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Nebraska LEAD Announces 2016-2018 Fellows

Nebraska LEAD Group 36 participants were announced by Terry Hejny, Director, Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program. The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program in its 36th year are made up exclusively of participants who ...

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Nebraska LEAD Announces 2016-2018 Fellows

Nebraska LEAD Group 36 participants were announced by Terry Hejny, Director, Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program. The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program in its 36th year are made up exclusively of participants who ...

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Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado Reach Republican River Agreement

Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska established an agreement last week in the longstanding conflict over water from the Republican River basin, as the Republican River Compact Administration signed two resolutions. Representatives from the three states have been meeting monthly for over two years, in an...

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Bacterial Leaf Streak of Corn Confirmed in Nebraska

Bacterial leaf streak disease of corn, caused by Xanthomonas vasicola pv. vasculorum, has now been confirmed in Nebraska, as well as in Colorado, Illinois, and Iowa. The disease had not been previously identified in the U.S., but had been reported on corn in South Africa. Surveys are currently und...

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Pro Farmer Tour Estimates Corn Lower and Beans Higher from USDA

The 2016 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour estimates a U.S. corn yield of 170.2 bushels per acre and a soybean yield of 49.3 bpa. This corn estimate is lower than USDA's latest estimate at 175.1 bpa, while the soybean number is slightly higher than USDA's 48.9. These yields equate to 2016 corn producti...

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(AUDIO) RRN Live From State Fair

The 148th Nebraska state fair started with opening ceremonies  around 10 am on Friday the 26. The fair grounds are located in Grand Island. The Rural Radio Network will be reporting live from the fair. The booth is located in the southeast corner of the Pinnacle Bank expo center, under the radio t...

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Crops

Kansas Soybean Commission Elects Officers

The Kansas Soybean Commission filled a vacancy and elected its 2016-2017 officers during its Aug. 11 meeting in Topeka. Earlier this year, James Zwonitzer of Atchison County and Mike Bellar of Elk County were re-elected in districts 7 and 9, respectively. The commissioners reappointed Bob Haselwood of Shawnee County to represent District 8. They also conducted their annual officer elections. Kurt Maurath of Logan County will serve as chairman, with Lance Rezac of Pottawatomie County as vice chairman. Bellar was elected secretary, and Haselwood, treasurer. The remaining commissioners are Ron Ohlde of Washington County; Kent Romine, Barton County; Dennis Gruenbacher, Sedgwick County; and Jerry Jeschke, Doniphan County. Craig Gigstad, Jefferson County, who serves with Haselwood and Ohlde on the national United Soybean Board, is an ex officio, nonvoting counselor to the commission.

Hugoton KS Abengoa Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Draws Wide Interest

Abengoa Bioenergy's cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, could have a new owner by the end of October, an official with the company hired by Abengoa to sell the plant told DTN Wednesday in an exclusive interview. Mark Fisler, managing director of Los Angeles-based Ocean Park Advisers, the company hired by Abengoa to sell the biomass-based ethanol plant that shut down as part of Abengoa's ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, said there will be an auction for the plant sometime in October and that he's "100% confident" the plant will sell. "Hugoton has never been a part of the same schedule as the gen-one assets," Fisler told DTN. "We're going to get out a bid seeking institutional letter to interested parties this week. The activity and interest level at the site are reasonably high. We expect to get a number of letters of interest. There has been more than 15 entities doing site tours, doing engineering work, studying how they would use the asset. It's been very robust. We've been pleased with the opportunities." The plant, which was built at an estimated cost of $400 million, remains in "cold status at this point," Fisler said. The plant was in the middle of start-up when Abengoa's financial problems surfaced. Fisler said he expects to receive letters of intent to bid by the first week of September. "We will negotiate and finalize a stalking-horse bidder and will have an auction the latter part of October," he said. A stalking-horse bidder is the first bid in an auction and more or less sets a floor price for the auction. "So they get to set the draft of the purchase agreement everyone else has to be subject to," Fisler said. "They get the preliminary inside track." The interested buyers come from all around the world and from three main camps, Fisler said. That includes from existing cellulosic ethanol development companies and from first-generation corn ethanol companies looking to produce "generation 1.5" ethanol and maybe use some of the cellulosic aspects of the plant for corn fiber. The third camp includes advanced biofuels/bio-based chemical companies that may retrofit some of their existing technologies to the plant. Fisler said the cellulosic ethanol plant still has a "very small number" of employees who remain connected to the site and would be employees with "sound institutional knowledge" about the technology. "There are a variety of employees (a new owner) would have access to, whether the employees would be interested is a personal choice," he said. The Abengoa plant is designed to use a variety of feedstocks, including wheat straw, switchgrass and even municipal solid waste. It was expected to provide an annual $17-million, 300-million-ton feedstock market for area farmers. The 25-million-gallon Hugoton plant is designed to process about 1,000 tons a day of corn stover, wheat straw, milo stubble, switchgrass and other biomass feedstocks, all within a 50-mile range of the plant. The plant also is designed to produce electricity. Earlier this week, Abengoa sold three of its ethanol plants to Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. during a recent auction. Green Plains bid $237 million to purchase plants in Madison, Illinois, Mount Vernon, Indiana, and York, Nebraska. The plants have an annual combined production capacity of 236 million gallons. KE Holdings LLC made a successful $115 million bid to buy the Abengoa plant in Ravenna, Nebraska, while Kansas-based ethanol plant builder ICM Inc. was the high bidder at $3.15 million for the Abengoa plant in Colwich, Kansas. ACE Ethanol, LLC, was the successful back-up bidder on the Kansas plant, with a bid of $3 million. The Abengoa corn ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico, so far has not sold.

Bacterial Leaf Streak of Corn Confirmed in Nebraska

Bacterial leaf streak disease of corn, caused by Xanthomonas vasicola pv. vasculorum, has now been confirmed in Nebraska, as well as in Colorado, Illinois, and Iowa. The disease had not been previously identified in the U.S., but had been reported on corn in South Africa. Surveys are currently underway across the Corn Belt to identify the disease distribution. Initial observations and survey results suggest that it may be widely distributed throughout the Corn Belt. Unusual symptoms were first reported on corn samples received by the University of Nebraska Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. Over the last two years, the clinic has received disease samples from numerous counties across much of Nebraska, indicating the disease may be widespread and producers and others should be monitoring for its development. No research evidence is available to predict its potential impact on yield. Confirmation of the disease identification was delayed because of the lack of historic research on the pathogen and limited data on this bacterium and its close relatives. Advanced testing procedures were conducted on the bacteria at multiple institutions to confirm its identity. Third party confirmation was conducted by USDA-APHIS. [embed]https://youtu.be/15Gt4g5cZPA[/embed] UNL Plant Pathologist Tamra Jackson-Ziems discusses Bacterial Leaf Streak on the Aug. 26 UNL Market Journal. Bacterial leaf streak symptoms may look similar to those caused by other diseases, especially the fungal disease gray leaf spot. It is very important to correctly identify the disease(s) in your field to make effective treatment decisions. Foliar fungicides, which might be used to treat gray leaf spot, are not expected to control this bacterial disease. This bacterium has also been found to cause gumming disease in sugarcane in other countries. The species is also recognized by X. campestris pv. vasculorum. Symptoms In Nebraska this disease has a history of early season development, having been observed as early as mid-June during the last two years. Symptoms have been observed on dent (field), seed, popcorn and sweet corn to varying degrees. Narrow brown to yellow streaks or stripes develop between leaf veins and can be short (less than 1 inch) to very long (up to several inches). Lesions usually develop on the lower (older) plant leaves initially and over time spread across those leaves and then to leaves higher on the plant. In some cases, the disease has developed in the mid and upper canopy following high wind events. Yellow discoloration also may be present around lesions when backlit. Symptom type and severity may vary somewhat between hybrids and varieties. Diagnosis and Management Diagnosing the disease in the field may be difficult because it appears similar to other diseases and because the bacteria causing it are not visible to the naked eye and some microscopes. Some hybrids may produce lesions very similar to those of gray leaf spot; however, gray leaf spot lesions may more commonly have straight, smooth margins, in contrast to those of this bacterial disease that often have wavy leaf margins. It is possible to have this and other diseases, like gray leaf spot, on the same sample, further complicating diagnosis. For a diagnosis, we recommend and request submission of samples of this bacterial disease to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. Because the disease is caused by a bacterial pathogen, we do not expect foliar fungicides to directly control it. Some bactericides, such as those containing copper, are labeled for use in corn, but their effects have not been studied on this disease. Activity of bactericides is often different than that of foliar fungicides. For example, most bactericides are contact products and not systemic, so they won’t be absorbed by plants, in contrast to many common foliar fungicides. Thus, bactericides may be washed off with rain or overhead irrigation and may require repeated applications for control, making them uneconomical or impractical for use in some corn crops. Other common pest management strategies, such as crop rotation, may be helpful, but the host range of this pathogen is currently unknown. Sanitation practices such as cleaning debris from combines and other equipment between fields may help slow its spread to unaffected fields. Additional research is planned and underway to better understand its biology and potential impact on corn yield as well as best management practices. Survey and Sample Submission Laboratories in Nebraska, including the University of Nebraska Plant Pathology Labs, are collaborating with those in other states to study the disease. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture,  the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the UNL Corn Pathology Lab with support from the Nebraska Corn Board are conducting important surveys to better understand the disease's distribution and factors contributing to its development. If you’re unsure about a disease or other plant diagnosis, please submit a sample to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

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Livestock

Cattle stolen in Marion County KS

A KLA member has reported four steers stolen the evening of August 28. The 800 lb. to 900 lb., mostly black steers were stolen from a pen at the intersection of Highway 77 and Highway 50 near Florence. All the cattle are branded with a CD on the left hip and carry a purple ear tag. KLA is offering up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. The reward program only applies when the producer is a KLA member. Anyone with information on these cattle should contact Chuck DeForest at(620) 382-6504 or the Marion County sheriff's office at (620) 382-2144.

Rabobank Says Pork Exports Rely on Two Key Factors

The headwinds for exports of pork from the US are twofold: Mexico and ractopamine. Mexico is the largest customer for US pork on a volume basis - accounting for about one-third of total exports and by some estimates, one-in-five of all hams produced domestically. •Mexico has been a strong market for US pork, with growth of 10 per cent per annum in the last four years •Perennial outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) have stunted Mexico's productivity •Mexican pork producers have experienced very strong margins in light of the favorable prices Rabobank estimates the domestic breeding herd has expanded by nearly 15 percent over the last two years, lifting domestic pork production and pressuring imports, assuming disease outbreaks are controlled. The issue of the feed additive ractopamine has been a key barrier keeping US pork from fully participating in the fastest growing pork import market - China - due to China banning the use of ractopamine. With the EU pork industry being fully ractopamine-free and the decline in the value of the Euro, pork exports from Europe to China have doubled in the last three years, and Monday, the EU controls more than three-quarters of all pork exported to China, said Rabobank. As more US pork producers adopt a ractopamine-free supply chain, exports to China are starting to climb. However, Rabobank still sees a number of missed trade opportunities in this very important market. •Rabobank expects an increase in US hog supplies in 2017 and 2018 to help utilize new processing capacity from the US Midwest and from increased Canadian hog imports •With grain prices at multi-year lows, there is a sufficient level of demand from crop growers to diversify into hog-finishing capacity •Supplementing the growth in the domestic hog herd, Rabobank expects an increase in the flow of feeder pigs from Canada, driven by the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar •The end of the US policy of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and strong demand for hogs from US packers in 2017 and 2018 as new processing plant capacity comes online will also add to the increase in hog supplies.

NCTA Aggies Name New Rodeo Coach

A 2014 alumnus and team roper of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture has been named the as the NCTA Aggie Rodeo Team coach. Taylor Rossenbach, a native of rural Ainsworth, was a tie-down calf and team roper with the Aggies for two years before graduating in May, 2014. He lives in Curtis, is an insurance and financial advisor with Farm Bureau Financial Services, and officially joined the NCTA coaching staff in mid-August. Rossenbach is active in Frontier County organizations including Curtis Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Rotary International, and serves as the treasurer for the UNSTA-NCTA Alumni Association. Nearly 20 students will vie for spots on the traveling team, including 2-time national collegiate finals qualifier Lexus Kelsch of McLaughlin, S.D.  She and her horse, Tigger, placed fifth at the CNFR this year. “We have a great group of young men and women on the NCTA rodeo team this year,” Rossenbach said. “I am looking forward to helping each of them improve, and also meet and exceed their goals.” NCTA’s rodeo athletes will travel to the University of Wisconsin at River Falls for the season opener on Sept. 9-10.  Mid-Plains Community College will host rodeo action on Sept. 16-17. “We are excited to have Taylor back on campus as a coach and are looking forward to the experience he brings to the NCTA Rodeo Team,” said Doug Smith, PhD, division chair of animal science and agricultural education.  “He is a great addition to our Division due to the enthusiasm he brings to NCTA’s rodeo program.” NCTA’s team is part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association which competes among more than 100 teams from 2-year and 4-year colleges.  NCTA is in the Great Plains Region of the 11 NIRA regions. Student athletes compete in events of saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. Former Aggie coach Bridger Chytka is leading a new agriculture education and FFA program at Thedford High School.

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Technology

Exhibits to Focus on Climate, 'Weather Ready Farms'

Agricultural producers and Nebraskans attending Husker Harvest Days near Grand Island Sept. 13-15 will learn ways to maintain profitability while addressing challenges from the state's climate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources exhibit. "Our faculty and staff have a wealth of research and information to share with Nebraskans on being prepared to manage their operations during significant variations in weather and climate," said Ron Yoder, IANR vice chancellor. "For the first time in recent years, we are taking a second year to build upon our previous year's exhibit theme that focused on successfully weathering extremes. "With a theme of 'Weather Ready Farms: Successfully Managing Extremes,' we have further defined our focus on research, recommendations and tools designed to help our farmers and ranchers prepare for large variations in weather and economic conditions, and to improve their prospects for success in challenging environments. It is part of our ongoing focus on critical and groundbreaking research and initiatives that are important not only to all Nebraskans, but also nationally and globally, as we enhance our reputation as a leader in these areas of critically important research and education.” The exhibit will be house inside and next to the university's Husker Red steel building at Lot 321 on the south side of the exhibit grounds. Showgoers will get the latest information for planning successful agricultural operations. Exhibits and displays inside the building will highlight: New tools available from the Nebraska State Climate Office that enable farmers to immediately access current and historical weather data for their specific area of the state; Strategies that help farmers improve risk management and financial stability in the face of economic extremes in agriculture; Resources from the National Drought Mitigation Center designed to help farmers and communities better deal with drought; Strategies for drought management in grassland and range systems; The role of cover crops in building more resilient, stable soils that better withstand the effects of extreme events; Management tools for climate-resilient irrigation systems to improve efficiency and improve uniformity of water application; Adding value to weather data by using crop models to improve corn yield forecasts and decision-making. "We are significantly expanding the use of our outdoor, living exhibits to help demonstrate the innovation and research of IANR in the form of living exhibits," Yoder said. Inside the building, IANR faculty and staff will be available to answer questions on a variety of extension and research-related topics, provide copies of helpful NebGuides, and direct those needing further information to extension experts in their local area. Showgoers can also learn about the latest opportunities for students at the university's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. College representatives will be available throughout the show to answer questions from potential students. Those interested in the Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education Action Development) program can also visit with a LEAD representative. "This is an opportunity for us to bring the best of UNL to Husker Harvest Days and we take that very seriously," Yoder said. IANR has been part of Husker Harvest Days since the first show in 1978. "We always appreciate the opportunity to visit with stakeholders about what they see as Nebraska’s main challenges and opportunities," Yoder said. "We are your land-grant university."

New FAA Rule to Offer Remote Pilot Certificates for UAS Operators

With his expertise in operating drones, it's common for Gibson City, Illinois, farmer Randy Aberle to get a knock on his door from neighbors requesting field flyovers. Now, with a new Federal Aviation Administration rule for unmanned aircraft systems -- commonly referred to as drones -- taking effect Aug. 29, Aberle said he may be doing more of the knocking on neighbors' doors, offering his services. As co-owner of Flying Ag, an agriculture drone business, Aberle said he has well understood the business potential of using UAS on the farm. Until now, however, there were too many risks in going too far. Farmers who use the technology have had to rely on an FAA exemption to operate UAS systems -- making them technically in violation of FAA law that requires pilot licenses to fly drones. The provision often made it impractical to operate UAS on the farm. "Guys who have drones are aware of it (the law) and excited about it," Aberle said. "I can say for sure we're legally flying now. Before, FAA was going back and forth (on the rules). We thought we were OK, but we were in a gray area. Now we actually have a program with protocols. I know the rules apply to me. We were already flying by those rules -- visual line of sight, maximum 400 feet in elevation. "Those rules there have not changed. It applies to the actual operator. I will take the test. No. 1, I know I'm legal, and No. 2, I have neighbors coming to me asking me to fly their fields. Now I can legally do that. The new law takes all these questions away." The new rule allows operators to earn remote pilot certificates to operate drones without having to hire licensed pilots. Aberle uses drones to monitor crop health and to seek out problem areas on his 1,400 acres. Once producers see farmers like him regularly using drones and that for a $500 to $3,000 investment they can get a return, Aberle said he believes they will begin to show more interest in making UAS a regular part of their operations. EXPANDED USE Matthew Brown, attorney and founder of USDroneLaw.com, told DTN the new regulation likely will lead to more drone use in agriculture. Rather than getting caught up in all the details of the regulation, he said, farmers likely will be in compliance by following a few set rules. Generally speaking, he said, a farmer will be legal if he or she is not flying a UAS above other people, is operating with a remote pilot certificate, performs a pre-flight inspection of the device and flies in daylight at lower than 400 feet of altitude. The rules provide a number of exemptions that could be useful to farmers, Brown said, including an operator's visual line-of-sight. "On a clear day, you can see a long ways," Brown said. "But if there is a tree line and you want to go over the trees and out of the line of sight, a waiver may allow that." Farmers who want to prepare to test for the remote pilot certificate will have online access to a practice test once the rule takes effect. Brown said farmers can take the FAA-administered aeronautical knowledge test to earn the certificate. The test includes 60 multiple-choice questions. Answering 70% correct is considered passing. The good news is farmers will not be required to take training flight time. Test-takers will be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration before final certificates are issued, he said. "It's not something the average person is going to be able to do without a little bit of study," Brown said. Brown said that as more farmers see how relatively inexpensive drones are, that the technology is available off the shelf and that there are very few safety issues involved, he expects interest will continue to grow among farmers to own and operate the technology themselves. "I think we'll see a gradual adoption now with the rule we already have in place," Brown said. "Farmers will be most interested in the cost-savings (on the farm) and the simple fact they can purchase a drone (for) $500 off the shelf. When people see how simple it is to use with very little background in flying, it has all sorts of great attributes to save time and money. Where it is taking off right now is in photo capabilities and thermal imaging to check elevations in fields." That includes monitoring crop temperatures, watching for disease and pests, tracking down livestock -- areas where it has the potential to save money for farmers. Though the much-anticipated rule answers many questions about operating drones, Brown said future rules may have to dig deeper on some unforeseen issues. In particular, he said, future rules may have to address in more detail the use of drones in urban areas. "If farmers are closer to more air traffic, there may be more conflicts between manned and un-manned aircraft," he said. "There's going to be growing pains with this industry." With the initial UAS rule completed, Brown said, there are a number of future regulatory questions to be answered. The next set of regulations may be two-fold, he said. One area of consideration may be rules to allow drones to carry products. "I don't know if this is of use to farmers, but it may be good if there is an equipment failure in a field somewhere and they need a part, it could be delivered," Brown said. Second, he said, at some point the FAA may consider rules for a drone air traffic control system, primarily for carriers. Farmers who may be considering an investment in drones but are concerned about liability issues, do have insurance coverage options available. In recent days, the American Association of Insurance Services announced new filings of unmanned aircraft liability coverage forms and rules, according to a news release. The company's new coverage is approved in 34 states, in anticipation of the new FAA rule taking effect. "The economic impact of this ruling is expected to be first felt in farm and agribusiness as it is the fastest growing commercial sector using drones," the company said in a news release. Read a summary on the new FAA rule here: http://bit.ly/…

NCTA Aggies and STEM featured at Nebraska State Fair

Fairgoers to the 147th Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island can learn about science, livestock, crops and agricultural education from students and staff of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. Nebraska’s only statewide technical agriculture college will be featured at a display in the 4-H and FFA Building of State Fair Park during the Aug. 26-Sept. 5 fair. NCTA also will share interactive exhibits in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) area of the Nebraska Building during opening weekend, with agronomy featured Saturday and animal science on Sunday. The NCTA outreach booth shares information for prospective students and also connects with Aggie alumni, says Tina Smith, NCTA admissions and recruiting coordinator. “State fair is a great time for future students and supporters to learn more about the new and exciting opportunities available at NCTA,” Smith said. “Along with new marketing initiatives, we have expanded our A to B agreements with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and now with South Dakota State University, too.” Outreach to urban and rural fairgoers provides wonderful ways to tell agriculture’s story. Students with the NCTA Livestock Judging Team and NCTA Agricultural Education program are helping with youth events and livestock shows, particularly the second weekend for FFA and 4-H contests. See ncta.unl.edu for more information about NCTA’s programs. The fair schedule, maps and ticket details are available at:  http://www.statefair.org/

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Ag Policy

Energy Regulatory Commission of Mexico Releases Ethanol Blending Regulation

The Energy Regulatory Commission of Mexico (CRE) published Monday their recently-passed fuel regulation (NOM-016-CRE-2016) in the Mexican federal register, allowing for the blending and sale of up to 5.8 percent ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply outside of the three major metropolitan areas of Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. The fuel specification will become effective 60 days after publication, marking the first time in history that Mexico has established a policy on ethanol. Organizations in the United States working to promote the export of U.S.-produced ethanol applauded this development by its close trading partner. “By approving new fuel standards that allow for ethanol blending at a 5.8 percent rate throughout much of the country, the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission has taken an important step forward in improving the quality of motor fuel provided to its citizens,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “These standards aren’t applied universally throughout the entire country, however, so there is certainly more progress to be made. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel additive that increases octane and reduces reliance on toxic cancer-causing additives. Our collective goal should be greater harmonization across all of North America on fuel regulations that embrace cleaner burning biofuels like ethanol because that is in the best interest of every mother, father and child. Growth Energy will continue to work with our public and private sector colleagues in Mexico to clearly demonstrate the value of ethanol to their environment, water quality, rural sector and consumers.” “We are pleased to see Mexico begin to embrace the inclusion of fuel ethanol in their gasoline. The U.S. Grains Council has worked in Mexico for many years and has seen enormous growth in that market’s demand for U.S. products of all types in the past two decades. We welcome this positive development related to ethanol use and what it could mean for furthering of the U.S.-Mexican trade partnership,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues in the U.S. ethanol industry to provide Mexican regulators, fuel industry officials and the public with information that highlights the proven benefits ethanol can provide for air quality and rural economic development in their country. We are hopeful that all of Mexico will be able to achieve these benefits from ethanol use soon.” “The Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission should be commended for recognizing the positive role ethanol can play in advancing that country’s energy, economic and environmental policies. Ethanol blended gasolines can reduce all criteria pollutants – carbon monoxide, ozone, particulates and toxics. As a result, we believe the Commission has erred in excluding ethanol use from the three most populous cities,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). “We will continue to work with our partners here and the Mexican government to assure the most up-to-date science is applied, providing the Commission with confidence the use of ethanol will help them in their effort to fight ozone pollution and provide a more open and competitive market for the benefit of Mexican consumers.”

USDA Secretary Vilsack on Latest Quarterly Export Forecasts for 2016 and 2017

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the first forecast for U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2017 and a revised forecast for fiscal year 2016. Both forecasts indicate U.S. agricultural exports have begun to rally and will continue the record-setting pace that began in 2009. "These numbers once again demonstrate the resiliency and reliability of U.S. farmers and ranchers in the face of continued challenges. The projected $133 billion in total exports for FY 2017 is up $6 billion from last forecast and would be the sixth-highest total on record. The United States' agricultural trade surplus is also projected to rise to $19.5 billion, up 40 percent from $13.9 billion in FY 2016. The United States has continued to post an agricultural trade surplus since recordkeeping began in the 1960s. "The projected growth in exports in 2017 is led by increases in overseas sales of U.S. oilseeds and products, horticultural goods, cotton, livestock, dairy and poultry. And with a rise in global economic growth, global beef demand is expected to strengthen. While USDA continues working to eliminate the remaining restrictions on U.S. beef exports that were instituted by some trading partners as a result of the December 2003 BSE detection, U.S. beef exports have recovered. U.S. beef exports are expected to reach $5.3 billion in 2017, well above the $1.5 billion exported in FY 2004. This progress is due to USDA's work under the Obama Administration to eliminate BSE-related restrictions in countries around the world, including 16 countries since January 2015. BEEF FACT SHEET "China is projected to return as the United States' top export market in 2017, surpassing Canada as the number one destination for U.S. agricultural goods. "USDA also revised the forecast for FY 2016 exports to $127 billion, up $2.5 billion from the previous forecast. This would bring total agricultural exports since 2009 to more than $1 trillion, smashing all previous eight-year totals. "Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs on and off the farm. The United States has the opportunity to expand those benefits even further through passage of new trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Such agreements are key to a stable and prosperous farm economy, helping boost global demand for U.S. farm and food products, increasing U.S. market share versus our competitors, and ensuring that our farmers and ranchers have stable and predictable markets for the quality goods they produce."

Growth Energy and RFA Disappointed by European Commission's Decision On Ethanol Duties

The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy are disappointed with today’s decision by the European Commission (EC) to file an appeal with the EU General Court related to its June 2016 ruling invalidating certain ethanol duties. That ruling annulled the European Union’s 9.5 percent antidumping duty on ethanol imported from the United States produced by entities that had been selected as part of a sample group in an antidumping investigation. During the appeal process, the duty will remain on ethanol generated by these producers and all other American ethanol entering the European Union. The duty has been in place since February 2013. On June 9, the EU General Court ruled that the five-year antidumping duty was invalid because the European Commission was required by EU law to give each sampled U.S. company its own antidumping rate. Instead, the EC applied a countrywide rate to all parties, even those for which it had more specific information. This action is in direct violation of both the European Commission’s own rules and longstanding World Trade Organization (WTO) precedent. The EC had approximately two months from the June 9 court ruling to appeal. In May 2013, Growth Energy and RFA filed a joint complaint, outlining violations by the European Commission in its antidumping investigation. The antidumping duty had effectively shut out U.S. ethanol producers from accessing the European market, which before the penalty was imposed had represented a 300-million-gallon market for our industry. “While not surprising, we are disappointed with EC’s decision,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The antidumping duty should have never been assessed and is only hurting European consumers by shutting out the lowest-cost ethanol in the world. We will continue to fight to ensure the duty is removed.” Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy added, “The ongoing resistance of the EC is frustrating. Their willingness to continue to pursue an unprecedented, protectionist agenda will only delay the inevitable outcome, absolving U.S. ethanol producers from any false claims of anti-dumping. We will continue to pursue all options to fight this unfounded complaint, and are confident we will be vindicated.”

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