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Trump to Name Ex-Georgia Gov. Perdue as Agriculture Secretary

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will name former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as his nominee for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, a senior transition official said on Wednesday. Perdue, 70, served on Trump's agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign. His nomination,...

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Trump to Name Ex-Georgia Gov. Perdue as Agriculture Secretary

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will name former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as his nominee for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, a senior transition official said on Wednesday. Perdue, 70, served on Trump's agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign. His nomination,...

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Flint Hills Resources to Invest $50 Million at Fairmont Ethanol Plant

Fairmont, Nebraska – Flint Hills Resources announced today it will invest more than $50 million in its Fairmont, Neb. ethanol plant to install a new technology that will produce a high protein animal and fish feed ingredient from a portion of the plant’s distiller grains, a co-product of ethanol...

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Trump EPA Pick says He Backs Biofuels Program, But Open to Tweaks

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, said on Wednesday he would honor the intent of the U.S. biofuels program, but remained open to tweaking it. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires the EPA set annual quotas for...

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Another ‘Midnight’ Regulation Dumped On Farmers

In another poke in the eye to agriculture, the Obama administration tomorrow will issue a regulation that adds animal welfare standards to the nation’s organic food production law. The National Pork Producers Council will work with the Trump administration and Congress to repeal yet another “mid...

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US Consumer Prices Up Moderate 0.3 Percent in December

U.S. consumer prices, driven up by rising energy costs, rose moderately in December, closing out a year in which consumer inflation rose at the fastest pace in five years. The Labor Department says its consumer price index increased 0.3 percent last month, up from a 0.2 percent gain in November. ...

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Crops

Weekly Ethanol Production At A New All-Time High

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.054 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 44.27 million gallons daily. That is up 5,000 b/d from the week before and a new all-time high. This marks the third straight week of record production. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 1.044 million b/d for an annualized rate of 16.00 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol stood at 21.1 million barrels. That is a significant 5.5% increase from last week, and a 26-week high. Imports of ethanol were nonexistent for the 21st week in a row. Gasoline demand for the week averaged 338.9 million gallons (8.069 million barrels) daily, the lowest in nearly three years (2/14/2014). Refiner/blender input of ethanol averaged 840,000 b/d, meaning gasoline contained an average of 10.41% ethanol—an all-time high. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 13.06%—the largest percentage ever recorded.

Proposed Rule on Biotech a Progressive Step for Plant Breeding Innovation

The American Soybean Association (ASA) responded positively today to a notice of proposed rulemaking from USDA on the regulatory framework for plant breeding innovation. ASA welcomed the proposed rule, which continues to require pre-market approval by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of plants derived through transgenic biotechnology while excluding products from new breeding innovations, such as gene editing. ASA President Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Ill., issued the following statement on the proposed rule. “ASA is pleased to see this common-sense rule put forward by USDA. The innovations in plant breeding we’re seeing right now are precision tools that work within a species, and shouldn’t be subject to the same regulatory hurdles as first-generation transgenic biotechnology. USDA’s proposed rule acknowledges this distinction, and we look forward to working with the incoming Administration to ensure that this key aspect of the rule remains throughout the process. “Practical regulation is critical to encouraging continued innovation in the agriculture industry,” Moore continued. Farmers face a range of challenges and require a complementary range of solutions to remain competitive. As the seed technology within our industry evolves, the regulatory framework must evolve with it. Today’s announcement is a great step forward for USDA.”

Kansas Soybean Expo '17 Sets Attendance Record

Nearly 300 soybean enthusiasts -- the largest crowd in 36 years -- gathered Jan. 11 in Topeka for Kansas Soybean Expo 2017. The Kansas Soybean Association (KSA) organized the annual event, with checkoff funding from the Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC), to coincide with the Topeka Farm Show at the Kansas Expocentre. "We were really excited to have so many farmers and friends of the industry join us in Topeka," said KSA Secretary Teresa Brandenburg, Osborne, who chaired the Expo planning committee. "It was a great day to network and advance the association's and commission's commitments to producer education." KSA President Raylen Phelon, Melvern, and KSC Chairman Kurt Maurath, Oakley, welcomed the attendees. The opening session featured updates from checkoff-partner organizations. The presenters were Jay O'Neil, senior agricultural economist at Kansas State University's IGP Institute, and Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. Participants then heard two K-State Research and Extension updates. William Schapaugh, Ph.D., soybean breeder and professor of agronomy, offered "Integrating Germplasm Evaluation, High-throughput Phenotyping and Breeding to Improve Soybean." Dallas Peterson, Ph.D., weed-science specialist and professor of agronomy, led "The Ongoing Battle With Weeds." Clay Patton, Colby, a farm broadcaster for Kansas Farm and Ranch Radio, was the master of ceremonies at the luncheon. The featured speaker was Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office. He discussed how Kansas is taking a regional approach to implementing its Water Vision and noted the Ogallala Aquifer will be 70 percent depleted in 50 years if users do not make changes. To open the awards and recognitions, Andy Winsor, Grantville, and Matthew Atkinson, Columbus, who represented Kansas in 2015 and 2016, respectively, in the DuPont Young Leader program introduced and congratulated Brett Neibling, Highland, and Blair Geiger, Denton, as 2017 young leaders. Maurath thanked Bob Haselwood, Berryton, for his years of service representing Kansas on the United Soybean Board and Dennis Gruenbacher, Andale, for serving as the 2015-2016 KSC chairman. KSA First Vice President Lucas Heinen, Everest, then presented a plaque to Phelon, the outgoing president. The Friend of Soy award went to Kelly Lenz, Topeka, farm director for WIBW Radio and the Kansas Agriculture Network (KAN). In 1983, he started the Ag Issues program on WIBW Radio, one of the first agricultural talk shows in the nation, and the popular WIBW Farm Profit seminars. Under his leadership, the station also has presented annual programs at the Kansas State Fair, including debates for gubernatorial and senatorial candidates. He currently heads up nearly 2.5 hours of ag programming on WIBW Radio each day and 16 broadcasts per day on KAN. He also does a 2.5-minute ag news and market report for WIBW-TV 13 in Topeka each day. Next, Phelon presided over the KSA Annual Meeting. Kevin Scott, a member of the American Soybean Association's governing committee from Valley Springs, South Dakota, outlined the national organization's policy successes in 2016 and priorities for 2017. Dwight Meyer, Hiawatha, who chairs KSA's policy committee, presented the guiding resolutions for 2017, which the voting members present accepted. Phelon congratulated and thanked Marvin Wahl, Oswego, and James Zwonitzer, Horton, for being KSA's top member recruiters. He then recognized Terry Reschke, Hiawatha, the outgoing KSA chairman, who is retiring from the board of directors after 15 years. The board elections resulted in Brice Bunck, Topeka, as the new District 2 director; Gail Kueser, Garnett, returning as District 3 director; and Meyer (Hiawatha) returning as a director-at-large. With no candidate for District 6, the board will fill that vacancy at a future meeting. After adjournment, the KSA directors met and elected their officer team for the coming year: Heinen (Everest), president; Meyer (Hiawatha), first vice president; Brandenburg (Osborne), second vice president; Doug Shoup, Parsons, secretary; Gary Robbins, Emmett, treasurer; and Phelon (Melvern), chairman. Shoup, who coordinates the Kansas Soybean Yield and Value Contests, then announced the district and overall winners. Ernest Schlatter, Lebanon, topped the dryland division with a no-till entry that made 95.95 bushels per acre. Calvin Yoder, Hutchinson, led the irrigated division with a conventional-tillage entry of 93.79 bushels per acre. Henry Farms, Robinson, won the value contest with 80.3 cents per bushel of increased value (8.3 percent over the cash price). Complete results and award photos are available via http://KansasSoybeans.org/contests on the web. The afternoon's customary Planning for the Future session featured "Bold Talk for a 1-eyed Fat Man" by Darrell Holaday from Advanced Market Concepts in Wamego. He discussed managing the economic shifts in U.S. and world production agriculture by outlining capital flows, global efficiencies, how demand-led markets turn into supply-led markets, currency issues and the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture from a cost standpoint. Expo photos and presentations are available via http://KansasSoybeans.org/expo on the web.

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Livestock

K-State Offers Youth Animal Science Learning Opportunity

Students from across the country with an interest in the livestock industry and related careers can apply now for the Kansas State University Animal Sciences Leadership Academy. The academy is an intensive four-day educational experience designed to enhance the leadership skills and animal science knowledge of students in ninth through 12th grades. Hosted by the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, the academy’s goal is to develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in the field. “The experiences gained through KASLA will help develop your understanding of the industry and ignite your potential as a young leader in agriculture,” said past participant Molly Bertz of Mayview, Missouri. “I would highly recommend participation. Whether you come from a strong agricultural background or are curious to learn more about the industry, KASLA is providing students with an inside view of the food production system.” This year’s program will take place June 14-17 in Manhattan. Applications are due April 1, 2017, and can be found atwww.YouthLivestock.KSU.edu. The program’s itinerary will feature interactive workshops, tours and faculty mentor time with animal science professors. Industry leaders will also join the participants frequently to share their knowledge and expertise. Throughout the week, participants will work in teams to evaluate current events within the animal science industry and educate others. This experience will culminate with team presentations and a closing reception on Saturday morning. The program also focuses on developing personal leadership skills through workshops and activities. “One of my favorite parts of KASLA was learning more about our individual strengths through the Strengths Finder Assessment,” Bertz said. “As we learned more about our strengths, we were also able to learn how to capitalize on them and use them effectively in group settings such as the agriculture issues team project. KASLA truly developed us as leaders in the agriculture industry both inside and out.” Only 20 students will be accepted to ensure individualized attention from counselors, professors and industry leaders. Participants will stay on campus in university housing with program staff for the duration of the event. Transportation to and from the event is the responsibility of the participant, along with a $50 deposit to reserve his or her space. The Livestock and Meat Industry Council provides all other sponsorships. Contact Sharon Breiner, academy director at sbreiner@ksu.edu or 785-532-6533 with any questions.

Federation Invests in Beef Promotion

A successful campaign to drive nationwide sales of fresh beef at retail has resulted in the confirmed movement of more than 270,000 units of fresh ground beef in less than two weeks. Today, the Federation of State Beef Councils of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association approved an additional $300,000 to extend the partnership with the mobile rebates app Ibotta through the Super Bowl, giving consumers more reasons to purchase great tasting beef. Ibotta is a consumer mobile app that has a subscriber rate of 19 million mostly-millennial consumers and growing. Consumers who download the app can browse the grocery category for rebates on fresh beef products, unlock the rebates and after reviewing educational information about beef buy the items at any grocery store nationwide to get cash back through Ibotta. Beef only pays for verified sales. Initial results from the first few weeks of the campaign have been impressive. Nearly half of the redemption budget was exhausted in the first weekend. As of Jan. 16, more than 700,000 users unlocked ground beef rebates demonstrating the strong consumer demand for beef. Redemption rates for beef have been 35 percent, far surpassing the Ibotta average rate of 22 percent and delivering more than 14 million brand impressions for beef system-wide. In addition to increasing sales, more than 700,000 consumers received educational messaging about beef as a part of the campaign. These educational opportunities were delivered in the form of a beef recipe or an in-app task that helps consumers better understand nutritional benefits of beef. “We have seen tremendous success from the initial thrust of our campaign, so this additional investment makes sense,” according to Steve Hanson, a beef producer from Elsie, Neb., and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “State beef council partners agree with the Executive Committee that this move to further boost consumer retail beef sales is the right move at the right time.” In addition to the national campaign, many state beef councils contributed additional funding to promote the campaign to consumers in their markets. Through in-app media tiles, email newsletters and social media engagement, state partners helped drive traffic to the app and create broader visibility of lower beef prices for 2017. “The Ibotta campaign is a tremendous opportunity to connect with a highly engaged community of shoppers at that critical time for purchase inspiration,” said Patti Brumbach, executive director for the Washington State Beef Commission. “Through partners like Ibotta, the beef community is helping revolutionize how beef is marketed to today’s consumer and transforming the shopping experience.” The $300,000 in funding approved today is in addition to an initial $300,000 Federation reserve allocation directed toward the Ibotta program last November, with the expectation that it will double the confirmed units of beef sold. The initial investment was part of a $940,000 package for both international and domestic beef sales-enhancement efforts during a time of high protein production that is putting significant pressures on the cattle market.

Hoffman Ranch, Jensen Bros. and Valley Creek Ranch Take Top Honors in Hereford Yard Show

Hoffman Ranch, Thedford, Neb., took top honors in the Hereford carload show on Friday, Jan. 13, during the 2017 National Western Stock Show in Denver. Jensen Bros., Courland, Kan., topped the pen-of-three bull show and Valley Creek Ranch, Fairbury, Neb., won the pen-of-three female show in the Denver Yards. Dale Micheli, Fort Bridger, Wyo., Travis Pembrook, Fairview, Okla., and Ryan Rathman, Stanton, Texas, evaluated the Yard shows, which included six carloads, 33 bull pens and 20 heifer pens. A total of 219 Herefords competed in the Yards. The Hoffman family's champion carload of junior bull calves tipped the scales at an average weight of 1,139 lb., and a weight per day of age of 3.47 lb. The group was sired by H/TSR/CHEZ/Full Throttle ET, CRR 109 Catapult 322, HH Advance 4075B ET, Pyramid 16W 110T 9116 and NJW 73S W18 Hometown 10Y ET. On show day the group posted average expected progeny differences (EPDs) of birth weight (BW) 2.4; weaning weight (WW) 57; yearling weight (YW) 91; milk (MM) 27; milk and growth (M&G) 56; rib fat (FAT) 0.01; ribeye area (REA) 0.54; marbling (MARB) 0.19. The group had an average scrotal measurement of 33.6 cm. Reserve grand champion carload and reserve champion junior bull calves were exhibited by Delaney Herefords, Lake Benton, Minn. The group was sired by JDH JJD9Y485T All In 96BET, JDH Victor 719T33ZET, KCF Bennett Encore Z311 ET and BR Trust 0217 3373. The average weight of the load was 1,243 lb. and they calculated a WDA of 3.66 lb. The average EPDs of the group were BW 3.9; WW 62; YW 99; MM 25; M&G 55; FAT 0.01; REA 0.48; and MARB 0.17. They had an average scrotal measurement of 34.7 cm. Winning in the 2017 bull pen show was Jensen Bros., Courtland, Kan., with its champion pen-of-three bulls that first won the spring bull calf division. The calves were sired by R Leader 6964 and GKB 88X Laramie B293. They averaged 1,118 lb., and had a calculated WDA of 3.73 lb. with an average scrotal measurement of 33.2 cm. The group's EPDs were BW 3.1; WW 64; YW 101; MM 30; M&G 62; FAT 0.0; REA 0.66; and MARB 0.08. Colyer Herefords, Bruneau, Idaho, was champion in the junior bull calf division before being selected reserve grand champion pen with a group sired by CRR 5280. The average EPDs on the bulls were BW 3.4; WW 63; YW 94; MM 32; M&G 63; FAT -0.01; REA 0.52; and MARB 0.12. The pen weighed an average of 1,325 lb. and calculated a 3.63 WDA with a 38.2 cm average scrotal measurement. The grand champion pen of females and champion in the junior calf division was exhibited by Valley Creek Ranch, Fairbury, Neb., and sired by UPS Sensation 2504 ET and VCR 993W Ultimate 236Z. The group posted average EPDs of BW -0.1; WW 49; YW 76; MM 29; M&G 54; FAT -0.01; REA 0.55; and MARB 0.08. Bill King Ranch, Moriarty, N.M., showed the reserve grand champion pen of three females and reserve champion junior heifer calf. These heifers were sired by CRR 5280 and posted EPDs of BW 5.8; WW 63; YW 97; MM 30; M&G 61; FAT -0.01; REA 0.42; and MARB 0.06. To view complete results, additional releases and champion photos for the 2017 National Western National Hereford Show, visit herefordphotoshop.com/media and enter password "AHA2016."

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Technology

USDA Announces $8.8 Million Available to Support Agriculture Programs at Hispanic Serving Institutions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture today announced availability of $8.8 million in funding to support agricultural science education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program promotes and strengthens HSI programs that attract, retain and graduate outstanding students capable of enhancing the nation's food, agricultural, natural resource and human sciences work force. "Hispanic students earn only eight percent of the degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering, and math," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "These investments help Hispanic-Serving Institutions promote STEM education and agricultural industry careers to all their students, including Hispanic students." While research and extension activities may be included in a funded HSI Education project, the primary focus must be to improve teaching, enrollment and graduation rates within a degree-granting program. One five-year project with Texas State University helped boost its completion rate to 92 percent. A NIFA grant to New Mexico Highlands University designed to increase the number of Hispanic students earning a Bachelor of Science degree has helped more than 1,100 students since 2009. Eligible applicants are certified HSIs, which are public colleges and universities that have an enrollment that includes at least 25 percent Hispanic students. Currently, more than 400 HSIs are located in 21 states and Puerto Rico, serving more than 2 million students. Past projects have included a Texas State University project that encourages female and Hispanic military Veterans to earn bachelor's degrees in agriculture and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree programs. A project at Texas A&M University-Kingsville encourages students from underrepresented groups to pursue STEM degrees and careers as leaders in agriculture through training and internships at USDA agencies. Proposals are due February 7, 9, and 10, 2017, depending on the grant category (conference, regular, collaboration). For more details, see the HSI request for applications on the NIFA website. NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative research, education and extension to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

Automakers Fuel the U.S. Market With More Biodiesel Capable Diesel Vehicle Models

U.S. auto manufacturers have introduced a record number of new biodiesel capable diesel vehicle options for consumers as the push for increased fuel efficiency, performance, and sustainability in America’s transportation sector grows. Despite a challenging marketplace, automakers and fleets remain bullish on new diesel engines that lower carbon emissions by increasing fuel economy over their gasoline counterparts—and that can provide even further benefits when powered by clean, low carbon biodiesel blends. “Biodiesel is a renewable, domestically produced fueling option that amplifies the already substantial benefits of new technology diesel vehicles,” said Steve Howell, Senior Technical Advisor for the National Biodiesel Board. “NBB and the U.S. biodiesel industry remain committed to working closely with our partners in the auto and engine manufacturing community to ensure that the high quality biodiesel fuel of today and tomorrow will continue to provide OEMs, fleets, and consumers with a reliable, fit-for-purpose fuel that keeps pace with the nation’s increasing demands for cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable modes of transportation.” Several automakers’ new 2017 diesel models are being featured this week at the San Diego Convention Center as part of the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. The Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase event is presented by NBB and General Motors Fleet.  General Motors is bringing an industry-leading lineup of 20 different diesel vehicle options to market in the 2017-2018 model year, setting records by approving all 20 models for use with B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent ultra-low sulfur diesel.  One of GM’s flagship models, the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup with a 6.6L Duramax® turbo diesel engine, is on proud display in the vehicle showcase, and will be joined on the roadways this year by additional GM diesel model offerings in the car, truck, van and compact SUV categories. Ford Motor Company is also showcasing one of its new 2017 B20 capable pickups this week with the Ford F-250 Super Duty powered by its 6.7L Power Stroke® turbo diesel V8 engine. And Ford just announced it is adding a new 3.0L Power Stroke® turbo diesel engine option to its popular Ford F-150 for 2018, joining the Ford F-Series Super Duty and Ford Transit in the company’s diesel lineup. Rounding out the pickup options featured in the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase event is Nissan’s answer to the “Every Duty® Truck”, the 2017 Nissan Titan XD powered by a Cummins® 5.0L V8 turbo diesel engine. The important off-road equipment market is also represented in the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase this week by long-time biodiesel supporter John Deere, featuring its best-selling utility tractor in the San Diego area, the John Deere 5045E with a PowerTech® turbocharged diesel engine approved for use with B20 biodiesel blends.  John Deere was one of the first original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get involved with biodiesel, approving B5 biodiesel blends for use in its engines in 2001. It was also one of the first off-highway equipment manufacturers to factory fill biodiesel blends in North America. Since then, John Deere has continued to conduct biodiesel research and perform lab and field tests using biodiesel fuel, and now supports up to B20 or higher biodiesel blends in its equipment. Customers from coast to coast have used B20 successfully in virtually every make and model diesel engine, and the vast majority of new diesel engines now have full OEM support for B20 with no vehicle modifications required. Yet in the ever-increasing drive to cut carbon and lower CO2 emissions, forward looking fleets and users are investigating higher biodiesel blends to maximize the reduction in their carbon footprint.  To address the interest, another vehicle showcase participant, Optimus Technologies, has begun to manufacture biodiesel conversion systems that enable vehicles to run up to B100—even in the coldest climates.  With its simple heated fuel system approach, Optimus could potentially provide fleets an easy and cost effective way to use pure B100 biodiesel in their existing vehicles and reduce carbon by 80 percent at a fraction of the cost of conversion to other fuel alternatives being considered, like compressed natural gas. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as soybean oil, recycled cooking oil, and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines. It is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Americans used more than 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2015. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel industries, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors.

Trump Team: Bayer to Boost Investment with Monsanto

The Trump transition team says Bayer will boost US investment and keep all of the company's existing jobs in the US after completing its planned $57B takeover of Monsanto. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer says Bayer committed to spending $8-Billion on new R&D plans, which came after executives of the two chemical and seed makers met with Trump from the deal. Bayer, which has projected $1.5B in synergies from the deal doesn't have an immediate comment, spokesmen say.

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Ag Policy

Rep. Bacon Statement on Secretary of Agriculture Nominee Sonny Perdue

U.S. Representative Don Bacon (NE-02) released the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): “The Secretary of Agriculture serves as an important voice for rural Americans.  As a new member of the Agriculture Committee, I look forward to working constructively with Governor Perdue to help convey to the President the vital role the Farm Bill plays in maintaining and improving a meaningful safety net for American agriculture that reflects the needs of producers in our state.  As a practicing veterinarian and advocate for Georgia farmers and ranchers, his many years of leadership in the agribusiness sector give him a strong grasp of the challenges and opportunities faced by rural Americans.  Nebraska’s agriculture community is one of the most vibrant in the nation and a leader in global exports.  I look forward to working with Governor Perdue to advance the priorities for family farming and value-added agriculture in Nebraska.”

Federation Invests in Beef Promotion

A successful campaign to drive nationwide sales of fresh beef at retail has resulted in the confirmed movement of more than 270,000 units of fresh ground beef in less than two weeks. Today, the Federation of State Beef Councils of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association approved an additional $300,000 to extend the partnership with the mobile rebates app Ibotta through the Super Bowl, giving consumers more reasons to purchase great tasting beef. Ibotta is a consumer mobile app that has a subscriber rate of 19 million mostly-millennial consumers and growing. Consumers who download the app can browse the grocery category for rebates on fresh beef products, unlock the rebates and after reviewing educational information about beef buy the items at any grocery store nationwide to get cash back through Ibotta. Beef only pays for verified sales. Initial results from the first few weeks of the campaign have been impressive. Nearly half of the redemption budget was exhausted in the first weekend. As of Jan. 16, more than 700,000 users unlocked ground beef rebates demonstrating the strong consumer demand for beef. Redemption rates for beef have been 35 percent, far surpassing the Ibotta average rate of 22 percent and delivering more than 14 million brand impressions for beef system-wide. In addition to increasing sales, more than 700,000 consumers received educational messaging about beef as a part of the campaign. These educational opportunities were delivered in the form of a beef recipe or an in-app task that helps consumers better understand nutritional benefits of beef. “We have seen tremendous success from the initial thrust of our campaign, so this additional investment makes sense,” according to Steve Hanson, a beef producer from Elsie, Neb., and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “State beef council partners agree with the Executive Committee that this move to further boost consumer retail beef sales is the right move at the right time.” In addition to the national campaign, many state beef councils contributed additional funding to promote the campaign to consumers in their markets. Through in-app media tiles, email newsletters and social media engagement, state partners helped drive traffic to the app and create broader visibility of lower beef prices for 2017. “The Ibotta campaign is a tremendous opportunity to connect with a highly engaged community of shoppers at that critical time for purchase inspiration,” said Patti Brumbach, executive director for the Washington State Beef Commission. “Through partners like Ibotta, the beef community is helping revolutionize how beef is marketed to today’s consumer and transforming the shopping experience.” The $300,000 in funding approved today is in addition to an initial $300,000 Federation reserve allocation directed toward the Ibotta program last November, with the expectation that it will double the confirmed units of beef sold. The initial investment was part of a $940,000 package for both international and domestic beef sales-enhancement efforts during a time of high protein production that is putting significant pressures on the cattle market.

NMPF Statement on Announcement of Agriculture Secretary Nominee Gov. Sonny Perdue

ARLINGTON, VA – “America’s dairy farmers are looking forward to working with Secretary of Agriculture-designate Sonny Perdue, whose role as the chief advocate for farmers and rural America is absolutely crucial in the new Trump Administration, especially when milk prices have been in a prolonged slump. Former Gov. Perdue is well-qualified to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a result of his eight years of executive experience as Georgia’s governor, and his career as a state legislator and small businessman.  His educational training as a veterinarian also gives him unique insights into the important issues facing America’s livestock producers in the areas of animal health, food safety and the environment. Dairy producers, like most other farmers and ranchers across America, have experienced significant economic challenges for more than a year. Starting right away in 2017, NMPF will seek to collaborate with Secretary Perdue on ways to strengthen the safety net for dairy farmers, relieve regulatory burdens and enhance opportunities to keep and grow markets abroad for our dairy exports. In particular, we will continue to advise the Agriculture Department on efforts to improve the dairy Margin Protection Program to best benefit America’s dairy producers. We will also continue our dialogue with USDA and others in the Trump Administration on the importance of enforcing previous trade agreements, as well as pursuing future well-negotiated trade agreements that bolster our ability to serve consumers in foreign markets. We’re excited to work with Gov. Perdue on these challenges and opportunities in the days ahead.”

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Markets

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