Rural Radio Network
Levi Landers, a Minden, Nebraska, native, has been selected as the American Angus Association® regional manager for Nebraska and Colorado. He joins the Association from American Hereford Association where he has been a field manager for Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota and S...Read More
Levi Landers, a Minden, Nebraska, native, has been selected as the American Angus Association® regional manager for Nebraska and Colorado. He joins the Association from American Hereford Association where he has been a field manager for Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota and S...Read More
Corn and soybean development continued to lag behind the average pace last week, but conditions for both crops rose slightly, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. As of Sunday, July 14, an estimated 17% of corn was silking, up 9 percentage points from the previous...Read More
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held its ninth annual Latin American Product Showcase June 26-27 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The event attracted more than 400 people, including 190 buyers from 23 countries across the Caribbean, Central America and South America. A total of 64 USMEF exporting m...Read More
OMAHA (DTN) -- Pacific Ocean El Nino conditions appear to be ending, which may indicate drier times ahead for the Midwest. That was the message in a review of eastern Pacific temperatures by DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Mike Palmerino. The Pacific Basin has maintained weak El Nino-level temperatures...Read More
A field day is planned at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s South Central Agricultural Laboratory on Aug. 1. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 851 Hwy. 6 near Harvard. Attendees will be able to choose from multiple field research trials to tour. Topics will focus on improvin...Read More
Futures One Crop Progress Report *AUDIO*
Corn and soybean development continued to lag behind the average pace last week, but conditions for both crops rose slightly, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. As of Sunday, July 14, an estimated 17% of corn was silking, up 9 percentage points from the previous week but 25 percentage points behind the five-year average of 42%. Corn condition, estimated at 58% good to excellent, was up 1 percentage point from 57% the previous week. That's still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years. "Among the top eight corn-producing states, Nebraska has the highest good-to-excellent rating at 77%, while Ohio and Indiana are at the bottom with 38% and 39%, respectively," said DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman. "In Missouri, only 32% of corn was rated good to excellent." Soybean development also remained behind normal last week. NASS estimated that 95% of the soybean crop that was planted had emerged as of Sunday, 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%. Twenty-two percent of soybeans were blooming, up 12 percentage points from the previous week but 27 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. The soybean crop's good-to-excellent rating of 54% was up 1 percentage point from 53% the previous week. As with corn, the soybeans' good-to-excellent rating is the lowest in seven years. "Again, Nebraska tops the list with 71% of soybeans rated good to excellent, while Ohio was at 33%," Hultman said. Winter wheat harvest moved ahead another 10 percentage points last week to reach 57% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 72% and 14 percentage points behind the five-year average of 71%. "The Kansas harvest is 81% complete, while Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma are all within 4 percentage points of being finished," Hultman said. Seventy-eight percent of the spring wheat crop was headed, jumping 22 percentage points from 56% the previous week, but was 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%. Spring wheat condition was rated 76% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from the previous week's 78% good to excellent, but still a high rating for the crop for this time of year, Hultman said. Twenty-four percent of sorghum was headed, 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 31%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 14%, behind the average of 19%. Sorghum condition was rated 74% good to excellent. Oats were 87% headed, behind the average of 95%. Cotton squaring reached 60% as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 69%. Cotton setting bolls was 20%, also behind the average of 25%. Cotton condition was rated 56% good to excellent, up 2 percentage point from the previous week's 54% good to excellent. Twenty-four percent of rice was headed, behind the average of 31%. Rice condition was rated 67% good to excellent. To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the "Find Data and Reports by" section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state's "Crop Progress & Condition" report. Clay Patton recaps the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/futures-one-crop-progress-report-conditions-improve-but-still-behind-7139.html National Crop Progress Summary This Last Last 5-Year Week Week Year Avg. Corn Silking 17 8 59 42 Soybeans Emerged 95 90 100 99 Soybeans Blooming 22 10 62 49 Winter Wheat Harvested 57 47 72 71 Spring Wheat Headed 78 56 91 87 Cotton Squaring 60 47 70 69 Cotton Setting Bolls 20 13 30 25 Sorghum Headed 24 22 30 31 Sorghum Coloring 14 13 19 19 Barley Headed 75 55 88 89 Oats Headed 87 74 95 95 Rice Headed 24 16 30 31 ** National Crop Condition Summary (VP = Very Poor; P = Poor; F = Fair; G = Good; E = Excellent) This Week Last Week Last Year VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E Corn 3 9 30 48 10 3 9 31 47 10 3 6 19 51 21 Soybeans 3 9 34 46 8 3 9 35 46 7 2 6 23 53 16 Spring Wheat - 4 20 66 10 - 3 19 70 8 1 3 16 67 13 Cotton 3 12 29 47 9 2 17 27 47 7 10 18 31 34 7 Sorghum 1 2 23 61 13 1 2 24 61 12 5 12 36 43 4 Barley - 5 19 62 14 1 4 22 63 10 1 2 12 70 15 Oats 2 5 25 57 11 2 5 28 56 9 4 3 22 58 13 Rice 1 6 26 50 17 1 6 27 49 17 1 5 25 56 13 ** National Soil Moisture Condition - 48 States (VS = Very Short; SH = Short; AD = Adequate; SR = Surplus) This Week Last Week Last Year VS SH AD SR VS SH AD SR VS SH AD SR Topsoil Moisture 4 17 67 12 3 12 70 15 13 25 57 5 Subsoil Moisture 3 13 72 12 3 10 70 17 11 26 58 5
Mexican fuel marketers confident they can offer ethanol following tour of Iowa ethanol supply chain
Sioux Falls, SD – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) hosted a tour in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in Iowa last week to show nine decision-makers from key Mexican retail and supplier groups how ethanol blends have been successfully and profitably incorporated across Iowa. Tour leaders Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President, and Lucy Norton, IRFA Managing Director, said tour participants were engaged and clearly enthusiastic about the prospect of adding ethanol blends to their businesses. “The week’s events exceeded our expectations,” Lamberty said. “We wanted this tour to end any lingering doubt these marketers might have about implementing ethanol blends in Mexico. After seeing stations and equipment just like theirs being used to sell E10, and hearing station operators say they’ve sold ethanol profitably for decades without any issues, some who attended plan to do tests in the next several months, and when those tests go well, we’ll encourage those marketers to share their success stories with peers in Mexico, as ACE has done to develop markets in the U.S.” “We see this trip as just the beginning of a long relationship that leads to a new ethanol market in Mexico,” Norton said. “We were fortunate to have such an influential group participate that represented about 500 million gallons of fuel sales and distribution. IRFA was proud to showcase Iowa’s 40 years of success in marketing ethanol-blended fuels.” Several tour attendees said they are ready for the many benefits ethanol can bring to Mexico, including lower-fuel costs, improved air quality, and quality fuel. Read testimonies from participants below. “The entire tour has been a fabulous learning experience, even better than I expected,” said Agustín Tristán Aldave with Lexington Midstream, a midstream investor and provider. “What I was looking forward to the most was learning about the entire process from front to back, and it was incredible to see the innovation here in the U.S. I don’t see any reason why not to do [ethanol] it. Ethanol is cheaper and better for the environment, and these are important points to help differentiate yourself if you’re a retailer.” “We need all the information we can to make a change in Mexico,” said Gerardo Cantú, Director of Petrorack, a fuel provider to the industrial market. “From the beginning of the first visit, the tour impressed me. I believe this is a good product for the customer and our country. We are short on gasoline and ethanol, so we need the supply from the U.S.” “We understand the nature of the product and we see the benefits that it brings to the environment and to the consumer because of the lower price of the fuel,” said Fernando José Pereira Flick with Lodemo, one of the main retail service groups in Mexico, which operates the first private (non-PEMEX) marine terminal for fuels in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. Lodemo is evaluating adding infrastructure to import ethanol. “It’s something that we don’t need to test because it’s been proven by the U.S. fuel industry to be a quality product as we’ve seen on this tour. With the changes to the Mexican energy legislation, it has created an opportunity for the private sector.” “We’ve seen the successful case for ethanol in Iowa and I’d like to see that in my country, helping the people in the field and having a very good gasoline like the one you have here that’s helpful to the environment,” said Blanca Estela Coeto Mateo with SIMSA, the largest supplier of fuel to PEMEX. “I’d like to see the Mexican government working together with all the people with one goal, and I will express that with the people in Mexico about the successful case you have in this country.” Daniel Beltrán García, who works with Comborsa, an importer and distributor of fuels near the U.S./Mexico border said, “As a private company, we recognize the Mexican consumer needs a better, cleaner product, and why not at a more competitive price? So, that is what we have learned in Iowa in the sense that ethanol provides exactly that.” Another fuel marketer, Roberto Spinola De Leo with Hidrosina, which operates 30 service stations in Mexico City, where E10 is currently banned said, “We’re ready for ethanol depending on the regulation being authorized for that to happen. Our companies need to do our part in supporting [changes to] ethanol regulations because it’s good for us, the consumers, and the country.”
El Nino End May Mean Hotter Late Summer in Midwest
OMAHA (DTN) -- Pacific Ocean El Nino conditions appear to be ending, which may indicate drier times ahead for the Midwest. That was the message in a review of eastern Pacific temperatures by DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Mike Palmerino. The Pacific Basin has maintained weak El Nino-level temperatures, with values of between a half-degree Celsius and 1 degree Celsius above average since September 2018. That run may be over, Palmerino said. "The (eastern Pacific) sea surface temperatures are coming down pretty rapidly right now," Palmerino said on the DTN Ag Weather Week in Review audio program. "We were looking at, back in the month of May, a departure of seven-tenths of a degree (C) above normal. It's now down to three-tenths of a degree (C) above normal. So, clearly, temperatures are dropping there. You could say, potentially, that we are not any longer, really, in any sort of an El Nino scenario." The timing of this Pacific change is a potent influence on two weather scenes. With El Nino out of the way, subtropical latitude jet stream activity fades -- and, along with that decline, tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico has an opportunity to increase; this coming at a time when Tropical Storm Barry is on track to bring heavy, flooding rain to the lower Mississippi Delta. "If you can get out of El Nino, it would likely help to support more tropical activity," said Palmerino. Farther north, cooling trends in the Pacific Basin have occurred in years when corn yields had notably lower numbers than the previous year. Two prime examples are the years 1988 and 2010, when corn yields were well below the previous crop year's output. Both those example years featured the Pacific transitioning rapidly from El Nino to La Nina. The reason is that Midwest crop weather went downhill. "A change in the sea surface temperature departure can be just as important as what the departure is," said Palmerino. "We have seen in the past that if you are looking at significantly falling sea surface temperatures in the Pacific, that that can dry out the Midwest." La Nina is not forecast to develop in the Pacific this growing season. Crops, of course, are already under pressure because of much-delayed planting. The near-half-degree-Celsius decline in eastern Pacific temperatures is not a guarantee of further sea surface cooling, but it puts observers on point that changes are in the works. "If these sea surface temperatures do continue to fall significantly over the next month or so ... that could lead to drier-than-normal conditions in the Midwest through the rest of the summer," Palmerino said.
Minden, Nebr. Native Named Angus Regional Manager
Levi Landers, a Minden, Nebraska, native, has been selected as the American Angus Association® regional manager for Nebraska and Colorado. He joins the Association from American Hereford Association where he has been a field manager for Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota and Saskatchewan since 2008. “We are pleased to have Levi join the Angus family,” said David Gazda, director of field services for the Association. “His passion for the industry and the valuable experience he brings to our team, Levi will be a tremendous asset to Angus breeders and commercial producers throughout Region 7.” Prior to joining Hereford, Landers was a Western Ag Reporter territory manager for Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas after earning a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma Panhandle State University in animal science. “Throughout the past 15 years, my experiences in the seedstock industry has created a passion for registered cattle and the value they bring to the industry,” Landers said. “So, I’m looking forward to continuing that passion for registered cattle to the Angus breed.” Originally from Miles City, Montana, Landers grew up on a family commercial operation. He attended junior college at Casper College in Casper, Wyoming, where he was on the livestock judging team, before transferring to Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
Ninth Latin American Product Showcase ‘Gets Business Done’ in Puerto Rico
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held its ninth annual Latin American Product Showcase June 26-27 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The event attracted more than 400 people, including 190 buyers from 23 countries across the Caribbean, Central America and South America. A total of 64 USMEF exporting member companies participated, displaying and promoting U.S. beef, pork and lamb products. The showcase was conducted with funding support from the National Pork Board (NPB), the Beef Checkoff Program, the Nebraska Beef Council, the Texas Beef Council, the United Soybean Board and Indiana Corn. “As we close in on a full decade of organizing this event, a really significant thing to note is that not only have we been successful in bringing together exporters and importers from all over Latin America, but we’ve also created an environment that gets business done – and that makes the Latin American Product Showcase one of the most impactful things we do at USMEF to help advance trade in this region,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “You have multiple markets across Latin America that are growing quickly, and you also have markets that are fairly new. That’s another great thing you notice in two days at the showcase. You see the established customers in established markets, but you also see several emerging markets where USMEF is just starting to help grow demand for U.S. beef, pork and lamb. We were able to see both ends of the spectrum again this year, and that’s exciting.” Puerto Rico, which hosted the Latin American Product Showcase for the first time, was a popular site, drawing a number of first-time exhibitors, as well as seasoned participants who have seen the event expand over the past nine years. Veronica Leon, of Texas-based Northern Beef Industries, a regular exhibitor at the showcase, emphasized that the quality of the business contacts sets it apart from similar events. “We have been at all nine Latin American Product Showcases and we’ve appreciated the fact that each year we see a mix of old customers, new customers and potential customers come on the show floor to meet with us,” said Leon. “At this year’s showcase, we again were able to answer questions from importers face-to-face. The quality of buyers keeps improving each year, just as the products we have to offer keep improving. This annual interaction with more and more importers allows us to update them on our company and lets us learn what meat cuts and products are in demand in each Latin American country.” Jennifer Eck of Tyson Foods, another longtime exhibitor at the showcase, said it has been a rewarding experience to watch the event mature over the years. “It’s become a great opportunity to see all of our existing customers over two days and meet a lot of new importers who could become our customers,” said Eck. “The great thing is that the Latin American Product Showcase continues to grow, just as the region’s interest in U.S. red meat continues to grow and the individual markets continue to grow. Again this year, it was a couple of well-spent days sharing and learning in Latin America, which has become an important strategic growth market for our company.” First-time exhibitors also found the showcase to be extremely productive. Laila Johana Pettinati from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was a first-time participant as a buyer. As buyer manager for Axionlog, an importer and wholesaler with foodservice clients in several South American countries, she found the showcase to be an excellent venue for establishing direct business relationships. “We work in eight different countries, and our purpose for being here was to get to know red meat suppliers for our various operations,” said Pettinati. “We are dedicated to foodservice, so we have a lot of diverse needs. This venue, the way USMEF has set it up, gives us a great opportunity to make contact with a variety of U.S. beef and pork traders and manufacturers to help us with those needs.” Representatives of producer organizations that help fund the Latin American Product Showcase were able to explore many different markets for their products and help enhance the image of U.S. agriculture. Brady Reicks, a pork producer from New Hampton, Iowa, attending his first Latin American Product Showcase, said his goal was to learn more about the region where much of the pork he produces ends up. “I also spent a lot of time sharing the good news about U.S. pork with the buyers and companies here from South America, Central America and the Caribbean – letting them know how we raise our hogs and how we produce a safe and quality product,” said Reicks, who was with a team from the National Pork Board. “At the same time, it’s been really interesting to see how they view pork and how they prepare and eat pork. The most interesting thing I’ve seen is a cut that keeps the pork loin and belly together. Apparently, that is a popular thing in Puerto Rico, but also in many other Latin American countries that buy our product. The loin is something we struggle to move in some markets, so that was an interesting idea I saw at the showcase. That may not work on a large scale, but it shows that there are different ideas out there and foodservice operators aren’t afraid to try new things. That’s what we like to see.” U.S. pork’s status among Latin American consumers and foodservice professionals was striking, Reicks noted. “I had some very positive experiences talking about our products and one of the takeaways from my experience at the showcase is that it is good to know how positive the image of U.S. pork is in many of these countries,” he said. While Halstrom and other USMEF staff in Latin America are veterans of the event, one new staff member working in an important Latin American market left his first showcase with a very positive impression. “I’ve been to events like this in the past on behalf of other organizations, but this one really rates as something that tops all of those, mainly because of its efficiency,” said Don Mason, who has been USMEF’s representative in Colombia since September. “The idea is pretty simple: USMEF just puts buyer and seller together and lets them have conversations, share product ideas and work on getting deals done. And deals are getting done just because of this show, that’s the great thing about it. There’s a lot of value to it, not matter what side of the export-import business you are on.” Along with two days of introductions and discussions on the showcase floor, attendees learned about global meat trade and the marketing of red meat in keynote presentations held on both days of the event. The opening day program featured Josue Merced-Reyes, president of Inter E Marketing, who presented on reaching the millennial generation, a group that will “live, work and, most importantly, eat in a digital world.” Merced-Reyes shared advice on how food companies can convert traditional product marketing strategies to consumer-centric digital strategies. He also discussed new technologies that are affecting food business supply, distribution and retail decision-making. On the second day, Maggie O’Quinn of Midan Marketing presented “The Nutritional, Environmental and Emotional Case for U.S. Meat: Why Our Newest Competitors Represent Our Future Opportunities.” O’Quinn encouraged the industry to anticipate the ways that tomorrow’s consumers are already redefining the meat industry. She reminded the audience that many consumers who are trying “replacement” meat are still meat eaters and the industry should not make the mistake of dismissing these consumers as a lost opportunity. On new “fake” meats that she labels as meat industry “disruptors,” O’Quinn suggested the U.S. meat industry promote what meat has that lab-created plant-and cell-based alternatives don’t: no artificial ingredients, all natural, juicy texture and unbeatable flavor.” “We are in the flavor business,” she pointed out. “Eating is a sensory experience designed not only to fuel our bodies but bring humans pleasure. When we focus on creating an emotional connection with consumers, we win.” Even before this edition of the Latin American Product Showcase ended, exhibitors and attendees were already asking about the 2020 show. “It’s gotten so popular that companies want to start planning for it and they are counting on it as part of their business strategy for the year,” said Gerardo Rodriquez, USMEF marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. “That says a lot about where we started with this showcase and what we have built it up to be, where exporters and importers from two dozen countries are excited about these two days and look forward to it.” Elizabeth Wunderlich, USMEF Caribbean representative, reminded participants that next year’s showcase will represent the magical one-decade mark. “In almost 10 years, we have seen it become what we had hoped it would become,” said Wunderlich. “Now we are going to do what we have done each of the previous years of the show’s existence – work to make it even better next year.”
Cargill shuts animal-feed mills in China as fatal hog disease spreads
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Cargill Inc shuttered animal-feed mills in China in recent months partly because the rapid spread of a fatal hog disease has reduced demand, a company executive said on Friday. The closures highlight the pain for global agriculture companies from the outbreak of African swine fever in China, the world’s top hog producer and pork consumer. African swine fever, for which there is no cure and no vaccine, kills almost all infected pigs, though it does not harm people. The disease has killed more than a million pigs in China since the nation’s first reported case last August, cutting demand for feed ingredients such as soymeal and pre-mixes, which are blends of vitamins and other nutrients sold by Cargill and other suppliers. “This is not a six-month trend for China to recover,” Chuck Warta, president of Cargill’s animal nutrition and pre-mix business, said in an interview. “This is a 24-month, 36-month kind of resetting of the world’s population of animals.” The outbreak accelerated closures of Cargill animal-feed mills in coastal regions of China that were also prompted by a westward shift over the past decade of the areas in which livestock are raised, Warta said. Most of the facilities will not be re-opened even if China gets African swine fever under control, he said. Cargill closed three feed and animal-nutrition plants in the second half of the fiscal year that ended on May 31, representing an approximately 150,000-metric-tonne reduction in capacity, according to the company. But Cargill still sees a bright future for its animal-nutrition business in China, Warta said. The company said it is spending $65 million to replace a pre-mix plant in Nanjing and is also buying land for a similar facility in Henan province. “We’re idling some assets, but we’re shifting those resources into a different type of production that is more positioned to serve the market,” Warta said. Cargill reported on Thursday that reduced hog feed demand in China, along with the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and flooding in the U.S. Midwest, led to a 41% slide in adjusted quarterly profits. For the first six months of 2019, China’s soybean imports dropped 14.7% from the same period last year as African swine fever curbed demand for hog feed, Chinese customs data showed on Friday. Expectations for China to boost meat imports after losing hogs has caused some livestock producers in exporting countries to feed animals longer so that they grow bigger, Warta said.
Scott, Conaway: Broadband Provisions in 2018 Farm Bill Critical to Rural America
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit held a hearing on the importance of affordable, reliable and high-speed broadband Internet. After the hearing, Subcommittee Ranking Member Austin Scott (GA-8) and Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following remarks: “Broadband service is required for modern businesses and it is the foundation for economic growth in today’s global markets. From improving education opportunities, to accessing health care, to innovative new farming technology, consistent, high-speed access to the Internet is revolutionizing rural communities. I look forward to this committee continuing to work together to oversee the improvements made to rural broadband in the 2018 Farm Bill and bringing more Americans into the modern economy,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Scott. “Rural broadband has been a bipartisan concern among our committee members for years. As we wrote the 2018 Farm Bill, we worked hard to prioritize critical investments in connectivity for those communities that need it most. This farm bill includes requirements to make sure we build projects right the first time and with technology that will last,” said Ranking Member Conaway.
University of Nebraska Again Ranked Among World’s Top 100 in Earning U.S. Patents
For the second consecutive year, the University of Nebraska has been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in earning U.S. patents to protect the innovative research and discoveries of its faculty. The ranking is part of a newly released report from the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. In the report, the University of Nebraska ranks No. 79 globally for the number of patents awarded to NU’s technology transfer offices – NUtech Ventures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNeMed Corp. at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Earning patents allows NUtech Ventures and UNeMed to work with NU faculty, staff and students to bring their research in areas like agriculture, healthcare, engineering and many others to the marketplace. The result is new startup companies, jobs and university-licensed products that grow the economy and improve quality of life in Nebraska and beyond. “To be in the company of the world’s leading research universities is another sign that the University of Nebraska is a force for growth and change for the people of our state,” said President Hank Bounds. “While it’s an honor to be recognized, what truly matters is what this ranking signifies: That the University of Nebraska is home to some of the most talented, creative and visionary faculty in the world. I could not be more proud of the life-changing impact of their work.” The new report’s rankings are based on 2018 patent data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After securing a patent, the university brings research to market by licensing technology to existing companies or university startup companies. Most university technology is considered early-stage and requires additional research and development. The University of Nebraska’s 31 patents in 2018 include, for example, University of Nebraska-Lincoln research to develop a vaccine that could help producers across the globe fight a devastating swine virus. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a viral pathogen that causes abortion in pregnant sows and pneumonia in young pigs. The virus can also suppress a pig’s immune system, leading to enhanced susceptibility to other infectious diseases. PRRSV costs the U.S. swine industry more than $640 million per year. A team led by Fernando Osorio and Hiep Vu at the Nebraska Center for Virology is working on a vaccine that could protect against some or all of the variants of the virus, which would significantly benefit swine health as well as producers in Nebraska and around the world. Another patent is for a new catheter tube that will help patients undergoing hemodialysis to treat kidney failure. Conventional catheters often need to be replaced in expensive surgical procedures after they are blocked by thick tissue that builds up over time. A new catheter tube created by Marius Florescu, M.D., an associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Nephrology, is designed with a small balloon that can expand to remove the buildup. Dr. Florescu’s design would significantly reduce the cost of removing the blockage by eliminating the need for additional procedures. The device is licensed to California-based Chrysalis Medical, who is preparing an application for FDA clearance. “This is a reflection of the kind of talent we see every day walking up and down hallways throughout the university system. This doesn’t happen without a culture of innovation,” UNeMed President and CEO Michael Dixon said of NU’s top-100 ranking. “That starts with the administration, right through all the creative and curious faculty, staff and students developing the next generation of innovations that can improve our world.” Brad Roth, executive director of NUtech Ventures, said: “The ability to protect new innovations from our university’s research is an important first step for commercialization and eventual impact on society.”
New online graduate certificate at CSU
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A majority of conservation managers and scientists agree that they should do more to help the public and policymakers understand their work and develop policies based on scientific evidence. But they don’t, in part, because they lack the necessary communication skills. This disconnect is among the motivations for a new online graduate certificate at Colorado State University. Communications for Conservation, a new six-course, 12-credit program, launches in fall 2019. The online program stems from the Warner College of Natural Resources and is offered through CSU Online. It will provide students with concepts, skills and practices for communicating conservation science and management. “Media relations, public outreach and communications with decisionmakers are no longer responsibilities just for spokespeople and public relations managers,” said Josh Zaffos, Communications for Conservation program director. “Conservation practitioners are charged with managing and studying people’s relationships with wildlife, water and natural areas. It’s critical that they can effectively explain their work and decisions, and why conservation and natural resources management matters.” The program provides early- and mid-career conservation professionals with research-based ideas and tools to learn and apply critical communications skills. Course content and activities cover a range of topics, including: writing and messaging for conservation communications and conservation social science fundamentals media relations social and digital media for conservation engagement crisis communications conservation storytelling and presentations social marketing, and political and leadership communications. “Natural resource professionals regularly comment to me about the importance of having strong communication skills,” said Warner College Dean John Hayes. “Our college, with its strengths across the full breadth of natural resource management disciplines, conservation science and recreation and tourism management, is well-positioned to enhance communications skills among conservation professionals. This new certificate will fill an important need for our students and stakeholders.” Skills in demand In 2016, the Warner College surveyed employers at 36 different conservation organizations about what job capabilities they valued most among staff and new hires. Five of the top six responses were communications skills – including writing, collaboration and speaking with the public. “Many of the passionate, committed individuals in our organization are trained in traditional ecology, forestry and natural resource conservation fields, and they often find themselves in positions where they want to, or need to, communicate. They see the value of interacting with the public but maybe don’t have the related training or skills,” said Jennifer Hayes, director of science application and communication for the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (no relation to the dean). “A graduate certificate program like this will be very valuable because we can hopefully harness the passion and dedication of these individuals and help them grow through the organization,” she added. “Programs like this one will also mean we have more people qualified to do this work when we recruit in the field of natural resources.” The program’s online format offers students an accelerated but flexible platform to complete coursework on a pace and schedule that fits their careers. Courses include narrated presentations, video interviews and discussions with communications and media experts, interactive assignments and discussion groups, and a range of multimedia content. The certificate program is now accepting applications for the upcoming semester. “We want students to complete our program and be ready to engage with stakeholders and media, to write for print and digital media, and to speak at public meetings, presentations, or in front of members of Congress,” added Zaffos. The online Graduate Certificate in Communications for Conservation is the latest among a number of programs developed by CSU’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources to serve the needs of conservation professionals and students. The department also offers an online bachelor’s degree completion program in Natural Resources Tourism as well as a suite of online graduate tourism programs for Ski Area Management, Adventure Tourism, and a Master of Tourism Management, which is also available on campus.
Senators Introduce Legislation to Protect American Agriculture
A bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation to address a shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and ag industries at the border. Ag inspectors work to prevent the intentional or unintentional entry of harmful plants, food, animals, and goods into the U.S. The Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional inspectors to fully staff America’s ports of entry. Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts was one of several authors of the legislation. Roberts says, “Every day, millions of pounds of produce, meat, and other agricultural good enter the U.S. through our ports of entry. Ag Inspectors are responsible for ensuring that the goods move efficiently across our borders while safeguarding against harmful pests, diseases, and even potential bioterrorism attacks.” Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow says, “It’s critical that we address the shortage of agricultural specialists and hire qualified staff to safeguard our food and our farms.”
Lawmakers confident Nebraska will OK new business incentives
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers who want to update the state’s largest tax incentive program for businesses are getting ready to try again with a lot of confidence, despite a major setback that stalled their package earlier this year. Senators who worked on the new incentives said they strongly believe the measure will pass in the 2020 session, just in time to replace the state’s current program before it expires at the end of that year. “We as a state are not going to not have a package,” said Sen. Mark Kolterman, of Seward, the proposal’s lead sponsor. “I can almost guarantee that.” Nebraska’s tax incentives have faced increased scrutiny in recent years amid suggestions that they are inefficient and the money is going to companies that would have come to the state anyway. In neighboring Iowa, state officials faced criticism for giving Apple $208 million in tax breaks to build two data shortage centers in Des Moines in a deal that would create at least 50 jobs. Business advocates defend the credits as necessary to compete given that every state offers them. Nebraska’s influential business groups suffered a rare and surprising defeat in May when lawmakers rejected the “ImagiNE Nebraska Act” because of a spat over property taxes. Several rural lawmakers helped sink the measure after their top priority, an unrelated property tax package, failed to advance. Business and farm advocates have been at odds in recent years over who should get priority for tax breaks, with farmers arguing that their property taxes have soared over the last decade as farm incomes declined. The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry counters that tax cuts and incentives will make the state more attractive for investment. “We’re very worried about our ability without incentives to compete with states like Iowa and Minnesota,” said Bryan Slone, the group’s president. Supporters said the new incentives bill would allow Nebraska’s incentive program to continue but make it more transparent, easier to use, and do a better job of holding companies accountable for their progress in creating jobs. It also would focus more on attracting higher-paying jobs than the current “Nebraska Advantage Act” program. Kolterman said the bill likely would have passed this year if not for the opposition from senators who wanted to lower property taxes, and he doesn’t plan to make any major changes. Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, chairwoman of Nebraska’s tax-focused Revenue Committee, said she’s confident lawmakers can reach an agreement this summer that would allow both business incentives and property tax reductions to advance. “We need an incentive package,” Linehan said. “Are we going to be the only state in the union without one? No.” Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said he remained hopeful lawmakers would update the state’s tax incentive program to keep Nebraska competitive, but “we can’t take it for granted.” “We need to make the case for why this is the program we want to have moving forward,” Ricketts said in an interview. Supporters may still face a challenge from lawmakers who helped sink this year’s business incentive measure. Rural lawmakers who have pushed hardest for property tax cuts said they’ll work with other senators on incentives, but only if they’re tied to a property tax package. Sen. Tom Briese, an Albion farmer, said he’s concerned that “one will get left behind while the other advances” if the bills remain separate. Rural senators are outnumbered in the Legislature and are likely to lose another seat when lawmakers draw new districts for themselves in 2021, but they still have enough influence to block measures they oppose. “Business incentives and property tax reform have to advance together, or neither should advance,” Briese said. “The best way to ensure that is to have them both in one bill.”
China imports from US plunge 31% in June amid tariff war
BEIJING (AP) — China's trade with the United States plunged last month as a tariff war-battered exporters on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. And there's no letup in sight: Tensions between the world's two biggest economies continue to simmer even though President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, called a ceasefire two weeks ago. Data out Friday showed that the hostilities are taking a toll. Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4% from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, while exports to the American market declined 7.8% to $39.3 billion, according to Chinese customs data. China's trade surplus with the United States widened by 3% to $29.9 billion. The two countries are fighting over U.S. allegations that China deploys predatory tactics — including stealing trade secrets and forcing foreign firms to hand over technology — in a headlong drive to challenge American technological dominance. The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, drawing retaliatory sanctions from Beijing on $110 billion in U.S. products. China also directed importers to find non-U.S. suppliers. The dispute won't be easy to solve. Mistrust between Washington and Beijing runs high. And a substantive solution likely would require China to scale back its ambitions to become a world leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric cars. Envoys talked by phone Tuesday in their first contact since Trump and Xi met last month in Japan, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said. It gave no details or a date for more contacts. "Our base case remains that trade talks will break down again before long," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report. Trade weakness has added to pressure on Xi's government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses. The Trump-Xi truce calmed jittery financial markets. But the cease-fire is under strain: Each side has complained the other isn't living up to commitments made when the leaders met June 29 at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The chairman of Huawei said Friday that his company has yet to see any benefit from Trump's promise to ease restrictions on sales of components to the Chinese tech giant, which was put on a U.S. national security blacklist in May. "So far we haven't seen any tangible change," chairman Liang Hua told a news conference. Liang's complaint came a day after Trump accused Beijing of "letting us down" by not promptly buying more U.S. farm products. "They have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would," the president said on Twitter. "Hopefully, they will start soon." Trump's statement "highlighted how more speed bumps may remain in the road ahead," said Craig Orlam of OANDA in a report. "While a deal makes sense for both sides this year, it's far from guaranteed and could hit many more snags."