that will be needed this fall.”According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report on September 8, 60 percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond with four percent mature, 11 days behind the five-year average.  These figures were 87 and 28 percent, respectively, a year ago.  The later crop maturity in large portions of the state will likely mean a steady demand for propane use for grain drying throughout the fall months.Actions that farmers and other propane users can take now in order to prepare for this fall and winter include:      • Confirm propane supplies for grain drying, livestock facilities, homes and machine sheds are full going into the fall season.       • Take advantage of early buy/booking programs      • Consider expanding on-site capacity at facilities and homes      • Communicate early and regularly with propane suppliersPropane production has continued to increase across the country over the summer months and exports were down in August. Those two factors have helped to boost late summer supplies. It is estimated that just over a million more barrels of propane is currently being stored in the Midwest and about 21 million barrels more in the Gulf Coast region compared to this time last year.The increase in supply means prices have decreased since last year. The latest average for propane in Iowa is $1.11 per gallon, down 15-cents from fall 2018. Nevertheless, it is important for users to be prepared as fall and early winter weather patterns approach. With the chance of export pressures to increase this fall, ensuring adequate supplies on hand now can help avoid any possible unforeseen spikes in demand later this year.As of September 6, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports propane stocks in the Midwest “PADD 2” region at 26.9 million barrels. That is up from 25.8 million barrels a year ago. EIA reports that U.S. propane stocks as of that same date at 97.8 million barrels compared to 74.6 million barrels a year ago. Higher supply levels are attributed primarily to increased production levels and lower August export pressures.The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues to work with a number of Iowa agriculture organizations and the Iowa Propane Gas Association (IPGA).  The IPGA and the state propane suppliers work towards communicating the supply and demand for this vital agricultural energy resource.Secretary Perdue Statement on Farm Safety WeekU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded President Trump’s proclamation making September 15-21, 2019 National Farm Safety and Health Week. The theme for this year’s National Farm Safety & Health Week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear” as a reminder that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize safety on the farm and the rural roadways of America.“America’s farmers, ranchers and producers work hard to feed our nation and the world,” Secretary Perdue said. “Farming is not always the safest profession and it is our responsibility to continue to improve workplace safety and pursue initiatives that create healthier work environments. They must also have access to innovative technologies and production practices to protect themselves and their employees. President Trump has our farmers backs and this proclamation further demonstrates this issue as one of great importance. Promoting Farm Safety will help our American agriculture workforce to continue producing the healthiest, safest, most affordable, and most abundant food supply on earth.” Background:This week is an opportunity to spread awareness of the inherent risks associated with work in the agriculture sector and commit to improved practices that advance the health and safety of farm and ranch operators, their family members, and their hired workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 581 workers in agriculture and related industries died from a work-related injury in 2017, making agriculture one of the most dangerous professions in the United States.The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety is providing informative Webinars each day of the week. Each day of National Farm Safety & Health Week has a theme as follows:-     Monday, September 16, 2019 - Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety-    Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - Farmer Health & Opioid/Suicide Prevention-    Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture-    Thursday, September 19, 2019 - Confined Spaces in Agriculture-    Friday, September 20, 2019 - Safety & Health for Women in AgricultureWith Demand at 56-Year High, “Death of Dairy” is a MythNational Milk Producers FederationDairy is facing challenges. In a crowded beverage marketplace, per-capita fluid milk consumption in the U.S. is down by a quarter in the past 20 years, and the number of U.S. dairy farms dropped 6.8 percent in 2018.That’s one part of the story. But a more accurate picture of the health of the dairy industry is much brighter than the doom and gloom conjured from selective use of data. No matter what critics may say, attempts to craft a “death of dairy” narrative are mistaken.Looking more broadly than milk in a glass, per-capita dairy consumption has been on the rise since the 1970s, according to USDA data. Last year’s level – 646 pounds per person – was the most popular year for dairy in the U.S. since 1962.Individual products tell similar stories. Cheese per-capita consumption has tripled since 1971. Butter is at its highest per-capita use since 1968. Contrast that with nose-diving sales of margarine, the longest-established “plant-based” dairy alternative, which in 2010 was at its lowest per-capita consumption since 1942. After that, the federal government stopped tracking it altogether. Milk, like every other beverage, exists in a competitive marketplace. Bottled water, orange juice, energy drinks, and yes, plant-based dairy imposters, all compete for shelf space. But spinning a segmenting beverage market into a “declining dairy” narrative is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Just Mark Twain when he said of an erroneous news story, “The report of my death was an exaggeration,” dairy is very much alive -- and on the rise. ­­­ Last Call for DMC: Farmer Safety-Net Signup Ends Friday With sign-up for the 2019 Dairy Margin Coverage program ending Friday, the National Milk Producers Federation urged all dairy farmers to enroll in the program, which guarantees a payout for producers that’s higher than program premiums in 2019.The DMC, the main risk-protection tool for dairy farmers enacted in the 2018 farm bill, is guaranteed to pay all producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50/cwt. coverage level for every month of production through July, according to USDA data. More than 71% of dairy operations with an established DMC production history have enrolled so far for this year, representing more than 19,000 producers nationwide.“DMC signup, especially at the maximum $9.50 coverage level, is a no-brainer for dairy producers,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “But to take advantage of this program, delay is no longer possible. Farmers need to sign up now.”The DMC, created in the 2018 Farm Bill, is a much more robust safety net for dairy producers of all sizes than the Margin Protection Program, which has been discontinued. DMC improvements include:    Affordable higher coverage levels that permit all dairy producers to insure margins up to $9.50/cwt. on their Tier 1 (first five million pounds) production history, a higher level than previous programs.    A new option for producers to receive a 25 percent discount on their premiums if they agree to lock in their coverage for the five-year period of this Farm Bill. However, producers will be allowed to pay their premiums annually even if they elect the five-year discount.    The feed-cost formula has been improved to include dairy quality hay values, which better reflects the true cost of feeding dairy cows.    Affordable $5.00 coverage that lowers premium costs by roughly 88 percent. This creates more meaningful catastrophic-type coverage at a reasonable cost for larger producers without distorting the market signals needed to balance supply with demand.NMPF has a resource page on its new website with more information about the program. In Wake of Saudi Attacks, Ethanol Can Help Provide Real Energy SecurityDrone attacks Saturday in Saudi Arabia destroyed oil fields and caused a record spike in oil prices overnight, again calling into question claims that increased U.S. oil production has made America energy independent. The following is a statement from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper:“The crude oil and gasoline price spikes following the attacks on Saudi Arabia show once again that the Unites States cannot simply frack its way to energy independence. Even with growth in domestic oil production, $18 billion flowed out of the U.S. economy to Saudi Arabia last year in return for 330 million barrels of petroleum. What the oil industry doesn’t want you to know is that the United States imported 2.8 billion barrels of crude oil last year, equivalent to 45 percent of the oil processed by U.S. refineries. In fact, California imports nearly 60 percent of the oil it uses from outside the U.S., and nearly half of this imported crude comes to California via the Strait of Hormuz. “Diversification of our liquid fuel supply is the only way to truly insulate American consumers from the volatility and price shocks that plague the global petroleum market. The good news is we have a solution right here in America’s farm fields and rural communities. Our nation’s ethanol industry produced more than 380 million barrels of lower-cost, cleaner-burning renewable fuel last year—more barrels than we imported from Saudi Arabia. And we can do more. With the faithful enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard, removal of arcane and unnecessary regulatory barriers, and a rapid transition to 15% ethanol blends nationwide, U.S. ethanol producers could quickly ramp up production and help fill the void in the global liquid fuel supply caused by the Saudi oil attacks. “The hard truth is that our nation remains highly vulnerable to the geopolitical vagaries that create turmoil in the world oil market. We call on President Trump to unleash the strength and innovation of America’s ethanol industry in this time of crisis.”

FARM BILL FACTS AND POLICY DETAILSRandy Pryor, Extension Educator, Saline County   I was surprised at Husker Harvest Days working on farm policy questions in the UNL building, that a few farm operators had not signed up yet for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. The 2019 trade assistance mirrors the 2018 assistance of direct payments to producers due to commodity price losses with trade negotiations.    The MFP payments are paid on a per acre planted basis and half is paid now.  The payments vary in Nebraska from $15 per acre on prevented planting acres to a high of $74 per acre.  Saline County is $63 per acre and Gage and Jefferson are $61 per acre.  The deadline to sign-up for MFP is December 6.  A second and third installment of payment could come later, with maybe an announcement in December if trade losses and lower commodity price condition continue.  There are tax implications in which year additional MFP would be paid.  This is a big deal because for Saline County alone, MFP with 604 paid applications as of the first week in September, amounted to 6.2 million dollars for crops and $75,000 to livestock.    The Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill are now open for enrollment through March 15, 2020. Producers have to make a decision between the programs for the 2019 and 2020 crop years, but will then face a new decision every year starting in 2021. The programs are largely consistent with how they were implemented in the 2014 Farm Bill, but a few program changes and a definite change in ag outlook could substantially change the decision ahead for producers.   Extension will hold educational meetings across the state in the November and December timeframe.  I suggest attending one of those meetings before signing up for this program.  It also allows farm operators to further analyze the market situation.  Take a look at the Farm Bill Update handout used at Husker Harvest Days at:  There are some key changes on how the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) are calculated.  There is also an opportunity to update PLC yields which impacts certain payments.   Ask for FSA-156EZ form from the FSA office for each of your FSA farm numbers.  This can be sent electronically to you and verifies the base crops, your farm base acres and PLC yields that are on file.  Pay close attention to your PLC yields because you have an opportunity to update those.  We cannot update base acres this go around.  Calculate your past proven yield, simple average, from 2013-2107 using crop insurance or farm records.  For corn, soybeans and milo, multiply your average yield times 81%.  For wheat, multiply the average yield by 87.903%. If your yield calculation is higher than what is on the FSA-156EZ form, then it is a no brainer to update your PLC yield.  It can mean extra income for you when enrolling in the PLC program when national prices fall below the PLC reference prices. You do not have to enroll in the program to update yields.   There are two online decision tools that are available to make an informed two year decision and then annually.  All you need is the FSA-156EZ form, however, if you have irrigation, it’s too early.  We need to wait until this form has your Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) to run the decision tools.  All HIP will be re-calculated for the new Farm Bill which hasn’t been done yet.   Dryland farms can be analyzed now with the Texas A&M program at:  This decision computer aid characterizes probabilities of different levels of expected FSA payments. These characterizations are based on 500 possible future realizations of market prices and county yields.  It is very easy to run.  Click on the average numbers on the output to see the entire output summary.  The decision tool developed by Illinois is not ready yet, but an excellent video update on the Farm Bill and the decision tool is available at:   My advice is wait for the educational meetings after harvest this year, then make your appointments for the two-year decision.  More information needs to come from USDA on some important details.  Go ahead and analyze now if you will be able to update your PLC yields.  You can ask for a copy of your 156EZ forms to prepare.  If you have irrigation, wait to ask for the 156EZ form after the historical percentages are prepared. Dryland farmers can use the Texas A&M decision tool available online now and irrigators can use the tool once HIP is known.  The 2019 Program Election/Enrollment deadline is March 15th. If everyone waits to sign-up until late next year, it’s increasingly difficult for FSA offices to conduct an orderly signup.  For more information visit  Late Season Soybean Diseases Widespread in Areas of NebraskaTamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant PathologistRecord rainfall during August and continued wet conditions into September are much to blame for the flush of diseases Nebraska’s soybean crop has been experiencing. The following describes some of the more common diseases diagnosed by the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in samples from across Nebraska.Sudden Death SyndromeSudden death syndrome (SDS), caused by the fungus Fusarium virguliforme, develops during cool, wet growing seasons. The fungus may infect roots early in the growing season, but foliar symptoms develop during R3 or later. Heavy rains during flowering promote foliar symptom development, as well as the presence of soybean cyst nematode. Symptoms include interveinal yellowing and necrosis on leaves that quickly turns brown. Leaves may defoliate within several days after symptom development. Foliar symptoms are accompanied by severe root rot. The inside of lower stems may be discolored, while the central pith remains white. Sometimes cobalt blue fungal growth may be visible on symptomatic roots.SDS-resistant soybean varieties may reduce foliar symptoms by up to 80% and should be utilized as the best management practice for SDS. Some seed treatment fungicides may be effective, as well, especially when used in combination with resistant varieties. Management of soybean cyst nematode is also recommended because the nematode can cause SDS to develop earlier and become more severe in fields where both are present. Crop rotation with corn is not effective for management because the fungus can survive on corn kernels and other debris.Frogeye Leaf SpotFrogeye leaf spot is caused by the fungus Cercospora sojina. The fungus survives in infested crop debris and seed. Symptoms are small, irregular gray to brown lesions with dark borders. Disease is favored by warm temperatures and high relative humidity. In fields where there is a history of severe frogeye leaf spot disease, disease-resistant soybean varieties should be used and, when possible, the field should be rotated to a non-host crop.Foliar fungicides can be very effective at managing the disease, especially when applied at R3-R5. However, resistance to the QoI fungicides (formerly called strobilurins) is becoming increasingly common in other states, including South Dakota and Iowa. If you have observed reduced control of frogeye leaf spot after a foliar fungicide application, please notify us in Nebraska Extension. Products containing active ingredients from multiple classes may be necessary to achieve adequate control. Product combinations with up to three modes of action are currently available.Brown Stem RotBrown stem rot, caused by the fungus Phialophora gregata, infects roots and lower stems. The pathogen affects water and nutrient movement in the plant. Like SDS, infection may occur early, but leaf symptoms don’t develop until the reproductive stages. Plants may develop brown stems toward the base and lodge. Leaf symptoms may include interveinal chlorosis similar to SDS. One diagnostic feature of this disease is brown discoloration with stacked “disk-like” tissue in the center (pith) of split stems. Wet soils early in the season and moisture stress later support disease development. Planting resistant soybean varieties and crop rotation are important for management of brown stem rot.White MoldWhite mold is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. The disease is common in many areas of the state and is supported by frequent moisture and cooler temperatures. Initial infection is through senescing flower petals. Narrow row spacing, which supports early canopy closure and higher relative humidity in the canopy, supports disease development. Dead plants may appear singly or in patches in the field with white fungal growth evident in and on the stems. Infected stems may become bleached and stringy. Stems and seed pods may also contain hard, black fungal structures (sclerotia) that resemble rat droppings. Sclerotia fall to the ground during harvest and survive for years until field conditions are favorable for sporulation and infection of susceptible crops again.Grass crops, like corn, grain sorghum, and small grains, do not develop white mold; however, crop rotation is not helpful for reducing disease because of the longevity of the fungus in sclerotia. Fungicides can effectively control the disease when applied during flowering in fields with a history of white mold and favorable conditions. Fungicides are most effective when applied at flowering and are less effective when applied once symptoms are visible on the plant. Planting in 30-inch rows (instead of narrow drilled rows) helps to promote air movement in the canopy and a reduction in relative humidity.Bacterial BlightBacterial blight is caused by Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. glycinea. Bacterial blight is very common in soybean fields this year because of the frequent rainfall and high relative humidity. Leaf symptoms usually start in the upper, younger leaves because they are most susceptible. Small, irregular shaped reddish-brown lesions are surrounded by yellow haloes. Lesions may fall apart, giving leaves a tattered appearance. The bacteria survive in crop debris and seed. Disease is favored by rainstorms, high winds, and hail, as well as cooler temperatures.Identification and ManagementAccurate diagnosis is critical for effective crop disease management. Symptoms of some of these and other diseases can appear very similar, but management strategies vary greatly.Nebraska Corn Internships AnnouncedOver the last several years, Nebraska Corn has provided real-world experiences and opportunities for college interns. These students work directly with Nebraska Corn cooperating organizations including the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Corn Growers Association.Each year, Nebraska Corn offers several internship opportunities. Six of the internships are located outside of the state and the other two are located in the offices of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, both in Lincoln, Nebraska. All eight opportunities are paid internship experiences. Applications for these internships are now available at  Descriptions and applications deadlines can be found below.2020-2021 Internship OpportunitiesCommunications and Outreach InternshipHost: Nebraska Corn Growers AssociationLocation: Lincoln, NebraskaDuration: May 2020 – May 2021Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019**New Option for 2020**International Relations Internship (Deadline quickly approaching!)Host: U.S. Grains CouncilLocation: Washington, D.C.Duration: Jan. 2020 – May 2020 (with option to continue for a full year)Application Due Date: Oct. 4, 2019Communications and Market Development Internship (Deadline quickly approaching!)Host: Nebraska Corn BoardLocation: Lincoln, NebraskaDuration: September 2019 – May 2020Application Due Date: Sept. 20, 2019Communications and Market Development InternshipHost: Nebraska Corn BoardLocation: Lincoln, NebraskaDuration: May 2020 – May 2021Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019Marketing and Communications InternshipHost: National Corn Growers AssociationLocation: St. Louis, MissouriDuration: Summer 2020Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019Public Policy InternshipHost: National Corn Growers AssociationLocation: Washington, D.C.Duration: Summer 2020Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019Promotion and International Relations InternshipHost: U.S. Meat Export FederationLocation: Denver, ColoradoDuration: Summer 2020Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019International Relations InternshipHost: U.S. Grains CouncilLocation: Washington, D.C.Duration: Summer 2020Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019International Agricultural Relations InternshipHost: U.S. Grains CouncilLocation: Panama City, PanamaDuration: Summer 2020Application Due Date: Nov. 1, 2019Know Your Numbers, Know Your OptionsMaking decisions for your farm and ranch can be stressful. However, having good financial records can help make the decision making process easier.To help farmers and ranchers improve their record keeping and decision making, Nebraska Extension will be holding “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options” courses across the state. Each “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options” course is a series of four, three-hour sessions that will teach farmers and ranchers how to analyze their financial documents. The course fee is $20 per participant; class size is limited to 20 people per location.This course is designed to help farmers and ranchers understand their current financial position and how big decisions like large purchases, new leases or changes in production will affect their bottom line. Upon completion of this program, participants will have a better understanding of how financial records can be used to make decisions and confidently discuss their financial position with their family, business partners, and lenders.Chadron August 13, 15, 20, 22 at the Dawes County Extension Office (250 Main St. #8) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.O’Neill October 1, 3, 15, 17 at the Holt County Extension Office (128 N 6th St # 100) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.Fullerton October 8, 10, 15, 17 at the Nance County Extension Office (304 3rd Street) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.North Platte November 4, 5, 13, 14 at the West Central Research & Extension Center (402 W State Farm Road) from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.Ord December 12 & 13 at the Valley County Fairgrounds (801 S St) from 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.This course hosted by Nebraska Extension. Annie’s Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America in Nebraska.  Additional Public Info at  Saunders County Livestock AssociationSeptember 16 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm    6:00 p.m. Social7:00 p.m. DinnerBusiness Meeting to followCody Weitzenkamp of Commodity Solutions & Company will talk about livestock and grains.Venue    Saunders County Fairgrounds     4-H Building    Wahoo, NE Japanese feed corn millers learn about U.S. value chain in mission to Nebraska, Iowa and WashingtonThe U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Board and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will soon bring a Japanese trade team of feed milling professionals to the United States. While here, the team will visit Nebraska, Iowa and Washington to better understand the U.S. corn marketing system and pave the way for continued growth in grain, ethanol and co-product sales to the country.The team of five, including feed milling decision makers, are in the United States to see firsthand U.S. corn, co-products and ethanol production, meeting directly with U.S. suppliers and exporters.“Prospective corn buyers from any country want to experience every point in the value chain. That’s why the Council strives to bring buyers together with sellers to facilitate trade around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “Japan has been a longstanding trading partner with the U.S. and is our second largest buyer of grains in all forms. We are excited to educate these newer, less-experienced Japanese feed corn millers, showcase major production facilities and farms in our country and demonstrate just how proud we are of the corn quality in the U.S., so we can continue to cement these relationships for U.S. farmers and Japanese end-users for years to come.”Japan ranks as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest market for U.S. barley and the ninth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS.Japan more than doubled U.S. ethanol imports to 934,000 gallons (331,000 bushels in corn equivalent) in 2017/2018, the most since 2010/2011. Using information provided by the Council, the Japanese Ministry of Economy (METI) modified its policy in 2018 to allow U.S. corn-based ethanol in the market based on technological advancements that raised the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction level of U.S. corn-based ethanol and allowed near-term imports of ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) made with nearly 100 million gallons of ethanol.“Nebraska has a long-standing tradition and reputation of producing quality ag products,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We’re appreciative of Japan’s business and we’re working to strengthen this relationship well into the future. I’m excited for this group to be in our great state.”During their time in Iowa and Nebraska, participants will visit a corn farm operation, grain elevator with a rail terminal, ethanol plant and feed mill before flying to Washington to stop in at an export terminal where they will see how grain is sampled and goes through grain inspection before making its way to Japan.Fischer Statement on Suspension of Further Chinese Tariffs on Soybeans and PorkU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after China announced it will suspend tariff hikes on U.S. soybeans and pork:“It’s good to see recent purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and this morning’s announcement that China will not be adding additional tariffs for U.S. imports of soybeans and pork. This is positive news for Nebraska’s farmers and producers. However, our producers still face significant trade uncertainties. I will continue to push for passage of USMCA, which will bring more opportunities to our state.”NPPC Statement on China Market AccessThis morning, Chinese media reported that it was suspending the imposition of punitive tariffs on U.S. pork imports. The following is a statement from National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C.:"If media reports are accurate, this is a most welcome development. The Chinese have placed punitive tariffs of 60% on most U.S. pork products, bringing the effective tariff rate on most U.S. pork to 72%."According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork has shaved $8 off the price of every hog sold in the United States for well over a year. Most of our competitors face only a 12% tariff on their pork exports to China. Pork is somewhat unique given that it is the most important protein consumed in China, accounting for a significant part of the consumer price index."Additionally, pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. When you consider that China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world, the importance of this market to U.S. pork producers is clear. U.S. pork exports could single handedly make a huge dent in the trade imbalance with China. We are hopeful that this apparent gesture of goodwill by China leads not only to more sales of U.S. pork, but that it contributes to a resolution of U.S.-China trade restrictions."Beef Resources for Family and Consumer Science Teacher ProgramsFamily and Consumer Science teachers at the Beef for Strength exhibit received beef toolkits, recipes and posters for classroom lessons.120 Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teachers visited the Beef for Strength exhibit during the 2019 Iowa Family and Consumer Science Educators Conference held in Ames, Iowa on August 6, 2019. Teachers received a beef toolkit with beef recipes, beef posters and educational resources for classroom beef lessons. Attendees prepared a beef jerky trail mix as a portable protein snack idea for students.The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) sponsored a sports nutrition dietitian speaker to present to interested teachers during a break-out session. The sports dietitian shared the importance of protein, including beef and beef recipes, to fuel strength, sports performance and recovery.  “It’s a great opportunity to provide new science-based beef nutrition and culinary resources to FCS teachers to improve their understanding of beef’s role in a healthful diet,” stated Rochelle Gilman, RD, Director of Nutrition and Health for IBIC. IBIC offers grants for Family and Consumer Science teachers, which allows teachers to purchase beef to use in cooking lessons focusing on beef cuts, cooking and nutrition. Over $13,000 was awarded to Family and Consumer Science programs during the 2018-19 school year to more than 6,300 middle and high school students who benefited from the Beef Grant Program. Many teachers commented that without the beef grants, they would be unable to teach a specific beef cooking unit with their students.  One teacher commented regarding the beef grant, “Without Iowa Beef Industry Council’s generous grant, I would not have been able to teach a specific unit on cooking with beef in my foods classes, as it is not in the budget. The students were surprised that they could make a beef dish that was so yummy, easy, and yet made with something other than ground beef.” Iowa Farmers Union Meet with Lawmakers, USDA Officials in D.C.Iowa Farmers Union members joined nearly 400 farmers, ranchers and fishermen from across the country in Washington, D.C., this week, for the National Farmers Union Fall Legislative Fly-In. The annual event allows Farmers Union members to meet directly with lawmakers, USDA leaders and other administration officials to discuss issues important to family farmers and ranchers."As a farmer-led organization, grassroots advocacy and education build the core of Iowa Farmers Union," said IFU President Aaron Heley Lehman. "The annual NFU Fly-In is a great opportunity for our members to share stories personal to them with both the Iowa and national delegation of lawmakers. Our members are able to give lawmakers a firsthand look at the impacts of their policy and see the challenges impacting real people living in rural areas. Given the many hurdles facing the agricultural sector, it is our job to bring a reality check for lawmakers to Washington D.C. Ultimately, we hope that our personal interactions with lawmakers will encourage them to prioritize policies supporting family farmers and ranchers and rural communities."Iowa members met with lawmakers to advocate for legislative priorities that will affect their operations and communities, including strengthening the farm safety net, supporting climate smart practices and biofuels, restoring competition to the agricultural economy, and improving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement and resolving ongoing trade disputes.Before their meetings, NFU Fly-In participants attended a briefing at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Food Safety National Program Leader Dr. Jodi Williams, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Gregory Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs Ted McKinney, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Deputy Administrator Bill Beam, and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Chief of Staff Keith Gray addressed the group.Additionally, a number of industry experts and agricultural policy specialists spoke to attendees about the farm economy, corporate consolidation, international trade, and biofuels."In early September, most farmers are busy harvesting, planting winter crops, and attending to livestock," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "The fact that nearly 400 are here this week to advocate better food and agricultural policy speaks volumes to how exceptionally challenging things are right now in farm country. And given the current circumstances, it is more important than ever that legislators are hearing directly from family farmers and ranchers about the issues they're dealing with. We hope that long after Fly-In attendees return to their farms, their elected representatives will use these conversations to write policies that bolster rural America and family farm agriculture."Remember to Share Iowa Roads This FallThere is an increase in farm vehicle traffic on Iowa roadways during harvest. So, it is not surprising that this is the time of year when there are also more agricultural collisions on highways and county roads.The two most likely types of collisions with farm equipment are left-turn and rear-end collisions. The left-turn collision happens when the farm vehicle is about to make a wide left turn to align with a gate or small entry road. The motor vehicle behind begins to pass without understanding the farm vehicle was preparing to make a left turn.The rear-end collision is common because farm equipment and motor vehicles travel at different speeds. When a car traveling 55 mph approaches a tractor traveling 15 mph, the distance gap between these two types of vehicles disappears in about five seconds – hardly enough time to react and brake.This is a shared responsibility of both farm equipment and motor vehicle operators, according to Charles Schwab, Iowa State University professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering with extension and outreach responsibilities.Farm equipment operators must be sure to mark their equipment for road travel and signal their turning intentions. Motorists must take extra caution during this time of year, looking for turn signals and slowing down as soon as they see a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem.More information about sharing the roadway is available in the ISU Extension and Outreach Publication “Safely Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles” (AE 3540).This year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week theme is “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear.” So as Iowans shift into high gear or road gear from Sept. 15-21 to observe National Farm Safety and Health Week, let’s all do our part to keep Iowa roadways safe.National FFA Announces Record Membership of Over 700,000The National FFA Organization is answering the need for more highly skilled graduates to fill job openings in the field of agriculture, and nowhere is this more evident than in the organization’s growing membership. The organization announced a record-high student membership of 700,170, up from 669,989 in 2018. The top six student membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow as membership continues to increase. This year, the organization has more than 100,000 Latino members, 45 percent of the membership is female with 52 percent of the membership being male. Females hold more than 50 percent of the leadership positions. FFA chapters can be found in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities.“FFA is providing future leaders, and our membership growth reflects continued enthusiasm for agriculture as well as agricultural education,” National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl said. “FFA prepares our student members for careers in agriculture while working to ensure the security of our country's food, fiber and natural resources systems for years to come. Through real-world experiences, agriculture educators are helping students develop the technical knowledge, skills and problem-solving capabilities to be the industry's leaders of tomorrow.”The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.

NEBRASKA CROP PRODUCTION REPORT Based on September 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn crop is a record forecast at 1.79 billion bushels, up slightly from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area harvested for grain, at 9.65 million acres, is up 4 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 186 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year. Soybean production is forecast at 287 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is down 12 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from a year ago. Sorghum for grain production of 15.3 million bushels is down 4 percent from a year ago. Area for harvest, at 165,000 acres, is down 3 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 93 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.21 million tons, down 14 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 43,200 acres, is down 2 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 28.1 tons per acre, down 3.8 tons from a year ago. Dry edible pea production is forecast at 648,000 cwt, down 28 percent from a year ago. Area for harvest, at 27,000 acres, is down 45 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 2,400 pounds per acre, up 560 pounds from last year. Special Note All forecasts in this report are based on conditions as of September 1, 2019 and assume normal weather for the remainder of the growing season. Data were not adjusted to account for any potential departures from normal between now and harvest. IOWA CROP PRODUCTION REPORT Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.52 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 191 bushels per acre, unchanged from the August 1 forecast, but down 5 bushels per acre from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.6 million acres. An estimated 13.2 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain. Soybean production is forecast at 493 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 54.0 bushels per acre, down 1.0 bushel per acre from the August 1 forecast, and 3.0 bushels per acre lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested. The forecasts in this report are based on September 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of October 1, will be released on October 10. USDA: Corn Production Down 1 Percent from August ForecastSoybean Production Down 1 Percent Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.8 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 4 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 168.2 bushels per harvested acre, down 1.3 bushels from the previous forecast and down 8.2 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 82.0 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but up less than 1 percent from 2018.Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.63 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 20 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 47.9 bushels per harvested acre, down 0.6 bushel from the previous forecast and down 3.7 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans is forecast at 75.9 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but down 14 percent from 2018.USDA World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates - Sept 12, 2019COARSE GRAINS: This month’s 2019/20 U.S. corn outlook is for reduced production, lower corn used for ethanol, and slightly higher ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.799 billion bushels, down 102 million from last month on a lower yield forecast. Corn supplies are down from last month, as a smaller crop more than offsets larger beginning stocks due to lower estimated exports and corn used for ethanol for 2018/19. Corn used for ethanol for 2019/20 is lowered 25 million bushels. With use falling more than supply, corn ending stocks are up 9 million bushels from last month. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $3.60 per bushel. This month’s 2019/20 foreign coarse grain outlook is for virtually unchanged production, with fractionally lower trade and stocks relative to last month. Ukraine corn production is lowered, as dry conditions during the month of August reduce yield prospects for filling corn. EU corn production is unchanged, as reductions for France and Germany offset increases for Bulgaria and Romania. Barley production is raised for Russia, Ukraine, the EU, and Kazakhstan, but lowered for Australia and Canada. Major global coarse grain trade changes for 2019/20 include barley export increases for Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia, with a partly offsetting reduction for Australia. For 2018/19, corn exports for Brazil are raised for the local marketing year beginning March 2019, based on record large shipments during the month of August. Foreign corn ending stocks for 2019/20 are lower relative to last month, mostly reflecting declines for Brazil, Ukraine, Mexico, Paraguay, and Chile. OILSEEDS: U.S. oilseed production for 2019/20 is projected at 110.2 million tons, down 1.3 million from last month with lower soybean and cottonseed production partly offset by a higher peanut forecast. Soybean production is projected at 3.6 billion bushels, down 47 million on a lower yield forecast of 47.9 bushels per acre. Soybean supplies are reduced 2 percent on lower production and beginning stocks. With soybean crush and exports unchanged, ending stocks are projected at 640 million bushels, down 115 million from last month. The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2019/20 is forecast at $8.50 per bushel, up 10 cents. The soybean meal price is projected at $305 per short ton, up $5.00. The soybean oil price forecast is unchanged at 29.5 cents per pound. Changes for 2018/19 include higher U.S. soybean exports, higher crush, and lower ending stocks. Exports are increased 45 million bushels based on official trade data through July and indications from August export inspections, which were record high for the month. With crush raised 20 million bushels, ending stocks for 2018/19 are projected at 1.0 billion bushels, down 65 million. This month’s 2019/20 global oilseed outlook includes lower production, increased trade, and reduced stocks relative to last month. Global rapeseed production is at a 3-year low, mainly reflecting lower production for the EU on both area and yield. Australia’s production is also lowered this month due to dry weather conditions in New South Wales and Queensland. Soybean production is down slightly this month as lower U.S. production is mostly offset by higher output for India, Canada, and China. Major global oilseed export changes for 2019/20 include higher rapeseed and soybean exports for Canada. For 2018/19, soybean exports for Brazil are lowered based on lower-than-expected shipments during the past few months. However, higher-than-expected exports by Argentina and the United States, particularly to China, are offsetting. Global soybean ending stocks for 2019/20 are lower as reduced stocks for Argentina and the United States are partly offset by higher stocks for Brazil, Iran, and India. WHEAT: The 2019/20 U.S. wheat supply and demand outlook is unchanged this month but there were offsetting by-class changes for wheat exports. The projected season-average farm price is $4.80 per bushel, down $0.20 on NASS monthly prices reported to date and expectations for cash and futures prices for the remainder of the marketing year (MY). Global wheat prices are expected to be restrained for the rest of the MY on greater 2019/20 exportable supplies for several major U.S. competitors compared to last year. The global outlook for wheat this month is for lower supplies, reduced consumption and exports, and higher ending stocks. Supplies are reduced primarily on lower production forecasts for Australia and Kazakhstan on continued dry conditions. Australia’s production is lowered 2 million tons to 19.0 million, mainly on the second consecutive year of drought in New South Wales and Queensland. Kazakhstan’s wheat production is lowered 1.5 million tons to 11.5 million on further deteriorating conditions, and this would be its lowest output since 2012/13. This reduction in global production is tempered by higher carry-in stocks, which results in global supplies less than 1 million tons lower this month. World exports are decreased by 1.8 million tons to 180.8 million on reductions for Australia and Kazakhstan. Global consumption is lowered 1.9 million tons, led by declines for Indonesia, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. Despite a reduction this month in global supplies, 2019/20 ending stocks are projected record large at 286.5 million tons with China comprising 51 percent of the total. LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, AND DAIRY: The forecast for 2019 total red meat and poultry production is lowered from last month as reduced beef, pork, and turkey production forecasts more than offset higher broiler production. Beef production is reduced from the previous month primarily on slower expected pace of fed cattle slaughter and lighter carcass weights in the fourth quarter. The pork production forecast is reduced on the current rate of slaughter in the third quarter and slightly lighter carcass weights. USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be released on September 27 and provide information on producer farrowing intentions into early 2020. The turkey forecast is reduced on lower expected third- and fourth-quarter production. The broiler production forecast is raised on recent production data and continued growth in average bird weights for the remainder of the year. The 2019 egg production forecast is raised slightly on hatchery flock data. For 2020, the total red meat and poultry forecast is raised from the previous month on higher expected beef and broiler production. Beef production is raised from last month as higher expected first-half 2020 marketings support higher fed cattle slaughter in 2020. First-half carcass weights are also expected to support increased beef production. The broiler production forecast is raised from the previous month on expectations of a higher proportion of heavy bird weights. Pork, turkey, and egg production forecasts are unchanged from the previous month. Beef import and export forecasts for 2019 are reduced, reflecting recent trade data; however, no changes are made to the forecasts for 2020. The 2019 and 2020 pork export forecasts are raised from the previous month on recent trade data and expectations of continued strong global demand for U.S. pork products. The 2019 broiler export forecast is adjusted higher reflecting recent trade data, but no change is made to the 2020 export forecast. No changes are made to the 2019 and 2020 turkey trade forecasts. The cattle price forecast for 2019 is lowered on current prices and expectations of continued price weakness; the 2020 forecast is also reduced. Hog price forecasts are reduced slightly for 2019 and first-half 2020. The 2019 broiler price forecast is raised on recent price strength, but no change is made to 2020 price forecasts. Turkey price forecasts are unchanged for both 2019 and 2020. The 2019 and 2020 egg price forecasts are raised from last month on strong demand that is expected to carry into the next year. The milk production forecast for 2019 is raised as stronger growth in milk per cow more than offsets forecast lower cow numbers. For 2020, the milk production forecast is reduced from the previous month on slower expected growth in dairy cow numbers; however this is partly offset by slightly higher forecast milk per cow. The 2019 and 2020 fat basis import forecasts are lowered on recent trade data and expectations of slower butterfat imports. Fat basis export forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are reduced from last month on weaker expected global demand for U.S. butterfat products. The 2019 skim-solids basis import forecast is raised from the previous month on higher-than-expected imports of milk protein concentrates and a number of other dairy products. This strength is expected to carry over into 2020 and the 2020 skim-solids basis import forecast is raised. The skim-solids basis export forecast for 2019 is reduced from last month on weakness in a number of dairy products, but the 2020 skim-solids basis export forecast is raised primarily on expected strong global demand for lactose. For 2019 and 2020, cheese, nonfat dry milk (NDM), and whey prices are raised from the previous month, but the price forecast for butter is reduced. The 2019 and 2020 the Class III price forecasts are raised from last month on higher cheese and whey prices. The 2019 and 2020 Class IV price forecasts are lowered from the previous month as lower forecast butter prices more than offset higher NDM prices. The 2019 all milk price is forecast raised to $18.35 per cwt, and the all milk price forecast for 2020 is raised to $18.85 per cwt. Nebraska Beef Council September MeetingThe Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a conference call at the NBC office in Kearney located at 1319 Central Ave. on Monday, September 23rd, 2019 beginning at 1:00 p.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will review a draft of the FY 2019-2020 Marketing Plan.  For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at  Save a Life: Use a Tractor with Rollover Protective StructureAgriculture remains the deadliest industry in the United States, based on the number of deaths per 100,000 workers. A leading cause of these fatalities is rollovers of tractors without rollover protective structures (ROPS). Even more heartbreaking is knowing that the majority of these accidents are preventable.Sept. 15-21 marks the 76th observance of National Farm Safety and Health Week, and this year’s National Farm Safety Week theme, “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear,” gives Iowans an occasion to tune up their farm safety approach by upgrading basic safety equipment like ROPS on older tractors.“Moving and positioning large bales, using front-end loader attachments, mowing roadside ditches, and cleanup of brush or trees are a few high fatality risk activities for using non-ROPS tractors,” said Charles Schwab, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering with extension and outreach responsibilities at Iowa State University.Schwab said that 99 percent of Iowa tractor overturn related deaths can be prevented by ROPS. Rollover protection structures (ROPS) are designed and tested to keep the tractor operator in a safe area during an overturn event.Tractors manufactured since 1985 come with ROPS as part of their original equipment. However, there is still concern because tractors last a long time and many of the older models still have not been retrofitted with ROPS.Choosing to operate a tractor without ROPS is gambling with your life, according to Schwab.During a recent poll, 81 percent of Iowa farmers reported at least one tractor without ROPS on their farm.“The good news is that about 19 percent of Iowa farmers have ROPS on all of their tractors,” said J. Arbuckle, associate professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State University.Some of the reasons Iowa farmers have not considered retrofitting ROPS on older tractors were because they did not have hired help or children operating tractors, considered themselves as having enough experience to operate the tractor safely, or because their non-ROPS tractor is seldom used.The poll also indicated that the biggest motivator for having ROPS on a tractor is because it came with ROPS.Arbuckle and Schwab both agree that it is positive that Iowa farmers accept ROPS that come with tractors. However, they also agree there is plenty of work ahead in getting all tractors equipped with rollover protection.EPA, U.S. Army Repeal 2015 Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Ending Regulatory PatchworkAt an event in Washington, D.C., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced that the agencies are repealing a 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The agencies are also recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.“Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration’s overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide.”“Today, Administrator Wheeler and I signed a final rule that repeals the 2015 Rule and restores the previous regulatory regime exactly how it existed prior to finalization of the 2015 Rule,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “Before this final rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Rule. This final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 Rule, which is more familiar to the agencies, States, Tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public while the agencies engage in a second rulemaking to revise the definition of ‘waters of the United States.’”Today’s rule is the first step—Step 1—in a two-step rulemaking process to define the scope of “waters of the United States” that are regulated under the Clean Water Act. Step 1 provides regulatory certainty as to the definition of “waters of the United States” following years of litigation surrounding the 2015 Rule. The two federal district courts that have reviewed the merits of the 2015 Rule found that the rule suffered from certain errors and issued orders remanding the 2015 Rule back to the agencies. Multiple other federal district courts have preliminarily enjoined the 2015 Rule pending a decision on the merits of the rule. In this action, EPA and the Army jointly conclude that multiple substantive and procedural errors warrant a repeal of the 2015 Rule. For example, the 2015 Rule:    Did not implement the legal limits on the scope of the agencies’ authority under the Clean Water Act as intended by Congress and reflected in Supreme Court cases.    Failed to adequately recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of states to manage their own land and water resources.    Approached the limits of the agencies’ constitutional and statutory authority absent a clear statement from Congress.    Suffered from certain procedural errors and a lack of adequate record support as it relates to the 2015 Rule’s distance-based limitations.With this final repeal, the agencies will implement the pre-2015 regulations, which are currently in place in more than half of the states, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice. The final rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.In December 2018, EPA and the Army proposed a new definition—Step 2—that would clearly define where federal jurisdiction begins and ends in accordance with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent. In the proposal, the agencies provide a clear definition of the difference between federally regulated waterways and those waters that rightfully remain solely under state authority.Additional information is available at:   Fischer Applauds Trump Administration Repeal of WOTUSToday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the Trump administration announced the final repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, ending the regulatory patchwork that would have negatively impacted all Nebraskans:“I have long been an advocate for eliminating the 2015 WOTUS, which represented an unprecedented overreach by the federal government at the expense of families, communities, and businesses. Nebraskans own the water in our state, and we take great care of this precious natural resource. After years of fighting WOTUS through legislative efforts, I’m pleased to see the Trump administration end this harmful rule once and for all. ”More information on the Waters of the United States rule:In 2015, the Obama administration implemented a rule that sought to clarify which waterways and wetlands are regulated as “waters of the U.S.” under the 1972 Clean Water Act. This regulation allowed the federal government to expand its jurisdiction to nearly all water in Nebraska and across the country. Legal action blocked the rule in 27 states, including Nebraska.Today’s announcement by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler marks the end of step one, which serves as a final repeal of the Obama-era WOTUS rules and once again brings all 50 states under the same regulation. Step two, which is expected by the end of 2019, will provide a definition of “waters of the U.S.”Fischer championed several legislative efforts to stop the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule. In March 2015, she chaired a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Lincoln, Nebraska, to hear firsthand from Nebraskans about the negative effects of the rule.Sasse Statement on WOTUS RepealU.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for Nebraska agriculture, issued the following statement after the EPA announced that the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule will be repealed. "This is another step forward and a win for Nebraska farmers and ranchers. It’s great news for anyone who understands that the federal government doesn’t need to be regulating puddles and ditches. President Obama’s EPA was crazy to try this and President Trump’s EPA is right to repeal it." Smith Applauds WOTUS RepealCongressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Trump administration finalized the repeal of the Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS:“The repeal of President Obama’s overreaching WOTUS rule is great news for our country and gives states back the power to regulate their non-navigable waters, as the law says they should. I have fought this troubling regulation since its inception. I thank President Trump and the administration for their commitment to reining in the federal government and repealing this rule.”Under the Clean Water Act, as enacted in 1972, the EPA’s jurisdiction is statutorily limited to navigable waters. Regulation of non-navigable waters is the responsibility of the states. In 2015, the Obama administration instituted a new regulation to vastly expand EPA’s jurisdiction to include virtually all water flows, from ditches to prairie potholes, even on private land.After the enactment of the 2015 rule, Congressman Smith led the fight against it, authoring a bill repealing WOTUS which made it to President Obama’s desk in 2016 before being vetoed.Nebraska Coalition Hails Repeal of 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” RuleA wide ranging Nebraska-based coalition made up of farmers, homebuilders, businesses, bankers, general contractors, golf course managers, electric systems, and local government agencies is praising the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer repeal of the 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) Rule. The agencies’ action is a key step forward to bringing an end to a four-year battle in which the groups worked to stop a regulation representing one of the largest expansions of federal authority over private land in U.S. history.“This is a landmark victory for private property owners and those who support private property rights. This is also a major win for states, including Nebraska, who had argued the WOTUS Rule had gone too far in attempting to infringe upon states’ rights to manage waters under their jurisdiction,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.The 2015 WOTUS Rule would have redefined the definition of “waters of the U.S.” under the federal Clean Water Act, and in the process, expanded the scope of waters subject to federal regulation, as well as expand powers to regulate land and land features that collect and convey waters.“Today’s announcement is a result of Nebraskans working together. There is no doubt the repeal of this rule would not have happened if not for the work of our coalition, its partners, our national counterparts, and the efforts of our elected leaders,” said Bryan Slone, President of Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.“We thank the administration and greatly appreciate the work of Governor Ricketts, Nebraska Attorney General Peterson, Congressmen Fortenberry, Bacon, and Smith, as well as the efforts of Senator Fischer and Senator Sasse in preventing Nebraskans from feeling the impacts of this misguided regulatory effort,” said Dean Edson, Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.In light of the massive pushback, President Trump signed an executive order in 2017 to start the process for repealing the 2015 Rule. As a part of the rollback, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a replacement regulation for the 2015 WOTUS rule in December of 2018. The new rule is currently under development following a public input period that ended earlier this year. Separately, several legal challenges, including one with involvement by the state of Nebraska, had been filed against the 2015 Rule.“We continue to provide support and input to the agencies as they develop a more common- sense approach to provide protections for U.S. waters that won’t infringe on individual rights or those of local and state authorities,” said Larry Dix, Nebraska Association of County Officials executive director. “We’re committed to being part of a positive solution. The repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule is a critical piece of the puzzle as we work with the agencies on a better path forward.”Common Sense Nebraska is a Nebraska-based coalition consisting of organizations and entities that have come together in response to EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” proposal which would harm both rural and urban Nebraskans through expansion of EPA’s powers and authorities under the federal Clean Water Act. The coalition’s purpose is to build awareness and understanding of the EPA proposal and the impacts it would have on Nebraskans.Ricketts Commends EPA for Repealing Burdensome WOTUS RuleToday, Governor Pete Ricketts praised President Donald J. Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their decision to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2015 rule pertaining to the Clean Water Act.  The 2015 rule had stretched the bounds of the EPA’s authority beyond its constitutional scope by expansively defining “Waters of the United States ” (WOTUS).“The Obama Administration overstepped its legal authority and needlessly burdened states with its ‘waters of the United States’ rule in 2015,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “I’m pleased that the EPA, under President Trump, has restored the simpler and clearer definition that existed prior to the 2015 rule change.  This decision removes regulatory impediments to economic growth while preserving our country’s commitment to the wise stewardship of water resources.”The 2015 rule had taken authority away from states, transferring it to the federal government.  The EPA’s repeal of the rule acknowledges that states have primary responsibility to regulate their own water resources.  Naig: Repeal of the 2015 WOTUS Rule is a Positive First StepToday, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response to the EPA's announcement that the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule will be repealed."Today's announcement by the Trump administration is a positive first step in providing regulatory clarity for Iowa's farmers, manufacturers and agribusinesses," said Secretary Naig. "I will continue working with our federal partners to ensure the final rule gives producers the freedom to operate using standard farming practices and implement conservation practices without the fear of fines and penalties."Secretary Perdue Statement on EPA WOTUS AnnouncementU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking another step to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. “Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” Secretary Perdue said. “Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”  Cattlemen Applaud Finalization of WOTUS RepealNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's finalization of repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:“Cattle producers are the nation’s original environmental stewards – we work hard to ensure that our natural resources remain pristine and to implement conservation practices to protect our water resources. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over. Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to farmers and ranchers, and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.” NPPC Applauds EPA's Actions to Finalize New WOTUS RuleThe National Pork Producers Council applauded today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repealing the previous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and laying the groundwork for a new final rule.The previous WOTUS rule was issued by the Obama administration in August 2015, giving EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams that farmers use for drainage and irrigation. Most importantly, it also covered lands adjacent to waters such as farm fields. Prior to the 2015 rule, EPA's jurisdiction over waterways – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – included "navigable" waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters."We're pleased the EPA is moving towards a common sense WOTUS rule that works with—not against—farmers to protect our nation's waterways," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "The previous WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. Today's action will remove the threat that the 2015 WOTUS rule posed for our ability to efficiently grow the amount of food needed by people around the globe, while providing regulatory certainty to our farmers and businesses. We look forward to working with this administration to finally implement a new WOTUS rule," he added.NPPC had opposed the 2015 WOTUS rule because it was overly broad and had significant technical flaws, including the process that EPA used to develop the rule, which violated basic due process and long-standing procedural protections. On Aug. 21, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia remanded the rule to EPA to redraft, stating that the Obama-era WOTUS rule itself violated the Clean Water Act and that the Obama administration's procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were clearly in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.  NMPF Applauds WOTUS RepealThe National Milk Producers Federation applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to repeal the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. This decision eases regulatory burdens and aims to provide greater clarity for farmers in the future.Signed February 28, 2017, the Executive Order, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States Rule’,” initiated the process to review and revise WOTUS. A notice to permanently repeal the 2015 rule followed, which led to an open public comment period that ended August 13, 2018. The decision to repeal re-codifies the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 rule and provides certainty while regulatory agencies work to revise the definition. Citing the many ambiguities and uncertainties of EPA’s then-proposed rule, NMPF urged the EPA to rethink it in 2014. In its analysis, NMPF found that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal did not meet the requirements of various Supreme Court rulings that were the catalyst for the 2015 regulation.NMPF is pleased to see the 2015 WOTUS rule officially repealed and remains committed to working with the EPA as they draft the new WOTUS definition. ASA Sees WOTUS Repeal as Step Towards Regulatory CertaintyThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in June 2017 that it would repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and today has followed through on that promise. EPA along with the Department of the Army announced the repeal of the 2015 rule that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, under the Clean Water Act.The American Soybean Association (ASA) views this move as a significant step towards greater regulatory certainty for soybean farmers, with ASA president Davie Stephens, soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky, commenting, “We agree with the goal of assuring clean water, but in reality, the proposed rule was an unworkable and impractical regulation, especially for farmers and ranchers. Creeks, streams and ditches on our land were unduly subjected to a broad, one-size-fits-all regulatory definition that made no sense for individual farms and went beyond the intent of Congress. This is great news for soybean and other farmers.”EPA is developing a new rule that protects waterways while still offering a workable solution for farmers, and that considers comments submitted by ASA and other impacted stakeholders. Until a new rule is finalized, jurisdictions will return to the regulatory framework that was in place prior to the 2015 WOTUS rule nationwide, putting an end to the state-by-state patchwork of regulations.EPA RELEASES WOTUS REPEAL RULEThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final rule to repeal the harmful 2015 definition of "waters of the United States.”The National Corn Growers Association will be reviewing the repeal rule and is encouraged that we are one step closer to ensuring farmers have the clarity and certainty they have long-sought to effectively implement stewardship practices on their operations.NCGA and state affiliates have been working to balance environmental protection efforts while sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world. The Soil Health Partnership and Field to Market are both proactive efforts to help farmers fully utilize sustainability tools.NCGA has also been active in the ongoing WOTUS rulemaking process, submitting comments as part of the organization’s participation in the Agricultural Nutrients Policy Council (ANPC) and the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC). Farm Bureau: A Victory for Clean Water and Clear RulesAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall“Farmers and ranchers share the goal of ensuring clean water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable. It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers. “No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious. We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land. Farm Bureau’s multi-year effort to raise awareness of overreaching provisions was powered by thousands of our members who joined with an array of allies to achieve this victory for clear rules to ensure clean water.”Pork Checkoff Moving Remittance Payments Into Online SystemThe National Pork Board announced today plans to migrate Pork Checkoff remittances to its online platform. The online Checkoff remittance system is designed to significantly reduce the processing time, paper and other expenses for the Pork Board, while also providing pork producers flexibility with payment options, improve operational efficiencies and create cost savings.“Our expenses for collecting and reconciling manual payments run about $150,000 annually,” said Calvin VandeKrol, vice president of finance for the Pork Board. “That includes bank fees, postage, paper, printing and several hours of staff time each month. By migrating remittances to the online platform, we’re saving producer Checkoff dollars that can be redirected to other, more critical work related to our research, promotion and education efforts.”“Producers around the country have told us loud and clear they want today’s Pork Checkoff to move at the speed of business,” said Bill Even, CEO of the Pork Checkoff. “The online reporting system reduces processing costs and time on both sides of the transaction, and provides greater transparency and accountability.”With the online system, there are three ways to report and submit payments:ACH Payment – Producers can file their report and pay online with an ACH withdrawal from your checking account.  This is the most widely accepted and most efficient method of payment.Paystub – Producers will file their report online and print a paystub to mail in with their check. This provides the option of forgoing an ACH withdrawal, and works well for producers that have a separate department that cuts accounts payable checks. It still allows the producer to track and report on prior payment information through the online system.“Zero Reporting” – This option is to be used when a sale has not occurred for the period and no Checkoff remittance is owed.Producers not currently using the system, which has been available since 2017, will need to register before they can begin using the secure system. During the month of September, the Pork Board will mail letters to those producers who need to register so they can establish their login credentials. Producers may also register at or call 1-800-456-7675 to sign up.Dairy Leaders Join Agriculture Groups at Capitol to Underscore Importance of USMCAAfter traveling across the country in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Farmers for Free Trade Motorcade for Trade made a final stop today in front of the U.S. Capitol, where the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) joined other agriculture groups and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle at a rally to tout the trade benefits of USMCA. USDEC and NMPF are both members of Farmers for Free Trade and have been actively involved in this motorcade campaign, which included stops at multiple dairy farms.Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC, addressed the rally and touted the improvements USMCA makes to NAFTA. In addition to other agriculture sector benefits in the agreement, USMCA includes several provisions that will greatly benefit the U.S. dairy industry: USMCA secures the valuable relationship U.S. dairy shares with Mexico while establishing new protections for common cheese names and makes important changes to Canada’s trade-distorting dairy policies, while also opening new opportunities for U.S. dairy exports to Canada.“USMCA provides a much-needed upgrade to the trade rules, securing a brighter future for the export of American-made food and agricultural products to our North American neighbors,” Vilsack said. “The positive impacts of this trade deal will be felt throughout the economy, as increased exports help drive jobs tied to food and agriculture production across the heartland. Moreover, the passage of USMCA will send a clear message that the U.S. values robust, rules-based trade with our allies and will give the U.S. the momentum necessary to execute a productive trade agenda that delivers positive benefits for America.”Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, said, “Restoring certainty to our trade relationships and bolstering the prospects for dairy exports by passing USMCA will bring important benefits to the dairy farmers and rural economies that rely on these export markets,” said Mulhern. “America’s farmers are counting on Congress and the Administration to work together to secure passage of USMCA, and soon.” Mulhern previously participated in a Motorcade for Trade event held at a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Under USMCA, U.S. dairy exports will ultimately increase by more than $314 million a year, according to the International Trade Commission. And the U.S. dairy industryestimates that over the first six years of implementation, USMCA will bolster dairy farm revenue by an additional $548 million.Pork Producers Urge Congress to Ratify USMCA and Support Measures to Prevent Foreign Animal DiseaseCongressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA), allowing the U.S. pork industry to maintain zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets, remains a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). More than 120 pork producers from across the country helped spread this and other messages on Capitol Hill this week during NPPC's Fall Legislative Action Conference (LAC)."Last year, Canada and Mexico took over 40 percent of the pork that was exported from the U.S. and they are expected to be a large percentage this year as well," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "USMCA will strengthen our strong economic ties with our North American neighbors. Preserving zero-tariff pork trade in North American market is especially important as U.S. pork producers are struggling as a result of retaliatory tariffs in China. We asked our representatives to do all they can to push for swift ratification of USMCA," he added.During the Fall LAC, NPPC members also discussed the need for continued vigilance to prevent any foreign animal disease outbreaks in the United States. The U.S. pork industry fought hard to secure funds in the 2018 Farm Bill for a Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank to quickly contain and eradicate an outbreak and prevent catastrophic financial losses for the agriculture economy. NPPC appreciates that USDA has begun work on establishing the bank and urges the agency to move expeditiously, given its importance. Additionally, members discussed the critical need for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen defenses against African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases."The United States is not currently prepared to effectively respond to an FMD outbreak," said Herring. "While we hope we never use it, the vaccine bank needs to be up and running to ensure we have another layer of protection should there be an outbreak. It's critical that USDA acts quickly and follows through on implementation of the Farm Bill as intended by Congress," he added.During the fly-in, NPPC members also urged members of Congress to support moving regulatory oversight of gene editing in animals from the Food and Drug Administration to USDA, and ensuring that any new regulations related to the buying and selling of livestock, including the new GIPSA rule in development, don't restrict pork producers' rights to enter into contractual business relationships.NFU Honors 26 Congressional Champions of Family Agriculture with Golden Triangle AwardNational Farmers Union (NFU) proudly recognized 26 outstanding U.S. Senators and Representatives who have demonstrated leadership and support at the federal policymaking level for family farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.The Golden Triangle Award, the family farm organization’s highest legislative honor, was presented to each recipient this week during NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In.“The Golden Triangle Award recognizes farm and food champions in Congress that display outstanding leadership on the issues that are important to both our industry and our organization. We’re appreciative of their insight and devotion to securing the nation’s food supply for the good of both American family farmers and consumers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.The 2019 recipients of the Golden Triangle Award are:U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, WisconsinU.S. Senator Michael Bennet, ColoradoU.S. Senator Cory Booker, New JerseyU.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, OhioU.S. Senator Bob Casey, PennsylvaniaU.S. Representative Angie Craig, MinnesotaU.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, ConnecticutU.S. Senator Richard Durbin, IllinoisU.S. Representative Tom Emmer, IndianaU.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry, NebraskaU.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New YorkU.S. Senator John Hoeven, North DakotaU.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, OhioU.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, MinnesotaU.S. Representative Ann Kuster, New HampshireU.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, VermontU.S. Representative Dave Loebsack, IowaU.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan, New MexicoU.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, CaliforniaU.S. Representative Collin Peterson, MinnesotaU.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, MaineU.S. Representative Mark Pocan, WisconsinU.S. Senator Tina Smith, MinnesotaU.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, MichiganU.S. Senator Jon Tester, MontanaU.S. Senator John Thune, South DakotaThe Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union organization: education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and dedication to improving the livelihoods of family farmers and ranchers.Farmers Union Board Calls on Administration to Strengthen Agricultural MarketsIn a pair of unanimously approved resolutions, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors called on the administration and Congress to address mounting financial difficulties that have been exacerbated by recent policy decisions. Specifically, they urged the resolution of ongoing trade disputes, the enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard, (RFS), and the strengthening of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) before final passage.By most metrics, the farm economy is in a slump, and it has been for six years now. The farmer’s share of the consumer food dollar is at an all-time low. Prices for many commodities are below the cost of production. Farm debt is at its highest level in almost 40 years. And median farm income has been negative since 2014.Recent actions by this administration have added to family farmers’ and ranchers’ troubles. An international trade war has eroded international markets, while the undermining of biofuels programs has harmed domestic markets. Both have added to the oversupply of many American farm products and depressed prices even further.In order to relieve these unnecessary market pressures, the Board compelled the administration to end its “erratic and destructive actions,” work to rebuild international and domestic markets, restore America’s reputation as a reliable trading partner, and reverse policies that have undermined the Renewable Fuels Standard. “Until these actions are corrected and the markets rebound,” the resolution reads, “we urge the administration to work with Congress to fundamentally reform and significantly strengthen the existing farm safety net.”Though USMCA makes some progress towards rebuilding international markets, it requires further improvements before final ratification, per the second resolution. To provide needed protections to American family farmers and ranchers, the agreement should strengthen labor, environment, and enforcement provisions; rectify language related to prescription drugs; strengthen anti-dumping protections for agricultural goods; and re-establish Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) authority.“USMCA must meet these standards—currently it falls short,” the resolution states. Because negotiations are still in progress, NFU’s Board is withholding conclusive judgement until the final agreement is released. National Farmers Union Board of Directors Resolution on USMCAAccess to export markets is critical for U.S. family farmers and ranchers. Agricultural exports account for about 20 percent of U.S. farm income, and farmers and ranchers rely on these sales to maintain commodity prices and boost revenue. Canada and Mexico are the leading export markets for U.S. agricultural products—a strong U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement would help to maintain those important relationships.For farmers and rural communities to remain strong, they need more than high exports. Thus, trade agreements must not be limited to regulating domestic support levels, export subsidies and market access. Every trade agreement must address differences in labor standards, environmental standards, health standards, and other trade distorting policies, and provide for the strong enforcement of those standards. Further, trade agreements must not limit U.S. sovereignty or prohibit Congress from enacting policies that it deems in the best interest of U.S. citizens.The blessing of excess agricultural production should not be used to as a weapon to depress agricultural product prices in neighboring countries. Selling excess production at prices below the full cost of production is dumping and should not be allowed. Neither NAFTA nor USMCA has dealt with the issue of dumping. Both Canada and Mexico’s excess livestock production has been used to depress domestic livestock prices for U.S. livestock producers. U.S. white corn has been dumped into Mexico causing the collapse of the price of their staple crop. Dumping uses excess production to become a price depressing weapon.The renegotiation of NAFTA was the perfect opportunity to use U.S. leverage to regain the use of U.S. Country of Origin labeling authority because it was Canada and Mexico who used the WTO process to take away the ability of U.S. food producers to identify and differentiate their food products in their own domestic marketplace. That effort was not made. The United States is the world’s largest food producing nation and the world’s largest cash-driven market. When the U.S. lost Country of Origin Labeling authority, the rest of the world including Mexico and Canada, kept authority to label their own products. Both U.S. food consumers and U.S. food producers must have the right to honest and transparent labeling so U.S. consumers can make an informed food buying decision. USMCA must meet these standards—currently it falls short. Provisions that limit the actions Congress can take to reduce prescription drug prices must be rectified to allow for future reductions in health care costs. The increasing cost of health care, a top concern among National Farmers Union members, is eating into already shrinking farm revenue. Farmers are increasingly dependent on off-farm employment to make ends meet, but many rural manufacturing and other jobs have moved to foreign markets with cheaper labor and lower environmental standards. Labor, environment, and enforcement standards must be strengthened to help to keep jobs in rural communities.On behalf of nearly 200,000 member farmers and ranchers across the country, National Farmers Union Board of Directors’ final judgement on the passage of USMCA depends on the strengthening of labor, environment, and enforcement provisions; rectifying language related to prescription drugs; strengthening of anti-dumping protections for agricultural goods; and re-establishing Country of Origin Labeling authority.

Governor, Agriculture Leaders, UNL Chancellor Say Nebraskans “Win” with USMCAIt’s time for Congress to pass legislation to enact the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) and bring home a “win” for Nebraska agriculture. That’s the message relayed by Nebraska leaders who gathered to call for USMCA passage at Husker Harvest Days, Wed., Sept. 11. The Trump administration has negotiated a trade deal with the two countries, but Congress must act for the provisions of the agreement to go into effect.The USMCA deal is critical to Nebraska agriculture as purchases by Mexico and Canada account for more than 21 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. The trade relationship with the two countries is also vital to the state’s economy as agriculture trade with the two nations supports nearly 54,000 Nebraska jobs.The USMCA would replace the more than 20-year-old, North American Free Trade Agreement between the countries, making a good relationship even better. The new deal would maintain market access for Nebraska commodities like corn, soybeans, beef, and pork, while improving access for Nebraska wheat and dairy products. The deal also updates the former agreement to address agriculture biotechnology to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies. In addition, USMCA creates a more rigorous process for establishing trade distorting geological indicators for agriculture products and strengthens science-based measures to protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.With members of Congress returning from the August recess, the Nebraska leaders urged swift action to secure the USMCA deal.Quotes“A combination of flooding, low commodity prices, and trade negotiations have made for a very tough time for agriculture recently. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical for our country and growing key trade relationships. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do their part by approving the USMCA.”Governor Pete Ricketts“USMCA passage is not only important because of the immediate and direct benefits it will bring to our state’s farmers and ranchers, but with the climate we’re operating in today, we need to show the rest of the world that the United States is open for business and we’re serious about getting deals done with our trade partners. The success of Nebraska agriculture relies heavily on our ability to reach the international customers who want to buy Nebraska agriculture products; and there are plenty of them around the world.”Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president“Mexico and Canada are key partners with Nebraska’s corn industry. Mexico is our top customer of Nebraska corn and Canada is our second largest export market for ethanol. Once distillers grains, livestock and other agricultural commodities start getting added into the mix, it’s easy to see why USMCA is so important to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.”Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president“USMCA is poised to bring improvements to the North American dairy trade by expanding exports and bringing down trade barriers, benefiting America’s dairy farmers and processors. Mexico and Canada are the dairy industry’s number one and number two largest volume international exporters, with Mexico taking 25 percent of all of the United States dairy exports.  USMCA enables the Nebraska dairy industry to continue to export ice cream and butter into those markets, generating more demand and higher pay price for our milk here at home.”Bob Larson, Nebraska State Dairy Association, board of directors"Mexico is one of the largest purchasers of both US and Nebraska wheat. A fully implemented USMCA would greatly benefit our state's wheat farmers."Von Johnson, Nebraska Wheat Board, board of directors“In today’s trade environment the passage of the USMCA is of great importance. With trade equalization moving forward with Japan and other booming markets around the world the passage of USMCA would increase the momentum to trade with other countries and boost all sectors of our agricultural economy.”Tim Chancellor, Nebraska Pork Producers Association“USMCA will benefit U.S. and Nebraska soybean growers as well as the larger U.S. agriculture and food industry.  Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and ag exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA.  Mexico is the number two buyer of Nebraska soybeans and soybean products.”Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association, president“Nebraska’s cattle producers have weathered their fair share of storms this past year. Now is NOT the time to pull the rug from under the feet of our state’s largest industry. If access to these top markets were suddenly shut off, our red meat exports would drastically decline. This would pose serious consequences for Nebraska’s economy. We urge Congress to act quickly and get USMCA across the finish line.”Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen president“USMCA reinvigorates and modernizes the trade relationships with our neighbors in Canada and Mexico. The agreement also provides critical updates that benefit growers all across the agricultural spectrum. The Nebraska Sorghum Producers Association urges congress to move swiftly forward in passing the USMCA.”Nate Blum, Nebraska Grain Sorghum“Nebraska’s own Clayton Yeutter was instrumental in opening up trade with our neighbor Canada when he served as U.S. Trade Representative in the 1980s. I’m proud that our Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at UNL helps educate students and the public about the importance of trade. In 2017, Nebraska ag exports totaled $6.4 billion and translated into $8.14 billion in additional economic activity. Opening up access to our agricultural products is vital to Nebraska’s future.”Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska-Lincoln ChancellorPOLL SHOWS OPTIMISM ON THE RISE IN RURAL NEBRASKARural Nebraskans are more optimistic about their current and future situation than they have been in the history of the Nebraska Rural Poll, according to 2019 results.Despite some of the challenges faced by rural Nebraska this year, 56% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — believe they are better off than they were five years ago, up from 52% last year. This is the highest proportion across all 24 years of the study. Rural Nebraskans’ optimism about their current situation has been increasing the past six years, as the gap has widened between the proportions saying they are better off vs. worse off than they were five years ago.This optimism was also reflected in their outlook on the future, with 52% believing they'll be better off in 10 years. This was an increase from 49% last year. The gap between those believing they will be better off vs. worse off 10 years from now has gradually widened since 2013. The poll was conducted in the spring, right after Nebraska’s widespread and historic flooding.“With the unprecedented disasters we have seen this year, the results are surprising but not necessarily out of the ordinary,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “Collective recovery from disasters can create strong feelings of place and pride, as showcased by the ‘Nebraska Strong’ campaign. It remains to be seen whether this uptick in optimism continues as recovery progresses over the next five to 10 years and the agricultural economy continues to languish.”Rural Nebraskans surveyed have higher levels of satisfaction with many financial items compared to last year. Satisfaction with job opportunities increased from 41% last year to 49% this year, job security increased from 68% to 75%, and satisfaction with financial security during retirement increased from 42% to 48%. Many of these percentages are the highest seen in the past 20 years.Poll respondents also have positive views of their community. Most rural Nebraskans surveyed rate their community as friendly, trusting and supportive and have a positive attachment to it. Most also say it would be difficult to leave their community.Despite the overall optimism across the state, Panhandle residents were less positive about both their community and well-being compared to residents from other regions, similar to last year’s findings. Four in 10 Panhandle residents surveyed think they will be better off 10 years from now, compared to 58% of residents in the northeast region. Moreover, 24% expect to be worse off 10 years from now. When assessing their current situation, only 38% think they are better off than they were five years ago, and 23% believe they are worse off. Their pessimism continues when asked about their community: 37% of Panhandle residents say their community has changed for the worse during the past year, and 29% think their community will be a worse place to live 10 years from now.“Over the last three Rural Polls, the Panhandle has shown more pessimism than other regions of the state,” said Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, extension professor at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. “We’re not sure why this is the case, as many of the social and economic variables are similar. Additionally, when we look at county- and community-level data, we see pockets of optimism among the pessimism — so it’s not consistent across the entire region.”Burkhart-Kriesel said the loss of Cabela’s, a significant economic driver across the Panhandle, may be one of the key reasons for the pessimism seen in the poll results, but more analysis is needed.Residents were also asked about community goals this year. According to the poll, younger people are more likely to have goals for their community, know how to reach those goals and be actively pursuing them.This year’s Rural Poll was sent to 6,260 households in 86 Nebraska counties in March and April. Responses were received through June 10. Results are based on 1,776 responses, a response rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.Midwest Bank joins Northeast’s Ag & Water Nexus Campaign with $250,000 contributionA bank with several locations across Nebraska has joined the list of supporters of a project to build new ag facilities at Northeast Community College. Midwest Bank President & CEO Doug Johnson has announced a pledge of $250,000 to the Nexus campaign.“Agriculture has done a fantastic job of evolving, of adapting to change over the years,” Johnson said. “But it will be a challenge going forward. Trying to get students the tools and resources that they can use to help them in that process is important.”Midwest Bank was founded in Pilger in 1952 by members of the Clyde and Lizzy Cooper family. Today, the Cooper family owns majority interest in banks located in Pilger, Plainview, Deshler, Pierce, Creighton, York, Norfolk, Lincoln and Wisner. In August, Midwest Bank broke ground for a new facility in Norfolk that will serve as corporate headquarters for all 10 bank locations in Nebraska, as well as two Redstone Bank locations in Colorado.In addition to their banking interests, the Cooper family also supports health, education and recreation in the communities that Midwest Bank serves through the Jim B. & Lillian F. Cooper Foundation. Both grants and scholarships are awarded annually.“We cannot thank Midwest Bank enough for their support,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation. “Their financial contribution to the Nexus campaign is an investment in the next student, the next farmer or rancher, the next agribusiness employee.”Kruse also remarked that Johnson has supported the college by serving on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for the past eight years.Funding for the $23 million project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse at or (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469. Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and CommissionsToday, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.The following appointees are unpaid and are not subject to Legislative confirmation:Corn Development, Utilization, and Marketing BoardDeborah J. Borg, AllenDavid D. Bruntz, FriendAdam M. Grabenstein, FarnamNebraska Craft Brewery BoardNathan Bell, Broken BowWilliam Boyd, HastingsJoshua C. Christensen, Fort CalhounJames Gillick, LincolnKristine Koch, LincolnZachary Triemert, OmahaAnnette Wiles, PlattsmouthGrain Sorghum Development, Utilization, and Marketing BoardDavid A. Junker, McCookScott D. Nelson, AxtellDuane L. Vorderstrasse, HebronNebraska Invasive Species CouncilBrent Meyer, DentonJohn Thorburn, HoldregeNebraska Potato Development CommitteeTyler C. Backemeyer, KearneyAdam Naslund, CodyTroy Sorensen, AllianceZane Walker, ScottsbluffThe following appointees are subject to Legislative confirmation:Nebraska Ethanol BoardTimothy L. Else, BelvidereJan K. tenBensel, CambridgeThank you to the many Nebraskans that give generously of their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go to NRD Hall of Fame Inductees Announced at Husker Harvest DaysDuring Husker Harvest Days this afternoon, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) recognized three individuals, who will be inducted into the NRD Hall of Fame later this month.“Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts projects involve many dedicated individuals working to make the good life great,” said Larry Reynolds, president of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts. “We’re proud to recognize these outstanding individuals for the significant improvements they’ve made to our natural resources, and the NRD Hall of Fame is one small way to thank them.”Annually, Nebraska’s NRDs nominate and vote for individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the state’s natural resources. Hall of Fame categories include an NRD Board Member, NRD Employee and NRD Supporter. The NRD Supporter includes an individual outside the NRD system who has shown tremendous care and leadership in Nebraska’s ongoing conservation efforts. 2019 NRD Hall of Fame inductees:    NRD Board Member – James Nelson, Cairo, Nebraska    NRD Employee – Tom Moser, Hartington, Nebraska    NRD Supporter – Tom Pesek, Brainard, NebraskaJames Nelson – NRD Board MemberNominated by the Lower Loup Natural Resources District, Nelson has been on the board of directors since the District’s inception in 1972. His 47 years on the Lower Loup NRD Board make him the only director in the state to serve with the NRD system since day one. Nelson was a key participant in many difficult decisions, including a district-wide moratorium on new irrigation wells and a halt on the expansion of irrigated acres.“Jim serves on multiple committees within the NRD, which means extra meetings and the devotion of additional time and energy to the District,” said Russ Callan, Lower Loup NRD general manager. “His knowledge of the Loup River system [Nelson’s home is built on the banks] is unmatched, and he is always willing to offer a guided tour on his airboat.”“We’re on earth for a short time and we need to be stewards of the land and water,” Nelson said. “This award should be given to my family, my wife and four children, who were doing the chores at home while I attended NRD meetings.”Tom Moser – NRD EmployeeFormer general manager of the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District, Moser retired in 2016 after 43 years with the NRD, but the impacts of his management decisions continue to be felt in northeast Nebraska. In the late 1970s, Moser coordinated flood-control construction along the Aowa Creek. The project included 50 watershed dams, control of more than 55,000 drainage acres and two multi-purpose structures, which all reduced flood impacts to downstream communities and landowners during March floods.“Tom is a highly-respected member of the community and District and is recognized for commitment to his family, faith and career,” said Annette Sudbeck, Lewis & Clark NRD general manager. “His commitment to natural resources continues in retirement as he shares his expertise with the board, staff and public.”Moser was also responsible for the development of the Cedar Knox Rural Water Project, which provided drinking water service to 280 residents in 1981. Today, that project has grown to serve more than 890 rural customers and four communities in northern Cedar and Knox counties. Moser also was a key figure in the creation of the Bazile Groundwater Management Area, which works to eliminate groundwater nitrates in four natural resources districts.“I consider this recognition as the highlight of my career working in natural resources,” Moser said. “It’s gratifying to spend more than 40 years in a position and feel you’ve done good works. It is quite another thing to be selected for this proud honor by your peers, who think you’ve done a good job as well.”Tom Pesek – NRD SupporterLower Big Blue NRD General Manager Dave Clabaugh believes Pesek’s leadership, character and personality enables him to bring people together and see a project through to completion, which has been invaluable to the state’s water resources.In 1975, Pesek participated in the review of the Maskenthine Lake project near Stanton, Nebraska, which was the first to receive funding assistance from the Nebraska Resources Development Fund. Since then, Pesek was part of 72 local water resources projects receiving monetary support through the development fund. After 32 years as an advocate for conservation, Pesek retired from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources in 2006.“Tom has been a valued partner in conservation and played a vital role in planning, funding and construction of conservation projects throughout Nebraska,” Clabaugh said. “True passion for conservation like his comes not from a job, but a desire to preserve and protect Nebraska’s natural wonders long into the future.”“It truly is an honor to receive this award,” Pesek said. “I enjoyed working with the NRDs, cities and other sponsors on local water resources projects in Nebraska to conserve and wisely utilize the soil and water resources of our state.”Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the annual NRD Conference dinner banquet in Kearney, Nebraska, Monday, Sept. 23.Remember to Share Iowa Roads This FallThere is an increase in farm vehicle traffic on Iowa roadways during harvest. So, it is not surprising that this is the time of year when there are also more agricultural collisions on highways and county roads.The two most likely types of collisions with farm equipment are left-turn and rear-end collisions. The left-turn collision happens when the farm vehicle is about to make a wide left turn to align with a gate or small entry road. The motor vehicle behind begins to pass without understanding the farm vehicle was preparing to make a left turn.The rear-end collision is common because farm equipment and motor vehicles travel at different speeds. When a car traveling 55 mph approaches a tractor traveling 15 mph, the distance gap between these two types of vehicles disappears in about five seconds – hardly enough time to react and brake.This is a shared responsibility of both farm equipment and motor vehicle operators, according to Charles Schwab, Iowa State University professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering with extension and outreach responsibilities.Farm equipment operators must be sure to mark their equipment for road travel and signal their turning intentions. Motorists must take extra caution during this time of year, looking for turn signals and slowing down as soon as they see a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem.More information about sharing the roadway is available in the ISU Extension and Outreach Publication “Safely Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles” (AE 3540).This year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week theme is “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear.” So as Iowans shift into high gear or road gear from Sept. 15-21 to observe National Farm Safety and Health Week, let’s all do our part to keep Iowa roadways safe.Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/6/2019 According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 6, ethanol production averaged 1.023 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 42.97 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 10,000 b/d, or 1.0%, from the previous week and was 0.3% above the same week last year. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 0.6% to 1.024 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.70 billion gallons. This was the lowest level since April and was 3.6% below the average at the same time last year.Ethanol stocks dropped 5.5% to 22.5 million barrels, reflecting an eleven-week low and 1.7% below the same week last year. This 1.3-million-barrel draw was the third-largest since the beginning of the data set in 2010. Inventories declined across all PADDs except the West Coast (PADD 5) region.There were zero imports recorded after 26,000 b/d hit the books last week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied surged to 9.807 million b/d (411.9 million gallons per day, or 150.34 bg annualized), up 3.5% from the previous week. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol pared back 2.3% to 930,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.26 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.43%.Nitrogen, Phosphate Fertilizers Lead Retail Price DeclinesRetail fertilizer prices fell for the fourth consecutive week, according to prices tracked by DTN for the first week of September 2019, with nitrogen and phosphate products posting the steepest declines.All eight of the major fertilizer were lower in price from the month prior, but only five had significant price declines, which DTN considers a price move of 5% or more.Anhydrous led the way lower, dropping 10% from last month's price. It had an average price of $522/ton, $58/ton lower than last month.The average UAN32 price was 9% lower than last month at $290/ton, a change of $30/ton. In addition, UAN28 prices decreased 6% from the prior month with an average price of $255/ton, down $17/ton.MAP decreased 8% compared to last month and was at $488/ton, a $43/ton decline.Urea prices were down 5% from last month at $408/ton, a $20/ton drop.The remaining two fertilizers were lower in price, but not significantly. DAP had an average price of $491/ton, down $4/ton, while potash carried a price tag of $387/ton, $8/ton less than last month.On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.32/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, one fertilizer's price did drop to being lower in price from a year ago. MAP is now 5% less expensive than last year at this time.Seven of the eight major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, 10-34-0 is 6% more expensive, UAN32 is 7% higher, potash is 8% more expensive, anhydrous is 9% higher, UAN28 10% more expensive and urea is 12% more expensive compared to last year.Bolstered by Agrisure Duracade trait European Commission import approval, Golden Harvest announces robust 2020 hybrid lineupWith the European Commission granting Agrisure Duracade® trait (event 5307) import approval in July, corn grain and its derived food and feed products can be used within the European Union (EU).[11 of the 25 new Golden Harvest hybrids include Agrisure Duracade, which carries a 4.1 Bu/A advantage over non-Agrisure Duracade products based off 2018 Syngenta trials. Photo credit: Syngenta]In addition to the European Commission approval, Golden Harvest is releasing 25 new corn hybrids for 2020 planting. The latest product lineup equips farmers with 11 hybrids containing the Agrisure Duracade corn rootworm control trait, along with the Agrisure Viptera® and Agrisure Artesian® traits."Golden Harvest recognizes farmers need market flexibility and continual genetic advancements to tackle ever-evolving field threats," said Dave Young, head of Golden Harvest marketing. "We are continually pushing new limits to be more farmer-centric, first and foremost."Proprietary Golden Harvest® germplasm offers elite genetics bred and tested locally. Golden Harvest research efforts have tripled to 80 locations to test hybrids against local stressors, such as soil types, pests and weather patterns. "Our steadfast R&D focus is gaining national recognition," said Jon Barrett, Golden Harvest corn product manager. "In 2018 Farmers' Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) trial results, Golden Harvest hybrids took home 59 Top 3 finishes."Coupled with industry-leading Agrisure® trait protection, the 2020 new Golden Harvest hybrids range in relative maturity from 91 to 114 days, with:    11 Agrisure Duracade hybrids for a unique mode of action to control corn rootworm.    8 Agrisure Viptera hybrids for the most comprehensive above-ground insect control–the only effective western bean cutworm control trait.    3 new Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge® hybrids, the most advanced trait stack on the market, for control of 16 above- and below-ground insects, more than any competitor.    1 new Agrisure Viptera 3330 E-Z Refuge hybrid, the newest above-ground-only trait stack with 3 modes of action.    8 Agrisure Artesian hybrids offer the most advanced water optimization technology for season-long performance.    19 hybrids available as E-Z Refuge products, providing a convenient, in-bag seed blend.In select geographies, Golden Harvest will offer 5 new Enogen® corn hybrids for 33 feed and fuel planting options in 2020. Featuring an in-seed innovation benefiting farmers marketing grain to participating ethanol plants, 2 to 14 hybrids are available in each sales region. In the ethanol market, Enogen grain enhances the ethanol production process by improving process efficiency, while Enogen Feed corn helps deliver more available energy when incorporated into dairy or beef cattle rations.The Golden Harvest portfolio is available from Golden Harvest Seed Advisors, who combine high-yielding seed options with local agronomic knowledge and field recommendations. To find your local, independent Seed Advisor and gain more information on Golden Harvest corn, visit

Forage Sampling ProceduresAmy Timmerman – NE Extension EducatorProper sampling of forage is essential if we want to obtain an accurate indication of the nutrient composition, dry matter content, or value of any feedstuff. Correct sampling and analysis is even more important under conditions that might increase feedstuff variability, such as challenging growing conditions. Sampling procedures vary depending upon the type of forage and whether or not sampling occurs pre-harvest or after the forage has been stored.Forage in a Windrow Prior to BalingWith a sharp shears, cut 6-inch sections from several locations in the windrow. If the forage is dry, take extreme care to avoid losing leaves. Cut the sections into pieces about 1 inch long and mix samples in a clean container.Forage Prior to Silage Harvest  If forage in the windrow or standing corn or sorghum is to be harvested with a forage chopper, several rounds can be chopped from a representative part of the field. Collect small samples from various locations in the forage wagon, and mix thoroughly in a clean container. As an alternative method, a representative sample of standing forage can also be cut off, run through a chipper, and then a sub-sample of the chopped material used for moisture testing. Hay Bales  Use a hay probe to collect samples. For large round bales the probe should be inserted from the rounded side into the center of the bale. Square bales should be probed from the middle of the butt end.  Silage  For bagged silage, collect about 2 gallons of silage by taking handfuls at random from about 10 locations and mix them in a clean container. With bunkers or piles, the best method is to remove silage from multiple locations in the face using a loader or silage facing tool, and then subsampling from the removed material. Grabbing samples by hand from the exposed face greatly increases the risk of being trapped in an avalanche, particularly as the sizes of bunkers or piles increase. When Should Forage Be Sampled?Forage samples should be collected as closely as possible to when the samples will be analyzed and when management decisions will be made. Sampling pre-harvest allows producers to pin-point moisture content and harvest timing. The microwave method is a low-cost way to test for dry matter content on the farm with minimal turn-around time. Sampling immediately after harvest provides valuable information for marketing feedstuffs or for making longer-term feeding plans. Collecting a sample close to when the feed will be fed will provide the most accurate estimate of actual feed value and account for any storage or weathering losses that may occur post-harvest.Regardless of when the sample is taken, it should be analyzed as quickly as possible. You can freeze samples to be shipped later, but minimizing the delay reduces the risk that the sample composition will significantly change. Mail or deliver samples early in the week for best results. Other ConsiderationsMake sure that the sample collected is representative of the lot of forage. Changes in fields, maturity, hybrids, or other factors mean that a different sample should be taken. Within each lot, taking more small samples from a variety of bales or locations within a silage pile is preferable to fewer, larger quantities. Finally, make sure to label the containers well so as not to rely on memory.YEUTTER INSTITUTE KICKS OFF PODCAST WITH GOV. RICKETTSThe first episode of Trade Matters, a podcast of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been released, with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts discussing his views on trade.“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers lie outside of our borders, so if we want to grow Nebraska, we have to go out and get those customers outside of our country,” Ricketts said.During the episode, the governor also talks about how he weighs in with Washington on trade policy, where he sees opportunities for Nebraska exports and how he strategizes for trade missions.Episodes of Trade Matters will be released biweekly this fall on iTunes and Stitcher. Yeutter Institute Director Jill O’Donnell will host each episode, speaking with guests who will illuminate an aspect of trade policy-making behind the scenes.“Our goal with Trade Matters is to make trade relatable, considering new developments, longstanding trends and the potential impacts of both,” O’Donnell said. “Trade matters to everyone, and this podcast will showcase that with dynamic discussions and thoughtful analysis.” The second episode will be released Sept. 24 and feature Edward Alden, Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor at Western Washington University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. If there are topics listeners would like to hear about on the podcast, those ideas can be emailed to Opinions expressed on Trade Matters are solely those of the guest or host and not the Yeutter Institute or the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.The vision of Husker alumnus and renowned trade expert Clayton Yeutter, the Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, support interdisciplinary research and increase public understanding of these issues.For more information on the Yeutter Institute, visit  Nebraska Rural Communities Impacted by Flooding Eligible for Additional USDA Assistance ProgramU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that $150 million is now available through its Community Facilities Program for rural communities impacted by natural disasters, including this year’s severe flooding:“Many rural communities in Nebraska have a long way to go on the road to recovery following this year’s extreme flooding. Because we fought to include Nebraska in disaster relief legislation earlier this year, our state is eligible for this Community Facilities Program and several others. I encourage our rural communities to look into this program and apply for assistance. This is another important step to advance Nebraska’s full recovery.”More information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:The $150 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program is intended to help rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters. The grants may be used for natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery number.Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with populations of 20,000 or less.Women’s Health in Ag ProgramPlatte County Extension OfficeMonday, September 16, 2019, 6 – 8 p.m.They will discuss Ergonomics, Yoga for the Farm, Reproductive Health, and Risk Management for Women.  The program is presented by Nebraska Extension and the AgriSafe Network.  A light dinner will be provided!! Please register by Friday, September 13th by calling 402-563-4901.Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership SymposiumNovember 8 - 10, 2019Application Deadline:  September 20th annual Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium will be held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Animal Science Complex on November 8 - 10. The symposium is designed to introduce youth to careers opportunities and current issues in the beef industry, as well as offer education and practice in the use of leadership skills.Showcasing Beef:  A Culinary Challenge    eligible if you are a 10th, 11th or 12th grader (regardless of whether you've attended NYBLS before)    get more in-depth information about the beef industry    interact with faculty and learn about genetic markers, reproduction, environment/manuare management, and antibiotic resistance    develop and market a beef product and work with a professional chef from Omaha Steaks    learn more about career opportunities in the beef industryIf you're selected to participate, a $75 registration fee will be needed.  This covers the cost of hotel, meals, and materials. Your room and all meals are provided!At the Sunday luncheon we will conclude with this group and they will present their new products and marketing plan to a panel of judges. Parents and guests will also get a chance to taste their products!For more information, contact:Alli Raymond, UNL Department of Animal Science(402) 472-0204araymond2@unl.eduWEEDY PASTURESBruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist               During the past couple weeks I’ve been unhappy about all the weeds in some of my pastures.  What have I been doing wrong?               I’ve prided myself in keeping my pastures thick and vigorous enough to compete with weeds, but this year they got the best of me in some of my paddocks.  Common ragweed was the worst, with foxtail and barnyardgrass next.               Why did the weeds get so abundant this year?  The grass was thick and heavy all spring and early summer because of all the early rain we received.  That should have at least kept the annual ragweed down.  Or so I thought.  I have well over a dozen paddocks in my pasture.  And weeds weren’t bad in all of them.  They all had more than the usual but three of them got especially weedy.               I have a theory as to why the weeds were bad, but mind you, it’s only my theory.  After the abundant spring rains and excessive grass growth, I went through a period of around six weeks that received less than one inch of rain.  Pastures still grew but the top soil got really dry and hard.  Then I received one rain of nearly three inches that really softened the top soil.               Cattle were grazing one of the paddocks that eventually got weedy and quickly moved into and through the other real weedy paddocks.  These paddocks contain the most cool-season bunch grasses like orchardgrass and fescue, with very little brome to form a more solid sod.  So they also got real rough and cut up.  So I suspect weeds grew where cattle hooves cut into the wet soil.               No matter whether my theory is right or wrong, now I need to help the orchardgrass and fescue recover well so they compete with the weeds.               And I’m feeling a bit more humble.  Live and learn.DON'T OVERGRAZE WARM-SEASON GRASSES               Remember the old grazing adage “take half and leave half”?  Let’s see how it applies to your pastures this fall.               "Take half and leave half” was the grazing management recommended for many years on rangeland and for planted warm-season grasses.  And in many cases it still is.  But today, more emphasis is on grazing techniques that use cross-fences to form multiple paddocks.  These techniques are known by many names like management intensive grazing, controlled grazing, even mob grazing.  Used correctly, they permit increased stocking rates and can produce excellent animal performance.               How you graze your pastures, though, does not affect the basic growth processes of your grasses. If you severely graze a pasture short, plants in that pasture need extra time to recover before they are grazed again.  And warm-season grasses are particularly sensitive to recovery periods that are too short.  This is true regardless of whether the plants are in a continuously grazed pasture or the plants are separated into many rotationally grazed paddocks.               Recovery time is particularly important as winter approaches.  Extra rain on many pastures recently allowed grass to thrive.  You still may have enough growth to provide grazing for another month or two.  But plants grazed hard earlier this summer may not have fully recovered yet despite the rain.  Severe grazing now, before full recovery from earlier grazing, will weaken plants as they go into winter.  Plants probably will survive, but next spring they will green-up later, early growth will be slow, and they'll compete poorly with weeds.               As we approach winter, “take half and leave half” still may be a good management technique.  It helps assure that your pastures will be healthy and grow vigorously again next year.Corn Silage TipsWith the limited hay crops in some areas this summer, beef producers may want to consider harvesting corn silage to supplement the cow herd this winter. Corn silage can be a very cost effective feedstuff for cow herds, but proper harvesting, storing and feeding is critical to maintain silage quality and feed value.Hugo Ramirez-Ramirez, Iowa State University dairy specialist, shared his top five priorities for making quality silage at the 2018 Iowa-Wisconsin Silage conference.1. Harvest at the right moisture content. During the fermentation process, sugar in the chopped corn is converted into lactic acid by bacteria, but the silage needs to be at 35% dry matter (or 65% moisture) to ensure it packs tight enough to become anaerobic so the bacteria can do their job. A ballpark indicator of whole plant moisture is the milkline on the kernel; harvesting at 2/3 to 3/4 milk line is a common practice to capture more energy as starch in the kernel. A better way to determine whole plant moisture is to actually chop up a few stalks and test it for moisture, either with a tester designed for this purpose or by using a microwave and kitchen scale. See instructions for testing silage moisture from ISU Extension and Outreach. A general rule of thumb is that corn plants will dry about 0.5% points each day.2. Chop length and kernel processing. Good timely fermentation requires an anaerobic environment where the bacteria have access to the sugars and starch in the chopped corn plant. Particle size (and moisture) has a big impact on packing density and oxygen exclusion. When a kernel processor is used, particle size should be about 3/4”, and when a processor is not used the particles should be 1/4” to 1/2” in length. Kernel processing opens up the corn kernel, which results in increased feed quality by allowing better energy utilization by the cow.3. Inoculants. Bacteria are naturally occurring, but not all bacteria produce lactic acid to assist in the fermentation process. Adding a lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB) to the chopped corn increases the "good" bacteria and speeds the fermentation process, resulting in less spoilage and higher feed quality. Inoculants are simply inactive, live LAB which are activated when rehydrated, and because they are live bacteria, do not use chlorinated water to rehydrate the inoculant.4. Packing. Packing to remove oxygen from the pile is critical since the bacteria require an anaerobic environment to ferment the forage. Density (pounds of forage per cubic foot) is used to measure the success of packing silage. Density is influenced by crop, chop length, dry matter, type of structure, delivery rate, packing weight and time. The target density for a bunker silo is 40-45 pounds of fresh forage or 14-16 pounds of dry matter per cubic foot. Density also has an impact on spoilage during feedout, since a less-dense pile allows for more oxygen to enter the pile. A Wisconsin study showed that silage density of 16 pounds of dry matter per cubic foot had a 15% loss, where 10 pounds of dry matter per cubic foot lost 20% of dry matter. A tool to help calculate the number of tractors needed to achieve adequate density based on silage moisture and delivery rate is available from the University of Wisconsin.5. Sealing and covering. Covering and sealing a silage pile may be the most important factor to ensure good fermentation and an anaerobic environment. A plastic cover specifically designed for use on silage piles that is at least 4-mil thick should be used. These special plastics are designed to resist tears and block ultraviolet light. Some plastics are even designed with high oxygen impermeability. Some plastic covers incorporate one layer of oxygen barrier film with a second layer of UV barrier, or producers can utilize an oxygen-limiting film next to the silage and a black/white UV plastic on top of it. Weight is needed on top of the plastic cover to hold the cover down and prevent air infiltration. Most producers use either old tires or tire sidewalls, and ideally the tires should touch each other, covering the entire pile.In addition to focusing on silage quality, safety around silage harvest, storage and use also need to be pointed out. One safety concern is silo gases, especially in upright silos, though they can also be a concern in bags or bunkers. The fermentation process produces nitrogen dioxide, which converts to nitric acid when contacting moisture in the lung. At low levels, nitrogen dioxide causes a burning sensation in the nose, throat and chest, while at high levels it causes death within seconds. Fermentation also produces carbon dioxide, which is odorless, colorless and heavier than air so it settles in low spots. It displaces oxygen and can cause death from asphyxiation (lack of oxygen.)  The biggest risk from silo gases is in the first two to three weeks after filling. Bleach-like odors or yellowish-brown fumes at the silo base are indicators of nitrogen dioxide. It is recommended to stay clear of the silo for at least three weeks, then run the silo blower for 15 to 20 minutes with the door closest to the top of the silo open, before entering the silo. Do not enter the silo during or after filling for at least three weeks, and keep children and visitors away from the silo area during the danger period. If you must enter a silo during the three-week danger period or even when opening the silo, wear an approved, self-contained breathing apparatus and ventilate the silo for 20 minutes before entering. You should also be attached with a lifeline to someone outside the silo.Safety risks around bunkers also include machinery accidents during filling and avalanches during feedout. Extra caution should be used by pack tractors, especially when operating above the solid side walls of the bunker to prevent rollover accidents. Trucks delivering forage should unload at the base of the ramp and not operate above the sidewalls of the bunker. When feedout starts, falls when uncovering bunkers or taking feed samples, avalanche of the pile or collapsing silage could happen. Take feed samples from the loader bucket after moving a safe distance away from the bunker face. Try to stay a distance of at least three times the height of the pile away from the face. Always remove silage from the top of the pile first to prevent undercuts which may collapse.More information on safety can be found at ISU Extension and Outreach beef and dairy specialists can also assist producers with silage production and feeding.IFU Members 'Fly-In' to Washington D.C. to Lobby CongressIowa Farmers Union members will join a group of nearly 400 Farmers Union's family farmers and ranchers traveling to the nation's capital this week to meet face-to-face with administration officials and members of Congress.Attendees will campaign for policies that strengthen the farm safety net, support climate smart practices and biofuels, restore competition to the agriculture economy, improve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and resolve ongoing trade disputes.The Fly-In kicked off Monday with a briefing at the United States Department of Agriculture followed by a Capitol Hill agriculture briefing. Tuesday and Wednesday, Fly-In attendees will visit all congressional offices to meet with members of Congress and congressional staff. Attendees will deliver messages personal to them about how federal policies are impacting their farming operations, families and community.NCGA Files Court Motion in Support of E15    The National Corn Growers Association yesterday moved to intervene in an effort by big oil to challenge the EPA’s final RVP rule by filing a motion in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the final rule allowing for year-round sales of E15. If successful, the oil industry’s lawsuit would overturn the E15 rule.NCGA and its farmer members have been long-time advocates of removing the unnecessary and outdated barrier to year-round E15. Removing that barrier took several years to accomplish, but our persistence paid off. With that barrier gone, more retailers are coming off the fence to offer consumers more fuel choice that saves drivers money and lowers emissions. Monday’s action was a continuation of NCGA efforts to increase corn grind by expanding the sales of higher ethanol blends. NCGA will be joining efforts with other ethanol advocates as the legal process continues.Truck Rates Declining in 2019www.ussoy.orgThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain Transportation Report indicates trucking cost per ton is down almost 9%, which is a welcome change from the spike in trucking rates caused by the electronic log device (ELD) rule. Although agriculture was exempted, the overall tightening in available Class 8 truck supply increased trucking rates. Dial-A-Truck (DAT) reports van spot rates in July declined 19% versus last year.  The rate decrease has occurred at the same time the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 6.6% in July after falling 1.2% in June. In July, the index equaled 122.7 (2015 = 100) compared with 115.1 in June. Although trucking issues remain, such as a need for drivers, a decline in transport costs is a great help to the farmer’s bottom-line.2019 Enrollment Deadline for the Dairy Margin Coverage Program Is Sept. 20The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds dairy producers that the deadline to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019 is Sept. 20, 2019. Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. “Over 19,100 operations have signed up for DMC since the new program opened enrollment on June 17,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “DMC is a great risk management tool that protects against narrowing margins caused by down turns in the market and increased feed costs. I encourage farmers who have not yet enrolled to sign up as soon as possible.” As the 2019 enrollment period draws to a close, FSA estimates over $257.7 million in payments to producers who are currently registered. Also, nearly half of the producers are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here... Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium. For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt level for any remaining months of 2019. Enrollment for 2020 For 2020, dairy producers can sign up for coverage under DMC beginning Oct. 7 through Dec. 13, 2019. At the time of signup, dairy producers can choose between the $4.00 to $9.50 coverage levels. DMC offers catastrophic coverage at no cost to the producer, other than an annual $100 administrative fee. Producers can opt for greater coverage levels for a premium in addition to the administrative fee. Operations owned by limited resource, beginning, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers may be eligible for a waiver on administrative fees. Producers have the choice to lock in coverage levels until 2023 and receive a 25-percent discount on their DMC premiums. Producers who locked in coverage in the 2019 sign-up must certify the operation is producing and commercially marketing milk and pay the annual administrative fee during the 2020 enrollment period. To assist producers in making coverage elections, USDA partnered with the University of Wisconsin to develop a DMC decision support tool, which can be used to evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through DMC.  NBB and 33 Members Ask President Trump to Save Small Biodiesel ProducersYesterday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and 33 of its members sent a letter to President Trump asking that he save small biodiesel producers harmed by his administration's small refinery exemptions. The letter indicates that more than 200 million gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity has been idled as a result of policy instability."Every small refinery waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has the potential to put a U.S. biodiesel producer out of business," NBB writes in the letter to President Trump. "We anticipate that additional facilities will close over the next several months if you do not take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel."The letter highlights additional policy headwinds that are harming the biodiesel industry, including the U.S. Department of Commerce's recent proposal to virtually eliminate trade protections against heavily subsidized biodiesel imports."Growth in the biodiesel market is the only way to keep domestic producers operating and protect U.S. workers' jobs," the letter concludes.Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "It is important for President Trump to keep his word and continue supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard. We are asking the administration to, first, restore the RFS volumes undercut by small refinery exemptions over the past several years and, second, continue to provide growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel in the RFS program."ESMC Partners with United Soybean Board, Adds Six New Members The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium has received $255,500 from the United Soybean Board (USB) to help develop an ecosystem service protocol for the Soy and Corn Belt. ESMC's ecosystem services protocols measure soil organic carbon, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water quality and water use efficiency.Through the partnership, ESMC will work with soybean farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio in a pilot project covering 50,000 acres. The Consortium will be building on its experience with an initial pilot project in the Southern Great Plains on 12 ranches in Oklahoma and Texas.ESMC champions a voluntary, market-based approach to incentivize farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that provide quantified ecosystem benefits. The resulting environmental credits will be available for purchase by corporations to meet their sustainability goals when ESMC launches its marketplace in 2022.USB seeks to help soybean farmers maximize their profits by building markets for U.S. soy and encouraging sustainability. Under the USDA checkoff program, USB promotes American farmers' efforts to mitigate environmental impacts while increasing productivity. USB affirms the value of producing soy that meets consumer and industry demands for practices that demonstrably preserve and protect the environment.In addition to the partnership with USB, ESMC has added six new members to its Consortium. Nestle is joining as a Founding Circle Member, and the American Soybean Association; NativeEnergy; Newtrient, LLC; the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and World Wildlife Fund are joining as Legacy Partners.ESMC's top priority is building a marketplace that works first and foremost for farmers and ranchers. The Consortium's long-term goals are to enroll 30 percent of available land in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to impact 250 million acres by 2030.Current ESMC Founding Circle members include: ADM; Bunge; Cargill; Corteva Agriscience; Danone North America; General Mills; Indigo Agriculture; Land O'Lakes; McDonald's USA; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Noble Research Institute, LLC; Nutrien; The Nature Conservancy and the Soil Health Institute. ESMC Legacy Partner members include: American Farmland Trust; Anuvia Plant Nutrients; Bayer; Farm Foundation; Impact Ag Partners; Mars, Inc.; National Association of Conservation Districts; National Corn Growers Association; National Farmers Union; Pivot Bio; Sand County Foundation; Soil Health Partnership; The Fertilizer Institute; Tatanka Resources; the Tri-Societies; and Tyson Foods. Partners pledge financial support and active participation to improve ways to measure, verify and monetize increases in soil carbon, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improved water quality and increased water conservation. ESMC welcomes companies, nonprofit and conservation organizations and agricultural organizations as partners.

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending September 8, 2019, there were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 8 short, 80 adequate, and 10 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 80 adequate, and 9 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 58 good, and 15 excellent. Corn dough was 94 percent, behind 100 last year, and near 98 for the five-year average. Dented was 70 percent, behind 84 last year and 81 average. Mature was 9 percent, behind 20 last year and 18 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 61 good, and 14 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 94 percent, behind 100 both last year and average. Dropping leaves was 7 percent, well behind 29 last year, and behind 22 average. Winter wheat planted was 4 percent, equal to last year, and near 8 average. Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 67 good, and 17 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 59 percent, well behind 82 both last year and average. Mature was 1 percent, behind 12 last year and 10 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 18 poor, 27 fair, 45 good, and 7 excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 30 percent. Harvested was 2 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 64 good, and 17 excellent. IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORTMost of Iowa experienced cooler than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation during the week ending September 8, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included harvesting hay and seed corn, chopping corn silage, seeding cover crops and preparing machinery for corn for grain and soybean harvest. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 5 percent very short, 26 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Areas in 28 counties were rated as D1 moderate drought according to the September 3, 2019, U.S. Drought Monitor due to the persistent lack of rain in parts of Iowa. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 5 percent very short, 24 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Ninety-one percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 12 days behind the 5-year average. Sixty percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Four percent of corn had reached maturity, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 63 percent good to excellent. Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop has started setting pods, 18 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind average. Fifteen percent of the crop has begun coloring, 12 days behind last year and 9 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 61 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 76 percent, nearly 1 week behind average. Pasture condition declined from the previous week to 42 percent good to excellent. There were no livestock issues to report from this past week. Corn Condition Drops 3 Percentage PointsCorn condition, which is already at a six-year low, dropped last week, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday. NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, Sept. 8, the U.S. corn crop was 55% in good-to-excellent condition, down 3 percentage points from 58% the previous week. That's 13 percentage points below last year's good-to-excellent rating at this time of year of 68% and is the lowest rating since 2013.  Corn's poor-to-very-poor condition rating category gained 1 percentage last week to reach 14% as of Sunday. That compares to a poor-to-very-poor rating of 12% at the same time last year.Corn development remained behind the average pace last week. Nationwide, corn in the dough stage was estimated at 89%, 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. Corn dented was 55%, 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 77%. That was further behind normal than in last week's report, when corn dented was running 19 percentage points behind average. Corn mature increased only 5 percentage points last week to reach 11% as of Sunday, 13 percentage points behind the five-year average of 24%.While corn condition declined last week, the condition of the nation's soybean crop remained unchanged for the second week in a row with a good-to-excellent rating of 55%. But, as with corn, that is still the lowest good-to-excellent rating since 2013.  Soybeans setting pods reached 92% as of Sunday, 7 percentage points behind the average of 99%. That was slightly closer to average than in last Monday's report when soybeans setting pods was 10 percentage points behind the average pace.Spring wheat harvest continued its stead pace last week, moving ahead another 16 percentage points from the previous week to reach 71% as of Sunday. However, that's still 16 points behind the five-year average of 87% at this time of year.Sorghum heading reached 97% as of Sunday, near the five-year average of 98%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 65%, behind the average of 74%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 27%, behind the average of 37%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 22%, slightly behind the five-year average of 24%. Barley harvested reached 82%, behind the average of 92%. Oats were 89% harvested, also behind the average of 95%.Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 43%, ahead of the average of 37%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 7%, near the five-year average of 6%. Cotton condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 43% good to excellent, down 5 percentage points from last week's 48% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 30%, 7 percentage points behind the average of 37%. Citizens, Groups Call for a Moratorium on Chicken BarnsA coalition of citizen and state organizations held a media event Monday afternoon expressing their opposition to Lincoln Premium Poultry and efforts by farmers to place chicken bars in Eastern Nebraska.The coalition launched a state-wide petition calling for a moratorium on the barns.  The event was held at Pine Crest Farms Bed & Breakfast, 2550 County Road A, Valparaiso, NE.  The groups that are were part of this effort today include Nebraska Communities United, Community Advocates for Responsible Agriculture , RC Communities United, Elmwood First, Lancaster Hills Alliance, Dodge County Farmers Union, GC Resolve, Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, Nebraska Sierra ClubAndrew Tonnies is a Member of the Dodge County Farmers Union and lives near North Bend.  In a press packet sent to KTIC, he said....My wife and I first joined the fight against the vertical integration of livestock production in October of last year when we discovered that Costco intended to build 24 broiler houses near our home and farm.We learned through a "good neighbor" letter that Costco had recruited a "small" poultry grower from Arkansas to build a facility housing over a million chickens at a time. Then, through the investigative skill of friends in Oklahoma, we learned that this particular "small" farmer was actually one of the largest owners of poultry barns in the state of Oklahoma.Costco was intentionally misleading people. Costco’s talking point has been “bringing young people back to the farm” and “providing an opportunity to diversify farm income.” Those are good talking points. Those are things I want for my community. We need young people to stay on the farm, and farms need to be diversified in order to stay afloat when crop prices or yields are low, but this model of integrated agriculture is not the answer.Most Nebraskan’s didn’t take the bait, which is why Costco has now recruited an out-of-state investment fund to build one quarter of the broiler houses that it needs to service its processing facility in Fremont. There were no “good neighbor” letters alerting neighbors this time. Rather, Costco attempted to deceive the public by using Nebraska farmers as a front on permit applications when the farmer won’t even be involved in the operation.An investment fund will not be a responsible neighbor, and I doubt we ever see the man whose name is attached to 132 chicken houses in 3 Nebraska counties. I won’t see him at the coffee shop, the gas station, or in church. He and his investment fund are not interested in bringing young people back or being a part of our community. Just like Costco, he is only here to use our resources to make money for shareholders and executives.Costco and Jody Murphey are here for the economics of extraction. We are here to oppose them. We are here to promote a vibrant local economy. We are here to encourage a vibrant community that values accountability.Nebraska Farm Bureau Statement Regarding Call for Moratorium on Nebraska Livestock FarmsCraig Head, spokesman, Nebraska Farm Bureau“Livestock farming is part of the heritage and fabric of Nebraska and a critical part of Nebraska agriculture. Enacting a statewide moratorium to stop new livestock farms would be the equivalent of halting the growth of rural Nebraska. Livestock farms support our rural communities, strengthen our state’s economy, and keep Nebraska strong.”“The notion that a moratorium is needed ignores the realities of what farmers must do to build and operate a new livestock farm. Nebraska farmers go through an extensive process and must adhere to numerous local, state, and federal regulations, governing everything from where barns can be located, to how they operate for the protection of natural resources and the environment. A moratorium on Nebraska livestock farms, as has been proposed by some environmental and activist groups, would be nothing short of a disservice to Nebraska farmers, our rural communities, and our state.” Moratorium Wrong Step for Nebraska Livestock SectorAgriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy and adding value to commodities creates opportunities for all Nebraskans.  Whether it is creative partnerships, contract production of seed corn, or niche markets, all of these business options provide opportunity for growth in agriculture.“Growing the livestock industry in Nebraska is critically important to our state,” said Steve Martin, Executive Director of AFAN. “Organizations opposed to livestock on the local, state and national level are undercutting the very fabric of Nebraska’s economic foundation.  Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy and adding value to commodities by growing the livestock industry creates opportunities for all Nebraskans.” Livestock operations are regulated and permitted by local and state regulations.  The local regulations address where a livestock operation can build in the county and the state regulations through the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) ensure that the operation does not impact waters of the state.  Operations must report annually to NDEE to stay in compliance.“Livestock production creates opportunities to use local grain to feed local livestock,” said Lori Luebbe, Executive Director of the Nebraska Soybean Association and chair of the AFAN board.  “By using our grain in the state, we improve demand and price for the local farmer.”Nebraska has great natural resources of climate, soil, water and people to continue to grow the livestock and agriculture industry.  Governed by good regulations the state has many opportunities to continue growing our ag industry which provides jobs and taxes that pay for schools, roads and services that all Nebraskans can enjoy.Ricketts: Let’s Stand Up for Nebraska’s Family FarmersToday, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman issued statements following news that radical anti-agriculture groups had called for a moratorium on livestock production in Nebraska.“Let’s be clear: The out-of-state environmental lobbying groups rallying opposition against our family farmers in Nebraska are anti-agriculture,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Left unchecked, they would destroy our way of life.  This attempt to stop livestock development in Nebraska is a part of the ‘meat is murder’ movement led by radical groups who want to end livestock production around the globe.  I urge Nebraskans in our local communities to rise up and protect family farms and stand with our livestock producers across our state.”“Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy, and it is extremely disheartening to learn that there are groups of citizens in our own state that are working to essentially eliminate the livestock industry,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “As the director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, I strongly support all aspects of Nebraska agriculture and the farmers and ranchers that work tirelessly contributing to Nebraska’s economic well-being through livestock production.  CAFO’s are well thought out and planned operations across Nebraska with plans that work to address environmental impacts, nutrient management and animal health to efficiently deliver a high quality, safe food supply.”National Farm Safety and Health Week on Sept. 15-21 to focus on women in agricultureMore women than ever are actively engaged in farming operations across the United States.In celebration of National Farm Safety and Health Week on Sept. 15-21, several organizations – such as the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the AgriSafe Network – are using the week to raise awareness of their expanding training resources focused on reducing the risk of injury and illness in women working in agriculture.While noting that women have always played a role in working on the farm, Knesha Rose-Davison, health communications director for the AgriSafe Network, said the role of women in farming is growing. The 2017 U.S. Census estimates that 36% of all producers are female and 56% of all farms have at least one female decision maker.“The numbers went from about 970,000 women actively working in farming operations in 2012 to around 1.2 million in 2017,” Rose-Davison said. “With this 27% spike in the numbers, we have a concern about the unique safety issues women face when they’re working on the farm.”In 2017, AgriSafe Network began collaborating with CS-CASH to collect personal accounts of injury from women working in farm situations. Analyzing the data allowed them to identify specific types of injuries and high-risk activities that women are typically exposed to on the farm.“Ergonomic issues are especially prominent for women,” Rose-Davison said. “Men experience ergonomic injuries, too. But due to their size and physical strength, women handling livestock or working at activities involving repetitive movements are prone to ergonomic injuries.”Ergonomics is a science that helps improve products, processes and tools to help people work and live better and to prevent injury.Injuries and strained muscles in the neck, shoulders and back are common in women. Ergonomic injuries can occur more readily as women age and bone density, chronic diseases, natural decline in strength and other physical changes occur.“One of the training areas we’ve developed is a focus on ergonomics and having materials that focus on building core strength,” Rose-Davison said. “Most of us aren’t familiar with the muscles in our core that we often use in doing physical work. We’ve developed yoga and Pilates posters and will soon offer videos that explain what muscle groups we use for certain types of work. Understanding this will help women avoid straining those muscles, which can lead to injury.”Women on the farm also are highly prone to injuries related to assisting with birthing animals.“This is an especially high-risk activity if the woman herself is pregnant,” Rose-Davison said. “Assisting with a birthing of animals can result in exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to disease and physical injury. It’s important for women to be aware of the risks they face in these scenarios and knowing how to protect themselves.”Heavy lifting during any stage of pregnancy can affect an unborn fetus. Exposure to farm chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides also may put women at increased risk when they are pregnant.Rose-Davidson said, “It’s common on the farm to jump in and get a job done without fully considering the safety risks you encounter in doing that job.”Traditionally, women in leading roles on the farm have not had access to safety training resources customized to suit their unique needs, she said.Because agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations with multiple health threats, including threats to reproduction and ergonomics, AgriSafe will share training programs, which will be featured during National Farm Safety and Health Week. Individual and group training also is available through the AgriSafe Network website and can be scheduled for an on-site session. Focus topics include:·         Hazard communication standards for identification of and safe usage of chemicals and pesticides, along with proper use of respiratory protection;·         Ergonomic safety to help avoid musculoskeletal injuries; and·         Reducing the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and perinatal illness.“All these training modules are free and available to the public,” Rose-Davison said. “Trainings are available through federal funding offered by the Department of Labor through their Susan G. Harwood training grant.”Typically, each training module lasts for 60 minutes. In an on-site setting, a portion of that time is used for interacting with training participants. Depending on the topic, some safety practices are practiced during the training session.“Part of our effort includes raising awareness of hazards and staying up to date on training,” Rose-Davison said. “We may know about some of these practices but have forgotten about them or need a refresher course about implementing them.“On the farm, the biggest asset is the worker. You can never hear too many safety messages. We know farmers enjoy the work they do. We want to help them be mindful of their personal safety while they do it, so they’re working in a safe environment and doing all they can to protect their health.”More details on these various training opportunities are available at the  website and going to the “Training Catalog” link. Free Breakfast Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Official “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party”Nebraska agriculture organizations and the state’s farmers and ranchers are hosting a free breakfast tailgate party Saturday, Sept. 21. The place: Russ’s Market at 33rd and Highway 2. The time: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.Football fans–and breakfast fans–are invited to the official “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party with Nebraska Farmers & Ranchers” for free breakfast and the opportunity to visit with our farmers and ranchers about how they produce our food in a safe, sustainable and tasty way. The purpose of the event is to provide consumers with information about how our farmers and ranchers grow our food and care for the land and their animals. Farm organizations will be staffing booths that tailgaters can visit to learn more about Nebraska agriculture. Each attendee will receive a “Farm Land” card they can get stamped at each booth they visit. Those who get their cards stamped at every booth can return their cards to the AFAN booth to receive a Russ’s Market $5 OFF $50 coupon for use at the store. Completed cards also register the attendee for the grand prize–the Nebraska Agriculture gift basket.“In our state, football and tailgating go hand-in-hand,” says Steve Martin, executive director of AFAN. “So this party is the perfect opportunity for consumers to talk football and food production with Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. Consumers will enjoy a free Nebraska-grown breakfast while they talk with our food producers about the ins and outs of producing nutritious, healthy food for our tables, information that they need to make informed food choices for their families.”“Game Day Approved Tailgate Party” sponsors include the Nebraska Pork Producers Association; Nebraska Poultry Industries; AFAN; Nebraska Corn Board; Nebraska Soybean Board; Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation; Nebraska Wheat Growers Association; Russ’s Market; CommonGround Nebraska; Nebraska Cattlemen; Midwest Dairy; Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board; and the Nebraska Hop Growers Association.ICA seeking young cattle producers for leadership programIn an on-going effort to build future leadership for both the Iowa cattle industry and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, ICA is taking applications for the 2020 Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program. The application deadline is November 1, 2019 and can be downloaded from the ICA website,“With all of the issues facing agriculture today, it’s more important than ever that we equip young cattlemen and women with the knowledge and skills needed to lead our industry into the future,” says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. “The Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program will help participants better understand the industry and work towards solutions to the problems their generation will face.”Those selected for the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program (YCLP) will meet six times in the coming year on January 8-9, 2020, February 18-19, 2020, May 28-29, 2020, August 6-7, 2020, November 5-6, 2020 and December 3-4, 2020. They will tour beef production facilities, learn about trending cattle issues, enhance their leadership and communication skills, and play an active role in the legislative process. The program is free to all participants.The application for YCLP asks potential participants to explain why they are interested in participating in the program, as well as explaining their goals and giving their vision for the future of the cattle industry. Preference will be given to current ICA members. If you have questions about the program, or would like an application mailed to you, contact Adair Lents at, or call 515-296-2266.YCLP is sponsored by ICA with funding provided by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation and members of the ICA President’s Council.CFTC Orders Registrant to Pay $1.25 Million for Fraud, Unauthorized Trading, and Violating Speculative Position Limits in Live Cattle FuturesThe U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Nathan Harris, a CFTC registrant, of Akron, Iowa, for fraud, unauthorized trading, and violating speculative position limits in live cattle futures contracts.  The order imposes a civil monetary penalty of $1,250,000 and permanent restrictions on Harris’s registration with the CFTC.CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert stated: “This case shows the CFTC’s unwavering commitment to protect America’s farmers and ranchers from fraud and other misconduct in connection with the agricultural derivatives markets.  The Commission will continue to work to ensure all Americans who use these markets can have confidence in their integrity.”  As noted in the order, between January 2012 and August 2014, Harris engaged in fraud and unauthorized trading by exceeding certain customers’ instructions concerning the size and risk of positions, failing to obtain specific authorization from certain customers for particular trades, and failing to obtain signed powers of attorney from certain customers.  Harris’s unauthorized trading resulted in approximately $10.3 million in customer losses. Through Harris’s unauthorized trading in one customer’s account, he also exceeded CME’s live cattle spot-month limit.Harris engaged in this conduct while registered as an associated person of his former employer (1), which was a registered Introducing Broker.  In a previous order (Press Release 7803-18), the CFTC ordered Harris’s former employer and its principals to pay restitution to customers for Harris’s unauthorized trading.  Because that restitution order has been satisfied, the CFTC did not order Harris to pay restitution.    The order imposes restrictions on Harris’s registration as an associated person, which include certain permanent restrictions such as Harris’s business-related telephone calls must be recorded and his sponsoring firm must conduct quarterly on-site compliance reviews of Harris’s conduct.  Harris is also subject to a two-year restriction, during which Harris’s sponsoring firm must implement procedures to verify that Harris received specific authorization from customers for any trades.Today, CME issued a Notice of Disciplinary Action in which Harris agreed to pay a fine of $1.25 million arising out of the conduct that is the subject of the CFTC’s order.  In imposing its civil monetary penalty, the CFTC took into account the fine imposed by the CME in its related action.  The CFTC acknowledges and appreciates the assistance of the CME. (1) Background: CFTC Release from September, 2018The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Kooima & Kaemingk Commodities, Inc. (K&K), Lauren Kaemingk (Kaemingk), and Bradley Kooima (Kooima), all of Iowa, for Kaemingk’s fraud, unauthorized trading, and making false or misleading statements to CME Group Inc. (CME), for a former employee’s fraud, unauthorized trading, and violation of CME position limits in live cattle futures contracts, and for K&K’s, Kaemingk’s, and Kooima’s supervision failures.  The CFTC Order requires K&K, Kaemingk, and Kooima to pay $11,920,857.05 in restitution to their customers, which are almost entirely comprised of individual farmers and large-scale farming operations.  The Order also requires K&K, Kaemingk, and Kooima to pay a civil monetary penalty of $1,250,000 and orders that they cease and desist from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, as charged. New study shows Iowa agriculture even stronger driver of state economy, contributing $121.1 billionIowa’s 86,104 family farms continue to be a key driver of Iowa’s economy, contributing 10 percent more to the state economy than in 2012, according to a new study commissioned by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF). The study shows that more than 31 percent of Iowa’s total economic output came from Iowa agriculture in 2017.The study analyzed data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2017 Census of Agriculture and the IMPLAN system to determine the contributions of Iowa agriculture.The agriculture industry goes beyond just impacting the total economic output of the state. One in every five Iowans are employed in agriculture and ag-related industries, accounting for nearly 400,000 jobs.“This study underscores how productive and innovative farmers have been since 2012,” said Spencer Parkinson, of Decision Innovation Solutions who conducted the study. “Despite major weather events such as drought and flooding over the past several years, farmers have increased total output to $121.1 billion, benefitting not just agriculture, but all Iowans.”Even with this growth, Iowa’s farmers maintain their roots. More than 90 percent of farms in Iowa are family owned and operated with farm size averaging 355 acres.“The agriculture industry remains a vital part of Iowa communities,” said Brian Waddingham, CSIF Executive Director. “We see this every time we host an open house with livestock farmers. It’s common to see hundreds of community members attend to celebrate what a new barn means to their community: jobs, kids in school and a boon to local businesses.”Waddingham noted that livestock farming and related industries account for $15.8 billion in value-added contributions for the state. It also accounts for nearly 186,000 jobs across Iowa, up from 123,000 jobs in 2012.“It’s a testament to the tenacity of livestock farmers, in particular, who have persevered through ongoing low commodity prices, tariffs and Mother Nature to actually see an increase in jobs related to livestock in the state.  There’s no question that the livestock industry is a critical piece to Iowa’s overall economy, said Waddingham.  “It’s also key to keeping farm families living and working on the land.”“In the 15 years since the Coalition was formed, we’ve assisted more than 4,500 farm families wanting to responsibly grow their farms and bring young people back to rural Iowa.  Diversification seems to be a key component to Iowa’s thriving livestock industry, from established livestock farmers to crop farmers adding livestock for the first time.  Calls to CSIF for assistance remain high as farmers want to discuss which options are best for their farms.  Whether it’s a new and beginning farmer or an existing and well-established farmer calling us, there is a great deal of optimism about adding livestock to the farm,” he added.Waddingham noted that the calls for assistance include concerns over DNR and EPA inspections, neighbor relations, siting new livestock and poultry barns as well as raising fish.  There are many opportunities in Iowa’s livestock industry today which will continue to evolve to provide farmers additional opportunities in the future.  “As agriculture evolves so will CSIF and the services we provide to ensure the success of livestock agriculture in our state,” he said.The study also noted that crop farming and processing account for 112,000 jobs, and $11.1 billion in value-added contributions to Iowa.The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created by farmers to help farmers raise livestock successfully and responsibly. It’s a partnership involving the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy.Tips to ID Ear corn ear molds are not created equal. Some produce dangerous mycotoxins; others don't. Growers should identify and manage ear molds before harvest.  The presence of visible molds is only an indicator. Growers must identify and quantify ear molds to determine potential negative impacts. Here are some tips:-    If 10 percent of the ears have mold on more than 25 percent of the ear, send a sample for identification.-    If molds are present, you may need to contact the crop insurance agent - especially if the degree of infection may affect grain quality.-    If the mold is identified as Aspergillus, Fusarium, Gibberella or Penicillium strains - and the levels are greater than 10,000 cfu/gram (colony forming units per gram) - the grower should schedule a mycotoxin screening.Once a mycotoxin threat is detected, you need to consider harvesting and storage strategies.A good practice is to harvest and dry moldy grain in a "continuous-flow" dryer to a moisture level of 14 percent. Cool the grain to ambient air temperature as quickly as possible.  The cool-down process should begin as soon as grain goes into storage. Ultimately, the grain should cool to 30 to 35 degrees for safe storage.  Once cooled down in storage, monitor grain regularly - at least weekly until it's sold or used.A crop containing mycotoxins may be fine for some markets; however, you must be careful about selling it to someone who'll use it as livestock feed. In many cases, contaminated grain can be mixed with "clean" grain to bring mycotoxin concentrations down to safe levels. Check with local university extension sources for thresholds on feeding various species.Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Reaches Major Milestones in 2019Just 10 years after its inception, the Beef Checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August. The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production. It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry.A self-directed online training program managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, MBA requires students to complete five lessons in beef advocacy, including The Beef Community; Raising Cattle on Grass; Life in the Feedyard; From Cattle to Beef; and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. MBA has also been made available via digital download to allow agriculture educators, state beef organization representatives and other beef industry and youth leaders to incorporate the modules into their curriculums.Once the MBA course has been completed, graduates gain access to resources on the MBA Classroom site, as well as tools to advance their advocacy efforts, including talking points, fact sheets and continuing education opportunities. Graduates are also invited to join the Masters of Beef Advocacy Alumni Facebook group, a virtual community for MBA graduates to share success stories and to receive the latest research and information on the beef industry.MBA graduates interested in taking their advocacy skills to the next level can participate in state training workshops. These workshops offer more in-depth training on tactical communication skills and provide greater confidence to successfully engage with consumers, both in person and online. More than 70 such workshops and presentations, reaching more than 3,000 beef advocates, were completed in 2018. In addition, a “Top of the Class” program provides more in-depth instruction and training to leading advocates each year who express an interest in advancing their advocacy efforts. Started in 2014, there are now 50 Top of the Class national advocates. Each year, advocates reach tens of millions of consumers as a result of their advocacy efforts.“As the percentage of consumers with interest in beef production continues to increase, our engagement with them, as well as with food professionals, dietitians, nutritionists and other thought leaders, has become increasingly important,” says Ryan Goodman, director of grassroots advocacy and spokesperson development for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “MBA has evolved during the last decade to become a key tool and support system for those who want to advocate for beef and beef producers.”“We all benefit when consumers better understand our product and how we produce it,” says Laurie Munns, a cattle producer from Hansel Valley, Utah, and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, a division of NCBA. “The MBA program from NCBA is a great Beef Checkoff-funded initiative for increasing beef demand by enhancing what is known about beef and how it comes to market.”The MBA program is open to everyone, and there is no cost to participate. To enroll or find out more about this checkoff-funded program, go to Organic farmers to harvest record acres in 2019Organic commodity farmers will harvest a record number of acres across the U.S. this year despite the weather and trade challenges plaguing agriculture in 2019.According to the Annual Acreage Report, released today by Mercaris, farmers will harvest 3.1 million acres of U.S. land certified for organic field crop production, an increase of 7 percent over 2018. The increase is driven in large part by a surge in new certified organic field crop operations across the nation. The West and High Plains regions saw the largest jump in organic harvested field crop acres this year.Mercaris – based in Silver Spring, MD – is the nation’s leading market data and trading platform for organic and non-GMO markets.“Organic field crop production has faced some challenges this year, with problematic weather cutting into this year’s organic corn and soybean harvest,” said Ryan Koory, Director of Economics at Mercaris. “However, the industry overall remains on a robust growth trend, and with better weather in 2020, the industry will likely see even more growth in the year to come.”Mercaris shows certified organic acres in Nebraska this year totalled 129,478, and a total of 135,402  certified acres in Iowa.  Overall total organic acres – which includes pasture, rangeland, and organic crop area – will reach 8.3 million acres this year. In addition, 18,155 U.S. farm operation are now certified compliant with the USDA National Organic Program standards, a 3 percent increase from 2018.“With the addition of 517 certified organic operations this year, it is clear that the U.S. organic sector remains promising, despite the unsteady state of the U.S. agricultural industry overall,” Koory said.U.S. Corn Exports Likely to Fall Short of TargetU.S. corn exports finished off the recently concluded U.S. marketing year at the slowest pace in seven years, while soybean exports hit a record high in the fourth quarter owing to anomalously large shipments to China. Analysis of the latest data suggests that U.S. corn exports in 2018-19, which ended on Aug. 31, will fall short of the current full-year government forecast but soybeans likely topped its target.Reuters reports that the United States shipped 2.88 million tonnes (113 million bushels) of corn in July, according to data published on Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. That was the lowest monthly total since November 2017 and the smallest July volume since 2013.Weekly export inspection data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture implies August exports may have been up to 4% lighter than in July, which would also be the smallest for that month since 2013.Using the assumptions about August, corn shipments in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 fell about 56% from a year ago and 34% from two years ago, which featured more modest exports between June and August.But the world has not been missing out on corn. Combined August corn exports out of the United States and Brazil likely exceeded 10 million tonnes, which is record-high for any month, according to Reuters.Brazil, the No. 2 corn exporter, shipped an all-time monthly record of 7.65 million tonnes of the yellow grain in August. July’s volume of 6.3 million had briefly held that title.A record-large harvest, competitive pricing against the U.S. product, and much-improved exporting logistics in recent years have allowed Brazil to supply such massive volumes.Argentina and Ukraine have also shipped record volumes this year, denting U.S. business as domestic prices soared during the excessively wet planting season. Logistical problems stemming from the weather also plagued U.S. grain shipments earlier this year.USDA Resources Available for Farmers Hurt by 2018, 2019 DisastersU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian, can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will begin Sept. 11, 2019.“U.S. agriculture has been dealt a hefty blow by extreme weather over the last several years, and 2019 is no exception,” Perdue said. “The scope of this year’s prevented planting alone is devastating, and although these disaster program benefits will not make producers whole, we hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing. President Trump has the backs of our farmers, and we are working to support America’s great patriot farmers.”More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on the successes of its predecessor program the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. In addition, the relief package included new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year.EligibilityWHIP+ will be available for eligible producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). Disaster losses must have been a result of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms or wildfires that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, producers in counties that did not received a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+ but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster loss.A list of counties that received qualifying disaster declarations and designations is available at Because grazing and livestock losses, other than milk losses, are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), those losses are not eligible for WHIP+.General Eligibility and Payment LimitationsWHIP+ is only designed to provide assistance for production losses, however, if quality was taken into consideration under federal crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy, where production was further adjusted, the adjusted production will be used in calculating assistance under this program.Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or NAP coverage is available, excluding crops intended for grazing. A list of crops covered by crop insurance is available through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) Actuarial Information Browser at will be determined for each producer based on the size of the loss and the level of insurance coverage elected by the producer. A WHIP+ factor will be determined for each crop based on a producer’s coverage level. Producers who elected higher coverage levels will receive a higher WHIP+ factor.The WHIP+ payment factor ranges from 75 percent to 95 percent, depending on the level of crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage that a producer obtained for the crop. Producers who did not insure their crops in 2018 or 2019 will receive 70 percent of the expected value of the crop. Insured crops (either crop insurance or NAP coverage) will receive between 75 percent and 95 percent of expected value; those who purchased the highest levels of coverage will receive 95-percent of the expected value.Once signup begins, a producer will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records. If a producer is unable to provide production records, WHIP+ payments will be determined based on the lower of either the actual loss certified by the producer and determined acceptable by FSA or the county expected yield and county disaster yield. The county disaster yield is the production that a producer would have been expected to make based on the eligible disaster conditions in the county.WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100 percent of their calculated value. WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50 percent of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50 percent after January 1, 2020, if sufficient funding remains.WHIP+ benefits will be subject to a payment limitation of either $125,000 or $250,000 per crop year, depending upon their verified average adjusted gross income. As under 2017 WHIP, the payment limitation for WHIP+ factors in the person’s or legal entity’s income from activities related to farming, ranching, or forestry. Specifically, a person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, cannot receive more than $125,000 in payments under WHIP+, if their average adjusted gross farm income is less than 75 percent of their average adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2015, 2016, and 2017. The $125,000 payment limitation is single total combined limitation for payments for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years. However, if at least 75 percent of the person or legal entity’s average AGI is derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities and the participant provides the required certification and documentation, the person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, is eligible to receive, directly or indirectly, up to $250,000 per crop year in WHIP+ payments, with a total combined limitation for payments for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years of $500,000. The relevant tax years for establishing a producer’s AGI and percentage derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities for WHIP+ are 2015, 2016, and 2017. For information regarding the payment limitation that applies to WHIP+, please contact your local USDA service center or visit Insurance Coverage RequirementsBoth insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for WHIP+. But all producers receiving WHIP+ payments will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP, at the 60 percent coverage level or higher, for the next two available, consecutive crop years after the crop year for which WHIP+ payments were paid. Producers who fail to purchase crop insurance for the next two applicable, consecutive years will be required to pay back the WHIP+ payment.Additional Loss CoverageThe Milk Loss Program will provide payments to eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market because of a qualifying 2018 and 2019 natural disaster. Producers who suffered losses of harvested commodities, including hay, stored in on-farm structures in 2018 and 2019 will receive assistance through the On-Farm Storage Loss Program.Additionally, the disaster relief measure expanded coverage of the 2017 WHIP to include losses from Tropical Storm Cindy, and peach and blueberry crop losses that resulted from extreme cold.Enhanced Assistance Through Tree Assistance Program (TAP)TAP traditionally provides cost-share for replanting and rehabilitating eligible trees. WHIP+ will provide payments based on the loss of value of the tree, bush or vine itself. Therefore, eligible producers may receive both a TAP and a 2017 WHIP or WHIP+ payment for the same acreage.In addition, TAP policy has been updated to assist eligible orchardists or nursery tree growers of pecan trees with a tree mortality rate that exceeds 7.5 percent (adjusted for normal mortality) but is less than 15 percent (adjusted for normal mortality) for losses incurred during 2018.Prevented PlantingAgricultural producers faced significant challenges planting crops in 2019 in many parts of the country. All producers with flooding or excess moisture-related prevented planting insurance claims in calendar year 2019 will receive a prevented planting supplemental disaster (“bonus”) payment equal to 10 percent of their prevented planting indemnity, plus an additional 5 percent will be provided to those who purchased harvest price option coverage.As under 2017 WHIP, WHIP+ will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, NAP producers and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to January 1, 2019.Other USDA Disaster Recovery AssistanceWhen major disasters strike, USDA has an emergency loan program that provides eligible farmers low-interest loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.Livestock owners and contract growers who experience above normal livestock deaths because of specific weather events, as well as from disease or animal attacks, may qualify for assistance under USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program. Producers who suffer losses to or are prevented from planting agricultural commodities not covered by federal crop insurance may be eligible for assistance under USDA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program if the losses were from natural disasters.USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides payments to producers of these commodities to help compensate for losses because of diseases (including cattle tick fever) and adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, that are not covered by other disaster programs.USDA also provides financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program for immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. Additionally, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program helps local communities immediately begin relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods. In addition, the Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought.For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA service center or visit New Holland celebrates 45 years of Twin Rotor technology by rolling out new combine updatesCelebrating 45 years of New Holland-pioneered Twin Rotor technology, 2020 will mark an exciting year for the agriculture equipment leader in combines. The CR Series 2020 models will feature a significant power upgrade, the revolutionary proactive IntelliSense system, and significant cab and capacity improvements.2020 models include the CR8.90 with a Cursor 13 engine and 571 peak horsepower (up 54 horsepower from 2019) and the CR7.90 with a Cursor 9 engine and 460 peak horsepower. The CR8.90 is now the most powerful Class 8 combine on the market, delivering outstanding capacity per hour with the same remarkable grain quality and low losses as the previous series. The 2020 models, built in Zedelgem, Belgium, feature increased horsepower and Stage V emission certified engines as part of New Holland’s clean energy leadership position in the market.“This is truly our best combine yet for the row crop farmer,” says Luiz Miotto, combine product marketing manager for New Holland, North America. “Our focus is that the operator gets the highest yield possible from their fields with maximized power, capacity, grain quality and uptime.”The benefits of the New Holland CR combine are confirmed by an independent third-party, PAMI, and as reportedOne of the CR Series’ most revolutionary features is the full-line integration of IntelliSense technology. New Holland’s IntelliSense is a proactive, automatic combine setting system capable of selecting the best settings out of 280 million possibilities. The information from various sensors is analyzed by the computer and adjustments can be made every 20 seconds, following the strategy set by the farmer, such as Maximum Capacity or Best Grain Quality. By constantly adjusting the combine settings, the system can increase daily productivity by up to 20 percent. For 2020 models, IntelliSense can manage barley crops and receives an advanced mode to further enhance its capabilities.“The Twin Rotor combines have showcased the ultimate in harvesting performance since their introduction,” Miotto says. “Since then, we have taken significant steps forward in the technology to continue to stay at the forefront. The 2020 models will continue that legacy with our highest-performing models to date.”Other updates for the 2020 models include improved exterior visibility with a darker cab interior, the addition of two USB ports and a modern cab climate control panel, and 10 percent more flow capacity through the clean grain elevator. These models will also feature an optional Dynamic Feed Roll (DFR) Reverser, enabling the operator to clear DFR blockages from the cab, reducing downtime in the field.The 2020 CR Series models are on display throughout the summer, appearing next at the New Holland booth (#846) at Husker Harvest Days, and will be available to purchase in Q4 2019.

Ricketts Meets with Prime Minister Phuc of VietnamToday, Governor Pete Ricketts met with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam to promote Nebraska’s ag products and investment opportunities.  During the meeting, Governor Ricketts and the Nebraska trade delegation discussed expanding trade in agriculture and opportunities for partnerships in higher education with the Prime Minster of Vietnam. From 2017-18, Nebraska’s beef exports to Vietnam grew 127%.  In 2017, Vietnam opened its market to American shipments of dried distillers’ grains.The day’s agenda included meetings with the Ministry of Investment and Planning, the National University of Agriculture, and the Mayor of Hanoi.  The day concluded with a reception for University of Nebraska alumni.  This event, and similar ones on other trade missions, strengthen the state’s network of Nebraskans abroad who help promote the Good Life around the globe. Husker Harvest Days to use film ‘SILO’ to educate on farm safetyIn an effort to raise awareness about farm safety using a combination of cinema and education, the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is partnering with the Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC), Sukup Manufacturing Company and the feature film “SILO” at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island on Sept. 10-12.The hospitality tent will host exhibits from CS-CASH, GHSC and SILO. Visitors can participate in hands-on activities and learn safety and health tips. SILO, a film dealing with grain entrapment, will show an exclusive movie trailer and provide information to visitors on how they can host a SILO film screening in their community.“The movie SILO provides a fresh approach to engaging audiences to talk about farm safety,” said Ellen Duysen, community outreach specialist for CS-CASH.“Collaborating with CS-CASH, Sukup Manufacturing Company, and the SILO production team is an opportunity to send a consistent message about the importance of using safe work practices,” said GHSC co-founder Catherine Rylatt. In collaboration with Sukup Manufacturing Company, several free safety training sessions also will be available. On Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Sept. 11, half-hour sessions will be presented at the Sukup exhibit at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.In addition, a session on preventing grain bin entry hazards will be presented on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the hospitality tent at 1 p.m. Participants will receive free safety gear as well as a chance to win larger safety-related prizes.“We all have the same goal – to keep farmers, their workers, and their families safe,” said John Hanig, bin sales director for Sukup Manufacturing. “Working together increases our ability to achieve this.” A free screening of SILO will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Sukup Manufacturing exhibit.“SILO is proud to partner with these organizations,” said Sam Goldberg, SILO producer. “They work daily to assist farmers and save lives. We believe our film supports these efforts by offering a new avenue to generate conversation and awareness.”For more information, free resources or to schedule training, visit About the collaboratorsThe Grain Handling Safety Coalition is a volunteer organization of representatives from across the grain handling industry and is sponsored by the University of Illinois. The GHSC has conducted more than 12,300 hours of training in 23 states and has brought safety awareness to thousands more.CS-CASH works to improve the health and safety of members of the agricultural community through research, intervention, education and outreach activities. For more information, visit Manufacturing Company ( is the world’s fastest growing and largest family-owned full-line grain drying and storage equipment manufacturer making grain production more efficient for farmers. NDA AT 2019 HUSKER HARVEST DAYS Husker Harvest Days is Sept. 10-12 near Grand Island, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) will be there to connect with the community and share information on animal health, farmer mediation, beginning farmer tax credits, pests and pesticide management, noxious weed control and international trade. “Husker Harvest Days is a great event that highlights innovation in Nebraska agriculture,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “With hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of people attending, Husker Harvest Days in a good opportunity to promote agriculture and NDA’s role in the industry.” This year Husker Harvest Days is adding yet another important link to agriculture with a new International Visitors Center. The new center is a joint effort of Gov. Pete Ricketts, NDA, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Husker Harvest Days. “International trade is such an important part of Nebraska agriculture,” Wellman said. “With this new centrally-located center and special development programs, we’ll be able to better promote Nebraska agriculture and international commerce in the state. Our global business partners and customers interested in buying Nebraska products and investing in Nebraska will be able to see the state firsthand, which is always a big selling point.” Here are the NDA programs being featured at Husker Harvest Days and where staff will be located throughout the event.   - Negotiations (farmer mediation) and NextGen Beginning Farmer programs—Look for NDA staff in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent located at Main and Central;   - Animal health—NDA’s Animal Health Protection programs will be represented in the Livestock Industries Building in the northwest corner;   - Entomology/Plant health—Entomology program staff will be in the Nebraska Association of Natural Resources Districts building (lot 39E, southeast side);   - Pesticide/Fertilizer management—NDA staff from the Pesticide/Fertilizer program will be in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent (at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue);   - Noxious weed control—Staff from NDA’s Noxious Weed program will be at the Nebraska Weed Control Association Tent (lot 116, northeast part of the grounds); and   - International Trade team members will be at the International Visitors Center (lot 34, north of the Hospitality Tent, at the northeast corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.) For more information about Husker Harvest Days and the International Visitors Center, visit Nebraska Soybean Board to Attend Husker Harvest DaysThe Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) and its members will berepresented in attendance at the 2019 Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Nebraska on September 10-12, 2019.In attending, the NSB will highlight the $1.5 billion in economic impact of soybeans in Nebraska and the role it plays in marketing the state’s second-largest row crop domestically and internationally. Since its inception, the soy checkoff has existed for one reason: to create profit opportunities for you, America’s soybean farmers. We acknowledge these as “cropportunities.” Soy is in your tires, in your seat, and in your fuel tank as you go from point A to B. It feed the chickens, pigs and cows at the center of your plate. It’s the oil we bake with, fry with and drizzle on our salad.  Finding new uses for soy is what has grown the U.S. soybean industry from $11 billion to $41 billion in the last 25 years.Be sure to check out the “cropportunities” adding value to your soy. The NSB looks forward to joining you at the Ag Commodities building representing the collective theme of Ag Strong: Growing Value.  Cover Crop Field Day Sept. 13 at UNL Rogers Memorial FarmA Cover Crop Field Day will be held at the University of Nebraska Rogers Memorial Farm Friday, Sept. 13 from 1:30 to 4 p.m.Selecting the right cover crop for your system depends on knowing and meeting the goals for the cover crop. This tour will feature cover crop cocktails that serve specific functions. These functions can include early-season grazing, late-season grazing, nitrogen fixation, building carbon in the soil, diversifying mixes for soil health, reducing compaction, or making soils more resilient.Speakers will include Extension Engineer Paul Jasa and Extension Educator Gary Lesoing. Jasa will discuss the cover crop demonstration plots and projects at the farm and Lesoing will address dry matter production and nutrient content of various cover crop mixes. The tour also will include cover crops growing in wheat stubble, cover crop recovery after simulated grazing, and row crops growing in the residue from cover crops.The Rogers Memorial Farm is located at 18630 Adams Street, Lincoln. It's on the north side of the road, about 7.5 miles east of Lincoln, 2 miles north of Highway 34. Digital Divide, Expanding Ag Markets, Focus of Farm Bureau Leadership Academy D.C. VisitEliminating the digital divide between rural and urban America and growing international markets for Nebraska agricultural products was the focus of a recent visit to Washington, D.C. by members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy is a yearlong leadership training program to help individuals with personal growth and development, public speaking skills, and training on how to advocate for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.“It’s important participants in this program have a first-hand experience in how government works and the role they can play in helping make sure the issues important to their farms and ranches are presented to their elected leaders,” said Jordan Dux, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s director of national affairs, who facilitated the Leadership Academy visit.Today, nearly one third of rural Americans don’t have access to broadband internet service in their homes as compared to four percent of urban Americans who lack broadband access.“Digital connection is critical to agriculture and to farmers and ranchers looking to use new technologies to improve the way they manage their operations. Leadership Academy members specifically encouraged Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation to support and co-sponsor legislation that would improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps to help better direct federal funds for broadband expansion to areas in greatest need,” said Dux.Leadership Academy members participating in the trip to Washington, D.C. included:Jolene Dunbar – Taylor, Neb. (Loup County Farm Bureau)Samantha Dyer – Crawford, Neb. (Dawes County Farm Bureau)Matthew Erickson – Johnson, Neb. (Johnson County Farm Bureau)Tyrell Fickenscher – Axtell, Neb. (Kearney/Franklin County Farm Bureau)Kathie Martindale – Brewster, Neb. (Blaine County Farm Bureau)Krista Podany – Verdigre, Neb. (Knox County Farm Bureau)Cherie Priest – Ainsworth, Neb. (Brown County Farm Bureau)Adam Rathman – Wood River, Neb. (Hall County Farm Bureau)Owen Seamann – Spalding, Neb. (Wheeler County Farm Bureau)Brenda Jean Wendt – Bristow, Neb. (Boyd County Farm Bureau)Growing markets for Nebraska agricultural goods was also on the list of issues touched on by Leadership Academy members. The group specifically shared the importance of Congress passing legislation to enact the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), as well as offering support for securing a bi-lateral trade deal with Japan, and the desire for a meaningful trade deal to be reached with China.“Members of the Academy did a great job pointing out that by passing USMCA, Congress would help send a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is open for business and that the U.S. is prepared to negotiate and pass new trade deals that are critical to Nebraska agriculture,” said Dux.Iowa and Nebraska Teams Top Placers in Youth Crop Scouting CompetitionIowa and Nebraska youth were first, second and third place winners in this year’s Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition. Clayton County Team A (Iowa, Lacie Orr, Macie Weigand, and Matt Whittle) received first place; Colfax County 4-H (Nebraska, Steve Nelson - Coach, Jestin Bayer, Logan Nelson, Austin Steffensmeier, RJ Bayer, Aaron Nygren - Coach) received second place; and Clayton County Team B (Iowa) received third place.The Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition was held at the Field Extension Education Lab, in Boone, Iowa. The host of the regional competition rotates to a different state each year. This year’s competition featured youth teams from five states. New to this year’s regional competition were Minnesota and Kentucky, who began their own state competitions earlier this summer. Nine teams representing Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kentucky competed this year.“We are very excited to have had teams from two new states competing,” said Maya Hayslett, crop science youth educational specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and organizer of the event. “I think it is a great experience for youth to learn about agriculture in other states. This year we included some team building activities so youth could build lasting relationships with one another.”The Regional Crop Scouting Competition is designed to educate students through hands-on interaction in crop fields, through scouting for plant injury and identifying pest and situational problems. It culminates in the designing of individual effective solutions and management strategies. During the competition, participants receive the opportunity to interact with university faculty, staff and agronomists as well as professionals in crop-related careers, to learn about STEM related professions, prior to attending a college or post-high school program.The competition also helps youth learn about the opportunities available in other states, see a world beyond their home town and have fun with other youth. Following the competition, youth were invited to attend a college tour of Iowa State University to learn about its campus and academic programs. Visiting the host state’s university is a part of the Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition’s curriculum.The Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition initially began as an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach program in 2010 to educate high school-aged students about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the importance of scouting field crops in Iowa. In 2013, The University of Nebraska and Purdue University, with help from Iowa State, implemented their own crop scouting competitions.Crop scouting and IPM are important tools for farmers to increase economic returns while reducing unintended environmental impacts. Equipping future farmers and agronomists with crop scouting skills and basic IPM information will help the next generation of farm decision-makers with crop production and land stewardship.When students were asked in a survey what they liked about the competition, they responded that it was fun and engaging with friendly staff. All team coaches surveyed reported that the competition helped students prepare for a future career in agriculture and helped them learn concepts of IPM, teamwork skills and communication skillsIowa Farm Bureau Voting Delegates Set State and National Policy Direction for 2020  Iowa Farm Bureau members met in West Des Moines this week to develop the legislative policy direction on issues important to its statewide membership. The grassroots farm organization’s voting delegates engaged in lively discussions over the two-day conference on several issues, particularly the two issues weighing heaviest on Iowa farmers’ minds—international trade and implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as it was written, opposing the abuse of exemptions which devastate domestic demand for Iowa-grown crops. Delegates approved policy reaffirming the expansion of broadband and identifying and prioritizing rural connectivity in underserved areas.  Members strongly feel rural connectivity is crucial to the vitality of rural communities and rural-based businesses.   “Broadband access is a vital link for farmers, rural businesses, education, and healthcare to remain competitive,” said Mark Riesselman of Crawford County.Members showed their support for Iowa’s livestock farmers and passed policy encouraging programs and incentives to maintain the availability of private practice food animal veterinarians to work with livestock farmers.“The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) annual Summer Policy Conference is the culmination of our year-round policy development process and provides our organization with a clear direction on policy for the upcoming year,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “IFBF’s policy development process is truly grassroots with active engagement, participation, and input from members in each county, providing members an opportunity to be heard.  This process ensures a strong and unified voice on behalf of our membership to support Iowa agriculture, farm families and their communities, particularly during these challenging times.”     The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is the final step of the year-round grassroots policy process in each of the 100 county Farm Bureaus across the state and leads the organization’s policy direction for the upcoming year.  National policies are subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy discussions, which will take place at the AFBF Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, January 17-22, 2020.NBB Frustrated by Court Ruling on Small Refinery ExemptionsToday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) expressed frustration with a Court decision declining to review the Environmental Protection Agency's refusal to properly account for its flood of retroactive small refinery exemptions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismissed on technical grounds NBB's petition on the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard rule.NBB challenged EPA's decision to continue ignoring small refinery exemptions granted after the annual rule is established, even though the agency quietly ramped up granting these exemptions as it took comment on the rule. The Court dismissed NBB's petition on the grounds that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic and provide EPA sufficient opportunity to address those comments. The Court declined to examine EPA's flood of small refinery exemptions, but left room for future challenges on the issue.Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, said, "The Court's decision is frustrating. EPA requested comment on its practice of ignoring retroactive small refinery exemptions but did not give notice of its intent to unleash a flood of the exemptions. The Court, however, faults the industry for not commenting specifically on that."EPA's flood of retroactive small refinery exemptions are causing severe economic harm to biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, forcing some to close their doors and lay off workers. It's disappointing that the Court did not take this opportunity to address that harm."U.S. Soybean Crush Rates Surge to Record Levels for JulyUS Soybean Export CouncilThe National Oilseed Processor Association (NOPA) issued its monthly soybean crush and stocks data on Thursday, August 15. NOPA member soybean processing surged to 4.575 million tonnes up 0.524 million from 4.051 million in June. This was a sharp rebound after processing slipped further in June by 162,000 tonnes from May and barely edged out the previous July record of 4.565 million tonnes crushed in July 2018. This was the first month in the past five that NOPA crush exceeded last year’s pace after outpacing the previous year totals in the previous five months of the 2018/19 marketing year.According to analysts’ expectations published by Reuters, the trade was looking for crush to come in near 4.241 million tonnes with the highest guess slightly above the actual at 4.643 million tonnes. While the trade was looking for a modest rebound in processing following transportation delays in May due to river flooding and scheduled downtimes in June, the size of the increase in July is likely to change the market’s opinion for the 2018/19 marketing year crushings. Earlier in the week, USDA cut its forecast for the marketing year by 0.544 million tonnes to 56.200 million tonnes. If these NOPA data represent an average proportion of the industry crush, and August crushings fall slightly above last year, then the September-August marketing year crush will come in closer to 56.7 million tonnes. USDA’s August forecast for the 2019/20 marketing year has been held constant in recent months at 57.561 million tonnes while the agency’s 2018/19 marketing year have been drifting lower in recent reports. This is likely the result of expanding U.S. soybean crush capacity that has come online in 2019. This crush expansion will help the U.S. to advance its position in the global soybean product trade while still meeting growing domestic feed, food and fuel needs.Lamb industry requires further change, says American Lamb Summit  Outcomes from the inaugural American Lamb Summit were clear: all segments of the industry need to further improve lamb quality to keep and attract new customers and become more efficient to recapture market share from imported lamb. Yet, it was just as clear that production technologies and product research put industry success within grasp.     "I have never been so enthusiastic about our industry's opportunities, but we just can't allow ourselves to be complacent or accept status quo," said Dale Thorne, American Lamb Board chairman, a sheep producer and feeder from Michigan. Thorne stressed, "the end-game is profitability for all aspects of our industry."     The Summit, sponsored by the American Lamb Board (ALB) and Premier 1 Supplies, brought together 200 sheep producers, feeders and packers from all over the country to Colorado State University (CSU) in Ft. Collins, CO, August 27-28, 2019.     The conference included in-depth, challenging discussions ranging from consumer expectations, business management tools, realistic production practices to improve productivity and American Lamb quality and consistency, to assessing lamb carcasses. Sessions were carefully planned so that attendees would gain tools for immediate implementation.      "We can't keep saying 'I'll think about;' we have to realize that change is required for industry profitability," Thorne emphasized.The Lamb Checkoff Facebook page features summary videos from the sessions and additional resources. The Lamb Resource Center is the hub for all Lamb Summit information, as it becomes available.Consumers redefine quality"Consumers are ours to win or lose," said Michael Uetz, managing principal of Midan Marketing. His extensive research with meat consumers shows that the definition of quality now goes beyond product characteristics, especially for Millennials and Generation Z's. "It now includes how the animal was raised, what it was fed, or not fed, impact on sustainability and influence on human health," Uetz said. "Your power is in your story. You have a great one to tell about American Lamb," he advised. Lamb production toolsIncreasing flock productivity, using genetic selection, and collecting then using production and financial data were stressed as critical steps for on-farm improvements. "The best way to improve productivity is to increase the number of lambs per ewe," said Reid Redden, PhD, sheep and goat specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. "Pregnancy testing your ewes should be part of a producer's routine. Not only can open ewes be culled, but ewes can be segmented for the number of lambs they are carrying for better allocation of feed," he said.While genetic selection is now common in beef, pork and both Australian and New Zealand sheep, the American Lamb industry's slow adoption is hindering flock improvement and giving competition a definite advantage, said Rusty Burgett, Program Director, National Sheep Improvement Program. The cattle industry offers an example with how it uses EPDs (expected progeny differences) to select for traits. "We can do the same with our tools, but we must get more sheep enrolled into the program," said Tom Boyer, Utah sheep producer.Carcass and meat qualityUnderstanding what leads to quality American Lamb on the plate means looking beyond the live animal to carcass quality, stressed Lamb Summit speakers involved in processing and foodservice. Individual animal traceability is ultimately what is required to give consumers the transparency they are demanding, said Henry Zerby, PhD, Wendy's Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. A lamb producer himself, Zerby was straight-forward to the Summit participants: "Being able to track animals individually to know if they were ever given antibiotics, how they were raised, through the packer is on the horizon. We need to realize and prepare for that." US lamb processors are implementing systems at various levels and offer programs for sheep producers.Lamb flavor has been an industry topic for decades. Dale Woerner, PhD, Texas Tech University meat scientist, has been conducting research funded by ALB. He explained that flavor is a very complex topic, influenced by characteristics such as texture, aroma, cooking and handling of the product, and even emotional experience. "Lamb has more than one flavor profile, affected by feeding and other practices," he explained. Summit participants tasted four different lamb samples, which illustrated Woerner's points about various preferences and profiles."By sorting carcasses or cuts into flavor profile groups, we can direct that product to the best market," he said. The American Lamb Board is currently in the final phase of lamb flavor research with Texas Tech University and Colorado State University identifying consumer preference of American Lamb and identifying those flavor profiles in the processing plant.What's nextThe Summit was designed to instill relevant, meaningful knowledge that can be implemented immediately to address both current and future needs. It also sought to inspire collaboration, networking and information sharing across all segments and geographic regions of the American Lamb industry."If we work together to implement progressive production changes throughout our supply chain, we can regain market share from imported product and supply our country with more great-tasting American Lamb," concluded ALB Chairman Thorne. ALB hopes that attendees left the Summit with multiple ideas to do just that.Beef Producer Adds Perspective to NIAA Antibiotic Symposium Panel on Communication Challenges in Animal AgricultureAndy Bishop, who will be a speaker on a panel at the 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotic Symposium, to be held Oct 15–17 in Ames, Iowa, has a lot going on.He is a Director of Farm Services for AgTech Scientific, he chairs the Kentucky Beef Council Board, which means he is also on the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association. He's a family man, and he uses Facebook to talk about animal agriculture.Ask him what he does, and he says simply "I am a cattle producer in the State of Kentucky."Bishop runs a cow–calf and seedstock operation, and also has an organic poultry and eggs side of his business which sells to Whole Foods.The panel he will be speaking on is about Overcoming Communication Challenges. He sees social media as somewhere we can have a dialog with people he might not see on an everyday basis. The theme of this year's Symposium is Communicating the Science of Responsible Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture."I'm not just Friends with other producers, but with consumers, too. There have been times when I've had to educate someone on my position, because I get that they are not just pointing fingers about something they think is wrong, but because they don't understand," says Bishop.He deals with the question of antibiotics or no antibiotics for his animals on a daily basis. On the organic poultry side, he says it can be a struggle to comply with the No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) standards. "We've had a couple of outbreaks on the poultry side that could have been treated with antibiotics," he says. "They were catastrophic because we couldn't use antibiotics. We not only lost money, we lost entire flocks because we couldn't use antibiotics which would have cured them and kept them alive.""It's a niche market because that's what people want – No Antibiotics Ever," he says. "We keep our poultry as happy and healthy as we can, but animals get sick and at the end of the day, it would be nice to have the tools to treat them. We do use a big vaccination program," he adds." In his cattle operation, he does use antibiotics judiciously, and he sees changes since the VFD regulations went into effect."We use beef quality assurance standards and work closely with our vet, which helps us to know when an antibiotic is necessary and when maybe it is not needed," he says."People distant from farming are under the idea that we just pump our animals full of antibiotics and hormones to increase production," he says. "But I want to take care of that animal if it needs it. If it is sick, I want to treat that animal. Just like if one of my kids is sick, I want to get them well.""When you have a business, you are not going to spend money that does not bring a return," he says, referring to the expense of antibiotics if they were used the way people think. Bishop says he has a vaccination program through his vet for many of the diseases that they face every day. "We start the same program with calves; booster when we need to. It's much cheaper to prevent than it is to react," he says. "It's no different than a flu shot for us, to prevent as much as we can."But he has a story to show that it is sometimes not enough. "We had a massive outbreak of pink eye on the cattle side" he tells. "It makes the animal uncomfortable; their eye swells up. In some cases, we can take Chlortetracycline (CTC) and add it to their feed or water, but VFD has made it more difficult to use that product. We have to treat individual animals which means manpower and costs.""We had vaccinated for pink eye, we administered it and it worked in 15 percent of animals but in 85 percent, it was not effective. We had to stress those animals, get them up, run them through the chute, use a more expensive medication, put a patch on their eye. More stress to the animal than treating all of them once in their feed. My whole family was there day in and day out as we found signs of pink eye."He says he does get frustrated communicating to consumers, because "we want to treat sick animals humanely, and people think antibiotics for animals are a terrible thing and should never be given."Communication experts have encouraged farmers and ranchers to use social media to help consumers understand them on a personal basis. "My go–to is Facebook," says Bishop. "I am on there daily in some capacity, telling my beef story or talking about my chicken house or things that the kids are doing on the farm and why they are doing it."Another recommendation is to find ways to share values. "Why is my 7–year old out working?" asks Bishop, reflecting on some of the questions he gets. "We are instilling a work ethic. They are learning how to take care of the animals and the lesson of responsibility for what God gave us. We expose them to everything we can, so as young individuals they can have that opportunity.""They want to go take care of their animals," he says. "They go with me at 5:30 a.m. to feed the cattle because they understand that the cattle need their breakfast, too.""I don't post pictures of us treating our animals," he adds, "because no one likes to see that."The 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotic Symposium will be held at Iowa State University in collaboration with the National Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE).For more information or to register for the 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotics Symposium go to 

Ricketts Begins Vietnam Trade Mission, Promotes Nebraska in HanoiThis week, Governor Pete Ricketts is leading a trade mission to Vietnam and Japan to promote Nebraska’s quality ag products and to pitch Nebraska as a top destination for international investment.The Governor and trade delegation began the mission today in Hanoi, Vietnam where they will meet with government officials, promote Nebraska beef and other ag products, and encourage Vietnamese businesses to invest in Nebraska.  Delegates on the mission include representatives from the Department of Agriculture (NDA), Department of Economic Development (DED), University of Nebraska, Nebraska Farm Bureau, major state and national commodity organizations, and ag businesses.The day’s agenda included meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Industry & Trade where Governor Ricketts and NDA Director Steve Wellman urged officials to work with the United States to expand trade and open new markets for Nebraska’s ag products.The Governor and delegation concluded their day by hosting a business forum and dinner for representatives from Vietnamese companies.  At the events, Governor Ricketts highlighted Nebraska’s pro-growth climate, hardworking people, and central location.  Listeners also heard presentations from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam, NDA, and DED.This is Governor Ricketts’ fourth trade mission to Asia in the last five years. NDA CONGRATULATES 2019 ELITE SHOWMAN COMPETITORS The Nebraska State Fair ended on a high note with one of the biggest livestock competitions of the season. 4-H and FFA champions from around the state came together to represent their counties and participate in the 14th annual Nebraska Elite Showman competition this weekend. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) and the Nebraska Rural Radio Association coordinate this event in cooperation with the Nebraska State Fair. “I’m pleased that NDA and our partners are able to coordinate and sponsor events like the Elite Showman Competition to reward 4-H and FFA students for their hard work and dedication to Nebraska agriculture,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “Congratulations to the winners and to all of the participants for making this year’s Elite Showman Competition so exceptional.” Elite Showmen competitors must be between 14-18 years of age and enrolled in 4-H or FFA. Counties are able to select only one student to represent them to compete at the Elite Showman competition at the State Fair. Agricultural business and organizations generously contribute to the contest in order for the winners to receive prize money along with their statewide recognition. In this year’s Nebraska Elite Showman Competition, 34 participants represented their counties. Competitors are scored on beef, swine, sheep and goat showmanship, as well as interview skills and knowledge via a written test. Along with first, second and third place overall winners, winners are selected for each division. The top overall Elite Showman receives $2,000, the second place finisher receives $1,000 and the third place overall winner receives $500. Division winners are awarded $300 each. All other competitors receive a $50 prize. The 2019 overall winners were: 1st place overall: Abby Scholz from Phelps County 2nd place overall: Creighton Hirschfeld from York County 3rd place overall: Chase DeVries from Adams County The 2019 Elite Showman division winners were: Swine Showmanship: Trevor Kirchhoff from Buffalo County Sheep Showmanship: Abby Scholz from Phelps County Beef Showmanship: Carly Rains from Saline County Goat Showmanship: Creighton Hirschfeld from York County Written Test: Jace Russman from Dawson County Interview: Abby Scholz from Phelps County Other participants (and their counties) included: Carson Maricle (Boone), Camden Humphrey (Clay), Abigail Lutjelusche (Colfax), Katie Jo Utech (Dakota), Katelyn Pehrson (Dixon),Taylor Gregory (Dodge), Breanna Wilkinson (Douglas-Sarpy), Reid Richards (Fillmore), Conner Snyder (Frontier), Carter Holtmeier (Gage), Gracie Pinckney (Garfield), Alexis Tenski (Greeley), Sydney May (Hamilton), Ethan Uhlir (Howard), Brooklen Bear (Jefferson), Matthew Bruns (Lincoln), Fallon Wells (Merrick), James Wetovick (Nance), Bailey Boitnott (Otoe), Wynn Cannon (Polk), Tyler Uhri (Richardson), Lauren Kavan (Saunders), Abigayle Warm (Seward), Evan Tuma (Sherman), Alanna Fangmeier (Thayer), Alli Nielsen (Washington), Jamie Janke (Wayne), Kacey Allen (Webster). NDA ANNOUNCES WINNERS IN ANNUAL POULTRY PHOTO CONTEST The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced the winners of its annual Poultry Photo Contest during a special celebration at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. The contest was open to Nebraska 4-H and FFA members from around the state. “NDA’s annual poultry photo contest is a great way to highlight the state’s diverse poultry populations, especially as the poultry industry in Nebraska continues to grow,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “We appreciate these talented 4-H and FFA members and the time they spent capturing the perfect photos for our contest. A big thank you to everyone who participated.” NDA will use the winning photos online and in printed materials about the importance of biosecurity so backyard poultry owners have the information they need to keep their flocks healthy. Congratulations to the following youth who submitted winning photos: Zac Arens of Crofton; Payton Catlin of Ogallala; Abigail Gorecki of Ravenna; Nathan Gorecki of Ravenna; Makennen Havlat of Seward; Sydney Havlat of Seward; Elisa Oberg of Farnam; Janae Oberg of Farnam; Jon Oberg of Farnam; Onyx Smith of Kearney; Elizabeth Wortmann of Crofton; and Sophia Wortmann of Crofton. NDA staff members from around the state judged the entries, looking at originality, composition and photography skills. NDA’s poultry contest was funded through a grant from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Service. The winning photographs can be viewed on the NDA website at July Pork Exports Reach New Heights; Beef and Lamb Exports also StrongU.S. pork exports were record-large in July while beef exports were relatively steady with last year's strong results, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).July pork exports surged to 233,242 metric tons (mt), up 32% year-over-year and topping the previous record from April 2018. Export value was $623.3 million, up 34% and breaking the previous high reached in November 2017. These results pushed January-July exports 2% ahead of last year's pace at 1.48 million mt while value was down 2% at $3.77 billion.Pork export value averaged $58.92 per head slaughtered in July, up 22% from a year ago and the highest in five years. January-July export value averaged $51.33 per head, down 5% from the same period last year. July exports accounted for 29.3% of total U.S. pork production (up from 24.7% a year ago and the highest since April 2018) and 25.9% for muscle cuts only (up from 21.7% and the highest ratio in five years). For January through July, exports accounted for 26.3% of total pork production and 22.9% for muscle cuts (down from 27% and 23.3%, respectively, a year ago).Beef exports increased 1% year-over-year in July to 117,842 mt. Export value ($720.4 million) was down slightly from a year ago but still the seventh-highest monthly total on record. January-July beef exports were down 2% from a year ago in volume (766,607 mt) while export value ($4.75 billion) was slightly below last year's record pace.Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $308.47 in July, down 7% from a year ago, while January-July export value averaged $311.51 per head, down 2%. July exports accounted for 14.4% of total U.S. beef production and 11.8% for muscle cuts only, down from 15.1% and 12.9%, respectively, last year. For the first seven months of the year, exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts — each down one-half percentage point from a year ago.Momentum builds for U.S. pork in Mexico and China; Japan results steadySince Mexico lifted its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly. In July, exports to Mexico reached 67,161 mt, up 19% from a year ago, while value surged 38% to $126.7 million. January-July results still trail last year by 12% in volume (411,944 mt) and 14% in value ($700.7 million), but exports to Mexico are well-positioned for a strong second half of 2019."USMEF anticipated a rebound in Mexico once duty-free status was restored for U.S. pork," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "But I want to emphasize that we did not take this recovery for granted. While those retaliatory duties were in place, USMEF ramped up our outreach with processors and other major buyers in Mexico and worked closely with them to keep product moving south, and with the duties removed we're seeing the results of these efforts. Now ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical to ensure long-term duty-free access to this key market."Although held back by China's retaliatory duties on U.S. pork, exports to China/Hong Kong contributed mightily to the July volume and value records. Exports to the region were a record 68,657 mt in July, more than tripling from a year ago, while value climbed 173% to a record $152.5 million. For January through July, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 23% in volume (292,666 mt) and 3% in value ($580.3 million). China's hog prices soared to record levels in August, and retail pork and poultry prices are also trending sharply higher as China's African swine fever-related hog shortage intensifies.In leading value market Japan, where no new duties have been imposed but U.S. pork faces higher tariff rates than its competitors, July exports were steady with last year at 31,019 mt, while value was up 5% to $133.2 million. Through July, exports to Japan were down 3% in volume (222,300 mt) and 4% in value ($906.7 million). The White House recently announced an agreement in principle with Japan that is expected to bring tariffs on U.S. pork and beef in line with competitors' rates, but the agreement still must be finalized and the timeline for implementation is not yet known.Other January-July highlights for U.S. pork include:    Led by strong results in mainstay market Colombia and exceptional growth in Chile and Peru, exports to South America climbed 30% above last year's record pace in volume (95,152 mt) and 32% higher in value ($237.3 million).    Australia and New Zealand continue to shine as important destinations for hams and other pork muscle cuts used for further processing. Exports to Oceania are on a record pace as volume increased 41% from a year ago to 69,978 mt, while value was up 32% to $192.5 million.    Despite facing higher tariffs since April due to a safeguard threshold, pork exports to Panama increased 41% from a year ago to 8,245 mt, while value was up 33% to $20.5 million. This helped push exports to Central America 15% above last year's record pace in volume (52,820 mt) and 17% higher in value ($127.5 million). In addition to Panama, exports trended higher year-over-year to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.    Exports to Canada remained above year-ago levels in July, even after Canadian pork lost access to its top export destination — China — in late June. Through July, exports to Canada were up 11% from a year ago to 124,017, while value increased 8% to $454.1 million.Another record month for U.S. beef in KoreaSouth Korea continues to be the growth pacesetter for U.S. beef exports, as July volume reached 25,104 mt (up 6% from a year ago). This included 24,192 mt of beef muscle cuts, also up 6% and setting a new monthly volume record. Export value was $181.3 million, up 7% from a year ago and breaking the record set the previous month. For January through July, beef exports to Korea climbed 11% in volume (151,983 mt) while export value ($1.1 billion) exceeded last year's record pace by 14%."The Korean market is a remarkable success story and a blueprint for what U.S. beef can achieve when consumers are not shouldering such a heavy tariff burden," Halstrom said. "With the duty rate now less than half of its pre-FTA level, U.S. beef is enjoyed by more Korean consumers than ever, and in a wider variety of venues. This will also happen in Japan when duty rates come down, but on an even larger scale."Though Korea is gaining, Japan remains the largest volume and value destination for U.S. beef. July exports slipped 2% from a year ago to 31,213 mt, with value down 4% to $188.4 million. Through the first seven months of the year, exports to Japan were 1% below last years' pace in both volume (189,052 mt) and value ($1.2 billion). Strong variety meat exports (especially tongues and skirts) have helped offset a slowdown in U.S. chilled beef exports to Japan. Through July, variety meat volume was up 30% from a year ago to 38,249 mt, valued at $228.8 million (up 21%). Although U.S. beef pays higher tariffs than competitors for variety meat, the rate for U.S. tongues and skirts is 12.8% compared to a 38.5% tariff on U.S. muscle cuts. Competitors pay 5.7% and 26.6%, respectively.Other January-July highlights for U.S. beef include:    Mexico is the third-largest market for U.S. beef exports and the largest destination for U.S. beef variety meat. Though export volume was modestly lower through July (135,337 mt, down 2%), value increased 6% to $635 million. This included 52,389 mt of beef variety meat, down 8% from a year ago. But U.S. variety meat items are commanding better prices, as export value increased 6% to $138.2 million. Tripe export value, for example, increased 25% to $57.3 million despite a 3% decline in volume (21,696 mt).    Exports to Taiwan were 13% percent above last year's record pace in volume (36,601 mt) and 9% higher in value ($324.6 million). The United States dominates Taiwan's chilled beef imports with 72% market share.    Indonesia is 2019's leading destination for U.S. beef in the ASEAN region, with exports climbing 55% to 12,071 mt and value up 23% to $43.9 million. With solid growth in the Philippines and steady volumes to Vietnam, exports to the region increased 24% to 31,725 mt, valued at $154.8 million (up 9%).    Exports to the Dominican Republic are on a record pace, increasing 49% from a year ago to 5,305 mt, while value was up 37% to $42.7 million.    Despite a 37% tariff (which increased to 47% on Sept. 1), July beef exports to China were the largest (903 mt) since the market reopened in 2017. Through July, exports were up 15% from a year ago in volume (4,749 mt) and 4% in value ($37.8 million), though the U.S. still accounts for less than 1% of China's booming beef imports.Lamb variety meats push July exports higherStrong variety meat demand in Mexico and the Caribbean pushed July exports of U.S. lamb 36% higher year-over-year in volume (1,650 mt), while value increased 11% to $2.4 million — the highest since February. For January through July, lamb exports were 41% above last year's pace at 9,433 mt, while value increased 16% to $15.6 million. Muscle cut exports were lower than a year ago in volume (1,290 mt, down 16%) but edged 2% higher in value to $8.6 million. Markets showing promising muscle cut growth include the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and Guatemala. Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/30/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 30, ethanol production averaged 1.013 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 42.55 million gallons daily. Output fell by 25,000 b/d, or 2.4%, from the previous week and was 6.8% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined by 0.7% to 1.030 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.79 billion gallons.Ethanol stocks rebounded to 23.8 million barrels ahead of the holiday weekend, increasing 3.6% to the highest level in three weeks. Stocks rose in coastal regions but declined in the Midwest (PADD 2).Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were 26,000 b/d, or 7.64 million gallons for the week. This was the second straight week and the third time in five weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied receded to 9.471 million b/d (397.8 million gallons per day, or 145.19 bg annualized), down 4.3% from the near-record level the previous week. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol eased 0.3% to 952,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.59 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production rebounded to 10.70%.USMCA MUST BE AT THE TOP OF FALL CONGRESSIONAL AGENDANCGACongress returns to Washington next week and passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be at the top of their agenda.Farmers have taken the opportunity to share this message with lawmakers at local events during the August break and are eager to see the working group process bear fruit so the agreement can move forward for consideration.USMCA will solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some certainty for farmers weathering a perfect storm of challenges. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.Since NAFTA, U.S. ag exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico. Mexico is now the top buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing 25 percent of corn exports. For more information on what these markets mean to your state - has a lot to do and they need to hear from you. If you haven’t done so already, ask your elected representatives to take that next step and ask leadership to schedule a vote.Animal Agriculture Alliance prepares students to be advocates for agricultureCollege students are gearing up for the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online (CAO) Scholarship Competition which kicks off September 16. This year’s students and collegiate clubs are competing for more than $21,000 in scholarships and a chance to win a trip to the Alliance’s 2020 Stakeholders Summit. For more information or to sign up, visit connects college students from across the country who are interested in promoting agriculture. Individual division participants receive training from experts and engage with their peers on social media by posting information about current and emerging issues facing farmers and ranchers and telling personal stories. In the club competition, students are challenged to host events on their campus to talk about modern agriculture with their peers. Events include “Scary Food Myths” where students hand out candy with myths and facts about food and agriculture; “Undeniably Dairy” where students host a booth on their concourse about dairy farming; and “Newbies on the Farm” where students invite their peers who have never visited a farm to tour a local operation. Last year, students reached 2 million people on social media and more than 13,000 people at club events.“College Aggies Online is an opportunity for college students who are passionate about agriculture to learn how to communicate about the industry from some of the best agriculture advocates out there,” said Casey Kinler, Alliance communications manager. “This year we doubled the number of mentors available to the students and made sure to include farmers and ranchers who are active on social media.”Mentors for the 2019 competition include:    Chloe Carson, Manager of Digital Communications, National Pork Producers Council    Lukas Fricke, Hog Farmer, ChorChek Inc.    Don Schindler, Senior Vice President of Digital Innovations, Dairy Management Inc.    Rebecca Hilby, Dairy Farmer, Hilby Family Farm    Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, Street Smart Nutrition    Marissa Hake, DVM, Veterinarian, Midwest Veal, LLC/Strauss Feeds    Beth Breeding, Vice President of Communications and Marketing, National Turkey Federation    Jennifer Osterholt, Strategic Marketing Consultant and Farmer, Osterholt Marketing & Communications, LLC    Virginia Beckett, Director of Issues Response and Monitoring, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association    Elizabeth Barber, Vice President of Corporate Development, The F.L. Emmert Company    Lauren Arbogast, Chicken Farmer, Paint The Town Ag    Karoline Rose, Leader, KRose Company    Michelle Jones, Grain Farmer, Big Sky Farmher    Allison Devitre, Regulatory Scientific Affairs, Bayer Crop Science    Jessica Peters, Dairy Farmer, Spruce Row Farm    Michelle Miller, Sheep and Cattle Farmer, Farm Babe, LLCCAO would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. 2019 sponsors include: Dairy Management Inc., Seaboard Foods, National Pork Industry Foundation, CHS Foundation, National Turkey Federation, Bayer, Cooper Family Foundation, National Corn Growers Association, Vivayic, Alltech, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Ohio Poultry Association, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Culver's Franchising System, Pennsylvania Beef Council and National Chicken Council. DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA ADVANCING TECHNOLOGIES ON FARMS AND INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS FOR THE DAIRY CASEDairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national cooperative owned by family farmers across the U.S., is beginning to recruit startups for its 2020 Accelerator program, which helps mentor and grow companies in the areas of ag technology and dairy food products.For the 2020 program, DFA is seeking early stage food product companies that are dairy-focused or dairy-based. On the ag tech front, DFA is looking for companies with ag-tech applications related to any portion of the dairy value chain, including but not limited to product testing, data management, herd health and management, supply chain optimization, sustainability and traceability.“For the food vertical, we’re looking to find companies that are doing new and interesting things with dairy as the main component,” says Doug Dresslaer, Director of Innovation at DFA. “With ag tech, our goal is to identify companies with applications or technologies that can help us improve processes or reduce margins to ultimately enhance productivity on our members’ farms.”Ag tech categories of particular interest to DFA include dairy ERP systems, drone technologies, robotics and automation technologies for the farm, sensor technologies in agronomy, digester efficiency and new technology in animal health around mastitis.A 90-Day Program with a Focus on the Long-TermThe DFA Accelerator is a 90-day immersive program, with a combination of on-site meetings and virtual programs to provide training, growth opportunities and mentorship. Most startup participants typically spend about four weeks in Kansas City, where DFA is headquartered.Throughout the program, startups have numerous opportunities to meet with a variety of DFA executives and other relevant investors and industry leaders. Participants also receive guidance and advice on business development, product development, marketing and other key aspects of startup growth.Dresslaer adds, “Ultimately, we’re looking for companies where we see long-term potential, as the end goal is to hopefully help and partner with them in some way.”Additional details and applications are available at DFA Accelerator. The 2020 DFA Accelerator program will begin on March 30, 2020.Syngenta introduces new soybean seed treatment for superior Sudden Death Syndrome protectionSyngenta announced today its newest seed treatment, Saltro® fungicide, has received registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Formulated to deliver superior protection against Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and nematodes without causing plant stress, Saltro will be available for the 2020 growing season. Saltro contains Adepidyn® fungicide, an extremely powerful SDHI mode of action, which outperforms older chemistries and provides higher potential yield.“For the first time ever, growers will have a seed treatment option for protecting their soybeans against SDS and nematodes that doesn’t cause additional stress on the plant and enables soybeans to reach their full genetic potential,” said Dale Ireland, Ph.D., technical product lead for Syngenta Seedcare. “With Saltro, we’ve seen a statistically significant yield increase of 3 bu/A over the current standard in heavy SDS environments1. It’s definitely an upgrade for SDS protection.”Saltro also delivers robust activity across a broad spectrum of nematode species, including Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) – the No. 1 yield-robbing pest in soybeans and a major contributor to SDS infection.“SDS and SCN are large concerns for soybean growers,” said Ireland. “Severe SDS infection can cause up to 50% yield loss2, and SCN has cost about $1.5 billion in U.S. yield loss3. Since Saltro provides protection against both, it will complement SDS- and SCN-resistant varieties to help soybeans maximize their yield potential.”Beyond the SDS and nematode protection Saltro provides, growers can also look forward to their soybeans having better stands, healthier leaves and more robust early-season root mass development.“With earlier planting programs and erratic weather, the last thing a grower needs at the beginning of the season is additional stress on their soybeans from their seed treatment,” said Paul Oklesh, product lead for Syngenta Seedcare. “Growers have come to expect that they have to give up early-season plant health in order to get SDS protection, but with Saltro, that’s no longer true. Saltro provides superior SDS protection without the stress, ensuring soybeans are not only getting a new standard of SDS protection, but also a strong start upon emergence.”Although soybeans can outgrow the side effects from early-season aboveground stress, they may not fully recover from the lower yield potential caused by belowground stress affecting the roots.“Whether it is caused by disease, nematodes or their choice of seed treatment, growers never want fewer roots in their crop,” said Ireland. “Everyone wants to establish a robust early root system that maximizes the genetic potential of the soybean plant. Saltro does a much better job of allowing soybeans to do just that.”With powerful SDS protection and the additional benefits of healthier root mass, better plant stands and quicker speed to canopy, Saltro demonstrates Syngenta’s commitment to accelerating innovation to address the increasing challenges for growers. Syngenta invests in technologies to bring about lasting change for sustainable agriculture, and Saltro is the latest new technology that can change the way growers protect their soybeans and improve their yield potential.

Nebraska Pork Producers Assoc. throws its support behind Northeast’s Nexus campaignOne of the fastest growing segments of Nebraska agriculture has thrown its support behind a project to build new ag facilities at Northeast Community College. The Nebraska Pork Producers Association has pledged $100,000 to the Nexus campaign.Al Juhnke, executive director of the Pork Producers, said Northeast Community College is recognized both regionally and nationally as a premiere two-year agriculture education institution.“That they have recognized the need to upgrade their facilities, to re-evaluate and upgrade their programming and curriculum,” Juhnke said, “I don’t think the timing could be more perfect.”Dr. Tracy Kruse, Northeast associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the College Foundation, said the support of the Nebraska Pork Producers is important to the Nexus campaign.“To have a statewide organization like the Pork Producers join our efforts to provide a 21st century farm for Northeast students speaks volumes about the value of this project,” Kruse said. “Agriculture is the largest area of study at Northeast, with about 350 students every year in 12 programs. Northeast is training the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and also the next generation of workers for large livestock operations, cooperatives, fertilizer and seed dealers, and other agribusinesses.”Juhnke said Nebraska currently has more hogs and pigs than in the mid-1980s. The state now ranks sixth nationally in commercial hog slaughter and seventh in all hogs and pigs. Pork production provides approximately 14,260 jobs in Nebraska, generating $772 million in personal income and $1.14 billion toward Nebraska’s gross state product.Juhnke said, “Both here in Nebraska and in the Upper Midwest, agriculture is the driver of our economy. And having a facility like this that is upgraded, and new, and shiny, is not only going to draw the students we need but also help us, as an ag industry, to draw the workers that we need.”The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is a grassroots, incorporated, nonprofit organization established in 1961. Its vision is to ensure opportunities for success for Nebraska’s producers of pork, regardless of size or production style, as well as the state’s youth, by enhancing their opportunities for success within the pork industry.The Nebraska Pork Producers is governed by a four-member executive committee and an 11-member board with two alternate directors. Tim Chancellor of Broken Bow is the current president.Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse at, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469. Husker Harvest Days Showcases the Future of Farming and RanchingHusker Harvest Days presents more than 600 exhibitors with the latest tractors, equipment, crop protection, seed and additional products and services for farms and ranches and this year’s event showcases the future of farming and ranching. This year’s HHD will be held Sept. 10-12 at its newly updated permanent show site near Grand Island, Nebr.The recent $7.5 million infrastructure renovation presents 5.5 miles of concrete paved streets in the exhibit area with many added visitor comfort features. The site updates make for an enjoyable visit and the show offers many additional new features this year, too: Beef production seminars, additional combining demonstrations, a new grain handling installation, addition of an International  Visitors Center with export seminars, exhibitors with new technology, products and services – even a movie premiere. It’s been a tough year for farmers and ranchers and the show is a good opportunity to look forward. The show is designed to bring farmers and ranchers ideas and inspiration to move towards greater productivity and profitability. The latest technology, equipment and management practices are a big part of what draws farmers and ranchers to the show each year.Field DemonstrationsField demonstrations are an integral part of Husker Harvest Days and are held each day, weather permitting. Demonstrations planned for this year include corn combining, tillage, haying, precision farming, UAVs (drones) and self-propelled sprayers and mowing. Combining demos run each day 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – afternoon combining demonstrations are new this year. UAV DemonstrationsUAV (drone) demonstrations will help visitors see the uses and benefits of checking their cattle operation or crops and the more sophisticated components that can be paired with UAVs. Numerous UAV manufacturers and marketers will be demonstrating and explaining their drones and capabilities throughout each day of the show. Ride and DriveRide and drive areas will also be provided for companies that want to show equipment to potential customers up close and personal. Many brands of tractors, utility vehicles and trucks are part of the demonstration areas.Irrigation Spotlight The show is known as "The world’s largest totally irrigated working farm show." For good reason - all of the nation's largest irrigation companies and many irrigation pump, parts and associated equipment manufacturers and distributors are exhibitors at the show. Feature-filled EventUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln offers education programs and demonstrations to help farmers and ranchers stay strong in challenging times. Commodity groups provide new crop and trade information. Health screening services, crop outlook and marketing mini-seminars presented by Farm Futures, succession planning seminars and land value seminars presented by Univ. of Nebraska Extension in the Hospitality Tent. Attendees can connect with the Nebraska Farm Bureau in their exhibit. And there are many additional show features that include entertainment, such as the crafts and artwork available for sale, antique tractors and equipment and preview of "Silo," the feature film.Benefit Auctions and Food DriveTwo benefit auctions will be held during the show. BigIron Realty partners with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to conduct an auction Sept. 11, details in their show exhibit. Titan Tire hosts a tire  auction Sept. 11 to raise money for Nebraska FFA Foundation; more details on the show website and in the Titan Tire exhibit.Any Nebraska or Kansas FFA member who brings five nonperishable food items to the show bus entrance will receive free admission to the show. Food is collected and redistributed by Heartland United Way. Student admission sponsors: Farm Bureau, Aurora Cooperative and Farm Progress.New Show Connection - Mobile TextStay on top of all the latest show news – sent to your mobile phone. Subscribe to the Husker Harvest Days mobile text alerts, text HHD19 to 20505 from your mobile phone. The message service is free, your usual phone charges for data use applies.Plan to attendHusker Harvest Days is located west of Grand Island, 1-1/2 miles north and 2 miles west of Alda in central Nebraska on Husker Highway. Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for ages 13-17, and ages 12 and under are free. For additional information, visit Husker Harvest Days includes Free Trees and Conservation DiscussionQuestions about trees, erosion, flood control or water quality? Stop in to visit with Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts during Husker Harvest Days Sept. 10-12.“This is a great opportunity for producers to meet with conservation agencies all in one place and learn more about cost-share programs that can benefit their operation and Nebraska’s natural resources,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts public relations director.Located in the Natural Resources Hub (39E), Nebraska’s NRDs are stationed with various organizations that offer conservation assistance, cost-share opportunities and producer programs. Attendees can visit with the Nebraska Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Forest Service, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, The Nature Conservancy and Central Platte NRD’s Native Prairie and Pollination Awareness Program.The Water Well Standards Program (Nebraska DHHS) will also be on site to provide free water testing and screen for nitrates in minutes. Private well owners should bring a cup-size sample of water in a clean container. If you forget your water sample, take-home test strips also are available.In addition, the Natural Resources Districts will announce three individuals to induct into the NRD Hall of Fame during a press conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent (SE Quadrant, #33). These Hall of Fame inductees have made significant contributions to protect our state’s natural resources through the NRDs. Hall of Fame categories include:     Natural Resources District Board Member     Natural Resources District Employee     Natural Resources District SupporterDuring the three-day event, Husker Harvest attendees also will receive a free Colorado Blue Spruce tree seedling from the NRD Conservation Tree Program. All 23 Nebraska NRDs administer tree planting programs to provide trees and shrubs for local landowners. Each district varies, but possible services include: planting, weed barrier installation or weed control, and drip irrigation. Free prairie grass seed will also be available as part of the Native Prairie and Pollinator Awareness Project.For more information on the Conservation Tree Program and other conservation resources, visit Sasse: Pelosi Delaying USMCA "Is Cynical and Cruel"U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken champion for Nebraska agriculture and trade, issued the following statement after Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top trade negotiators, doubled down on delaying the USMCA trade agreement. “Easy for San Francisco elitists to say, but try telling that to hurting Nebraska farmers and ranchers. They’re the best in the world, but they desperately need export markets in both North America and Asia. The problem with China is mainly the intellectual property theft and bad behavior of the Chinese Communist Party. But in North America, the primary problem is Speaker Pelosi. If the vote is scheduled, USMCA will pass -- playing political games with these families is cynical and cruel." Pastureland Grazing Publication Describes Iowa Grazing PracticesIn an effort to help Iowa beef producers remain profitable, Iowa Beef Center conducted several grazing and pasture management programs from 2013 to 2018. IBC extension program specialist Beth Reynolds said objectives for these programs ranged from improving grazing and management techniques for increasing forage productivity while increasing cattle performance to protecting and enhancing water quality, and benefiting soil health.“To gain information on Iowa’s pasture productivity and grazing rental arrangements, evaluation surveys were distributed to more than 1,000 participants who attended at least one of the IBC’s grazing and pasture management programs during that timeframe,” she said. “Our new publication, ‘Iowa’s Pastureland and Grazing 2013-2018,’ is based on those survey results and gives a snapshot of how Iowa’s cow-calf industry has changed in terms of pasture utilization.”This six-page publication summarizes the findings of that evaluation to determine the changes in Iowa’s pasture management and to look at the effectiveness of IBC’s various pasture programs.“The report is packed with information on the state’s pasture availability, pasture rent, cow numbers, stocking density and more,” Reynolds said. “IBC undergraduate intern Samantha Jamison updated the earlier 2007-2012 version of this report to keep the information relevant and up to date.”The publication is available to download at no charge from the Iowa State University Extension Store, said IBC appreciates the input from past workshop and seminar attendees and hopes all producers will find the information relevant to their operations. All ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialists are available to answer questions and provide information about the report, future grazing workshops or anything related to grazing and pasture management.Noonan Hired as Regulatory Division Director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced Maury Noonan has been hired as the Regulatory Division Director at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Maury Noonan will oversee the Food Safety and Animal Health and Consumer Protection and Industry Services divisions.   “Ensuring consumer protection is an important part of the Department’s role within our state,” said Naig. “Noonan brings an extensive agriculture and legal background to our team, making him a great fit to lead these divisions.” Noonan will oversee day-to-day operations that guarantee consumer protections. This includes animal industry, dairy products control, commercial feed and fertilizer, Iowa Laboratory bureau, meat and poultry inspection, pesticides, agricultural diversification and market development, entomology, grain warehouse, and weights and measures.Noonan joins the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship after practicing agriculture and environmental law in Iowa and Minnesota. Prior to practicing law, he held positions at the Kansas Department of Transportation and the USDA General Counsel’s office.He obtained a J.D. from Kansas Law School. Noonan grew up on his family’s farm in Northwest Iowa and remains active with the operation.NCGA Supports EPA’s Interim Decision on Glyphosate RegistrationThe National Corn Growers Association recently submitted comments in support of U.S. EPA’s proposed interim registration review decision for glyphosate. EPA is required to review pesticide registrations every 15 years to comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), but may choose to issue interim decisions as needed to account for completed risk assessments and the availability of new data.“The introduction of chemical herbicides during the second half of the 20th century transformed modern agriculture. Glyphosate, in particular, revolutionized weed control and facilitated the use of no-till practices, which have reduced topsoil erosion and improved soil health,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president from Nebraska. “It is one of the most widely used and comprehensively evaluated herbicides and we appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the sound science behind this product in its interim review decision.”In the decision at hand, EPA states it is issuing an interim decision to move forward with aspects of the registration review that are complete, including the human health and ecological risk assessments.Glyphosate continues to be the cornerstone for comprehensive and sustainable weed management, Chrisp noted, though growers understand that a diverse plan is necessary for both season-long control and resistance management.John Linder, Edison, Ohio, farmer and incoming NCGA First Vice President, discussed the important role glyphosate plays in corn production and the increase in minimum-till practices that benefit soil health with Alexandra Dunn, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, at the Farm Progress Show last week.EPA is also working with the Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service to conduct an evaluation of glyphosate’s impacts on endangered species, as is required by Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA proposed several minor label changes in the interim decision. EPA hopes these mitigation measures will reduce any potential for off-target movement, especially movement that would impact pollinators, while the ESA review is getting underway. EPA expects to issue its final registration decision for glyphosate once the ESA evaluation is complete.July U.S. Ethanol Exports Robust Outside of Thinner Sales to Brazil; Global Sales of U.S. Distillers Grains DecreaseAnn Lewis, Research Analyst, Renewable Fuels Association    U.S. ethanol exports decreased 6% to 120.1 million gallons (mg) in July, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). Sales were mixed with exports pressing higher among most larger markets, although shipments to Brazil pared back by 44%.Canada was the top destination for U.S. ethanol for the third consecutive month. Shipments increased 18% to a 12-month high of 34.8 mg. Exports to Brazil lowered to 15.8 mg, a 12 mg drop, as the country’s sugarcane harvest accelerated. Oman nearly doubled its offtake in July at 12.4 mg, and the Netherlands re-entered the market to buy 11.4 mg. Other top importers of U.S. ethanol included South Korea (9.8 mg, up 44%), Colombia (9.3 mg, up 38%), and the Philippines (9.1 mg, up 112%). Notably, India essentially withdrew from our export market for the first time in three years after taking 21.9 mg of American-made ethanol in June. Total year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol stand at 880.1 mg. This implies an annualized export volume of 1.51 billion gallons  which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.July shipments of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol were 40.4 mg, a decline of 37% for the lowest volume in ten months. Historically, Brazil has accounted for a significant portion of total monthly foreign sales; however, with exports 38%  lower at 15.8 mg, several countries stepped up imports. Larger markets included the Philippines (7.2 mg), the Netherlands (5.5 mg), and South Korea (5.0 mg). U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol rallied in July with a 33% boost over June volumes at 71.1 mg—the first time in nine months that sales of denatured fuel outpaced undenatured exports. Top customers were Canada (33.5 mg, up 19% and accounting for nearly half of shipments in July), Oman (12.4 mg, up 97%), and Colombia (9.3 mg, up 56%).U.S. sales of ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes moderated with 8.6 mg exported in July, down 21%. U.S. shippers exported 7.3 mg of undenatured product (up 2%), with the bulk distributed among Nigeria (3.7 mg), Saudi Arabia (2.6 mg), and Canada (0.8 mg). Turkey (0.9 mg) and Canada (0.2 mg) spoke for most exported denatured product for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes.The U.S. imported ethanol from Brazil for the fourth time this year, with purchases of 22.8 mg—5% lower than June. Imports from Brazil were larger than exports to the country in July. Total year-to-date imports stand at 70.5 mg, which implies an annualized import volume of 120.9 mg.  If realized, the U.S. would import the largest volume of foreign ethanol in six years.In July, U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—declined 13% to a five-month low of 834,515 metric tons (mt). Mexico was again the top customer, purchasing 158,364 mt (-3%). DDGS exports to Vietnam softened at 120,136 mt (-4%) following higher sales in June, as did sales to South Korea (108,958 mt, -5%), Indonesia (75,860 mt, -8%), and Canada (60,507 mt, -15%). However, export opportunities expanded in Thailand (62,185 mt, +24%) and Japan (43,119 mt, +26%). Year-to-date exports of U.S. DDGS stand at 6.18 million mt. This implies an annualized export volume of 10.60 million mt.Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Decline for Third Straight WeekThe average retail price of all eight major fertilizers declined again the fourth week of August 2019, with nitrogen fertilizers setting the pace, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.  This marks the third week in a row all prices have been lower.Half of this week's price declines were significant, which DTN considers a price change of 5% or more compared to the prior month. Of those, the price of both anhydrous and UAN32 were down 9% at $528 per ton and $290 per ton, respectively.MAP was 7% lower than a month earlier, while UAN28 was down 6% from last month. The phosphorus fertilizer (MAP) had an average price of $494/ton, and UAN28 was $256/ton.The remaining four fertilizers were lower in price than the same week in August, but the price moves were less significant. DAP had an average price of $491/ton, down $3; potash $387/ton, down $6; urea $412/ton, down $16; and 10-34-0 $470/ton, down $16.On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.45/lb.N, anhydrous $0.32/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.46/lb.N.As prices have moved lower in recent weeks, the price of MAP is now lower in price than it was at the same time last year, down 4%.Seven of the eight major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, 10-34-0 is 5% more expensive, UAN32 is 7% higher, potash is 8% more expensive, both anhydrous and UAN28 are 10% higher, and urea is 13% more expensive compared to last year.USDA Opens 2019 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage ProgramsAgricultural producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, two popular safety net programs, for the 2019 crop year. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to these two USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. PLC program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price. “The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented. I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead.” Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Elections and EnrollmentUpdated provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill allow producers with an interest in a farm to enroll and elect coverage in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for program year 2019. The election applies to both the 2019 and 2020 crop years. If a 2019 election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2020, the election defaults to the current elections of the crops on the farm established under the 2014 Farm Bill. No payments will be earned in 2019 if the election defaults. For crop years 2021 through 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm.  Once the 2019 election and enrollment are completed, producers on the farm for 2020 can complete an enrollment contract for the 2020 crop year beginning Oct. 7, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020.  Although 2019 enrollment begins Sept. 3, 2019 and must occur first, a producer waiting until Oct. 7, 2019 to enroll is afforded the opportunity to enroll in either program for both 2019 and 2020 during the same office visit. During this time, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that takes effect beginning with crop year 2020. If the owner accompanies the producer to the office, the yield update may be completed during the same office visit. Web-Based Decision ToolsIn partnership with USDA, the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University are offering web-based decision tools to assist producers in making informed, educated decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. Tools include:    Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator, the University of Illinois tool that offers farmers the ability to run payment estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.    ARC and PLC Decision Tool, the Texas A&M user friendly tool that allow producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2019 and 2020. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their user name and much of their farm data will already be available in the system.Crop Insurance ConsiderationsProducers are reminded that enrolling in ARC or PLC programs can impact eligibility for some forms of crop insurance. Producers who elect and enroll in PLC also have the option of purchasing Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) through the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Producers of covered commodities who elect ARC are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres. Upland cotton farmers who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the stacked income protection plan (STAX) on their planted cotton acres. To be eligible for STAX coverage, producers must not enroll their seed cotton base acres into the ARC or PLC programs. USDA Dairy Products July 2019 Production HighlightsTotal cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.09 billion pounds, 0.5 percent above July 2018 and 2.3 percent above June 2019.  Italian type cheese production totaled 466 million pounds, 0.7 percent above July 2018 and 0.6 percent above June 2019.  American type cheese production totaled 436 million pounds, 1.1 percent below July 2018 but 2.2 percent above June 2019.  Butter production was 143 million pounds, 6.0 percent above July 2018 but 1.5 percent below June 2019.Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with July 2018)Nonfat dry milk, human - 169 million pounds, up 12.4 percent.Skim milk powder - 36.7 million pounds, down 22.7 percent.Whey products (comparisons in percentage with July 2018)Dry whey, total - 82.1 million pounds, down 8.9 percent.Lactose, human and animal - 108 million pounds, up 9.1 percent.Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.8 million pounds, down 2.6 percent.Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with July 2018)Ice cream, regular (hard) - 66.1 million gallons, down 4.2 percent.Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 45.5 million gallons, up 7.4 percent.Sherbet (hard) - 2.96 million gallons, down 6.0 percent.Frozen yogurt (total) - 2.55 million gallons, down 40.2 percent.The Cull Cow Market is Looking UpDavid P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension ServiceCull cow prices continued their slow increase into September. Prices in the Southern Plains reached their high of the year, so far, at $54.36 at the end of August. That was 12.5 percent higher than a year ago. There is some good reason to think that prices may continue to be above a year ago.Cow slaughter hit some multi-decade highs in the first few months of the year, largely driven by dairy cow slaughter. After the surge early in the year, dairy cow slaughter has fallen back to year ago levels. Over the last month, dairy cow slaughter has been almost 1 percent below a year ago. For the last two months, only 900 head more have gone to market compared to last year. Normally, dairy cow marketings tend to move higher seasonally after July and that is happening this year as well.Beef cow culling has lagged behind a year ago over the last two months. Beef cow slaughter over this time period is almost 1 percent below last year. Beef cow culling typically hits it's seasonal peak for the year in the Fall. It's likely some earlier culling this year may have pulled some cows ahead into slaughter. Growing dry condition in the Southern Plains have likely not added to culling numbers, yet.Total cow slaughter is almost half a percent below a year ago over the last 2 months. As the cow slaughter has declined cow prices have creeped above a year ago. Cow prices broke sharply lower in Southern Plains in July, 2018. Prices fell even lower as culling ramped up in October. The heavy culling during the first half of 2019 may act to reduce potential numbers going to market in the Fall, especially in the dairy side of the industry.Another factor in higher cow prices and higher cow-beef cutout values is cow weights. Not only has slaughter fallen below a year ago, but weights of those culled cows have been below a year ago. Cow dressed weights have averaged 7.6 pounds less in 2019 than in 2018, and 5.5 pounds less over the last month. So, not only have fewer gone to market, but they have weighed less, as well. The overall effect has been less cow beef production in recent weeks, supporting the 90 percent lean fresh beef price, the wholesale cutout value, and the cull cow price.USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for September 2019The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for September 2019, which are effective September 1-September 30, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for September is 1.875 percent, down from 2.000 percent in August.The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during September is 2.875 percent, down from 3.000 percent in August.  Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for September are as follows: 1.625 percent with three-year loan terms, down from 1.750 percent in August;  1.625 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 1.750 percent in August; 1.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 1.875 percent in August; 1.875 percent with 10-year loan terms, down from 2.000 percent in August; and 1.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 2.125 percent in August. “Milk” and “Meat” Labels: The New Identity Crisis Research IDs confused consumer segmentAs legal battles are waged across the country regarding new laws prohibiting the use of words like “milk,” “meat” and “burger” for alternatives versions, new research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) shows that a significant and growing group of health-conscious consumers is confused by the mixed messages they’re receiving about the “real deal” and the substitutes entering the market.       “Consumers who are actively engaging online about this topic are very independent and highly driven to provide for and protect their families,” said Terry Fleck, executive director of CFI. “With the influx of new labels, they feel they are being duped by ‘big corporations’ into buying unhealthy products.”While nutritional science tells these consumers that “healthy” includes lean meats and dairy products in moderation, they’re not sure the alternatives offer better health outcomes and are better for people, animals and the planet, said Fleck.   According to CFI’s Illuminate digital cultural insights tool, which can analyze millions of interactions online in real time, there is a core market of 53 million consumers, nearly one-third of the addressable market, actively engaged in conversations around the standards of identity issue.This market is predicted to increase by 3.6 percent for the alternative meat topic and by 13.1 percent for the milk alternative topic in the next one to two years.  The biggest fears and motivators from this segment include:    Letting science guide their approaches to food and health.    Fear that the focus on health and wellness isn’t enough to protect themselves and that they will unwittingly consume products that are unhealthy.     Believing that their health is completely in their control.    Fear the food they eat is harming the planet and negatively impacting their health.    Fear that despite efforts to live a life guided by ethics, that they’re not making a difference in the world“They also want to be seen as putting others’ interests before their own interests and to receive acknowledgement of their sacrifices,” said Fleck. “While they innately want to do the ‘right thing,’ they are often unsure of the best course of action due to confusing or mixed messages around these alternative products.”It’s a challenging situation for these highly engaged consumers to find themselves in. And the confusion is likely to continue as rules for labeling – the standards of identity – evolve.In the meantime, Fleck said the food system can take steps to alleviate some of the confusion by not only supporting legislation to more clearly define the rules but by communicating the definitions to consumers in easy-to-understand language.To help this segment make more confident decisions, provide them with facts on the nutritional pros and cons so they feel equipped to make balanced decisions. And touch on sustainability. How food production impacts the environment is an increasing concern, particularly among younger consumers.And finally, communicate in a way that illustrates regardless of how food is produced, it’s safe and provides consumers additional choices that align with their values and lifestyles.For more information on CFI’s Illuminate research, visit  The Redwood Group, LLC Completes Its Acquisition Of Ceres Commodities, LLCThe Redwood Group, LLC announced today that it completed the acquisition of Ceres Commodities, LLC in Newport, KY.  For over 20 years, Ceres Commodities has supplied premium food grade non-GMO and organic soybeans and other commodities domestically as well as directly into East and Southeast Asian food markets. The Ceres Commodities team's intimate knowledge of the food soy export market complements Redwood's ability to continually supply superior quality product to those markets through its network of non-GMO soybean cleaning facilities."We have developed a wonderful relationship with Redwood over the past few years and we look forward to combining our deep customer relationships and logistics expertise with Redwood's existing business. Our customers can continue to expect excellent service as well as the additional value that we can provide to our buyers and suppliers by leveraging Redwood's efficient, customer-focused business model as well as their systems and strong balance sheet," stated Chris Bradley, previous owner of Ceres Commodities, LLC."The Ceres Commodities business is an excellent extension of our Lathrop FSG operations. Lathrop FSG offers a closed loop supply chain solution, selling seed to its non-GMO soybean growers, purchasing commodity back from those growers, and then cleaning and packaging products to customer specifications. The acquisition of Ceres Commodities further allows us to manage the supply chain to ensure our customers receive the best quality product when they need it," said Mike Kincaid, President of The Redwood Group, LLC.The Redwood Group, LLC is an employee-owned supply chain, merchandising and solutions-based company that focuses on food ingredients, feed ingredients, and energy products.  It is headquartered in Mission, KS, with additional office locations in Omaha, NE and Newport, KY, and with specialized cleaning facilities located in Chester, MT, Venango, NE, Lathrop, MO and Pleasant Hill, MO.  Redwood was formed in 2010 with a focus on offering a wide variety of high-quality products and superior customer service.  Redwood purchases and supplies products throughout the United States and Canada as well as imports and exports products to and from customers around the globe.Syngenta introduces a ‘legend in the making’ with latest AgriPro® brand winter wheat variety for Plains marketThe harsh conditions of the western High Plains are no match for the latest winter wheat variety from Syngenta. AgriPro® brand SY Legend CL2, a hard red winter wheat, was bred to deliver consistent yields in tough environments.The region can experience wide winter temperature swings and drought conditions. SY Legend CL2 has shown to be effective in helping growers manage both of these challenges, offering a high level of drought tolerance and winter hardiness.The medium-maturity variety also offers excellent leaf disease tolerance, especially important as the western High Plains serves as the disease pathway from Texas to the Northern Plains. Extended green leaf duration allows SY Legend CL2 to maximize grain fill and deliver excellent test weight.“SY Legend CL2 is the latest example of the strong-performing varieties growers have come to expect from AgriPro brand wheat,” said Greg McCormack, Syngenta key account manager for the Plains region. “Disease, drought and winter weather are common concerns for wheat growers across the High Plains. SY Legend CL2 is showing strength in each of these areas and is even demonstrating better disease tolerance than Brawl CL Plus. We are excited to continue delivering varieties that address the needs of our growers year after year.”Backed by more than 50 years of wheat breeding expertise, AgriPro wheat varieties are consistent top performers. AgriPro wheat varieties deliver reliable performance, offering best-in-class disease packages, leading agronomics and outstanding yields.

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending September 1, 2019, there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 78 adequate, and 11 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 8 short, 77 adequate, and 14 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 17 fair, 56 good, and 21 excellent. Corn dough was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 95 for the five-year average. Dented was 54 percent, behind 70 last year and 66 average. Mature was 1 percent, behind 8 last year and 7 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 16 fair, 64 good, and 15 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 98 average. Dropping leaves was 1 percent, behind 14 last year and 10 average. Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 68 good, and 19 excellent. Sorghum headed was 97 percent, near 100 both last year and average. Coloring was 27 percent, well behind 73 last year and 67 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 17 poor, 24 fair, 50 good, and 6 excellent. Dry edible beans setting pods was 95 percent. Dropping leaves was 12 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 12 fair, 66 good, and 19 excellent. IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORTIowa farmers had mostly dry field conditions and below normal temperatures during the week ending September 1, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included wrapping up fungicide and insecticide applications and harvesting hay. There were a few comments of farmers starting to chop corn silage. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 26 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Areas in 12 counties within the east central and southeast Iowa districts were rated as D1 moderate drought according to the August 29, 2019, U.S. Drought Monitor. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 25 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Eighty-six percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, 12 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. One percent of corn had reached maturity, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 62 percent good to excellent. Ninety percent of the soybean crop has started setting pods, 18 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Three percent of the crop has started coloring, 11 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 60 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 64 percent, 9 days behind average. Pasture condition rated 45 percent good to excellent. Livestock experienced little stress this past week. Corn, Soybean Conditions Lowest Since 2013Corn condition improved just 1 percentage point last week, while soybean condition remained unchanged. Development of both crops continue to be well behind normal.As of Sunday, Sept. 1, the U.S. corn crop was rated 58% in good-to-excellent condition, up 1 percentage point from 57% the previous week. That is the lowest good-to-excellent condition for this time of year since 2013.Corn's current condition rating is 10 percentage points behind last year's good-to-excellent condition of 67%.  Corn development continues to lag behind the average pace. Nationwide, corn in the dough stage was estimated at 81%, up 10 percentage points from 71% the previous week but 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%.  Corn dented was 41%, up 14 percentage points from the previous week, but far behind last year's 73% and 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 63%.  Corn mature was pegged at 6%, 14 percentage points behind last year and well below the five-year average of 13%.Soybean condition was left unchanged with a good-to-excellent rating of 55%. Like corn, that is the lowest rating since 2013.  The portion of the soybean crop that was blooming was 96%, 2 percentage points higher than last Monday's report. However, this time last year blooming was considered complete, and that coincides with the five-year average. Soybeans setting pods reached 86% as of Sunday, 10 percentage points behind the average pace of 96%.Spring wheat harvest continued to pick up steam, jumping 17 percentage points from the previous week to reach 55% as of Sunday. Despite the big jump, that was still well behind last year's 86% and 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 78%.Sorghum heading reached 92% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 95%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 52%, behind the average of 64%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 24%, behind the average of 33%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 21%, 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 22%. Oats were 84% harvested, behind the average of 91%.Cotton setting bolls was 97%, near the five-year average of 96%. Cotton bolls opening was at 36%, ahead of the average of 27%. Cotton condition was rated 48% good to excellent, 7 percentage points higher than last year's 41% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 21%, 6 percentage points behind the average of 27%. Farm Bureau Estimates Tariff Related Losses Cost Nebraska Farmers Nearly $1 Billion in 2019A new analysis by the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the ongoing retaliatory tariffs imposed by countries on U.S. agricultural exports will cost Nebraska producers $943 million in lost revenues in 2019. The projected losses would be in addition to tariff related losses in farm level income estimated between $695 million to $1.026 billion in 2018. The “Nebraska Farm and Ranch Losses from Retaliatory Tariffs 2019 Estimates” analysis was conducted by Nebraska Farm Bureau Senior Economist Jay Rempe as a way to provide an assessment of losses independent of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) assistance available to farmers to offset trade associated losses.“We appreciate the Administration’s ongoing support for America’s farm and ranch families through MFP assistance, but this analysis shows just how critical it is that we resolve the prolonged trade conflicts that have created the tariff pressures,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president, Sept. 3.The new analysis utilizes USDA data to estimate tariff related losses on a statewide per-commodity basis, as well as estimate total commodity losses on a per-county basis. “The analysis shows that Nebraska soybean and corn growers will likely see the greatest cumulative losses. Soybean producers as a group are projected to lose out on nearly $589 million from retaliatory tariffs and corn producers are estimated to lose roughly $251 million,” said Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau senior economist. “Pork producers are projected to see $40 million in losses, while sorghum and wheat growers will collectively experiences losses in the mid-$20 million range. Alfalfa growers are estimated to experience $9 million in losses, while dairy producers will likely lose out on roughly $3 million and dry bean growers collectively will miss lose $2 million due to retaliatory tariffs.”Export losses of beef, hides and skins, ethanol, and other byproducts of Nebraska’s processing industries were not included in the analysis, but according to Rempe, losses in those areas would also impact producers bottom lines.“Counting tariff losses for beef, ethanol, and other byproducts could easily push Nebraska farmers and ranchers’ collective losses from trade tariffs over the $1 billion mark,” said Rempe.In terms of trade related losses estimated on a county-by-county basis, Cuming County is the most impacted county with estimated trade losses exceeding $48 million. Custer, Dawson and Lincoln Counties followed with losses exceeding $32 million, while Platte County experienced losses of nearly $30 million.“If you divide the total trade losses in Cuming County by population, we’re talking a loss of $5,300 per-person. That’s substantial when you think about how those monies would be spent in a local community and subsequently flow into our broader economy,” said Rempe.The analysis also looked at the overall impact of trade associated losses to the state’s broader economy, projecting a total income loss to Nebraska’s economy of $1.16 billion due to retaliatory tariffs.“This analysis shows how important trade is for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and our state. It’s vital we eliminate trade barriers and secure trade deals that allow farmers and ranchers to work freely to capture, develop, and grow international markets. Congressional passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, securing a bi-lateral deal with Japan, and progress on the China front would be very good places to start,” said Nelson.The full analysis, including the county-by-county breakdown is available at Bazile Groundwater Management Area to host cover crop seeding demonstration Sept. 20th     Are you looking for another alternative when planting cover crops?  Does the harvest season time-crunch limit your ability to fully capitalize on the long-term benefits of using cover crops?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’ll want to attend the field demonstration on Friday, September 20th near Creighton.     The Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) project team, along with the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, have teamed up to demonstrate an additional seeding option for producers using a high-clearance applicator.     BGMA Extension Educator, Jeremy Milander, said, “With the high clearance applicator, cover crops can be planted before harvest and the seed to soil contact will improve germination success as compared to aerial seeding.  It is hypothesized that the pre-harvest planting of cover crops will allow for earlier germination and growth, which ultimately means greater biomass production.”  He added, “This early growth will help to armor the soil and the grower may also be able to improve germination by capitalizing on late season precipitation or crop irrigation events.”     The high-clearance applicator is equipped with a pneumatic seeding unit and in-the-row drop nozzles.  This concept allows for the late-season application of seed into a standing crop; but will eliminate some of the seed loss or drift that can sometimes occur when applying cover crop seed using an aerial method.      Do you want to see it for yourself?  The project team has secured 3 demonstration plots located within the Bazile Groundwater Management Area.  Don’t miss the seeding demonstration on Friday, September 20th at 10:30 a.m. at the Jim Fuchtman farm, east of Creighton.  Meet at Midwest Seed of Creighton at 53105 HWY 59.  Stop by and watch the machine in action.  Lunch will be served at Midwest Seed after the demonstration.     The other cooperating producers with demonstration plots are Albert Friedrich of Plainview, NE, and Garrett, Mark, and Scott Carpenter of Creighton, NE.      Cover crops prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, sequester excess nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the water infiltration and water-holding capacity, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits.  Contact your local NRD office for more information.NC Seeks Nominees for YCCYoung Cattlemen’s Conference Nominees are now being accepted for the Class of 2020.  YCC has been a Nebraska Cattlemen tradition for many years. The Nebraska Cattlemen want to identify and educate leaders to help guide and strengthen the beef industry. This is important to the future of Nebraska’s agriculture to help ensure that Nebraska remains the global epicenter of the beef industry.The conference helps emerging leaders understand the industry structure, issues management, product research and marketing and teaches them how to become effective communicators. Young Cattlemen’s Conference program is a two-year commitment. Dates for the 2020 class are January 21-23, 2020 (Lincoln) and January 26-28, 2021 (Lincoln) with a summer/fall meeting in each year. Deadline for nominations is Monday, October 28. Nominee will be required to fill out an application that will be reviewed by the selection committee.  The YCC Class of 2020 will be announced on November 15, 2019.This program is made possible by a generous sponsorship from Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.For more information contact Bonita Lederer, 402-450-0223 or Thirteen Nebraskans Headed to Washington, DC for National Farmers Union Fall Fly-InThirteen Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) members are headed to Washington, DC for the National Farmers Union Fall Fly-In September 8-11, 2019.  They will join Farmers Union members from around the country as they work together to contact all 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators and visit with them about key issues facing agriculture. There are 380 Farmers Union members from around the nation registered to attend the 2019 National Farmers Union Fly-In. Nebraskans attending include NeFU officers President John Hansen, Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth, Board of Director Mary Alice Corman and husband Richard of Edgar, and District 7 President Art Tanderup and wife Helen of Neligh. Members attending include Leo Hoehn of Gering, Camdyn Kavan and Midwest Regional Agency Insurances Business Specialist Jennifer Larabee of Lincoln, Julie Hindmarsh of Fremont, Jeff Downing, Midwest Regional Agency Insurances General Manager of Elkhorn, and Midwest Regional Agency Insurances Agent Nicole Johnson and Laura Thomas of Omaha. The six women and seven men will split into teams as they meet members and staff from other states in addition to meeting with the Nebraska Congressional delegation.“There is no substitute for farmers and ranchers sitting at the table with our elected members of Congress.  We will focus on strengthening the farm income safety net, climate smart practices and expand biofuels, restoring competition to the ag economy, and improving the USMCA and other trade issues. America’s farmers and ranchers are facing the worst farm crisis since the 1980’s.  Something needs to change,” said NeFU President John Hansen.The Fly-In begins Monday morning with briefings from USDA officials, and presentations from a variety of government officials Monday afternoon.  Tuesday and Wednesday teams will meet with Representatives and Senators and their staffs.  “Our Fly-In delegation is a good mix of grain and livestock producers as well as three members of our insurance team as we cover a wide range of interests and issues facing rural Nebraska,” said Hansen. “On top of seven years of low ag commodity prices, agriculture has been hit hard by blizzards, floods, late and prevented plantings, sinking exports and retribution tariffs. The best way for our elected officials to understand the size and scope of the financial hardship farmers and ranchers face every day is to talk directly with farmers and ranchers themselves,” Hansen concluded.  Sasse Statement on USMCA VoteU.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken champion for Nebraska agriculture and trade, issued the following statement regarding news that Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top trade negotiators, said that consideration of the USMCA trade agreement would likely “seep into next year.”"Our farmers and ranchers are bleeding. Speaker Pelosi's key trade negotiator just said that approving the USMCA treaty is probably going to 'seep into next year.' It's easy to say that in Connecticut or San Francisco -- they ought to come to Nebraska and look our farmers and ranchers in the eye. This isn't political to a lot of moms and dads who are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Madame Speaker, schedule the vote." Free Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this SeptemberFree legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at five sessions across the state in September. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.Clinic Sites and Dates    Grand Island — Thursday, September 5    North Platte — Thursday, September 12    Lexington — Thursday, September 19    Norfolk — Wednesday, September 25    Valentine — Thursday, September 26To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.BigIron Auctions to hold charitable online and onsite auctions during Husker Harvest DaysBigIron Auctions is proud to announce that it is once again teaming up with Graham Tire to conduct a charity auction at Husker Harvest Days to benefit the Nebraska FFA. The company is also holding an online auction with proceeds supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and closes on Sept. 11, 2019.This is the fourth year BigIron has hosted the auction for the Nebraska FFA, which typically raises more than $40,000 and goes towards helping them fund projects and activities throughout the school year. A variety of new Goodyear and Titan tires will be included in this year’s auction. To participate in the live auction on September 11 at 11 a.m., sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number. The auction is located at the Graham Tire lot #628.In addition, more than 10 years ago, BigIron held its first annual charitable auction at Husker Harvest Days benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. To date, BigIron has raised more than $500,000 for the organization. It is continuing the tradition this year, hosting an online charitable auction which will close on Sept. 11, 2019. A list of auction items can be found on the BigIron website.“BigIron is committed to continuing to help raise money for these deserving organizations,” said BigIron co-founder Mark Stock. “We’re proud to be partnering with Graham Tire again on the Nebraska FFA fundraiser and conducting another online auction to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital during Husker Harvest Days. We hope the money raised from these auctions will make a big difference in both organizations and the people they serve.”BigIron SeminarsBigIron is also conducting seminars at its lot #1133 for farmers who are considering retirement or getting out of the business or are interested in liquidating equipment.Tues., Sept. 10, 10 a.m.If you are a farmer considering retirement, this seminar is for you:·       Senior partner and advisor from Trinity Financial Group, Klaus Steinke, will answer the top questions he routinely fields from prospective retirees.·       Co-founder of BigIron Auctions & Realty, Ron Stock, will discuss the best way to get the greatest return from your biggest assets – land and equipment.Wed., Sept. 11, 10 a.m.Whether you’re considering getting out of the business, or just getting rid of unused equipment, you won’t want to miss this event. Co-founder of BigIron Auctions & Realty, Mark Stock, has decades of experience in the auction industry, and will discuss:·       How you can get the most from your used equipment.·       When selling assets, why online, unreserved auctions are the way to go.There will be time at the end of each presentation for us to answer your questions.Support any Nebraska FFA Chapter with I Believe in the Future of AgSeptember marks the official start of the ninth annual I Believe in the Future of Ag fundraising campaign. This campaign serves as an outlet for local FFA chapters to receive donations for innovative projects in their classrooms, leadership programming, community service projects and field trips to advance agriculture education in their schools.This year,, Aurora Cooperative, BigIron Auctions, Central Valley Ag, DEKALB/Asgrow and Hoegemeyer Hybrids committed $20,000 each to the campaign. Other sponsors, contributing $10,000 each, include: Bayer CropScience, CoBank, Country Partners Cooperative, CPI, Farm Credit Services of America, Farmers Cooperative, Frontier Cooperative, GrainBridge, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Pinnacle Bank, Producers Livestock and Valley Irrigation.These corporate partners provide support for an educational campaign for FFA and agricultural education in Nebraska and support fundraising efforts at the local level. “Local FFA chapters and agriculture education chapters play an integral role in growing and developing future leaders in agriculture and in our communities. I see this campaign as a very important tool to help those chapters have the resources they need to grow leaders and build communities,” says Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.Donors to the I Believe in the Future of Ag campaign choose which chapter they support. One hundred percent of each local donation will be sent back to the designated chapter at the end of the campaign and a portion of the $35,000 challenge matching pool will be distributed to participating chapters. To donate to a local FFA chapter contact your local FFA advisor or go online to ACE leadership keynotes NEB-hosted training event for fuel retailers interested in adding E15, higher ethanol blendsAs the first summer of nation-wide approved E15 use winds to an end, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) continues its efforts to ensure retailers understand their hands are no longer tied by red tape preventing them from offering lower priced, higher octane E15 fuel to their customers all year. As a former fuel retailer himself, ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty heads these efforts at the organization, working directly with retailers and connecting them with their peers. Last week, Lamberty keynoted a fuel retailer workshop hosted by the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) for marketers from across the state who wanted to learn more about the benefits and ease of offering E15.“Events like this remind me of the ‘old days' when I was traveling around the country helping fuel marketers understand the facts about ethanol and the math of E10,” Lamberty said. “Back then, marketers were concerned because ethanol was new, and they were unfamiliar. Today, although retailers have been handling ethanol blends for decades without problems, they’ve also been pounded with anti-ethanol mythology about higher blends by folks trying to roll back gains ethanol has made in the marketplace. Through workshops, trade shows and our website, ACE connects prospective higher ethanol blend marketers with their peers who saw through the misinformation campaigns, added E15 and flex fuels, and made more money than they’ve ever made before.” The one-day event included testimonies and a question and answer session with fuel retailers Randy Gard, COO of Bosselman Enterprises, owner of the Pump & Pantry convenience store chain, and Phil Smith with Aurora Coop.“Retailers in the audience had the opportunity to ask Randy and Phil questions about higher ethanol blends and get straightforward answers from people who have already implemented the fuel successfully,” Lamberty added. “Learning from the experiences of other retailers goes a long way in making the decision of whether to offer new fuel easier, and in the end, helps sell more ethanol.”The event agenda also included the Nebraska State Fire Marshal for the Fuels Safety Division walking through the steps to take before adding blends E15 and higher, as well as information on proper labeling of fuel dispensers, state policies supporting ethanol sales, and financial resources for expanding infrastructure.Today, there are nearly 1,800 retail locations in 31 states selling E15. And, since the EPA approved the sale of E15 year-round, the number of retail locations selling E15 is growing and fuel retailers are seeing new customers and improved profits. While this market will continue to grow over the long-term, ACE is keeping pressure on the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency to find an immediate and meaningful solution to recent decisions which have closed 20 ethanol plants and threaten the upside potential of year-round E15.Iowa Manure Applicator Certification Program ContinuesNow in its 21st year, the Iowa manure applicator certification program continues to train and certify the state's manure applicators on the best ways of handling, hauling and applying livestock manure.Three programs were offered this year, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.Nearly 1,300 confinement site applicators attended the Confinement Site Manure Applicator Certification trainings, required for producers who have more than 500 animals in confinement. Currently, there are more than 1,960 certified confinement applicators in Iowa.Some 2,218 commercial applicators attended the Commercial Manure Applicator Certification workshops. There are currently 605 certified commercial manure applicator businesses in Iowa, compared to 562 last year.The Dry Manure Application Certification workshops drew 120 applicators during five workshops held in February.The certifications are part of the requirements of Iowa legislation passed in 1998, intended to educate, train and certify the state's manure applicators about the best ways to handle, haul and apply livestock manure.Dan Andersen, assistant professor and extension agriculture engineering specialist at Iowa State, said the program continues to evolve, with new training opportunities and a focus on practical, hands-on lessons that benefit farmers and protect resources."The manure applicator certification program offers a lot of value to our state," Andersen said. "I think we're doing a good job of managing manure as a resource, but there's always room for improvement."In recent years, Andersen and the other Iowa State staff involved have tried to make the training more farmer-inclusive, in ways that include their own experiences and concerns, and provide more "peer-to-peer learning opportunities."The cost for the commercial applicator certification is $200, and the cost for the confinement site applicator certification is $100.Andersen said that while some applicators may see the certification as a burden, most understand it helps to keep them current and in compliance with the latest practices."Most of them do see the value in the program and certification," he said. "I think they understand that we have to do things right."Next year's in-person training will be held in January and February, with video and online opportunities year-round.More information about the program and nutrient management is available on ISU Extension and Outreach's Iowa Manure Management Action Group website.Additional partners include the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa Commercial Nutrient Applicators Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Environmental Council, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.Highlights From the August 2019 Farm Income ForecastUSDA Economic Researc ServiceNet farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to increase $4.0 billion (4.8 percent) to $88.0 billion in 2019, after increasing in both 2017 and 2018. In inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars, net farm income is forecast to increase $2.5 billion (2.9 percent) from 2018. If realized, in inflation-adjusted terms, net farm income in 2019 would be 35.5 percent below its peak of $136.5 billion in 2013 and below its 2000-18 average ($90.1 billion).Net cash farm income is forecast to increase $7.6 billion (7.3 percent) to $112.6 billion. Inflation-adjusted net cash farm income is forecast to increase $5.8 billion (5.4 percent) from 2018, which would be 4 percent above its 2000-18 average ($108.3 billion). Net cash farm income encompasses cash receipts from farming as well as farm-related income, including government payments, minus cash expenses. It does not include noncash items—including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income of operator dwellings—reflected in the net farm income measure above.Cash receipts for all commodities are forecast to decrease $2.4 billion (0.6 percent) to $371.1 billion (in nominal terms) in 2019. Total animal/animal product receipts are expected to increase $0.9 billion (0.5 percent) but fall 1.3 percent when adjusted for inflation. Increases in milk and hog receipts are expected to be nearly offset by declines in broiler and chicken egg receipts. Total crop receipts are expected to decrease $3.3 billion (1.7 percent) in nominal terms from 2018 levels following expected decreases in soybean receipts. Direct government farm payments are forecast to increase $5.8 billion (42.5 percent) to $19.5 billion in 2019, with most of the increase due to higher anticipated payments from the Market Facilitation Program.Total production expenses (including operator dwelling expenses) are forecast to increase $1.5 billion (0.4 percent) to $346.1 billion (in nominal terms) in 2019. Spending on feed and hired labor is expected to increase while spending on seed, pesticides, fuels/oil, and interest are expected to decline. After adjusting for inflation, total production expenses are forecast to decrease $4.6 billion (1.3 percent).Farm business average net cash farm income is forecast to increase $8,400 (11.4 percent) to $81,900 per farm in 2019. This would be the first annual increase after 4 consecutive years of declines. Every resource region is forecast to see farm business average net cash farm income increase by 5.6 percent or more. All categories of farm businesses except poultry are expected to see average net farm income rise in 2019.Farm sector equity is forecast up by $46.1 billion (1.8 percent) in nominal terms to $2.67 trillion in 2019. Farm assets are forecast to increase by $59.8 billion (2.0 percent) to $3.1 trillion in 2019, reflecting an anticipated 1.9-percent rise in farm sector real estate value. When adjusted for inflation, farm sector equity and assets are forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2018. Farm debt in nominal terms is forecast to increase by $13.7 billion (3.4 percent) to $415.7 billion, led by an expected 4.6-percent rise in real estate debt. The farm sector debt-to-asset ratio is expected to rise from 13.31 percent in 2018 to 13.49 percent in 2019. Working capital, which measures the amount of cash available to fund operating expenses after paying off debt due within 12 months, is forecast to decline 18.7 percent from 2018.Median Income of Farm Operator Households Forecast To Increase in 2019Median farm household income is forecast to reach $74,768 in 2019, an increase of 3.7 percent in nominal terms; in inflation-adjusted terms, it is a 1.9-percent increase. The total median income of U.S. farm households increased steadily over 2010-14, reaching an estimated $81,637 in 2014 (in nominal terms). Median farm household income then fell 6.0 percent in 2015 and continued to decline slightly through 2018. The 2017 and 2018 declines occurred despite an improvement in sector incomes as a whole and sharply higher income for households with commercial farm operations. However, only 10 percent of U.S. farm households operate commercial sized farms. The median farm household is more likely to operate intermediate or small farms, categories where farm-sourced income dropped in 2018 with no appreciable increase expected in 2019. Farm households typically receive income from both farm and off-farm sources. Median farm income earned by farm households is estimated at -$1,840 in 2018 (nominal terms) and is forecast to increase slightly to -$1,644 in 2019. In recent years, slightly more than half of farm households have had negative farm income. Many of these households rely on off-farm income—and median off-farm income is forecast to increase 2.2 percent from $65,841 in 2018 to $67,314 in 2019. (Because farm and off-farm income are not distributed identically for every farm, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.)FY 2020 Exports Forecast Up $2.5 Billion to $137.0 Billion; Imports at $129.0 Billion USDA Economic Research ServiceU.S. agricultural exports are projected to reach $137.0 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, up $2.5 billion from the revised forecast for FY 2019. This anticipated increase is primarily driven by higher exports of pork, beef, soybeans, and horticultural products. Pork exports are forecast at $6.3 billion (up $800 million from FY 2019) as a result of higher volumes and unit values, partially resulting from the repeal of Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs and an increase in global pork demand due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic. Beef and veal exports are forecast at $7.8 billion (up $300 million from FY 2019) on higher volumes and unit values. Horticultural exports are forecast up $500 million to $35.5 billion with higher sales of food preparations, beer, and mixed seasonings. Soybean exports are forecast to rise $400 million to $16.8 billion on higher volumes. Cotton exports are forecast up $100 million to $5.8 billion. Grain and feed exports are unchanged. Exports to Canada and Mexico are forecast at $21.5 billion (up $400 million from FY 2019) and $19.8 billion (up $500 million), respectively. Agricultural exports to China are forecast at $7.5 billion, an increase of $200 million from FY 2019, on higher expected pork sales. U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2020 are forecast at $129.0 billion, $300 million lower than FY 2019 primarily due to decreases in horticultural product imports. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to increase by $2.8 billion in FY 2020 to $8.0 billion. For FY 2019, the export forecast of $134.5 billion represents a reduction of $2.5 billion from May’s projection, mainly due to reductions in exports of corn, soybeans, and other oilseeds. The import forecast is raised by $300 million to $129.3 billion. 2019 National Farm Safety and Health Week promotes research to practice Agriculture is known as one of the most dangerous industries in America and abroad. According to NIOSH approximately 2,050,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the US in 2017. NIOSH reported that in 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers. National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized during the third week of September for seventy-five years, since 1944. AgriSafe has organized activities to support awareness for agricultural health and safety professionals and producers alike in conjunction with organizations such as the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS). The 2019 theme is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear,” which focuses on the importance of safety on the farm as well as America’s rural roadways. The goal of the week is to remind us that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize the issues that are faced in the agricultural community. During September 15-21, 2019, our free webinars will share information on tractor safety, safeguarding the youth, communicating hazards, opioid use, and women’s health issues such as hazard communications, ergonomics and reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes. These topics are a significant threat to producers and their families. Timely information will be shared by field experts in a format that is accessible to all. Daily Themes include Monday‐ Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety; Tuesday – Farm Health & Opioid/Suicide Prevention; Wednesday – Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture; Thursday – Confined Spaces in Agriculture; and Friday‐ Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture For more information on National Farm Safety and Health week, visit AgriSafe is an international 501©3 organization representing health and safety professionals who strive to reduce health disparities found among the agricultural community. Our mission is to support a growing network of trained agricultural health and safety professionals that assure access to preventative services for farm families and the agricultural community. Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and StocksSoybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.39 million tons (180 million bushels) in July 2019, compared with 4.73 million tons (158 million bushels) in June 2019 and 5.37 million tons (179 million bushels) in July 2018. Crude oil produced was 2.09 billion pounds up 15 percent from June 2019 and up 2 percent from July 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.51 billion pounds during July 2019 increased 7 percent from June 2019 and increased 6 percent from July 2018.Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 145,547 tons in July 2019, compared with 125,124 tons in June 2019 and 165,007 tons in July 2018. Canola crude oil produced was 122 million pounds, up 13 percent from June 2019 but down 19 percent from July 2018. Canola once refined oil production, at 102 million pounds during July 2019, was down 7 percent from June 2019 and down 25 percent from July 2018. Cottonseed once refined oil production, at 34.0 million pounds during July 2019, was down 16 percent from June 2019 and down 20 percent from July 2018.Edible tallow production was 80.8 million pounds during July 2019, down 8 percent from June 2019 but up 7 percent from July 2018. Inedible tallow production was 310 million pounds during July 2019, down 9 percent from June 2019 but up 5 percent from July 2018. Technical tallow production was 89.5 million pounds during July 2019, up 9 percent from June 2019 and up 16 percent from July 2018. Choice white grease production, at 93.3 million pounds during July 2019, decreased 15 percent from June 2019 but increased 4 percent from July 2018.Grain Crushings and Co-Products ProductionTotal corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 508 million bushels in July 2019. Total corn consumption was down less than 1 percent from June 2019 and down 5 percent from July 2018. July 2019 usage included 91.3 percent for alcohol and 8.7 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 5.11 million bushels, up 49 percent from June 2019 and up 55 percent from July 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 451 million bushels, was down 1 percent from June 2019 and down 6 percent from July 2018. Corn consumed in July 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.4 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.99 million tons during July 2019, up 1 percent from June 2019 but down 6 percent from July 2018. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.20 million tons in July 2019, down 7 percent from June 2019 and down 10 percent from July 2018.Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 300,572 tons during July 2019, up 5 percent from June 2019 but down 6 percent from July 2018. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 252,084 tons in July 2019, up 1 percent from June 2019 but down 4 percent from July 2018.Growth Energy, USGC, and RFA Comment on New Brazil Tariff Rate QuotaBrazil announced it has raised the quota on U.S. ethanol imports under the tariff rate quote (TRQ) up from 600 million liters per year to nearly 750 million liters per year. The TRQ regulates the threshold of ethanol that can be imported into Brazil without triggering a 20 percent tariff. Following this announcement, Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council, and Renewable Fuels Association released statements:Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy:“We appreciate the U.S. government's efforts to raise the TRQ, however we are disappointed that Brazil did not remove their tariff completely to allow a fully open market. Brazilian ethanol continues to have virtual tariff-free access to the U.S. and puts U.S. ethanol producers at a disadvantage at a time when they need it most. We will continue working with U.S. government officials, the Brazilian government, and our allies to truly open the ethanol market and build a strong trade relationship for decades to come.”Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council:"We are very disappointed Brazil did not fully consider the vast information we and the U.S. government provided them showing the detrimental and negative impact this TRQ has on Brazilian consumers by raising prices at the pump. We will actively encourage review of this policy, which inhibits trade between our countries and hinders the development of a robust global ethanol marketplace.  Free and reciprocal fair trade between the world’s two largest ethanol producers should be a model for other countries to follow.  Instead Brazil is showing other countries a path to construct barriers to trade, which will hurt all consumers in the short, medium and long terms."Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association:“Brazil’s decision to maintain its protectionist trade barrier against U.S. ethanol is extremely disappointing and represents a major setback in our relationship with the Brazilian sugar and ethanol industry. The token increase in the quota does nothing to provide relief to Brazilian consumers who face higher fuel prices because of Brazil’s discriminatory policy. Not only is the U.S. market wide open to ethanol imports from Brazil, but our Renewable Fuel Standard actually incentivizes imports by characterizing sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel. But there is nothing ‘advanced’ at all about the unfair and unlevel playing created by Brazilian trade barriers. In light of Brazil’s action, it may be time for U.S. policymakers to reconsider our open-door trade policy regarding sugarcane ethanol.”Throughout the World, Convenience Stores Are a Rapidly Growing Venue for U.S. Red MeatThe desire for work-life balance and pre-packaged meals requiring little or no kitchen time is leading consumers around the world to a surprising new destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner: the neighborhood convenience store.And we're not just talking about beef jerky and pepperoni sticks.Convenience stores are offering a wide selection of entree and full meal options that are winning over customers and creating more demand for U.S. red meat. For every gourmet hot dog sold in a South Korean GS25 store, every bowl of beef noodle soup ladled from a 7-Eleven hot food counter in Taiwan and every pork sausage sandwich pulled from a shelf in a Mexican Oxxo outlet comes another trade opportunity for the U.S. beef and pork industries.Working to stay a step ahead of the competition for this rapidly growing sector, The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) uses funding from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board to promote U.S. beef and pork — especially processed beef and pork items, but also raw material for further processing — as the centerpiece of convenience store fare in several international markets."Just as important as promoting existing products, we are developing brand new ideas for packaged meals and protein snack items featuring U.S. beef and pork that fit well with consumer trends in each individual market," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "USMEF recognizes the scope of this opportunity and the enormous demand that is driving it. As the convenience store sector has taken off in various parts of the world, suppliers realize they need products to help meet the demand for these meat snacks and packaged meals. The trend is toward high-quality meat, and that is definitely an advantage for U.S. beef and pork."Halstrom said USMEF staff around the world report encouraging developments in this sector, including the fact that convenience stores in many Asian markets not only offer high-quality food but allocate considerable shelf space to beef and pork items such as pre-packaged lunch boxes and beef bowls.Solid data supports USMEF's pursuit of a larger share of the bustling global convenience store market.According to a 2019 report by Euromonitor, which tracks retail sales and maintains a category dedicated specifically to convenience stores, per capita spending on foodservice products at convenience stores increased 14% worldwide between 2013 and 2018 and is projected to increase another 11% by 2023. South Korea has led the way, experiencing a whopping 142% increase in per capita convenience store foodservice spending from 2013 to 2018 with another 47% increase projected by 2023.Japan, Taiwan, the ASEAN region and Mexico are other fast-growing markets identified by Euromonitor, while a USDA report suggests China's convenience store chains, which have historically focused on lower-priced processed foods, are beginning to expand premium and imported food offerings. This trend is likely to continue as younger Chinese consumers shift away from traditional retail outlets.These numbers lend further perspective to the Euromonitor data: In 2018, the average American spent $44.50 on foodservice items at a convenience store, which ranks fourth globally. Japanese consumers ranked first with an average of $240.80, followed by Taiwan at $80.70 and Norway at $72. The average Korean spent only $39.70 last year — good for fifth place on the list. But projected growth puts Korean spending at $58.40 by 2023. If these projections hold true, Korea would move ahead of the U.S., which is expected to reach $54.60 by 2023.Even in less-developed markets, spending is on an impressive trajectory. In Thailand, for example, the average consumer forked over $28.80 on convenience store foodservice items in 2018 (good for No. 6 on Euromonitor's list), but the amount is projected to exceed $50 within the next five years."Obviously there is tremendous potential for U.S. beef and pork in the convenience store sector, but competition is intense, so we must focus our efforts on identifying ways to highlight the advantages of U.S. products," said Halstrom. "The quality and consistency that U.S. beef and pork deliver in processed products are really what set us apart. USMEF staff on the ground in these markets are doing a great job of conveying this message to distributors and their clientele, and this puts more U.S. beef and pork at the center of the world's convenience store offerings."Following is a glimpse of some of the markets where the convenience store trend is strongest, along with USMEF's promotional efforts in these destinations:JapanThough it is by far the leader in per capita spending on foodservice products at convenience stores, Japan still has room for growth. Euromonitor indicates spending increased 16 percent between 2013 and 2018, and is expected to rise another 7 percent by 2023.A pioneer of sorts in the pre-packed, ready-to-eat meal game, Japan's convenience stores often resemble a supermarket/restaurant combination. There are more than 20,000 7-Eleven stores in Japan, competing with major chains Lawson and Family Mart.Both beef and pork are well-utilized in Japan's convenience store offerings, which range from bento boxes, to beef bowls, to sandwiches to noodle dishes.USMEF has long promoted the use of U.S. beef and pork to importers that supply Japan's convenience stores and this experience has helped the U.S. red meat industry improve efficiency when supplying specific cuts and processed products.Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF director in Japan, said spreading the word about U.S. beef and pork's presence in convenience stores has been made easier with social media. USMEF often partners with chains to distribute promotional messages through social media platforms. Food bloggers, who have great credibility with consumers, play a significant role in showcasing U.S. beef and pork items sold at convenience stores.MexicoIn Mexico, demand has increased for convenience foods and prepared meals due to population shifts toward urban centers and more women entering the workforce.According to Euromonitor, per capita spending on convenience store food items rose 24% between 2013 and 2018, to $8.90, and is expected to expand another 12% over the next five years. Euromonitor also reported that the packaged food market in Mexico is expected to reach $53.5 billion by 2022. High-growth categories in this forecast include processed meat and seafood snacks and "ready" meals — pre-packaged sandwiches, entrees and side items.Oxxo is the largest convenience store chain in Mexico with more than 17,000 locations throughout the country, and USMEF is working behind the scenes with companies that supply Oxxo stores. For example, USMEF has conducted educational seminars and trainings to the processing companies that supply hams and sausages for sandwiches sold by Oxxo, as well as by Mexico's 7-Eleven convenience stores. The trainings emphasize the quality and consistency of U.S. pork and beef and introduce distributors to new product options."One of the hottest trends in convenience stores across Mexico is the emergence of uniform sandwiches and meal items," said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. "Until recently, if you bought a sandwich at a convenience store here, you really had no idea what you were going to get. That is no exaggeration. But the consistency of U.S. ham, for example, has made sandwiches more reliable. That may not sound like a big thing in the U.S., but in Mexico it has made a huge difference that the consumer definitely notices. For them, consistency is the key. It doesn't matter when or where you buy the product, it must be exactly the same."Along with promoting the consistency and quality of U.S. products currently offered in Mexico's stores, USMEF is also working to develop new products. Rodriguez said USMEF is focusing on consumers who use convenience stores as a foodservice option for lunch. There are very few options for healthy items, he noted, so developing salads that include a side item of U.S. pork or beef will fill a large void in the convenience sector.South KoreaThere were only about 10,000 convenience stores in South Korea in 2007, but that number tripled over the next decade. Recent growth has been even more aggressive."With lifestyle changes among Koreans coupled with a growing number of single households, convenience store expansion accelerated rapidly and by the end of 2018 there were more than 40,000 stores in the country," said Jihae Yang, USMEF director in Korea.Korea's home meal replacement (HMR) market more than doubled between 2011 and 2018 and the meal kits — a supermarket and wholesale chain store item now offered by convenience stores — continue to gain popularity."Continuous lifestyle changes for Koreans have created great demand for convenience foods," said Yang. "The popularity of meal kits is driving demand for meat products, so USMEF has been working hard to demonstrate how U.S. pork and beef work well as centerpieces of these kits. Koreans are looking for quick meals that require no preparation, and we are coming up with new ideas and new products to meet this demand."A recent example of this strategy was USMEF's launch and promotion of a ready-to-eat corn dog at convenience stores across Korea."In the past, items like corn dogs were sold in the refrigerated food section of convenience stores, and customers would have to microwave them at the stores before eating them," said Yang. "But we worked with stores to introduce more items that are cooked and served hot, so consumers could come in, pick out an item and eat it with no preparation."Another development is the protein snack boom among Korean millennials."Convenience stores in Korea have aggressively touted snacks made with sausage and processed meat ingredients," said Yang. "Protein snacks are mostly dominated by pork, often manufactured from mixed pork ingredients from U.S. and the EU, as well as domestic pork. But USMEF has launched premium brands of U.S. processed pork products that have been very well-received by consumers who are looking for something that really stands out among numerous sausage items."Beef is in the mix, too. USMEF teamed with Korea's second-largest convenience store chain and a U.S. red meat supplier to launch a cube steak promotion aimed at Korean consumers who pick up their lunches at convenience stores. The "Cube Steak Lunch Box" is offered at GS25 convenience stores, a chain with 12,500 locations in Korea. It is perfect for students and workers looking for healthy meal options for their hectic lives."The healthy lunchbox is a great way to conveniently and inexpensively put high-quality protein in the diets of people who don't have time to prepare their own lunches," Yang said. "It creates yet another avenue to increase Koreans' consumption of U.S. beef."TaiwanRecent data showed there are nearly 11,000 convenience stores in Taiwan, or one for every 2,222 people. This is the second-highest density worldwide, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs. Taiwan trailed only South Korea (one store for every 1,452 people) and was ahead of Japan (one store for every 2,248).Besides 7-Eleven (5,281 outlets as of mid-2018) and Family Mart, the other major convenience store chains in Taiwan are Hi-Life and O.K. Mart.Taiwan's 7-Eleven stores have been labeled as "food heaven" by the country's consumers."You can pick up a ready-to-go meal, something like pork chop rice or beef noodle soup, or grab something from the refrigerated case and heat it up in the in-store microwaves," said Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan. "Consumers in Taiwan are looking for quick meal solutions but want something fresh. So convenience stores have stepped up their selection of these offerings, along with popular protein snacks including beef sticks of many different flavors and spices, beef jerky and other items made with processed meats."USMEF-Taiwan has strategically promoted U.S. beef and pork by partnering with the convenience store chains."If a chain is going to launch a campaign to sell a specific product that contains red meat, we make sure that we show them how the quality of U.S. product improves the item's appeal," Sun explained. "USMEF also helps chains make their customers aware of this fact, which really expands our reach."ChinaA recent USDA GAIN Report described China's convenience store sector as 100,000 strong and "one of the most rapidly developing retail models in China, with sales of more than $28 billion in 2017." Meiyijia, Family Mart, 7-Eleven and Lawson are the top chains, with locations spread across the country.While the sector has traditionally focused on lower-priced processed foods, several chains are increasing their premium and imported food offerings.In its 2019 report, Euromonitor showed per capita spending on convenience store foodservice items in China increased 50% between 2013 and 2018 and projected a 67% increase by 2023.Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China, said consumers in many regions of China still buy meat and other foods at traditional markets. In more urban settings, modern supermarkets and butcher shops are more prevalent.However, retail trends are changing with a new generation.According to statistics from Family Mart, younger Chinese consumers are a major force in the convenience store market, with those born in the 1980s and 1990s accounting for 88.4% of total customers. Statistics from 7-Eleven indicate that consumers aged 20 to 40 make up 88% of its customer base.Both companies report that most of their customers in China are office workers."Younger people are more concerned about time and less inclined to go through a long process when shopping for food," said Liang. "We've seen this happen in other Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea, where people want quick and easy meals instead of spending time going to the market. Chinese consumers are looking for these same options."USMEF's strategy is increase awareness of U.S. beef and pork and help a new generation of Chinese consumers develop a taste for U.S. products as they expand their shopping options."Convenience stores satisfy an important demand from young working parents who often face lengthy commutes and do not have much time to cook at home," said Liang. "Parking and traffic have led customers to cut back on the time they spend shopping in markets, and we believe convenience stores in China will become an important outlet for U.S. red meat."South AmericaOnce concentrated only in urban areas, convenience stores are becoming more and more popular in South America, especially in Colombia and Peru. South American convenience store chains have been reluctant to offer ready-to-eat meals, but Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America, said the Mexican chain Oxxo is expanding rapidly in the region, creating potential for future partnerships.Meanwhile, USMEF has been working on strategies for other players in the convenience store sector."In Peru, we approached Tambo, which has 300 convenience stores, to introduce a 'Power Breakfast' campaign that includes a U.S. beef liver sandwich or liver empanada," explained Julca. "We were planning a big launch of that campaign during the second quarter of this year, but the company that owns the chain went through some changes. So we are now in a holding pattern, but still hoping to promote U.S. beef liver items as a convenience food soon."ASEANConsumer demand for convenience has not skipped Southeast Asia, where there are roughly 73,000 convenience stores across the region. According to Nielsen's recent report "What's Next for Southeast Asia?" convenience stores are increasing by 10% year-on-year. In addition, the number of mini-market stores in the region, which currently stands at 50,000, is growing by nearly 5% annually.Euromonitor reported that per capita spending on foodservice products in convenience stores rose 87% in Malaysia between 2013 and 2018 and is projected to increase another 139 percent over the next five years. The Philippines saw a 93 percent jump the past five years and is expected to achieve another 81% growth by 2023.Convenience stores in the region have moved from providing impulse products such as snacks, beverages and tobacco, to competing against quick-service restaurants by expanding their range of ready-to-eat food items.Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the region, said consumers — especially busy young professionals — are seeking food sources that are close to home and easy to access, boosting the number of convenience stores and mini-markets."Every country has its own needs and wants, and the convenience element will expand differently across the region," said Yin. "As with restaurants and supermarkets, USMEF's goal is to introduce and promote U.S. products that help these retailers differentiate themselves from their competition."Young Cattle Producers Can Get More Out of 2020 Cattle Industry Convention in San AntonioA fun, rewarding and engaging opportunity is available for college students wanting to attend the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 2-7, 2020. A team of interns – who are vital to the success of the largest annual meeting in the U.S. beef cattle industry – will gain first-hand experience and be able to interact with leaders of every segment of the cattle and beef industry.Up to 18 interns will be selected for this opportunity. They will be assigned to help many different staff members and attendees with meetings and events and should be prepared to handle a wide range of responsibilities, from setting up the indoor arena, assisting at committee meetings and Cattlemen’s College to posting on social media and contributing in the NCBA booth.  NCBA will strive to provide students time to maximize industry networking.Students must be able to work Feb. 2-7 in San Antonio. They must be at least a junior-level college student at an accredited university at the time of application. Preferably they will have a background in, or working knowledge of, the cattle and/or beef industry, and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students should be well-versed in all areas of social media.Interested students must complete a Student Internship Application and send college transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a resume. Deadline for applying is Oct. 11, 2019. The Value of Helping HandsLaurie Munns, Chairman, Federation of State Beef CouncilsEach of us benefits from assistance from others now and then. Perhaps a neighbor helps with harvest; maybe we get a ride into town to fix a flat tire or help getting our cows in at roundup. For many state beef councils, assistance is more than a bonus; it’s a necessity.There are 44 Qualified State Beef Councils, and they play a key role in the Beef Checkoff across the country. For one thing, they are responsible for collecting the $1-per-head national Beef Checkoff, remitting 50 cents of each dollar to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for use in national and international beef demand-building programs. They use the other 50 cents at the discretion of their boards, under the guidelines of the Beef Promotion Act and Order.The make-up of these boards varies. Some are appointed; some are elected. They are truly local self-help organizations, managed and overseen by the beef and cattle community in their state. Many of them pre-date the existence of the national Beef Checkoff, first instituted in 1986. There are more than 700 board members of state beef councils in the United States.The volunteer boards make decisions about their half of the dollar, which can include investing in demand-building national and international programs or conducting beef promotion, education and research programs in their own states. Implementing the in-state programs requires a lot of resources. Even though they have a large responsibility, many state councils are very small. They might only have a part-time director and if they’re fortunate one staffer, depending on the budget and the wants of the board.Among the functions of the Federation of State Beef Councils is the support of participating state beef councils that need it. This include state councils of any size that want special assistance with a project, or smaller state councils that don’t have the infrastructure for conducting fully-developed in-state programs. Maybe they want help with their IT systems or have human resources questions that need to be addressed. Perhaps they require graphic design for brochures or billboards they want to create. Maybe it’s communications assistance with outreach to producer or consumer audiences, or participation in consumer surveys to build stronger and more precise in-state campaigns.Possibly they want to discuss joint efforts with executives of other state councils, or brainstorm ideas that are successful in other states that might be effective with their own consumers, foodservice or retail outlets, dietitians or other thought leaders.  The bottom line is that for a state beef council of any size, fully implementing a valuable in-state beef promotion, education and research program is difficult. For a small council, it can be daunting.The Federation of State Beef Councils helps fill that void. It has an experienced staff that provides IT, graphic design, research and communications functions to state beef councils. It also assists in coordinating state efforts on a national level, and can supply or supplement information, materials and efforts in ways that will give a state beef council more impact.Since 1963 the Federation of State Beef Councils has brought state beef councils together, at the same time helping them be more successful on their own. A cornerstone of the Beef Checkoff, this state/national partnership gives state beef councils of all sizes a beneficial leg up.

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