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Yeutter Institute to Co-Host Symposium on Agricultural Trade

“Global Economic Growth and Agricultural Trade: Prospects, Policies and Perspectives” is the focus of a symposium June 4 at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. Ninth St. in Lincoln. The symposium is jointly hosted by the Farm Foundation Food and Agricultural Trade Resource Center and the Clayton Yeutter...

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Yeutter Institute to Co-Host Symposium on Agricultural Trade

“Global Economic Growth and Agricultural Trade: Prospects, Policies and Perspectives” is the focus of a symposium June 4 at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. Ninth St. in Lincoln. The symposium is jointly hosted by the Farm Foundation Food and Agricultural Trade Resource Center and the Clayton Yeutter...

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Summer annual forages following a failed wheat crop

Annual forages may play an important role in providing forage for cattle producers this year. Several factors contribute to this scenario: According to the USDA, hay stocks for the United States were the second lowest they have been for the last 25 years in December 2018, second only to December 201...

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Spring weather creates challenges for corn, soybeans

 If there’s one thing for certain in farming, it’s that you can never really predict the weather. Kansas State University cropping systems specialist Ignacio Ciampitti says this spring’s conditions have been particularly vexing for the state’s corn and soybean growers, and it may cause m...

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Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Iowa Governor to Receive 2019 George Washington Carver Award

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) announced that former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary and former two-term Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack will receive the 12th annual George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology. The award will be presented o...

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U.S. to favor soybeans in trade war aid for farmers: Bloomberg

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Trump administration is considering direct payments to U.S. farmers of $2 per bushel for soybeans as part of an aid package to offset the trade war with China, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, an offer that could encourage more soy planting despite record supplies. ...

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Crops

Spring weather creates challenges for corn, soybeans

 If there’s one thing for certain in farming, it’s that you can never really predict the weather. Kansas State University cropping systems specialist Ignacio Ciampitti says this spring’s conditions have been particularly vexing for the state’s corn and soybean growers, and it may cause many of them to re-think their management strategies. “One of the main issues we are facing today is simply planting the crop,” Ciampitti said. “For those that planted in mid- to late-April, they may be facing a problem due to the temperatures not being as high as expected for this time of year. And in some areas, there was quite a bit of rain, so the crop is having to respond to two factors – temperature and water.” In areas where there was excess rain, some corn fields had standing water, Ciampitti said, causing that crop to grow slowly. “What we will start seeing after the water recedes, in some situations, is that those plants will start dying,” he said. It’s caused concern for this year’s corn yields, but one solution could be re-planting in some areas of the field. Ciampitti said farmers should scout their fields and make a determination on the number of plants affected. Farmers will then have a better idea on whether it makes sense economically to re-plants parts of the field. “The number one priority (as of mid-May) is to make sure that you plant your fields,” Ciampitti said. “As soon as you have any time, and it may be between rains, make sure you go back to those fields that you planted early and do some scouting. That will help you to assess the level of damage and put some strategy regarding what fields you should need to go about right away.” Farmers who are thinking about re-planting should also be cognizant of the late May deadlines for planting as they relate to crop insurance. “If you plant after the deadline, you will not be able to insure the entire crop,” he said. “I still think farmers should be emphasizing planting the seed in the right soil conditions”. Ciampitti said that the planting window for soybeans is much more broad than for corn. He noted that soybeans planted in mid-June, for example, have “yielded well as compared to those planted in mid-to-late May in past years.” “(Soybean yields) will depend basically on what the conditions are when we get to the middle of August to September, which is the moment that the soybean is setting pods and filling seeds,” he said. Ciampitti said that standing water in fields also can affect soybean yields. “If soybean plants are submerged for less than 48 hours, there is a good chance they will survive,” he said. “Plants can survive under water longer under cool than warm temperatures. Submerged soybean plants can survive for up to seven days when temperatures are less than 80 degrees F.” To find out whether the soybeans are damaged after the water recedes, he said, split the stem at the tip and examine the growing point. A healthy growing point will be firm and white or cream colored. A soft, dark growing point indicates injury. In some cases, he said, the silt coating the plant after short-term flooding can cause more injury and plant death than the water itself. “Injury can depend on variety, growth stage, duration of waterlogging, soil texture, fertility levels, and diseases present,” Ciampitti said. “The interactions of these factors make it hard to predict how a given soybean field will react to waterlogged soils.”

U.S. to favor soybeans in trade war aid for farmers: Bloomberg

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Trump administration is considering direct payments to U.S. farmers of $2 per bushel for soybeans as part of an aid package to offset the trade war with China, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, an offer that could encourage more soy planting despite record supplies. China is the world’s top soybean importer, and for the second year in a row there is little prospect that it will buy much U.S. soy after an escalation in a trade war that has left U.S. farmers sitting on record volumes of crops. The soy payments would be far more than the 63 cents per bushel that Bloomberg said is under consideration for wheat and 4 cents per bushel for corn, as part of the up to $20 billion in aid meant to offset U.S. farmers’ losses from the trade war. China bought some 60% of U.S. soy exports in 2017 but curbed purchases last year when U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, prompting China to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. soy, pork, corn and other products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement that details on the aid package would be forthcoming and urged farmers to make planting and production decisions based on market signals “rather than some expectation of what a farming support program might or might not look like based on inaccurate media stories.” The USDA said “the program is being designed to avoid skewing planting decisions one way or another.” The agency did not address the figures in the Bloomberg report. One lobbyist source said the plan was likely to be announced this week. Caitlin Eannello, spokeswoman for the National Association of Wheat Growers, told Reuters that 63 cents per bushel for wheat is the number the organization has been hearing. Farmers across the central United States are in the midst of planting corn and soybeans and fighting against rains that are delaying their progress. Growers who have not yet planted corn could switch acres to soybeans to cash in on the U.S. aid payments, if the program is based on 2019 acreage. “It’s an extremely sensitive time, especially in light of the fact that so much of the country is way behind on planting,” said Monte Peterson, a board member of the American Soybean Association who grows soy and corn in Valley City, North Dakota. Earlier this month, Trump directed the USDA to work on a new aid plan for farmers as Washington and Beijing intensified their 10-month-old trade war by raising tariffs on each other’s goods. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week said the new aid package was likely to be $15 billion to $20 billion, exceeding the up to $12 billion in aid rolled out last year to farmers. Most of it was likely to be direct payments, sources told Reuters. The aid was seen encouraging farmers to plant more soy, potentially worsening a supply glut that last week drove soy futures to their lowest prices in more than a decade. “I’d be quite afraid that the corn planters would shut down and the soy planters would go gangbusters,” Peterson said. Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures turned lower on Tuesday after the Bloomberg report. “That (proposed $2 bean payout) is a pretty enticing carrot, and that tells me that they (farmers) are going to try to get as many bean acres in as possible, at the expense of corn,” said Matt Connelly, analyst at the Hightower Report in Chicago. “The reason beans (futures) went south is, they saw that $2 a bushel, and that will entice them to plant beans until the July 4th weekend.” The USDA said on Monday that 49% of the U.S. corn crop has been planted, the slowest pace on record, based on data going back to 1980. Soybeans were 19% planted. The USDA last year announced its aid program in July and paid $1.65 per bushel for soybeans, 14 cents per bushel for wheat and 1 cent per bushel for corn. The agency determined the payment rates according to estimated trade-related losses. Negotiations between the United States and China have soured dramatically since early May, when Chinese officials sought major changes to the text of a proposed deal that the Trump administration says had been largely agreed. The dispute between the world’s two largest economies has cost billions, roiled global supply chains and rattled financial markets. American farmers, who helped carry Trump to his surprise 2016 election win, have been among the hardest hit.

Conflict pulls corn prices 20 cents per bushel lower

COLBY, Kan. — The trade conflict between the United States and China, which began brewing early last year pulled U.S. corn prices down an average $0.20 per bushel per month in the first six months of 2019, according to a Kansas State University agricultural economist. “Since December 2018, U.S. corn prices had been moving in a pattern contrary to a normal seasonal price pattern found in Kansas, with essentially no seasonal price increases,” said Dan O’Brien, K-State Research and Extension agricultural economist in a report released May 17. Seasonally, corn prices tend to move higher during the spring and summer when the crop is planted and growing and often come down during the fall harvest when the new crop is available to the market. Much of the focus in recent months has been on how the trade tensions have cut soybean exports to China, pushing soy prices lower, O’Brien said, but the potential spillover effect is that U.S. farmers will plant fewer acres to soybeans this year and instead plant more corn. “And that sentiment has held sway among the corn trade until recently in mid-May 2019 when 2019 U.S. corn planting problems became serious enough to cause corn futures prices to begin trending higher,” he said, referring to unusually wet spring weather which delayed planting in some areas. After analyzing data, O’Brien said that from January to May this year, U.S. corn prices were $0.07 to $0.34 per bushel under levels they would have been if normal, seasonal average price patterns – those that are typically seen in Kansas – had prevailed. Market perceptions about the trade negotiations seem to have had a negative effect on U.S. corn markets, said O’Brien, citing trader data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that confirmed a bearish “short” sale aggregate position of speculative traders that started in January 2019 and trended to record bearish levels in April. Someone with a “short” position in the futures market makes money as the price of a commodity declines. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also increased its projected U.S. corn ending stocks-to-use to 14.45% in May 2019 from 11.85% in January for the corn crop harvested last year. During that time, the only changes affecting supply and demand were on the usage side, with market expectations for U.S. corn use declining, he said. USDA also projected this year’s average corn price in May at $3.50 per bushel, down $0.10 from its projection in February. Further, China may be eyeing Brazil’s crop as it moves away from buying U.S. corn. “The success of the 2019 Brazilian second corn crop also contributed, likely in a sort of ‘piling on’ negative, confirming manner,” O’Brien said. With the trade dispute ongoing even as farmers are planting this year’s crop, he said, CFTC data indicate traders are beginning to focus more on planting concerns linked to weather-related delays, with some speculators moving away from short positions and toward the long side, indicating they think prices may go up. It remains to be determined, however, if the trade conflict will continue to weigh on the market to the same degree that it did through mid-May. More information is available on the K-State agricultural economics website www.agmanager.info

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Livestock

Summer annual forages following a failed wheat crop

Annual forages may play an important role in providing forage for cattle producers this year. Several factors contribute to this scenario: According to the USDA, hay stocks for the United States were the second lowest they have been for the last 25 years in December 2018, second only to December 2012. Carry-over hay this year may be limited in parts of Nebraska due to the severe winter weather conditions. In some parts of the Panhandle, the winter wheat crop is in poor condition due to winterkill.  Where this is the case, producers may want to consider either salvaging the wheat crop with grazing or for hay, and/or terminating the wheat and planting a summer annual for forage production.  Visit with your crop insurance agent when evaluating the options of what to do with a wheat crop that is in poor condition. Conditions in much of Nebraska lend themselves to the establishment and production of summer annual forages: For much of the state, the soil moisture profile is full.  Additionally, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above-average precipitation May through July for much of the state. Summer annual forages have varying attributes that fit different management practices.  Forage yield and quality will depend on soil fertility, moisture, growing conditions and stage of maturity at harvest. Summer annual forages are the most water-use efficient and drought-tolerant of the annual forages. Forage sorghum, sudangrass, forage sorghum x sudangrass hybrids, foxtail millet, pearl millet, proso millet and teff are all options for Nebraska producers, depending on forages needs and how the crop will be harvested.  The summer annual forage that is the best fit will depend upon the production system and goals of the producer. Summer annual forages should be planted once soil temperatures reach 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure rapid germination. In western Nebraska, soils typically reach these temperatures in mid-May to early June. Summer annual forages can be planted through mid-July and still have acceptable yields. When grown under dryland conditions, annual forages tend to yield from 1-3 tons per acre when moisture and soil fertility are adequate. Summer annuals can be harvested utilizing direct grazing, windrow grazing, chopping for silage or harvesting for hay.  These forages can grow and mature rapidly, making it challenging to graze or harvest the crop at optimum times. The beef.unl.edu website has a number of articles, webinars and NebGuides on planting, grazing or harvesting annual forages. Two types of toxicity are possible with summer annual forages: nitrate poisoning and prussic acid poisoning.  Nitrate poisoning is most likely to occur when forage is harvested or grazed after the plant has undergone stressful growing conditions and nitrate conversion to amino acids (protein) is reduced.  In western Nebraska this is most likely caused by drought, hail or frost. Nitrate poisoning can occur in forage that is directly grazed, but is more likely to occur when forage is harvested as hay and then fed.  Testing forages prior to cutting and after they have been harvested can help producers identify potential nitrate risk and manage accordingly. Prussic acid does not occur freely in normal, healthy plants, but can occur when plant tissues are damaged due to chopping, chewing by animals or frost. Sorghum-sudan and sudan grass hybrids are the species of summer annuals that carry this risk. If planning to graze a sorghum-sudan or sudan grass hybrid, plant varieties with low prussic acid potential.  Millets or teff are not a risk for prussic acid poisoning. For more information on growing and utilizing summer annual forages, please see the NebGuides “Summer Annual Forages for Beef Cattle in Western Nebraska” and “Summer Annual Forage Grasses.”

Beef Checkoff Launches New and Improved Veal Farm Website

The North American Meat Institute, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, today unveiled a new and improved consumer and industry-focused Veal Farm website that opens the barn doors to the on-farm practices of raising veal and what farmers do to ensure the well-being of the animals under their care. "Consumers are increasingly interested in how their food is produced," said Eric Mittenthal, vice president of sustainability at the North American Meat Institute, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. "Created for everyone, from consumers to farmers, the Veal Farm website offers a window into how special-fed veal calves are raised today." The updated website features three new videos which show how veal calves are raised. Visitors to the website will see calves are almost exclusively raised in group pens, untethered, and with space to move around and engage in natural behaviors. The videos feature veal farmers, a veterinarian and a nutritionist who address key questions such as "What do veal calves eat? and, how are they raised?" The Veal Farm website also provides resources for industry professionals who conduct education and certification training for the Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program. The VQA program is a collection of science-based best management practices and resources developed by farmers, veterinarians and other industry experts to ensure that veal calves receive quality care through every stage of life and are raised using production standards that result in a safe, wholesome, high quality product that meets regulatory and customer expectations. Specifically, VQA is designed to address all aspects of animal care and on-farm practices.

China's pig disease outbreak pushes up global pork prices

Hong Kong retiree Lee Wai-man loves pork fresh from the market but eats a lot less now that the price has jumped as China struggles with a deadly swine disease that has sent shockwaves through global meat markets. China produces and consumes two-thirds of the world's pork, but output is plunging as Beijing destroys herds and blocks shipments to stop African swine fever. Importers are filling the gap by buying pork as far away as Europe, boosting prices by up to 40% and causing shortages in other markets. "I'm a fresh-pork lover, but it's too expensive," Lee, 87, said as she shopped at a Hong Kong market. African swine fever doesn't harm humans but is fatal and spreads quickly among pigs. It was first reported in August in China's northeast. Since then, 1 million pigs have died and the disease has spread to 31 of China's 34 provinces, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The outbreak's scale is unprecedented, said Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the City University of Hong Kong. "This is probably the most complex animal disease we have ever had to deal with," Pfeiffer said. China's shortfall is likely to be so severe it will match Europe's annual pork output and exceed U.S. production by 30%, industry researchers say. "Everyone wants to import as much pork as possible," said industry analyst Angela Zhang of IQC Insights. She said the trend is likely to accelerate as Chinese production falls. That's a boost for farmers in Germany, Spain and other countries with healthy pigs but hard on families in Southeast Asia and other poor markets that rely on pork for protein. This year's Chinese pork output might fall by up to 35%, according to Rabobank, a Dutch bank. Global supplies will be "redirected to China," the bank's researchers said in an April report. It said the "unprecedented shift" in trade will likely cause shortages in other markets. Grocery shoppers in Germany, Japan and other high-income markets grumble at paying more for kielbasa or tonkatsu, but short supplies are a serious concern in places such as Cambodia where pork is the only meat many families can afford. Cambodia's live hog price jumped 37% in the past six months, according to Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Livestock Raiser Association. He said the country is buying about 30% of its daily needs of 500-600 tons from Thailand. "Pork is important to us," said Chhe Pich as a butcher weighed her purchase in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. "Even though the current price is a bit high, I have to buy it to serve my family." The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects China's pork imports to soar 41% this year over 2018 to 2.2 million tons. There's no immediate end in sight as "evidence mounts that China will be unable to eradicate ASF in the near-term," it said in a recent report. The jolt to the global meat industry highlights China's voracious demand for food for its 1.4 billion people, the potential for wider disruptions if its own production falters and its growing ability to outbid other customers for supplies. African swine fever was first reported in August in China's northeast. Since then, 1 million pigs have died and the disease has spread to 31 of China's 34 provinces, according to the FAO. Outbreaks have been reported in Cambodia, Mongolia, South Africa and Vietnam. It's been found among a small number of wild boars, which can spread the disease, in Russia and seven European countries. Yang Wenguo, a farmer in Jiangjiaqiao, a village a two-hour drive northeast of Beijing, said he has lost 800 pigs. He now has a few dozen. Most of Yang's pens are empty. White pus drips from blood-shot eyes of one surviving hog. Foam drips from another's mouth. Smaller pigs cough. Yang dosed his animals with government-subsidized medications but they kept getting sick. The government hauls away dead animals and pays compensation of 1,000 yuan ($145) for a sow and 20 yuan ($3) for a piglet. "You buy pigs, then they all die," he said, walking on ground covered in disinfectant that looks like dirty snow. Only about 60 to 70 pigs remain from total herds of about 3,000 in Jiangjiaqiao. Four other families in the village that raised pigs have stopped, Yang said, "No one can bear losing all the pigs they raise." He'd like to sell his farm and find work in the city but no one wants to buy. The USDA forecasts China's total hog herd will shrink by 18% this year to 350 million animals, the lowest level since the 1980s. In Hong Kong, authorities destroyed 6,000 pigs at one slaughterhouse after an animal imported from the mainland was found to be infected. "More and more customers are switching from roast pork to other roast meat like chicken and duck," said restaurant owner Siu Si-man. Chinese authorities respond to outbreaks by temporarily banning shipments of pigs from any province where a case is reported. That has caused retail prices to spike in big cities cut off from supplies. Prices paid to farmers have collapsed in areas with a surplus of pigs they can't export. A half-hour drive from Yang's farm, Wang Lijun breeds his own piglets to avoid buying infected animals. His herd shrank from 160 to 170 animals to about 20 to 30 but none died this year. "All farmers are cutting production," he said, walking past a row of cages holding pregnant sows. The number of sows needed for breeding had fallen 19% from a year ago by the end of February, which suggests supply will plunge through next year, the USDA forecasts. "China's herd-rebuilding will be slow and take years," said Rabobank. In Vietnam, the government said in mid-May that 1.2 million pigs, or about 5% of its total herds, had died or been destroyed. Rabobank expects Vietnamese pork production to fall 10% this year from 2018. China's biggest foreign pork supplier is Spain, which accounts for 20% of imports. Germany supplies 19.5% and Canada 16%. Spanish exports of pork and other pig products to China jumped 32.8% in the first two months of 2019 from a year earlier to 117 million euros ($131 million), according to Interporc, a Spanish industry group. "My suppliers have told me that they are going to raise prices at the end of the month because of what is happening in China," said Jordi Nargares, a butcher in a working class neighborhood of Barcelona. U.S. pork sales to China have been disrupted by Beijing's tariff war with the Trump administration over trade and technology. Chinese buyers canceled orders for 3,300 tons of American pork the week of May 6, according to the USDA. Chinese companies are investing in farms and food processors abroad to capitalize on strong demand. New Hope Group, one of China's biggest agribusiness groups, said it plans to invest 1.1 billion yuan ($170 million) in three pig-breeding farms in Vietnam.

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Technology

Deere Slowing Production of Farm Equipment

John Deere says it will slow production output at certain facilities by as much as 20 percent year-over-year during the second half of 2019. Reasons for the decision range from trade uncertainty to a host of other issues pressuring the Ag industry. Director of Investor Relations Josh Jepsen says output reductions will mainly focus on large equipment in the North American market. Cory Reed, President of John Deere Financial, points to a lack of trade dispute resolution, as well as wet weather conditions and African Swine Fever as reasons to lower production. Reed wants the company to position itself well for 2020 by the end of this year. Higher freight costs, including some air freight charges to bring in parts, as well as unfavorable product mix and overall uncertainty, along with upcoming decreased production volume, are all causing manufacturers to drop their margin projections in the industry by one percent this year.

A new era of cattle identification on the horizon

DENVER — In meetings last week, the Producer Traceability Council reached consensus on two major points to increase the number of cattle identified in the U.S. The Council unanimously agreed the best option for the cattle industry moving forward is to work toward the adoption of a High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (HF/UHF) radio identification system and the timeline for adoption of the system mirror that of USDA’s timeline for the sunsetting of the metal tags with complete implementation no later than January 1, 2023. The newly formed Producer Traceability Council has evolved and was established independently of the Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG). The focus is specifically on ways to increase the number of cattle identified with electronic identification devices, increase the number of sightings of identified cattle, identify methods of data storage, and suggest cost sharing scenarios, while taking into consideration and minimizing negative effects on producers. “The cattle traceability issue is complex and concerns nearly everyone involved in the production, marketing, processing, and animal health aspects of the industry,” said Chuck Adami, co-chair of the Council and CEO of Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Assn. “The importance of a workable traceability system cannot be overstated given the need to effectively trace animals in the event of an animal health event. In addition, increasing pressure from consumers and our export partners demanding a robust traceability system solidifies the need to get a system in place sooner rather than later.” Currently, cattle in the U.S. are traced using a variety of systems and methods depending on the state in which the cattle are located, the age of cattle, and the type of identification the cattle may, or may not have. In some cases, this lack of consistency and use of effective technology hampers the efforts to complete timely and effective tracebacks and trace-outs. “Being deeply involved in the cattle business, I feel it is imperative that we come together as producers and help lead the effort to enhance cattle traceability,” said Joe Leathers, Council co- chair, TAHC Commissioner and General Manager of the 6666 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas. “It just makes sense that we, as producers, use the best technology available so that while traceability is being achieved, we are also able to better manage our operations using that technology.” While there continue to be obstacles that will need to be overcome, including how such technology will be paid for and by whom, protection from the misuse of data collected, and the development of secure data systems to transfer information, the Producer Traceability Council is optimistic that continuing this work will lead to success.

Adventure Camp about the Environment Welcomes Campers for 10th Year

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) are celebrating the 10th year of Adventure Camp about the Environment (ACE) June 16-19 at the State 4-H Youth Camp near Halsey, Nebraska. Nebraska’s 23 NRDs encourage middle school students interested in the outdoors to sign up for this educational, action-packed camp. To qualify, students should have completed sixth, seventh or eighth grade in the 2018-2019 school year. The four-day adventure camp provides students an opportunity to dive into different hands-on activities with a natural resources focus. Sessions educate youth on Nebraska’s water resources, wildlife, soil, trees, range and grasslands, outdoor cooking, technology and more. ACE Camp gets students outdoors to explore the world around them. Campers also have the opportunity to tube the river, experience archery, zip line, build water rockets and much more. Expect students to have a better awareness of possible careers in natural resources by learning from professionals working to conserve them every day. Fees and registration are $215/camper. The Upper Loup NRD offers several full-ride scholarships to the four-day camp, and registrants are encouraged to check with their local NRD on camp scholarships. To find out more information about ACE Camp, get a copy of a registration form or sign up for a scholarship, visit: www.upperloupnrd.org or call 308.645.2250. Registration deadline is May 31, 2019. Space is limited, so campers are encouraged to register early.

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Ag Policy

Yeutter Institute to Co-Host Symposium on Agricultural Trade

“Global Economic Growth and Agricultural Trade: Prospects, Policies and Perspectives” is the focus of a symposium June 4 at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. Ninth St. in Lincoln. The symposium is jointly hosted by the Farm Foundation Food and Agricultural Trade Resource Center and the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is free and open to the public. A keynote presentation by Luke Chandler, chief economist of Deere and Company, will be followed by a panel discussion with agricultural trade experts. Those experts are: > Richard Crowder, former U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, and professor and Thornhill Endowed Chair in agricultural trade, Virginia Tech University > Darci Vetter, former U.S. chief agricultural negotiator and global lead, public affairs, and vice chair for agriculture and food, Edelman > John Beghin, Michael Yanney Chair of International Trade and Finance, Yeutter Institute and Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln A reception will start at 5 p.m. with the symposium scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event will be streamed live at https://yeutter-institute.unl.edu.

Agriculture Industry Groups Call on Congress to Immediately Extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit

Thirteen trade groups representing farmers, rural lenders, crop and biobased oil producers, and biodiesel producers today wrote leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, asking them to take action on bipartisan legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive. “America’s farmers and rural communities are facing a mounting economic threat. With your leadership, Congress can help mitigate the crisis by taking immediate action on a policy that enjoys bipartisan, bicameral support. We are writing today to ask you to renew and extend the biodiesel tax incentive at the earliest opportunity,” the letter states. “Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle and across the country agree that the biodiesel tax incentive should be renewed.,” the letter continues. “We ask you to bring an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive up for immediate consideration in Congress.” A copy of the letter is available for download. Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “Income for America’s farmers is falling, and the impact is beginning to be felt in other sectors of the rural economy. Biodiesel production adds value to oil seed crops and recycled oils, providing one bright spot for the agriculture sector. Congress can take rapid action to renew the biodiesel tax incentive – a policy that enjoys broad bipartisan support – to help U.S. biodiesel producers continue growing.” The groups include the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, CoBank, Corn Refiners Association, Farm Credit Council, National Biodiesel Board, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Renderers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and U.S. Canola Association. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors, as well as the U.S. renewable diesel industry.

Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Iowa Governor to Receive 2019 George Washington Carver Award

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) announced that former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary and former two-term Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack will receive the 12th annual George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology. The award will be presented on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, during a plenary session at the 2019 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and AgTech. The world’s largest conference on industrial and agricultural biotechnology and partnering event will be held July 8-11, 2019, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. “I am humbled to receive this award,” said Vilsack. “Every day there are scientists and researchers in the bio-based industry helping to meet the twin challenge of adapting to and mitigating the consequences of a changing climate while also increasing our capacity to feed an ever-increasing world population in a safe and sustainable way.” “Secretary Vilsack has been one of the strongest advocates in promoting America’s bio-based economy,” said BIO President and CEO James C. Greenwood. “From his time serving as governor of Iowa—America’s top ethanol producer and a leading state in biomass and renewable chemical production—to his leadership at USDA, Secretary Vilsack consistently championed policies that advanced industrial biotechnologies and grew America’s rural economy.” The George Washington Carver award is sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association. “Secretary Vilsack represents a leader who has tirelessly championed biotechnology, and truly embodies the characteristics of George Washington Carver,” said Jessica Hyland, Executive Director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association. “Through this award, we recognize his focus on ensuring biotechnology in its diverse forms can thrive. IowaBio is proud to have Secretary Vilsack receive this award. He has contributed so much to Iowa and to this country through his service and leadership. His impact on advancing biotechnology and recognizing its impact on rural economy is unmatched.” As the longest serving cabinet appointee in President Barack Obama’s administration, serving as secretary of USDA from 2009-17, Vilsack championed the bio-based economy as one of the four pillars that support our country’s rural economy. As a result, USDA created several initiatives and programs that promoted renewable biomass and feedstocks, bio-based products and renewable chemicals, advanced and cellulosic biofuels, and rural infrastructure and manufacturing. As the two-term governor of Iowa from 1999-2007, Vilsack was a strong supporter of the role of biotechnology for both food production and industrial processes. During his tenure he was chair of the Governors Biotechnology Partnership and the Governors Ethanol Coalition as well as vice chair of the National Governors Association’s committee on Natural Resources, where he developed policies around farming and energy. Prior to his governorship, Vilsack served in the Iowa State Senate from 1993-99 and as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, from 1987-92. Vilsack currently serves as the president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), where he provides strategic leadership and oversight of USDEC’s global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. Each year, the BIO World Congress recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to building the bio-based economy through the George Washington Carver Award. It serves as a lasting memorial to the original vision of George Washington Carver, who—over a century ago—pioneered bio-based products, materials and energy derived from renewable agricultural feedstock. Industrial biotechnology is the modern-day equivalent of Carver’s vision. Secretary Vilsack becomes the 12th recipient honored with the award. Past recipients include: Dr. Sang Yup Lee, distinguished professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2018; Jeff Broin, Founder, chairman and CEO, POET in 2017; Dr. J. Craig Venter, co-founder of Synthetic Genomics and executive chairman of Human Longevity in 2016; Jonathan S. Wolfson, CEO of Solazyme in 2015; Ellen Kullman, CEO & chair of the board, DuPont in 2014; Dr. Jay Keasling, Hubbard Howe Jr., distinguished professor of biochemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 2013; Steen Riisgaard, president and CEO of Novozymes in 2012; Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM in 2011; Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow professor of chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010; Charles O. Holliday, Jr., chairman of the board, DuPont in 2009; Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, Inc., in 2008.

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