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:  www.lenrd.org/funding-budget/. 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 http://go.unl.edu/rcphub.For more information, visit https://ianr.unl.edu/rural-community-prosperity. 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 DrivingDemandForBeef.com. 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: go.unl.edu/2018farmbillfacts.  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: go.unl.edu/decisiontool  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: go.unl.edu/farmdoc.   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 farmbill.unl.edu.  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 www.nebraskacorn.gov.  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 https://wia.unl.edu/know.  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 pam@nebeef.org.  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: http://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.   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 http://www.pork.org/pay 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 http://ruralpoll.unl.edu.The 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 tracyk@northeast.edu or (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website www.agwaternexus.com. 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 https://governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req. 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 GoldenHarvestSeeds.com.

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 yeutterinstitute@unl.edu. 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 https://yeutter-institute.unl.edu.  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 20thhttps://form.jotform.com/91536123314146The 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 www.silagesafety.org. 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... https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/dairy-margin-coverage-program/program-enrollment-information/index. 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. https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-bill/farm-safety-net/dairy-programs/dmc-decision-tool/index.  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 https://learning.agrisafe.org  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, www.iacattlemen.org.“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 adair@iacattlemen.org, 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 Moldswww.pioneer.comAll 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 MastersOfBeefAdvocacy.com. 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 farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. 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 webapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/actuarialinformationbrowser.Eligibility 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 farmers.gov/recover.Future 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 farmers.gov/recover. 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 grainsafety.org. 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 https://www.unmc.edu/publichealth/cscash/.Sukup Manufacturing Company (www.sukup.com) 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 huskerharvestdays.com. 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 www.animalagriculture.org. 

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 www.nda.nebraska.gov/animal/avian. 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 - https://www.fas.usda.gov/usmca-benefits-statesCongress 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 https://collegeaggies.animalagalliance.org.CAO 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 tracyk@northeast.edu, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website agwaternexus.com. 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 www.HuskerHarvestDays.com. 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 www.nrdnet.org. 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, https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/15716.Reynolds 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 www.foodintegrity.org.  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 www.nefb.org. 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. https://nebraskacattlemen.org/ycc-nomination-form/.  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 blederer@necattlemen.org. 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, AuctionTime.com, 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 neffafoundation.org. 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 flexfuelforward.com 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 www.agrisafe.org. 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.

Nebraska LEAD Announces 2019-2021 Fellows    Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Group 39 participants have been announced by the program’s director, Terry Hejny. The two-year program will begin in September.      The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program are involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness in Nebraska.     "Once again, it appears that Class 39 is filled with outstanding individuals from throughout our state and I am excited to get started with them. Our task will be to prepare and motivate them for future leadership roles in their community, our state and beyond," Hejny said.    LEAD Fellows will participate in 12 monthly three-day seminars across Nebraska, a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a 14-16 day international study/travel seminar. The goal of the program is to develop problem solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for Nebraska agriculture and beyond.    Seminar themes include: leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, leadership through communication, agricultural policy, international trade and finance, Nebraska’s political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social and cultural issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, information technology, advances in health care, the resources and people of Nebraska’s Panhandle and other areas designed to develop leaders through exposure to a broad array of current topics and issues and how they interrelate.Nebraska LEAD 39 Fellows by city/town are: ALBION: John KrohnARTHUR: Jason ChristiansenBELLEVUE: John Bronner, Derek Brown BLUE HILL: Alex BuschowCLARKSON: Mike PodanyCLATONIA: Monte MurkleCOLON: Jeff MedunaCOLUMBUS: Justin LorenzCOZAD: Zack JennerELGIN: Tiffany HemenwayGRAND ISLAND: Andy Paul HOLDREGE: Molly TrauschHORDVILLE: Rebekah NortrupKEARNEY: Elyse Schlake LINCOLN: Travis Harrison, Laurel Mastro, Blythe McAfee, Brett Muhlbach, Tony SibertMULLEN: Kory PhillipsNELIGH: Koryn KoinzanOMAHA:, Craig Davidson, Benjamin Grabenstein, Ashley PetersSTROMSBURG: Cale PallasSUTHERLAND: Thomas Kelly, Zachary PaulmanSUTTON: Jesse MohnikeUTICA: Mindy Wolf    The Nebraska LEAD Program is sponsored by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 12 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.Nebraska Ethanol Board September board meeting and EHS industry trainingThe Nebraska Ethanol Board will hold a board meeting in Lincoln on Friday, Sept. 13 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be at Cornhusker Marriott (333 S 13th St.) in the Hawthorne Room. Visit here for the agenda. This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.Then, on Sept. 19, safety professionals from across the state will gather in Kearney, Nebraska, for the 15th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit. The daylong summit presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board will feature speakers from agencies and organizations across the region, including the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, Flint Hills Resources safety department, Trinity Consultants covering OSHA and risk management plans, NAQS Environmental Experts, and Olsson.For full details, visit the registration page. Registration is due by Sept. 11. The event is open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. College students are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the $50 registration fee.“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest regulations and compliance changes, especially as ethanol plants implement new technology and expand operations,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “We are proud that the summit is attracting companies both directly and indirectly related to the ethanol industry, including organizations that focus on air quality and environmental compliance.”Nebraska State Grange Annual ConventionMargaret Smith,  Nebraska State GrangeThe Nebraska State Grange will hold the annual Convention in Grand Island at the Midtown Ramada Inn, September 13-15.  The National Grange delegates this year will be Harry and Cindy Greer from Colorado.  Cindy is National Grange Ceres, and President of the Colorado State Grange.  This will be the time to look over our policies and and suggest some resolutions for debate.HARVESTING PREVENT-PLANT SUDANS AND SORGHUMSBruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist               September has arrived so crops like sorghum-sudangrass planted on prevent-plant acres now can be harvested or grazed.  How should you do it?               Harvesting crops like sorghum-sudangrass requires dealing with all the moisture in the plant.  As silage, it usually is too wet to chop directly.  So you can windrow it, wilt to a desirable moisture, and then use a pickup attachment to chop.  Or you can wait until grain gets dry enough to balance the plant moisture if the hybrid is one that makes enough grain.  Or you can wait until a freeze causes the plant to dry down and then chop quickly enough so it doesn’t get too dry.               Making hay isn’t much easier, especially if plants are tall.  September’s short days and cool temperatures will slow the drying rate so cut high to hold windrows off the ground, spread it wide to use as much sunlight as possible to dry it, and crimp it well to open stems so they can dry.  Then hope it doesn’t rain for the next couple of weeks.               Maybe the best harvest option is baleage.  Plastic wrapping bales that are around fifty percent moisture could save a week of drying time and reduce weather risks.  You must either own the wrapping equipment or have a nearby custom operator but if it’s available it should be considered.               Grazing also can be challenging.  If cattle get free access they will trample most of the forage.  Maybe good for the soil but certainly a loss of a lot of potential feed.  Allowing access to just a small portion of the field by strip grazing will get much more of the forage eaten rather than trampled.  Windrowing first and then strip grazing may work even better.               Tall, green sudans and sorghums can provide much good forage but using them takes good moisture management.CHALLENGE TO PRODUCERS WHO GROW ALFALFA FOR BEEF CATTLE               Do you grow alfalfa for your beef cows or for feedlots?  If so, maybe you should try harvesting your last cutting as a higher value cash crop this year.               Cow and grinding hay appears to be plentiful this fall, causing prices to decline or at least stabilize.  However, all the rain made baling dairy hay very difficult.  This shortage is supporting higher prices for dairy hay.               Many remaining alfalfa acres belong to cattle producers growing hay for their own cows or feedlots.  Since cow hay and grinding hay currently is priced at least 50 dollars per ton less than dairy hay, can you take advantage of this difference in price?               Quite frankly, cattle producers have a tremendous advantage over commercial hay growers.  If you harvest your hay before it blooms, bale it in heavy, transportable packages with most leaves intact, store it under cover to prevent weather damage, and then market it to get its true value, you also can sell it for a premium price.  And you still can feed it to your own animals if your hay does not meet premium standards.               Now maybe you're thinking "I can't sell my hay.  I need it for my own animals."  And you may be right.  But, if you do sell some dairy hay, what you also can do is buy other, less expensive hay at the grinding or stock cow hay price. But you get to pocket the extra 40, 50, maybe 60 dollars for each ton of hay you sold and still have hay for your own animals.               What do you have to lose?  It costs very little to at least try to harvest premium quality hay.  If you succeed, you get a bonus.  And if your hay doesn't qualify for a bonus, you simply feed the hay to your own animals, just like you would have done anyway.               No risk, high returns.  Indeed, what do you have to lose?ICGA Delegates Move on Issues Impacting Iowa Corn Farmers at Annual Grassroots SummitThe Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) held its Annual Grassroots Summit in Altoona earlier this week on August 26 and 27 where ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities for the coming year.During the two-day Summit, 100 delegates in attendance had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. This ICGA policy process includes a member-wide survey in the spring, roundtable discussions held across the state in the summer and the Grassroots Summit in late August. Policies related to national issues can be brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings in February with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) farmer delegates.ICGA’s delegates deliberated on many important state issues impacting Iowa corn farmers, including these priority issues:Conservation/Water Quality – Maintain legislative funding stream for Iowa Nutrient Reduction StrategyEthanol – Obtain funding for renewable infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)Livestock – Support existing regulatory framework for the livestock industryTaxes – Protect critical tax credits (Section 179 and biofuels)* (Listed in alphabetical order, not by priority ranking)“The future of our organization lies in the hands of our grassroots members, and it is vital our members are engaged,” stated incoming ICGA President Jim Greif. “Throughout the year, there are many ways to get involved to develop ICGA policy. ICGA encourages all members to make their voices heard that these events.”Delegates also weighed several key federal issues:Ethanol – Retain the RFS, reallocation of unjustified SREs, and reduce regulatory barriers for higher blendsTrade – Expand new and protect existing bilateral and multilateral trade agreementsTrade – Protect/expand the Market Access Program (MAP) & Foreign Market Development (FMD) funding as part of the Farm BillTransportation – Maintain and upgrade our inland waterways system* (Listed in alphabetical order, not by priority ranking)Governor Kim Reynolds spoke to ICGA members during the first day of Summit. The Governor gave a powerful message in these tough economic times and shared that she stands strong with Iowa farmers to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).During the conclusion of the first day of the Summit, ICGA presented two awards to deserving ICGA members and partners. The Friend of Iowa Corn award is given to recognize state and federal legislators, their staff and others who have helped shape and implement priorities of Iowa Corn, and those who have been champions for our issues. This year, the Friend of Iowa Corn award was presented to Jerry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has been an essential part of the Iowa Corn team for over two decades. He is one of Iowa Corn’s contract lobbyists at the Iowa statehouse and has been instrumental in the shaping and passage of every significant piece of Iowa Corn legislation at the statehouse during his tenure.The second award presented was the Walter Goeppinger Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an Iowa Corn member who has showcased exemplary leadership skills and service throughout their time with Iowa Corn. This year, Iowa Corn honored Jack Kintzle of Toddville, Iowa, who has shown exceptional dedication and leadership to the agriculture industry. Kintzle had a seat at the table for many pivotal conversations that have shaped Iowa Corn into what it is today. He is recognized for his thoughtful input, progressive thinking and diligent work ethic.The Local Leaders Awards Breakfast kicked off Tuesday morning with an update from Iowa Corn Grassroots Network & Checkoff Committee Chair, Larry Buss, explaining the plan to grow ICGA membership. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig welcomed and thanked members for participating in the policy development of their organization. Wrapping up the program, Buss handed out awards recognizing the efforts of many outstanding local corn farmer-leaders and their programming at the county and district level.The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Luncheon concluded with an update from representatives from the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series partnerships, University of Iowa Women’s Basketball Coach, Lisa Bluder and Iowa State University Women’s Basketball Coach, Bill Fennelly.During the final part of the Summit, incoming ICGA President Jim Greif and incoming Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) President Roger Zylstra gave their presidential updates outlining their key goals for the upcoming year.ICGA will release its finalized top 2020 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2019-2020 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing corninfo@iowacorn.org or calling 515-225-9242.EPA Must Support Biofuels, Uphold Intent of RFSOn behalf of its nearly 200,000 family farmer and rancher members, National Farmers Union (NFU) today submitted public comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to adjust their proposed Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) volume obligations for 2020.Though the proposal would maintain the current volume of conventional biofuels at 15 billion gallons, it would also significantly reduce the statutory volume for advanced biofuels and, consequently, the total renewable fuel volume. Furthermore, the proposal does not compensate for the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels that was eliminated by the ongoing misappropriation of RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs) to multinational corporations. In response to dwindling demand, at least 15 ethanol plants and several biodiesel plants have closed, and many others have reduced production, resulting in the loss of thousands of rural jobs.Upon the initial release of EPA’s proposed volume obligations, National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed frustration that the agency neither increased biofuel use nor accounted for the damage inflicted on farmers and rural communities by the exemptions. In the organization’s comments, NFU President Roger Johnson echoed earlier misgivings and again urged EPA to address both issues in the finalized rule:“Today’s agricultural community is facing a great number of challenges: a prolonged downturn in the farm economy, the erosion of international export markets due to escalating trade tensions, climate change-related weather extremes, and declining populations and job opportunities in rural areas.“By expanding the market for home-grown biofuels, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) can play an important role in addressing all of these issues. It develops new markets for American farm products, which in turn buoys commodity prices and farm incomes. It reduces the emission of greenhouse gases that drive climate change. It creates good, stable jobs for rural Americans and stimulates local economies. On top of all that, RFS also offers benefits to American consumers and the country as a whole. Incorporating biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply lowers pump prices, improves air quality, and reduces dependence on foreign energy sources.“Considering the RFS’s significant potential for good, it is disappointing that time and time again, EPA has chosen undermine the policy’s purpose and integrity - and this proposal is just the latest example of that. Not only does it fail to account for the immense harm inflicted by the abuse of small refinery exemptions, but it also slashes the statutory volumes for advanced biofuels that Congress set in 2007 to ensure the continued growth of the biofuels industry.“We strongly urge EPA to reverse course in order to guarantee that the intent of the RFS is upheld – the agency must offset all 4 billion gallons lost to the waivers, it must enforce the volume requirements for conventional biofuels, and it must increase volumes for advanced biofuels.”EPA’s Final 2020 Volume Obligations Must Restore Lost GallonsIn formal comments submitted today in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations, the Renewable Fuels Association called on the EPA to follow the law and make up for the lost blending volumes resulting from the numerous secretive refinery waivers granted by the agency.“There is every reason to expect that the continued abuse of the system for granting small refinery exemptions will render the 2020 volumes meaningless again, given that the agency just approved an additional 31 small refinery exemptions without a transparent demonstration of severe economic harm,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper wrote. “Issuing small refinery exemptions after an RVO rule is finalized—as EPA has now done for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 compliance years—has the practical impact of reducing the effective RVOs to levels well below those specified in the rule.”In its comments, RFA calls on the EPA to address this problem and ensure that the 2020 RVOs are administered in a manner consistent with the statute simply by accounting for small refinery exemptions when it calculates the percentage standards, as has been recommended during the interagency review process for two consecutive years.In fact, Cooper noted, the formula used by EPA for calculating the annual percentage standards has always included a variable for “projected volume[s]” of gasoline and diesel for exempt small refineries, and EPA has in fact included non-zero values for these variables in past RVO rules. “Failing to include a non-zero projection of exempted gasoline and diesel from small refineries after the EPA has granted large-scale exemptions for three straight years defies reality and is a flagrant abuse of the Agency’s waiver authorities under the program,” he said.Finally, Cooper wrote, EPA’s proposal “makes a mockery” of the 2017 federal court decision in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA, by refusing to add back 500 million gallons of renewable fuel the court determined were inappropriately waived by EPA. “RFA strongly urges the EPA to include the 500 million gallons in the final 2020 RVO, as required by the court.”ACE urges EPA to reallocate volumes from RFS waivers harming rural America in comments on 2020 RFS proposalThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted comments today to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today is the final day the Agency is accepting public comments on the proposal.ACE commented on several facets of the proposed rule including: the difference between EPA’s proposed 2020 RVO and the real-world effect Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) have on RFS blending obligations; the need for EPA to reallocate the gallons waived through SREs, in addition to restoring the 500 million gallons in compliance with the Americans for Clean Energy et al v. EPA lawsuit; how EPA’s abuse of the SRE provision harms rural America and violates statutory authority; the need for EPA to adopt the latest GREET model with respect to the proposed rule to “reset” the 2021 and 2022 RFS volumes to ensure EPA makes determinations on scientifically defensible GHG assessments; and our concerns about the Agency’s regulatory approach to the retail sale of E15 through blender pumps. Several corn farmers and biofuel producers were cited in ACE’s comments, including ACE member plant Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy CEO Mike Jerke, who recently said EPA’s abuse of small refinery waivers “guts the RFS and breaks the president’s promise.” He goes on to explain that the August 9 announcement of 31 SREs for the 2018 compliance year, the USDA’s August 12 crop report and the trade war with China have combined to potentially take $10.6 billion away from farmers and ethanol plants and transferred much of that to oil companies.ACE’s comments highlight the radical changes made to EPA’s handling of SREs under the Trump administration. “During RFS compliance years 2016 through 2018, the average number of SRE applications skyrocketed to more than 30 per year and the average approval rate increased to 90 percent. What’s more, the Trump administration waited until after the compliance year had closed to approve “retroactive” refinery exemptions. By tilting the scale and the calendar in favor of refineries, the Trump administration has never reallocated the waived blending obligations as required by the statute. Not only has EPA allowed 85 SREs for the 2016 through 2018 RFS compliance years, it has not reallocated the 4.04 billion gallons of statutory volume exempted over that timeframe. If one were to assume, for example purposes, all this waived volume constitutes ethanol from corn, this is equivalent to losing a 1.4-billion-bushel crop, or the entire market for Minnesota corn farmers in 2018.”“The best way to spur market-based demand for farmers and improve conditions in rural America is to increase the production and use of renewable fuels. This is even more critical given the uncertainty created by trade wars and efforts to renegotiate existing trade pacts. EPA’s rule allowing U.S. retailers the ability to offer E15 to their customers all year opens the door for greater market access long-term, but the net effect of E15 year-round is still in the hole when it comes to ethanol demand through the RFS without restoring the waived gallons for small refineries.”NBB Asks EPA To Increase Biodiesel Volumes in Annual RFS RuleToday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's annual proposed Renewable Fuel Standard rule. NBB argues that EPA must increase advanced biofuel volumes for 2020 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2021 to accommodate domestic biodiesel and renewable diesel producers' proven ability to increase output. Further, the agency must properly account for small refinery exemptions -- which are actively rolling back biodiesel volumes -- and the 500 million gallons of biofuel unlawfully waived in 2016.Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, said, "The RFS is intended to increase production and use of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel. EPA's proposal to flat-line both biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels -- combined with its small refinery exemption spree -- will roll back growth of our industry."EPA's small refinery exemptions are turning the RFS upside down and blocking our industry's progress. By handing out waivers to everyone that asks, EPA is destroying demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel and forcing U.S. producers to close up shop and lay off workers. EPA cannot continue to pretend it isn't harming biodiesel producers."EPA's recent grant of 31 small refinery exemptions for 2018 destroyed demand for as much as 250 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel. Following the decision, one of the largest U.S. producers of biodiesel and renewable diesel closed three facilities, impacting more than 100 workers. NBB is asking EPA to restore the lost volumes in the 2020 rule and adjust its RVO formula to include a reasonable estimate of future small refinery exemptions.Kovarik continued, "EPA must also restore 500 million gallons of biofuel demand that it unlawfully waived in 2016. The agency uses the same logic that the Court overturned in the 2016 case -- demand-side constraints -- to resist restoring the waived volumes. The agency must ensure the RFS volumes are made whole and that the renewable fuel industry can have confidence in the program's volumes."NBB Disappointed in Court Ruling on 2018 BBD VolumeToday, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) expressed disappointment in a Court ruling that upholds the Environmental Protection Agency's method for setting biomass-based diesel volumes in the 2017 RFS rules. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismissed NBB's petition as a policy disagreement with EPA's choice of biomass-based diesel volumes.In the same decision, the Court rejects refiners' arguments that they are burdened by RIN prices and that EPA should change the point of obligation. The Court further rejected arguments that the 2017 RFS volumes were set too high and that EPA should have used additional waiver authority.Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, said, "The Court's decision is disappointing. It fails to consider the obvious flaw in EPA's choice of biomass-based diesel volumes for 2018, which was set a year in advance of the other annual volumes. The Court found persuasive EPA's promise to allow growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel under the yet-to-be-set 2018 advanced biofuel. However, as we argued was the danger, EPA did not provide that growth -- it flatlined the advanced biofuel volume in 2018."Nevertheless, we see one bright spot in today's Court decision. The Court agreed with EPA's evidence that refiners are not harmed by the cost of RINs. The Court's ruling highlights the disparity between EPA's findings and its current practice of granting hardship exemptions to every refinery that asks. If the refiners aren't harmed by RIN costs, what exactly is the hardship they're facing?"EPA's small refinery exemptions have caused severe economic hardships for biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, forcing some to close their doors and lay off workers. EPA must put the RFS program back on track."Growth Energy Demands Immediate Action to Restore Biofuel DemandGrowth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore biofuel demand lost to oil industry handouts in comments on the agency’s final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO). Due by November 30, the RVOs will determine next year’s biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).“The president made a ‘giant’ promise on ethanol, but rural communities cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “More biofuel plants are closing their doors with each passing week, and farm families have run out of options. The EPA must take immediate action to restore lost demand under the 2020 biofuel targets and repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions granted to oil giants like Exxon and Chevron.”In written comments to the EPA, Growth Energy noted that the EPA’s secretive exemption process violates the letter and spirit of the RFS, which Congress adopted to promote growth in U.S. biofuel production.“EPA’s proposal actively encourages blending less, not more biofuel,” wrote Growth Energy.  “By maintaining the status quo of an unaccounted number of exemptions, EPA would permit the oil industry to revert to its 2013 level of usage and still achieve compliance.  This is entirely illogical and unlawful. At this point, it is fair to say that EPA is destroying the RFS program. The overwhelming problem is EPA’s misguided and unlawful handling of compliance exemptions for small refineries. After initially allowing, through 2015, the number of exemptions granted each year to naturally dwindle, as intended, EPA has completely reversed course and suddenly begun granting dozens of exemptions covering billions of RINs, while providing no acceptable explanation as to why...”“EPA’s radical escalation of small refinery exemptions, coupled with its refusal to require that exempt volumes be made up, have thwarted Congress’s intent and effectively exempted the RFS program out of existence,” added Growth Energy.Farm Bureau Welcomes Proposed Biofuels Volumes, Warns Against Excessive Small Refinery WaiversThough supportive of several aspects of EPA’s proposed volume standards for renewable fuels for 2020, the American Farm Bureau Federation cautioned that the agency’s failure to address its overuse of small refinery waivers diminishes the likelihood the volume targets will be met.“EPA’s excessive use [of small refinery waivers] will undermine the goals that were set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence,” AFBF said in recent comments to EPA. The organization said EPA’s use of waivers “essentially solidifies nearly 4 billion gallons of lost demand.”EPA’s proposed renewable fuels volume standards for 2020 would maintain the statutory requirement for conventional renewable fuel at 15 billion gallons, increase cellulosic fuels to 0.54 billion gallons, and bump up total advanced biofuels to 5.04 billion gallons. It would also increase biomass-based diesel to 2.43 billion gallons for 2021.Farm Bureau touted the Renewable Fuel Standard’s many successes, including the growth it spurred within the agriculture sector as corn and soybean farmers expanded their crop production to meet demand for corn- and soybean-based biofuels.Beyond the boost to rural America, the RFS2 is intended to give consumers more choices at the pump, reduce gas prices and enhance the country’s energy security.  In addition, the program is designed to spur investment in cleaner, domestic fuels and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate higher biofuel blends.However, EPA’s use of small refinery waivers fails to send the signal that greater infrastructure investment is necessary and meaningful marketplace changes need to occur.  Each waiver erodes the Renewable Fuel Standard, cutting biofuels from the market and eliminating the incentive to offer lower-cost options at the pump.Farm Bureau also emphasized that the petroleum industry’s unwillingness to offer higher blends of biofuels should not be taken as evidence that the RFS2 is unworkable.“Rather, it is evidence that they are unwilling to adapt to policies enunciated by Congress. But making space in the market for alternative fuels that contribute to energy independence, environmental improvement, and economic development is exactly the point of RFS2.”Tyson Foods to Buy 40% Stake in Foods Division of Grupo VibraTyson Foods Inc. on Friday said it agreed to buy a 40% stake in the foods division of Grupo Vibra, a Brazilian producer and exporter of poultry products, for an undisclosed amount.The Springdale, Ark., meat giant said the deal is part of its strategy to develop a more flexible supply chain compared with its previous model, which relied primarily on U.S. exports.Tyson last year paid more than $2 billion to buy Keystone Foods, which has operations in China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia, from Marfrig Global Foods S.A. (MRFG3.BR).The company in February agreed to buy the Thai and European operations of Brazil's BRF S.A. (BRFS3.BR) for $340 million.Tyson said Grupo Vibra currently serves customers in more than 50 countries around the world.

Northeast Nebraska Students Get an Up-Close Look at Agriculture at Ag FestivalMore than 200 fifth graders from eight classrooms in Northeast Nebraska gained firsthand experience on where their food, fiber, and fuel come from by attending the third annual Growing Potential Agriculture Festival that was held in Wayne, Neb. on Aug. 29.The annual festival is put together by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association, with 15 sponsors and volunteers coming together to help put on the successful event. The Wayne FFA Chapter also volunteered at the festival.“Through this event, our organizations connect their common interest of agricultural literacy to offer a hands-on learning experience for Northeast Nebraska students. The aim is to create an understanding and knowledge of agriculture to prepare students to be informed citizens,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. Students made their way around learning stations that covered different facets of agriculture. At one station, the students discovered how livestock, such as beef cattle and chickens, rely on corn to produce the products they enjoy. Other activities included exploring the machinery farmers use to plant and harvest corn, how farmers care for the land, and the importance of ethanol to Nebraska’s economy.“This is our third year coming to this festival and each year it gets better and better,” said Nicholas Kleve, fifth grade teacher at Louis and Clark Elementary in South Sioux City, “The kids are exposed to so many different agricultural career opportunities they have here in Nebraska from business to science. There’s something for everyone.”Schools participated from towns across Northeast Nebraska including Wayne, Wisner-Pilger, Hartington, and South Sioux City.“Every year the festival continues to grow in importance as students no longer live on farms,” said Mitch Schweers, president of the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “We are excited to provide an opportunity to showcase how students can connect with agriculture in our communities. We thank the agriculture groups who joined together to sponsor and volunteer at this event.”Sponsors and volunteers include Channel, F&M Bank - Wayne, Farm Credit Services of America, Grossenberg Implement, Hefty Seed in Laurel, Hoegemeyer Hybrid, Michael Foods, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Pioneer, Sietec, Siouxland Ethanol, Wayne State Bank, Wayne FFA Chapter, and Wayne County Farm Bureau.CATTLE IN NORTH DAKOTA, TEXAS TEST POSITIVE FOR ANTHRAX; NDA ENCOURAGES LIVESTOCK OWNERS TO MONITOR, PROTECT ANIMALS With recent announcements from North Dakota and Texas of cattle testing positive for anthrax, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging livestock owners to protect their animals by watching for this disease and by consulting with veterinarians about the use of vaccines. Anthrax is a deadly disease caused by a spore-forming bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) that can remain alive, but dormant in the soil for years. The anthrax bacteria can contaminate soil and grass after periods of wet, cool weather, followed by hot, dry conditions. Animals can ingest the bacteria by consuming contaminated grass and hay, or by inhaling spores. “Although anthrax is rare, it is not uncommon,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “A few cases are reported in the United States almost every year. Fortunately, there’s an effective vaccine available. Producers are encouraged to discuss preventative vaccinations with their veterinarians. If anthrax is suspected and confirmed by your veterinarian in your livestock, you need to vaccinate as quickly as possible.” Acute fever, staggering, difficulty breathing and seizures, followed by rapid death (usually within 48 hours), are all common signs of anthrax in livestock. After exposure to the anthrax bacteria, it usually takes three to seven days for animals to show symptoms of the disease. Anthrax can affect cattle, deer, other livestock, dogs and even people. “Farmers and ranchers make it a priority to protect the health and safety of their animals,” said Dr. Hughes. “If a laboratory confirms the presence of anthrax, NDA will work closely with the affected livestock owner to stop movement of animals and implement control measures on the property. Control measures include removing animals from the pasture where anthrax deaths are suspected so spores can’t infect the remaining animals, vaccinations, and properly disposing of dead animals and infected materials.” Since anthrax also carries a risk to people, those handling the anthrax vaccine, infected animals and/or contaminated animal products should do so with care. Wash hands thoroughly, wear long sleeves and gloves, do not move carcasses as that could release bacteria into the air, and do not salvage hides, horns, antlers, skulls or any other tissue from dead animals. If you suspect anthrax in your livestock, immediately notify your local veterinarian or NDA at 402-471-2351. For more information about anthrax, visit: nda.nebraska.gov/animal/diseases/anthrax/index.html and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/anthrax/basics/index.html.  Northeast faculty, staff support Nexus projectThe faculty and staff of Northeast Community College are stepping up in a big way to support the Nexus campaign for new agriculture facilities on the Norfolk campus.Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, announced this week that the staff and faculty have pledged $132,000 to the campaign. This follows last week’s announcement that the Acklie Charitable Foundation would provide a lead gift of $5 million for the $23 million project.“Northeast employees have always been generous with their time, talent and treasure in support of the College,” Kruse said. “This financial investment in the Nexus campaign demonstrates both their commitment to the College, and the need they see for new facilities for the ag department.”A kickoff event for faculty and staff was held earlier in the campaign, with food, games and information provided by the Nebraska Pork Producers, the Nebraska Cattlemen, the Cuming County Cattlemen, the Nebraska Corn Growers, the Nebraska Dairy Association, and Nebraska Farm Bureau. Several area businesses also supported the event, held in the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.Long time ag faculty member Michael Lechner is one of those who has pledged his financial support for the Nexus project.“The veterinary technology program is always at maximum enrollment,” Lechner said. “In my opinion the veterinary technology building located on the College farm is the least adequate building for teaching and learning at Northeast Community College. In general, the College farm has changed very little for decades.”Mike Roeber, an animal science instructor at Northeast for the past 22 years, has also contributed to the Nexus campaign.“This project will allow our faculty and staff to better prepare students for their post educational careers,” Roeber said.Roeber was recently recognized as the top faculty member in the western region of the Association of Community College Trustees.Nexus campaign co-chair Russ Vering said he was impressed by the support of the faculty and staff for the project. He said he once heard a speaker say that when the rate of change inside an organization is slower than the change outside, the end is near.“Northeast staff and faculty have shown by their donations to Nexus that they are ready and preparing for rapid change,” Vering said.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.For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, tracyk@northeast.edu, 402-844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469. UNIVERSITY CELEBRATING LONGTIME CONNECTIONS TO NEBRASKA LANDOWNERSAs the University of Nebraska–Lincoln reflects on its 150-year legacy of improving the quality of life for Nebraska and beyond, it’s also celebrating its longstanding connections to the people of the land. For some, those connections predate the establishment of Nebraska’s land-grant university.The term “land-grant university” dates back to 1857, when Rep. Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont proposed a bill to expand access to higher education beyond the elite to the working class. The idea was to allow states to sell or lease unclaimed U.S. land, using the earnings to start a university. Through the Morrill Act of 1862 and the Nebraska Enabling Act of 1864, nearly 135,000 acres of land in 13 counties helped establish the University of Nebraska. Through a new project called Land-Grant Connects, the university is honoring those who now own or live on that land, much of which is in northeast Nebraska.“The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s roots run deep across this state,” said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension. “Through Land-Grant Connects, we’re exploring that history and celebrating those who live on the land that played such a key role in the beginning of our story, whom we continue to serve today.”Today the land-grant mission is delivered through education, research and outreach through Nebraska Extension. On the Land-Grant Connects website, https://landgrant.unl.edu, a history of Nebraska’s land-grant process has been outlined. The site also features an interactive map of the 400 original land-grant parcels and stories highlighting the landowners. The university has also been publicly recognizing the landowners at county fairs throughout the summer.Neva Winter’s family was recognized at the Madison County Fair in July. The family has lived on and worked the same land for the past 153 years — or six generations. Neva and her husband, Jim, bought the land — a few miles north of Norfolk, east of the North Fork Elkhorn River — from another family member in 1955 and farmed on it until Jim died in 2003. Their four daughters were raised in the farmhouse.“The house was built in 1896, and then we added onto it about 42 years ago,” Winter said. “There’s over 40 (members) in my immediate family, so when we get together for family Christmas, it's too small now.” The farm location was chosen after Godfried Winter and his sons Carl and Wilhelm traveled from Ixonia, Wisconsin. They were a part of a caravan of 53 wagons with 125 people that trekked to Madison County. When the settlers reached the North Fork Elkhorn River, they blindfolded the men and asked them to draw numbers from a hat to determine who would farm which lot. They each picked their number and went to work farming. The farm ground is currently being rented, but Neva and her husband grew corn, soybeans and alfalfa on it. Corn and alfalfa were always grown on the land, Winter said, along with oats and wheat grown at various times.Winter’s connection to the university runs deeper than the land. She was a 4-H leader for 15 years in sewing, helping her daughters and others make projects to bring to the Madison County Fair. Winter has also had multiple granddaughters attend the university and a grandson-in-law, Jim Brungardt, who was a member of the Husker football team.Additional landowners will be recognized at the Nebraska State Fair on Sept. 1. An N150 pep rally at 2:30 p.m. will feature the Cornhusker Marching Band, Husker Spirit Squad, Herbie Husker and Lil’ Red, in addition to honoring those who live on the land originally granted to help establish the university.To learn more about Land-Grant Connects, or if you are an owner of one of the land-grant parcels and want to share your story, visit https://landgrant.unl.edu. Public invited to fall listening sessions on university president searchMembers of the NU community and public are encouraged to attend a series of listening sessions in early September to share their input on the search for the next president of the University of Nebraska.The listening sessions, which will take place Sept. 3 through Sept. 9 across the four NU campuses, will be hosted by the Board of Regents together with the executive firm AGB Search. Feedback provided by faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the public at the sessions will help refine the criteria by which the Presidential Search Advisory Committee screens and evaluates candidates.The fall sessions follow an initial series of listening sessions in June intended to gather input on the qualities and characteristics that NU stakeholders hope to see in the next president. Feedback from the June sessions, together with input from the 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, helped inform the development of a leadership profile now being used to attract candidates.In a joint statement, Board of Regents Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln and Vice Chairman Jim Pillen of Columbus said: “We hope Nebraskans will take advantage of this opportunity to help guide what we believe is a critical leadership search for our university and state.“The feedback we’ve received so far has had a significant impact. We’re grateful to the many stakeholders who have engaged up to this point, and we look forward to hearing from many more throughout the process.”Details on the listening sessions follow. While sessions are generally targeted to specific stakeholder groups, all sessions are open to all members of the University of Nebraska community and public.University of Nebraska-LincolnTuesday, Sept. 3, Nebraska Union Auditorium, 1400 R St.    8 to 9 a.m.: Open session    9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Student session with UNL Regent Emily Johnson    11 a.m. to Noon: Staff/administrator session    12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Alumni/community session    2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNL Faculty Senate meetingUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterTuesday, Sept. 3, Truhlsen Campus Events Center, 619 S. 42nd St.    9 to 10 a.m.: Alumni/community session    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Staff/administrator session    Noon to 1 p.m.: Student session with UNMC Regent Keith Ozanne    1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Open sessionMonday, Sept. 9, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center Conference Room, ground level    5 to 6 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNMC Faculty Senate meetingUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaWednesday, Sept. 4, College of Public Affairs and Community Service Collaboration Space, Rooms 132 and 132D, 6320 Maverick Plaza    9 to 10 a.m.: Open session    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Staff/administrator session    Noon to 1 p.m.: Student session with UNO Regent Aya Yousuf    2 to 3 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNO Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting    3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Alumni/community sessionUniversity of Nebraska at KearneyThursday, Sept. 5, Nebraskan Student Union, Antelope Room, 1013 W. 27th St.    7 to 8 p.m.: Faculty session in conjunction with UNK Faculty Senate meetingFriday, Sept. 6, Nebraskan Student Union, Room Ponderosa A, 1013 W. 27th St.    9 to 10 a.m.: Open session    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Staff/administrator session    Noon to 1 p.m.: Student session    1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Alumni/community sessionIndividuals who are unable to attend any of the listening sessions are invited to submit feedback to presidentsearch@nebraska.edu.The next president will succeed Interim President Susan Fritz, who was formally installed on Friday following the departure of President Emeritus Hank Bounds.2019 NeFU Fall District Meetings ScheduleDistrict 6 Fall Meeting:  Native Winery 32, 789 7th Road, West Point, NE 687889 miles west of West Point, 1 mile north on 7th RoadMonday, September 16, 2019.6:00-7:00 pm wine tasting with cheese & meat plates with meeting to follow.·         Graham Christensen: District 6 Director’s Report including Costco latest bad news financing efforts, Regenerative Ag, & Citizen Scientist Water Quality Testing·         Julie Hindmarsh & Laura Thomas: NFU Fly-In Report·         NeFU President John Hansen:  Report on state and national issues, & Lancaster County CAFO Task Force NeFU District 6 Business:·         Election of officers: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer·         Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention—elected by NeFU convention delegatesBring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.For more information, call Paul Poppe (402) 380-4508.District 7 Fall Meeting: Perkins Restaurant, 1229 West Omaha Avenue, NorfolkThursday, September 19, 2019. 6:00 pm Supper on your own with meeting to follow.(Please attend this meeting so you can help with ideas to host the state convention.)·         Martin Kleinschmit: District 7 Director’s Last Report (Martin is retiring)·         Art & Helen Tanderup:  NFU Fly-in report·         NeFU President John Hansen:  Report on state and national issues.NeFU District 7 Business:·         Nominations for Dist. 7 Director (3 year term elected by #7 delegates at state convention)·         Election of officers: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer·         Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention—elected by NeFU convention delegatesBring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.For more info, call Art Tanderup (402) 278-0942 or (402) 887-1396.District 5 Fall Meeting:  The Eatery, 2548 S 48th St, Lincoln, NE 68506Monday, September 23, 2019.  6:00 pm supper on your own with meeting to follow·          Ben Gotschall: District 5 Director’s Report·         Camdyn Kavan: NFU Fly-In Report·         NeFU President John Hansen: Report on state and national issues and Lancaster County CAFO Task Force. NeFU District 5 Business:·         Election of officers: President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer·         Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention—elected by NeFU convention delegatesBring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.For more information, call Ben Gotschall (402) 705-8679.Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention - Dec '19·         NeFU Policy Development Day, Thursday, December 5, 2019·         NeFU State Convention:  Friday-Saturday, December 6-7, 2019   ·         Divots Conference Center, 4200 West Norfolk Avenue, Norfolk, NE 68701 ·         (402) 379-3833 Reservations for Norfolk Lodge & Suites (connected to Divots)·         http://www.divotslodge.com/National Farmers Union Convention - March '20·         NFU Convention, March 1-3, 2020   The Hyatt Regency, Savanah, GA·         (912) 238-1234 for Reservations, 2 W. Bay Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401Fischer on USDA Investigation into Market Manipulation Following Tyson Holcomb Plant FireU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA’s antitrust enforcement division would examine whether market manipulation occurred following a fire earlier this month at a Tyson beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas:“After this devastating fire occurred, I called for commodity market oversight to help ensure market participants are not taking advantage of our ag producers. I am pleased to see that Secretary Perdue will be taking a thorough look at potential anti-competitive behavior to protect Nebraskans. It’s the right thing to do.”Secretary Perdue directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to investigate collusion or other unfair practices pertaining to beef pricing margins following the fire. In recent weeks, profit margins for producers have shrunk as prices paid for live cattle have fallen while beef prices have remained high.The fire occurred on August 9 at a Tyson Foods plant, which operated at approximately 6,000 head/day or 375 head/hour. Following the fire, Senator Fischer wrote letters to Chairman Heath Tarbert of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Administrator Raymond P. Martinez of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, calling for commodity market oversight and flexibility for livestock haulers.R-CALF USA Statement Regarding USDA Investigation of Tyson Fire AftermathToday, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement regarding Wednesday's announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it would investigate beef pricing margins in the aftermath of the August 9 fire that shut down the Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas."Like others in the industry, R-CALF USA has been very concerned by the packers' market activity following the fire at Tyson's Holcomb, Kan. plant, and the impact that activity has had on cattle producers across the country. It therefore welcomes the USDA's announcement that it is investigating the packers' conduct in the aftermath of the fire. While the industry awaits the outcome of that investigation, R-CALF USA will continue to fight alongside producers to ensure a competitive American cattle market."In April, R-CALF USA and four cattle-feeding ranchers from Iowa, Neb., Kan., and Wyo. filed a historic lawsuit alleging the four largest beef packers, Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef/Marfrig violated U.S. antitrust laws, the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, and the Commodity Exchange Act to unlawfully depress prices paid to American cattle producers since January 2015."That case is pending before the federal district court in Minnesota."U.S. Pork Industry Receives USDA Grant to Open ASF Dialogue in AsiaThe global outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), a disease affecting only pigs with no human health or food safety risks, is growing, with new cases appearing throughout Southeast Asia and China. While there are no reported cases of ASF in the U.S., a grant recently awarded to the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), with active support from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), aims to start a dialogue between the two regions, sharing veterinary knowledge and ways to prevent the disease from further spreading.The approximately $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Animal Service division will fund the multi-phase project, helping to build strategic partnerships, while increasing trade of U.S. pork to the region. The work will include swine health field projects, including collection and analysis of disease samples, which are valuable data for all participants and U.S. pork producers."Pork production is a global business and working with industry representatives from Vietnam on these projects will be mutually beneficial for all," said SHIC Executive Director Paul Sundberg, DVM, PhD, DACVPM. "The Swine Health Information Center looks forward to fulfilling the responsibilities of this grant from USDA and in the process deliver value to U.S. producers for the benefit of national herd health.""NPPC, in partnership with SHIC, National Pork Board (NPB), American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), and USDA, is committed to reducing the risk of the U.S. swine herd contracting foreign animal diseases, including ASF. With ASF spreading throughout Asia, this project will represent an important tool to further open both communication and markets between our regions," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer in Lillington, N.C.Under the first phase of the project, the groups will identify and meet with key stakeholders in Vietnam. In phase two, the groups will train the Vietnamese veterinary workforce on ASF prevention and control, helping to build local veterinary capacity. Concurrently in the final phase, ASF-related field projects will be implemented, including those helping to inform the U.S. pork industry about effective ASF preparedness and response.Information the projects will gain include:    Identifying pathways for viral entry on farms    Validating use of swine oral fluids to confirm farm or region positive or negative status    Exploring the potential to isolate the virus on one area of a farm to enable other areas to provide pigs free of ASF contamination    Validating cleaning and disinfecting procedures so farms may be repopulated as soon as it is safe    Assessing cross-border risks and risk management of transboundary swine diseasesNPPC and SHIC are working closely with the USDA and the other industry organizations to first prevent ASF from entering the U.S. swine herd and to be prepared to respond should an outbreak occur. The industry is actively identifying and prioritizing critical research needs and working in collaboration with state and federal animal health officials to make sure that, at a national level, all appropriate biosecurity measures are being implemented.Study: No One Cares About Restaurants' Stances on Animal WelfareBusinesses are increasingly embracing social causes as a way to promote brand trust among consumers while also attempting to better society. Chipotle, for example, made headlines when it released "Back to the Start," an advertisement promoting more humane food production. Yet the restaurant industry, which is often criticized due to concerns about animal welfare and employee wages, has otherwise been slow to capitalize on this marketing trend.Now, a new study from the University of Missouri suggests this type of marketing is ineffective for restaurants using animal welfare as a marketing tool."Restaurants have faced a lot of criticism for how they source their food, and it is logical to think that social cause marketing could mitigate that criticism the way it has for issues in other industries," said Dae-Young Kim, lead author on the study and an associate professor of hospitality management in MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "We found that this kind of marketing does improve trust in restaurants on a variety of issues when the ads include engaging visuals, but when it comes to animal welfare, it doesn't matter how the message is delivered. Customers don't care."Along with Sung-Bum Kim, an assistant professor at Inha University in South Korea who worked on the study while earning a doctorate at MU, his research team created marketing messages from fictional restaurants to investigate how such messages can impact levels of consumer trust and corporate reputation. Each message had two versions -- text only and text with visual elements such as illustrations and certification seals -- and each embraced one of four social causes: health, human services, environmental concern and animal welfare. Researchers then surveyed 433 participants about their reactions to the ads.Unsurprisingly for the researchers, the majority of causes elicited improved trust and reputation for the restaurant when presented in a visually engaging message, as opposed to a generic message with plain text. But for the cause of animal welfare, consumer trust remained unchanged regardless of the type of message, indicating apathy on the part of customers."We have seen that visually appealing cause marketing works in a variety of contexts across many different industries," Dae-Young Kim said. "So when we see this marketing fall flat for restaurants addressing animal welfare, it tells us that the style of message isn't the problem. People are simply ignoring restaurants when they discuss that particular cause."Kim said the problem is probably not that people don't care about animal welfare. One possible explanation is that not enough restaurants have taken a stand regarding animal welfare for customers to pay attention. Conversely, people might be more receptive to an animal welfare message in a pet food advertisement because pet food companies have been incorporating that message into their marketing for several years. In that case, more marketing from restaurants addressing animal welfare could prompt more customers to start listening, Kim said.The study, "Building corporate reputation, overcoming consumer skepticism, and establishing trust: choosing the right message types and social causes in the restaurant industry," was published in Service Business. Kathleen Jeehyae Kim also contributed to the study while earning her doctorate at MU.Japanese Regulators Make Informed Decisions About U.S. CornFace-to-face conversations and seeing U.S. corn farms, elevators and export facilities firsthand will help a team of Japanese government regulators make more informed decisions and facilitate an uninhibited flow of U.S. corn and co-products from the United States to one of its largest and most loyal customers.The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) annually schedules teams of Japanese regulators involved in the food, feed and environmental approvals of biotech corn events to travel to the United States for just this purpose. While these regulators may have limited knowledge of the U.S. corn value chain, their recommendations or decisions could potentially slow down entire approval or regulatory processes.“These meetings provided Japanese regulators with information on the biotech corn traits and products in the pipeline for entry into the Japanese regulatory system in the near future,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan, who accompanied the team. “Discussions with the U.S. grain value chain also demonstrate how Japanese regulatory approvals and regulations need to be able to work with the real world of how U.S. corn is produced, transported and exported.”This year’s team traveled to Washington, DC, Missouri and Louisiana in August to meet with U.S. government regulators, biotech seed companies and biotech industry organizations as well as U.S. corn farmers and agribusinesses involved in the production, distribution and exports of U.S. corn to Japan.“For most of the participants, this was their first time to see a corn field or a grain elevator, even though they work on biotech corn safety dossiers on a daily basis,” Hamamoto said. “These in-person visits will help these team members make better decisions based on what they heard about grain production and how U.S. farmers and grain handlers work to maintain and improve grain quality.”The Japanese regulators also learned what U.S. regulators and industry representatives are doing to address unintentional low level presence of unapproved events in commercial corn supply. While major issues in this area are uncommon, these discussions help keep corn trade between the United States and Japan open and functioning.Both the United States and Japan have science-based and well-functioning regulating systems related to biotech corn, and both countries are also in the process of evaluating how to regulate plant breeding innovations, including gene-edited products. Ministries within the Japanese government signaled earlier this year that they will not consider organisms produced using gene editing as genetic modification, providing reassurance for continued market access for U.S. farmers to one of their largest international markets.Japan currently ranks as the second largest market for U.S. corn, purchasing more than 12 million metric tons (472 million bushels) thus far in 2018/2019 (September 2018-June 2019) - a 21 percent jump year-over-year. Japan has also increased purchases of U.S. DDGS by 11 percent this marketing year, ranking as the ninth largest buyer at 418,000 tons. Imports of 6.46 million gallons of U.S. ethanol have also risen by 38 percent year-over-year and the first shipment of ETBE produced with U.S. corn-based ethanol arrived in Japan in July. These strong export sales further underpin the importance of continued conversations between the Japanese government and end-users and the U.S. government, farmers and agribusinesses.Cutting-edge trait technology platform launching with 2020 Golden Harvest soybean lineupGolden Harvest is further expanding its trait technology platform offerings with the addition of LibertyLink® GT27™ available for 2020 planting. The LibertyLink GT27 soybean technology, which offers glyphosate and Liberty® herbicide tolerance, will be offered in 20 of the 66 new Golden Harvest® soybean varieties.Golden Harvest also offers farmers access to Enlist E3™ soybeans and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® in the 2020 lineup. The Enlist E3™ soybean trait was approved earlier this year for broad 2020 commercial planting, and the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® trait remains at the forefront of weed control technology."Golden Harvest is committed to providing farmers the highest-yielding genetics along with their choice of the industry's leading trait technologies," said Travis Kriegshauser, strategic marketing manager, Golden Harvest soybeans. "We realize farmers require products tailored for their unique field challenges, so we equip them with defensive and offensive trait options to maximize stable yield performance." The 66 new Golden Harvest varieties range in relative maturity from 0.06 to 5.1 and provide advanced trait technology for maximum soybean yield potential.    31 varieties include the new Enlist E3 trait technology with 3 modes of action, offering tolerance to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate.        4 offer Sulfonyl-Urea Tolerant Soybeans (STS®) herbicide tolerance and may increase tolerance to ALS-inhibitors, allowing higher application rates on select herbicides.    20 varieties include the new LibertyLink GT27 trait technology.        2 offer STS herbicide tolerance.    15 varieties include Roundup Ready 2 Xtend trait technology.        4 offer STS herbicide tolerance. The growing breadth and quality of the Golden Harvest seed portfolio is a direct result of the incremental $400 million investment announced in 2018."Since our proprietary soybean breeding program is the longest-running in the U.S. with 50 years of extensive soybean breeding, field testing and disease screening, it's no surprise our soybeans are the best in the business," said Kriegshauser. "Golden Harvest not only offers farmers the highest-yielding genetics on the market today, but we are also the industry's leading provider of herbicide trait choice."This unmatched combination of genetics and traits enabled Golden Harvest varieties to again capture the spotlight in 2018 Farmers' Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) trials. Third-party data, including FIRST trials, validates seed company trials and reveals the top performers across seed brands. Golden Harvest soybeans had 17 first place results, 41 Top 3 finishes and 131 Top 10 varieties in the 2018 FIRST trials.Largest Operating Hemp Processing Facility in the US... Now Open for BusinessParagon Processing ― a state-of-the-art facility offering total seed-to-shelf solutions for industrial-scale hemp processing, manufacturing and storage, as well as private- and white-label goods ― is pleased to announce it is now open for business. The high-security facility, stationed on a 38-acre property, is located 140 miles south of Denver.FacilityAt a staggering 250,000 square feet, it is the largest hemp processing facility currently operating in the U.S. It can store up to 50 million pounds of hemp biomass, and hosts 13 dock-high loading positions, along with housing Superior Flow-branded proprietary processing equipment.Paragon Processing offers full-scale processing for up to 1 million pounds of hemp biomass per month, with a target to expand to 2 million pounds with the arrival of the upcoming 2019 fall harvest season, which runs from September through November."We're pleased to offer an array of turnkey services, including extraction, distillation, isolation, THC-free processing, sales, storage and third-party laboratory testing," says Paragon Processing Co-President Matt Evans. "It is important to our mission to provide a one-stop-shop partnership for clients, whether they are farmers seeking assistance, new companies testing an idea or an established business seeking to strengthen its production practices and/or product lines."Paragon Processing's climate-controlled facility minimizes the risks associated with external weather conditions and temperature shifts, providing solutions for all farmers' needs. Additionally, by offering the proper storage conditions and ideal cooler temperatures, the threat of mold is entirely eliminated. Historically, the property was both a former Columbia House Records space and a Kroger distribution center, which provided secure, safe storage with fully certified fire sprinkler systems already in place.Services/OperationsUnderstanding the goals of companies to build out their brands and add value to existing products, Paragon Processing acts as the purveyor of industrial hemp solutions and seamless integration to relieve supply chain disruption, allowing companies to benefit from this one-stop operation."Paragon Processing is a comprehensive facility for industrial-scale hemp," says Evans. "With the legalization of the 2018 Farm Bill, the production and interstate transfer of hemp has increased the demand for both hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products, and we aim to propel the industrial hemp manufacturing efforts in order to confidently answer this call."Paragon Processing's practices are centric to establishing trust and transparency in the hemp processing industry, while assisting farmers with developing the best practices, recording accurate genetics-related data and mapping full traceability of hemp biomass. On the business spectrum, future and current company owners alike, can take advantage of additional services. For the clients' convenience, a third-party accredited laboratory is on site, complete with Certificate of Analysis (COA) assignments.Post-harvest farm support is also a core value of Paragon Processing, where the team provides assistance surrounding the manufacturing of hemp-derived products, with no upfront or monthly costs required. From industrialized harvests, Paragon Processing can process hemp biomass into winterized crude and produce CBD distillate, THC-free distillate, CBD isolate, CBG, CBN and CBD-infused products. Paragon Processing prides itself on utilizing the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art techniques, including cryo-ethanol extraction and three-stage molecular distillation, where 300 liters per hour of winterized crude can be successfully processed, into full spectrum distillate oil.After it leaves Paragon Processing, product then makes its way to a white-label distribution center, located in Colorado Springs. The 45,000-square-foot partner facility churns out voluminous hemp-derived products per day, from 1 million gummies to 10,000 tinctures, along with wellness products, like lip balm and sunscreen.Rather than reinventing the wheel, Paragon Processing aims to extend its tried-and-true approach to both farmers and business owners nationwide, along with expanding to fill 250 internal job positions by the end of 2019. Paragon Processing will be available nationwide to provide its services from the farm to end users, as the surge of industrialized hemp farming continues.

Frogeye Leaf Spot in Northeast NebraskaTamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant PathologistModerate to severe frogeye leaf spot is being reported on soybean in northeast Nebraska and may be occurring in other areas of the state, especially on susceptible varieties. Scouting is advised to determine incidence and severity before making a treatment decision.Although QoI (formerly called strobilurin) fungicides have historically been most effective in managing the disease, pathogen resistance to products in this class has been widely documented in other states, including four counties each in South Dakota and Iowa.We suspect pathogen resistance to QoI in at least two Nebraska fields and are currently testing samples. When spraying for frogeye leaf spot, we recommend a product with two or more active ingredients from multiple fungicide classes. If you believe a fungicide application did not slow the spread of this disease, please contact the author via email at tjackson3@unl.edu or via Twitter at @tjcksn so a sample can be tested for resistance. Please collect a gallon food storage bag of symptomatic leaves prior to an additional fungicide application, refrigerate the sample, and contact Jackson-Ziems so it can be tested.Samples also can be sent to the university's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln. Sample forms, the clinic's mailing address, and collection instructions can be found on the site.Frogeye leaf spot infection can occur at any stage of soybean development, but most often occurs after flowering and is typically in the upper canopy. Initial symptoms are small, dark spots on the leaves. Spots eventually enlarge to a diameter of about ¼ inch and the centers of the lesions become gray to brown and have a reddish-purple margin. Individual leaf spots can coalesce to create irregular patterns of blighting on the leaf.Ag Sack Lunch Program For State’s Fourth-graders Kicks Off Tenth Year. The popular Ag Sack Lunch program, designed to increase agricultural awareness among Nebraska young people and their families, returns for its tenth school year. The program provides a free lunch and an ag-focused learning experience to fourth-graders who come to Lincoln each year to tour the State Capitol Building as part of their educational curriculum.  While they eat their lunches, students hear a presentation about the important role agriculture plays in Nebraska’s economy, as well as the crops and livestock species that are raised in the state. The sack lunches consist of Nebraska-produced food items to help students appreciate where their food comes from.  They also receive card games called “Crazy Soybean” and “Old Corn Maid,” which include ag facts, to take home to play with their families and friends.Since the first Ag Sack Lunch program during the 2010-2011 school year, over 45,000 students have participated in the event. Last year the program provided 5,250 lunches. The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB), the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA), the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB), Nebraska Beef Council (NBC), and Midwest Dairy.  “Over the last nine years, the Ag Sack Lunch Program has been successful in helping our fourth-graders understand where their food comes from and how Nebraska’s farm production methods help protect the environment while ensuring food safety and promoting animal health,” says Victor Bohuslavsky, NSB executive director. “Participating teachers continue to tell us how their students learn so much from the presentations.”Pam Schrader, teacher at Lincoln Christian School, says she appreciates that the sponsoring groups continue to offer the Ag Sack Lunch program. “It is a fun way for the kids to receive ag information and relate it to their lunch. It is a really good program and very well worth our time,” she said.Dianne L’Heureux, teacher at High Plains Community School, agreed. “I am impressed with the way the student presenters control the audience and engage them while they are eating. The students are hungry and enjoy the lunch but they start appreciating where the lunch comes from. So many of the students are not connected to farms anymore they do not think where this food is produced.”  Ag Sack Lunch invitations have been sent to fourth-grade teachers at 540 elementary schools in 44 eastern Nebraska counties. Reservations for the 2019-2020 school year are limited to 5,250 students on a first-come, first-served basis. These spots fill up quickly, so teachers are urged to sign up as soon as possible—even if their state capitol tour dates have not been finalized yet. Reservations can be placed online at agsacklunchprogram.com. NE Ext at HHD to Highlight Strategies for Staying StrongThe University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) and Nebraska Extension are pleased to invite farmers and their families to visit their exhibit at the 2019 Husker Harvest Days (HHD) Agriculture Show September 9-11 near Grand Island. The IANR Exhibit is in the Big Red Building, located on Eighth Street, just east of Central Avenue.As a part of the University of Nebraska’s 150th anniversary celebration, the exhibits will highlight agricultural innovations that are strengthening Nebraska’s agricultural economy. In addition, given current challenges in agriculture, exhibits will emphasize resiliency and strategies for staying strong. The exhibit building will spotlight nine topics in three areas: farm production, farm personal life, and developing personal skills.These topics are more diverse than recent HHD shows and include more hands-on experiences. Farmers and their families are encouraged to come with their questions and bring crop and pest samples for identification.Presentations, enhanced by a wall of video screens featuring further information, will be made every half hour in the university building. Each presentation will be complemented with information about preparing for and recovering from economic or weather-related challenges. The presentations will be followed by an opportunity for questions and more in-depth conversations with the presenter.Topics include:Cover Crops – Advantages of incorporating cover crops into farm systems, how to get started, and how to customize your cover crop strategy. Cover crops have been shown to improve farm efficiency and profits by suppressing weeds, increasing the health of soil organisms, reducing soil erosion, and providing forage for livestock.Maximizing the Efficiency of Center Pivot Irrigation — Information on operating irrigation systems at the proper water pressure and how leakage in the system can affect pressure and uniformity. Repair of irrigation systems following weather-related damage also will be covered.Keys to Calving Success — A life-size model cow will enhance conversations on cow condition and calving. Presentations will stress the importance of healthy cows, critical stages in the calving process, and timeliness in calf consumption of colostrum. The team will also review how livestock producers can help their herd recover from extreme weather events.Understanding Risk Management Strategies — Important for farm success, these strategies include knowledge of government farm programs, use of crop insurance, use of farm budgets, and how best to market grain and animals. Presenters will stress the importance of gathering and using good data to make sound decisions and how to use available economic tools to improve profit.Developing Weather Ready Farms — As many Nebraskans learned this spring, it is critical to be prepared for adverse weather. This program will highlight creation of emergency plans, use of technology in the planning process, and where to find relief after a disaster.Staying Nebraska Strong — Living through a disaster can be stressful. Learn how to help your farm family stay resilient and mentally, physically, and emotionally strong. Learn about the many wellness resources available throughout the state and how to access them.   Sustainable And Resilient Landscapes — Maintaining a comfortable living environment is one strategy to reduce stress. The climate of the Great Plains can make it difficult to grow trees, lawns, and gardens that enhance our homes. Learn about creating sustainable and resilient landscapes that reflect local needs. Presenters will also discuss how to respond when extreme weather damages landscape plants.Lifelong Education and Career Opportunities in Agriculture and Natural Resources —Teams from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture will provide information about their programs and today’s careers. The 4-H College Readiness Team will provide, via virtual reality technology, a look at energy-related careers for production agriculture and other agriculture careers. The director of the Nebraska LEAD program will provide information about CASNR’s adult agriculture leadership program that provides experiences to help farmers gain the skills necessary to respond to the challenges facing agriculture in Nebraska.It is the sincere wish of Nebraska Extension and the IANR faculty that Nebraska farmers and their families are successful in their endeavors. It is through this wish that we hope to have great conversations about creating Strategies for Staying Strong with a large number of farmers who visit the HHD Show.Nebraska to Receive $8.5 Million for Bridge ReplacementU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and the chairman of the Transportation and Safety Subcommittee, Tuesday announced that the Nebraska Department of Transportation will receive a Competitive Highway Bridge Program grant of $8.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) to replace seven bridges in northeast Nebraska:"I am proud to announce that northeast Nebraska will benefit from this significant grant. Nebraskans rely on these bridges every day, but too many are in poor shape. Replacing these bridges is crucial to safely connecting our families, local economies, and communities."The seven bridges are located on three rural state highways near Norfolk. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.The FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act included $225 million to be awarded by the DoT for a competitive highway bridge program. Eligible applicants are states with a population density of fewer than 100 individuals per square mile, and the funds must be used for bridges on public roads. Nebraska will use this grant to benefit its infrastructure around Norfolk by bundling what would normally be four separate bridge replacement projects into a single and more efficient project.Secretary Perdue Statement on Beef Processing Facility in Holcomb, KansasU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan.:“As part of our continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan., I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action. USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry. I have spent this summer visiting with cattle ranchers across the country, and I know this is a difficult time for the industry as a whole. USDA is committed to ensuring support is available to ranchers who work hard to the feed the United States and the world.”Nebraska Farm Bureau Thanks USDA for Continued Efforts to Examine Impact of Holcomb Beef Plant Fire“Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) would like to thank United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue for his recent announcement of a Packers and Stockyards investigation to examine beef pricing margins following the fire and subsequent shutdown of the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. USDA’s efforts to fully investigate the situation is a positive development in this unfortunate situation,” NEFB president Steve Nelson said. NEFB sent a letter Aug. 22 to USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach urging USDA to fully “investigate monitor and address concerns steaming from the fire.” NEFB asked the agency to shift additional USDA regulatory staff to other plants as needed and to utilize the Packers and Stockyards Division to monitor any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice in the procurement of livestock“We are grateful USDA is doing their due diligence in opening this investigation. NEFB would strongly encourage USDA to prosecute any anti-competitive activities if they are found.”ICA supports Packers and Stockyards InvestigationThe Iowa Cattlemen’s Association applauds the decision by USDA to utilize its authority via the Packers and Stockyards Division to investigate price changes experienced on both the boxed beef and live cattle side of the cattle market in the weeks following the Tyson Holcomb, KS plant fire on August 9th.   As a grassroots organization, ICA takes the input of our members very seriously. Over the past two weeks, cattle producers have expressed concern that changes in the live cattle and boxed beef markets since the fire are unjustified. ICA has been working on behalf of members across the state to provide market certainty via monitoring and fully supports an investigation.“We recognize that there are market fundamentals at play,” says David Trowbridge, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association President, “But given the extreme effect the current market conditions are having on Iowa’s cattle industry, we believe it is in our members’ best interests to eliminate any doubts regarding the market reaction.”The Packers and Stockyards Act was signed by President Harding in 1921 to address concerns about anticompetitive activities among meat packers. The Act has been updated by Congress many times since then. Section 202 of the Act states that it is unlawful for packers to “Engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice or device,” or “[E]ngage in any course of business or do any act for the purpose or with the effect of manipulating or controlling prices, or of creating a monopoly in the acquisition of, buying, selling, or dealing in, any article, or of restraining commerce”.NCBA Statement on Secretary Sonny Perdue’s Call For Investigation Into Cattle Markets Following Kansas FireNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's call for an investigation into cattle markets following the recent fire at a Tyson beef processing facility in Kansas."Today’s announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue demonstrates the government’s understanding of the extreme strain placed on the cattle industry by the plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas."We encourage USDA to look at all aspects of the beef supply chain and to utilize internal and external expertise in this investigation. We believe it adds transparency that will help build confidence in the markets among cattlemen and women."     Benefits of Adding CRP Acres to Grazing Rotation is Pasture Walk FocusIowa cattlemen often face limited forage availability when it comes to extending the grazing season. Now, producers may have the option to add grazing Conservation Reserve Program acres to their grazing rotation in the spring and again in late summer.cow eating CRP grasses.Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Crawford County Natural Resources Conservation Service, Crawford County Cattlemen and Iowa Beef Center are organizing a Crawford County pasture walk to help increase awareness of the CRP Routine Grazing program and the benefits it can have for cattle, the land and wildlife.  The pasture walk Sept. 11 will be hosted by Joe White, Lyle Rossiter and Clint Von Glan who are partnering to graze CRP acres enrolled in the program. They have seen benefits from the partnership and will share their experiences during the event. Location is 1444 390th St., Westside.The CRP Routine Grazing Program allows for haying or grazing eligible acres every other year in Iowa at a 25% reduction in payment. Pat Corey with Crawford County NRCS office will share program requirements and offer some best management practices for such land.Responsibly managing grazing has been shown to diversify plant species, help control weed pressure and provide benefits to wildlife habitat in the CRP acres. In addition, it supplies an alternative forage for the cow herd.Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists presenting at the event include extension wildlife specialist Adam Janke who will lead discussions on how successful grazing can positively impact wildlife habitat, and Erika Lundy, extension beef specialist. Lundy said other topics include a temporary fencing demonstration and incorporations of cover crops for food plots and livestock grazing.  A meal at 6 p.m. will be followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. The meeting and meal are provided at no cost thanks to sponsors, but those interested are asked to RSVP to either the Crawford County Extension office at 712-263-4697 or by emailing Lundy at ellundy@iastate.edu.Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/23/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 23, ethanol production averaged 1.038 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.60 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 15,000 b/d (1.4%) from the previous week. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 0.2% to 1.037 million b/d after seven weeks of consecutive declines. This is equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.90 billion gallons.In contrast, ethanol stocks shrank 1.6% to an eight-week low of 23.0 million barrels. Stocks declined sharply in the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5) but increased across all other regions.Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 9,000 b/d, or 2.65 million gallons for the week. This is the second time this month that imports were logged and the fifth for the year. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied vaulted 2.8% to 9.900 million b/d (415.8 million gallons per day, or 151.77 bg annualized), the second-largest volume on record. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol eased 0.6% to 955,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.64 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to a 16-week low of 10.48%.Prices for All Fertilizers Move Lower for Second Time in Two WeeksLarge decreases in average retail fertilizer prices were seen during the third week of August 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. This marks the second time in a couple of years that prices have declined in unison, this time in back-to-back updates.Prices for all eight of the major fertilizer were lower from the prior month, including six fertilizer prices that dropped by double-digit amounts.Leading the way lower were anhydrous and MAP, down 9% and 7% from last month, respectively. Anhydrous had an average price of $530 per ton while MAP had a price of $495 per ton.Prices for UAN32 and urea both were down significantly, by 9% and 4%, respectively from one month ago. UAN32 came in at $291 per ton and urea at $413 a ton. UAN28 reported a 6% price drop to $257. The price of 10-34-0 fell by 2% to $475 per ton.Smaller price drops were reported in potash and DAP. The average price of potash fell from $394 to $387 per ton from last month, while DAP showed the smallest increase of all eight fertilizers dropping from $495 to $491 per ton.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 $0.45/lb.N.USDA releases major study on strategic value of inland waterways to U.S. agriculture and U.S. economy The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for releasing a significant new study that quantifies the cost-savings and competitive advantages that would accrue from investing in long-delayed improvements to inland waterways locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River system.The study, entitled, Importance of Inland Waterways to U.S. Agriculture, addresses the critical connection between the inland waterways and the competitiveness of American agriculture in global markets.  U.S. farmers and agribusinesses, as well as the overall U.S. economy and balance of trade, depend upon and benefit from the inland waterways and its infrastructure, which provide the safest, lowest-cost and most environmentally sustainable and fuel-efficient way to move grain and other agricultural products.  The study was unveiled this afternoon at a Town Hall Meeting conducted at Mel Price Locks and Dam (St. Louis) by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, accompanied by Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) R.D. James.  The study was produced for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service by Informa Economics.Highlights of the study include: •    U.S. farmers enjoy a competitive advantage in global export markets in large part because of the nation’s robust, resilient transportation and infrastructure network that moves corn and soybeans, the nation’s highest yielding crops.•    Because of its efficiencies and lower costs, the inland waterways system saves between $7 billion to $9 billion annually over the cost of shipping by other modes. These values are based on all goods currently being moved on the water compared to the same volume transported by rail.  •    Every dollar of waterways activity output results in $1.89 in additional U.S. economic activity directly related to the waterways.   •    Compared to the status quo, increasing investment in the inland waterways system by $6.3 billion over a 10-year period (through 2029) and $400 million per year thereafter through 2045 cumulatively would grow the waterways' contribution to U.S. gross domestic product by 20 percent (to $64 billion) and increase waterways-related employment by 19 percent - to 472,000 jobs. The study says this option would more than offset the cost of completing all the proposed projects, and would increase the market value of U.S. corn and soybeans by $39 billion. Conversely, reduced investment would decrease the market value of those commodities by $58 billion, the study says. •    The inland waterways’ infrastructure is aging and needs major rehabilitation and construction to restore its full capability, forestall major disruptions and provide opportunities for growth.  Most locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River System have far exceeded their projected 50-year lifespan. Delays can cost operators and shippers more than $44 million annually.  For corn, delays on the Mississippi River could have up to a $0.24 per bushel negative impact.•    While the United States currently has a $5.35 per metric ton advantage over Brazil when shipping soybeans on the inland waterways system (from Davenport, Iowa, to Shanghai, China), aging U.S. waterways infrastructure will increase the price to the end-user, lower the demand for U.S. grains and soybeans, and make them less competitive in global markets. “USDA’s study underscores the inland waterways as a conduit to our nation’s agriculture competitiveness, as well as to overall U.S. economic prosperity. We believe the study makes the case to expedite the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) that would modernize five locks on the Upper Mississippi River and two on the Illinois Waterway to be ready to capitalize on predicted grain shipments, while at the same time improving the health of our marine ecosystems and habitats,” said WCI President and CEO Mike Toohey. “NESP is awaiting Pre-Construction Engineering and Design (PED) funds to be ‘shovel-ready’ for these vital locks,” he continued.  “We appreciate the leadership of Secretary Perdue and USDA in once again spotlighting the importance of the U.S. inland waterways transportation system to U.S. agriculture’s global  competitiveness and farmers’ bottom lines,” said NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon. “Very importantly, this study quantifies the significant cost of further delays in rebuilding America’s inland waterway infrastructure, and it’s not a pretty picture. Foreign competition from countries like Brazil is only increasing given current trade disruptions, and China is investing aggressively in South America’s transportation infrastructure to the United States’ detriment.  “The United States simply can’t afford to lag behind any longer,” Gordon continued. “This study is a wake-up call to the White House Office of Management and Budget and Congress to make the PED funding for NESP available this year, and to ensure growing investments are continued and expedited in the tremendous natural resource that America’s inland waterways represent.”American Dairy Coalition Asks EPA Director Wheeler for Science Review of EPA’s Nitrate StudyThe American Dairy Coalition (ADC) sent a letter to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler requesting he submit a flawed and damaging 2013 EPA nitrate report to attain the science review it never received. The ADC is concerned for the farmers that have already been severely affected by this so called scientific research study report and believes EPA must stop a dangerous precedence from being set which could impact other farmers throughout the U.S. Director Wheeler was also urged to remove the study from further enforcement action and litigation pending the review.“It is vital that the administration demonstrate their commitment to maintaining the integrity and transparency of science. The current status of this report sets a very unfortunate precedence for the value of science-based actions and represents a profound opportunity to preserve fundamental principles and standards,” said Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition. “Support for this administration has been strong from the farm community because of positive changes in the EPA. However, the lack of action in carrying out this scientific peer review may cause that support to wane.”The letter submitted to EPA Director Andrew Wheeler states, “This report, proven false by fifteen national agricultural science experts, was developed without the peer-review required on “influential science information” as the study was categorized. When approached about the error, staff attempted to conceal the failing by falsely claiming the report was not categorized as ‘influential’, but ‘other’, allowing for full discretion in peer reviews.”The EPA Yakima Nitrate Report began in 2010 and was published in 2012 and 2013. Despite some of nation’s top scientists and agronomists finding the study to be deeply flawed and other government agencies cautioning its use, EPA Region 10 staff still used the study. This led to highly disciplinary enforcement and threats of federal litigation, which has devastated four large dairy farms. Specifically, these four dairies were pressured into signing a very punitive Administrative Order on Consent, resulting in the loss of one dairy and requiring the remaining to spend upwards of $15 million to comply. Further, the report has been used by an Oregon environmental attorney to force extremely costly settlements with a number of Washington dairy farms, resulting in the loss of farms and creating extreme distress within the entire Washington dairy community.Deepening the concern, the same Region 10 leadership supported the use of $550,000 of tax payer money on public relations and lobbying campaigns against farmers. With this finding in 2016, over one third of the members of Congress were compelled to write EPA Director McCarthy complaining of this action, which prompted an Office of Inspector General investigation that found the campaign did involve state lobbying.Also, a former senior agronomist with the USDA provided a detailed analyst of the study, finding it to be fraudulent. The documentation may be viewed at https://savefamilyfarming.org/blog/category/clean-water/clean-groundwater/epa-nitrate-study/ . This has been further supported by the conclusions of fifteen prominent agricultural scientists who also deemed the study fraudulent.REMINDER: ASA Accepting Applications for the Conservation Legacy AwardsShare the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation and you could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award. The awards recognize farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable.Are you using a reduced tillage practice on your farm? Do you grow cover crops? Have you taken steps to improve energy efficiency or water quality? These are just a few conservation practices used on some farms today that can help produce sustainable U.S. soybeans. Different regions of the country have their own unique challenges and ways to approach conservation and sustainability. We want to hear your farm’s conservation story!All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability.The selection process for these awards is divided into four regions – the Midwest, Upper Midwest, the Northeast and the South. One farmer from each of these regions will be recognized at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, and one of these farmers will be named the National Conservation Legacy Award recipient.Award Winners Receive:-    An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 27-29, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas.-    A feature story and video featuring the award winner’s farm and conservation practices.-    Potential opportunity for the national winner to join other farmer-leaders on an international trip to visit U.S. soy customers overseas.The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association (ASA), BASF, Bayer, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent U.S.A.More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available in the “About” section under “Awards” on the ASA website soygrowers.com. All applications must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.Artificial intelligence powers new NK® seed selection tool from SyngentaSyngenta Seeds today announced the launch of a new digital platform to help farmers maximize profit potential through data-driven seed recommendations. The NK® Seed Analyzer combines artificial intelligence, two decades of agronomic information and a simple user interface, extending the NK brand's focus on innovation by adding value beyond seed.The adaptability of the platform allows retailers and farmers to proactively plan for weather volatility, soil variability and planting specifications by seeing actual results from numerous sources. The tool complements retailers and agronomists' expertise with 18 years of data at no cost to the user."The NK Seed Analyzer represents the best that NK has to offer," said Todd McRoberts, NK agronomy manager. "Using cutting-edge technology, the platform helps to provide clear, unbiased product recommendations that streamline decision-making and deliver customized solutions for any farm."Historical agronomic information allows users to tailor their seed portfolio based on geographic location, soil productivity, precipitation levels, historic crop stress and performance of products by year and region. Users are able to adjust these factors to understand how a specific corn hybrid or soybean variety would perform under a variety of conditions – information critical to making confident seed selections."While you can never control all the factors that affect a growing season, you can set yourself up for the best chance of success by choosing hybrids that perform well in fields like yours, regardless of the weather," said Joe Bollman, NK corn product manager. "The NK Seed Analyzer injects some much-needed predictability into a process that otherwise is anything but predictable."Although a new addition to the NK toolbox, the NK Seed Analyzer continues a long tradition of innovation for the brand, which this year marks its 135th anniversary. What started as a mail-order seed business became one of the first to create a formal seed research program, the first private company to develop a soybean variety and the first to market Bt seed corn.Today, backed by award-winning Syngenta research and development, NK breeders tap into the latest tools and data analytics to directly tackle farmers' top priorities. In addition to developing the NK Seed Analyzer, these advancements produced 17 new corn hybrids and 68 new soybean varieties for the 2020 growing season."Innovations like our new hybrids, varieties and NK Seed Analyzer reflect our ongoing commitment to delivering technology, genetics and value," Bollman said. "We know it's tough out there right now, so we're going to keep looking for ways to help maximize farmers' and retailers' return on investment."The NK Seed Analyzer is also another example of how Syngenta is accelerating innovation to address the increasing challenges for farmers and the environment. Supported by Syngenta, NK is investing in technologies that matter to bring about positive, lasting change for more sustainable agriculture.Initially available through select NK retailers, access to the NK Seed Analyzer will expand in the coming months.$10 million investment will allow Vive Crop Protection to produce high value products for sustainable agricultureVive Crop Protection is pleased to announce the closing of its $10 million financing from existing and new investors, including Middleland Capital and the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (“BDC”) Cleantech Practice. This capital will support commercialization of three new crop protection products and continued field development of Vive’s deep pipeline.Darren Anderson, CEO of Vive Crop Protection says, “Thanks to the leadership of Vive Executive Chairman Keith Thomas, we were able to close this financing round led by investors who understand the value of Vive’s technology.”Vive’s patented Allosperse® Delivery System has unlimited potential in the North American and global crop protection markets because it allows agricultural chemicals that were previously incompatible to now be mixed with liquid fertilizer and applied at the right time for maximum benefit to the crop. It also saves farmers time and money by limiting the number of times they need to drive equipment over the field to manage their crop.In the 2020 crop season, the Allosperse Delivery System will be included in five Vive-branded products and a number of products available through other manufacturers. “We are delighted to be working with this group of investors because it puts Vive in a strong position for rapid growth in this exciting industry,” says Anderson.This investment is part of BDC's $700-million, five-year commitment announced in 2018 to help high-potential Canadian cleantech firms with market-ready technology or products meet the capital-intensive needs of scaling and achieving timely growth. “Vive’s impressive growth and market traction speak to its management’s ability to bring this innovative technology to a market with a challenging sales cycle” said Susan Rohac, Vice President, Cleantech Practice at BDC. “This investment will accelerate Vive’s mission of increasing farm efficiency and productivity while reducing the farmer’s environmental impact.”Jahangir Bhatti, Director, Cleantech Practice, who led the investment for BDC’s Cleantech Practice, added “Vive’s proprietary Allosperse technology creates a compelling ROI for the farmer by simplifying the pesticide application process. With multiple product launches in the near future, Vive is poised for rapid scale-up as their products have potential to become a critical component of a farmer's operation.”

UNMC scientist part of global team evaluating CRISPR gene editing methodsA global collaboration – led by two researchers 9,000 miles apart – has evaluated several CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing methods used for routine generation of specific animal models. Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Gaetan Burgio, Ph.D., of Australian National University, are corresponding authors on the paper recently published in Genome Biology, which includes 112 other authors from 20 labs around the world.“Genetic engineering is complex,” Dr. Gurumurthy said. “Our paper analyzed all available methods to determine which offer higher efficiencies in generating complex animal models called conditional knockouts, which ultimately provide greater insight into gene function and disease findings.“The results are important because custom-engineered conditional knockout animal models are widely used in biomedical research from basic studies to drug development.”Dr. Gurumurthy is director of the Mouse Genome Engineering Core at UNMC and associate professor of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience. His previous research contributions include a breakthrough in genome engineering termed Easi-CRISPR (Efficient additions with ssDNA inserts-CRISPR). Easi-CRISPR is one of the most efficient technologies that allows scientists to custom-engineer important animal research models much more rapidly and at a significantly lower cost.In their recent paper, titled “Reproducibility of CRISPR-Cas9 Methods for generation of conditional mouse alleles: a multi-center evaluation,” the global team analyzed the first CRISPR method published six years ago in Cell and compared it with the newer methods including Easi-CRISPR.Their findings? The Cell paper approach was less than 1% efficient, based on their data from over 50 genes analyzed from 20 laboratories, whereas the Cell study had reported 16% efficiency based on data using just one gene. Easi-CRISPR and the related methods were 10 to 20 times more efficient than the Cell paper approach. “These results demonstrate the gene editing field has considerably evolved from the past five years to make CRISPR more safe and efficient,” Dr. Burgio said.Dr. Burgio’s group analyzed the extensive biological data including a process called machine learning, which provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.“Dr. Gurumuthy has nearly singlehandedly developed this technology at UNMC with the support of one of our Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grants,” said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research for UNMC. “This article demonstrated how he continues to bring innovations not only to UNMC but the broader research community. We are proud of his many accomplishments.”“The progress in Dr. Gurumurthy's research is matched by his innovation and dogged determination,” said Howard Gendelman, M.D., Margaret R. Larson Professor of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine, chair of the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. “We are proud to call him one of our own.”TORUS Covers 9,000 Miles Across 5 State for Storm DataThe Nebraska-led TORUS project -- the most ambitious drone-based investigation of severe storms and tornadoes every conducted -- chased supercells for more than 9,000 miles across five states this summer.The project, led by Nebraska's Adam Houston, features more than 50 scientists and students from four universities. The 2019 team included 13 Huskers -- 10 undergraduates and three graduate students. The $2.5 million study is funded through a $2.4 million, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation with additional support provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The goal of the project is to collect high-resolution data about the formation of storms to improve forecasting for tornadoes and severe weather. Click https://tinyurl.com/yxhjkw94 to learn more.Bosselman Enterprises, Pearson Fuels share E15, E85 retail experience at ACE conferenceThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) hosted a diverse mix of ethanol interests in Omaha this month at its 32nd annual conference. Among the speakers were fuel marketers Randy Gard, COO of Bosselman Enterprises, which owns the Nebraska-based Pump & Pantry convenience store chain, and Mike Lewis, co-founder of California-based Pearson Fuels, one of the nation’s largest E85 distributors. Both spoke on the history and “math” associated with selling E15 and flex fuels, including Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits and Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and reminded attendees while year-round E15 could eventually move large amounts of ethanol, E85 is already moving massive amounts of ethanol and could move more.Pearson Fuels supplies nearly 80 percent of E85 locations in California and sales have consistently increased, despite the state’s distance from the Midwest agriculture industry. In fact, the company sells almost twice as much E85 per year as is sold in Minnesota, according to Lewis. He also pointed out Pearson’s gallons didn’t dip when flex fuel volumes dropped in most other markets last year, primarily because California’s LCFS credits give E85 additional price advantages in the marketplace. Lewis expressed concern over the declining number of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) being made available by automakers and encouraged attendees to get involved in the fight, starting with signing a free, online petition urging automakers to make more FFVs. Pearson has made considerable investment in encouraging state and federal policies to incentivize FFV production, and received good news on that front yesterday, when EPA issued an F factor for MY 2019, and announced it would be making a determination for future years soon. The F factor gives additional credits to automakers based on reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when operating on E85.Bosselman Enterprises was one of the first marketers to sell E15 and E85 in Nebraska, and once they realized how to monetize RINs, that knowledge helped them quickly gain new market share. Gard said adding E15 and E85 and pricing both competitively has helped the company increase its gallons, customer counts, and average customer spend at its locations. Gard also showed attendees the new “Boss Fuel” brand Bosselman is now using at its Pump & Pantry locations. “It’s a simplification of color, of nomenclature, of buttons, and our approach is ‘Boss Fuel is a superior fuel for the road ahead,’” Gard said. “We’ve increased our sales of E15 tenfold by giving it an identity.”ACE senior vice president Ron Lamberty moderated the discussion, saying the two companies were excellent examples of ACE’s marketer-to-marketer approach of sharing success stories like Lewis’ and Gard’s with their peers at trade shows, workshops, and the flexfuelforward.com website. “The best way to increase the volume we sell is by going to retailers who have already done it and asking them to share their strategies with their peers,” Lamberty said. “Bosselman has jumped from selling around 50,000 gallons of E15 per month to around 500,000, and Pearson Fuels has increased by a little less than a million gallons of E85 per year to almost 30 million now. These retailers are selling a lot more of our product than they were only a few years ago, and we’re sharing their success stories with interested retailers nationwide, so they can sell more ethanol, too.”Lamberty will join Gard in Kearney, Nebraska, this week to provide the keynote address at a Nebraska Ethanol Board hosted fuel retailer training to educate them about selling E15 and higher ethanol blends.Midwest States Seek to Fix Missouri River Flood Bottlenecks(AP) -- After a year of devastating flooding, several Midwestern states are joining together to try to identify bottlenecks along the Missouri River that can cause waters to back up and worsen flooding in certain areas.Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska submitted a study proposal Tuesday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages dams and helps design many of the major levees in the Missouri River basin, said Dru Buntin, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.The analysis, which could take up to six months to complete, would identify constriction points such as levees, roads or bridge embankments that can increase the river's chances of flooding. Federal, state and local officials then could come up with alternatives as part of a regional approach to reducing the damage from future floods, Buntin said."We're not going to go back to the years in the past, where all of the sudden once the flood's over we go back to the same practices, the same ways that we have always done things," Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said. "It's time to make changes."The plan was announced at the first meeting of a Missouri flood recovery task force. Other states and cities also are rethinking the way they rebuild from floods, which some experts contend are becoming more likely due to climate change. Some officials from Midwestern states also have blamed the Corps' river management practices for contributing to the floods.The Missouri meeting was attended by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leaders from district offices in Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha, Nebraska, and Rock Island, Illinois.Col. John Hudson, commander of the Corp's Omaha District, cautioned that fixing pinch points along the river is not a long-term solution because new problem spots could emerge elsewhere. The bigger challenge, he said, is the overall care and capacity of the Missouri River system, which includes six major dams in South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana.The Corps has estimated that it could cost more than $1 billion to repair levees damaged by this year's flooding in the Missouri River basin. Flooding and severe storms have caused an estimated $1.2 billion of additional damage to public infrastructure in about two dozen states, according to an Associated Press analysis.Those figures don't include damage to homes, businesses and farms. In Missouri alone, an estimated 1.2 million acres (0.49 million hectares) of farmland were flooded and more than $100 million of crop insurance already has been paid to more than 12,000 claimants, federal and state officials said Tuesday.Officials hoping to fix flood bottlenecks pointed to Iowa Highway 2 as one example. The four-lane road was flooded and washed out along its approach to a Missouri River bridge that connects with Nebraska. Highway engineers say part of the problem rests with a levee that juts closer to the river at that point, creating a narrow passageway for raging floodwaters.The Iowa Department of Transportation has approved a $34 million project to re-align the levee and build a pair of 1,000-foot-long (305-meter-long) bridges before the road reaches the main Missouri River bridge. By widening the path for flood waters, studies indicate the upstream water level could drop by as much as 1 foot during a major flood, said Charlie Purcell, director of the project delivery division at the Iowa Department of Transportation."It basically reduces the amount of water that kind of piles up upstream of the bridge location," Purcell said. "It will lessen the likelihood of levee overtopping."Iowa Manure Applicator Certification Program Continues to Train Applicators, Protect ResourcesNow 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.Workshops Explain Foreign Animal Disease Plan Using Secure Pork SupplyIn the event of an African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease, or Classical Swine Fever outbreak in the United States, state and federal regulatory officials will restrict animal movement to slow or stop the spread of these foreign animal diseases. If your animals are located in a disease control area, you will need to meet certain criteria to request a permit to move your animals. Guidance for requesting movement permits can be found in the Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan.Iowa Pork Industry Center and ISU Extension and Outreach swine specialists are available to help producers understand state and federal responses and learn how to use SPS resources to prepare for a foreign animal disease outbreak. Individual producer participation will help ensure a more prepared swine industry overall.FAD Prep 101What to expect during a foreign animal disease outbreak. Learn about the producer preparation resources in the SPS Plan. (2 hours; in person or online). Topics include:    National movement standstill    Quarantine and control areas    How does Secure Pork Supply help your business continue during an FAD outbreak?FAD 101 is now available as an online workshop; complete an online form to enroll.FAD Prep 201Learn about the resources in the SPS plan and how to apply it to your individual farm. (3 hours; FAD Prep 101 is a prerequisite).Topics include:    Ensuring you have a valid premises ID number    Keeping accurate movement records of animals, people, equipment    Writing your enhanced biosecurity plan and creating a site map    Training caretakers in enhanced biosecurity    Monitoring for a foreign animal disease on your farm (ASF, FMD, CSF) and knowing who to call    Bring with you: Multiple copies of aerial map of your site(s), and a list of inputs (animals, feed, fuel, people, etc.) and outputs (animals, manure, garbage, etc.) that enter and leave your farm in a given month.Workshop dates and locations in IowaMore workshops will be scheduled soon. Sign up for the email list to receive updates when dates and locations are announced, or email chipmana@iastate.edu to schedule a workshop or individual or small group plan assistance.They also offer individual and small group assistance with developing a Secure Pork Supply plan for your operation. Please note that FAD Prep 101 is a prerequisite for this assistance. An ISU Extension and Outreach swine specialist will visit the farm and educate producers and caretakers on how to develop and implement the SPS plan on your operation. If you are interested in scheduling a workshop, webinar or individual or small group plan assistance, please email Amanda Chipman at chipmana@iastate.edu.United States and Canadian Cattle Inventory Down Slightly All cattle and calves in the United States and Canada combined totaled 115 million head on July 1, 2019, down slightly from the 115 million head on July 1, 2018. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 46.3 million head, were down slightly from a year ago.                         All cattle and calves in the United States as of July 1, 2019, totaled 103 million head, unchanged from July 1, 2018. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 41.7 million head, were down slightly from a year ago. All cattle and calves in Canada as of July 1, 2019, totaled 12.3 million head, down 1 percent from the 12.4 million head on July 1, 2018. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 4.64 million head, were down 1 percent from a year ago.This publication is a result of a joint effort by Statistics Canada and NASS to release the number of cattle and calves by class and calf crop for both countries within one publication. This information was requested by the United States cattle industry to provide producers additional information about potential beef supplies. United States inventory numbers were previously released on July 19, 2019. Canadian inventory numbers were previously released on August 22, 2019.United States and Canadian Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent United States and Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs for June 2019 was 89.5 million head. This was up 3 percent from June 2018, and up 5 percent from June 2017. The breeding inventory, at 7.64 million head, was up 1 percent from a year ago and up 4 percent from 2017. Market hog inventory, at 81.8 million head, was up 3 percent from last year and up 5 percent from 2017. The semi-annual pig crop, at 81.7 million head, was up 3 percent from 2018 and up 5 percent from 2017. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 7.45 million head, up 1 percent from last year and up 3 percent from 2017.United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2019 was 75.5 million head. This was up 4 percent from June 1, 2018 and up 1 percent from March 1, 2019. The breeding inventory, at 6.41 million head, was up 1 percent from last year, and up 1 percent from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 69.1 million head, was up 4 percent from last year, and up 1 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 34.2 million head, was up 4 percent from 2018 and up 7 percent from 2017. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.11 million head, up slightly from 2018 and up 3 percent from 2017.  Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs on July 1, 2019 was 14.0 million head. This was down slightly from July 1, 2018 and down 2 percent from July 1, 2017. The breeding inventory, at 1.23 million head, was down 1 percent from last year and down 2 percent from 2017. Market hog inventory, at 12.7 million head, was up slightly from last year but down 2 percent from 2017. The semi-annual pig crop, at 14.1 million head, was up 1 percent from 2018 but down 5 percent from 2017. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 1.22 million head, down 1 percent from last year and down 3 percent from 2017. This publication is a result of a joint effort by Statistics Canada and NASS to release the total hogs, breeding, market hogs, sows farrowed, and pig crop for both countries within one publication. This information was requested by the United States hog industry to provide producers additional information about potential hog supplies. United States inventory numbers were previously released on June 27, 2019. Canadian inventory numbers were released on August 22, 2019.Cattle on FeedBrenda Boetel, Professor, Dept of Ag Econ, University of Wisconsin-River FallsThe United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report on Friday, August 23, 2019. The latest numbers released by the USDA showed aggressive marketings and were neutral in total numbers on feed and placements. Total cattle on feed on August 1, 2019 numbered 11.1 million head, slightly above August 2018.  Pre-report estimates expected cattle on feed numbers to be up 0.6%. Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.71 million head, down 2.2 percent from 2018. Pre-report estimates anticipated placements down only 0.5%. Poor pasture and range conditions helped contribute to lighter placement numbers.  Placements were up year-over-year only in California (21%), Washington (3%) and non-specified other states.  Lightweight categories saw declining placement numbers for July 2019, compared to year ago. Placements of cattle weighing less than 800 pounds were down 7.6%, while cattle weighing over 800 pounds saw placements increase 7.7%. Placements as a percentage of marketings were down 8% year-over-year from July 2018. Seasonally, net feedlot placements as a percentage of marketings typically increase between June and October. Given that we have seen a decrease in this number, while the number of feeder cattle remains high indicates placements will be increasing at a faster rate later this fallJuly marketings were aggressive but on par with pre-report estimates. Marketings were at 2 million head, up 6.4% over July 2018.  There was one more marketing day available in 2019 compared to 2018, which would attribute to greater marketings. As of August 1, the estimated supply of cattle on feed over 120 days is 0.7% above last year. Total cattle on feed inventory saw the largest July-to-August decline since 2008. Although cattle are currently being marketed in a timely manner, there is danger that this pace will slow and currentness will slip.   Given the decrease in slaughter capacity due to the Tyson fire, Saturday slaughter will need to continue to keep the market current.  Keeping up with the increased supply in the fourth quarter will be a challenge. Perdue Appoints Producers to Sorghum Checkoff BoardUnited States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today the appointment of five individuals to the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) board of directors.  Members will serve three-year terms.According to the USDA press release, the sorghum farmers appointed to the board are:    Kent Martin from Carmen, Oklahoma (At-Large)    James Haase from Eads, Colorado    Jeffry D. Zortman from Fowler, Kansas    Kendall Hodgson from Little River, Kansas    Joshua Birdwell from Malone, TexasKent Martin was reappointed to the at-large seat he currently holds, and James Haase was appointed to a vacant at-large seat. Jeffry Zortman and Kendall Hodgson were appointed to the two Kansas seats held by Martin Kerschen from Garden Plain, Kansas, and Clayton Short from Assaria. Joshua Birdwell was appointed to the Texas seat held by Dan Krienke of Perryton, Texas. Kerschen, Short and Krienke will complete their service to the board in December."We look forward to welcoming both the new and returning directors to the Sorghum Checkoff board of directors," said Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Florentino Lopez. "The board of directors plays an essential role in our efforts to innovate and enhance the value of sorghum, and we anticipate the talent and contributions these new and returning individuals will bring to the board of directors and to the benefit of our industry’s farmers."The 13-member board is authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The Secretary selected the appointees from sorghum producers nominated by certified sorghum producer organizations. Del Monte Closes Two Food PlantsDel Monte Foods is closing two of its remaining 10 U.S. plants, laying off hundreds of workers, as the food company looks to further cut costs amid headwinds that include tariffs and rising metal packaging costs. The layoffs add to a tally that is already the highest for the food manufacturing industry in a decade.CBS News reports that food manufacturers laid off nearly 16,000 workers in the first seven months of the year, up 85% from a year ago and the highest total for the sector in that period since 2009.Del Monte Foods, the U.S. subsidiary of Del Monte Pacific, in the fall plans to close its plant in Mendota, Illinois, laying off nearly 500 workers at the facility that packages products including peas, carrots and mixed vegetables. It also plans to shutter its plant in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, where as many as 400 are employed during the processing season.New Holland to showcase industry-leading integrated hay and forage lineup at Farm Progress ShowNew Holland is unveiling its full lineup of integrated hay and forage solutions and inviting attendees to experience their latest innovations up close at the nation’s largest outdoor farm event, Farm Progress Show. New Holland is exhibiting at booth #1151 in the show’s northwest quadrant from August 27-29 in Decatur, Illinois.“The Farm Progress Show is truly the epicenter of agricultural innovation for our customers,” says Brett Davis, Vice President for New Holland, North America, who joined the New Holland brand in April. “We couldn’t think of a better place to honor our legacy and share our dedication to continuing to be the solutions provider for hay and forage growers as we enter our 125th year in 2020.”The agricultural equipment manufacturing leader will showcase a selection of haytools including the latest in round balers, rakes, disc mower-conditioners and a range of New Holland tractors suited to any operation. Growers will also be able to experience the reimagined cab and intuitive precision farming platform of the new Genesis® T8 with PLM Intelligence. In addition, New Holland will showcase updates to its MYPLMCONNECT and MYNEWHOLLAND portals and mobile apps that enhance on-farm customer productivity.New Holland is featuring several products and announcements this year, including:One of the industry’s largest haytools giveaways in agriculture historyNew Holland will be showcasing the five pieces of haying equipment in The Great New Holland Haytools Giveaway for the first time. This includes a special-edition Blue Power T6.180 Dynamic Command Transmission tractor with 855LA loader, Discbine® 313 mower-conditioner, Rolabar® 230 rake, Roll-Belt™ 560 Specialty Crop Plus round baler, and a special-edition blue L228 skid steer loader with bale grapple. Visit the booth or see the announcement for more details.New Rolabar® 230 twin basket rakeThe new Rolabar 230 twin basket rake delivers high capacity, clean raking with simple, intuitive operator controls. With raking capacity up to 30 feet, this rake matches well with large SP windrower heads and large center-pivot mower-conditioners.The best in round bale technologyThe Roll-Belt™ 560 Specialty Crop Plus and the Roll-Belt 450 will both be on display, showcasing the smartest technology in round balers. Booth visitors will learn how New Holland produces the industry’s highest density bales, and how that results in higher quality feed, reduced storage losses and more profitability for producers.Golden Harvest connects with John Deere Operations Center for farmer-focused data integrationFarmers who grow Golden Harvest® corn or soybeans will soon have more data integration available to enhance their on-farm decision-making. This fall, Golden Harvest is connecting with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere's API services so that farmers will be able to receive better recommendations via E-Luminate®, the Golden Harvest digital ag platform.This is the first data integration for E-Luminate, which is available on desktop and as a mobile app. E-Luminate already helps farmers fine-tune hybrid and variety placement, as well as support management decisions throughout the season, via high-resolution imagery. Now, integration with the John Deere Operations Center will provide an automatic and seamless assimilation with yield data to improve seed decisions."To unlock data's full potential, it needs to be available in the tools that farmers actually use," said Justin Welch, Syngenta digital product manager. "Bringing together John Deere – one of the largest trusted data advisors – with E-Luminate means Golden Harvest farmers will be more empowered than ever to make informed, impactful decisions."This winter, farmers will be able to share harvest data with their Golden Harvest Seed Advisors automatically via E-Luminate to inform seed decisions for next season. This connection will help farmers to capture the full value of their Golden Harvest seed investment.E-Luminate is provided free of charge to Golden Harvest farmers as a value-added service available through Golden Harvest Seed Advisors."We're investing in digital tools because actionable data helps farmers get the full benefit from their seed purchase," said Welch. "We believe E-Luminate and services like it should be included in the cost of doing business. When you buy seed from a Golden Harvest Seed Advisor, you're not only going to get top-performing corn and soybeans, but also the recommendations and trusted service you need to maximize your profit potential."AGCO Invests Significantly in Fendt N.A. and Doubles Fendt Dealership LocationsAGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, continues to invest significantly in Fendt North America by doubling Fendt dealer locations in the past year while introducing a row crop-friendly tractor and the MOMENTUMTM planter.   With the launch of the revolutionary Fendt IDEALTM combine in 2018, and the introduction of the redesigned, new row crop-friendly Fendt 900 Gen6 series of tractors, AGCO is positioning the Fendt brand as the premium brand of choice for North American farmers and producers. Not only has the Fendt product offering in North America expanded, but so too has the dealer network.Fendt Dealer Network Expansion – By the NumbersNorth America now has a total of 189 Fendt dealership locations. Of that total, 98 are new locations that have joined the Fendt family just in the past year.Special emphasis was put on placing new Fendt dealerships in areas to best serve prospective customers and existing Fendt owners. Fendt dealerships are now in 37 of the 54 U.S. states and Canadian provinces that are considered large ag markets, or 69 percent of all large ag markets.“The Fendt dealership expansion is a clear sign of our continued commitment not only to growth in North America, but to an expanded group of customers who, when they learn why Fendt has such a dedicated fan base, will also want to be Fendt owners,” says Bob Crain, senior vice president and general manager, Americas, AGCO. “Our existing Fendt dealers are excited about the new products that meet the needs of North American farmers and our new Fendt dealers look forward to bringing their customers into the Fendt family.All Fendt North American dealers can be found here: https://www.fendt.com/us/#dealerFendt Product OfferingsFendt tractors have been sold in North America since 1998, and 2019 is the launch of the newly redesigned Fendt 900 tractor series. The five new Fendt Gen 6 models are all-around workhorses built upon Fendt’s 90 years of engineering innovation and manufacturing excellence. The 900 Series tractors are designed specifically to meet the needs of producers in North America and range from 296 to 415 HP. They feature many of the cutting-edge technologies first introduced on the Fendt 1000 Series in agile, crop-friendly machines that will handle any task a crop producer, large-scale cattle operation or custom farming operation faces.“We are aggressively addressing the row crop segment in North America, which is very important because nearly 75 percent of North American farmers have row crop conditions,” says Crain. “Along with our industry-leading Challenger® MT700 and MT800 tracked tractors, and RoGator® and TerraGator® application equipment, we provide high-tech, user-friendly, efficient farming equipment to help our farmers retain the most profit in this challenging environment.”The Fendt IDEALTM combine, the first clean-sheet design for a combine in the ag industry in over 30 years, launched in 2018, was the next Fendt product to take North America by storm. Setting a new standard for harvesting automation, and blending Fendt’s tradition of engineering innovation with the most advanced operating technology, the IDEAL combine delivers what producers around the world told AGCO they want in a combine – in-field efficiency, unfailing uptime, totally simple operation, and better grain quality.And launching in February 2020, the revolutionary Fendt MOMENTUM planter – a global planter platform designed from the ground up for producers across the globe. First debuted in Brazil, and currently undergoing extensive field trials in North America, the MOMENTUM planter will change the way farmers think about planting.  With the AGCO acquisition of Precision Planting two years ago, the MOMENTUM planter features the latest, exclusive Precision Planting technologies.Each North American Fendt product is backed by Fendt Gold Star Customer Care, assuring more value and more uptime. This industry-best warranty, with no deductible, for 36 months or 3,000 hours for tractors, and 36 months or 1,200 hours for IDEAL, covers all scheduled maintenance, including the cost of oil, filters, belts and maintenance items during this time. Fendt dealers provide industry-leading parts support and if a crucial part isn’t available from the dealer, it will be shipped via the fastest option from the nearest AGCO Parts Distribution Center or the factory. Highly trained technicians use the latest technology to quickly diagnose problems at the farm or the shop to save Fendt owners time and money through reduced downtime and lower service fees.Fendt – History of Quality and InnovationSince its beginning more than 90 years ago, Fendt has combined craftsmanship with engineering while listening to their customers and solving their problems without sacrificing quality or reliably. Fendt products today reflect that history of innovation and problem solving. They bring producers around the globe an expanding list of new technologies driving fuel efficiency, ease-of-use, comfort and reduced cost per acre.Though Fendt established technology leadership in the mid-1990s by introducing the continuously variable transmission (CVT), few are familiar with the array of innovations Fendt has developed through the years. These innovations include:    The Dieselross F18, introduced in 1937, featured a travel-independent power-shift PTO, which meant the PTO didn’t stop when the operator stopped the tractor.    In 1980, Fendt introduced the 300 Farmer Series, the first tractor with a four-wheel braking system and a transport speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). All-wheel braking not only increases transport safety, but provides greater stopping power when transporting heavy loads, such as a manure tanker.    Fendt premiered the world’s first high horsepower tractor with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) stepless transmission, the 926 Vario, at Germany’s 1995 Agritechnica show. The Fendt Vario, as it was named, allows the operator to utilize the power reserves normally hidden in the areas between gears and select the perfect speed for every application.    The Fendt 800 and 900 Vario tractors also introduced VarioGrip, the industry’s first integrated tire pressure regulation system that is adjusted from the cab. The benefits include less tire wear, lower rolling resistance, lower fuel costs, greater stability in the field and on the road, as well as the ability to minimize compaction in the field.

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending August 25, 2019, there were 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 8 short, 76 adequate, and 15 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 8 short, 77 adequate, and 14 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19 fair, 57 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dough was 80 percent, behind 93 last year and 90 for the five-year average. Dented was 36 percent, well behind 56 last year, and behind 49 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 21 fair, 61 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 97 percent, near 100 both last year and average. Setting pods was 83 percent, behind 95 last year and 94 average. Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 16 fair, 66 good, and 16 excellent. Sorghum headed was 94 percent, behind 99 last year, and near 98 average. Coloring was 21 percent, well behind 59 last year and 48 average. Oats harvested was 97 percent, near 100 last year and 99 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 10 percent very poor, 18 poor, 16 fair, 49 good, and 7 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 98 percent. Setting pods was 92 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 14 fair, 65 good, and 17 excellent. Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report Rain across most of Iowa improved dry soil conditions during the week ending August 25, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Reporters throughout the State mentioned the need for warmer weather as cooler than normal temperatures have slowed crop development. Fieldwork activities included spraying fungicides and insecticides on late planted crops and harvesting hay. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 3 percent very short, 20 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. The Northwest District was the only district where topsoil moisture condition became drier this past week. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 20 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Seventy-six percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, 11 days behind last year and 9 days behind the 5-year average. Twenty-one percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. Nearly all the soybean crop has started to bloom at 96 percent statewide, 11 days behind average. Eighty-four percent of the crop has started setting pods, 17 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 62 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 49 percent, 11 days behind average. Hay condition rated 57 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition improved slightly for the first time in 7 weeks and rated 44 percent good to excellent. There were no reported livestock issues this past week. Corn, Soybean Condition Ratings Up; Development Still Behind NormalCorn and soybean conditions improved slightly last week, but remain at a seven-year low, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. Development of both crops also remains well behind normal.As of Sunday, Aug. 25, the U.S. corn crop was rated 57% in good-to-excellent condition, up 1 percentage point from 56% the previous week.  Corn's current condition rating compares to last year's 68% and is the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years.  Corn development continued to lag behind the average pace last week. Nationwide, corn in the dough stage was estimated at 71%, up 16 percentage points from 55% the previous week but 16 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was running 21 percentage points behind average.Corn dented was 27%, behind last year's 59% and 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 46%. That was further behind normal than in last Monday's report, when corn dented was 15 percentage points behind average.Soybean condition also improved slightly last week. As of Sunday, 55% of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 53% the previous week. The current nationwide soybean condition rating remains below last year's good-to-excellent rating of 66% and continues to be the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year since 2012.The portion of the soybean crop that was blooming was 94%, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%. That was a slight improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 6 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 79% as of Sunday, 12 percentage points behind the average pace of 91%. That was closer to average than in last week's report, when soybeans setting pods was 17 percentage points behind the average pace.Spring wheat harvest picked up steam last week, moving ahead 22 percentage points from the previous week to reach 38% as of Sunday. That was still well behind last year's 75% and 27 percentage points behind the five-year average of 65%.Sorghum heading reached 86% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 90%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 41%, behind the average of 52%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 22%, behind the average of 30%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 20%, equal to the five-year average. Oats were 75% harvested, behind the average of 86%.Cotton setting bolls was 90%, near the five-year average of 91%. Cotton bolls opening was at 28%, ahead of the average of 19%. Cotton condition was rated 43% good to excellent, down 6 percentage points from 49% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 96%, near the average of 97%. Rice harvested was 15%, slightly behind the average of 18%. Sign-up begins Oct. 1st for new irrigated acresLandowners within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, will have an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres in some portions of the District this fall.The LENRD board voted, at their August meeting, to allow up to 450 acre-feet of new depletions, in accordance with their Voluntary Integrated Management Plan for irrigation development in the Hydrologically Connected or 10/50 Area, and to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Non-Hydrologically Connected or Non 10/50 Area under the district’s standard variance process.  An approved variance is a requirement for any expansion of irrigated acres in the LENRD, whether from an existing or new irrigation well.Geographic portions of the district that are eligible to be considered for standard variances are areas that fall within the top three categories of the classification map.  A map of the eligible locations will be available at the LENRD office in Norfolk by no later than August 30th.Excluded from consideration for this sign-up period will be any parcel of land located in any Quantity Management Subarea or Phase 3 Area located within the LENRD.LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The board also approved the scoring sheets used by staff when processing applications and reauthorized use of the Conditions for Approval policy, which has accompanied approved variances each of the last two years.  In addition, a minimum soil score of 90 must be met for any standard variance to be considered for approval.”The board established a sign-up period to receive applications for Standard Variances between October 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2019.  Contact the LENRD for more information or visit:  www.lenrd.org/latest-news/  Application forms will be available online and in the office beginning October 1st.Farm Bureau Urges USDA to Keep Close Eye on Cattle Markets After Packing Plant FireNebraska Farm Bureau is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use the full authorities granted to the agency to monitor and address concerns stemming from the shutdown of a Holcomb, Kansas beef packing facility following a recent fire. The temporary closing of the plant, which accounted for five percent of the daily U.S. cattle slaughter, has led to considerable consternation for both cattle producers and cattle markets alike.In an Aug. 22 letter to USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson asked USDA to address a pair of specific issues related to the incident. The first being to help address the considerable shift in cattle slaughter to other plants by USDA shifting additional regulatory staff to those facilities.“We ask USDA to provide all of the needed grading and inspection staff that will be required to address these needs as quickly as possible,” wrote Nelson in the letter.In addition to keeping beef processing moving forward, Nebraska Farm Bureau also urged USDA to keep a close eye on cattle markets.“Given the situation in Kansas and the resulting impacts it has had on cattle prices, we hope USDA and the Packers and Stockyards Division will actively investigate the recent movements in cattle markets. We also hope any anti-competitive activities will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” wrote Nelson.The Packers and Stockyards Act makes it unlawful for any packer to engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practices or devices as they procure livestock.“While we certainly understand rules and regulations place restrictions on what assistance can be provided, we hope USDA will use all of its authority to ensure operations run smoothly and beef producers are treated fairly,” wrote Nelson. “We thank you and your team for your time and assistance through this difficult situation and for everything you do for Nebraska farm and ranch families.”LB 344: “Animal Health and Disease Control Act”Jim Dinklage, President Independent Cattlemen of NebraskaAugust 20, 2019 Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) President Jim Dinklage and ICON Natural Resource Chairman Dr. Don Cain, Jr. met at the Nebraska State Capital with a group of concerned personnel. The meeting was organized by Rick Leonard, Legislative Research Analyst at the request of Senator Steve Halloran. Those attending were Senator Halloran; Senator Tom Brandt of the Agriculture Committee; Rick Leonard, Legislative Research Analyst; Amelia Breinig representing the NE Department of Agriculture; Bruce Rieker and Ansley Mick, Farm Bureau; John Hansen, Farmers Union; Kris Bousquet, NE State Dairy Assoc.; Jessica Herrmann and Melody Benjamin, NE Cattlemen; Al Juhnke, NE Pork Producers; Katie Zulkoski, lobbyist for NE Veterinary Medical Assoc.; and Russ Westerhold, lobbyist for NE Pork Producers and NE Egg and Poultry Association. The meeting was chaired by Senator Halloran of the Agriculture Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to go over the details of to LB 344 and entertain suggestions or amendments to the bill being considered and debated on by the Legislature. After some discussion, it was suggested by Al Juhnke that each section of the bill needed to be discussed in depth. Many questions concerning animal health were brought up.Section 54 of LB 344 was noted to be of concern by Dinklage from ICON. It deals with complying with Federal animal disease traceability requirements for official identification of animals as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations Citation section 86.4-official identification. In this section it does not specifically state as to what is an official ear tag. But when it describes an official animal identification, it talks about an “electronic” number. Dr. Cain informed the group that at the annual NE State Veterinarian meeting, the veterinarians were informed that by 2023 the mandatory official identification ear tag for health reasons would be electronic. Dinklage closed this discussion on section 54 of LB 344 by saying that ICON would not support the government using mandatory E-ID tags as the ONLY official animal health identification. That it would probably lead to all cattle being identified with E-ID tag and premise identifications.The meeting went on to discuss the remaining sections of LB 344.In closing, it was decided that the NE Department of Agriculture, Legislative Research Analyst Rick Leonard, and any at the meeting would re-review LB 344 and make more corrections or changes to the law. These changes would again be reviewed in a group meeting by those of interest and then sent to the Agriculture Committee.ICON Resolution #3 for 2019, “Animal Identification”, more specifically spells out the position ICON has regarding mandatory E-ID tags. This resolution will be available at www.IndependentCattlemen.com or contact ICON directly for a copy of the 2019 resolutions. The Independent Cattlemen Of Nebraska are the “Voice of the Mother Cow” and our goal is to make sure that this voice is heard and the burdens of her caretakers are lessened. Valley Irrigation to Launch Valley 365 Crop Management Platform in Early 2020Valley Irrigation, The Leader in Precision Irrigation, is pleased to announce the launch of Valley 365™, a new single-source platform for connected crop management, due for release in early 2020.valleyirrigation.com/365Valley 365 combines the best features of existing Valley technology into one easy-to-use interface for single sign-on access to complete connected crop management. With functionality from key solutions like AgSense®, Valley Scheduling™, Valley® Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) and Valley Insights™, it's a true command center that connects growers to their fields."The ability to access the tried-and-true Valley technology with one single sign-on is a major benefit in itself," says Andy Carritt, Vice President, Product Development for Valley Irrigation. "And the real value of this end-to-end platform is that it gives growers greater efficiency, helps them make smarter business decisions and is built to support future advancements in precision irrigation."Valley 365 also offers:    Greater efficiency – Existing applications will seamlessly integrate, allowing growers to use a single sign-on to access all solutions.    Accessibility – This end-to-end cloud-based platform offers growers a simpler, more intuitive user experience, anytime and anywhere.    Intelligence – Growers can leverage equipment, environmental and agronomic data more effectively, in real time.    Scalability – This innovative software solution will enable our growers to add features effortlessly, and is customizable based on their changing needs.    Security – Built upon the latest cloud-based technology, it provides unlimited data storage, offers enhanced support capability and is extremely secure."At Valley, we invest in technology because we are invested in our growers," Carritt says, "and Valley 365 streamlines the core applications they know and trust, supported by the strength of our industry-best structures and dealer network."To see more of what Valley 365 has to offer, visit Valley Irrigation at Husker Harvest Days (Sept. 10-12). Cow Mineral Nutrition: Macro Minerals and Their Importance  Steve Niemeyer –  NE Extension Educator Mineral nutrition is vital to overall cow performance. Without appropriate balance of minerals, cows may not perform as desired or could exhibit detrimental effects. There is value in analyzing your mineral program to determine if modifications need to be made to improve cattle health and performance.Minerals are divided into two groups based on the quantity of the mineral required by the cow: macro minerals and micro minerals (trace minerals). The macro minerals are required as a percent of the diet dry matter, while micro minerals or trace minerals are required in ppm (parts per million). This article will focus on macro minerals.About Macro MineralsThere are seven macro minerals that need to be analyzed and balanced within a cow’s diet. These are calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), sodium (Na), chlorine (Cl) and potassium (K). Some of these minerals work together, while others work independently.Calcium and PhosphorusCalcium and P are two minerals that work hand in hand. These are the main mineral constituents in bone. In addition to their role in bone development, Ca is also important in muscle function and P plays key roles in metabolic functions throughout the body. In general, grazing cattle will have adequate Ca in forages, especially legumes such as alfalfa. On the other hand, P can be deficient in these forages and supplemental P is generally needed in forage-based diets, but how much? The key is to sample and test forages to determine mineral content and select a mineral to meet the cow’s needs. It is relatively easy to meet requirements for Ca and P, but there is also value in ensuring the proper Ca:P ratio. The optimum Ca:P ratio based on extensive research is 1.5:1 to 2:1. The requirements for Ca and P change with animal age and stage of production. The Ca requirement for a 1400 lb lactating cows is 0.30% and P is 0.20% of the diet dry matter. These requirements decrease in non-lactating cows.MagnesiumMagnesium is required at 0.20% of the diet dry matter for lactating cows and 0.12% for gestating cows. Magnesium plays a role in enzyme and nervous system function, as well as carbohydrate metabolism. It is critical that cows receive sufficient Mg when they are lactating heavily, especially if they are grazing lush, rapidly growing pastures. Oftentimes these pastures have excess K, which inhibits Mg absorption in both the plant and animal. A high Mg mineral (8-13% Mg) should be provided to lactating cows two to four weeks prior to turn out onto rapidly growing grass, to increase Mg intake to 0.25% of diet dry matter and prevent grass tetany.SulfurSulfur is not typically thought to be necessary in mineral supplements, but conversely how it can cause toxicity. Sulfur is necessary in the diet for the rumen microorganisms to form sulfur-containing amino acids. There are multiple sources of S and some of these can result in toxicity, specifically high sulfate water in western South Dakota. Research conducted at the SDSU Cottonwood Field Station shows that excess sulfates in water can cause polioencephalomalacia (PEM or polio) in cattle. Symptoms include blindness, difficulty walking, muscle tremors, convulsions and ultimately death. Cattle on pasture require 0.15% sulfur, but forages and water should be tested prior to adding sulfur to a mineral supplement. Many forages contain adequate sulfur to meet requirements and there is sulfur in the water, it will have an additive effect. If sulfur levels in the total diet exceed 0.30%, cattle can start to experience negative effects on health and performance.Sodium and ChlorineSodium and chlorine work together to maintain cellular volume, pH and osmolarity of body fluids. Sodium chloride (NaCl, salt) promotes water intake. Sodium plays a role with K for nutrient transport into and out of cells and Cl is involved primarily in the production of hydrochloric acid in the abomasum (stomach) to aid in digestion. Cattle have a taste for salt and a 1400 lb cow will consume between 1 and 2 ounces of salt per day to meet requirements. Various factors affect salt intake and it is key to have plenty of fresh water available at all times.PotassiumAs mentioned previously, K works with Na in the body to regulate osmotic pressure and transport nutrients in and out of cells. As the K levels increase, the Na levels will need to increase equally. Through forage analysis, K levels are adequate in most of western South Dakota, with the 1400 lb lactating cow having a requirement of 0.70% of diet dry matter and most forages samples having close to 2% K. Potassium will leach out of dormant forages, therefore it may be necessary to provide a mineral supplement that contains 1% K to remedy any deficiencies.The Bottom LineMineral nutrition and balance is key to animal performance and productivity. Take time to evaluate your mineral program and determine if the supplements you are using are meeting the needs of your cattle. It is often stated that a mineral is formulated for a region, but there can be significant variations in minerals from one side of your ranch to the other. There is great value in sampling forages when cattle care grazing them to get a better understanding of what minerals are available in the forage. Water also plays an important role in mineral status, so sampling water is important when determining what needs to be provided in the form of a supplement.National Pork Board to Host First-Ever Swine Innovation SummitThe National Pork Board will host the inaugural Swine Innovation Summit in Indianapolis on September 17, 2019, as a special event, prior to participating in the Forbes AgTech Summit Indianapolis. National Pork Board leaders will attend the Forbes AgTech Summit, held on September 18 and 19, as part of its ongoing support of AgTech innovation and the THRIVE Midwest Challenge. Forbes and SVG Ventures-THRIVE are founding partners of the AgTech Summit and partner with AgriNovus Indiana, Corteva, Elanco Animal Health, Land O’Lakes and Purdue University to provide networking and showcase opportunities in the Midwest.Today’s food production systems are undergoing explosive change and the animal agriculture industry needs to prepare in order to keep pace. The Swine Innovation Summit will focus on three key drivers of change including emerging technology, new and dynamic business models and consumer behaviors which impact shopping preferences and food choices. “Today’s consumers literally carry supercomputers in their pockets and have access to information – both accurate and misleading – that they leverage in making on-the-spot purchase decisions,” said Andy Brudtkuhl, National Pork Board’s director of emerging technology. “In the span of a few short hours, we intend to educate today’s pig farmers on what they need to know and how they must adapt to the changing world in which we live.”As part of its mandate to support pork research, promotion and education, the National Pork Board is offering the conference free of charge to pig farmers, swine veterinarians, authorized academics and allied industry. Interested attendees can see the agenda of the Swine Innovation Summit and register here.The National Pork Board became a THRIVE Corporate Innovation Partner with SVG Ventures in 2018 with the intention to connect world-class technology to the swine industry. The first annual Swine Innovation Summit is a collaborative effort between the National Pork Board and SVG Ventures-THRIVE to highlight entrepreneurs as it launches the THRIVE Swine Startup Showcase specifically for pork producers and swine industry partners. “Our ultimate goal is to drive innovation and to solve critical challenges facing the agriculture industry in the Midwest today and our expanding partnership with National Pork Board reflects this vision,” said John Hartnett, CEO SVG Ventures.The five finalists hand-selected to pitch on stage at the Swine Innovation Summit are BinSentry, Hog Wash, ProteoSense, SwineTech and Teichos Labs. The summit is focused on developing strategic solutions to improve swine farming sustainability practices of reducing land and water usage, lowering livestock carbon footprint, improving food safety, and protecting animal welfare.“Changing food production practices also includes technology that is disrupting not only how food is produced, but how it is transported, presented and sold to unknowing consumers,” Brudtkuhl said. “Understand, this is a trillion-dollar industry and it has never been more important to be ahead of emerging trends.”U.S. Pork Producers Celebrate Trade Agreement with JapanThe National Pork Producers Council today celebrated a U.S. trade agreement with Japan that, once implemented, will place it back on a level playing field with international competitors in one of its most important export markets. The agreement was announced at the G7 summit in France during a press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer."We thank the Trump administration for negotiating a trade agreement with Japan, a market that represented 25 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. and president of the National Pork Producers Council. "We look forward to rapid implementation of the agreement as international competitors are currently taking U.S. pork market share through more favorable access," he said."The United States produces the safest, highest-quality and most affordable pork in the world," added Herring. "It is the preference of many Japanese customers and we look forward to competing on a level playing field again." 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.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 Hails Announcement of Increased Access to the Japanese MarketNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s announcement for increased market access to Japan, the top export market for U.S. beef.“Today is an exciting day for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen. President Trump and his trade team have delivered another great victory for the U.S. beef industry by expanding market access to Japan, our top export market. Last year, Japanese consumers purchased over $2 billion of U.S. beef, accounting for roughly one-quarter of overall U.S. beef exports. Removing the massive 38.5 percent tariff on U.S. beef will level the playing field in Japan, and we are very thankful to President Trump and his trade team for continuing to fight on behalf of America’s ranching families.”USMEF Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade AnnouncementToday President Trump announced an agreement in principle that will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan - the largest value destination for U.S. pork and beef exports. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:This announcement is tremendous news for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and for everyone in the red meat supply chain, because it will level the playing field for U.S. pork and beef in the world's most competitive red meat import market. It is also a very positive development for our customer base in Japan, which USMEF and our industry partners have spent decades building. These customers have been very loyal to U.S. pork and beef, but our exports to Japan could not reach their full potential under Japan's current tariff structure.USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan, and especially the officials at USTR and USDA who worked tirelessly to secure this agreement. Favorable access to Japan is a major win, not only for the U.S. red meat industry but for all of U.S. agriculture and for our nation's rural economy. Ricketts: Japan Trade Agreement “Vital” for Beef State Farmers & RanchersToday, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan had reached an initial agreement on key parts of a U.S.-Japan trade deal.“For Nebraska, our trade relationship with Japan is one of our most important,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Japan is Nebraska’s number four export market, largest direct international investor, and largest international market for beef, pork, and eggs.  Thank you to President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for working with our friends in Japan on crafting a trade deal.  Getting this trade deal done and lowering tariffs for our beef and pork is vital for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers as well as our Japanese customers.”NEBRASKA AND JAPAN’S TRADE RELATIONSHIPJapan is Nebraska’s fourth largest export market, with over $1.1 billion worth of exports in 2017.  The country is Nebraska’s largest direct international investor with Japanese companies employing about 9,400 people in Nebraska.  They are Nebraska’s number one international customer for beef, pork, eggs and number two for ag exports overall, corn, and wheat.·       Beef:  $412.1 million – #1 market·       Pork:  $262.7 million – #1 market·       Corn: $242.4 million – #2 market·       Soybeans and Soybean Products: $78.5 million·       Eggs: $21.2 million – #1 market·       Wheat: $17.8 million – #2 marketStatement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Progress on U.S., Japan Trade Deal“Today’s news that the U.S. and Japan are moving closer to securing a bi-lateral trade deal is great news for Nebraska farmers and ranchers, especially our beef and pork producers. Japan is a critical market for Nebraska and one that we’ve needed to find a way to better tap into since the U.S. opted not to be a part of the larger Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.”“Since those CPTPP countries have moved forward, the U.S. has been on the outside looking in on a trade deal in which Japan offers lower tariff rates for a variety of agriculture products including beef and pork coming from partnering countries. While we’re anxious to learn more of the specifics of the pending bi-lateral U.S., Japan deal, any agreement that opens the door for greater market access and puts our farmers and ranchers on a more competitive playing field with producers around the globe is major step forward.”Fischer Statement on Preliminary U.S.-Japan Trade AgreementToday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a preliminary trade deal involving agriculture:“Japan is one of Nebraska’s largest trading partners. This preliminary deal would bring great opportunities to Nebraska farmers and ranchers, and I’m pleased to see President Trump working to fulfill his promises to provide them with more certainty. I look forward to continuing to work with this administration to expand market access for our state’s agricultural products.”As part of the trade deal, which both leaders expect to sign at next month’s United Nations General Assembly in New York, Japan will make substantial purchases of surplus U.S. corn and will also increase imports of beef and pork. Nebraska Cattlemen Comments on Recent Japan Trade AgreementMike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen PresidentNebraska Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s recent announcement for increased market access to Japan, the leading export market for Nebraska beef.“The importance of Japan’s market to Nebraska’s livestock industry is beyond significant. Japan is the leading export destination for Nebraska beef exports with a total value of $412.1 million in 2018. Right now, our leading competitor in the Japanese beef market is Australia, who already has a free trade agreement in place. This gives our top competitor a significant tariff advantage. Levelling the playing field in this key export market would directly benefit Nebraska’s livestock producersIowa Cattlemen applaud Japanese Trade AgreementNews that the U.S. and Japan have reached a tentative trade deal is cause for celebration in Iowa’s cattle industry.“Japan is the largest value export market for U.S. beef, responsible for about a quarter of all exports. That is despite an incredible tariff disadvantage compared to our competitors,” says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.President Trump announced over the weekend that a tentative agreement has been reached between the two countries, which will lower tariffs on U.S. beef and pork, leveling the playing field for U.S. beef with countries like Australia. The trade agreement is expected to be signed in September.Earlier this year, Japan eliminated a non-tariff barrier to U.S. beef, as well. Between 2003 and May of 2019, beef from cattle aged 30 months or older was not allowed into Japan.Japanese customers, like many other international consumers, value variety meats like tongue and offal, which are not in high demand in the United States.Secretary Perdue Statement on Japan AgreementU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the new trade agreement between the United States and Japan:“Japan is a significant market for United States agriculture exports, making today a good day for American agriculture. By removing existing barriers for our products, we will be able to sell more to the Japanese markets. At the same time we will able to close gaps to better allow us to compete on a level playing field with our competitors. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their constant support of America’s farmers and ranchers and their hard work negotiating better trade deals around the globe.”U.S. Grains Council Statement On Japan Agreement In PrinciplePresident and CEO Ryan LeGrand"The U.S. Grains Council is encouraged by the news of an agreement in principle between the U.S. and Japan on agricultural market access. While there are details yet to be worked out, lowering market access barriers with one of our most valuable and loyal grain buyers is a critical win-win."Combined with reductions or eliminations in agricultural tariffs that coincide with those under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-Japan EPA), a new agreement with Japan will allow our farmers a level playing field with our competitors."Japan is a deeply valued trading partner for U.S. grain farmers, currently the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and a significant buyer of U.S. sorghum and U.S. barley for food and feed purposes. Japan is also a partner with which we hope to build a growing ethanol market."We look forward to reviewing the final provisions announced this weekend and continue to support the completion of a comprehensive agreement that will include the enhanced sanitary and phytosanitary, good regulatory practices and precedent-setting biotechnology provisions strengthened under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA)."Soy Growers Pleased with Japan Trade Deal NewsThe American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased with news over the weekend that the Administration has reached an agreement with Japan, a top 10 export market for soybeans.In a statement released Sunday, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “By removing existing barriers for our products, we will be able to sell more to the Japanese markets. At the same time, we will be able to close gaps to better allow us to compete on a level playing field with our competitors.”ASA agrees with the Secretary’s sentiments and appreciates the administration moving forward with this bilateral agreement.Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), spoke on behalf of the association, saying, “We have repeatedly stressed this past year during the trade war with China that we would like the administration to work hard on existing and new free trade agreements (FTAs), so we are definitely pleased to hear that the President and his team have heard ASA and other farm groups by working on this deal. Along with more stability for soybean exports to Japan, this FTA also brings potential to increase pork and beef exports; a value-add opportunity for soybeans and way to create more jobs here in the U.S.”Soybeans and soy products are America’s leading agricultural export with an export value of more than $28 billion last year. More than 60% of America’s soy crop is exported globally.NCGA ENCOURAGED BY U.S.-JAPAN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLEThe National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the announcement that the United States and Japan have reached an agreement in principle that sets the stage for increased market access for American agriculture products in Japan.“This is very encouraging news,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “Japan is the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn and has been an important, longstanding trading partner with America’s corn farmers. We hope the next stage of negotiations are successful in enhancing rules of trade and building on this strong relationship.”Chrisp said NCGA is continuing conversations with the Trump Administration to learn more details on what specifically Sunday’s announcement will mean for America’s corn farmers.The U.S.-Japan announcement follows recent Administrative actions that have added to growing economic concerns across rural America. On Friday, the Chinese government announced it would levy an additional ten percent tariff on U.S. products, including corn and ethanol, in response to President Trump’s recent increase in tariffs on Chinese products. And earlier this month President Trump approved ethanol waivers to big oil companies, significantly reducing demand for corn.“An agreement with Japan is an achievement NCGA has long advocated for and a much-needed breakthrough amid some challenging times,” Chrisp said. “There is more work to do. Moving forward, it’s important the Administration continue efforts to gain market access for U.S. products and work to reaffirm its commitment to renewable fuels.”Wheat Industry Welcomes U.S. - Japan Trade DealYesterday, President Trump announced a trade agreement in principle between the United States and Japan that will keep exports of U.S. wheat flowing to a very large and crucial market for U.S. farmers.  “We are very happy that this agreement will end the growing competitive cost advantage that Canadian and Australian wheat imports got under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings. “We want to say thank you to the negotiators at the U.S. Trade Representative office and at the USDA trade and foreign affairs office for working so hard to prevent more export losses for farmers like me.”  “We applaud the Administration for completing this much needed trade deal with Japan,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “This is a huge win for those of us who grow wheat and all U.S. farmers and ranchers.”  “Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud and USDA Under Secretary Ted McKinney deserve special recognition for their efforts,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “They immediately understood what was at stake for wheat farmers without a trade deal and made this outcome a priority. We also thank government officials and our flour miller customers in Japan for their forward-thinking approach to the situation.”  U.S. wheat farmers in partnership with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service have helped build a strong demand among Japan’s flour millers for several classes of U.S. wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains.  However, when the CPTPP was implemented Dec. 30, 2018, without the United States, the effective tariffs on imported Canadian and Australian wheat started to decline. Locked out of the agreement, 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 the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.  The new agreement helps protect U.S. exports that represents about 50 percent of the sophisticated and demanding Japanese wheat market, with average annual sales of about 3 million metric tons that are currently worth about $700 million per year.  USW and NAWG believe that resolving such trade issues can again lift the rural economy by opening new markets for our wheat and other agricultural exports and increasing access in existing markets. The organizations would now welcome new trade negotiations such as with countries in the rapidly growing Southeast Asian and South American regions.Progress on Japan Negotiations Good NewsAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall“America’s farmers and ranchers are pleased to hear that the U.S. and Japan may be close to a trade deal that includes agriculture. This is much-needed good news on the agricultural trade front.“Top U.S. agricultural exports to Japan currently include beef, corn, pork, soybeans and wheat. We appreciate the Administration’s work to secure greater access for these farm goods and others.“We look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement.”     Growth Energy and Biofuels Producers Call for Action at the White HouseToday, Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, called on the Trump Administration to move swiftly to restore biofuel demand lost due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) continued abuse of small refinery exemptions. Growth Energy members, representing plants across the heartland, also sent a letter to the White House urging immediate action.“Our members and farm suppliers need the White House to make this right,” said Skor. “The EPA must immediately repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions and get lost gallons back into the marketplace before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback."In their letter to President Trump, ethanol producers reinforced how important this issue is to rural communities where plants are closing each week and millions of bushels of grain are falling in value.According to the letter, “…special exemptions have destroyed billions of gallons of U.S. biofuel demand. Many plants have idled production or shut their doors, and annual U.S. ethanol consumption fell for the first time in two decades…Each time a plant idles production, farmers are notified that biofuel producers can no longer accept grain deliveries, and the impact has been devastating for communities already on the edge.”Internal White House Documents: EPA Ignored Trump Administration Recommendations to Redistribute Small Refinery Waived VolumesDocuments obtained by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) show that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored strong recommendations from within the Trump Administration to redistribute Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending obligations lost to small refinery exemptions in the proposed rule for 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).According to the documents, which detail the White House Office of Management and Budget’s interagency review of the 2020 RVO proposal, some reviewers raised serious concerns about EPA’s failure to redistribute exempted biofuel blending volumes to non-exempt parties. Reviewers recommended that EPA include prospective redistribution of waived volumes in the 2020 proposal and also suggested a method for addressing a court order to restore 500 million gallons of blending obligations inappropriately waived in 2016. In the end, EPA ignored these recommendations.“The revelations in these documents will only exacerbate the outrage and anger in farm country over EPA’s abuse of the small refinery waiver provision,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The documents clearly show that EPA knowingly ignored strong recommendations from within the Administration to redistribute blending volumes that were exempted via small refinery waivers. EPA also disregarded recommendations to address a court order to restore 500 million gallons of lost blending obligations from 2016.”According to comments from one of the interagency reviewers, “EPA … put a zero (0) in for projected volume of gasoline for exempt small refineries and projected volume of diesel for exempt small refineries, ensuring your projected totals are not met and all actual outcomes or resulting biofuel requirements are biased to one side, lower.…we recommend conducting an analysis based on expected conditions at small refineries and the historic issuance of exemptions. This would provide a more accurate estimate of volumes of gasoline and diesel for exempt small refineries.”Reviewers suggested EPA include a projection of exempted gasoline and diesel of 12.5 billion gallons in the RVO formula, which would effectively ensure lost blending volumes are redistributed to non-exempt parties. The suggested projection of 2020 exempted volume is very close to the actual average exempted volume of 12.8 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel during the 2016-2018 period.To ensure the statutory purpose of the RFS is honored and exempted volumes were reallocated, reviewers recommended that “…[RVO] percentages should be adjusted to incorporate projected gasoline and diesel exempted through small refinery waivers to ensure consistency of your analysis throughout the document.”In response, EPA essentially blew off the reviewers’ recommendations. The Agency curtly responded that “The approach taken in this proposal is consistent with the approach first laid out in 2011 and followed since, and we have not proposed to revisit it. Whether to revisit this issue is a matter already under review at Agency leadership levels and we anticipate discussing it further while this action is under review.”“The solution to the small refinery waiver problem was right in front of EPA’s face the whole time, yet they chose to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” Cooper said. “The only way to begin calming the anxiety and aggravation in rural America is for EPA to immediately announce that it will resolve these issues in the upcoming 2020 RVO final rule. EPA must adopt the prospective reallocation approach recommended during the interagency review process in the 2020 rule, as well as include the 500-million-gallon remand. Anything short of that will be viewed by farmers and biofuel producers as another sellout to the oil industry and another kick in the teeth to the hardworking families in the Heartland.”Reviewers also scolded EPA for proposing to ignore a D.C. Circuit Court order to restore 500 million gallons of blending requirements illegally waived by EPA in 2016, stating, “…you reject the ACE court remand because you conclude there is no ‘room’ to incorporate it, knowing that the stated RVO will not be achieved because of the issuance, and lack of incorporation of, small refinery waivers.”EPA’s response? “This issue and our response to the ACE remand are the subject of ongoing discussions.”EPA’s brazen disregard for recommendations and advice on SREs from other quarters of the Administration is not new, Cooper added. Only a short time ago, the Renewable Fuels Association and others pointed out how EPA ignored recommendations of the Department of Energy when it came to specific refinery exemptions. Sorghum Checkoff to Host Over 65 International Buyers at Export SorghumThe United Sorghum Checkoff Program, in coordination with the U.S. Grains Council, Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board, is hosting international grain buyers from eight countries who are currently purchasing or are interested in U.S. grain sorghum. The Export Sorghum event is a one-day, educational conference in Dallas,Texas, where buyers will learn more about sorghum markets, trade opportunities, contract negotiation, logistics and U.S. sorghum production."The Sorghum Checkoff is pleased to provide this one-of-a-kind event as exports serve as the largest market for U.S. sorghum," said Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director. "Export Sorghum serves as our opportunity to share the value of U.S. sorghum in new ways with potential buyers and continue fostering existing relationships."Following the conference, several teams will tour parts of the U.S. to experience sorghum production and the value chain firsthand while developing relationships with U.S. sorghum farmers and suppliers."Bringing members of each part of the sorghum value chain together is key to our mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives,” said U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “The Council is pleased to be working with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program to develop relationships that promise to improve the flow of sorghum globally for U.S farmers."Export Sorghum is centered around creating networking opportunities while providing buyers with information to help them make sorghum the smart choice for their feed grain solutions."We are proud to be a sponsor for Export Sorghum as it is essential for our farmers to have access to markets," said Jesse McCurry, Kansas Sorghum executive director.  "We appreciate all of our buyers from around the world and the increasing opportunities we have to help customers understand the exciting possibilities of sorghum."The Sorghum Checkoff is dedicated to building strong relationships between buyers and sellers that drive U.S. sorghum sales around the world. Sorghum has proven to be a reliable ingredient across several industries including swine, poultry, beef, dairy and human food, which fulfills the Sorghum Checkoff's mission to reveal the potential and versatility of sorghum through increased shared value between farmers and end-users worldwide."Export Sorghum is extremely beneficial for both our growers and the international buyers," said Wayne Cleveland, Texas Sorghum executive director. "We want this to be an educational process, so across the gamut, we've provided those opportunities through the conference featuring sorghum experts and tours in Texas."To learn more about Export Sorghum, visit SorghumCheckoff.com/export-sorghum.

Pro Farmer's National Corn and Soybean Crop EstimatesCorn:13.358 billion bu.; Average yield of 163.3 bu. per acreCorn +/- 1% = 13.492 billion bu. to 13.224 billion bu.; 164.9 bu. to 161.7 bu. per acreSoybeans:3.497 billion bu.; Average yield of 46.1 bu. per acreSoybeans +/- 2% = 3.567 billion bu. to 3.427 billion bu.; 47.0 bu. to 45.2 bu. per acreThe national estimates above reflect Pro Farmer’s view on production and yields. They take into account data gathered during Crop Tour and other factors, such as crop maturity, acreage adjustments we’ve made, historical differences in Tour data versus USDA’s final yields, areas outside those sampled on Crop Tour, etc. That’s why the state yield numbers below differ from the Crop Tour figures. For corn, we lowered harvested acreage 217,000 acres from USDA’s August estimate.CornNebraska: 183 bu. per acre. Nebraska won’t make up for all the problems in Illinois. Dryland corn was good, but irrigated corn was not eye-catching. It’s average, and could be susceptible to disease if things stay wet. A normal frost date may cause limited losses.Iowa: 181 bu. per acre. The crop is good but not great. “It looked better from the road,” was a common refrain during Tour. There were some garden areas in the west, but variability capped the crop’s upside in the rest of the state. Most of the crop should be fine if it avoids new disease threats.South Dakota: 140 bu. per acre. The Prairie Pothole state is back. Corn needs an additional 50 frost-free days and sunshine to finish.Minnesota: 167 bu. per acre. Tipback, greensnap and lagging maturity signal smaller yields. There were a lot of factors that nicked the Minnesota corn crop. Like many of the crops we saw, it needs time, heat and sun.Illinois: 170 bu. per acre. It won’t be the corn-producing powerhouse it usually is. Some of its best acres lost yield potential because they were planted late in less than ideal conditions.Indiana: 160 bu. per acre. There’s crop potential after rain fell during Tour. The crop still isn’t as good as it could have been, with skips and blank stalks still reflective of the yield drag from the wet spring.Ohio: 150 bu. per acre. The yield potential measured on Tour is similar to what USDA found. But we’re skeptical the crop will reach maturity before the first freeze. The crop needs rain and several extra weeks at the end of the growing season. USDA is a bit too optimistic about the crop.SoybeansNebraska: 57 bu. per acre. We were pleasantly surprised. The state’s beans were variable, but they worked out to a pretty average crop. Plants were solidly podded and starting to fill. Weather in the weeks ahead will determine bean size. The crop is unlikely to add pods going forward.Iowa: 55 bu. per acre. The trend of low pod counts continued in Iowa, as the yield factory was again stunted by late planting dates and less-than-ideal soil conditions.South Dakota: 39 bu. per acre. Pod counts are down sharply and the crop needs sun and time to plump up what beans are there. The crop was pretty clean when we passed through, but high moisture means conditions are ripe for disease.Minnesota: 42 bu. per acre. Adverse spring planting weather cut the bean factory. Pod counts are unlikely to rise, with few fields showing new blooms. Plants were just starting to fill pods. Warm temps and sunshine are needed to reach full potential.Illinois: 50 bu. per acre. Pod counts plunged versus the average and much of the Illinois crop will likely perform like double-crop beans. A normal freeze would be devastating.Indiana: 46 bu. per acre. It’s certainly not a normal crop, but if you add some timely rains and a few weeks to the end of the growing season, the crop may add to the potential we measured.Ohio: 39 bu. per acre. This year’s crop is essentially double crop beans, with pod counts nearly 40% under last year’s Tour result. Some of the crop was still flowering, so it could, in theory, build on the potential we measured. But it would need an extended season and more rain to do so.NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED DOWN 6 PERCENT Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.19 million cattle on feed on August 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 6 percent from last year. Placements during July totaled 400,000 head, unchanged from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of July totaled 490,000 head, up 7 percent from last year. Other disappearance during July totaled 20,000 head, up 10,000 head from last year. IOWA CATTLE ON FEED DOWN 10 PERCENTCattle 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 August 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 3 percent from July 1, 2018, and down 10 percent from August 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 510,000 head on feed, down 10 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,140,000 head, down 6 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year. Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 61,000 head, down 6 percent from June and down 8 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 42,000 head, down 35 percent from June and down 19 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 103,000 head, down 21 percent from June and down 13 percent from last year. Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during July totaled 77,000 head, up 7 percent from June and up 4 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 93,000 head, up 3 percent from June and up 16 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 170,000 head, up 5 percent from June and up 10 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 8,000 head. United States Cattle on Feed Up SlightlyCattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on August 1, 2019. The inventory was slightly above August 1, 2018. This is the highest August 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. On Feed, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % Aug 1 '18)Colorado .......:                 970                   109       Iowa .............:                  630                    90      Kansas ..........:               2,340                   105    Nebraska ......:               2,190                   94    Texas ............:               2,760                  101      Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.71 million head, 2 percent below 2018. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During July, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 360,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 260,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 410,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 385,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 200,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.Placements, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % July '18)Colorado .......:                    130                   93     Iowa .............:                      61                    92     Kansas ..........:                     450                   97       Nebraska ......:                     400                  100         Texas ............:                     380                   99        Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 2.00 million head, 7 percent above 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 71,000 head during July, 13 percent above 2018.Marketings, By State    (1,000 hd   -  % July '18)Colorado .......:                  185                   109     Iowa .............:                     77                   104    Kansas ..........:                   455                    98       Nebraska ......:                   490                   107     Texas ............:                   445                   114     Nebraska Corn Board provides incentive program to fuel retailers to increase ethanol offeringsThe Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) is now accepting applications to participate in its Blender Pump Grant Program. Through this program, fuel retailers have an opportunity to receive up to $50,000 to help with the installation of blender pumps capable of offering higher ethanol blends.“With the allowance of year-round sales of E15, frequently known as Unleaded88, retailers have the unique opportunity to invest in infrastructure to offer consumers a more economical and environmentally-friendly option at the pump,” said Jeff Wilkerson, director of market development with the Nebraska Corn Board.Blender pumps make it possible for retailers to offer multiple blends of American Ethanol. The grants can be used on the costs of the pumps themselves or other necessary equipment or hardware needed to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. By offering increased ethanol blends, fueling stations have a competitive advantage in the marketplace and are able to better serve motorists driving flex fuel vehicles. This program does not require the retailer to upgrade all pumps in order to qualify. Awarded stations must offer two higher blends of ethanol and maintain these pumps for at least two years.Common blends of higher ethanol include Unleaded88 (E15) which can be used year-round in all vehicles model year 2001 and newer, E30 (a 30% ethanol blend) or E85 (an 85% ethanol blend). Higher blends of ethanol above E15, such as E30 to E85, are approved for flex fuel vehicles only.“A retailer’s cost to install a blender pump can vary dramatically, but with this grant program, we can help offset some of the costs, making the conversion process much more economical,” said Wilkerson.More information on NCB’s Blender Pump Grant Program can be found online at nebraskacorn.gov/grantprogram. Preference will be given to areas underserved by higher ethanol blends and potential traffic flow. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 11. Approved applicants will be notified by the end of November.12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Schedule AnnouncedThe 12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference will be held Tuesday, October 29 to Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska and will feature experts from across the country and the state.“Nebraska wind and solar energy development is going through a remarkable period of growth and expansion,” Conference Chairman John Hansen said. “We have a lot of progress to report, as well as issues and opportunities to consider.”Sessions on Tuesday will begin with an update from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. Panels will highlight the State of Nebraska’s view of wind energy, how commercial and industry buyers are changing the renewables marketplace, and a policy and legislative update from Nebraska State Senators. Tuesday will also include a luncheon with Nebraska public power CEOs.Wednesday’s programming will feature sessions regarding the state of the national solar industry, the changing economics of battery storage, and the usage of drones in renewable energy. In addition, there will be a breakout session on decommissioning & repowering, and a panel featuring UNL Renewable Energy researchers.The conference schedule can be found at Nebraska WSC Conference Agenda. In addition to the scheduled programming, the conference will feature an exhibitors’ tradeshow including governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, vendors, developers, and more.Conference attendees include private sector developers, public officials, landowners, environmental and wildlife organizations, and public utilities. The general public is also invited to register and attend the Wind & Solar Conference.Conference Chair John Hansen urges attendees to take advantage of the October 1st Early Bird registration discount. Registration rates are as follows:       Early Bird Registration (prior to October 1): $125.00       Standard Registration (October 1-28): $175.00       Day-of-Conference Registration (October 29-30): $200.00       Student Registration (anytime): $65.00The Wind & Solar Conference has a room block at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. The deadline to reserve a room is October 1st, and the reservation includes a $114 per night room rate and free parking. Reservations can be made at Nebraska WSC Registration Information or by calling the Cornhusker Marriott at (402) 474-7474 and referencing the Wind & Solar Conference.More information and past conference presentations are available on the conference website at Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference https://www.nebraskawsc.com/.Acklie Charitable Foundation contributes $5 million to Northeast Nexus ag and water capital campaignThe late Duane Acklie fondly remembered growing up as a young boy in Madison County. From selling produce his family grew at his favorite corner on U.S. Highway 81 at the age of 10 to establishing one of America’s largest privately-owned trucking companies with his wife, Phyllis, he understood the importance and the role of education as the couple established a foundation that bears their last name.Now, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) is supporting a major initiative at Northeast Community College that will its ensure agriculture students have opportunities to succeed in their education as they train to become future employees in Nebraska’s number one industry.“You here in this room know better than most about the pivotal role Nebraska agriculture plays in not only feeding the world, but in also propelling Nebraska’s economy,” said family member Halley Acklie Kruse in announcing a $5 million gift from the ACF during a kickoff celebration for a capital campaign to construct Northeast’s new Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence. “(Agriculture) does so through exports and providing jobs not only in the fields, but in warehousing, transportation, financing, and service industries. When Nebraska agriculture succeeds, Nebraska thrives. That is why ACF believed it was important to invest in the future of Nebraska’s next generation of farmers, ranchers, and community leaders.”The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence is a multi-phased project, and funds are currently being solicited through a capital campaign called “Nexus” for $23 million for initial construction of the new center. Northeast has set aside $10 million of its capital funds to help establish the project, while the remainder will be raised privately.Initial construction planned for the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence includes a new farm site with farm office and storage, large animal handling facility and other farm structures. In addition, the plan calls for a veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at the intersection of E. Benjamin Ave. and Highway 35 in Norfolk. The vet tech building will be located west of the ag complex, while the farm site and animal handling facilities will be behind the tree line that is north of the current complex.Duane W. and Phyllis Acklie grew up on farms near Madison and Meadow Grove, respectively, and later attended Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College. They went on to establish Crete Carrier Corp., which has grown into a transporter of virtually any product and operates more than 5,000 tractors and over 13,000 trailers throughout the continental United States.The company’s corporate headquarters are based in Lincoln. The Acklie Charitable Foundation was founded by Duane and Phyllis Acklie and their daughters, Dodie, Laura and Holly. The family has been involved in many business and philanthropic ventures over the years.Acklie Kruse, ACF vice president and general counsel, said her grandfather spoke of the importance of education and shared his wish that their foundation could be used to help Nebraskans attain quality education.“I believe that Duane’s desire to support education was, in part, due to his understanding of the transformative role higher education played in his life,” she said. “And for Duane and Phyl, it all started at Norfolk Junior College.”Acklie Kruse said Nebraska is fortunate to have an institution such as Northeast Community College as a partner in developing the center of excellence and what it will mean for the future of agriculture. She said it was a natural decision for her family to contribute to the campaign after seeing what the center’s role will be in developing a future workforce.“Northeast has long had a reputation of quality in its agricultural programs, not only throughout Nebraska, but on a national level. Northeast has the dedicated faculty and expertise to teach our next generation farmers and ranchers and the goal of the Nexus campaign is to build the facilities, infrastructure, and technology to match the quality of instruction.”But Acklie Kruse said it is more than Nebraska’s future; it is also about feeding the world.“Northeast must prepare the next farmers and ranchers for the innovations and developments of the next eighty years, not only for the success of these individuals and their families, but for the success of our state, and the people of the world who eat from Nebraska’s fields.”With the Acklie’s contribution to the campaign, Northeast will be naming its new College Farm after the family.“The Acklie Family College Farm will provide a lasting legacy to the family for their commitment to agriculture in northeast Nebraska,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and the executive director of the college foundation. “We are so proud to name the College Farm in honor of the Acklies, and after the legacy of Duane, Phyllis and their family. What a testament to the strong value Northeast played in their own lives, as well as the college’s value to the community as a whole. This gift will make a strong impact for generations of Nebraskans to come.”“So, this family history and connection to Madison County and Northeast Community College brings me to where we are today, the Nexus Kickoff,” Acklie Kruse said. “Certainly these family connections played a role in the Acklie Charitable Foundation’s decision to support the Nexus campaign. But, just as the Nexus campaign is about what is next – next for sustainable agriculture, next for Nebraska’s workforce, next for innovation – an important factor in ACF’s decision to support the Nexus campaign was also the consideration of Nebraska’s future.”Pump and Pantry to Give Away Free E15 FuelIn celebration of the 150th Nebraska State Fair, Pump and Pantry is giving away free fuel. Fair attendees will receive a coupon good for Super Unleaded 88 (E15) fuel at a discounted rate. The more you spend, the more free fuel you get!"Many people make the special drive to Nebraska State Fair each year, and this is a way to say thank you for making memories with us," said Nebraska State Fair Executive Director Lori Cox.The free fuel coupon is good for E15 fuel for $2.15 a gallon, up to 30 gallons. The savings add up:- Buy 9 gallons of fuel and save $2.61 = 1 gallon free- Buy 17 gallons of fuel and save $4.93 = 2 free gallons- Buy 26 gallons of fuel and save $7.54 = 3 free gallons"We are proud of Pump and Pantry's ongoing support of Nebraska State Fair and to provide Nebraskans with better fuel that costs less," said President of Bosselman Enterprises Charlie Bosselman.Coupons will be distributed to fairgoers during the Fair while supplies last and will be valid through the end of the fair Sept. 2. Nebraskans can take advantage of the free fuel at 13 Pump & Pantry locations across the state, including three locations in Grand Island.Super Unleaded 88 is approved to be used all year long for 2001 and newer vehicles. A total of 50 E15 locations are available across the entire state through various vendors. The free fuel coupon is only valid at Pump and Pantry locations.USDA Determines Irrigation Losses From Tunnel Collapse Are InsurableToday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by unusually high precipitation. The Risk Management Agency has determined that since the collapse happened due to a natural cause, it will be an insurable event for ag producers affected by the irrigation disruption.“I appreciate the Risk Management Agency making the determination that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse is an insurable event. Because of this decision, Nebraska ag producers submitting claims for production and prevented planting losses will have more certainty about how this will be treated under their crop insurance policies. I want to thank Secretary Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for working with Nebraska and Wyoming to mitigate the effects of this irrigation disruption,” said U.S. Senator Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “This is great news and it’s exactly what we’ve been fighting for since the tunnel collapsed on July 17. The USDA did the right thing by covering this loss and preventing a bunch of bankruptcies in the Panhandle. It’s the honest thing to do. Our farmers have been put through the ringer and still have a long way to go, but this is a huge relief for Nebraska agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).Yesterday, Fischer and Sasse, along with Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking for crop insurance protection for ag producers hurt by the collapse of irrigation canal tunnel. The tunnel transported water to 54,000 acres in Nebraska. RICKETTS, WELLMAN THANK SECRETARY PERDUE FOR CROP INSURANCE COVERAGE DECISION CONCERNING IRRIGATION TUNNEL COLLAPSE Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman thanked US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the Risk Management Agency for the determination of an insurable event for those affected by the collapse of an irrigation tunnel near Fort Laramie. The tunnel collapsed July 17 cutting off irrigation to more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Wyoming at a crucial time during the growing season. “The canal collapse has been a devastating event for our farm families in the Panhandle,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Thank you to Secretary Perdue and USDA for working to make this an insurable events. This will help impacted farm families as they work to get back on their feet.” “Farmers have already faced many hardships this past year,” said Director Wellman. “Hopefully this decision takes some stress off the farmers. Secretary Perdue knows that it’s not just the farmers who lose in situations like this, but the loss of crops ripples through local economies, too. Secretary Perdue’s announcement on this situation creates a positive impact on those affected and on our communities, as well.” Crews are still working to clear debris and make repairs to restore water to the irrigation tunnel canal. Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding USDA Coverage of Crop Losses from Irrigation Tunnel Collapse“We are extremely pleased and greatly appreciate the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) announcement that federal crop insurance will cover crop losses resulting from the July 17 tunnel collapse that stopped irrigation flows to farms on the Gering-Ft Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska and Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming. This is great news for many farmers who have faced an extremely challenging growing season due to the unfortunate circumstances well beyond their control.”“Nebraska Farm Bureau was one of many voices that had encouraged USDA to ensure these losses were covered. I want to especially thank Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, RMA Administrator Barbre and his team, the Nebraska Congressional delegation, Governor Ricketts and his administration, including Nebraska Director of Agriculture Steve Wellman, and the numerous others who helped provide critical information and insights to aid RMA in arriving at this decision.” “This announcement is critical in eliminating the uncertainty that has existed for many of the farmers impacted. We are grateful this piece of what continues to be an ongoing and challenging situation has been positively resolved.”Smith Pleased by USDA Decision Allowing Crop Insurance Coverage for Tunnel CollapseRepresentative Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to allow crop insurance coverage for those impacted by the irrigation tunnel collapse in Goshen County, Wyoming. “I am grateful USDA has reached the decision to allow crop insurance coverage for producers impacted by the tunnel collapse. Farmers who rely on this water to grow their crops were put in a bind by a natural disaster. This decision provides producers with a much needed tool to recoup their losses.”Recently, Senators Sasse, Fischer, the Wyoming delegation, and Smith wrote a letter urging USDA to allow for crop insurance protection. The Risk Management Agency, an agency within USDA, announced Friday it had concluded the irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by an insurable cause of loss. Those affected by this disaster will be eligible for crop insurance.NEBRASKA CHICKEN AND EGGS All layers in Nebraska during July 2019 totaled 9.02 million, up from 7.88 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during July totaled 233 million eggs, up from 206 million in 2018. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,585 eggs, compared to 2,613 eggs in 2018. IOWA CHICKEN AND EGGSIowa egg production during July 2019 was 1.42 billion eggs, up 2 percent from both last month and 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 July 2019 was 57.0 million, down 1 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for July were 2,493, up 3 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year. July U.S. Egg Production Up 2 PercentUnited States egg production totaled 9.41 billion during July 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.20 billion table eggs, and 1.21 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.12 billion were broiler-type and 84.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during July 2019 totaled 390 million, down slightly from last year. July egg production per 100 layers was 2,409 eggs, up 2 percent from July 2018.                                    All layers in the United States on August 1, 2019 totaled 390 million, up slightly from last year. The 390 million layers consisted of 328 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.25 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on August 1, 2019, averaged 77.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from August 1, 2018.Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up SlightlyEgg-type chicks hatched during July 2019 totaled 50.9 million, up slightly from July 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.5 million on August 1, 2019, up 3 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 255 thousand during July 2019, up 60 percent from July 2018.Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up SlightlyBroiler-type chicks hatched during July 2019 totaled 849 million, up slightly from July 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 698 million on August 1, 2019, up 2 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 8.73 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during July 2019, up 17 percent from July 2018.New Director of Industry Relations at IBICThe Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) is excited to welcome Casey Allison of Nevada, Iowa as our new Director of Industry Relations. Allison will be working closely with beef farmers in and around Iowa as well as key industry leaders to share the value of the beef checkoff investment.IBIC Chairman Janine Moore comments, “Leading the efforts in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program in Iowa, alongside Iowa State University Extension Beef Center, will continue to be an important aspect. Additionally, establishing relationships with industry professionals, livestock markets and other key stakeholders will be critical. We welcome Casey and have observed her effectiveness serving cattle producers across the state and look forward to her efforts working on behalf of national and state checkoff programs.”Allison grew up on a diversified grain and livestock operation. She pursued a degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University where she graduated in 2014. Initially, she worked for Tyson Fresh Meats in the hog procurement division. Most recently she served as the Eastern Iowa Membership Coordinator for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA). Still active on the family farm, she recently relocated back to Central Iowa. Allison and her boyfriend, Brandon, raise registered Simmental seedstock. Allison, who joined the Iowa Beef Industry Council staff on Monday, August 19th, is enthusiastic about carrying on her work in the beef business and expressed, “I am elated to work alongside Iowa cattlemen as we move the needle forward across the supply chain to increase demand for beef. This is a unique opportunity to build upon the relationships and people I met with ICA and team up with IBIC staff to widen the breadth of influence with the state and national checkoff.”“Casey brings not only an experienced skill set in agriculture but a true passion for the beef industry to serve our producers,” comments Chris Freland, Executive Director of IBIC. “Having Casey working as part of our team with her robust beef background and relationship management experience to advance programming throughout the state of Iowa will be valuable.”Casey’s Does a 180 on Biodieselunitedsoybean.orgCasey’s is a household name in the Midwest, always prepared with gas, pizza and friendly people at each of its 2,000 locations in 16 states. In 2019, Casey’s is striving to offer even more. Casey’s General Stores announced it would begin offering biodiesel in 600 stores with an additional 300 to follow throughout the year. Beyond the Bean sat down with Casey’s fuel director, Nathaniel Doddridge, to talk all things biodiesel and the decision for Casey’s to offer a product that significantly supports the price of soybeans.Why was Casey’s not offering biodiesel until now?We dabbled in biodiesel a little bit prior to me joining the team two years ago. In the beginning of biodiesel, we had some extremely vocal customers who were just averse to biodiesel. Back in the early 2000s, there was a lot of uncertainty in the customer’s mind. People had a lot of bad memories. It was a handful of customers who had bad experiences with biodiesel that really kept us from expanding, despite how economical it is for us.What was the decision-making process to start providing biodiesel to your customers?We didn’t feel like we were getting the return we deserved with traditional diesel. You look at the competitors in the markets, everyone was offering the product. And we were trying to compete at the same price, but we didn’t have the same advantage they did. That’s when we decided biodiesel was something we wanted to bring to the market for our locations. And after some conversations about biodiesel with the National Biodiesel Board and the United Soybean Board, among other organizations, I think that if we align our messages with these organizations to educate customers about the benefits of biodiesel, we’ll be successful.Do you think you’ll expand your locations offering biodiesel even more?Right now, we’re starting to cycle over where we implemented it last year. So, we’re at the point now where we can actually look back at what we did last summer and see that it was good. The customers accepted it, and it’s profitable. We have not seen a large portion of our customers resist biodiesel, which is good.What does biodiesel offer to your customers that tradition diesel does not?We do feel like there’s a quality product in biodiesel. You’ll notice the biodiesel industry has really increased the quality of its product. They are trying to differentiate themselves from the base diesel products. Then there’s the sustainability of biodiesel over petroleum. We also like giving back to the farmers who are growing the beans and selling the oil. We feel they’re benefitting because they produced it, and they’re getting to put it in their vehicles as a finished product.What did receiving the Biodiesel Impact Award mean to you and Casey’s as a company?I think it’s huge for us. I think it finally makes us more relevant in the space for renewable fuels. We’re super appreciative of that award, and we’re happy we finally made the step to offer biodiesel. It seems like it’s getting a lot of buy-in from our customers, from our employees, from our leadership team saying, hey, this has really added value to us.Casey’s has truly done a 180 on biodiesel — from zero to 900 stores over the next year. Next time you’re seeing those friendly people and picking up your pizza at Casey’s, look for biodiesel at the pump.NPPC Prevails Against HSUS Attack on Animal AgricultureThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today ruled in favor of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in its appeal to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The court rejected HSUS's attempt to advance an anti-meat activist agenda through an unwarranted suit designed to hurt 60,000 U.S. pork producers and undermine a farm sector critical to rural communities and that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans.The court rejected HSUS' attempted challenge to the National Pork Board's 2006 federally approved purchase from NPPC of trademarks associated with the organization's "Pork: The Other White Meat" campaign and payments associated with the agreement. While HSUS claimed it and others were injured because proceeds from the transaction were misappropriated by the National Pork Board, the pork "checkoff," the D.C. Circuit found that HSUS and its fellow plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they had suffered harm from the transaction, including the associated payments."The dismissal of this case is a win for American pork producers who depend on NPPC's issues advocacy work and the research, education and promotional work performed by the National Pork Board," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, NC and NPPC's president. "The real misappropriation of funds is HSUS's continued efforts to fundraise under false pretenses while using its proceeds to attack farmers dedicated to feeding billions of people at home and abroad."USDA Details Trade Damage Estimate CalculationsU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist has published a detailed accounting of how estimated damage from trade disruptions was calculated for its support package for farmers announced on July 25, 2019. USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist developed an estimate of gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by China, India, the European Union, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels. USDA employed the same approach often used in adjudicating World Trade Organization trade dispute cases.“Just as we did before, we want to be transparent about this process and how our economists arrived at the numbers they did. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the United States and the world, and they need to know USDA was thorough, methodical, and as accurate as possible in making these estimates. We listened to feedback from farmers on last year’s programs and incorporated many of those suggestions into today’s programs. While no formula can be perfect in addressing concerns from all commodities, we did everything we could to accommodate everyone,” Secretary Perdue said. “For a long time, China and other nations have not provided free, fair, and reciprocal access to U.S. farmers and ranchers and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices. Our support package ensures farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.”The full description of the Trade Damage Estimation for the Market Facilitation Program and Food Purchase and Distribution Program is available on the website of USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist. American Soybean Association Statement on Chinese Tariff EscalationChina has announced it will impose an extra 5% tariff on U.S. soybeans starting Sept. 1 and an additional 10% duties on other major U.S. crops also grown by many soybean farmers starting mid-December. These latest details come after China vowed earlier this week that it will retaliate if the U.S. goes through with its plan to broaden tariffs on Chinese goods Sept 1.Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), spoke on behalf of the association, saying, “ASA has strongly requested an end to the tariffs on U.S. beans for more than a year. This escalation will affect us not because of the increasing tariff on our sales, which have been at a virtual standstill for months, but through time. The longevity of this situation means worsening circumstances for soy growers who still have unsold product from this past season and new crops in the ground this season – with prospects narrowing even more now for sales with China, a market soy growers have valued, nurtured, and respected for many years.”ASA would like to see both parties - China and the United States- step up, stop tariffs, and find resolution that does not target soy growers trapped in the middle. Real people—Chinese citizens, the American public, and our soybean farmers—are the ones feeling the effects of this trade war.Another China Tariff Announcement Signals More TroubleAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall“China’s announcement of imposing additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports signals more trouble for American agriculture. Farm Bureau is currently assessing the details of this announcement, but we know continued retaliation only adds to the difficulties farm and ranch families are facing and takes the situation in the exact wrong direction.“The U.S. exported $19.5 billion of agricultural products to China in 2017. Agricultural exports to China were reduced to $9.1 billion in 2018 because of retaliatory tariffs and exports were already down in the first half of this year by $1.3 billion.“Continuing negotiations is the best way to restore certainty to export markets farmers and ranchers depend on. We need substantive trade agreements that ensure American agriculture can provide an abundant and safe food supply for the world’s growing population.”U.S./JAPANESE TRADE OFFICIALS MEET TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE TRADE DEALU.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met in Washington, D.C. this week, continuing negotiations and laying the groundwork for a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in France later this month. The negotiations this week were originally scheduled for just Wednesday and Thursday, but were extended for a third day to Friday to continue discussions. On Thursday, Lighthizer said the two countries were "getting closer to reach a conclusion." U.S. pork producers are currently at a significant disadvantage in Japan because international competitors have recently entered into trade agreements with the country, including the EU and CPTPP nations. New Bankruptcy Law Provides Debt ReliefAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Farm Bureau is appreciative that the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 is now law. This law relieves some of the uncertainty farmers are facing due to export market disruptions, weather events and declining farm income. It will help family farmers reorganize after falling on hard times by increasing the debt limit for relief eligibility under the Chapter 12 bankruptcy code.“While this is a sobering reflection of the current state of the agricultural economy, we are grateful to Congress, the President and his administration for their prioritization of reforming our current bankruptcy laws.”Hesston by Massey Ferguson Introduces 9300 Series RazorBar Rotary Disc HeadersHesston by Massey Ferguson®, the industry-leading hay equipment brand from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), will introduce the 9300 Series RazorBar™ rotary disc headers for Hesston by Massey Ferguson WR9900 Series self-propelled windrowers to North American producers during Farm Progress Show 2019. The new disc headers are built to optimize crop throughput and quality, helping operators cut and condition more acres in a day.The 9300 Series includes four models in two cutting widths. The 13-foot headers are the single-conditioner MF9313S and the double-conditioner MF9313D, while the 16-foot headers are the MF9316S and MF9316D. All headers have durable, low-profile RazorBar disc cutterbars for a close, clean cut. The “D” models in both widths feature the industry-exclusive TwinMax™ double-conditioning option for more thorough, uniform conditioning that speeds crop drydown and reduces nutritional losses.New, easy-to-service belt-drive augers at the ends of the 16-foot headers move the crop quickly to the conditioners, minimizing the chance of double cuts, crop wrapping and buildup. The result is uniform windrows that dry faster and more evenly, enhancing the baler operator’s ability to form a heavy, dense, evenly shaped bale while preserving the quality of hay or forage.“The new design of the 9300 Series RazorBar disc header is all about moving the crop through the mower conditioner as fast as possible into a perfect windrow behind the machine,” says Matt LeCroy, hay and forage product marketing manager at AGCO. “Research shows that the wider and flatter the windrow, the faster the drydown. The result is higher quality hay and forage for your livestock and your customers.”Improvements help move more crop fasterSeveral new design elements help operators of the new MF9316S and MF9316D rotary disc headers take full advantage of the headers’ increased throughput capacity:-    New belt-drive stub augers at the ends of the header improve crop feeding into the conditioner rolls. Fully enclosed crop conveyers (cages) outside the augers prevent crop wrapping and buildup.-    Moving the crop quickly from the outside discs to the conditioner means a cleaner cut, less chance for double cutting, better windrow formation and less opportunity for leaf damage.-    Operators can get to the drive belts for the new auger headers through a new side panel for quick and easy servicing.-    The innovative new drive-belt system uses self-adjusting spring tensioner so operators can more easily set and maintain optimum belt tension. All 9300 Series headers build upon the features of the 9200 Series, including the RazorBar disc cutterbar – the strongest and most durable in the industry; large, tandem hydraulic drive pumps for increased throughput and functionality; in-cab adjustable hydraulic roll tension for more consistent crimp; auto knife speed, and steel-on-steel conditioners that crimp instead of crush for better leaf retention and optimum hay quality.Hesston’s exclusive TwinMax™ advanced conditioning system on the MF9316D and MF9313D is the perfect option for hay producers who prefer the fastest drydown possible. Two steel-on-steel conditioner rolls crimp the stems every 1-2 inches, reducing drying time while allowing leaves to stay healthy and whole, retaining their vital nutrients.“These new disc headers help producers optimize the quality of their hay at harvest. The higher the quality, the better the feed value and efficiency for livestock producers and the higher the price at market,” says LeCroy. “For more than 70 years, Hesston has been a leader in delivering hay and forage harvesting innovations, and we work hard to ensure hay growers have the tools needed to harvest forage at its highest quality.”For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment, including the new 9300 Series RazorBar disc headers for WR9900 self-propelled windrowers, or to find a dealer near you, visit masseyferguson.us.Hesston by Massey Ferguson Introduces MF1316S RazorEdge Pull-Type Disc Mower ConditionerHesston by Massey Ferguson®, the industry-leading hay equipment brand from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), introduced the new Model MF1316S RazorEdge™ pull-type disc mower conditioner to North American producers during Farm Progress Show 2019. The new 16-foot, center-pivot mower conditioner is built to optimize crop throughput and quality as well as serviceability, helping operators cut and condition more acres in a day.The MF1316S replaces the MF1395 as the largest of the heavy-duty, fully welded-frame 1300 Series of RazorEdge pull-type mower conditioners. New, easy-to-service belt-drive augers at the ends of the header move the crop quickly to the conditioners, minimizing the chance of double cuts, crop wrapping and buildup. The result is uniform windrows that dry faster and more evenly, enhancing the baler operator’s ability to form a heavy, dense, evenly shaped bale while preserving the quality of hay or forage.The unique RazorEdge cutterbar ensures a smooth, clean cut; the industry-exclusive hydraulically tensioned conditioner system on the MF1316S reduces drying time to optimize crop quality; and the optional quick-change knife system, with the only one-handed quick-change tool in the industry, enhances operator convenience and safety.“The new design of the MF1316S disc mower conditioner improves the machine’s performance for maximum crop throughput and a uniform, quick-drying windrow behind the machine,” says Matt LeCroy, hay and forage product marketing manager at AGCO. “Our goal is to help producers create a wide, flat windrow for fast drydown. The result is higher quality hay and forage for your livestock and your customers.”Improvements help move more crop fasterSeveral new design elements help operators of the new MF1316S disc mower conditioner take full advantage of the increased throughput capacity:-    New belt-drive stub augers at the ends of the header improve crop feeding into the conditioner rolls. Fully enclosed crop conveyers (cages) outside the augers prevent crop wrapping and buildup.-    Moving the crop quickly from the outside discs to the conditioner means a cleaner cut, less chance for double cutting, better windrow formation and less opportunity for leaf damage.-    Operators can get to the drive belts for the new auger headers through a new side panel for quick and easy servicing.-    The innovative new drive-belt system uses a self-adjusting spring tensioner so operators can more easily set and maintain optimum belt tension.The MF1316S and all the pull-type mower conditioners in the 1300 Series are equipped with the  RazorEdge cutterbar. Its spur gear design provides a thin profile and close cutting without tilting the header to minimize scalping, thereby limiting dirt and debris in the crop to optimize feed value. Operators can remove the gears easily without having to split the cutterbar. Counter-rotating discs provide improved cut quality while minimizing crop streaking.Each RazorEdge mower conditioner comes factory-equipped with 18-degree “high lift” bottom-bevel Radura™ knives. These sharp, durable knives are created with a special cold-rolled process for a wear-resistant edge that maintains its sharpness longer than ground-edge knives.“Everything about the MF1316S and the 1300 Series is designed to give operators reliable, trouble-free hay-cutting performance,” LeCroy says. “We strive to always improve on Hesston’s 70-year legacy of delivering hay and forage harvesting innovations, and we work hard to ensure hay growers have the tools needed to harvest forage at its highest quality.”For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment, including the new MF1316S RazorEdge pull-type disc mower conditioner, or to find a dealer near you, visit masseyferguson.us.Syngenta completes major expansion at its Nampa, Idaho, R&D and seed production facilitySyngenta today introduced a new $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator – a highly-automated “controlled environment” corn breeding facility – at its Nampa R&D and seed production facility.The Nampa facility will house the capabilities and capacity to bring choice in traits to corn growers. Customers of the NK® and Golden Harvest® corn seed brands, as well as independent seed companies that license Syngenta technologies through GreenLeaf Genetics®, will benefit from faster access to more hybrids with the latest Agrisure® trait technologies.According to David Hollinrake, regional director for Syngenta in North America, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will help to shorten product development life cycles and more quickly provide farmers with the corn products they need to be more successful.“The Nampa Trait Conversion Accelerator is the latest demonstration of how we are putting the farmer first,” Hollinrake said. “Two years ago, we embarked on a five-year, $400 million incremental investment in our North American seeds business, which has enabled us to significantly increase our breeding and product testing capacity and pursue infrastructure projects like the state-of-the-art facility we’re celebrating today.”Corn growers are currently facing significant economic challenges. Devastating weather events and low commodity prices are making profitability more difficult. To maximize return on investment potential, farmers need elite corn hybrids with the latest trait packages, and Syngenta is delivering on that need.“Our message for farmers is simple: We’re here for you,” Hollinrake said. “We know it’s tough out there. We’re mindful of that every day. Syngenta is investing in farmers’ success.”Hollinrake added that Syngenta is balancing its long-term commitment to innovation with a continuing emphasis on products and programs to help farmers improve their return on investment potential every day.“Syngenta is committed to accelerating innovation. This means developing products that go beyond current limits and providing farmers with unique and meaningful choice,” he said.Optimizing Trait Conversion to Meet Farmers’ Evolving NeedsWhen developing corn hybrids that offer agronomic benefits such as insect control, herbicide tolerance and water optimization, scientists employ a breeding technique called trait conversion, which is used to incorporate a desired trait into existing elite germplasm – preserving the performance of the germplasm and adding the benefits of the introduced trait. The Trait Conversion Accelerator will provide the capabilities needed to optimize this crucial process.According to Trevor Hohls, global head of seeds product development for Syngenta, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will accommodate the majority of Syngenta’s North American corn trait conversion work, which was previously done in open field or semi-controlled environments. “For us, it's all about developing better products,” Hohls said. “Investments like we're making here in Nampa will enable us to help deliver the traits in our pipeline more quickly and ensure on-time product delivery, to help farmers improve productivity more rapidly.“At Syngenta, we are working to get closer to the markets and the customers we serve. We are strengthening our collaboration with growers, to partner with them, share data and co-create with them, and build lasting partnerships centered on solving their specific challenges. This will help us to ensure that product development is laser-focused in helping to de-risk farming for our customers.”The Agrisure traits portfolio is the broadest collection of trait technology in the industry. Syngenta’s continued dedication and investment in R&D — more than $1.3 billion each year — will continue to improve and grow the Agrisure traits portfolio.Hohls added that the Nampa site was chosen for this investment in trait conversion because it offers an excellent combination of climatic factors (e.g., solar radiation and humidity), as well as access to a highly-skilled workforce.The Nampa investment reinforces Syngenta’s commitment to an R&D presence in the region and the jobs located there. The site expansion will add more than 10 permanent and more than 10 contract employees by the end of 2019, with additional hires in both categories in 2020.

Fifth Grade Students from Northeast Nebraska to Gather at Ag FestivalNine classrooms with over 200 fifth graders will be attending the event that includes hands-on interactive learning about Nebraska’s number one industry, agriculture.Fifth graders from across Northeast Nebraska will attend the Growing Potential Ag Festival held at the Beaumont Event & Concert Hall in Wayne, NE on Thursday August 29th from 10am to 2pm. Learning stations set up throughout the grounds will engage students on every aspect of agriculture, including careers, livestock, planting and harvest, ethanol, land stewardship, and how corn is used in everyday life. There will be live animals and real machinery for the kids to see up close.The Growing Potential Ag Festival is presented by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Nebraska Northeast Corn Growers Association.  Northeast launches capital campaign for new agriculture facilities; $5 million lead gift announcedIn an industry that is critical to not only Nebraska and the nation, but across the entire world, the agriculture department at Northeast Community College is at the forefront of developing future farmer-scientists. The institution has been recognized for its work in the area over the years and presently awards the eighth highest number of associate degrees in agriculture in the country.On Thursday, college officials launched a major initiative that will ensure agriculture students are succeeding in their education to develop the skills to become productive members of the workforce and the communities they serve. A news conference kicked off a capital campaign to raise funds for the first phase of the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence at Northeast, a project that has been designed to invest in future facilities and equipment to enhance programming opportunities.“Agriculture is the single largest program of study at Northeast,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and the executive director of the college foundation. “Approximately 350 students register for 12 agriculture programs at Northeast each year. These students, who receive outstanding instruction from 14 full-time faculty members, are exposed to cutting edge technology, but many of their classrooms and labs are in a 100-year-old repurposed dairy barn. The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence project will provide modern, efficient classroom and lab space for these future producers and agribusiness employees.”The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence is a multi-phased project, and funds are currently being solicited for $23 million for initial construction through a capital campaign called “Nexus.” The College has set aside $10 million of its capital funds to help establish this project, the remainder will be raised privately.Kruse describes the word nexus as signifying center point or “the joining.”“Agriculture is the center of the economy of Nebraska. Nebraska is in the center of the United States. The 20-county service area of Northeast Community College includes one of the highest concentrations of farming and ranching, agri business and meat processing in the nation.”Initial construction planned for the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence includes a new farm site with farm office and storage, large animal handling facility and other farm structures. In addition, the plan calls for a veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex at the intersection of E. Benjamin Ave. and Highway 35 in Norfolk. The vet tech building will be located west of the ag complex, while the farm site and animal handling facilities will be behind the tree line that is north of the current complex.Replacing the current farm site with facilities designed for teaching and learning is a priority of the Nexus campaign. The largest building on the current site is a former dairy loafing barn that was built in the 1920s.Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science at Northeast said the farm site has limited storage for equipment, so expensive machinery is stored outside or in buildings with dirt floors, no electricity and no front doors.“There is no structure for feed storage and no modern livestock buildings, and the feedlot needs to be redesigned and relocated,” she said.An efficiently designed farm site will allow for space for students to observe farm operations and livestock handling, and also provide hands on opportunities with facilities and equipment similar to what they will encounter on the job or on their own farm operations.Morris said the current vet tech facility has state of the art equipment to train students, but it has poor lighting and drainage.“Because of the long, narrow design of the former dairy loafing barn used for vet tech, the clinic is not arranged efficiently. The surgery suite and radiology are located on opposite ends of the building, and faculty offices as well as the lab used for blood tests are located on the main campus.”Dr. Michael Cooper, director of the veterinary technology program, said it is critical for his students to learn in a facility that reflects the type of environment they will likely work in once they obtain employment.“Our current facilities and their arrangement are outdated. Our students really need to be in a facility that allows for efficiency so that the laboratory and treatment are close together, so that radiology and surgery are close together in order to mimic a typical working clinic.”Northeast features one of only two, two-year veterinary technology programs in the state. Morris said graduates are continually in demand and the growth of the pork and poultry industries in Nebraska has increased the need for employees with these skills.Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, and Russ Vering, of Scribner, serve as volunteer co-chairs of the Nexus campaign.Reigle, of Reigle Cattle Co., said, “Northeast Community College sees that bigger picture. They see a place for northeast Nebraska and Northeast Community College to be a premiere location to bring people from all over the country to see what it really takes to be in agriculture.”Vering, of Central Plains Milling, Howells and Columbus – member of the National Pork Producers Council and past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers, said the campaign is an investment in the future of the region.“This campaign makes sense to communities, local businesses, feedlots, swine operations, feed companies. I believe you will feel the direct investment locally in your community, he said. “Investing in this program really is investing in our small communities, in our rural areas in Nebraska. It’s one of the most important things we can focus on now as we grow agriculture in Nebraska.”Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, said now is the time for Northeast to undertake the project.“Northeast Community College is known not only regionally, but I would argue nationally, as a premiere two-year agricultural institution. So, that they have recognized the need to upgrade their facilities, I think the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” he said.“Agriculture is the driver for our economy. Having a facility like this that’s upgraded and new and shiny not only will draw the students we need, but also help us as an ag industry with the workers we need.”Phase I of the project calls for development of the site and construction of the initial new facilities, which could begin as early as Spring 2020 pending fundraising success. The Precision and Mechanized Agriculture facility has also been prioritized and planned for construction based on funds being raised, while additional facilities will be constructed as funds allow and fundraising success is achieved.The campaign has already received a significant contribution. At Thursday’s kickoff event, Kruse announced a $5 million lead gift to the campaign by the Acklie Charitable Foundation.“The Acklie Family College Farm will provide a lasting legacy to the family for their commitment to agriculture in northeast Nebraska,” she said.The Acklie Charitable Foundation was founded by the late Duane W. Acklie, his wife Phyllis and daughters Dodie, Laura and Holly. Duane and Phyllis were alums of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College and have been involved in many business and philanthropic ventures over the years.Halley Acklie Kruse, vice president and general counsel of the foundation, said family connections played a role in the Acklie Charitable Foundation’s decision to support the Nexus campaign.“But, just as the campaign is about what is next – next for sustainable agriculture, next for Nebraska’s workforce, next for innovation – an important factor in ACF’s decision to support the Nexus campaign was the consideration of Nebraska’s future,” she said. “When Nebraska agriculture succeeds, Nebraska thrives. For these reasons ACF believed it was important to invest in the future of Nebraska’s next generation of farmers, ranchers, and community leaders.”Tracy Kruse said the public is now invited to invest in the future of agriculture in northeast Nebraska by contributing to the Nexus campaign.For those interested in contributing, online donations may be made through the website www.agwaternexus.com. Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469. Five year pledges are accepted, as are gifts of commodities and IRA (individual retirement account) distributions.Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Receives Grant to Provide Professional Development for TeachersThe Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation was awarded a grant from the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) to support the growth of agricultural literacy in pre-kindergarten-12th grade classrooms in Nebraska. Funding for the competitive grant program came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA). Nebraska’s project titled, “Learn, Then Do: A Phenomenon-Based Field Experience,” develops a model for a writer’s workshop for teachers to create Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) lessons using agriculture as the context for learning.The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Program will provide Nebraska certified teachers from Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) a paid training opportunity to develop lessons that support Nebraska’s newly adopted science standards using real-life examples from Nebraska agriculture. A total of twenty teachers from LPS will be selected to pilot the program.“This program will support LPS teachers in the shift of moving to the new Nebraska standards within agricultural topics,” said James Blake, science curriculum specialist at LPS. “I look forward to partnering with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation on the project to achieve great science education for youth in LPS.”The three-day workshop will start with training on phenomena-based learning and discussion about how Nebraska science standards and agriculture connect.After spending a day learning how to write lessons that support the new standards, the teachers will spend a day touring farms and agribusinesses to find their own examples of science within agriculture.The teachers will spend the final day working in small groups to write ten lessons based on the previous days’ ideas of science phenomena in agriculture. Teachers will present the finalized lessons to a wide audience of science teachers during workshops at the Nebraska Association of Teaching Science Conference.“Through this project, teachers will explore how to make agriculture relevant and interesting to students while succeeding with the new science standards. The aim is to create lessons that are fun, meet the standards of rigor required at LPS, and clearly articulate the building blocks for success in the classroom,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and program coordinator for the project.The project is slated to start in March 2020 with the selection of the teachers and conclude in September 2020 for the 2020-2021 school year.“We are thrilled to collaborate with Lincoln Public Schools, the second largest school district in Nebraska, in an effort to provide thousands of students with accurate and reliable agricultural information aligned with Nebraska’s newly adopted science standards,” said Schaardt.Annual Nebraska FFA Foundation Auction to be Held on September 11 at Husker Harvest Days and Online Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., will be hosting a tire auction for the Nebraska FFA Foundation at Husker Harvest Days on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. In its seventh year, the 2019 auction will include a variety of tires on-site and online only bidding for a John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Floatation Tires.“We are so grateful for the support of Titan Tire, Graham Tire and the several John Deere dealers in the state for supporting the Nebraska FFA Foundation in this way. They, along with the bidders understand the value that this contribution makes for Nebraska FFA members, says Stacey Agnew. “These funds mean sustainability for the growing number of FFA chapters, members and advisors across the state.”To participate in the live auction on Wednesday, September 11 at 11:00 am sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number to bid in person or you can bid online. To learn more about the online bidding, go to neffafoundation.org. To participate in the online only auction for the John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Flotation tires go to neffafoundation.org to view more details. Bidding ends Wednesday, September 11. The LSW tires will fit an 8000 series John Deere tractor. The list of tires, gator information and details about the live auction and online only auction are available at neffafoundation.org. Lawmakers Call on Department of Agriculture to Cover Massive Irrigation LossesSenator Ben Sasse (R-NE), along with Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture, seeking crop insurance protection for producers hurt by the collapse of the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation canal tunnel.Senator Sasse says, “This should be pretty simple. This is a qualifying event to be covered by crop insurance, and Nebraskans are suffering right now. This is a big deal for farmers in Nebraska’s Panhandle — Secretary Perdue knows just how important Nebraska’s ag producers are to our nation. I urge the Department of Agriculture to move quickly to give farmers and ranchers relief. A lot of folks will go bankrupt unless the Risk Management Agency does what’s right.”“On behalf of the producers in Wyoming and Nebraska,” wrote the lawmakers, “we request USDA Risk Management Agency evaluate available reports and make a prompt determination to qualify these extraordinary circumstances as an insurable event resulting from adverse weather conditions and failure of the irrigation water supply for purposes of crop insurance coverage.”Before the collapse, the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation canal tunnel transported water to more than 100,000 acres of land in Western Nebraska and Wyoming. The canal was built in 1910.The letter to Secretary Perdue is available here and found below.Dear Secretary Perdue:We write requesting the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency review the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Nebraska and Wyoming irrigation tunnel collapse and determine this irrigation disruption to be an insurable event qualifying for crop insurance protection. It is our understanding the lack of irrigation supply is an insurable event within the rules and regulations of the Risk Management Agency. We request you make an expedited determination based on the ongoing lack of adequate water supply and its damaging effects on crop growth and maturity.As you know, on July 17, 2019, a 2,200 foot long tunnel partially collapsed along the Fort Laramie Canal. This tunnel and canal system carries water served by the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming to the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska. The water disruption has affected approximately 107,000 acres of corn, sugar beets, dry edible beans and alfalfa crops grown in the region. This region relies on the availability of surface water irrigation. Since July 17, the canal has been inoperable and no water for irrigation of the agriculture acres has been available. Farmers in this region continue to care for their crops, but the lack of irrigation water and adequate supplemental rainfall has taken a serious toll on the planted areas, crop yields and crop quality. As farmers are moving toward harvest, it would be beneficial to know their crop insurance will cover crop losses that resulted from the lack of adequate water supply.On behalf of the producers in Wyoming and Nebraska, we request USDA Risk Management Agency evaluate available reports and make a prompt determination to qualify these extraordinary circumstances as an insurable event resulting from adverse weather conditions and failure of the irrigation water supply for purposes of crop insurance coverage. Thank you for your attention to this manner. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE)Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) Sasse Statement on Charges Against University of Kansas Researcher Who Hid Work for ChinaU.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement regarding the administration's decision to bring federal charges against a researcher at the University of Kansas who hid the fact he was working full time for a Chinese university while also working on U.S. government-funded research.  "China’s largest export is espionage. The Chinese Communist Party’s university-to-Beijing pipeline is a serious national security problem. This is a no brainer: you can’t work for the Chinese government and our government at the same time. The Justice Department is right to go after this double-dipping." Record High Red Meat and Pork Production in JulyCommercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.59 billion pounds in July, up 8 percent from the 4.24 billion pounds produced in July 2018.By State    (million pounds - % July '18)Nebraska ......:              680.1            104       Iowa .............:              694.3            122       Kansas ..........:              528.5            106       Beef production, at 2.36 billion pounds, was 6 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.94 million head, up 6 percent from July 2018. The average live weight was down 4 pounds from the previous year, at 1,326 pounds.Veal production totaled 6.3 million pounds, 2 percent above July a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 53,700 head, up 12 percent from July 2018. The average live weight was down 18 pounds from last year, at 205 pounds.Pork production totaled 2.21 billion pounds, up 11 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.6 million head, up 10 percent from July 2018. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from the previous year, at 280 pounds.Lamb and mutton production, at 11.9 million pounds, was down 1 percent from July 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 188,300 head, 5 percent above last year. The average live weight was 127 pounds, down 7 pounds from July a year ago.January to July 2019 commercial red meat production was 31.4 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down slightly, pork was up 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent. USDA Cold Storage July 2019 HighlightsTotal red meat supplies in freezers on July 31, 2019 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 12 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 9 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 7 percent from last month but up 37 percent from last year.Total frozen poultry supplies on July 31, 2019 were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 3 percent from last month but down 6 percent from July 31, 2018.Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on July 31, 2019 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from July 31, 2018.  Butter stocks were up 1 percent from last month and up 4 percent from a year ago.Total frozen fruit stocks were up 18 percent from last month but down 18 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 12 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.Chinese Demand for Pork Rises with African Swine Fever, but U.S. Not a Major SupplierAfrican Swine Fever has decimated Chinese pork production and undoubtedly caused a significant increase in imports. But where the Chinese are getting their pork from may come as a surprise.Since August 2018, China has lost at least 85 million head of hogs and almost 10 million sows, according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China. Conversely, the country is importing far more pork than in recent years, with 1,805,220 metric tons committed to China through the first five months of 2019.While the Chinese demand for pork may seem promising, the United States is actually only supplying about 8% of Chinese pork imports, according to the August edition of Ag Decision Maker, a monthly newsletter by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.In an article called “Who benefits most from China’s growing import demand due to African Swine Fever,” ISU Extension and Outreach economists conclude that the U.S. only accounts for about 8% of global pork exports to China so far this year.The major beneficiaries, accounting for more than half of China’s pork imports since January 2018, are Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom.The reduction in Chinese pork supply has also decreased the country’s demand for grain, according to the article. The feed grain demand by China from January through May 2019, is down by about 15% for soybeans and almost half for soy meal, compared to the same time last year.The authors of the article, Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State, and Tao Xiong, associate professor of agricultural economics and management and a visiting CARD scholar at Iowa State, examine the impact of the current trade war with China, and also trade agreements from the past, as well as improvements in European transportation, which has led to increased purchases from those countries.“A closer examination of the global meat trade reveals that Europe, not the U.S., benefits most from China’s growing demand due to ASF,” according to the authors, who acknowledge this is in part due to China’s better transportation system for reaching Europe via the new Belt and Road Initiative.However, the authors conclude that trade, or lack of trade, is still the biggest factor for the U.S.“U.S. pork, beef and poultry exports to China still have significant room for growth, and a trade deal with China would be a valuable first step.”IFBF & Hawkeyes team up to provide "ANF Game Day On-Field Experience"On October 12, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and University of Iowa Hawkeyes will team up to celebrate Iowa’s farmers during the 9th annual America Needs Farmers (ANF) Game Day. As the Hawks take on the Penn State Nittany Lions, one lucky fan will win the experience of a lifetime including four tickets to the ANF game, an on-field sideline visit and a football autographed by Coach Kirk Ferentz.For a chance to win, go to www.AmericaNeedsFarmers.org and click the “Enter to Win” tab on the “ANF Game Day On-Field Experience” page to take a short, multiple-choice quiz to see how Iowa farmers are responsibly and sustainably raising livestock which provide our daily diets with high-quality proteins. The contest will run Aug. 21 through Oct. 2 with the winner announced shortly after.“The rich history and tradition of the ANF program has proven to be a great way to reach new audiences. Legendary Hawkeye Coach Hayden Fry created ANF in 1985 during the Farm Crisis which affected thousands of Iowa family farms and why Hawkeye greats continue to support the ‘America Needs Farmers’ campaign today,” said IFBF President Craig Hill. “We know Iowans love meat, and football tailgaters grilling up burgers, brats and chops are a testament to that. This contest, along with our farmer volunteers interacting with football fans at the game’s ANF Legends Tent, helps bring light to the innovative ways farmers care for their animals, putting health and the environment at the forefront of everything they do.”During ANF Game Day, fans can stop by the ANF Legends Tent at Krause Family Plaza to meet the farmers who grow and raise their food and play games to win great prizes; they can also get autographs from former Hawkeye and NFL Greats. ANF merchandise will also be for sale in ANF Plaza with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Iowa Food Bank Association. For more information, visit www.AmericaNeedsFarmers.org. Federal Court Sends Illegal Water Rule Back to EPAA federal court says the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is unlawful under the Clean Water Act because of its “vast expansion of jurisdiction over waters and land traditionally within the states’ regulatory authority.” The court for the Southern District of Georgia found the agency overstepped not just the CWA, but also the Administrative Procedure Act, which lays out the most basic rules governing how agencies may propose and establish federal regulations. The Georgia court kept in place a preliminary injunction preventing the rule from becoming effective in the 11 states involved with the lawsuit while the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its own repeal and replacement of the 2015 rule.The ruling was a victory not just for the plaintiff states, but a broad coalition of more than a dozen private sector groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation.“The court ruling is clear affirmation of exactly what we have been saying for the past five years,” AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen said. “The EPA badly misread Supreme Court precedent. It encroached on the traditional powers of the states and simply ignored basic principles of the Administrative Procedure Act when it issued this unlawful regulation. The court found fault with the EPA’s interpretation of some of the most basic principles of the CWA, most importantly which waters the federal government may regulate, and which waters must be left to states and municipalities.”Jurists repeatedly criticized the EPA’s handling of the rulemaking, in particular its interpretation of the Supreme Court’s “Rapanos” decision, which laid out guidelines for determining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends.The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with a coalition of groups, urges repeal and replacement of the 2015 rule to ensure clean water and clear rules. Corn Farmers Press Trump to Take Steps to Significantly Increase Corn DemandNational Corn Growers Assoc.The impact of the Trump Administration’s recent granting of 31 refinery waivers to big oil is quickly being felt across the countryside, compounding farmer’s concerns about crop conditions, markets and trade.In the last 12 months, 15 ethanol plants have been shuttered or idled, including POET’s Cloverdale facility which specifically cited the most recent waivers as the cause. Given this reduced demand, it is likely more closings will follow.Recent press reports indicate the President is, rightly, rethinking this action and NCGA is continuing to work with members of his administration and ethanol advocates in Congress. This includes sharing solutions that would significantly boost corn demand.President Trump’s actions on ethanol have cost 2,700 rural jobs and lost demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn as a result of the ethanol plant closures and slowing production. Since 2018, the 85 RFS exemptions granted to big oil refineries have totaled 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.Redistributing and accounting for these waived gallons in the upcoming RVO rulemaking is just one step the Administration can take today, and farmers are encouraged to submit comments to the EPA on this issue. Farmers can also send a message directly to President Trump.Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices and ongoing trade tariffs and negotiations show no sign of a resolution. Farmers are losing patience. They need a win and the President needs to remember his promises to America’s farmers.Biodiesel on the Ropes after EPA Punches, But Support Leaves Soy HopefulIt’s a federal program designed to increase markets for American farmers, decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil, and curb the carbon footprint through reduced emissions. Yet, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is again taking hits this year from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the form of small refinery waivers and flat biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2020/2021 that, in effect, send the industry staggering backwards.“These decisions are a one-two punch for the biofuel industry, and bottom line, farmers. But, we are heartened by the support we are getting from USDA and members of Congress, including Senator Grassley and many others speaking up and fighting for the RFS. They understand the value not just for biodiesel producers and soybean farmers, but rural economies, the environment, and U.S. consumers,” said Rob Shaffer, American Soybean Association (ASA) director and chair of the organization’s Biodiesel and Infrastructure Committee.Immediately following EPA’s decision to allow 31 additional small refinery exemptions, one of the largest biodiesel producers in the country announced the shutdown of three plants located in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Mississippi. Other large producers have announced closings and laid off workers, with more closings and layoffs likely if these policies remain unstable.Shaffer continued, “We may be reeling, but we are not KO’d. Congress can enact an extension of the biodiesel tax credit, and the administration can still get the RFS back on stable footing. This program, with their help, can accomplish what was intended: Higher levels of domestic, renewable fuels that enhance energy diversity and security; promotion of jobs and value for farmers and rural economies; and environmental benefits from reduced emissions.”ASA asks that President Trump uphold his commitments to support the RFS and American farmers by increasing the RFS, and urges Congress to get the biodiesel tax credit extension completed. Retroactive waivers of RFS volumes, the zero growth proposed for future RFS volumes, and inaction on the biodiesel tax credit are all compounding pressure on a soybean industry already facing a down farm economy, the lingering trade war with China, and seasonal weather-related issues.Ethanol Demand Destruction Clear to See as Consumption Wanes, Prices Fall and Plants CloseIn a letter sent Thursday morning to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Renewable Fuels Association challenged the federal agency on its claim there has been “zero evidence” that small refiner exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard compliance obligations have had a negative impact on ethanol producers.“Such a crass statement is entirely at odds with the facts and demonstrates a woeful lack of understanding about the actual marketplace implications of EPA decisions on small refiner exemption petitions,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The U.S. ethanol industry has indeed been negatively impacted by the dramatic increase in small refiner exemptions that have been issued by your Agency. U.S. ethanol consumption in 2018 was far below the level forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at the start of the year. Further, 2018 domestic ethanol consumption fell from 2017 levels—the first year-over-year decline in 20 years. Ethanol’s share of U.S. gasoline consumption (the “blend rate”) also fell in 2018 relative to 2017, likely the first-ever annual decline in the blend rate.”The EPA’s controversial August 19 statement came the same day as an Oval Office meeting where President Trump reportedly sought to “assuage farmer unrest” and “allay farm-state uproar” over the refinery exemptions, and only worked to further fuel farmer and ethanol industry concerns. “On the very same day your Agency suggested there is ‘zero evidence’ of demand destruction, two major ethanol producers announced they were idling production,” Cooper wrote. “In fact, in the week following EPA’s August 9 announcement that 31 more SREs had been approved, ethanol prices plunged 18 cents per gallon (12 percent), corn prices fell 47 cents per bushel (11 percent), and RIN credit values dropped from the already-low level of 20 cents to just 12 cents (43 percent). All told, the August 9 announcement alone could result in a staggering $10 billion transfer of wealth from the agriculture and biofuel sectors to the oil industry. There’s your evidence of demand destruction.”With the letter, RFA also submitted to Wheeler a short background document providing further evidence of waiver-induced demand destruction. “I respectfully encourage you to review this information, especially the statements of numerous ethanol company executives regarding the negative impacts of SREs,” Cooper wrote. “No one is more qualified to provide perspective on the economic impacts of SREs than those who participate in these markets every day. I hope you take their views to heart and ask your staff to revisit whatever analysis it conducted that ultimately led to the absurd conclusion of ‘zero evidence’ of negative market impacts from SREs.”

Pro Farmer West Leg: Rain Falls and Yields Impress in Southwest IowaSonja Begemann, Pro FarmerAs scouts press forward through a deluge of rain in southwestern Iowa, they’re finding mud—and decent crops. While there’s still prevent plant acres to be found, the fields that did get planted are shaping up to be an average crop, and in a year like 2019 that’s something to be celebrated.“You know, the corn is pretty good,” says Jeff Wilson, lead for the west leg of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. “That 137 to 210 bu. per acre is our range.”He anticipates the low end was caused by problems at planting. In addition, those corn crops just aren’t very mature and are variable—sometimes even within a single field. One field showed corn that was just pollinated, some that was three-weeks past and other areas with even greater variance.On the soybean side, Wilson is seeing “pretty good” pod counts.“There’s no blooms left and row spacing is all over the place,” he says. “So, I think the best fields we’re seeing are some of the narrower planted ones. It’s 870 to 1255 [pods per 3x3 square]. I feel like that might be okay to maybe a little on the low side.”Scouts have seen more disease and weeds in fields throughout southwest Iowa—sudden death syndrome specifically.It might sound like a broken record this week, but it remains true, the crops are immature. They’ll need more time, and sunlight to get to the finish line.“Sun. That’s the bottom line,” Wilson says. “We also need warm temperatures at night to keep that factory working.”Preliminary Route Report from Western Tour Leader Jeff WilsonWhat counties have you sampled from?Iowa: Mills (Crop District 7), Pottawattomie (7), Shelby (4) and Harrison (4)Corn yield range/average:126-210 bu. per acre; average of 158 bu. per acreSoybean pod count range/average (in a 3’x3’ square):870-1,670 pods; average of 1,158 podsRoute comments:"It does appear in the corn crop that there were some planting issues. It’s been variable on the two rows. Plant counts have been erratic as well—anywhere from 72 to 114 in 60 foot of row. Corn plant health is pretty good. Starting to see a bit of disease slip in. Some of these rains could cause some late-season grain-fill problems.""The most interesting story on maturity is that in our second field of the day we had a field where 50% was in dough, 25% had pollinated in last three weeks and 25% had just pollinated or had not yet. Overall, the crop is behind, but this is southwest Iowa—a normal freeze date should not be a big threat.""Soybeans are probably a week behind, but they are still the furthest along of what we’ve seen on Tour. Beans are starting to plump up in the pods. Today’s rains should be a good omen those pods that are there will fill with full-size beans by harvest.""The one caveat for both crops is they both need a lot more sunlight to reach maturity ahead of any hard freeze." Pro Farmer will release complete results for the state of Iowa tomorrow (Thursday).Safety Emphasized as Crop Tour Continues After USDA Employee ThreatTensions are high in farm country. Extreme weather, trade uncertainty and low commodity prices are adding to farmers’ stress. This was more evident than ever during this week’s Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, Farm Journal’s annual assessment of expected crop yields. A USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service employee, slated to speak at one of the tour’s events, received a threat by phone. In response, USDA pulled their staff from the remaining days of the tour.“A USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service employee received a threat while on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour from someone not involved with the tour. As a precaution, we immediately pulled all our staff out of the event,” said Hubert Hamer, National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) Administrator, in a statement. “Federal Protective Services were contacted and are investigating the incident. The safety of our employees is our top priority." The threat, which was not directed at NASS Crops Branch Chief Lance Honig as some have speculated, came from a person in Iowa who was not affiliated with the event. The threat was unrelated to Crop Tour and was not associated with scouts or other meeting attendees. “For 27 years the Pro Farmer Crop Tour has been a public service for the benefit of agriculture, in good times and bad.  And it’s clearly a stressful time right now,” said Andy Weber Farm Journal CEO, in a statement. “From minute one we took this threat very seriously and have taken all steps possible to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the tour.”Joel Jaeger, Pro Farmer CEO, said more than 3,000 people are participating in the tour.  “The safety of the  scouts and meeting is our top priority,” said Jaeger.  As a result, Pro Farmer and its parent company, Farm Journal, has increased security at all events for the remainder of the week. “Any threat must be taken seriously, so we have involved law enforcement to determine the threat’s viability. As a precaution, we are taking steps to secure the remaining location venues, adding security personnel at the live events as well as asking staff and crop tour scouts to remain aware and report any concerns immediately,” Jaeger said. Smith to Hold Ag Update Tour Sessions in Alliance, York, and AuburnAs part of his 2019 Ag Update Tour, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will host August listening sessions in Alliance, York, and Auburn.The Ag Update Tour provides Third District constituents an opportunity to hear from Smith and his special guests on the future of agriculture policy.  In addition to Smith, officials such as Director Steve Wellman of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Director Jim Macy of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, Angel Velitchkov, Counsel for International Trade with the State of Nebraska, and Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen will join the discussions on selected dates. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ambassador Gregg Doud will no longer be in attendance.“Sound agriculture policies are a crucial part of ensuring farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to succeed,” Smith said.  “I am grateful Director Macy, Director Wellman, Mr. Velitchkov, and Secretary Evnen are taking time out of their busy schedules to join us for these conversations with Nebraska producers, and I am looking forward to constructive meetings. Getting policy right will help our producers overcome the challenges they face and ensure the Third District remains the top-producing agriculture district in the country.”Alliance Ag Update Tour SessionTuesday, August 27West Side Event Center2472 Co Rd 62, Alliance, NE 6930110:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (MDT)York Ag Update Tour SessionWednesday, August 28Crossroads GPS2711 Enterprise Ave, York, NE 6846710:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)Auburn Ag Update Tour SessionThursday, August 29Auburn City Hall1101 J St, Auburn, NE 6830510:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)For questions about these events, please contact Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.Commodity Carnival to Visit Nebraska State FairCME Group and the National 4-H Council are hosting their 7th annual Commodity Carnival at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, Nebraska. The Commodity Carnival is an interactive, educational fair experience that teaches young fairgoers about managing the business risks and costs associated with producing and bringing livestock to market. Participants will play a game that involves growing and bringing a steer to market, which helps improve their literacy in agriculture science and basic economics, all while having fun.The Commodity Carnival booth will be at the Nebraska State Fair from August 23rd- September 2nd. Fairgoers can even bring home the fun by downloading the mobile companion game, Risk Ranch, to their phone."Agriculture has been a vital part of CME Group's business for more than 170 years," said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Managing Director of Agricultural Products. "Working with National 4-H Council, we've reached over 400,000 youth across the country with the Commodity Carnival experience in the last six years. We look forward to supporting the program again this year to educate the next generation of farmers, ranchers and business leaders about the role of risk management in production agriculture.""We are so pleased to continue our partnership with CME Group and help prepare today's youth with skills they need to be successful in the future," said National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo. "The focus and purpose of the Commodity Carnival is to bolster our collective efforts to increase agricultural literacy and highlight the important role of agriculture commodities. Students get to take part in an interactive, hands-on experience that allows them to learn-by-doing."Commodity Carnival is an interactive learning activity that guides participants through the process of growing a steer and selling it at market. The game aims to build greater agricultural literacy and awareness of the risks farmers face in bringing food to market. Beyond the fairgrounds, students can also participate through the mobile companion app, Risk Ranch.CME Group and 4-H first collaborated in 2013, driven by the same mission to prepare future generations of farmers and food producers with respect to risk management in agriculture. To find a list of other participating fairs that will be hosting Commodity Carnival, visit www.cmegroup.com/4hcarnival.Prices for All Fertilizers Move Lower for First Time in Almost Two YearsLarge decreases in average retail fertilizer prices were seen the second week of August 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. This marks the first time in a couple of years that prices have declined in unison.Prices for all eight of the major fertilizer were lower from the prior month with half down by a considerable amount.Leading the way lower were anhydrous and UAN32, which both were down 7% from last month. Anhydrous had an average price of $543 per ton while UAN32 had a price of $295 per ton.Prices for both MAP and UAN28 were also significantly lower, down 6% from the previous month. The phosphorus fertilizer (MAP) had an average price of $503 per ton and UAN28 was at $258 per ton.Prices for the remaining four fertilizers were down from last month, but not by a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $493/ton, potash $387/ton, urea $413/ton and 10-34-0 $475/tonOn a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.45/lb.N, anhydrous $0.33/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.46/lb.N.With prices significantly lower this week, one fertilizer's price is now lower than it was a year ago. MAP is now 1% less expensive from 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 7% more expensive, both potash and UAN32 are now 9% higher, UAN28 is 11% more expensive, anhydrous is 13% higher and urea is 14% more expensive compared to last year.Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/16/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 16, ethanol production averaged 1.023 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 42.97 million gallons daily. Output narrowed by 22,000 b/d (-2.1%) from the previous week to an 18-week low. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined 0.4% to 1.035 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.87 billion gallons and 47,000 b/d (4.3%) below this year’s peak set seven weeks prior.Ethanol stocks shrank 2.2% to 23.4 million barrels. Stocks declined across all PADDs except the Rocky Mountain (PADD 4) region.There were no imports reported for the second consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied retreated 3.1% from the prior week’s record to 9.626 million b/d (404.3 million gallons per day, or 147.57 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol softened 0.6% from the record set the prior week to 961,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.73 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.63%.Reynolds, Naig urge EPA to honor the President’s promise to America’s farmersToday, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler outlining the damaging effects of the 31 new small refinery waivers (SRE’s) undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Reynolds and Naig also extended an invitation to Administrator Wheeler to come to Iowa and see the devastating impact of these exemptions firsthand.“The loss of these markets has taken a devastating toll on rural families facing one of the toughest years on record,” said Gov. Reynolds and Secretary Naig in their letter. “Ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years, commodity markets are depressed, and many biofuel plants, including several in Iowa, have already slowed or halted production.”Gov. Reynolds and Secretary Naig have stood alongside U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst in defense of the RFS. Reynolds testified earlier this year on the harm these waivers would cause to Iowa’s hard working farmers. Growth Energy Responds to Finkenauer Call for Investigation into EPA Abuse of SREsGrowth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response to Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s call for a Government Accountability Office review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) granting of small refinery waivers:“We applaud Congresswoman Finkenauer and other biofuel champions for standing up against the EPA’s abuse of the exemption process to enrich well-connected refiners at the expense of farm communities and rural workers. Already, dozens of biofuel plants have closed or cut production, and hundreds of millions of bushels of grain are falling in value, just as farmers face the worst economic conditions in a generation. The EPA needs to account for these lost gallons immediately and start repairing the damage before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback.”NBB, ASA Ask President Trump for Meeting on RFS WaiversNational Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Donnell Rehagen and American Soybean Association (ASA) President Davie Stephens today requested a meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss small refinery exemptions and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The letter details the damage the administration's waivers have dealt the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, and the soybean farmers who provide much of its feedstock, and emphasizes the need to include biodiesel-specific measures in any proposed resolution."According to a University of Illinois economist, nearly all demand eroded by small refinery exemptions falls on biodiesel and renewable diesel producers by nature of how the RFS is constructed," the letter states. "That disproportionate impact on biodiesel and renewable diesel producers in turn hits U.S. soybean farmers already having a tough time from tariffs and insurmountable weather issues this planting season."Rehagen added, "Biodiesel producers have suffered the greatest impact from the administration's small refinery exemptions but have been ignored so far in discussions about how to repair the damage. We're seeing biodiesel producers across the country -- from Pennsylvania to Iowa to Georgia and Texas -- shutting their doors and laying off workers as a result of demand destruction. The RFS was designed to support growth of advanced biofuels, but the small refinery exemptions have turned the program upside down.""While many economists worry about an economic recession within the next year, America's farmers are already facing a severe economic downturn," the letter continues.The two groups conclude the letter with a request to meet with the President: "We would appreciate an opportunity to discuss how the administration can repair the uncertainty created by zero growth in biomass-based diesel coupled with demand destruction caused by the waivers. We look forward to an opportunity to sit down with you and discuss solutions to the crisis our industries are facing as a result of recent policy decisions."University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin has found virtually all of the demand destruction from small refinery waivers is falling on the biodiesel industry. As EPA continues to hand them out to every refiner that asks, the damage to the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons, according to Irwin.A small refinery processing 75,000 barrels of oil per day can produce nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel per year. The refinery's annual RFS obligation would create demand for nearly 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel, which are the most widely available advanced biofuels. Dozens of biodiesel producers across the United States produce less than 20 million gallons each year.ACE conference highlights ethanol market developments in Mexico and around the world with USGC leadershipThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) welcomed Ryan LeGrand, CEO of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), as a keynote speaker during its 32nd annual conference last week in Omaha. USGC’s Stephan Wittig, newly appointed Mexico Director, and Jorge Lerdo de Tejada, ethanol consultant in Mexico, also shared a Mexico market specific update with conference attendees, moderated by ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty.“We have challenging days ahead to open up much-needed market access for U.S. ethanol, but we also have bright spots that make it an exciting time to be an advocate for trade of commodities like U.S. corn, DDGS and ethanol,” LeGrand said. “One of these bright spots is Mexico, and thanks to our newly appointed director, Stephan Wittig, and others on the team we assembled in Mexico, we’ve been able to educate the Mexican government and relevant stakeholders about the value of E10 and the resulting environmental and economic benefits it offers. This market did not exist just a few years ago, and the Council is learning to be nimble as markets like Mexico change and grow.”“I am excited about the opportunities the industry is being presented after having shared technical knowledge and strategical information on how to achieve the benefits of an ethanol blending program for Mexico and attaining E10 blends in the regulation,” Wittig said. Wittig participated in the trade mission with IRFA, ACE and USGC in July bringing Mexican fuel distributors and retailers to the U.S. to see the ethanol supply chain. “It makes an impression to see that ethanol is a reality and how higher blends are making their way into the market,” Wittig added. “It was great to see all the interest in expanding ethanol use from the industry’s stakeholders at the ACE conference.”“For many years, Mexico has tried to implement the use of ethanol, but it wasn’t until after the necessary changes were made to allow E10 to Mexico’s most recent fuel regulation that it started to become a reality,” Lerdo de Tejada said. “We are currently working on lifting the ban for ethanol in the three metropolitan areas of Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City which represent 30 percent of the potential ethanol market for the whole country.”“For the past two years, we have partnered with ACE and Ron Lamberty, who has been instrumental to allow a smooth transition to help gasoline station owners understand ethanol economics and the splash blending option to start using E10 in Mexico,” Lerdo de Tejada added. “Ron’s experience has opened significant interest for several gasoline station owners who are making the necessary arrangements to start distributing E10.”Next week, Lamberty will join Lerdo de Tejada and others on a panel at the Argus Mexico Fuel Markets Summit in Mexico City to discuss oxygenates and the future of fuel blending in the Mexican market and the role the U.S. can play.Farm Bureau Welcomes Tomato Deal with MexicoThe latest tomato agreement with Mexico shows the United States can work out trade disputes without resorting to tariffs and underscores the need to ratify the USMCA, the American Farm Bureau Federation said today.“We are pleased and relieved to see progress with one of our largest and most important trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Mexico is a vital trading partner for American farmers and ranchers. We need this agreement and are grateful negotiators capitalized on the close relationship that exists between our two nations. We look forward to more progress on the trade front and are counting the days until the USMCA becomes law.”Among other things, the tomato deal lifts current preliminary duties of 17.5% against Mexican tomatoes and suspends an anti-dumping investigation against Mexican producers begun earlier this year. The agreement also reinstates reference prices for various kinds of tomatoes to assure fairer pricing by Mexican competitors. The agreement is expected to take effect September 19, 2019 following a 30-day comment period.All parties, including growers, back today’s agreement.EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for HempToday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the receipt of 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.“EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on ten existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp. We hope this transparent and public process will bring hemp farmers and researchers increased regulatory clarity in time for next growing season — something they have asked for since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of commercial hemp.” “Given the strong economic forecasts for hemp production in the United States, it comes as no surprise that we are beginning to see pesticide registrants intensify their interests in gaining crop protection approvals for use on hemp,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the Hemp Production Field Day at the University of Kentucky. “EPA is committed to helping hemp growers obtain the tools needed to support and increase commercial production. This step recognizes that innovation in pesticide use is critical to the success of our strong and vibrant agricultural sector.”“I am grateful to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for selecting the University of Kentucky’s hemp field days to announce new pesticide applications for hemp,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “With about 1,000 Kentucky growers licensed to grow hemp this year, farmers need every tool in the toolbox to increase yields and protect their crops from harmful pests. This announcement proves the EPA is listening to the needs of hemp growers in Kentucky and around the nation.”"Today's announcement is a welcome first step on the path to registration of safe and effective crop protection agents for a rapidly expanding hemp enterprise," said Dr. Bob Pearce, hemp researcher at the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.  "My colleagues and I have already identified a number of weeds, insects, and plant diseases that pose a potential threat to economically viable hemp production.  We will work closely with EPA to identify and evaluate best management practices for the use of crop protection agents to help control pests in hemp crops. “As one of the original proponents of legalizing hemp, I’ve continued to advocate for the success and growth of this budding industry. I’m glad to see EPA Administrator Wheeler taking comments on pesticide applications for hemp, and I’m excited this announcement is being made at the Hemp Production Field Day at UK. Kentucky has been and will continue to be a leader in the hemp industry, and it’s been my honor to advocate for this industry since I came to the Senate in 2011” said Senator Rand Paul. “I commend EPA for recognizing the significance hemp has in our nation’s agriculture economy, particularly in the state of Kentucky,” said Rep. James Comer (KY-01) “Getting these registrants approved prior to the next growing season is a tremendous help to our farmers. Thanks to Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for helping provide the necessary tools our producers need to ensure they have the opportunity to produce the best crop.”To ensure transparency and improve EPA’s process for considering pest management tools for the emerging American hemp industry, EPA is seeking public comment on these applications. The list of pesticides can be found in prepublication copy of the Federal Register notice. Comments are due 30 days after the notice publishes in the Federal Register.Once public comments are received, EPA anticipates deciding about the possible use of the specified products on hemp before the end of 2019 to help growers make informed purchasing choices for the upcoming growing season. Moving forward, EPA will review, approve or deny applications for use on hemp as the agency would for any other use site.The enacted 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. Thus, the 2018 Farm Bill allows for expanding cultivation of hemp, but not marijuana.

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Releases Nebraska ResultsDay Two—Jeff Wilson, Pro Farmer Senior Market AnalystThere were few good or bad surprises from Nebraska. Most fields seemed to have adequate moisture with a few needing a drink soon to sustain yield potential. Most corn and soybeans are mature enough that frost risk is limited given normal frost dates. A welcome sight to see for the Nebraska producer has enjoyed reduced crop damage from hail and wind, which have become a normal annual occurrence.  Sure, there are fields with weather damage, but the crops are still headed for about average yields.Hats off to our 2019 scouts. We took more than 300 samples of both corn and soybean fields in Nebraska the past two days and head for western third of Iowa for crop sampling on Wednesday. The Nebraska Corn yield came in at 172.55 bushels per acre (BPA), down 3.7% from last year’s Tour data. That compared with a 3.1% drop projected by USDA in August to 186 BPA against last year’s government final forecast. Corn yield potential measured the past two days is actually up 2.9% from the prior three-year tour average of 167.7 BPA.We measured irrigated corn on 41% of the samples this year, close to average. But about 60% of the Nebraska corn crop is under irrigation which raises USDA forecast tally above what we measure each year. The story here is that the Irrigated corn is good but not great which does not pull the tour average higher. Corn on dryland fields is better and that puts a floor under the state yield. Yields measured this week in Nebraska ranged from a low of 62 BPA to 273 BPA. That’s a wide range and the lack of more 250-plus yields caps the upside potential from strong irrigated crops. Part of the reduced topside is the late plantings as farmers struggled to get crops planted in a timely fashion. But summer weather has been ideal for pollination and grain fill. Still the key to reaching full yield potential is more sunshine, warm temperatures and lower humidity and rain. This crop looks susceptible to late, yield robbing diseases that restrict movement of sugars and starch into kernels.  Soybean yield potential still appears preliminary with weather the next several weeks the key to big beans or small bean.  It is unlikely pods counts move higher from this week’s measurements. Wednesday and Tuesday tour results measured 1,210 pods in a three-foot by three-foot area this week, that that is down 3.7% from what we measured a year ago and down 0.6% from the prior three-year average. USDA is forecasting yields will drop 1.7% from a year ago.  There are signs of disease pressure just starting to increase, offsetting the positive impact of showers in parts of the state the past several weeks. Our tour range for soybean pods is wide at 227 to 3,121 pods in a square area. Soybean need warm temperatures at nigh and during the day, low humidity and more sunshine to reach yield potential.The late start of Nebraska corn and soybeans planting this year and how that impacts on final corn and soybean yields will not be know until the combines roll this fall. Soybeans have benefitted from “just in time rain.”Wednesday will focus on collecting data in the western third of Iowa and we will provide updates in Spencer, Iowa CORRECT TIMING MAKES THE BEST SILAGELarry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming CountyIf producers will be chopping corn silage this year, they need to do it right and time the harvest correctly. Corn development and maturity is highly variable this year due to all the problems with spring rains.   If you always chop silage on about the same date, how will that affect your corn silage? Harvest timing is critical for success.   Timing needs to be based on moisture content of the silage.   Silage chopped too early and wetter than seventy percent moisture can run or seep and it often produces a sour, less palatable fermentation.   We often get this wet silage when we rush to salvage wind or hail damaged corn or when we chop late-planted corn with immature grain.   Live green stalks, leaves, and husks almost always are more than eighty percent moisture, so wait until these tissues start to dry before chopping.In our region, normal corn is often chopped for silage too dry, below sixty percent moisture.   Dry silage is difficult to pack adequately to force out air.   This silage heats, energy and protein digestibility declines, and spoilage increases.   If your silage usually is warm or steams during winter, it probably was too dry when chopped.Many corn hybrids are between 60 to 70 percent moisture after corn kernels dent and reach the one-half to three-quarters milk line.   This guide isn’t perfect for all hybrids, though, so check your own fields independently.Corn kernels in silage between black layer and half milk line are more digestible.   Drier, more mature corn grain tends to pass through the animal more often without digesting unless kernels are well  processed.   Also, older leaves and stalks are less digestible.Chop silage at the proper moisture level and the outcome will be better feed and better profits.COVER CROPS FOLLOWING CORN SILAGEFollowing corn silage harvest, the ground can lay bare for seven to nine months.   Instead, consider planting some crops to grow and cover it until next season.After silage harvest, bare ground has two things working against it.   One is exposure to wind and water erosion.   And two, it isn’t growing anything.   Cover crops might help you overcome both problems.What should you plant depends primarily on what you want to achieve with your cover crop.   For example, hairy vetch and winter peas are good cover crops if you want to improve your soil by planting a legume that will produce 30 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre for next year’s crop.   Or maybe use a deep-rooted radish to breakup some hardpans.If you still hoping for some feed this fall, then oats, spring triticale and barley, annual ryegrass, and turnips might be better choices because these plants have the greatest forage yield potential yet this fall.   Spring oats, triticale, and barleys also will die over winter so they won’t interfere with next year’s crop.   But, dead residue from these spring cereals is not very durable, so it provides less effective soil protection and for a shorter duration.For better soil protection, winter rye is the best choice among the cereals.   And cereal rye can provide abundant grazable growth early next spring to get cows off of hay sooner.   Wheat and triticale also can be good cover crops.   Of course, wheat then can be harvested later for grain while triticale makes very good late spring forage.What is becoming especially popular is planting a mixture of several types of plants to reap some of the benefits of each one.  Cover crops can preserve or even improve your soil, and can be useful forages as well.   Consider them following your early harvests.Following Tyson Holcomb Plant Fire, Fischer Calls for Commodity Market Oversight and Flexibility for Livestock HaulersToday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote letters to Chairman Heath Tarbert of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Administrator Raymond P. Martinez of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeking to mitigate the effects of a fire at a Tyson beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, on Nebraska agriculture. Specifically, Senator Fischer called for commodity market oversight and flexibility for livestock haulers:“With already high margins and heavy supplies, the Tyson fire could not have come at a worse time for cattlemen and the beef industry. This is in addition to an already difficult year that has brought extreme weather events and looming trade uncertainty… Accordingly, I ask that the CFTC remain vigilant in their oversight of this market to ensure that market participants do not use uncertainty to price gouge, manipulate, or take advantage of the burdensome obstacles our producers are currently facing,” wrote Senator Fischer to Chairman Tarbert.“Due to this situation, drivers will need to haul live cattle to different facilities hundreds of miles away and cross state lines to continue processing. It is imperative that cattle processing continues and other plants can absorb the lost processing capacity. Cattle are scheduled to be processed months in advance and the cattle currently scheduled to be processed in the Holcomb plant cannot wait in feedyards indefinitely – they must be transported to different facilities,” wrote Senator Fischer to Administrator Martinez.The fire at the Kansas plant, which operated at approximately 6,000 head/day or 375 head/hour, occurred on Friday, August 9th. This incident has the potential to cause disruption and volatility in the beef market. Improved transmission needed to reap benefits of renewable energy, according to white paper Clean power commitments have increased at the county and city levels, with 11 counties and 104 cities nationwide pledging to 100 percent clean energy goals at the end of 2018. As more renewable energy is developed across the nation, regulators and policymakers must prepare for the changing electric power landscape, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.“Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition” takes a look at the growing renewable energy industry and an electric transmission system that is evolving to take advantage of wind and solar energy resources.“While transmission improvements have allowed for additional development of renewable energy resources, much of the new grid capacity has already been occupied,” said Lu Nelsen, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report. “Subsequent upgrades are likely necessary for the electric grid to adapt to the changing landscape.”For more than a decade, regional transmission planners have worked to address shortfalls in the electric transmission system, and to create a network that can connect additional generation to the grid. Estimates point to 70 to 220 gigawatts of new electric generation required as early as 2030, according to the report. The author examines efforts that improve reliability across the transmission network and reduce potential bottlenecks on the system.“A robust transmission system will be essential to reap the benefits of renewable energy resources,” Nelsen said. “To address the challenges of a changing electric power sector, regulators and policymakers must plan for an improved electric transmission network that will ensure renewable generation can continue to provide benefits to rural communities while offering opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and meet demands for clean energy.”For more information and to view “Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition,” visit cfra.org/publications/CapacityForChange.Cherokee Pasture Restoration and Monarch Habitat Field Day Sept. 10Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host a pasture restoration and monarch habitat field day Sept. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Nathan Anderson’s farm near Cherokee. The event is free, open to the whole family and includes a complimentary meal.The field day will begin on the Anderson Farm where host farmer, Anderson, will lead the group on a walking tour to the pasture being restored to native species of grasses and forbs to help improve the pasture performance and livestock health. Anderson will share information on how he began the restoration process and the resources he used, as well as the benefits and challenges he has faced during the process. Adam Janke, ISU Extension and Outreach wildlife specialist, will discuss opportunities for wildlife habitat around the farm including establishing monarch habitat and the impacts of pasture restoration on bird, mammal and other wildlife in the area. The field day will conclude with a complimentary meal back at the farm site.The field day will be held at Nathan Anderson’s farm, 1950 520th St., Cherokee. From Cherokee, head east on IA 3/530th St. for three miles. Turn north on T Ave./M10 for 1 mile. Turn left on 520th St. for 1/2 mile and the farm will be located on the south side of the road. The event is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu.For mobility accommodations to the pasture, please contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu by Thursday, Sept. 5.Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org. RFA Statement on EPA and Demand Destruction from Refinery ExemptionsToday, an EPA spokesperson said there was "zero evidence" of demand destruction for ethanol due to the numerous refinery exemptions allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The following is a statement from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper.“To suggest that there is ‘zero evidence’ of ethanol and corn demand destruction from small refinery waivers is as insulting as it is absurd. On the same day that EPA made this asinine assertion, two more ethanol plants announced they are idling production. At least 15 ethanol plants have now shut down or idled since EPA began its refiner bailout bonanza last year, and more than 2,500 jobs have already been affected. Ethanol production and demand continue to slide, prices continue to sink, and margins continue to bleed red. Meanwhile, the waivers are eroding corn demand, with USDA cutting its estimate of corn use for ethanol by 225 million bushels—equivalent to erasing demand for the entire Michigan corn crop. Farm bankruptcies and debt are on the rise, and farm income is plunging. Yet, EPA pretends nothing is wrong. Rome is burning, while EPA plays Nero’s fiddle.” Growth Energy Responds to EPA Claim of Zero Demand Destruction Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) claim that the recent trend of issuing small refinery exemptions has had no impact on ethanol producers:“The latest reports say President Trump ‘felt misled’ about the EPA’s most recent batch of small refinery exemptions. That’s hardly a surprise. The EPA spent months trying to paper over the devastating impact these refinery handouts have had on farm communities and rural workers in America’s biofuel sector. They can’t hide the simple fact that dozens of biofuel plants have cut production, and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years in the wake of these exemptions. Closures in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska are only the beginning.“Just today, the world’s largest ethanol producer closed a major plant in Indiana and cut production across seven states. Hundreds of millions of gallons of production are offline, and hundreds of millions of bushels of grain are falling in value, just as farmers face the worst economic conditions in a generation.“The Renewable Fuel Standard creates an incentive that opens the market to biofuel blends, including the E15 that President Trump personally embraced. These exemptions destroy that incentive, pure and simple. You cannot carve billions of gallons from America’s biofuel targets and still keep this administration’s promises to farm families. EPA needs to account for these lost gallons immediately and start repairing the damage before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback.”Oil Bailouts Force POET to Lower ProductionPOET announced today it will idle production at its bioprocessing facility in Cloverdale, IN due to recent decisions by the Administration regarding SREs. The process to idle the plant will take several weeks, after which the plant will cease processing of over 30 million bushels of corn annually and hundreds of local jobs will be impacted.POET has reduced production at half of its biorefineries, with the largest drops taking place in Iowa and Ohio. As a result, numerous jobs will be consolidated across POET’s 28 biorefineries and corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels across Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri.“The Renewable Fuel Standard was designed to increase the use of clean, renewable biofuels and generate grain demand for farmers. Our industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Unfortunately, the oil industry is manipulating the EPA and is now using the RFS to destroy demand for biofuels, reducing the price of commodities and gutting rural economies in the process,” said POET Chairman and CEO, Jeff Broin.The RFS authorizes small refinery exemptions for refiners that (1) process less than 75,000 barrels of petroleum a day and (2) demonstrate “disproportionate economic hardship.” Over the past two years, the EPA has issued waivers to refineries owned by ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other large oil companies—none of which are small and none of which have economic hardship.EPA’s mismanagement of SREs has created an artificial cap on domestic demand for ethanol and driven RIN values to near-zero, which weakens the incentive for retailers to offer higher blends. Oil is making billions of dollars, yet still using EPA to stop biofuels growth by handing out hardship waivers to some of the wealthiest companies in the world, in contradiction with President Trump’s public comments. So far, the EPA has cut biofuels demand by 4 billion gallons and reduced demand for corn by 1.4 billion bushels, causing severe damage in rural America.“POET made strategic decisions to support President Trump’s goal of boosting the farm economy. However, these goals are contradicted by bailouts to oil companies. The result is pain for Midwest farmers and the reduction of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity across Indiana.” said POET President and COO, Jeff LauttThe recent announcement of 31 new waivers comes in steep contrast to the President’s roll out of year-round E15 earlier this summer. The SREs are wiping out any near-term growth potential for year-round E15 and challenging the President’s promises made to family farmers and rural communities. The President now has the opportunity to show his leadership on this issue and turnaround the rural economy.“My long term fear isn’t for the biofuels industry, it’s for rural America. POET can continue to produce ethanol with cheap grain, but we don’t want to lose our family farmers. The EPA has robbed rural America, and it’s time for farmers across the Heartland to fight for their future” said POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin.Farm Service Agency Expands Payment OptionsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is expanding its payment options to now accept debit cards and Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit. These paperless payment options enable FSA customers to pay farm loan payments, measurement service fees, farm program debt repayments and administrative service fees, as well as to purchase aerial maps. “Our customers have spoken, and we’ve listened,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Finding ways to improve customer service and efficiency is important for our farmers, ranchers, producers, and forest landowners who work hard for our nation every day. Now, our customers can make electronic payments instantly by stopping in our offices or calling over the phone.” Previously, only cash, check, money orders and wires were accepted. By using debit cards and ACH debit, transactions are securely processed from the customer’s financial institution through Pay.gov, the U.S. Treasury’s online payment hub.  While traditional collection methods like cash and paper checks will continue, offering the new alternatives will improve effectiveness and convenience to customers while being more cost effective. In 2017, the average cost to manually process checks, a process that included navigating multiple systems, cost USDA more than $4.6 million. The expanded payment options will cut the time employees take processing payments by 75 percent.  “At USDA, we’re focused on modernization to improve customer service,” said Northey. “If half of our customers use these new payment options, we’ll see a $1 million savings in one year. These new payment methods are one part of a much larger effort to expand options for our customers, as well as to make our services more effective and efficient.” Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a multi-phased roll-out of new payment options for USDA customers. Ultimately, payment option flexibility will be extended to allow farmers and producers to use debit cards and ACH debit payments to make payments for all FSA programs, including farm storage facility loan repayments, farm loan facility fees, marketing assistance loan repayments, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) administrative fees and premiums and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) fees.  NMPF Urges Farmers to Sign Up for Dairy Margin Coverage as Deadline ApproachesWith one month left until the 2019 sign-up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program closes, the National Milk Producers Federation urged all dairy farmers to enroll in the program, which guarantees a payout for cash-strapped producers in 2019.The DMC, a retooling of dairy programs included 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 June, with another payment predicted for July, according to USDA data and forecasts.  Enrollment numbers released yesterday indicate that 63% of dairy operations with an established DMC production history have enrolled so far for this year. This represents nearly 17,000 producers nationwide.“Dairy farmers prefer to get their income from the market, but much-needed payments for the first half of this year provide welcome certainty for farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “DMC offers better support for dairy farmers than its predecessor, the Margin Protection Program. It’s worthwhile for every farmer.”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.Tyson and White Castle Weigh in on Alternative Proteins Sept. 13Representatives of Tyson Foods, White Castle restaurants and MotivBase ethnography research firm will join The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), Fri. Sept. 13, from 1 to 2 p.m. CDT, for CFI Live “The Protein Play: Emerging Trends and Consumer Appetites for Protein Alternatives.”The free webcam event will address the rapid evolution of protein alternatives, the profile of interested consumers, cultural forces at play and what’s next for both consumers and those in the protein complex.Moderated by CFI CEO Charlie Arnot, the panel features David Ervin, vice president of alternative proteins, Tyson Foods; Shannon Tolliver, social responsibility and environmental sustainability manager, White Castle; Jamie Richardson, vice president of corporate relations, White Castle; and Ujwal Arkalgud, co-founder and CEO of MotivBase, cultural anthropologist and author.To register, click on the CFI Live link at www.foodintegrity.org. First-Ever Report of Antimicrobial Use across U.S. Broiler Chickens and Turkeys U.S. Poultry & Egg Association announces the release of the U.S. poultry industry’s first-ever report quantifying antimicrobial use on broiler chicken and turkey farms. The new report shows dramatic reductions of turkey and broiler chicken antimicrobial use over a five-year timeframe. As part of its commitment to the transparency and sustainability of a safe food supply, the poultry industry aims to strike a balance between keeping poultry flocks healthy and the responsible use of antimicrobials, especially those medically important to human health.Under the research direction of Dr. Randall Singer, DVM, PhD, of Mindwalk Consulting Group, LLC, this report represents a five-year set of data collected from 2013 to 2017 regarding the use of antimicrobials in U.S. broiler chickens and turkeys throughout their lifetime, from hatchery to day of harvest. It was prepared through a systematic collection of on-farm antimicrobial use data to capture the disease indications and routes of administration through which antimicrobials were given to the poultry. Given several key differences among broiler chickens and turkeys – namely differences in weight, life span, susceptibility to lifetime illness and the number of effective medical therapies available – the data from broiler chickens and turkeys should neither be combined nor compared. Key changes among broiler chickens over the five-year period show: • Broiler chickens receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 93% to 17% • Hatchery gentamicin use decreased approximately 74% • Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 95%. For example: tetracycline 95%, virginiamycin 60% • Medically important water-soluble antimicrobial use in broiler chickens decreased by as much as 72%. For example: penicillin 21%, tetracycline 47%, sulfonamide 72% • There was a documented shift to the use of antimicrobial drugs that are not considered medically important to humans (e.g., avilamycin and bacitracin BMD) Key changes among turkeys over the five-year period show: • Turkeys receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 96% to 41% • Hatchery gentamicin use decreased approximately 42% • Medically important in-feed antimicrobial use in turkeys decreased: tetracycline 67% • Medically important water-soluble antimicrobial use decreased substantially. For example: penicillin 42%, tetracycline 28%, lincomycin 46%, neomycin 49%, erythromycin 65% Antimicrobial use among broiler chickens and turkeys decreased dramatically between 2013 and 2017, and there are a couple of key explanations for this: • Changes in FDA regulations, which were fully implemented in January 2017, effectively eliminated the use of medically important antimicrobials for production purposes and placed all medically important antimicrobials administered in the feed or water of poultry under veterinary supervision • A continued focus by poultry companies on disease prevention, thereby reducing the need for antimicrobials • Improved record-keeping of all antimicrobial administrations, which is a key component of antimicrobial stewardship Furthermore, the broiler chicken and turkey industries have increased the production of animals raised without antimicrobials. Participation in this effort was entirely voluntary. The poultry industry recognized the importance of this work and responded. The 2017 data in this report represent more than 7.5 billion chickens (about 90% of annual U.S. chicken production by the major companies on the WATT PoultryUSA list) and 160 million turkeys (about 80% of annual U.S. turkey production by the major companies on the WATT PoultryUSA list). USPOULTRY Vice President of Research, Dr. John Glisson, DVM, MAM, PhD, affirms, “This research is the first step in determining how antimicrobials are used in the entire poultry production system of the U.S., and to succeed, we need participation from the majority of companies. We couldn’t be more pleased with the response of the poultry industry.” Glisson cautions, though, that there are still serious bird illnesses (e.g., necrotic enteritis, gangrenous dermatitis and colibacillosis) for which the poultry industry has few effective interventions. And when birds get sick from these diseases, they must receive therapy. He confirms that “driving good antimicrobial stewardship in poultry, as opposed to simple documentation of reduced use, is our end goal for the best outcomes for both the people and the poultry.” Moving forward in 2019, Dr. Singer will continue the annual collection of data from the broiler chicken and turkey industries and will begin collecting data from the U.S. table egg industry. Glisson anticipates this new data will provide greater clarity about antimicrobial use in individual flocks, stating, “We expect even more detailed data on flock antimicrobial usage and record-keeping in the years ahead, which thoroughly supports USPOULTRY efforts to ensure proper stewardship of medications.” Bayer and National 4-H Council “Science Matters” Partnership Encourages Interest in Agri-science Education in ClassroomsEducation and skills gaps have long been a challenge for the agriculture industry, as the demand for qualified candidates in agricultural science careers has significantly outpaced the pool of applicants with adequate training and education. Bayer, in collaboration with National 4-H Council, today released the results of the second annual Science Matters survey, which explores the opinions of parents, teachers and - new this year - students on the importance of agri-science in high school curriculum.The 2019 survey confirmed that low awareness of career options in agriculture is a primary factor leading to the limited pool of skilled applicants. In fact, the survey found that although nearly 80 percent of surveyed high school students believe that agricultural science education is important to future success, only 19 percent reported that they are likely to consider a career in agriculture.One explanation for this disconnect could be a lack of awareness of the diverse opportunities available within the agriculture industry. Only 36 percent of surveyed students reported being familiar with agriculture career choices beyond working on a farm, despite alternative and thriving occupations such as veterinary science, biotechnology, raising and training animals and forestry.“The 2019 Science Matters study shows a disconnect between students’ perceived value of agricultural science and their awareness of tangible, fulfilling and diverse career opportunities, which presents an enormous opportunity for the agricultural community,” said Lisa Safarian, President, North America Commercial, at the Crop Science Division of Bayer. “These survey results are a call to action for the industry to come together and invest in our youth, educating them and developing their skills in areas where it has been traditionally challenging to identify and recruit a qualified workforce, and highlight the success and impact they can have in a multitude of diverse careers.”The agriculture industry isn’t alone in recognizing the value in driving awareness and enthusiasm in agricultural careers among students. In fact, the survey found that 92 percent of teachers feel it is important to expose students to agri-science education, up 14 percent from 2018, and teachers feel more prepared than ever to play a role in educating students. More than three-in-five high school science teachers say that they feel qualified to teach agri-science content, a 35 percent increase over 2018 when fewer than half of teachers reported feeling qualified.Although, like students, parents (90 percent) agree agricultural science education is important, both groups are less likely to believe more of an emphasis should be placed on STEM education in the classroom. While 55 percent of teachers would like to focus more on STEM subjects, only 43 percent of parents and 30 percent of students agree.“As a teacher with four years of experience educating students and striving to bring complex fields of study like agri-science to life in the classroom, I’ve learned that they absorb information and develop passions around subjects where they understand the real-life implications of the concepts they are learning on paper,” said Kamal Bell, former teacher for Durham Public Schools and current student at North Carolina State University seeking a Doctorate in Agricultural Extension Education. “It is more important than ever for students to have access to hands-on activities that broaden their perspectives about science and agriculture and make tangible their future opportunities for development and impact.”It is with this enormous opportunity in mind that Bayer and National 4-H Council created Science Matters, an educational outreach program that leverages a variety of strategic and creative programming to pique students’ curiosity about agri-science and STEM education. Fortunately, more than half (52 percent) believe that agri-science is an exciting, creative and interesting subject according to the study, but there is still more to be done to translate this interest into action.“4-H has totally shaped who I am,” said Addy Battel, winner of the 2019 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Agriculture. “Through initiatives like Science Matters, more students like me will be exposed to STEM education, passion areas and career choices. Sometimes all it takes to inspire people to act is opportunity.”By launching Science Matters in August 2017, Bayer and National 4-H Council have committed to equip at least 25,000 students from rural, urban and suburban communities with the tools and support they need to deepen their understanding of science. The program contributes to youth development through curricula provided by 4-H to its network of local club leaders; creative initiatives to heighten young people's awareness of the role science plays in their everyday lives; scholarships to attend the 4-H National Youth Summit on Agri-Science; and, engaging with 4-H clubs across the U.S. through community grants and local volunteerism to enhance the STEM education experience.For more information on Science Matters, visit 4-H.org/Bayer.Washing Raw Poultry: Our Science, Your ChoiceA study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that individuals are putting themselves at risk of illness when they wash or rinse raw poultry.“Cooking and mealtime is a special occasion for all of us as we come together with our families and friends,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “However, the public health implications of these findings should be of concern to everyone. Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods. The best practice is not to wash poultry.”The results of the observational study showed how easy bacteria can be spread when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitized. The USDA is recommending three easy options to help prevent illness when preparing poultry, or meat, in your home.1. Significantly decrease your risk by preparing foods that will not be cooked, such as vegetables and salads, BEFORE handling and preparing raw meat and poultry.-    Of the participants who washed their raw poultry, 60 percent had bacteria in their sink after washing or rinsing the poultry. Even more concerning is that 14 percent still had bacteria in their sinks after they attempted to clean the sink.-    26 percent of participants that washed raw poultry transferred bacteria from that raw poultry to their ready to eat salad lettuce.2. Thoroughly clean and sanitize ANY surface that has potentially touched or been contaminated from raw meat and poultry, or their juices.-    Of the participants that did not wash their raw poultry, 31 percent still managed to get bacteria from the raw poultry onto their salad lettuce.-    This high rate of cross-contamination was likely due to a lack of effective handwashing and contamination of the sink and utensils.-    Clean sinks and countertops with hot soapy water and then apply a sanitizer.-    Wash hands immediately after handling raw meat and poultry. Wet your hands with water, lather with soap and then scrub your hands for 20 seconds.3. Destroy any illness causing bacteria by cooking meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer.-    Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops) are safe to eat at 145°F.-    Ground meats (burgers) are safe to eat at 160°F.-    Poultry (whole or ground) are safe to eat at 165°F.-    Washing, rinsing, or brining meat and poultry in salt water, vinegar or lemon juice does not destroy bacteria. If there is anything on your raw poultry that you want to remove, pat the area with a damp paper towel and immediately wash your hands.“Everyone has a role to play in preventing illness from food,” said Administrator Carmen Rottenberg of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). “Please keep in mind that children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. Washing or rinsing raw meat and poultry can increase your risk as bacteria spreads around your kitchen, but not washing your hands for 20 seconds immediately after handling those raw foods is just as dangerous.”The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of Americans are sickened with foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending August 18, 2019, there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 11 short, 77 adequate, and 10 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 79 adequate, and 10 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 59 good, and 15 excellent. Corn dough was 61 percent, well behind 86 last year, and behind 80 for the five-year average. Dented was 17 percent, behind 35 last year and 27 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 62 good, and 10 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 93 percent, behind 99 both last year and average. Setting pods was 78 percent, behind 90 last year and 87 average. Winter wheat harvested was 96 percent, near 100 both last year and average. Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 18 fair, 70 good, and 11 excellent. Sorghum headed was 85 percent, behind 95 last year and 92 average. Coloring was 13 percent, well behind 40 last year, and behind 31 average. Oats harvested was 94 percent, behind 100 last year, and near 96 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 5 percent very poor, 18 poor, 20 fair, 50 good, and 7 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 92 percent. Setting pods was 75 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 13 fair, 65 good, and 18 excellent. Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report Much needed rain fell across parts of Iowa during the week ending August 18, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included scouting, spraying fungicides and insecticides and harvesting hay and oats. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 6 percent very short, 25 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Rain this past week helped improve topsoil moisture conditions except for the southeast district which remained at 64 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 23 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Nearly all the corn crop has begun to silk at 96 percent statewide. Fifty-nine percent of the crop reached the dough stage, 12 days behind last year and 9 days behind the 5-year average. Seven percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Seventy-one percent of the crop has started setting pods, 17 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind average. Soybean condition declined slightly from the previous week to 61 percent good to excellent. Oats harvested for grain has almost wrapped up at 97 percent complete statewide.The second cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 96 percent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 36 percent, 9 days behind average. Hay condition rated 55 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition declined for the seventh straight week and rated a season low 42 percent good to excellent. Comments mentioned pasture regrowth has been slow and supplemental hay feeding has been used due to drier than normal pasture conditions. Some livestock have struggled with continued temperature fluctuations. Corn, Soybean Condition Down 1 Percentage PointGood-to-excellent condition ratings for both U.S. corn and soybeans slipped slightly last week, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday.As of Sunday, Aug. 18, the U.S. corn crop was rated 56% in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage from 57% the previous week. That compares to last year's 68% and is the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years. The crop's poor-to-very-poor rating category gained 1 percentage point to reach 14%.Corn development remained behind its average pace last week. Ninety-five percent of the crop was silking, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 55%, up 16 percentage points from 39% the previous week but 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 76%. That was little improvement from last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was running 22 percentage points behind the average.  Corn dented was 15%, behind last year's 41% and 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 30%.Like corn, the condition of the soybean crop also fell 1 percentage point last week, from 54% good to excellent the previous week to 53% as of Sunday. That compares to the five-year average of 66%, and also remains the lowest rating since 2012.The portion of the soybean crop that was blooming was 90%, 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 11 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 68% as of Sunday, 17 percentage points behind the average pace of 85%. That was also an improvement from last week's report, when soybeans setting pods were estimated at 22 percentage points behind the average pace.Winter wheat harvest crept ahead another 4 percentage points last week to reach 93% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 97% and 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 98%.Spring wheat harvest progress was up 8 percentage points from the previous week to reach 16% as of Sunday, well behind last year's 56% and 33 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. That was further behind normal than in last Monday's report when harvest was 22 percentage points behind average.  Spring wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in the field -- was estimated at 70% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 69% the previous week. Last year's rating at the same time was 74% good to excellent.Sorghum heading reached 75% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 83%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 31%, behind the average of 43%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 21%, behind the average of 26%. Sorghum condition was rated 65% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 66% the previous week. Oats were 60% harvested, behind the average of 78%.Cotton setting bolls was 85%, equal to the five-year average. Cotton bolls opening was at 24%, ahead of the average of 13%. Cotton condition was rated 49% good to excellent, down 7 percentage points from 56% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 88%, behind the average of 93%. Rice harvested was 10%, slightly behind the average of 13%. Rice condition was rated 68% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 70% the previous week.Ethanol Board offers fuel retailer training to install E15 blends and higherSince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted regulations against the sale of E15 throughout the summer months, the market and industry feedback has proven positive. For the first time ever, consumers driving 2001 or newer vehicles can access the fuel with up to 15% ethanol year-round. Because customers see a decrease in price, an average of 3-7 cents cheaper per gallon than E10, fuel retailers making room for E15 experience an increase in patrons.“In 2017, our sales of E15 increased over 300 percent; in 2018, they went up another 225 percent,” said Randy Gard, COO of Grand Island-based Bosselman Enterprises. “And with the help of President Trump opening the door for year-round E15, our newest projections for this year show an increase of another 400 percent.”Bosselman Enterprises operates 45 Pump & Pantry convenience stores in the state, and they have been offering E15 since 2016. Gard said sales growth has been tremendous and it is a huge market opportunity. He encourages other retailers to join the E15 movement to offer a better fuel, at a better cost, that’s better for the environment.The biggest hurdle that often stops fuel retailers from adding higher ethanol blends is cost, but Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB), said that might not actually be a hurdle at all. To help dispel these myths and to educate fuel retailers on the benefits and ease of offering E15, NEB will host a free workshop for fuel retailers Aug. 28 in Kearney, Nebraska. Attendees will hear best practices from fuel retailers who’ve seen success selling E15, a keynote from Ron Lamberty of American Coalition of Ethanol, and will learn about resources to make implementing and labeling infrastructure easy and affordable.“There are a lot of misconceptions about the costs associated with adding E15 to the pump,” Berry said. “Many gas stations can begin to sell E15 with very little investment in their current infrastructure. If a pre-blended E15 is available at the rack where the fuel retailer sources their fuel, they can often times replace one of their current choices, such as an 89 octane mid-grade that they generally sell very little of, with very little to no investment. Of course they must have the Nebraska State Fire Marshall’s office out for an inspection prior to putting E15 in that tank and dispensing it through the dispenser. The retailer does not have to install the more expensive blender pumps in order to sell E15.”Additionally, some of the burden can be relieved through a grant program from the Nebraska Corn Board, who will award qualifying retailers money for equipment and infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel.To sign up, fuel retailers should register by Aug. 23 at http://bit.ly/E15WKSHPKearney. The workshop is free, and food and drink will be provided throughout the day.The increase in E15 sales will provide an additional value-added market for Nebraska farmers and ethanol plants, who are experiencing many challenges this year. Weather, the strain of tariffs that have cut U.S. exports drastically, and the EPA’s indiscriminate approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs) are weighing heavily on the industry. Fuel retailers who offer E15 will not only be driving customers seeking lower costs and environmental change to their stores, they will have a real impact on Nebraska’s farmers and economy.  Nebraska Farm Credit Mediation J. David Aiken, NE Extension Water and Agricultural Law SpecialistYour lender informs you that your unpaid operating loan will not be renewed. What are your options? Loan foreclosure? Bankruptcy? One important option in Nebraska is farm credit mediation. This is when you and your creditor (or creditors) sit down with a trained mediator who tries to facilitate a compromise among the parties that avoids loan foreclosure and bankruptcy.How does mediation work? Farm credit mediation in Nebraska operates under the Negotiations Program of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Mediation proceedings are confidential. To begin mediation you fill out an application form on which you list the creditors you wish to mediate with. You will have the option to request a financial counselor to assist you in preparing for mediation. This is a very important free benefit and you should use it. The financial counselor will take an in-depth look at your situation, help evaluate your overall financial picture, and look at debt restructuring and refinancing possibilities.Within 40 days of applying for mediation you will have your first mediation session if your creditors agree to mediate–they are not legally required to. If you are a Farm Service Agency borrower, FSA will mediate, but you must meet the time deadlines included in the information you receive from FSA. Parties each pay $20 per hour for mediation session. You may bring an attorney or other advisor with you to mediation. Most mediation sessions are completed within 60 days of your application, and result in an agreement between the parties.For more information, visit the Negotiations Program website or call 402-471-4876.Types of CompromisesWhat type of compromises might be negotiated in mediation? This is where the benefits of the pre-mediation financial counseling come in. Hopefully you will have developed a strategy that can deal with your debts and allow you to continue operating. A farm credit mediation compromise might include one or more of the following:·    Extending the loan term to lower loan payments·    Lowering loan payments with a large balloon payment that requires the loan balance to be renegotiated or refinanced in the future·    Giving creditors additional loan collateral (security)·    Turning an annual operating loan into a separate fixed-term loan·    Negotiating how to share the new crop revenue between existing and new creditors·    Agreeing to turn property over to creditors in exchange for forgiveness of any unpaid loan balanceIf you do negotiate a mediation compromise, it is essential to have the agreement reviewed by an attorney and also by your tax advisor. Mediation agreements include a two-week review period unless the review period has been waived by the parties. Turning property over to creditors may in some cases trigger capital gains income, debt-forgiveness income, or both. It is crucial to identify and understand the income tax consequences of your mediation agreement before it is too late to do anything about them.What happens if one or more creditors are taking steps to foreclose on a loan? If this happens you need to contact an attorney immediately. One legal option is a bankruptcy court order to stop state foreclosure proceedings. This can provide time for the parties to negotiate a non-bankruptcy settlement. If you don’t have an attorney who has dealt with farm foreclosure issues, contact the Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258. Legal Aid Nebraska assists producers with agricultural credit issues, as do many Nebraska attorneys.Farm credit issues can be difficult to deal with emotionally. Often producers wait too long to address these issues, at which point there are fewer good options available--often the result of declining land values. Helpful sources of information and assistance include:·    Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258 (financial, legal and family counseling services and referrals)·    Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics at 800-464-0258 (Watch CropWatch for each month's schedule. These free monthly clinics are sponsored by Nebraska Department of Agriculture Negotiations Program and deal with debtor-creditor issues and farm credit mediation.)·    Negotiations Program at  402-471-4876 (mediation services for agricultural borrowers, creditors, and USDA program participants)Note: This information is provided for educational purposes—it is not intended as legal advice.Dairy-Based Experiences at the 2019 Nebraska State Fair Include Cooking Demonstrations and Dairy Princesses More than 315,000 attendees will experience dairy in new, exciting ways at the Nebraska State Fair this year. From engaging in conversations with local dairy farmers to meeting the Nebraska Dairy Princesses and tasting gelato, root beer floats and mac and cheese, fairgoers will get a closer look at how dairy not only delivers enjoyment but is nutrient-rich and produced locally and responsibly by farmers who are highly dedicated to their work.“We are excited about the 2019 Nebraska State Fair and all the exciting dairy-based experiences like the 4-H cooking contest that features dairy as the main ingredient, Chef Nadar Farahbod’s cooking demonstrations in the Raising Nebraska building and the milking demonstrations that will be held daily in the Milking Parlor.” said Kris Bousquet Midwest Dairy’s Nebraska State Fair project manager. “Attending these events will be a great opportunity to interact with dairy farmers and enjoy everything that’s delicious about dairy.” Farahbod is owner and executive chef of Billy’s Restaurant, one of the most successful restaurants in Lincoln, Nebraska.The 4-H Cooking Contest in the Raising Nebraska Building features dairy as the main ingredient and will be held Saturday, August 31. Chef Nadar’s cooking demonstrations featuring recipes that combine dairy and pork ingredients will be held in the Raising Nebraska building from 12-2 p.m. Saturday August 24 and August 31, and Sunday August 25 from 12-1 p.m. Fair attendees can visit the Milking Parlor daily to watch live milking demonstrations.Faith Junck, daughter of Dwayne and Priscilla Junck of Carroll and Whitney Hochstein, daughter of Neal and Sharlee Hochstein, will be available throughout the fair to meet fairgoers, answer questions about dairy farming and participate in the Dairy Livestock Show Award Ceremony. They both were crowned the Nebraska’s 2019 Dairy Princesses in Columbus at the Nebraska Dairy Convention in February. Junck and Hochstein were selected based on an application, essay, interview skills and ability to advocate for dairy farmers. They will spend the year serving as the official ambassadors for the state’s dairy farmers advocating and educating on their behalf. They will be making public appearances that include media interviews, classroom appearances, dairy events and fairs.Delicious dairy foods will be front and center throughout the state fair at the Mac and Cheese Stand near the Nebraska Lottery Booth in Food Pod 5 and at eight different ice-cream stands located throughout the state fairgrounds.Each year, the Nebraska state fair celebrates the more than 250 dairy farmers in the state who are contributing 17,000 jobs and an economic impact of 828.4 million. To learn more about dairy farming in the Midwest, including Nebraska, visit MidwestDairy.com.Nebraska, Wyoming Farm Bureaus Urge USDA to Cover Crop Losses Associated with Irrigation Tunnel Collapse The Nebraska and Wyoming Farm Bureaus are urging the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure crop insurance will cover crop losses experienced by farmers impacted by the July 17 irrigation tunnel collapse that has prevented irrigators on the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming and the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska from receiving irrigation water during a critical time in the growing season.In an Aug.16 letter to USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey and USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom urged the agency to “thoroughly examine the tunnel collapse” and “provide crop insurance coverage for those Nebraska and Wyoming farmers affected by the loss of irrigation.”Questions have existed about whether federal crop insurance would cover associated losses due to the unknown surrounding the cause of the tunnel collapse. The USDA Risk Management Agency has yet to make an official decision.“It seems this situation, which will cause considerable crop losses outside of the control of those who farm within the 100,000 plus acre area impacted, is precisely why federal crop insurance was created,” wrote Nelson and Fornstrom.The disruption affects approximately 107,000 acres of crops, or about 35 percent of the total acres irrigated by surface water in the North Platte River Valley in both states. Approximately 55,000 acres are affected in Nebraska and 52,000 acres in Wyoming. With temporary repairs to the tunnel underway, it’s unclear as to when water will return to the system. The Universities of Nebraska and Wyoming recently issued a report noting the economic impact of the tunnel collapse could climb as high as $89 million if the loss of irrigation water results in a total crop failure.Nelson and Fornstrom recently toured the affected area to visit with farmers and to see the tunnel collapse site. “We can tell you the farmers we spoke to, who are already dealing with poor economic conditions, are relying on federal crop insurance to cover their losses. We hope the Risk Management Agency will use all its authority to protect the farmers who have been impacted by this disastrous event,” wrote the Farm Bureau leaders.In Nebraska, a website has been established by Platte Valley Bank and the Oregon Trail Foundation as a relief fund for farmers impacted by the tunnel collapse. All funds will go towards the effort to restore water and support local affected agriculture families. Donations can be made at pvbank.com/give/.In Wyoming, a donation account has been established at First State Bank to support the repair efforts in response to the irrigation canal collapse. One hundred percent of the donations will be allocated to the Goshen Irrigation District to support their work in repairing the tunnel and the canal damage. Donations can be sent to: First State Bank, P.O. Box 1098, Torrington, WY 82240. Checks should be made out to: Goshen Irrigation District Donation Account.Due to the remote location of the tunnel collapse, the Goshen County Farm Bureau in Wyoming is also collecting donations to help cover food costs for tunnel repair workers. Daily food costs are in the rage of $500 to $600. To donate, checks can be made to the Goshen County Farm Bureau and mailed to Lori Schafer, 5858 Road 33, Veteran, WY 82243. Nearly 17,000 Dairy Operations Enrolled in Dairy Margin Coverage ProgramThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that producers of nearly 17,000 dairy operations have signed up for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program since signup opened June 17. Producers interested in 2019 coverage must sign up before Sept. 20, 2019. DMC offers 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.“We’re encouraged by the number of dairy producers who have signed up for this new program, but we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.“At this point in the signup process, we are well ahead of the number of producers covered at this time last year under the previous safety net program, with more producers enrolling every day. As we move into the homestretch, we expect more producers across the country to get coverage through DMC and our team at FSA is really going above and beyond to make sure we get the word out there, the returns this year to-date should speak for themselves.”In June, when the DMC signup was announced, Secretary Perdue said, “For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”To date, more than 60 percent of dairies with established production histories have enrolled in the program. Wisconsin has seen the most participants with more than 4,832 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota (1,865), New York (1,779), Pennsylvania (1,511) and Michigan (702). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. DMC provides coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019. The producers who have signed up to date will receive more than $219.7 million in payments for January through June, when the income over feed cost margin was $8.63 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the sixth payment for eligible dairy producers who purchased the $9 and $9.50 levels of coverage under DMC. Dairy Industry Asks U.S. Government to Swiftly Secure Strong Trade Deal with JapanIn an effort organized by the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations today sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to capitalize on the conclusion of Japan’s national elections and quickly finalize a strong trade deal with Japan in order to secure critical market access for the dairy industry here at home.“Given that Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products, the successful negotiation of a robust trade agreement with Japan will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry and set our industry up on a path to compete effectively there moving forward. Securing robust dairy export opportunities into this overseas market will be critical to restoring confidence for our dairy farmers and processors across the country,” they wrote.The continued success of the U.S. dairy industry relies on stable export opportunities to markets abroad and Japan represents a major opportunity to expand growth. However, the Japan-EU agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have allowed the European Union, New Zealand and Australia to position themselves to seize sales from the U.S. dairy industry. Swift negotiation of a trade deal with Japan that builds upon the best components of the Japan-EU agreement and the CPTPP is urgently necessary for America’s dairy farmers and processors.“Eroding dairy competitiveness in Japan is at a critical point. The time to re-level the tariff and access playing field is right now,” said Stan Ryan, President and CEO of Darigold. “Today Darigold supplies over 50% of the US American-style cheese exports to Japan. Those sales will soon be lost as competitor trade deals take effect.”“Japan has been a very important market for Leprino Foods Company’s US-produced products for years,” said Sue Taylor, Vice President of Dairy Policy and Procurement for Leprino Foods Company. “We invested heavily in developing lactose and whey protein exports several decades ago and, more recently, mozzarella exports into this important market and believe that the market has significant further growth potential.  We risk losing these sales and growth opportunities to competitors who recently finalized preferential trade agreements unless the US negotiates a strong agreement.  We are very supportive of the administration’s efforts to secure an agreement that allows us to retain and grow this important market.”“Japan is an important market for Glanbia Nutritionals, where we have the opportunity to grow our dairy exports,” said Wilf Costello, Chief Commercial Officer for Global Cheese with Glanbia Nutritionals. “We are at an important juncture where our competitors have secure preferential trading terms that are impacting US dairy ambitions. To ensure we can deliver on the opportunity in Japan, we need our trade negotiators to quickly finalize a trade agreement that secures access for American dairy products and ample room to grow.”The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018 with room for further growth. However, without a strong U.S.-Japan trade agreement, half of U.S. dairy sales to Japan will be wrested by competitors, mounting to a toll of $5.4 billion in lost export sales when Japan’s deals with the EU and CPTPP are fully phased in. July Milk Production in the United States up slightlyMilk production in the United States during July totaled 18.3 billion pounds according to USDA, up slightly from July 2018.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,969 pounds for July, 17 pounds above July 2018.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.31 million head, 82,000 head less than July 2018, and 9,000 head less than June 2019.Milk production in Iowa during July 2019 totaled 436 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous July according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during July, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month but down 3,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,010 pounds, up 15 pounds from last July. Macroeconomic Volatility and Industry Specific Shocks Pressure Down Cattle PricesElliott Dennis, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Econ, University of Nebraska - LincolnThe cattle markets have been through a wild ride this week. Both the Tyson packing plant fire and USDA crop report has dominated market activity, commentary, and analysis. The news has caused downward pressure, in some cases limit down, on both fed and feeder cattle prices. This news is important, time sensitive, and will have both short- and long-run implications throughout the beef supply chain. However, even given this news the market's reaction should be interpreted in the context of the macro economy the cattle market was already operating in.Trade disruptions and greater uncertainty about economic stability were two ongoing macroeconomic issues spilling over into the cattle markets. First, Chinese trade issues continued to weigh on the agriculture markets. Effects were seen in corn and soybeans spilling over into the cattle markets. The markets avoided a sell off when President Trump delayed tariffs on Beijing till December. Cattle markets saw a response with Chinese purchases towards the end of this past week. In absence of China, several negotiated trade deals have yet to be ratified by Congress. Combined, this has weighed down the domestic market. Second, trade issues caused prices to increase putting a squeeze on manufacturing margins. Faltering Q2 manufacturing and consumer company profits have sent signals of a looming recession. Other market signals tell a similar story. For example, the spread between Treasury yields, commonly used as a measure of economic recession, turned negative this past week -the first time since 2007. With a faltering economy, eyes have now turned to the Federal Reserve to see how they will react either with increased "quantitative easing" or adjusting the interest rates.So what does knowing about all the instability in the macro economy before the crop report and Tyson fire issues tell us? First, the beef market will need to find additional homes for the beef on the market. More beef on the domestic markets will further depress prices. While beef was doing a decent job at finding internationals home, this trend will need to continue and, in some cases, increase. Second, while domestic demand has been strong there is greater uncertainty whether consumers will continue to have increasing disposable income in the future due to inflation. If inflation spills into the consumer goods market, then this could further depress derived demand prices.Was the crop acreage report and Tyson fire important news this past week? Yes, it was. However, greater macroeconomic environment and trends will continue to larger players as they directly affect consumer's disposable income. This has the potential to lower demand which will then be passed down the beef supply chain through downward pressure on fed and feeder cattle prices.Deere Announces Third-Quarter Net Income of $899 MillionDeere & Company reported net income of $899 million for the third quarter ended July 28, 2019, or $2.81 per share, compared with net income of $910 million, or $2.78 per share, for the quarter ended July 29, 2018. For the first nine months of the year, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $2.532 billion, or $7.87 per share, compared with $1.584 billion, or $4.82 per share, for the same period last year.Affecting 2019 and 2018 results were charges or benefits to the provision for income taxes due to U.S. tax reform legislation (tax reform). Worldwide net sales and revenues decreased 3 percent, to $10.036 billion, for the third quarter of 2019 and increased 5 percent, to $29.362 billion, for nine months. Net sales of the equipment operations were $8.969 billion for the quarter and $26.182 billion for nine months, compared with $9.286 billion and $25.007 billion last year. "John Deere's third-quarter results reflected the high degree of uncertainty that continues to overshadow the agricultural sector," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer. "Concerns about export-market access, near-term demand for commodities such as soybeans, and overall crop conditions, have caused many farmers to postpone major equipment purchases. At the same time, general economic conditions remain positive and are contributing to strong results for Deere's construction and forestry business." Company Outlook & SummaryCompany equipment sales are projected to increase by about 4 percent for fiscal 2019 compared with 2018. Included in the forecast are Wirtgen results for the full fiscal year of 2019 compared with 10 months of the prior year. This adds about 1 percent to the company's net sales forecast for the current year. Also included is a negative foreign-currency translation effect of about 2 percent for the year. Net sales and revenues are projected to increase about 5 percent for fiscal 2019. Net income attributable to Deere & Company is forecast to be about $3.2 billion. "In spite of present challenges, the long-term outlook for our businesses remains healthy and points to a promising future," Allen said. "We continue to expand our global customer base and are encouraged by response to our lineup of advanced products and services. Furthermore, we are fully committed to the successful execution of our strategic plan focused on achieving sustainable profitable growth. In support of the strategy, we are conducting a thorough assessment of our cost structure and initiating a series of actions to make the organization more structurally efficient and profitable."

USDA Reports 400,000 Acres of Prevented Plant Cropland in NebraskaJim Jansen - NE Agricultural Systems Economics Extension EducatorCrop producers across Nebraska reported more than 400,000 acres of prevented plant land in 2019, according to data published this week by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In total, the USDA reported more than 19.3 million acres of prevented plant cropland across the United States for the current growing season. Nationally, Nebraska ranked 16th among states with prevented plant acres.South Dakota, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Arkansas accounted for about half of the prevented plant land in the United States with approximately 9.5 million acres. South Dakota led the United States with about 3.8 million acres, more than twice that of any other state. Corn, soybeans, and wheat were the top three prevented plant crops accounting for 17.7 million acres. Traditional grain belt regions reported the largest share of prevented plant acres in the United States. Prevented Plant Acres in NebraskaAs of August 1, the USDA Farm Service Agency reported 417,125 acres of prevented plant land in Nebraska, 407,522 of which would have been planted to the state’s major row crops. Eleven of Nebraska’s 93 counties reported more than 11,000 acres each of prevented plant.Holt County accounted for 47,292 acres or over 10% of the state’s total. Areas of northeast Nebraska, including Holt County, had an unusually wet fall followed by a series of heavy spring rains that didn’t allow for fieldwork. From October 1 to August 15, O'Neill has had 33.35 inches of precipitation, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center. This compares to a 30-year normal (1981-2010) of 21.40 inches. Atkinson has had 29.42 inches, compared to a normal of 20.82 inches.The top five Nebraska counties with prevented plant acres are: Holt - 47,292 acres, Merrick - 27,011 acres, Pierce - 17,207 acres, Burt - 14,759 acres, and Richardson - 14,487 acres.   Other area county acreage toals include: Dodge - 13,156Washington - 11,790Madison - 7,881Platte - 7,798Butler - 7,106Saunders - 6,265Colfax - 5,404Douglas - 4,135     Cuming - 3,845     Cedar - 3,699Stanton - 1,819Wayne - 1,185Dixon - 995Thurston - 859Dakota - 720The number of prevented planted acres across the state varied, depending on a county’s location. A considerable amount of prevent planted acres occurred in counties that bordered or incorporated streams, rivers, or other bodies of water. These areas included counties along the northern and eastern tier of the state bordering the Niobrara and Missouri rivers between Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. Roads, bridges, and municipalities also suffered excessive damages in these counties as well as across Nebraska. Considerations for ProducersProducers facing prevented plant or failed cropland acreages need to maintain good communication on disaster-related issues with their crop insurance agent and local USDA FSA service center. Also, other federal, state or local authorities may need to be informed. Maintaining direct lines of communication with the appropriate government entity or insurance company ensures producers understand their rights and responsibilities on properties impacted by a natural disaster.Ricketts to Meet with Nebraska’s Vietnamese Community Ahead of Trade MissionOn Monday, Governor Pete Ricketts will meet with members of Nebraska’s Vietnamese community ahead of his upcoming trade mission to Vietnam and Japan.  With the economy in Vietnam growing at a rapid rate, agricultural export totals have increased dramatically in the past two years.  Between 2017 and 2018, Nebraska saw a growth of 127% in beef exports alone, proving there is tremendous opportunity for growth in Nebraska ag exports to Vietnam.  What’s more, Nebraska’s own Vietnamese community has continued to grow and flourish, which supports Nebraska’s economy through job growth, entrepreneurship, homeownership, and tax contributions.Governor Ricketts, along with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, will be visiting Vietnam to continue promoting Nebraska’s agricultural exports to Vietnam.   Terminating a Verbal Farm Land LeaseAllan Vyhnalek - Extension Educator, Farm/Ranch Succession and TransitionSome farm leases are not written, but are verbal or "handshake" agreements. Because nothing is in writing, the parties may have different recollections of their agreement, making lease disputes more difficult to resolve.The most common legal issue associated with verbal farm leases is how a lease may legally be terminated. For both year-to-year leases and holdover leases, six months advance notice must be given to legally terminate the lease. However, the lease date (the date from which the six months is counted) is different. In contrast, the termination of a written lease is determined by the terms of the written lease.Terminating Verbal LeasesFor year-to-year verbal leases, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that the lease year begins March 1. Notice to a tenant to vacate under a verbal or handshake year-to-year lease (legally referred to as a "notice to quit") must be given six months in advance of the end of the lease, or no later than Sept 1. This rule applies regardless of the crop planted. Those with winter wheat should consider providing notice before it is time to prepare wheat ground for planting.For example, for the lease year beginning March 1, 2019, and ending Feb. 28, 2020, notice from the landlord that the lease will be terminated would have to be given to (and received by) the tenant no later than Sept. 1, 2019. The lease would then expire Feb. 28, 2020, with the new tenant (or new buyer) able to take over the lease March 1, 2020. If, however, the notice to quit were given (or received) after Sept. 1, 2019, the existing tenant would have the lease until February 28, 2021.It is recommended that the farmland lease be terminated by Registered Mail™. This means that the person receiving the letter signs for it, providing evidence that the termination notice was received.Pasture Lease TerminationsHandshake or verbal leases are different for pastures. The typical pasture lease is for the five-month grazing season. The lease is only in effect for that time, so the lease is terminated at the end of the grazing season; however, different lease length arrangements can be made in a written lease, and that would be followed if in effect.Regardless of the type of lease — written, verbal, or even multiple year — the landlord should have clear communication with the tenant. By sending a termination notice before Sept. 1, even for written leases, you can avoid any miscommunication or pitfalls.Written LeasesIn all instances, written leases would be preferred over oral or “handshake” leases. Sample leases are available in the Document Library at aglease101.org and can help both parties start thinking about the appropriate lease conditions for their situation. The site was developed by university extension specialists in the North Central Region.Three Board Members Elected to Nebraska Soybean Board After July VoteThe Nebraska Soybean Board held an election in July for board members in District 4. Nebraska soybean farmers in those districts voted with the following results:District 2 (Counties of Burt, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Stanton, Thurston, Wayne)Candidates:  Jason Penke, Craig, NE – Burt County ElectedDistrict 4 (Counties of Boone, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, York)Candidates:  Eugene Goering, Columbus, NE – Platte County Re-electedMark Stock, St. Edward, NE – Platte CountyDistrict 8 (Counties of Arthur, Banner, Blaine, Box Butte, Brown, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Custer, Dawson, Dawes, Deuel, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Grant, Greeley, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Hooker, Howard, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Morrill, Perkins, Phelps, Red Willow, Rock, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Thomas, Valley, Wheeler)Candidates:  Clay Govier, Broken Bow, NE – Custer County ElectedElected board members Jason Penke and Clay Govier will begin their first term on the board while reelected board member Eugene Goering will begin his third.“I am glad to see 12% of the soybean farmers in District 4 exercised their right to vote for their next representing board member,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, executive director of the Nebraska Soybean Board. “A good voter turnout translates to positive support for your soybean checkoff. It is also exciting to have soybean farmers interested in serving on the Nebraska Soybean Board.”The elected board members will serve a three-year term beginning Oct. 1, 2019 and ending Sept. 30, 2022.Ricketts appoints Adam Grabenstein to the Nebraska Corn BoardGov. Pete Ricketts recently appointed Adam Grabenstein, from Farnam, to the District 5 region of the Nebraska Corn Board, which consists of Buffalo, Dawson, Hall, Howard and Sherman counties. Grabenstein replaced Tim Scheer, from St. Paul, who served on the board since 2007 and chose not to seek reappointment. Additionally, Debbie Borg, from Allen, was reappointed to serve as the District 4 director and David Bruntz, from Friend, was reappointed to serve as the District 1 director.“It’s so encouraging to have a dynamic and passionate board that works hard to enhance our state’s corn industry,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We will definitely miss Tim, as he has contributed a lot to our state’s corn checkoff. However, we look forward to the new perspective Adam will bring to the group.”Grabenstein is the fifth generation operating his family farm, which is located in Frontier and Dawson counties. On his farm, he grows corn and cover crops, and manages a cow/calf operation and a cattle feedlot near Farnam. In 2005, the Grabenstein family was recognized with the ASKARBEN Foundation’s Pioneer Farm Award, which recognizes Nebraska farm families who have consecutively held ownership of land in the same family for 100 years.He earned degrees in diversified agriculture and agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in 2005. Grabenstein is also a graduate of the Nebraska Lead Program class 37. Adam and his wife, Kelsey, are the parents of three children: Fletcher, Rowdy and Stella.“I chose to apply for the open director position because I wanted to be a better advocate for Nebraska’s ag industry,” said Grabenstein. “As a farmer and cattle producer, I know firsthand we need to do a better job of sharing our story of production agriculture. I look forward to serving Nebraska’s corn producers in a progressive way but in a manner that preserves the family farm legacy.”Nebraska Corn Board directors serve three-year terms with opportunities to be reappointed. In addition to the new director appointments, the Nebraska Corn Board held officer elections at its August board meeting.David Bruntz, District 1 director, was reelected as chairman of the board. Bruntz has been farming for more than 30 years near Friend, Nebraska. He grows irrigated and non-irrigated corn and soybeans, and he also feeds cattle. Bruntz received his education from UNL’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. He has been with the Board since 2013.Brandon Hunnicutt, District 3 director, was reelected as vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. Hunnicutt farms near Giltner with his father and brother. Hunnicutt is a fourth-generation farmer and the operation has been in the family for over 100 years. On his farm, Hunnicutt grows corn, popcorn, seed corn and soybeans. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNL and has served on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2014.Jay Reiners, at large director, was elected secretary/treasurer of the board. Reiners farms near Juniata, where he grows field corn, seed corn and soybeans. He has been farming for over 30 years and is the fourth generation managing the family farm. He graduated with an associate’s degree in general agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.The officer positions are effective immediately and will last one year. The Nebraska Corn Board is made up of nine farmer directors. Eight members represent specific Nebraska districts and are appointed by the Governor of Nebraska. The Board elects a ninth at large member.This Week's Drought SummaryAug 15, 2019 - droughtmonitor.unl.eduRainfall this week was highly variable across the eastern two-thirds of the country, which is not unusual during summer. Heavy rain was common in the High Plains, and from the Texas Panhandle and central Oklahoma northward in the Great Plains. Generally 2 to locally 5 inches of rain soaked the Plains from northern and eastern Kansas northward into the central Dakotas, and similar totals were spottier in central Montana, in the middle Mississippi Valley, across northern Minnesota, from the central Ohio Valley through the central Appalachians, over northern New England, and from the Florida Peninsula into southeastern Georgia. Scattered to isolated amounts of 2 to 3 inches were observed from the western half of Tennessee southward to the central Gulf Coast. Farther east, despite isolated moderate rains, only a few tenths of an inch fell on most of the upper Southeast, southern Appalachians, Carolinas, and middle Atlantic region. Several patches from northern California through the Pacific Northwest and northern Idaho recorded 0.5 to locally 2 inches, but most sites received light rain at best. The central and southern Sections of the Rockies and Intermountain West also observed generally light precipitation while no measurable rainfall was almost universal from the Red River to the Rio Grande in Texas, and in central and southern sections of California. The total area enduring abnormal dryness and drought increased, most noticeably in the Ohio Valley, the Midwest, and Texas. Widespread improvement was limited to a broad swath of Alaska from interior northeastern sections to near the Aleutians. MidwestAbnormal dryness continued the recent trend of expansion, and a few areas of moderate drought were introduced. Several patches were brought in to central and eastern Iowa, and adjacent Illinois, along with smaller, more-isolated regions in eastern Illinois and northern Indiana. Meanwhile, abnormal dryness stretched to cover most areas from central Iowa eastward to central Indiana and southwestern Michigan, plus portions of southwestern Ohio, southern Indiana and adjacent Kentucky, sections of northern and eastern Michigan, and northeastern Minnesota. The last 30 days brought only 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain to the broad strip from central Iowa through western Indiana, in addition to east-central Michigan and the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula.High PlainsSeveral inches of rain doused a broad area from eastern Kansas northwestward through South Dakota, western North Dakota, and the northern High Plains. Dryness and drought were confined to central and southern Kansas, east-central Nebraska, and northern North Dakota, where a small area of severe drought was introduced. In contrast to areas farther north, central and south-central Kansas recorded only 0.5 to locally 2.0 inches of rain since mid-July.Looking AheadDuring the next 5 days (August 15 - 20, 2019) should bring heavy rains of at least 1.5 inches across the central Great Plains and much of the Midwest, with 3 to 5 inches forecast from northwestern Missouri and adjacent areas northward through central and eastern Iowa. Amounts exceeding 1.5 inches are also forecast for the Mississippi Delta and along the immediate Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. A few patches along the Atlantic Coast from southeastern Georgia through North Carolina should receive 3 to 4 inches. Moderate rains of 0.5 inch or more are anticipated in parts of upstate New York, northern New England, and inland areas near the central Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. Similar amounts are expected in most of the western Great Lakes, Midwest, Great Plains from Kansas into the central Dakotas, and upper Mississippi Valley. A few tenths of an inch should fall on the middle Atlantic region, the rest of the central and northern Great Plains and Mississippi Valley, and parts of central and northern Texas and adjacent Oklahoma. Little or no rain is expected in the rest of the 48 contiguous states, including the interior Southeast, the Ohio Valley, southern Texas, and most areas from the Rockies westward. Daytime high temperatures should average 3°F to 6°F below normal in the northern one-third of the Plains, and near 3°F below normal in north-central Florida. In contrast, daily highs are forecast to average around 3°F above normal in the middle Atlantic region, and 3°F to locally 9°F above normal from the southern half of the Great Plains westward through most of the Rockies, the Intermountain West, the Great Basin, and California away from the immediate coast.The CPC 6-10 day outlook (August 21 -25, 2019) favors above-normal precipitation in the Alaskan Panhandle, parts of the Pacific Northwest, the northern Great Plains, the Mississippi Valley, southeast Texas, the Ohio Valley, the Southeast, and the middle Atlantic region. Meanwhile, enhanced chances for subnormal precipitation cover most of Alaska, although no tilt of the odds in either direction is indicated from the Kenai Peninsula westward through the Borough of Dillingham. Below normal precipitation chances are also elevated in upstate New York, most of New England, the central and southern Great Plains from central Texas through southwestern South Dakota, most of the High Plains, and the central Rockies. Neither precipitation extreme is favored elsewhere. Above-normal temperatures are favored across most of the country, with elevated chances for subnormal temperatures restricted to northwestern Montana, most of central and eastern Alaska, and the northern Alaska Peninsula. Neither positive nor negative temperature anomalies are favored in parts of the northern Rockies and in the lower Mississippi Valley.Late August Heat Is Reminder to Keep Livestock CoolIowa State University Extension & OutreachThe summer heat will return to most of Iowa over the coming weekend and into next week, according to the National Weather Service.Highs are expected to approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and even though that’s cooler than the stretch of hot days the state saw back in July, producers should still prepare.Each species of livestock reacts to heat differently. However, the common principle is to maintain good ventilation, provide shade and access to clean, cool water, and limit moving animals during the hottest hours of the day.Swine carePigs do not have sweat glands, making them especially susceptible to heat stress, according to Jason Ross, director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University. Swine producers commonly rely on cooling fans and evaporative cooling systems that help the animal to increase evaporative heat loss and stay cool, and keeping the system running at optimal levels is critical during periods of extreme heat.Ross suggests producers make sure all controllers and fans are functioning properly, including any misters or cooling cells, and be sure that the backup generators are ready to operate, in the event of a power outage.Beef cattleCompared to swine, cattle can tolerate higher temperature at lower relative humidity, because cattle can dissipate their body heat more effectively by sweating. However, cattle are more prone to stress when the humidity rises, and need the same level of care as other livestock.Common solutions for cattle include access to clean, cool water, shade and good ventilation. Avoid moving cattle during the daytime and afternoon, when temperatures are at the highest, because the energy cattle expend while moving will cause even more stress.This may be a good time to install some additional fans or water misting systems, or to make sure the systems you have are fully functioning.Evaluate your cattle in the morning and again in the afternoon to make sure they are coping with the heat. Pay close attention, as the rapid change in temperature may catch some at-risk cattle (cattle at end of feeding period or cattle with previous respiratory disease) dealing with excessive heat stress.Dairy cattleAccess to cool, clean water is vital for dairy cows during periods of high heat. A dairy cow consumes up to 50% of her daily water intake within an hour after milking, so providing fresh, clean water at the parlor exit is an excellent way to encourage water consumption.Fans and sprinkler systems are commonly used on dairy farms, but must be properly installed and functional to provide the necessary air and water movement.The idea is to soak the cow to her skin and turn the water off for a long enough period to allow the moving air to dry her. While drying, heat is removed from the skin during the evaporation process, cooling the cow. When people climb out of a swimming pool and experience a chill until their skin dries, they are experiencing the same process.More information is available through the ISU Extension and Outreach dairy team website, and the article called “Heat Stress Is a Profit Robber for Dairymen.”PoultryLike swine, poultry do not have sweat glands and therefore cannot rid their body of heat by sweating. Birds are subject to heat stress when the humidity and air temperature rise uncontrollably. They often respond by panting, which may help, but also expends energy and requires the bird to consume more water, to account for moisture lost through panting.High humidity decreases poultry heat loss from the lungs, which makes the birds more prone to heat stress. For older turkeys, temperatures at 85 F with humidity above 50% is considered the danger zone. At 90 F and 50% humidity, the risk increases to extreme.Airflow and ventilation are key to managing poultry during hot weather. Producers also may want to feed at night, or after temperatures begin to fall.Feed and water supplements may also be necessary. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, electrolytes can be added to a flock’s drinking water for up to three days. Potassium chloride electrolytes appear to increase water intake when provided in drinking water at 0.6% concentration. You should start providing electrolytes prior to the heat stress period.Sodium bicarbonate in the feed, or use of carbonated water, is especially useful for hens in egg production. Panting and carbon dioxide release can change the acid-base balance in poultry, and also the bicarbonate available for egg shell formation. Providing sodium bicarbonate can help lessen these changes.Statement from Under Secretary Greg Ibach Regarding Kansas Beef Facility FireUSDA is closely monitoring the effects of a fire at a large beef packing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. USDA has been in contact with plant management and other stakeholders since the fire, and we understand production will shift to other plants to accommodate cattle that were committed to the Holcomb facility. USDA is prepared to provide additional staffing necessary to support grading and auditing services at the alternate locations.USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division (PSD) will continue to monitor cattle prices and procurement activities and will remain vigilant for any livestock marketing entities seeking to unfairly take advantage of the situation. If USDA detects any unfair practices, we will quickly investigate and take appropriate enforcement action. Producers or sellers can contact the PSD Western Regional Office at (303) 375-4240 at any time regarding payment or contract concerns. As the cattle industry adjusts, USDA stands ready to assist our customers however we can.Pro Farmer Tours to Assess Impact of Severe Planting DelaysPro Farmer scouts will blanket the countryside to measure this year's corn and soybean yield potential during the 27th annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, Aug. 19-22. The tour is conducted each year by Pro Farmer, a Farm Journal company, and is a closely watched late-summer ritual covering seven Midwestern states and the most thorough in-field inspection of yield potential during a critical time in the growing season. Planting delays throughout the Midwest have heightened attention on this year's tour nationally and beyond. After adjusting sharply to USDA's Aug. 12 reports, the attention of market watchers and the commodity trade will now focus on data coming out of Crop Tour."We go into this year's Crop Tour knowing the crop is significantly delayed in maturity in many areas," said Brian Grete, Pro Farmer editor. "Typically, the less mature the crop is when we pull samples, the more difficult it is to gauge final yield potential. In some cases this year, corn will have just pollinated as we work our way across the Corn Belt."Jeff Wilson, Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst, added, "We pull enough samples to provide representative data for a large geographic area. With USDA not conducting objective yield sampling in August this year, Crop Tour will provide the first large-scale field-level yield data for the 2019 crop. That's important to all of agriculture."More than 100 scouts, industry experts and media reporters will cover approximately 2,000 fields across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. A summary of Pro Farmer's Midwest Crop Tour findings will be presented at Rochester International Events Center Aug. 22 in Rochester, Minn.  Pro Farmer's national crop production estimates will be released Aug. 23 on ProFarmer.com and published in the Aug. 24 issue of the Pro Farmer newsletter. A summary of the Crop Tour findings also will appear in the September issue of Top Producer magazine.Pioneer has been Crop Tour's premier sponsor since 2008. Other sponsors include IBM, RCIS, Farm Credit Services of America, RAM, AeroVironment, Farmobile and Titan Tires.HOURS OF SERVICE PROPOSAL RELEASEDOn Wednesday, the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its long-awaited proposal to increase flexibility for truckers by revising the rules around the amount of time they can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives. Among the changes sought by livestock groups, including the National Pork Producers Council,  is additional flexibility for livestock haulers who encounter unexpected, adverse driving conditions and the ability to divide the mandatory, 10 hours of rest into separate segments. The FMCSA proposal does both: It addresses the challenge of adverse weather by expanding not just the driving time, but also the overall on-duty time for drivers to finish their delivery. The proposed rule also allows truckers to split up their 10-hour mandatory rest period into two periods (one being at least 7 hours long), and creates an option for drivers to take an extended break between 30 minutes and 3 hours, which pauses their on-duty clock. This will allow drivers the option of resting when tired while providing greater flexibility for completing deliveries and maintaining high animal welfare standards. It will also help drivers better manage their schedules when waiting, either to unload a delivery or at a truck wash station. NPPC says the Trump administration's proposal is a smart, common-sense approach to maintain highway safety and provides much-needed options for drivers to comply with Hours of Service rules in a variety of situations that allow them to safely and humanely transport the animals in their care. NPPC thanks the Trump administration for their continued efforts to balance safety and the need for flexibility, and we look forward to continuing to work them to finalize these important changes. Comments will be due within 45 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, expected on Aug. 20.U.S./U.K. CONTINUE TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL TRADE PACTEarlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was in London, helping to lay the groundwork as the U.S. and U.K are working on trade negotiations. He met with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Trade Secretary Liz Truss, among other officials. During his visit, Bolton said the U.K. would be "first in line" for a trade deal with the U.S. once it has left the EU. Bolton said the purpose of the visit was to "convey President Trump's desire to see a successful exit from the European Union for the United Kingdom on October 31." In October 2018, the White House announced plans to negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K. NPPC is supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork and embraces Codex and other international production standards. Additionally, NPPC seeks full recognition by the U.K. of the equivalence of U.K. and U.S. production practices for pork and acceptance of pork from all USDA-approved facilities.USSEC Receives Agricultural Trade Promotion FundsThe U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) announced the allocation of $12,750,000 Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program funds. The newly released funds are in addition to the $21,882,165 million USSEC received in January 2019 and will be used by U.S. Soy to build new markets for U.S. soybean producers who have been impacted by tariffs and other trade barriers.“U.S. soybean farmers have been disproportionately impacted by export uncertainty for the past year,” said Jim Sutter, CEO, USSEC. “This funding provides additional resources so we can continue to implement our short- and long-term strategies to help our farmers and industry members compete globally.”This spring, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would begin accepting proposals for additional ATP program funds, which would help U.S. Soy access new markets for their products and mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ tariff and non-tariff barriers. Following the announcement, USSEC submitted a request for additional ATP funds which included detailed plans to increase U.S. soy market share and build demand for U.S. soy.“Receiving additional ATP funds is a positive step forward for the present and future of U.S. Soy,” said Derek Haigwood, USSEC chairman and a farmer from Newport, Ark. “U.S. soybean farmers and exporters should know that USSEC is working hard on their behalf to build global demand and expand market access for U.S. soy products.”“As we move forward, USSEC can now enhance our focus on expanding in global markets where we can have an impact and investing in markets that represent future growth opportunities,” Sutter said.Trump Gave Green Light for Hardship Waivers: ReutersPresident Donald Trump directly authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of 31 small refinery exemptions (SREs) last Friday, per a Reuters report. The action will eliminate demand for biofuels by an estimated 1.43 billion gallons, bringing the total losses due to the misallocation of waivers to over 4 billion gallons.EPA has offered SREs to relieve small refineries of “economic hardship” caused by compliance with Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) since 2013. However, the number of approved exemptions has nearly quadrupled in the past six years, and many of the recent recipients are owned by multi-billion-dollar oil corporations.National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson voiced opposition to the EPA’s announcement last week, saying that the misappropriation of waivers is “destroying our domestic market for renewable fuels” and “creating enormous stress in the countryside.” In response to today’s news, he reiterated his frustration with the administration’s actions to undermine RFS and American-grown biofuels.”The Renewable Fuel Standard has been under attack for some time, but this most recent news is particularly egregious. The farm economy has been floundering for many years. Farmers are making half of what they were in 2013, and farm debt is the highest it has been since the 1980s farm crisis. Policies like RFS that expand markets for American agricultural products are meant to help farmers during difficult times such as these. For the EPA to undermine this program just when farmers need it most is rubbing salt in the wound.“For the duration of his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has declared his support and appreciation for American farmers and ranchers, frequently calling them ‘great patriots.’ But it has become abundantly clear that he is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He may say he loves farmers, but his actions say otherwise – in the past two and half years, his administration has destroyed our reputation as a reliable trading partner, and his EPA has sabotaged the American biofuels industry in order to line the pockets of oil executives. Together, these efforts have destroyed our markets and threatened our very livelihoods.”Bakery Technician Joins U.S. Wheat Associates Team in South AsiaU.S. Wheat Associates (USW), which represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets, is pleased to announce that Mr. Adrian “Ady” Redondo recently joined the organization as a Bakery Technician in its Manila, Philippines, office. USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers said there is a strong connection between increased imports of U.S. wheat and the organization’s investment in technical milling and food production support, which is the role Redondo will play in the Philippines and across growing Southeast Asian markets. “Our long-term effort to help customers improve their products and processes through technical support has helped established strong and consistent export markets for U.S. wheat farmers,” Sowers said. “We are expanding our technical support team in South Asia to provide similar returns. Ady will spend a lot of time working closely with our experienced technicians in the region, but his professional experience in food technology and interpersonal skills will serve   him — and the wheat farmers we represent — very well in what we hope will be a long career with U.S. Wheat Associates.”Born in the Philippines, Redondo earned a bachelor’s of science degree in food technology from the University of the Philippines in 2001. He went on to amass experience in quality assurance, research and development, production and sales in the thriving Philippines food and bakery industries. Most recently, Redondo was a key accounts manager with Ingredion Philippines, Inc., a global ingredient solutions company manufacturing starches, sweeteners, nutrition and biomaterial ingredients for food, pharmaceuticals and industrial applications.Ram Truck Kicks Off Second 'Ram Ag Season' with New VideoAs the truck that is "Built to Serve," Ram's dedication to help serve and support farm families across the nation continues to grow. Ram kicks off the second annual "Ram Ag Season" with a new spot "Done Right," which celebrates the selfless commitment to hard work that our nation's farmers make each and every single day.Featuring three real-life family-owned-and-operated Michigan farms and ranches, the video takes viewers through the farmers' daily lives and, while there may not be a supervisor telling them what to do as the sun rises each day, there is work telling them what needs to be done. From the weather to the topsoil, to the markets and the machinery, no matter what it may be, Ram trucks are there to help support and get the job done right."To the farming community, what they do every day is more than just a job, it is a way of life that requires hard work, perseverance and determination," said Marissa Hunter, Head of Marketing, FCA -- North America. "The Ram Truck brand knows and respects this. We work hard to provide the right trucks and proper support to these very people who have dedicated their lives to agriculture, and we are proud to celebrate these shared values in our dedicated Ag Season marketing campaign.""Done Right" will air via broadcast as a 30-second commercial with an extended 60-second version to come, which can be viewed on Ram's official YouTube channel.Ram's commitment to farming communities grows even stronger with a host of Ram-sponsored events and opportunities aimed squarely at lending support to the efforts of the nation's farmers, including the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., Aug. 27-29; Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., Sept. 10-12; the Farm Science Review in London, Ohio, Sept. 17-19; and the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 15-17. Ram will also have a strong presence at the annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 30-Nov. 2. The brand has been an active supporter of FFA for more than 60 years.Information on the many Ram agricultural activities and programs can be found at the Ram Life website at www.ramtrucks.com/ram-life/agriculture.html.

Northeast to launch multi-million-dollar Nexus capital campaignNortheast Community College is ready to launch a major initiative that will impact its agriculture programming for years to come.College administrators, campaign representatives and others will gather at Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on Thursday, August 22, to kick-off the Nexus capital campaign to raise funds to construct new agriculture facilities on the Northeast campus in Norfolk. A news conference will begin at 10 a.m.Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the college foundation, said college supporters and the general public are encouraged to attend the event to learn more about the $23 million project.“The end goal of this campaign is to give our agriculture students opportunities to learn in state-of-the-art facilities and replace the current buildings on the college farm that were erected in the early 20th century. Investing in the Agriculture and Water Center of Excellence will help ensure that Northeast Community College continues to be responsive to the ever-changing needs of agriculture, its communities, and businesses.”Kruse said a seven figure lead gift to the campaign will be announced during the event.In addition to Kruse, other speakers will be Mary Honke, co-interim college president, campaign co-chairs Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, and Russ Vering, of Scribner, and leading supporters of the Nexus project.Also, a sixth generation farmer, nationally known advocate for agriculture, and radio show host will share his support for community colleges and the future of agriculture during the news conference. Trent Loos is the host of Rural Route, a one-hour radio show aimed at bridging rural and urban America.The Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex is located at the intersection of E. Benjamin Avenue and Highway 35 – one mile east of the main Northeast campus - in Norfolk.The event is open to the public. Town hall to feature USDA Secretary of AgAs part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s 150th anniversary celebration, Chancellor Ronnie Green will host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for a public town hall discussion during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.Open to fair attendees, the event is 11:30 a.m. Aug. 23 in the Raising Nebraska exhibit hall on the state fairgrounds. The building is the site of the Raising Nebraska exhibition, which highlights agriculture and agribusiness across the Cornhusker State. The exhibit is a joint effort of the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair.Former two-term governor of Georgia, Perdue became the 31st agriculture secretary on April 25, 2017. Reared on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia, Perdue has been a farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian and state lawmaker.During the town hall, the secretary will take questions from farmers, agricultural stakeholders and others in the audience. He will be available for questions from reporters following the event.The university and state fair both began in 1869. Perdue’s appearance is among a number of special state fair events in honor of the joint celebration. Others include an Aug. 24 lecture on Nebraska football history by Mike Babcock, and a Sept. 1 pep rally featuring the Cornhusker Marching Band and spirit squad. A Nifty 150 ice cream developed by the UNL Dairy Store will be available throughout the fair.Field Day on August 30 to Showcase Local Value of Soil HealthPositioning your farm to become more resilient to extreme weather includes focusing on long-term soil health. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and Nebraska Extension in Dodge County will be hosting a Soil Health Demo Farm Field Day on Friday, August 30 at 8:30 am, 3 miles south of Snyder at the Lennemann Farm.Area landowners and farmers are encouraged to attend this field day to gain a better understanding of soil health and conservation practices than can help improve soil health over time. Speakers will discuss the following topics during the field day from 9:00 to 11:30 am:·    Welcome – Brach Johnson (NRCS Soil Conservationist) and Bill Lennemann (Demo Farm Producer)·    NRCS Soil Health Demonstration Farms – Aaron Hird (NRCS Soil Health Specialist), Andrea Basche (UNL Assistant Professor), and Fernanda Souza Krupek (UNL Graduate Student)·    Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District and NRCS Cost Share Programs – Curt Becker (LENRD Projects Manager) and Brach Johnson (NRCS Soil Conservationist)·    Winter Wheat Production in Eastern Nebraska – Nathan Mueller (Nebraska Extension Educator)·    Demo Farm Walk and Talk·    Forage Crop Options and Value in Crop Rotations – Daren Redfearn and Mary Drewnoski (Nebraska Extension Specialists)The field day starts at 8:30 am with registration at the demo farm which is located 3 miles south of Snyder on Highway 79 and ¼ east on County Road G. Donuts, juice, and coffee will be served. The demo farm field day will run from 9:00 to 11:30 am on Friday, August 30.The field day is free and pre-registration is highly encouraged to ensure all attendees have some breakfast and resources. To get more information and to pre-register, visit croptechcafe.org/registration or call the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775.$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: $10,000 Greenhouse-    Franklin: $8,000 Plasma Table-    Bishop Neumann: $1,000 SawStop Table Saw-    Sutton: $700 Greenhouse Repairs-    Minatare: $2,000 Plasma Cutter and TIG Welder-    Wood River: $8,000 Greenhouse-    Axtell: $8,000 Greenhouse-    Norris: $2,700 Welder Replacement-    Chase County: $9,175 Welding Updates-    McCool Junction: $1,250 Animal Learning Barn Supplies- Camera and Generator-    Waverly FFA Member: Audrey Sorensen: $4,175 Pond Improvement SAE Project-    Rock County: $5,000 Welding Updates-    Sutherland: $5,000 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.Annual Nebraska FFA Foundation Auction to be Held on September 11 at Husker Harvest Days and OnlineTitan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., will be hosting a tire auction for the Nebraska FFA Foundation at Husker Harvest Days on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. In its seventh year, the 2019 auction will include a variety of tires on-site and online only bidding for a John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Floatation Tires.“We are so grateful for the support of Titan Tire, Graham Tire and the several John Deere dealers in the state for supporting the Nebraska FFA Foundation in this way. They, along with the bidders understand the value that this contribution makes for Nebraska FFA members," says Stacey Agnew. “These funds mean sustainability for the growing number of FFA chapters, members and advisors across the state.”To participate in the live auction on Wednesday, September 11 at 11:00 am sign in at the Nebraska FFA Foundation registration desk for a bid number to bid in person or you can bid online. To learn more about the online bidding, information coming soon. To participate in the online only auction for the John Deere Gator and LSW Extreme Flotation- information coming soon. The list of tires, gator information and details about the live auction and online only auction are available at neffafoundation.org.ACE’s annual ethanol conference kicks off in OmahaThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 32nd annual conference kicked off in Omaha, Nebraska, today with a welcome from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and updates from ACE leadership.“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” Governor Ricketts said.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion of gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”“The agriculture and ethanol industries have been weathering challenging market conditions, as we convene for the 32nd annual ACE conference, and there are headwinds to confront ahead,” Kristensen said. “With uncertainty surrounding the RFS and trade negotiations, we must engage in meaningful dialogue to find ways to increase demand for ethanol in our fuel supply domestically with E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as in markets around the globe that are beginning to recognize ethanol’s high octane and environmental benefits in renewable fuels policies.”With EPA finally allowing year-round E15 use, Jennings acknowledged this positive development, but pointed out the good news is being undermined by the bad and encouraged the ACE conference crowd that now is the time to stand up and speak out against the clear harm the administration’s actions have had on the industry. “EPA continues to mismanage the RFS with a refiner-win-at-all-costs approach to small refinery exemptions, and, when you throw in trade wars for good measure, it constrains our ability to expand the use of ethanol here at home and around the world,” Jennings said. “We’ve come to the conclusion we cannot merely play defense on the RFS and hope trade wars subside. We need to turn the page, to go on offense. We need a new vision for how to increase demand for ethanol and break free from the status-quo.”“Combining ethanol’s high octane and low carbon strengths into a new growth strategy not only allows us to go on offense, it gives our champions in Congress something to be for as the discussion about climate change begins to ramp up in Washington,” Jennings added. “ACE members have what it takes to make things happen.”Lamberty addressed the current market environment and where to see the silver lining with low ethanol prices. “Some of the biggest gains we’ve made in the history of the U.S. ethanol industry happened during times when we had the lowest prices,” Lamberty said. “This time around, however, with domestic markets barricaded by EPA policy and oil company contract language, low U.S. ethanol prices caught the attention of marketers in other parts of the world and more ethanol was exported from the U.S. than ever before.”Ricketts Urges EPA to Strengthen Commitment to Renewable FuelsToday, Governor Pete Ricketts addressed the 32nd annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference in Omaha.  During his remarks, he discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent decision to exempt 31 small refineries from fulfilling their Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 is a big win for Nebraska,” said Governor Ricketts.  “There is, however, still more work to do.  While the EPA granted fewer small refinery waivers to the RFS this year, the 1.4 billion gallons waived undermines the purpose of the RFS.  To deliver on President Trump’s support for ethanol, the EPA should be more transparent about the waiver process and reallocate any waived gallons.  They owe it to our farmers.”Each year, several small refineries petition the EPA for temporary exemptions to their RVOs.  The EPA exempted fewer than 10 small refineries annually under the RFS for 2013-2015.  However, in recent years the EPA has been much more willing to grant exemptions.  Under the 2018 RFS, 40 small refineries sought exemptions and 31 received them.  Rural Mainstreet Index Drops to Lowest Level in Two Years: Trade War Having Negative ImpactsThe Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell below growth neutral for the only the second time this year. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, the RMI for August indicated negative growth for the region.      Overall: The overall index slumped to 46.5 from 50.2 in July. This is the lowest reading for the index since October 2017. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral, and an RMI below the growth neutral threshold. 50.0, indicates negative growth for the month.“The trade war with China and the lack of passage of the USMCA (NAFTA’s replacement) are driving growth lower for areas of the region with close ties to agriculture.  Despite a $16 billion federal government support package coming soon, a drop in farm income is negatively affecting the Rural Mainstreet Economy,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.  Three of four bankers reported the trade war was having a negative impact on their local economy.As stated by Jeffrey Gerhart, CEO of the Bank of Newman Grove in Newman Grove, Nebraska, “Trade wars have been and will continue to be a drain on our ag economy”“Despite the negative impact of tariffs and the trade war, only 28.2% of bankers support cutting tariffs on imported goods from China,” said Goss.Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for August improved to a still weak 46.3 from July’s 45.6. This is the 69th straight month the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0.  The August farm equipment-sales index dropped to 30.3 from July’s 37.9. This marks the 72nd straight month the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. “The dismal economic outlook for farm income continues to decimate agriculture equipment sales in the region,” reported Goss.Below are the state reports:Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August fell to 44.4 from July’s 47.9. The state’s farmland-price index slipped to 43.5 from last month’s 44.0. Nebraska’s new-hiring index slumped to 46.8 from July’s 56.3. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.1% compared to a stronger 1.3% for urban areas of the state. But there is some optimism among bankers. John Nelsen, branch president of FirsTier Bank in Holdrege, said, “If we happen to win the trade war, we will have a very positive impact on our local economy. We need to play it out.”Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa sank to 46.2 from July’s 49.9. Iowa’s farmland-price index improved to 46.1 from July’s 45.4. Iowa’s new-hiring index for August fell to 51.8 from 61.6 in July. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Iowa have experienced job losses with a reduction of 0.4% compared to a much stronger 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.USDA Using Flexibility to Assist Farmers, Ranchers in Flooded AreasThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced it will defer accrual of interest for all agricultural producers’ spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to help the wide swath of farmers and ranchers affected by extreme weather in 2019. Specifically, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or for two months, until November 30, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019. For any premium that is not paid by one of those new deadlines, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of the policy.“USDA recognizes that farmers and ranchers have been severely affected by the extreme weather challenges this year,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I often brag about the resiliency of farmers but after a lifetime in the business, I have to say that this year is one for the record books. To help ease the burden on these folks, we are continuing to extend flexibility for producers with today’s announcement.”RMA Administrator Martin Barbre added, “This administrative flexibility is not unprecedented but is a move RMA takes seriously and only under special circumstances like we’re experiencing today. Growers typically have some crop harvested and cash flow to make their billing date, but with so many late planted crops, this year will be an anomaly.”America’s farmers and ranchers have been especially challenged throughout the 2019 crop year, struggling through severe flooding and excessive moisture conditions across the grain belt and in many other rural communities, with some areas also dealing with extreme heat and drought. Such weather conditions are expected to take a serious toll on acres planted, crop yields, and crop quality as harvest begins. One of the largest operating costs for producers is crop insurance premiums paid to their Approved Insurance Provider. Many spring crop insurance premiums are due to be paid before October 1.Without the interest deferral, policies with an August 15 premium billing date would have interest attach starting October 1 if premiums were not paid by September 30. Now, under the change, policies that do not have the premium paid by November 30 will have interest attach on December 1, calculated from the date of the premium billing notice.Earlier this summer, USDA announced a series of flexibilities to reduce stress on producers affected by weather, including: providing more time for cover crop haying and grazing by moving the start date from November 1 to September 1, 2019; allowing producers who filed prevented planting claims then planted a cover crop with a potential for harvest to receive a $15 per acre Market Facilitation Program payment; holding signups in select states for producers to receive assistance in planting cover crops; and extending the crop reporting deadline in select states. USDA also will provide producers with prevented planting acreage additional assistance, which will be announced in the coming weeks, through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.FOLLOWING PESTICIDE LABELS REMAINS CRITICAL THROUGH ENTIRE GROWING SEASONWith harvest beginning in some states and right around the corner in others, National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that following pesticide labels is critical right through the end of the season.In particular, it’s important to pay close attention to preharvest interval requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure that any potential traces of the product left behind are at levels that will not cause disruptions in trade.Every pesticide has a maximum residue level (MRL) specific to each crop for which it is labeled. MRLs are a measurement of acceptable pesticide residues, set far below toxicological safety limits, for every product treated with pesticides.They provide a standard to help ensure that food treated with pesticides is safe for consumption and ultimately verify that farmers have used crop protection products correctly. Especially in international markets, if shipments are tested and the MRL for one or more pesticides is exceeded that delivery may be rejected. While this is a rare situation, NCGA encourages farmers to continue to use responsible application practices to reduce any potential barriers to U.S. corn reaching destinations around the world.ASA Biotech Working Group Talks Regulatory Updates, IssuesThe American Soybean Association's Biotech Working Group (BWG) met in Louisville, Kentucky last week to discuss a wide range of issues impacting the biotech and farming industries.Participants heard an overview of a USDA-APHIS proposed rule to update biotech regulations from American Seed Trade Association (ASTA); discussed emerging issues in the EU surrounding maximum residue limits; and heard reports from the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and United Soybean Board (USB).A report from USSEC provided information on international market development efforts for U.S. soy and an update on biotech approval systems in soy importing countries. The United Soybean Board gave an update on several soybean checkoff-funded programs, including efforts to improve the compositional quality and nutrient density of U.S. soybeans.BWG provides the forum where overarching biotechnology issues like educational needs and market access barriers, are discussed and addressed by technology providers and U.S. soybean growers. The group includes representatives from industry biotech trait providers, along with farmer-leaders and staff from ASA, USB and USSEC.The Biotech Working Group will gather again for a meeting next winter.Southeast Asia Conference Highlights U.S. Farmers’ Commitment To Growing the RegionU.S. farmers and their customers in Southeast Asia celebrated decades of working together and the potential for continued partnership and growth during the 2019 Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference in Singapore last week.The conference was co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS).It brought together 200 guests from 11 countries including major value chain players like importers and exporters of feed grains, oilseeds and co-products; representatives from bulk and container grain transportation; U.S. and local government; and industry representatives. Overall, 79 importer participants represented 61 companies from seven countries and 43 exporter participants represented 18 U.S. organizations. Seven U.S. corn and soybean grower leaders and attended in addition to 11 FAS members representing seven countries.“We got to see firsthand what the Council does to build markets for us in Southeast Asia. We sat down with buyers and heard their needs and concerns, and we got a better understanding about how trade works,” said Dennis McNinch, chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission and leader of USGC Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-team), who spoke during the conference. “Not only did we learn about the opportunities for trade, but we also learned about our competitors in these key markets.”Conference proceedings as well as significant time for side meetings and networking allowed those gathered to share information about the latest market movements and new and emerging uses for both U.S. soybeans and U.S. feed grains, including corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and sorghum.“U.S. soybean farmers have been impacted by export uncertainty and trade tensions. And while aid in the short-term is helpful, our farmers need stability and long-term solutions,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC chief executive officer. “We are working to provide that stability by building demand and expanding global market access for U.S. soy products, aside from China. This means building on existing relationships abroad and investing in new ones in evolving and growing markets. Southeast Asia is a great example of where we see a future for U.S. soy, building on our shared legacy between USSEC and USGC and in an area where there is continued growth.”U.S. corn and soybean growers traveled to Singapore for the conference to provide their on-the-ground perspectives on the 2019 crop. Grower leaders McNinch; Jacob Parker, North Carolina farmer and director for the United Soybean Board (USB); and Brian Kemp, Iowa farmer and a director for the American Soybean Association (ASA) shared their challenges this growing season due to a wet spring but highlighted their conservation practices and precision technology used to produce sustainably-grown products for international customers.“Each growing season is different, and every year comes with its own challenges. Over the past year, we have faced fluctuating markets and a complicated planting season, but our commitment to producing sustainable and reliable soy has never wavered,” Parker said. “I know this firsthand as a farmer, and I hear it from my neighbors. American farmers are all working hard in our fields to make sure we can continue to deliver a high-quality product to our customers.”In addition, industry speakers discussed global supply and demand outlook for corn, soybeans and co-products, the impact of climate change, foreign animal diseases and disruptive technologies. Representatives from USSEC and USGC also touched on growth opportunities for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and soybean products in Southeast Asia.“Southeast Asia is a 116 million ton feed market and growing, and the region’s coarse grains and co-product imports have grown to more than six million metric tons,” said Manuel Sanchez, USGC regional director for Southeast Asia. “This region buys one of every three metric tons of DDGS exported out of the United States - a statistic that alone tells the story about why we’re here doing this work.”The conference also included several panel discussions and presentations specific to agricultural trade in Southeast Asia, including port developments, opportunities for bulk and container shipping and grain storage in sub-tropical and tropical regions.“Southeast Asia is a growing portion of the world economy with an increasing population that is improving diets and energy usage. Several countries in this region hold strong potential for importing U.S. corn in all forms,” said Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn Commission chief executive officer, who also spoke during the conference. “Storing corn in tropical environments requires certain management practices, and a recent study commissioned by the Council and funded in part by Kansas Corn brought additional knowledge for competing in these markets. The findings of this research, conducted by the IGP Institute at Kansas State University in cooperation with a Malaysian grain handler, were also introduced during the conference to share this knowledge with end-users throughout the region.”Meetings like the Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference allow the Council and USSEC members to connect, learn from each other and facilitate trade. These events contribute to the shared belief that exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability.RFA to Australia: Choose Ethanol, Not Petroleum ReserveIn a letter sent today, the Renewable Fuels Association encouraged Australia’s energy minister to strongly consider U.S. ethanol imports as a cleaner, more affordable alternative to purchasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. According to RFA, opening the Australian market to ethanol imports would be good for the continent’s economy and air quality, and would help spur more rapid development of a domestic biofuels industry. The letter, from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, cited news reports of Australia’s request for access to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve “as a hedge against potential oil supply disruptions that appear increasingly likely given the volatile situation in the Strait of Hormuz.” Ethanol is a better option to protect Australian consumers from supply shocks, Cooper said.Cooper wrote that part of the challenge Australia is facing with renewable fuels growth— biofuels represent less than 2 percent of the country’s liquid transportation fuel supply—is the result of the 5 percent tariff and customs tax of A$0.401 per liter for ethanol imports. “These severe measures have made fuel ethanol imports generally uncompetitive with gasoline and domestically produced ethanol,” Cooper wrote in his letter to Angus Taylor, Australia’s Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. “Removing or at least significantly reducing the tariff and custom tax barriers to imported ethanol does not necessitate a complex negotiation with the U.S. government over our Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Cooper added. “Nor will it take much time. U.S. ethanol is available today for export to Australia. … U.S. ethanol can provide near-immediate relief to your transportation fuel supply shortage with the added benefit of providing Australia with a tangible demonstration of its commitment to carbon reduction.”Increasing ethanol use makes  more sense than tapping into more petroleum imports, Cooper also wrote, especially since Australia is a seeking to reduce its carbon footprint as a party to the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. When it comes to carbon reduction, ethanol is the clear winner over fossil fuels.Bayer PLUS Rewards Offers Expanded Product Portfolio With Greater Flexibility, More Transparency For the 2020 crop season, Bayer announces the new Bayer PLUS Rewards program, offering expanded options of crop protection products to choose from, more flexibility and more cash incentives than ever before. The new program brings together a broader portfolio of high-performance products, including seed, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, to help farmers make the most of every acre planted. In addition, Bayer PLUS Rewards provides farmers with incentives for purchasing the seed and crop inputs they rely on to grow their crops and maximize their profit potential. The program also increases transparency by offering participants a timely look at incentives earned, along with more control over how incentives are redeemed. “We’re working with retailers to provide growers the opportunity to choose from a broad portfolio of products. Bayer PLUS Rewards is driven by smart agronomic decisions, and we’ll continue to work with our growers and retailers to put the right product on the right acre,” says Leticia Goncalves, U.S. Crop Science Country Division Head for Bayer. “Our broad portfolio, combined with rewards, will provide our loyal customers the flexibility to choose products that will provide them the greatest chance for success on their farms. These are tough times in agriculture and Bayer is proud to offer support to farmers through Bayer PLUS Rewards.” Bayer PLUS Rewards replaces the Roundup Ready PLUSÒ program, as well as Bayer Innovation PlusÔ, for the 2020 season. Bayer PLUS Rewards offers farmers a full agronomic solution for every acre of their farm. Starting with any two qualifying products, farmers begin earning $3/A, building additional cash back on every subsequent qualifying product they purchase. Additionally, farmers have the opportunity to earn $2/A on any Roundup® brand agricultural herbicide when paired with another qualifying herbicide, plus an additional $2/A when XtendiMaxÒ herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology is paired with a Roundup herbicide and an additional qualifying herbicide. Once earning from either base incentive option, farmers have the opportunity to earn $.50/A on additional Bayer products, expanding the already vast product options that qualify for rewards. “Bayer PLUS Rewards offers unprecedented flexibility with numerous ways for farmers to keep not only yield-robbing weeds in check but also other pests at bay from planting to harvest with Bayer’s complete seed and crop-protection portfolio,” says Julio Negreli, Bayer Crop Protection Marketing Lead. “Wherever and whatever they farm, U.S. farmers can find the best products for their operations within the Bayer PLUS Rewards portfolio, while choosing how to use their rewards.” As part of Bayer PLUS Rewards, customers will have access to a portal which provides a snapshot of purchase history, along with up-to-date incentive totals and redemption options. Bayer PLUS Rewards participants can control how and when they redeem incentives by choosing a “cash-out” option early in the season, once a minimum incentives total is achieved. They can also work with their retailer to direct incentives toward future seed or chemistry purchases. Enrolling is simple. Farmers can visit MyBayerPLUS.com to activate their account, register for the program and read more about Bayer PLUS Rewards. Those who have a valid Tech ID associated with their operation will receive details by mail in the coming weeks. Once signed in, they’ll begin earning rewards on their purchase history from a robust portfolio of products. 2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics focuses on accelerating innovation in corn hybrid developmentSyngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS today launched the 2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, a competition that seeks analytical approaches to improve complex crop breeding processes. Data analytics, mathematics and statistics students, as well as professionals worldwide are invited to enter by Jan. 21, 2020. Using real-world crop data, entrants are tasked to develop models that can predict the performance of potential corn products.Now in its fifth consecutive year, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is a collaborative effort between Syngenta and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The competition brings together experts in mathematics, computer science and analytics, emphasizing the importance of cross-industry collaboration necessary to feed a growing population with limited natural resources. The Syngenta Crop Challenge gathers the best minds across many disciplines to solve the world’s biggest agricultural challenges.“The Syngenta Crop Challenge gives data analytics experts the opportunity to use their skills to address real challenges, such as the growing global food demand and changing environment,” said Gregory Doonan, head of novel algorithm advancement, Syngenta. “Scientists at research and development organizations like Syngenta are working to accelerate innovation in plant science by breeding plants with the most resilient, highest-yielding genetics. This competition provides a forum for students and experts in data analytics, mathematics and statistics to contribute to improving crop productivity and help feed the world.”The deadline for entries is Jan. 21, 2020. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on the rigor and validity of the process and the quality of the proposed solution. Finalists will be announced in March and will be given the opportunity to present their submissions at the end of April during the 2020 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in Denver, Colorado, where the winners will be announced. The winner will be awarded $5,000; the runner up will receive $2,500; and the third place team will receive $1,000.Established in 2015, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is supported by Syngenta and hosted by the Analytics Society of INFORMS. It is funded by prize winnings donated by Syngenta, in connection with the company’s win of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in 2015.

POLL OFFERS INSIGHT ON RURAL NEBRASKANS’ VIEWS OF IMMIGRATIONWhile rural Nebraskans have mixed opinions about the impact of immigration on rural Nebraska, those more likely to have lived alongside recent immigrants have more positive views, according to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll.Overall, 38% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska, while 30% disagree. One-third agree that on balance immigration has been good for rural Nebraska, while 27% disagree. At least one-third of rural Nebraskans neither agreed nor disagreed with both statements.Experience with immigrants appears to be related to perceptions of immigration, a survey official said. Persons living in or near larger communities, who are more likely to be aware of recent immigrants in their community, are more likely than those living in or near smaller communities to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska. Similarly, the poll found that persons living in both the south-central and northeast regions, which are more likely to be aware of recent immigrants in their community, are more likely than those living in other regions to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska.Younger persons are more likely than older persons to agree that immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska. Just over half of persons 19 to 29 agree with the statement, compared to 31% of those 65 and older. Looking at immigration trends, Nebraskans 29 and younger are likely to have grown up with more foreign-born immigrants.“Overall, there is a consistent theme from the data,” said L.J. McElravy, associate professor of youth civic leadership at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Respondents believe immigrants strengthen rural Nebraska when they are more likely to interact with immigrants, whether that exposure is a result of where they live or their age.”The poll also found that rural Nebraskans have concerns about language issues and the effect illegal immigration may have on wages. Eighty-four percent of rural Nebraskans surveyed agree that immigrants should learn to speak English within a reasonable amount of time. In addition, half of respondents disagree that communities should communicate important information in other languages as well as English. And 44% agree that undocumented immigrants drive down wages in rural Nebraska, while just under one-quarter disagree.When asked about immigration policies, most rural Nebraskans surveyed agree with policies that try to prevent illegal immigration. Almost three-quarters agree that government should tighten borders to prevent illegal immigration, and about the same proportion agrees that businesses employing undocumented workers should be penalized. Almost two-thirds agree that undocumented immigrants should be deported. A similar percentage disagree that the government is too aggressive in deporting those who are in the United States illegally.However, many respondents also support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers. Sixty-two percent agree that an undocumented immigrant who has been working and paying taxes for five years or more should be allowed to apply for citizenship, and slightly less agree that there should be a way for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements to stay in the country legally. Seventy percent agree that immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be allowed the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time.Many opinions about immigration policies remain about the same as they were in 2006, the last time immigration questions were asked in the Rural Poll. However, fewer rural Nebraskans today support the government tightening borders to prevent illegal immigration than did in 2006. Then, 83% of respondents agreed that the government should tighten borders. In 2019, this fell to 74%. And, the proportion who agree that an undocumented immigrant who has been working and paying taxes for five years or more should be allowed to apply for citizenship increased slightly, from 58% in 2006 to 62% this year.“The poll results mirror the tensions we see across the country in terms of immigrants and immigration — respondents tended to be evenly split across a variety of the questions,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “On the balance, though, respondents wished to see a pathway for undocumented migrants who have been trying to be productive members of American society to become residents. Focusing on opportunities for integration across the state can help Nebraska move forward positively.”This year’s Rural Poll was mailed to 6,260 randomly selected households in nonmetropolitan counties in March and April. One-thousand-seven-hundred-seventy-six households responded, a rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at http://ruralpoll.unl.edu.The university's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.EPA announces $3.15 million in water quality funding in IowaToday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three EPA Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements totaling more than $3.15 million to fund Iowa-based projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education.The three Iowa-based recipients for the 2019 Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements are:-    Practical Farmers of Iowa ($935,788) for Roots for Water Quality: A Farmer-to-Farmer Model for a Sustainable Mississippi Basin.-    University of Iowa ($1,064,926) for Connecting Rural and Peri-urban Farmers to Demonstrate and Disseminate Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Practices. -    Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship ($1,150,000) for Effective, Targeted Wetland Installations to Maximize Nutrient Removal, Wetland Habitat Function, and Ultimately Expand Delivery.“These Farmer to Farmer grants will promote innovative, market-based solutions for monitoring and improving water quality throughout the Gulf of Mexico watershed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants are an important part of our efforts to support America’s farmers in a manner that strengthens both American agriculture and the protection of our nation’s vital water resources.”“Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements directly support science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect our watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Here in Region 7, a combined $3.15 million in funding will support Iowa in the restoration and installation of wetlands as well as the use of cover crops to help provide measurable water quality improvement to waterways across Iowa and further downstream in the Gulf of Mexico.”“Practical Farmers of Iowa is ready to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa to tackle our water quality issues,” said Practical Farmers of Iowa Strategic Initiatives Director Sarah Carlson. “Through farmer-to-farmer learning, PFI has proven that cover crops are an essential tool of the agronomic toolbox to manage weeds and reduce soil erosion while improving water quality in a corn and soybean rotation. This EPA funding will allow PFI to create new tools, like a ‘ride-sharing’ app for farmers. Instead of looking for a ride, farmers will be able to use the app to find qualified cover crop applicators during the busy harvest season.”“The College of Engineering, Iowa Flood Center, and IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa are excited to partner with rural farmers and urban consumers in Johnson and Iowa counties to demonstrate innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices in Iowa,” said University of Iowa Vice President for Research Marty Scholtz. “This grant recognizes the university’s national leadership in water research. The $1.07 million from EPA will leverage watershed restoration funds from the $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach project to create measurable water quality improvements in stream segments within the Lower Iowa River watershed.”“Working with the EPA and local communities, we are taking on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality by implementing conservation practices in priority watersheds,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Whether you live in the city or the country, we all have a role to play. These types of public-private partnerships and rural-urban projects are perfect examples of what we can accomplish when we all work together to achieve our common goal — preserving Iowa’s natural resources for the next generation.”A ceremony honoring the Iowa recipients took place today at the Iowa State Fair and was led by Jim Gulliford, regional administrator for EPA Region 7. EPA anticipates awarding seven Gulf of Mexico Division cooperative agreements totaling more than $7.5 million to fund projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education in the Gulf of Mexico watershed.Background:Since 2018, approximately $9.5 million has been awarded to support novel or innovative agricultural techniques, methods or approaches through EPA’s Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements. These projects support farmer led and/or farmer focused organizations with experience implementing programs and demonstration projects through collaboration with farmers. The projects will center around innovative monitoring systems that will measure and report field scale water and nutrient dynamics to farmers in support of informed crop management decisions. The program supports science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy.Corn Grows Iowa at the Iowa State FairIowa Corn is proud to sponsor Iowa Corn Day at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, August 16.  As fairgoers, you will have the opportunity to learn how corn helps feed and fuel Iowa and the world by participating in the scavenger hunt where you can locate five stations scattered throughout the fairgrounds, take a selfie and post all five photos to a form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat Story). By completing all five stations and showing your posts at the Iowa Corn booth, you will receive an Iowa Corn t-shirt while supplies last! Scavenger hunt cards will be handed out at the main entrances or they will be available at the Iowa Corn booth on the Grand Concourse.The highly interactive Iowa Corn Mobile Education trailer will be there as well. The 40-foot state-of-the-art mobile takes visitors on a multi-media journey showing how Iowa Corn farmers conserve their land while growing corn that’s used for food, feed, fuel and the 4,000 other products made from you guessed it, corn. This represents the 97 percent of Iowa farms that are family-owned. America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Final Four AnnouncedThe National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists vying to be named America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs following the We CareSM ethical principles and who is committed to sharing their farming story with the American public.“The finalists do what’s best on their farms every day for people, pigs and the planet,” said National Pork Board President David Newman, a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “The finalists also showcase how diverse family farming is today throughout the United States.”The National Pork Board congratulates the finalists:    Josh Linde – Manilla, Iowa    Thomas Titus – Elkhart, Illinois    Doug Dawson – Delaware, Ohio    Chris Hoffman – McAlisterville, Pennsylvania  To help select the winner, the four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago later this month. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.Through Aug. 27, the public can vote once a day per email address for their favorite finalist at www.americaspigfarmer.com. The winner will be announced the week of Oct. 1 based on the judges’ scores and the online voting results.About the Finalists Josh Linde – Manilla, Iowa  Food safety and raising animals in a stress-free environment allows Josh Linde to provide a safe product for his family and consumers. Linde owns and operates his own farm, which markets 9,600 pigs annually, and works full-time for The Maschhoffs.Thomas Titus – Elkhart, Illinois  On Thomas Titus’ farrow-to-finish farm, animal care is his No. 1 priority. Their multi-generation farm is run by immediate family and a few employees who are like family. They also raise kids, cattle, goats and hens, corn, soybeans and hay on their farm.Doug Dawson – Delaware, Ohio  With a passion that was sparked at the age of five, Doug Dawson has been a full-time pig farmer since 1980. Dawson Farms, Inc., established in 1939, focuses on corn, soybeans, wheat and hay beyond the pig farm. Dawson’s farrow-to-finish operation markets 44,000 pigs per year.Chris Hoffman – McAlisterville, Pennsylvania Growing up with a love of animals, Chris Hoffman has worked his way up to owning a pig farm now that sells 34,000 pig annually. Hoffman focuses on animal well-being on his farrow-to-finish farm. Additionally, he raises more than 235,000 broilers a year.About the Expert Judging Panel: Members of the five-member panel include 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.Corteva Agriscience Announces Three Power to Do More Contest WinnersAfter receiving thousands of online votes, Scott Slepikas of Huron, South Dakota, is the grand-prize winner in the Power to Do More contest sponsored by the corn herbicides of Corteva Agriscience. Chris Staudt of Kanawha, Iowa, and Marsha Strom of Dahinda, Illinois, win second-place prizes.Overall, Corteva is donating $27,000 to local nonprofit organizations, giving a total of $20,000 to the three winners’ local nonprofit organizations of choice plus $1,000 to each chosen nonprofit of the remaining seven finalists."The 10 finalists received more than 60,000 votes this year, which really shows the passion rural communities have for their local organizations,” said Lyndsie Kaehler, U.S. Corn Herbicides Product Manager, Corteva Agriscience. “It’s been great to see communities rally around their local farmer and nonprofit organization through contest support. We are so proud to help tell their stories.”The Power to Do More contest invited farmers to submit a unique photo and story about the power on their farm. Ten finalists, selected from hundreds of entries, showed exceptional creativity and commitment to growing a stronger community in their photo and story.During online voting June 10 to July 8, the public rallied behind their favorite farmer and community.Slepikas submitted a photo showing the finish of a “great crop harvest” on his family farm. He nominated the Center for Independence of Huron for the $10,000 donation. Slepikas said the nonprofit serves people with special needs, including his son, and relies on “many donations to provide these special people with many extras to make their lives easier and better.” Staudt submitted a photo of himself, his girlfriend and his dog. Staudt explained that the photo shows he is blessed to farm alongside his brother and father while being “able to enjoy the simple things in life.” Staudt nominated the Kanawha Fire Department for the $5,000 donation. He said this donation will enable the department to “upgrade equipment needed to help our dedicated volunteers keep the community safe.”Strom submitted a photo showing barn-themed playground equipment being installed in her local town park. She said the photo represents “the power of what people can do when they collectively give their funds, time, talents and hearts to attain a common goal.” Strom nominated the Williamsfield FFA Alumni & Friends for the $5,000 donation. She explained the money will allow the organization to purchase tools, machines and educational materials for the local school’s agriculture department.In appreciation of the remaining finalists’ efforts in the Power to Do More contest, Corteva Agriscience is donating $1,000 to each local nonprofit organization nominated by the remaining seven finalists:     ─ Darrel Springer of Oak, Nebraska — Sandy Creek High School FFA     ─ Rhonda Leonard of Logan, Iowa — Kellen Morrison Memorial Scholarship Fund     ─ Misty DeDonder of Admire, Kansas — North Lyon County FFA – High School    Greenhouse Project     ─ Kara Boughton of Marshall, Michigan — East Jackson Elementary School     ─ Lynn Heins of Rockwood, Illinois — Annie’s Project – Education for Farm Women     ─ Dave LaCrosse of Kewaunee, Wisconsin — Peninsula Pride Farms     ─ Susan Zody of Kokomo, Indiana — Narrow Gate Horse RanchThe Power to Do More contest is in its third year of helping farming communities across the country. Corteva is proud to support farmers with a lineup of corn herbicides dedicated to delivering the power to do more every season. With Resicore®, SureStart® II, DuPont™ Realm® Q, DuPont™ Cinch® ATZ and Keystone® NXT herbicides, farmers can effectively control and not worry about yield-robbing weeds.Read more about the contest winners and sign up to be among the first to see a video about the grand-prize winner at PowerToDoMore.com.ACE elects board of directors at annual meetingThe American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announced the re-election of several board members and the election of two new representatives to the organization’s board of directors during its annual meeting prior to ACE’s 32nd annual conference in Omaha, Nebraska.Six incumbents were re-elected to the board of directors for three-year terms:    Duane Kristensen, representing Chief Ethanol Fuels    Scott McPheeters, representing KAAPA Ethanol    Dan Root, representing Minnesota Corn Growers Association    Rick Schwarck, representing Absolute Energy    Dave Sovereign, representing Golden Grain Energy    Chris Studer, representing East River Electric CooperativeTwo new members were elected to serve on the board of directors for a three-year term:    Troy Knecht, representing Redfield Energy    Owen Jones, At-large Member “As I got involved with ACE through the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, I realized the value ACE brings to its members and the value it brings to corn farmers in general,” Knecht said. “Now, by representing Redfield Energy, I can continue the good work ACE is doing and I look forward to helping with the challenges we have ahead of us like addressing small refinery waivers and exploring ways to get higher blends into the market.”“I have always enjoyed working with this association, both the people on staff and the rest of the leaders on the ACE board,” Jones said. “I always have been interested in promoting ethanol and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do this by serving on the ACE board. We have made some great strides, but there is a lot of work to be done yet and if I can remain on the board to continue ACE’s good work, I’m grateful to do that.”“Troy and Owen are exceptional advocates for our industry, and we’re happy they’re able to continue to serve with the other dedicated active volunteers who make up our board of directors and represent the grassroots diversity of our entire membership,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “ACE members can be rest assured they’re well-represented by the resolve, expertise and experience the board members bring to the table and ACE is grateful for their leadership.”Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/9/2019According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Aug. 9, ethanol production averaged 1.045 million barrels per day (b/d)— equivalent to 43.89 million gallons daily. Output expanded by 5,000 b/d (0.5%) over the previous week. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate declined for the sixth consecutive week, down 0.5% to 1.039 million b/d and equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.93 billion gallons.Ethanol stocks increased 3.3% to 23.9 million barrels. Stocks built across all PADDs.There were zero imports recorded after 36,000 b/d hit the books last week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2019.)The volume of gasoline supplied jumped 2.9% to a record 9.932 million b/d (417.1 million gallons per day, or 152.26 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol grew by 2.3% to a record 967,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.82 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.52%.WATERWAYS COUNCIL LAUNCHES EDUCATIONAL VIDEO SERIESThe Waterways Council, Inc. recently produced a series of videos, aimed at educating various audiences on inland waterways. The five videos focus on agriculture, labor, shippers, communities and the Army Corps of Engineers.In the agriculture video, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue kicks it off by saying “I don’t think anything is more important to agriculture than logistics and transportation. That’s ultimately how we get that product to the ultimate end customer and our waterways have been absolutely critical in that effort.”In September, NCGA staff will be participating in a Mississippi Riverboat trip with the Army Corps of Engineers from Hannibal to St. Louis, to learn more about river transportation, lock and dam infrastructure and various projects the Corps is working on.Fast Facts on River Transportation:-    Corn, soybeans and wheat account for nearly 83 percent of farm and food barge volume and ton-miles.-    Barge transportation is used to haul more than 95 percent of the corn exported through the Center Gulf from originations upriver on the Mississippi River.-    In 2017, 14 percent of all intercity freight was transported via the Nation’s waterways, valued at nearly $232 billion.-    In 2015, farm products accounted for 14 percent of waterborne commerce volume and 24 percent waterborne commerce ton-miles. A ton-mile is the number of tons multiplied by distance. When barge traffic is measured in ton-miles, food and farm products jump from the third-largest commodity to first.ARA Supports USDOT Hours of Service (HOS) Proposal for Improved Driver Safety and Flexibility The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) supports the proposed reform to hours of service (HOS) published today by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (USDOT FMCSA), which will improve safety and flexibility for commercial drivers."These reforms, including the short haul exemption expansion for CDL drivers to 150 air miles and the expansion of duty hours from 12 to 14 hours, will provide necessary flexibility for ARA members to meet the needs of their customers without adversely impacting transportation safety," ARA Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton said.FMCSA's proposed rule offers five key revisions to existing HOS rules such as requiring a minimum of a 30-minute break for each eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing drivers to use the "on duty, not driving" status rather than the "off duty" status during breaks. It is estimated that this proposal will save American consumers and the U.S. economy an estimated $274 million and improve safety for all drivers on the Nation's roadways, according to a FMCSA news release.The FMCSA is encouraging everyone to review and comment on this proposal within the 45-day public comment period.Perdue Statement on Meeting with Guatemalan MinistersU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today met with a host of Ministers from Guatemala to discuss implementation of the recently signed agreement between the United States and Guatemala to improve H-2A visa program operations. Following the meeting, Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:“America’s farmers and ranchers need a legal and reliable agricultural work force, and we are eager to help our producers take advantage of this great opportunity to add a qualified pool of workers to the H-2A visa program. This critical partnership with Guatemala will benefit both our nations and will improve the H-2A visa program in the future.”Officials from Guatemala that were present for the meeting included Guatemalan Minister of Governance Enrique Antonio Degenhart Asturias, Guatemalan Minister of Labor Gabriel Vladimir Aguilera Bolaños, Guatemalan Minister of Economy Acisclo Valladares Urruela, Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture Mario Méndez Cobar and Ambassador of Guatemala to the United States of America Manuel Alfredo Espina Pinto.Trade Aid Appreciated as Farmers Seek Trade TruceAs China continues to raise barriers blocking the import of American farm products, the USDA recently announced registration for the second round of Market Facilitation Payments (MFP).President Trump has authorized up to $14.5 billion in MFP payments, meant to help mitigate the negative effects of retaliatory tariffs stemming from ongoing trade disputes. The program is open to a selection of non-specialty and specialty crops as well as dairy and hog producers. For non-specialty crops – such as cotton, wheat, soybeans, rice and corn – payments will depend on the calculated impact of trade retaliation in each county.  As Farm Policy Facts has previously reported, a healthy farm economy depends on the export of high-quality American products abroad. For perspective, the agriculture sector produces around $400 billion worth of crops and livestock per year, and exports near $150 billion worth of agricultural goods.As the “tip of the spear” in this trade war, and already reeling from a prolonged rural recession, America’s farmers and ranchers have been deeply injured, and are therefore thankful that the Administration has taken action to help our rural communities during a particularly hard time. “Farmers and ranchers are going through our 6th straight year of severe recession and unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs are making already tough times even tougher,” said Matt Huie, President of the Southwest Council of Agribusiness. “Thankfully, the MFP-II announced by Secretary Perdue throws us a vital life-line to help ensure that we can make it through this year and hopefully secure the credit we need to return to the fields for the next growing season.”Joe Mencer, chair of the USA Rice Farmers and an Arkansas rice farmer, noted that MFP payments will help rice farmers as they deal with the fallout from not only trade wars, but low commodity prices and extreme weather. “While these payments won’t make us whole, they will provide some much needed relief financially for rice producers across the country,” he said.America’s cotton farmers pointed to China’s tariffs as a key reason for the declining health of the cotton industry as cotton exports lag and U.S. cotton loses market share to competitors in China.  NCC Chairman Mike Tate, an Alabama cotton producer himself, expressed gratitude to the USDA for recognizing the trade pressures faced by farmers and taking action to provide assistance through MFP payments. Brian Thalmann, President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, said that Minnesota’s “corn farmers appreciate the quick rollout of the MFP program and USDA’s efforts to better reflect the impact of ongoing trade disputes,” but also emphasized that corn growers are focused on developing long-term solutions to support farmers. This sentiment was echoed by the National Association of Wheat Growers.  “NAWG appreciates the Administration recognizing the impact the current trade war with China is having on farmers,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers President and Lavon, Texas, farmer Ben Scholz. “However, this is a band-aid when we really need a long-term fix. NAWG understands holding China accountable for its WTO violations and unfair trade practices but a trade war is not the solution especially when farmers are the casualties. We continue to urge the Administration to quickly resolve the ongoing trade dispute with China and to negotiate new trade agreements, and Congress to act quickly on USMCA.”This reality that the greater hope lies not in the trade aid – though that is important – but in the prospect of achieving a freer and more accountable international marketplace for the future is captured well in the conclusion of SWCA President Huie’s statement: “The MFP-II also buys some time for Congress to pass USMCA this year and for the U.S. and China to successfully conclude trade negotiations to end the current dispute so we can achieve a truly free and fair global market where foreign countries are expected to play by the same set of rules that we do.  On behalf of the SWCA, I commend the President and Secretary Perdue and his team at USDA for their hard work in developing an MFP-II package that provides real help to farmers and ranchers when we need it most.”Pioneer Launches Corn Yield Estimator as Part of New Mobile App and WebsiteEstimating corn yield is now easier than ever thanks to the new Pioneer Corn Yield Estimator. Now available to farmers as part of the Pioneer mobile app, the Corn Yield Estimator takes yield estimation to the next level. This tool uses a machine learning model, which allows farmers to quickly and accurately count the kernels on an ear while in the field. The yield estimate is based on kernel count, stand count and kernels per bushel.The yield estimator walks the user through the process of lining up the ear of corn to be sampled, taking the necessary number of images and entering the remaining information before providing a yield estimate. The tool requires that husks and silks be removed before taking the picture, but the ear does not need to be pulled from the stalk.“The creation of this tool is part of Pioneer’s larger efforts to advance customers’ ability to improve management,” said Jeremy Groeteke, U.S. Digital Agriculture Lead, Corteva Agriscience. “The goal of this app is to standardize the process for estimating yield from a single ear of corn and is part of our predictive agriculture effort.”The introduction of the Yield Estimator kicks off a more connected Pioneer digital ecosystem, including the Pioneer Seeds mobile app and the revamped Pioneer.com. The new login interface, along with a user-friendly online payment experience and mobile responsiveness, is designed to make a more cohesive online environment for all users.The new Pioneer.com website is designed to be a one-stop-shop, providing premium resources to farmers, such as a personalized seed guide, local yield data, updated and improved agronomy filtering, and seasonal tools and calculators that users have come to expect from Pioneer.“Farmers today are more mobile than ever,” said Julie Podey, Digital Communications Manager, Corteva Agriscience. “Our focus on mobile responsiveness, ease-of-use and timely agronomic information is what sets Pioneer.com and the new Pioneer app apart. We want farmers to have a connected experience, no matter how they are interacting with our brand, and we think these digital tools will provide that online experience.”Bunge Moving Global Headquarters to St. LouisBunge Limited, a leader in agriculture, food and ingredients, announced it is relocating its global headquarters from White Plains, NY, to the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area. This move allows the Company to leverage shared capabilities and enhance collaboration."While St. Louis is already an important hub for Bunge and our current North American operations, the city is also home to a number of food, agriculture, animal health and plant science organizations and customers," said Gregory A. Heckman, Bunge's CEO."Moving the global headquarters to a location where Bunge has a major business presence is a big step forward in shifting the Company's operating model to align around a more efficient, streamlined global business structure. We are grateful to have called White Plains home for many years, and now look forward to the new growth and development opportunities which our expanded St. Louis presence will provide," said Heckman.The company is in the early planning stages of the transition to the new global headquarters, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter 2020.The Fight Against BRD Starts in the Cow HerdChe Trejo, DVM, MS, Beef Technical Services, ZoetisIt’s estimated that nearly 9% of beef cattle operations have a calf persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). This might seem like a small percentage, but presence of BVDV can mean a risk for something more. Producers are 43% more likely to need to treat bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in feedlot calves exposed to a BVD-PI animal, a study found.Reducing exposure to BVDV is an important place to start in the battle against BRD:·        Step 1: Vaccinate the cow herd before breeding. Only 28% of operations report vaccinating cows for BVDV.1 Yet, a nonvaccinated cow herd is like an uninsured driver out on the road. No contact, and you likely won’t have any issues. But any contact, and you could have a costly disaster.o   Modified-live virus (MLV) vaccination program: BVDV is most commonly spread by a PI animal acting as a carrier for the virus, so using MLV vaccines that offer protection against BVD-PI calves is the most effective way to protect the cow and unborn calf.3,4 Look for a specific statement on the vaccine label that the vaccine prevents calves from being persistently infected with BVD Types 1 and 2 viruses.o   Alternative vaccination program: If you can’t implement or maintain a pregnant cow MLV vaccination program, research demonstrates there's an effective alternative. Heifers can be given two prebreeding doses of Bovi-Shield Gold FP® 5. This can be followed by either annual revaccination with the same MLV vaccine or CattleMaster Gold FP® 5, a combination inactivated BVD vaccine containing a temperature-sensitive infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) component. The study demonstrated effective protection against BVD or IBR exposure with both cow herd vaccination program options.5·        Step 2: Test and remove PI calves. While producers are generally aware of BVDV, a study shared only 4.2% of operations reported testing calves for persistent infection with the virus.1 However, 70% to 90% of BVD infections are subclinical — so most PI calves appear normal — but these animals continually shed the virus and pose a constant risk of exposure to nonprotected cattle.3o   Test all calves before bull turnout and any incoming cattle, including heifers, cows, bulls and calves born from purchased pregnant cows or heifers. Dams of any positive calves also need to be tested.·        Step 3: Protect young calves from BVDV. Protecting the unborn calf with a cow herd vaccination program is step one. Another important step is implementing an effective young calf respiratory program that protects against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), IBR, parainfluenza 3 (PI3), BVD Types 1 and 2 viruses and Mannheimia haemolytica. BRD has many causes and complexities, but BVDV Types 1 and 2 are two of the major viral causes of BRD. BVDV also suppresses the immune system, which can lead to secondary infections from BRD pathogens.o   BRSV vaccination at birth with an intranasal vaccination followed by a booster vaccination at branding may have some disease-sparing effects during summer exposure to BRSV, according to a study in Montana.6o   Vaccination on arrival at the feedlot alone with Inforce 3® and One Shot® BVD (no antibiotic on arrival) has been shown to significantly reduce (p = 0.01) second and third treatments for BRD when compared with another vaccination protocol.7These steps to help control BVDV in the cow/calf operation can reduce the potential of a BVD-PI animal, improve overall cattle health in your herd and help reduce the risk for BRD in the calves you sell.

Platte Valley Cattlemen Outlook Meeting is Aug 19thBoyd Hellbusch, PVC PresidentFirst of all, I would like to thank all of you who golfed, sponsored and/or donated prizes for our golf outing in Humphrey and Leigh.  Without you this event would not be possible and we wouldn’t be where we are today without your support.  Also, we would like to thank all those that came to the Platte and Colfax County Fairs and grabbed a burger and helped support the 4-H kids.    With that said we are having our annual outlook meeting on Monday, August 19th at Jarad and Kathy Doernaman’s barn venue in Clarkson with social hour at 6:00 p.m. and our meal to begin at 7:00 p.m.  The featured guest will be John Nelson.  John is employed at Producers Livestock and will be talking to us about what the future markets are looking like.  We will also have a representative from the Nebraska Cattleman’s here to discuss new updates.  We would like to thank Pinnacle Bank for sponsoring our social hour.  We look forward to seeing you all in Clarkson at Doernaman’s Barn on August 19th.  Off of Highway 91, turn North and take the main entrance into Clarkson, the street sign should read Bryant Street or Road 8. Go North through town past the park until you get to Road X then go East a quarter mile and turn north on 570th Ave. The barn will be on the East Side of the roadHealthy Soils Task Force Sets Initial MeetingSteve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force for Aug. 14. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Nebraska State Office Building, 4th Floor, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln.This is the initial meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force created by LB243 which passed in the Nebraska Legislature this past session.For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.GAP GROWING BETWEEN IRRIGATED, RAIN-FED CROP YIELDSA 65-year comparative analysis between U.S. yields of irrigated and rain-fed crops has sounded a message to farmers, land managers and policymakers: Mind the gap.The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Suat Irmak and Meetpal Kukal analyzed the annual yields of nine crops — corn, soybean, spring wheat, winter wheat, sorghum, cotton, barley, oats and alfalfa — on a county-by-county basis from 1950 to 2015.Irmak and Kukal found that the yield gaps — differences in food produced with irrigation vs. rainfall alone — generally widened over that span, a trend they suspect stems partly from climate change and technological advances in irrigation management.But the rates at which those gaps widened, and how consistently they did so over time, differed substantially among the crops and the regions that grew them.“You get more yield from irrigated than rain-fed (agriculture), but the magnitude of yield increase is a function of several variables,” said Irmak, Eberhard Distinguished Professor of Biological Systems Engineering. “It’s not surprising that as precipitation increases, the yield gap decreases. But that also has spatial and temporal attributes, so it’s not really constant in all regions or for all crops.”Irrigation most benefited corn yields, according to the study, boosting them 270% nationally over the 65-year span. The unique growing season of winter wheat meant that its yields rose only 25% with irrigation, the smallest gain among the nine crops. Yet even crop-specific yield gaps varied noticeably by location. Two corn-growing areas separated by about 700 miles, for instance, saw a seven-fold difference in irrigation-related yield gains.Having mapped such differences across roughly 80% of the United States’ cultivated land, the researchers said they hope the findings can help guide future crop production while calibrating water management and irrigation use nationwide.Regions or states with historically wider gaps, especially those growing the most irrigation-thirsty crops, might consider irrigating more or investing in soil management practices that help conserve moisture, Irmak said. Those that have historically seen little difference — or, in a few areas, seen the gaps between irrigated and rain-fed yields narrow — might decide to allocate their resources in other ways.The county-level precision of the study’s data might also help individual farmers better estimate the potential return on investing in irrigation.“We have those answers for different crops in each county, so they can go back and do some analysis,” Irmak said. “If they want to buy a center-pivot for approximately $150,000 and convert their land to irrigation, they can quantify the (return on investment). Of course, these are ranges (of values), but they can say, for instance, ‘I can increase my yield by about four to six tonnes per hectare. Depending on grain prices, over the course of five to eight years, I can pay for my pivot.’”Irmak and Kukal likewise quantified the number of years that given counties failed to generate any meaningful yields of a crop when relying only on rainfall, which some farmers might factor into long-term risk assessments, the researchers said.“There’s a bigger risk with rain-fed (agriculture),” Irmak said. “There’s an overall, long-term average value for rain-fed yields, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get that yield every year. That’s why we consider irrigation an insurance policy that normalizes things and provides stable productivity under varying climatic conditions.”The researchers, who in 2018 published studies that quantified the lengthening of growing seasons and the agricultural effects of climate trends across the United States, said they expect farmers and other ag professionals to welcome the depth and complexity of the new analysis.“Farmers are very smart people,” Irmak said. “In extension, there is a general concept that you need to provide simple information and (focus on making it) understandable. And that’s great. But that was probably (truer) a long time ago. Things are changing as farmers and their operations are getting more complex and sophisticated, especially in changing climatic conditions.“I interact with a lot of farmers, almost on a daily basis. They want more information. They really appreciate more and more scientifically based data.”By contrast, Irmak conceded that he regularly encounters irrigation-related pushback from colleagues who study environmental issues, including irrigation’s role in ferrying nitrogen and other fertilizer components into groundwater. A desire to balance that perspective with the upsides of irrigation motivated Irmak and Kukal to publish the new study in Environmental Research Communications.“Irrigation on 24% of the cultivated land produces 40% of the total global food supply,” Irmak said. “If we stopped irrigating today, more people would suffer or worse due to substantially reduced food, fiber and feed production, especially in areas that are already experiencing a significant shortage of supplies. In my program, we look at reducing the negative environmental impact of irrigation. And I do acknowledge that irrigation may have some negative environmental effects when management is not practiced properly; there’s no question about that.“But overall, irrigation contributes substantially (to food production), and I want to get this message to platforms where the most environmental colleagues are. I thought this could contribute to getting environmentally and agriculturally focused people thinking about irrigation’s positive impacts rather than focusing on just their own ideas.”ICA encourages beef processors to expand slaughter following Tyson fireThe Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been in contact with Tyson leadership following the fire on Friday at the Holcomb, Kansas plant.The plant had a capacity of about 6,000 head per day, or approximately 6% of the U.S. total fed cattle slaughter capacity. Tyson is working to absorb the displaced cattle by increasing slaughter at its other facilities to keep the markets current. ICA encourages Tyson and other beef processors to explore all options possible to keep cattle processing current. Unfortunately, the Denison plant no longer contains the equipment needed for slaughter.Cattle markets have already responded to the news of the fire, but the long-term impact on the cattle industry remains to be seen.NIAA Hosts Newest Antibiotic Symposium with NIAMRREThe 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotic Symposium will be in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University, October 15–17, 2019. The theme of the Symposium will be Communicating the Science of Responsible Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture.This year's Symposium will be hosted by NIAA in collaboration with the prestigious National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE), which was competitively selected lead the collective efforts related to Antibiotics in animal, human and environmental health of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.As misreported or inaccurate statistics continue to be repeated in negative media coverage of animal agriculture, and the public makes purchasing and family nutrition decisions based on distorted information, the Symposium will study how the industry can better communicate to the public in an effective and positive manner."We are especially excited to provide the participants with an opportunity to start to explore the "science of science communication" related to antibiotic use, stewardship and resistance, a field that NIAMRRE focuses on as a priority initiative," says NIAMRRE's Executive Director Dr. Paul Plummer.Presentations and a hands–on workshop developed in partnership with the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication will help attendees understand how to take science updates and new advances in research, technology and innovation and convey useful information to meet the needs of consumers, which may help shift the attitudes of the public and media in the future.In addition to the communication segment, the Symposium will unpack science updates from across the industry and interact with industry representatives of new and evolving technologies to help meet the demands of responsible use of antibiotics.The Symposium's attendees and presenters will include beef, dairy, pork and poultry producers, processors, and retailers, private practice and state agency veterinarians, researchers and scientists from the FDA, USDA and CDC as well as University animal agriculture and veterinary program academia.For more information or to register for the 9th Annual NIAA Antibiotics Symposium go to www.animalagriculture.org.  Wind powers opportunity: American Wind Week 2019 kicks off August 11This August 11-17 marks the third annual American Wind Week, a national celebration of U.S. leadership in wind energy production that started in 2017 when wind became the country’s largest source of renewable electricity generating capacity. During Wind Week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and supporters of wind energy highlight the many ways that wind powers opportunity at dozens of events across the country and online with #AmericanWindWeek.“Wind Powers Opportunity” is the theme of this year’s American Wind Week, in recognition of the many economic and environmental benefits that come along with expanded U.S. wind energy production. Today, a record 114,000 Americans work in wind, including many careers at the more than 500 U.S. factories that supply wind farms. America’s veterans find wind jobs at a rate 67% higher than the average industry because they have the skills and dedication to keep wind farms running rain or shine.  Rural communities and family farms that host wind energy projects benefit from well-paying local careers and over $1 billion a year paid toward state and local taxes and annual landowner lease payments.  “For this year’s American Wind Week, there’s a record amount of U.S. wind energy under construction and the 114,000 Americans in our industry are working hard to make the energy you use cheaper and cleaner,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan. “As an all-American energy source, wind is a leading contributor to domestic energy production, economic opportunity, and the fight to minimize climate change.”Major businesses like Amazon, General Motors, Google, Home Depot, Walmart, and many others are buying rural America’s valuable wind energy cash-crop to power their operations because wind is low-cost, reliable and clean. It’s increasingly likely that a product you use or a store you visit, whether it’s your Starbucks coffee run, supplies at Target, or a cold Budweiser, is powered at least in part by wind. In addition to providing cheap electricity, wind power is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to cut carbon emissions as well as air pollution that triggers asthma attacks and creates smog, avoiding $9.4 billion in public health costs in 2018 alone.Wind power’s contributions to clean air and stronger economy are on track to grow substantially with a record amount of wind power under construction and development in the U.S. At the same time, communities on the East Coast, West Coast, and around the Great Lakes are preparing to harness world-class U.S. offshore wind resources at scale. Building a U.S. offshore wind industry will reliably deliver large amounts of clean energy to America’s biggest population centers, grow tens of thousands of well-paying American jobs, revitalize ports and coastal infrastructure, and create a nearly $70 billion U.S. supply chain.“Wind power is leading the transformation to a cleaner, stronger U.S. economy,” said Rob Caldwell, AWEA Board Chair and President of Duke Energy Renewables. “Businesses in the wind industry power opportunity for workers, rural communities, and factory towns across America. This American Wind Week, we encourage clean energy supporters in all 50 states to speak with one voice and tell your friends, family and neighbors why you’re proud of U.S. leadership in wind energy production.”Anyone can participate in American Wind Week by posting on social media in support of wind energy from August 11 to 17 using #AmericanWindWeek. Each weekday from August 12th through the 16th, AWEA will blog and share highlights from events happening around the country themed after five unique ways that wind powers opportunity for Americans. To kick off American Wind Week, a full-sized wind turbine blade will take center stage at the Iowa State Fair where the 2020 presidential candidates and Iowa’s elected leaders will be stumping. Anyone can stop by to sign the blade and speak with wind industry workers. USDA to Conduct Quarterly Hogs and Pigs SurveyThe U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the September Hogs and Pigs Survey. This survey is a comprehensive gathering of quarterly data on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions in every state.NASS will mail the questionnaires to all producers selected for the survey in mid-August. To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS interviewers will contact producers who do not respond by mail or online to conduct telephone and personal interviews.The data gathered in this survey allows NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry. The information is used by all sectors of the industry, including producers themselves, to help make sound and timely business decisions. NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report.Growth Energy and GasBuddy Partner to Launch Unleaded 88 on GasBuddy AppToday, Growth Energy and GasBuddy announced that drivers across the nation can now take advantage of Unleaded 88’s affordable prices through GasBuddy’s database and app. Unleaded 88 is a fuel with 15 percent renewable biofuel approved for cars 2001 and newer, and thanks to the recent lifting of outdated government regulations, is now available for sale at the pump all year-round.  GasBuddy is a smartphone app and website used by millions of drivers every month to avoid paying full price for fuel. It is the world’s largest database of real-time, crowdsourced gas price data covering more than 150,000 North American gas stations.  This new partnership allows GasBuddy’s app users access to a comprehensive database of Unleaded 88 fuel at more than 1,800 retail locations around the country. Additionally, Growth Energy and GasBuddy have launched an advertising campaign within the app to promote the benefits of the renewable fuel to consumers. “With fuel prices constantly changing and varying between stations, GasBuddy’s goal is to be the most comprehensive platform for drivers to make fuel-purchasing decisions and save money on every fill-up,” said Patrick DeHaan, head petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “By including the availability of Unleaded 88, we’re continuing our commitment to our users.”   Emily Skor, CEO of the world’s largest ethanol trade association, Growth Energy, celebrated this new partnership and the opportunity for millions of drivers to find the more affordable choice at the pump with Unleaded 88 through GasBuddy’s popular price-tracking app: “We are thrilled to partner with the nation’s leading and most respected fuel app to help more Americans access the engine smart and earth kind benefits of Unleaded 88,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Drivers all over the U.S. rely on GasBuddy to fuel their lives and we are looking forward to giving them another option at the pump that is cleaner-burning and provides a savings of up to 10 cents per gallon.”   Today, Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Casey’s General Store, Cumberland Farms, Thorntons, Kum & Go, RaceTrac, QuikTrip, Rutter’s, Minnoco, Protec Fuel, Murphy USA, Family Express, Royal Farms, Pump & Pantry, and Bosselmans offer Unleaded 88 at more than 1,800 locations across 31 states. For more information on Unleaded 88, head to UNL88.com.  Statement on Administration's Plans for Imposing New 10 Percent TariffsTariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture, today released the following statement after the administration announced additional information on how they will impose 10 percent tariffs on goods Americans buy. “While we appreciate the delay of some of the tariffs, this clearly shows that the administration recognizes that tariffs are taxes paid by Americans. It appears the administration understands that taxes on everyday products such as toys, clothes and electronics would be politically unpopular and hurt those who can least afford it."Unfortunately, today’s announcement doesn’t address the vast majority of tariffs that are driving uncertainty, putting farmers out of business and causing small businesses to slow hiring. Instead of picking temporary winners and losers and holding the U.S. economy hostage, it is time to reach an agreement that finally puts an end to the trade war.” Launch of Land O’Lakes Venture37 amplifies world-class expertise of Land O’Lakes International DevelopmentLand O’Lakes International Development announced today a new brand and a new name – Land O’Lakes Venture37 – to further bolster its strong reputation for global leadership in helping businesses grow, linking farmers to markets and empowering communities to thrive. The new brand builds on the achievements of Land O’Lakes International Development in nearly 80 countries since 1981.“You may ask why we chose Land O’Lakes Venture37? It’s simple. Farmers are working with approximately 37% of the earth’s land to grow the crops and raise the livestock that nourish our growing global population,” said John Ellenberger, executive director of Land O’Lakes Venture37 and senior vice president of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Working together across continents, cultures and markets is critical to make abundant, nutritious food available so everyone can realize their full potential. It’s a challenge Land O’Lakes International Development has helped meet for nearly 40 years through more than 300 unique projects. The launch of Land O’Lakes Venture37 is an exciting new chapter that builds on our long history of results.”A revamped website, www.landolakesventure37.org was launched today in concert with the announcement.Ellenberger noted the new name and branding maintain a clear link between the organization’s nonprofit international development mission and the unique value of technical expertise offered by its affiliation with Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives.“One of the elements that truly sets Land O’Lakes Venture37 apart, and has set us apart for almost 40 years, is our close bond with a leading farmer-owned cooperative that brings nearly a century of experience unlocking the potential of dairy, livestock and crop farms in fulfillment of our purpose of Feeding Human Progress,” Ellenberger said. “Farmers help one another, no matter where they live, and the new Land O’Lakes Venture37 brand shines a spotlight on our shared work to bring agricultural solutions to countries across the globe.”Current activities will continue uninterrupted across 16 projects spanning 10 countries. These include several projects in their early stages, with five capacity-building projects announced last fall spanning Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and three additional projects launched this year in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION For the week ending August 11, 2019, there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 12 short, 78 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 79 adequate, and 9 surplus. Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 60 good, and 15 excellent. Corn silking was 95 percent, near 99 for both last year and the five-year average. Dough was 41 percent, well behind 74 last year and 62 average. Dented was 3 percent, behind 16 last year and 11 average. Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 22 fair, 62 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 87 percent, behind 96 both last year and average. Setting pods was 66 percent, behind 78 last year and 76 average. Winter wheat harvested was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 99 average. Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 16 fair, 70 good, and 13 excellent. Sorghum headed was 68 percent, well behind 90 last year, and behind 82 average. Coloring was 9 percent, behind 20 last year and 16 average. Oats harvested was 89 percent, behind 98 last year, and near 92 average. Dry edible bean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 11 poor, 37 fair, 43 good, and 8 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 87 percent. Setting pods was 46 percent. Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 66 good, and 15 excellent. IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITIONIowa farmers continued to experience abnormally dry field conditions across most of the State during the week ending August 11, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included spraying fungicides and insecticides and harvesting hay and oats. Topsoil moisture condition was rated 7 percent very short, 29 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. East central, south central and southeast Iowa districts reported topsoil moisture conditions as over 55 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 23 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has begun to silk, 17 days behind last year and nearly two weeks behind the 5-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop reached the dough stage, 10 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. One percent of the crop statewide reached the dented stage. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. Eighty-seven percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 15 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Fifty-six percent of the crop has started setting pods, also 15 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent. Eighty-nine percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, 2 days behind both last year and average. The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 92 percent, 5 days behind average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 25 percent, 1 week behind average. Hay condition declined to 57 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition declined for the sixth straight week and rated a season low 46 percent good to excellent. There were no major livestock issues reported this past week. Corn, Soybean Conditions Unchanged From Previous WeekCorn and soybean development continued to lag behind the average pace last week, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. Condition ratings for both crops held steady but remained the lowest since 2012.As of Sunday, Aug. 11, 90% of corn was silking, up 12 percentage points from 78% the previous week but 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when silking was running 15 percentage points behind average. Corn in the dough stage was pegged at 39%, up 27 percentage points from 23% the previous week but 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 61%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was 19 percentage points behind the average. Corn dented was 7%, behind last year's 24% and 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 16%.Corn's good-to-excellent condition rating was estimated at 57%, unchanged from the previous week but still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years.Soybean development also continued to lag behind average last week. The portion of the crop that was blooming was 82%, up 10 percentage points from the previous week but 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. That was a slight improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 15 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 54% as of Sunday, 22 percentage points behind the average pace of 76%. That was also an improvement from last week's report, when soybeans setting pods was 26 percentage points behind the average pace.Like corn, the condition of the soybean crop also held steady last week with a good-to-excellent rating of 54%. That compares to last year's 66%, and also remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop since 2012.Winter wheat harvest continued to slowly inch toward the finish line, reaching 89% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 93% and 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%.Spring wheat harvest progress was also slow, up only 6 percentage points from the previous week to reach 8% as of Sunday, behind last year's 32% and 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 30%.Spring wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in the field -- was estimated at 69% good to excellent, down from 73% the previous week.Sorghum heading reached 61% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 74%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 26%, behind the average of 35%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 19%, behind the average of 23%. Sorghum condition was rated 66% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week. Oats were 48% harvested, behind the average of 64%.Cotton setting bolls was 77%, slightly ahead of the average of 76%. Cotton bolls opening was at 20%, ahead of the average of 10%. Cotton condition was rated 56% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 54% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 76%, behind the average of 85%. Rice harvested was 7%, slightly behind the average of 9%. Rice condition was rated 70% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week.Farmers Prevented from Planting Crops on More Than 19 Million AcresAgricultural producers reported they were not able to plant crops on more than 19.4 million acres in 2019, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This marks the most prevented plant acres reported since USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began releasing the report in 2007 and 17.49 million acres more than reported at this time last year.Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73 percent were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding this year has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat.“Agricultural producers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “We know these are challenging times for farmers, and we have worked to improve flexibility of our programs to assist producers prevented from planting.”Cover CropsUSDA supported planting of cover crops on fields where farmers were not able to plant because of their benefits in preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality and boosting soil health. The report showed where producers planted 2.71 million acres of cover crops so far in 2019, compared with 2.14 million acres at this time in 2018 and 1.88 million at this time in 2017.To help make cover crops a more viable option, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) adjusted the haying and grazing date of cover crops, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service held signups in select states that offered producers assistance in planting cover crops. Meanwhile, USDA added other flexibilities to help impacted producers, including adjusting the deadline to file acreage reports in select states.About the ReportThis data report aggregates information from crop acreage reports as of August 1, 2019, which producers file with FSA to maintain program eligibility and to calculate losses for various disaster assistance programs. The crop acreage data report outlines the number of acres planted, prevented from planting, and failed by crop, county and state. To find more information, view the Aug. 12 report.Because some producers have not completed their filing and data are still being processed, FSA will make available subsequent data reports in September, October, November, December and January. You can find reports from 2007 to the present on FSA’s Crop Acreage Data webpage.To receive FSA program benefits, producers are required to submit crop acreage reports annually regarding all cropland uses on their farm. This report includes data for producers who had already filed for all deadlines in 2019, including the mid-July deadlines, which are for spring-seeded crops in many locations.Other Prevented Planting IndicatorsIn addition to acreage reports filed with FSA, producers with crop insurance coverage for prevented planting file claims with their insurance providers. These claims are provided to RMA and may differ from the prevented planted acres reported to FSA. More information on prevented plant coverage is available on the RMA website.NEBRASKA CROP PRODUCTION REPORT Based on August 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn production 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. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.65 million acres, up 4 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 186 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year. Soybean production in Nebraska 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 last year. Nebraska's 2019 winter wheat crop is forecast at 56.3 million bushels, up 14 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 970,000 acres, is down 4 percent from last year. Record yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, up 9 bushels per acre from 2018. Sorghum production of 15.5 million bushels, is down 3 percent from a year ago. Area for grain harvest, at 165,000 acres, is down 5,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 94 bushels per acre, unchanged from last year. Oat production is forecast at 1.18 million bushels, down 22 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 19,000 acres, is down 3,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 62 bushels per acre, down 7 bushels from 2018. Dry edible bean production is forecast at 2.43 thousand cwt. The average yield is forecast at 2,310 pounds per acre. Acres planted by class are as follows: Pinto, 49,400; Great Northern, 44,500; Black, 2,600; Light Red Kidney, 11,800 acres. Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.37 million tons, down 3 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 43,200 acres is down 900 acres from last year. Yield is estimated at 31.6 tons per acre, down 0.3 ton from a year ago. Alfalfa hay production is forecast at 3.42 million tons, down 6 percent from last year. Expected yield, at 3.80 tons per acre, is down 0.5 ton from last year. All other hay production is forecast at 2.56 million tons, down 23 percent from last year. Forecasted yield, at 1.60 tons per acre, is down 0.2 ton from last year. IOWA CROP PRODUCTION REPORTIowa 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 August 1, yields are expected to average 191.0 bushels per acre, down 5.0 bushels 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 502 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 55.0 bushels per acre, 2.0 bushels lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested. Oat production for grain is forecast at 5.20 million bushels. The expected yield is 65.0 bushels per acre, up 2.0 bushels from the July forecast and from 2018. An estimated 80,000 acres will be harvested for grain. Iowa hay yield for alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures is expected to be 3.30 tons per acre with a total production of 2.31 million tons, up 1 percent from the previous year. The projected yield for other hay is 2.40 tons per acre, with production at 912,000 tons, up 30 percent from 2018. The forecasts in this report are based on August 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of September 1, will be released on September 12. USDA:  Corn Production Down 4 Percent from 2018Soybean Production Down 19 Percent from 2018Winter Wheat Production Up 3 Percent from July ForecastCorn production for grain is forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, down 4 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 169.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 6.9 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 82.0 million acres, down 2 percent from the previous forecast, but up less than 1 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 90.0 million acres, down 2 percent from the previous estimate but up 1 percent from 2018.Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.68 billion bushels, down 19 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 48.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 3.1 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans is forecast at 75.9 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous forecast, and down 14 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 76.7 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous estimate, and down 14 percent from 2018.All cotton production is forecast at 22.5 million 480-pound bales, up 23 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 855 pounds per harvested acre, down 9 pounds from 2018. Upland cotton production is forecast at 21.7 million 480-pound bales, up 24 percent from 2018. Pima cotton production is forecast at 790,000 bales, down 1 percent from 2018. All cotton area harvested is forecast at 12.6 million acres, up 24 percent from 2018. All cotton planted area totaled 13.9 million acres, up 1 percent from the previous estimate but down 1 percent from 2018.All wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.98 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 5 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 51.6 bushels per harvested acre, up 1.6 bushel from the previous forecast, and up 4.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 38.4 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 3 percent from 2018.Winter wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.33 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 12 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 53.2 bushels per harvested acre, up 1.4 bushels from last month, and up 5.3 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 24.9 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but up 1 percent from 2018. Hard Red Winter production, at 840 million bushels, is up 4 percent from the previous forecast. Soft Red Winter, at 257 million bushels, is down 1 percent from the previous forecast. White Winter, at 229 million bushels, is up 1 percent from the previous forecast. Of the White Winter production, 24.6 million bushels are Hard White and 204 million bushels are Soft White.Durum wheat production for grain, is forecast at 57.3 million bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 26 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.3 bushels per harvested acre, down 0.6 bushel from the previous forecast, but up 3.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 1.36 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 31 percent from 2018.Other spring wheat production for grain is forecast at 597 million bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 4 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.2 bushels per harvested acre, up 2.0 bushels from the previous forecast, and up 0.9 bushel from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 12.1 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 6 percent from 2018. Of the total production, 566 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, down 4 percent from 2018.QUARTERLY WEBINAR SERIES TO ADDRESS LAND MANAGEMENT ISSUESThe third edition of Agricultural Land Management Quarterly will feature results from the 2019 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey, including land values and cash rental rates. Nebraska cover crop utilization and lease considerations will be part of the discussion. The Sept. 1 lease termination deadline and the importance of a written lease will also be covered.  The webinar is Aug. 19 at 6:00 p.m. CT and can be viewed online at agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement.Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics lead the webinar. Jansen’s work focuses on agricultural finance and land economics. He directs the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey and Report. Vyhnalek is a farm succession and transition extension educator.Participants are encouraged to sign up in advance and submit questions before the event at agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement.The webinars are free and open to the public. Recorded webinars are available online.Another agricultural land management webinar is scheduled for Nov. 18.For more information, contact Jim Jansen at 402-261-7572 or jjansen4@unl.edu.REGISTRATION OPEN FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE CONFERENCERegistration is open for a one-day international trade conference hosted by the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, in collaboration with the Nebraska Farm Bureau.“What’s on the Horizon for International Trade?” is Oct. 10 at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Hamann Auditorium, 1875 N. 42nd St. The conference is free and open to the public.The conference will begin with a 30-minute primer on key legal and economic trade concepts to set the stage for subsequent discussions with leading experts and former trade policy officials. They will share insights on today’s fast-moving trade-policy dynamics, including the future of the World Trade Organization, how new trade agreements may reshape the competitive landscape, the impact of tariffs on supply chains, and the estimated economic implications of recent tariffs on Nebraska’s economy.Edward Alden, Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Western Washington and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will deliver the opening keynote. A lunchtime panel will feature a discussion between former U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter and current university students. Vetter serves as global lead for public affairs and vice chair for agriculture and food at Edelman. Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, will provide closing remarks. A reception will follow.Advance registration is required. To view the full agenda and to register, visit https://yeutter-institute.unl.edu. Conference sessions will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person. The program is approved for 4.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit. In-person attendance is required to receive credit.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.COVER CROPS FOLLOWING CORN SILAGEBruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist               Following corn silage harvest, your ground can lay bare for seven to nine months.  Instead, let’s plant some crops to grow and cover it until next season.               After silage harvest, bare ground has two things working against it.  One is exposure to wind and water erosion.  And two, it isn’t growing anything.  Cover crops might help you overcome both problems.               But what should you plant?  Well, that depends primarily on what you want to achieve with your cover crop.  For example, hairy vetch and winter peas are good cover crops if you want to improve your soil by planting a legume that will produce 30 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre for next year’s crop.  Or maybe use a deep-rooted radish to breakup some hardpans.               Are you still hoping for some feed this fall?  Then oats, spring triticale and barley, annual ryegrass, and turnips might be better choices because these plants have the greatest forage yield potential yet this fall.  Spring oats, triticale, and barleys also will die over winter so they won’t interfere with next year’s crop.  But, dead residue from these spring cereals is not very durable, so it provides less effective soil protection and for a shorter duration.               For better soil protection, winter rye is the best choice among the cereals.  And cereal rye can provide abundant grazable growth early next spring to get cows off of hay sooner.  Wheat and triticale also can be good cover crops.  Of course, wheat then can be harvested later for grain while triticale makes very good late spring forage.               What is becoming especially popular is planting a mixture of several types of plants to reap some of the benefits of each one.               Cover crops can preserve or even improve your soil, and can be useful forages as well.  Consider them following your early harvests.INOCULATING CORN AND SORGHUM SILAGE               To make good silage, a little help from inoculants can improve fermentation.  When and how can you get the best use from them?               Silage inoculants can be hard to figure out.  There is no clear cut, consistent way to predict when inoculants will be most useful or cost effective.  Silage fermentation is just too complex.               Inoculants primarily reduce storage losses.  The most effective ones contain homolactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus plantarum.  Fermentation starts and ends quicker with inoculated silage so more silage remains for feeding.  Typically, you save about 5 percent.  Some inoculants also improve aerobic stability by using the heterolactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus buchneri 40788.  They reduce spoilage losses when silage is re-exposed to air, thus extending bunk life.  These bacteria are especially useful at reducing spoilage on the face of bunker silos.               Inoculants consistently improve wet silage, especially sorghum silage.  If you start chopping early enough to prevent silage from being too dry at the end, inoculants should help.               In the past, inoculants rarely improved properly made corn silage – silage at the right moisture, chopped fine, packed well, and sealed tight.  Nor did they improve dry silage.  But recently developed inoculants, with more effective strains of fermentation bacteria, are producing slightly better quality silage even from these feeds.               If you use an inoculant, make sure that it contains live bacteria.  Also check to see that the inoculant provides at least 100,000 colony forming units per gram of wet forage when applied at the recommended rate at the chopper.  You need plenty of live bacteria for the inoculant to do you any good.               But used in the right conditions, inoculants can be worth it.The Implications of this Year’s Rains on Next Year’s Calf CropSteve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator This year it is going to be very important to test the nutrient content of forages and hays and to feed or graze accordingly.  A snowy/rainy spring gave way to above average rainfall for the summer in much of the mid-section of the country. While most of us know better than to complain about rain, the moisture has sure presented challenges for this year’s hay crop.Abundant moisture resulted in rapid growth and maturity in forages. The continued rain delayed cutting the forage, adding to the maturity of the crop, and unfortunately, a lot of hay has been rained on between cutting and baling. This combination is most certainly going to result in poor quality hay, even if tonnage is adequate.Even forages that are intended for late summer, fall, or winter grazing are likely to be lower in protein and energy than usual due to the rapid and abundant growth which resulted in a lot of stem and seed head production and not as much leaf material.While it is always a good practice to test the nutrient content of forages and hays, this is going to be a very important year to test it and to feed or graze accordingly based on the nutrient content of the forage and the nutrient requirements of the cattle at various stages of production.For example, research has shown that a greater percentage of cows will conceive when they are on an increasing plane of nutrition rather than on a decreasing plane of nutrition. Therefore, May calving cows and heifers may need supplemental protein and energy during the breeding season even though grass is abundant this summer.Early spring calving cows typically graze deferred forages in the winter and receive hay and supplement from calving time until green grass is available, again. If the winter forage is lower in quality than most years, this could result in lower body condition of the cows coming into calving. Once calving ensues, the energy needs of the now lactating cow doubles, making this a difficult time for the cow to gain weight if necessary. Cows calving in a body condition score below 5 (1-9 scale) are less likely to rebreed and also have reduced immunoglobulins to pass onto the newborn in the colostrum. Therefore, maintaining a body condition score of no less than 5 on mature cows and no less than 6 on heifers during the winter is important and should be closely monitored this winter, due to forage maturity and quality.Sending forage and hay samples to a commercial laboratory is an economical way to know what hay to feed at each production segment as well as how much supplement to feed to ensure requirements are met without overfeeding costly supplement.University of Nebraska Extension personnel are available to assist in estimating nutrient requirements and ration formulation.Fischer Statement on EPA Granting 31 Small Refinery ExemptionsU.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement on the announcement that the EPA will grant 31 exemptions to small refineries:“I’m pleased to see President Trump and the administration head in a positive direction by waiving fewer gallons of ethanol this time around, but there’s more that must be done. For Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers, there needs to be order and transparency in what is now a messy exemption process. That’s why I’m focused on building support for my bipartisan bill – the RFS Integrity Act – that will fix this issue and provide rural America with much-needed certainty and predictability.”Earlier this summer, Senator Fischer introduced 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 nine cosponsors, five Republicans and four Democrats.Nebraska Ethanol Board comments on refinery biofuel waiversOn Aug. 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they granted 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018. This follows the 54 waivers the Trump Administration granted in 2016 and 2017, which caused 2.6 billion gallons of demand destruction. These new waivers add another loss of 1.4 billion gallons, for a total loss of 4 billion gallons.“Over the past two years, the EPA has granted hardship waivers to refineries owned by companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Their continued handouts to the oil industry comes during a time when heartland farmers are really struggling due to depressed commodity prices, flooding and trade wars. Securing access and demand for homegrown, cleaner-burning biofuels should be top priority from an economic and environmental standpoint, not destroying the marketplace program the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created for.”Berry urges everyone to show their continued support for the RFS. American Coalition for Ethanol highlights the many benefits of the RFS: it’s a program that saves American families hundreds of dollars a year in gasoline purchases; has deterred more than $40 billion in foreign oil purchases thus far; reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases emissions by 42 percent; and serves as a catalyst for technology innovation and private-sector investment in advanced biofuels.The EPA released proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the RFS and is accepting comments on the proposal until Aug. 30, 2019. The public is invited to engage and make their voices heard regarding the proposed rule here.“Exempting refiners from blending their obligated share of ethanol directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans directly employed in the ethanol industry,” Berry said. “I urge all who care about access to cleaner-burning fuel to contact your members of Congress to call for immediate action and submit your comments by Aug. 30. State the need to reallocate the 4 billion lost gallons in the 2020 RVOs.”NDA CONFIRMS VESICULAR STOMATITIS CASE IN HORSEThe Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has confirmed a case of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in a horse in Lincoln County. VS is a viral disease which primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats and swine. The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. When the blisters break, there is usually salivation and nasal discharge. As a result of these painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.NDA has quarantined the livestock on the affected farm. The farm will remain under quarantine for at least 14 days after the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.“Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska’s animals is of the utmost importance in the state,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “Unfortunately, based on VS confirmations in other states and transmission patterns, it was not unexpected to see this disease show up in Nebraska.”“We want horse and cattle owners to be aware and consider taking precautions, particularly with animals that may be comingling with other animals at events over the next several months especially now that we know the disease is in Nebraska,” Hughes said.The VS virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected insects or midges, so consider treatments to reduce flies and other insects in quarters where animals are housed. VS also can be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals.Nebraska has not seen this disease in livestock since 2015. To assist in helping prevent the spread of the disease into the state, Nebraska has placed import restrictions for livestock coming into the state from states that has confirmed VS cases. If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more about the importation order.Individuals from Nebraska transporting animals to other states should contact the destination state to learn about their import requirements before transporting animals. “The VS virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for that infected animal to recover from the symptoms,” said Hughes.Although humans can become infected when handling the affected animals, it rarely occurs. To avoid human exposure, people should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.“Freezing temperatures kill the insects that spread the virus, so, until cold weather moves in, VS will continue to be a threat,” Hughes said.For more information on VS, visit: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/animal/diseases/vs/index.html.$284,000 Raised for Ronald McDonald Houses“One hundred and twenty-one days ago, I had a kidney transplant. I didn’t know if I was ever going to attend the Iowa State Fair again, and I sure didn’t dream I’d be doing this,” said Brian Thill before choosing the champion steer in this year’s event.“Our family knows the hidden costs that families go through when you have an ill one. I remember my wife and I having a discussion about [the fact that] it costs $42 to park, and those types of things can add up when you’re in the hospital,” said Thill. “Thank God the Ronald McDonald House is there for those families.”Thill, of Pleasantville, served as the official judge for the 37th annual Governor’s Charity Steer on August 10. The show and auction raised over $284,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City. The houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsor the annual steer show and auction, which was hosted by Governor Kim Reynolds in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $3.8 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa. This year’s event included 25 steers, the Iowa youth who raised them and celebrity show persons, including Governor Kim Reynolds.Thill selected “Richard”, the steer raised by Makia Smith and shown by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, as this year’s “Judge’s Choice.” Richard was sponsored by the Crawford County Cattlemen’s Association and purchased by a coalition of Sioux County Businesses for $9,000, with an additional $1,000 support from the lieutenant governor and others. The market value of the steer was also donated, bringing the total donation to $11,498.72.The steer shown by Brian Moore, Former District 58 State Representative, was chosen by the crowd as People’s Choice. “Straight Profit” was raised by Riley Miller, sponsored by the Jackson County Cattlemen, and purchased by Johnson Family Farms.Justine Stevenson, representing the Seeds of Hope Foundation, earned the Showmanship Award from judge Terry Chapman of Tipton. Stevenson’s steer, “Seeds of Hope”, was raised by Brianna Wolfer of Albia and sponsored and purchased by the Monroe County Cattlemen and supporters, including the family of Chasen Stevenson.Tyson to Rebuild Kansas PlantTyson Foods said Monday its beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, will be shut down indefinitely after a weekend fire, but the company will rebuild and employees will be paid until production resumes.A spokeswoman for Tyson said about 3,800 people work at the plant.The plant is located in Holcomb, Kansas, but is often referred to as the Garden City plant, which is nearby. About 1,200 workers had to be evacuated from the plant Friday night when the fire broke out about 8:30 p.m. CDT. No injuries were reported from the fire."This is a difficult time for our team members and their families, and we want to ensure they're taken care of," said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. "Today, we will notify our full-time, active team members that they'll be paid weekly until production resumes."The Wall Street Journal reported the Holcomb facility processes up to 6,000 cattle a day, which accounts for about 5% of U.S. cattle slaughter.Stouffer said the team members may be called on to work during this time to help with clean-up and other projects, but regardless of the hours worked, all full-time active employees are guaranteed pay.Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, and Stouffer said the company is taking steps to move production to alternative sites. "Tyson Foods has built in some redundancy to handle situations like these and we will use other plants within our network to help keep our supply chain full," Stouffer said. NCBA, PLC Welcome Finalization of Federal Rules Modernizing ESA Implementation Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) welcomed the finalization of federal rules to modernize implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This package from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) consists of three rules which improve the manner in which those agencies administer the ESA.  The rules address Sections 4, 4(d), and 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which deal with listing and critical habitat, threatened species protection, and interagency consultation, respectively. "The ESA affects cattle-producing families across the country,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston.  “We are grateful to Secretary Bernhardt and the staff at FWS and NMFS for bringing this long-awaited regulatory relief to American cattle farmers and ranchers.”“With these new rules, commonsense will once again be inserted into the ESA process,” added PLC President Bob Skinner.  “Among other things, prioritizing critical habitat designations on occupied territory, streamlining the consultation process, and rolling back the ‘Blanket 4(d) Rule’ demonstrates that the agencies are reaffirming their commitment to both conserve sensitive species and safeguard rural economies.”Barring court action, the rules package will officially take effect following a 30-day objection period. New Rules Mean Real-World Species ProtectionAmerican Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall“Today’s Endangered Species Act reforms serve the needs of imperiled species as well as the people most affected by implementation of the law’s provisions. This makes real-world species recovery more likely as a result.“These new regulations restore the traditional distinction between threatened and endangered species. That’s important. In the real world, the things we must do to restore a threatened species are not always the same as the ones we’d use for endangered species. This approach will eliminate unnecessary time and expense and ease the burden on farmers and ranchers who want to help species recover.“Today’s rulemakings will also simplify environmental review and interagency consultations while maintaining effective species protections.“Keeping species on the endangered list when they no longer face the threat of extinction takes valuable resources away from species that still need ongoing protection under the ESA. These new regulations will provide much needed consistency in the listing and de-listing process to better allocate critical resources to species in need.“Finally, we are pleased to see one other, common-sense matter: Lands to be designated as unoccupied critical habitat for threatened and endangered species will have to actually include at least one physical or biological feature needed to conserve the species. Farm Bureau welcomes all of these changes.”More Waivers, More Woes for Struggling Soy MarketsAmidst what now seems an unending trade war in which soy growers are caught in the middle, farmers of the U.S.’ number one export crop received another blow late in the week. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday night its decision to grant even more waivers of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes, awarding a whopping 31 of 38 total Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) applications for the 2018 compliance year. Davie Stephens, a soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) responded, “Of course ASA is unhappy. These exemptions undermine President Trump's pledge to support the RFS and undermine the Administration’s efforts to support farmers who are already bearing the brunt of trade disruptions. EPA’s decision is another blow to yet another market for soybean farmers.” Last month, EPA announced biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2021 will remain stagnant. And, EPA again failed to account for the significant gallons lost due to SRE, which makes the proposed volume, in effect, a reduction for biofuels.Stephens explained the latest round of waivers in context; “Reduced demand for biodiesel resulting from retroactive exemptions is estimated already to be as high as 2.5 billion gallons since 2017, which basically undercuts the purpose of the RFS. Add in this latest round of refinery exemptions coupled with the lack of growth in the proposed annual RFS volumes, and those factors send biodiesel backwards when it should be moving forward.”The waivers announced Friday evening combined with those issued for 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes brings the total number to more than 80 retroactive waivers, which significantly reduces biodiesel demand and, bottom line, results in billions of dollars in economic harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry, including soybean farmers.Stephens concluded, “We would like for EPA to more carefully consider the capabilities of the biodiesel industry and to support its positive potential. We’re talking about producing higher levels of domestic, renewable fuels that enhance energy diversity and security; promoting jobs and value for farmers and rural economies; and helping the environment with reduced emissions. It seems like a win, win for EPA to support the RFS.”Disruption in Fed Beef SlaughterStephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag and Resource Economics, Colorado State UniversityTyson's Finney County, Kansas, facility suffered a fire late Friday, August 9. The good news is that there were no reports of injuries, a testament to the planning and operation of the facility and emergency responders. The bad news - for cattle markets - is that this plant will remain closed indefinitely. The fire is reported to have started in the box shop but major damage - as in a collapsed portion of the roof - was also reported. The Finney County facility is west of Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas, and is a major fed cattle slaughter and boxed beef fabrication plant. The plant slaughters approximately 6,000 head per day and between 27,000 and 30,000 head per week. The is 4.5-5% of the national fed cattle slaughter.The impact of this event on fed cattle markets will be substantial. The market is in the middle of the third quarter: supplies are heaviest, slaughter weights are ramping up, and competing meat supplies will begin their fall increase. This is the quarter with the highest volume of beef supplies and forecasts are for sustained supplies into the fourth quarter. The week of August 12 will begin with 50,000-to-60,000 animals in the southern plains needing to go to a different plant than which they were originally scheduled. And that's just the cash market trades. The number of formula cattle is substantially larger. Disruption in the southern plains will spillover nationally. I anticipate that there will be more than a modest degree of panic as the largest annual supplies are moved around temporally and spatially. The rest of this month will be difficult and there is the potential for the disruption and accompanying volatility to continue into much of the fall. The inventory of cattle are rather clear but the impact of this disruption on planning and orderly marketing is not.The countering pressures are that packer returns are excellent: farm-to-wholesale margins are very strong. This disruption will maintain incentives for a packer to run as many hours as possible. Market-ready inventories of cattle are strong but are being depleted through the summer and this will persist into the fall. Further, prices for fed cattle have been reasonable through the summer - after early summer collapses - and feeding costs have been declining. Also, margins for retailers have been very strong and some of the strongest in recent years. There are clear economic factors countering market disruptions. But cattle markets will likely see continued volatility through the fall and possibly the remainder of the year.What do the technicals say? This disruption will create new technical signals. Live cattle and feeder cattle contracts have fallen sharply since breaking up-trends in late April. Markets found support in late May and early June. This support was tested and held in late June. Throughout the month of August, markets have again been moving lower and approaching support levels. By them self, this behavior would suggest a buy signal and it would have been reasonable for cattle producers to lift some price protection established in the spring. But after the recent news, it is not likely this firm support at around $108 for DEC live cattle and $132 for NOV Feeder Cattle will hold. It may take several days for support to be broken and sell signals clearly generated. But I believe this to be likely. After that, the live and feeder markets will be into new territory - new lows - and charts of the open contracts will be of little use. We will have to look at weekly charts for price levels where the market will likely stop. In short, aggressive downside price protection for cattle producers will be very much needed the rest of the year.APHIS Announces Plan to Use Farm Bill Funding to Support Animal Disease Prevention and ManagementThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing initial plans to carry out new animal health activities using resources provided by the 2018 Farm Bill. Section 12101 of the 2018 Farm Bill established a three-part program to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The bill included funding to create two new programs: the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (vaccine bank) and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP). It also expands funding opportunities for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).This fall, APHIS will issue a sources sought notice to gather updated information from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the vaccine bank. The information will be used to develop a forward-looking vaccine acquisition strategy leading to one or more requests for proposals for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine to address a potential outbreak. For 2019, APHIS will also make available up to $10 million in funding to be divided between NADPRP and NAHLN based on the quality of proposed projects. Once fully implemented, these three programs will work together to protect and improve the health of our nation’s livestock, helping farmers and ranchers provide high-quality agricultural products to consumers here and abroad.For our highest consequence animal diseases, it is important to have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak. The new U.S.-only vaccine bank—a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry—allows USDA to stockpile animal vaccine and related products to use in the event of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or other high-impact foreign animal diseases.Our most effective strategy to protect animal health is keeping disease out of the country in the first place. To that end, the new preparedness and response program, NADPRP, allows APHIS to enter into cooperative agreements with States, universities, livestock producer organizations, and other eligible entities for targeted projects aimed at preventing animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reducing the spread and impact of potential disease incursions. In 2019, APHIS funding will build upon and enhance current disease prevention and emergency response efforts by supporting an initial round of training and exercise projects, as stakeholders have long supported this area of importance. APHIS will announce the application period and dates of webinars to assist potential applicants through the process in a future message to stakeholders. APHIS will continue to develop a more formalized annual NADPRP stakeholder consultation and annual priority-setting process to be used for implementation in 2020 and beyond.Should foreign animal pests or disease strike, diagnosing and detecting the extent of the outbreak as rapidly as possible plays a key role in limiting the impact of the pest or disease on producers. APHIS Farm Bill funding for NAHLN in 2019 will support targeted projects to expand diagnostic capacity and our ability to rapidly respond to adverse animal health events. NAHLN is a nationally coordinated network and partnership of Federal, State, and university-associated animal health laboratories. NAHLN veterinary diagnostic laboratories provide animal health diagnostic testing to detect biological threats to the nation’s food animals, thus protecting animal health, public health, and the nation's food supply. Additional information about NAHLN is available on the APHIS NAHLN web site.Information about these programs is available on the APHIS website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/farmbill. The site will be updated periodically with details about how to apply for these funds.Peterson, Costa Comment on Implementation of Farm Bill Animal Health ProgramsHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California issued statements Monday afternoon following USDA’s announcement of implementation by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of animal health programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.“I prioritized funding new tools to help the U.S. prevent and fight animal pests and diseases as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, and it’s good to see APHIS making some progress to implement these programs,” said Peterson. “I am glad to see that initial funds for the new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program will be awarded before the end of 2019, and I and look forward to seeing a broader scope of needs addressed in future years. I am also pleased to see a continued recognition of the importance of the our National Animal Health Laboratory Network and a commitment to move forward on the newly-created National Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. Together, these programs will strengthen our farmers and ranchers’ ability to guard against outbreaks of diseases like African Swine Fever, avian influenza, and other critical animal health threats across the country.”“This issue has been front and center for us, including at our May hearing with Under Secretary Ibach where I pressed him to implement these programs as soon as possible. I’m pleased by this first step and hope to soon see these programs up and running at full speed,” said Costa. “As Chair of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, I’m committed to working with APHIS to avoid and reduce the impacts of situations like the current outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease that has had an adverse impact on California’s poultry operations.”

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