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Cattle Handling Tips for High Heat and Humidity

A heat stress forecast is as important to a cattle producer, as the rain forecast is to a crop producer. Checking a heat index, and adapting handling to the forecast, will help mitigate risk when working cattle during summer months. Rob Eirich, Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) coordinator, and...

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Cattle Handling Tips for High Heat and Humidity

A heat stress forecast is as important to a cattle producer, as the rain forecast is to a crop producer. Checking a heat index, and adapting handling to the forecast, will help mitigate risk when working cattle during summer months. Rob Eirich, Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) coordinator, and...

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Governor’s Trade Delegation Returns from Vietnam

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed back a trade delegation led by Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  Wellman and NDA staff were in Vietnam August 6th-10th to promote Nebraska agriculture and to introduce potential buyers and distributors to quality N...

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Handling Facilities Cut the Stress

QUESTION: We need to rework our corral and get a new chute. Do you have any suggestions? Who makes the best chutes? ANSWER: Asking who makes the best cattle chute is sort of like asking who makes the best pickup truck. Want to start a fight? Start talking about religion, politics or pickups. A l...

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Tough Negotiations Ahead for 2019 Cash Rents

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Land values are holding steady despite the tumble in commodity prices, and the good news is that's propping up equity in farm country, allowing sufficient collateral for land-owning operators to borrow funds. Unfortunately, stable land values also underpin landowners' perception t...

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Farmers cautioned about possible unauthorized grain sampling

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is cautioning North Dakota farmers about the possibility of people impersonating state employees in order to take photos and samples of grain. Goehring says his office has had calls from farmers about people supposedly acting in an of...

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Crops

Governor’s Trade Delegation Returns from Vietnam

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed back a trade delegation led by Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  Wellman and NDA staff were in Vietnam August 6th-10th to promote Nebraska agriculture and to introduce potential buyers and distributors to quality Nebraska beef. “Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Ricketts.  “My Council for International Relations released a plan recently which named Vietnam as one of several targeted countries that Nebraska should focus on to increase exports and identify new business opportunities.  Director Wellman’s visit is a great step towards expanding Nebraska’s reach in this important market.” “Quality Nebraska beef is known around the world for premium taste and value, and we want to continue to bolster the success of the state’s biggest industry by expanding opportunities in growing markets like Vietnam,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “Nebraska beef exports increased by 12 percent from 2016 to 2017 for a total value of $1.26 billion, making Nebraska the nation’s largest beef exporting state for the second year in a row.” While in Vietnam, Director Wellman met with several agribusiness leaders and hosted a forum designed to introduce potential buyers and distributors interested in beef from Nebraska.  The forum was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.  At the forum, Kritenbrink, a Nebraska native and a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Kearney, shared his memories of growing up on a farm near Ashland and emphasized the state’s leading role in agriculture. Director Wellman also met with Thai Huong, the founder and chairwoman of TH Group, to discuss opportunities for trade in animal feed, particularly soybean meal.  TH Group, a large holding company in Vietnam specializing in milk and dairy, runs the largest dairy farm in Vietnam. During the trip, Director Wellman signed Letters of Intent with three Vietnamese companies interested in selling beef from Nebraska in Vietnam.  The Bao Ngoc Company, the largest of the three, currently has a distribution network of more than 10,000 grocery stores and 500 restaurants.  The other two businesses were D&A Vietnam JSC and Duc Anh Import Export. The cost of the trip to Vietnam was covered under a Federal Emerging Markets Program grant.

Tough Negotiations Ahead for 2019 Cash Rents

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Land values are holding steady despite the tumble in commodity prices, and the good news is that's propping up equity in farm country, allowing sufficient collateral for land-owning operators to borrow funds. Unfortunately, stable land values also underpin landowners' perception that cash rents should hold firm. "In this environment, that's an unrealistic expectation," said Leslie Miller, vice president of Iowa State Savings Bank in Knoxville, Iowa. "Farm operators cannot afford to lose money by paying the same rents as last year." Miller met with one southcentral Iowa landowner who got $225 per acre cash rent in 2018. After running the numbers, she told him that his tenant would have to grow 205-bushel-per-acre corn to be able to pay that. "The landowner admitted his ground was not that good," Miller told DTN. With yields averaging 175 bpa, Miller suggested $180 per acre would be more realistic. The landowner said he'd be willing to do that if the total rent was paid upfront. "Although the operator would have to pay six months interest on half of the rent normally paid in November, I think he would be able to do that for the reduction in rent," Miller said. "Landowners should be willing to negotiate." Justin Dammann, who grows corn and soybeans and raises a cow/calf herd in Essex, Iowa, said steady cash rents complicate cash flow projections for 2019. "You can be $80 to $100 per acre away from making money," he said. "So, we aren't just talking a $15 per acre reduction. We need a $30, $40, $50 per acre decrease. That equates to a 15% to 25% reduction in revenue for the landowner. Not many landowners are willing to accept that. They have tight budgets, too." The University of Illinois projects a $44 per acre loss in 2019 for a central Illinois farmer producing a trendline yield of 207-bpa corn with a price of $3.80 per bushel and a land cost of $245 per acre in 2019. The university's economists also predict any cash rent above $201 per acre would lead to negative returns to farmers in 2019 under this scenario (207 bpa at $3.80/bu. corn). SHARE REAL NUMBERS "Every landowner is different, but the No. 1 thing to negotiate a fair rent is to be honest and transparent," said Dammann, whose family farms is in three counties in southwest Iowa and has 22 landowners, including two in China. "Show them real numbers. There's going to be a lot of red ink next year, especially with a large soybean carryover. "However, for some owners, my numbers don't matter," he admitted. "Some just have a [cash rent] number in mind and they won't settle for anything less. But what we do has to make sense on paper." Iowa law says unless you renegotiate a farmland lease or send a letter of termination to the tenant or the landowner by Sept. 1, the current lease arrangements are in effect for the following year. That means many Iowa tenants and landowners are in the middle of 2019 rental negotiations. Dammann prefers to have his lease negotiations wrapped up by Sept. 1, but this year he believes more landowners will hesitate to set a 2019 lease rate in August. "There's a lot of uncertainty with the trade situation. I think many landowners will say, 'Go ahead and serve me notice and we'll talk about rental rates this winter.' This means landowners will likely shop around to other farm operators in the area to see if they'll pay more," he said. "After Sept. 1 in Iowa, there will be a lot of land in loose hands as owners shop around." That could make it hard to negotiate the 20-25% lower cash rents needed to avoid red ink. "If rents go down, they'll probably go down about 15% just because of the competition to rent land," said Dammann. How loyal your landowner will be to you often depends on the relationship you've built. For some landowners it's all about the numbers, but for many it's the noncash effort the landowners value. "Lately, we've been flying a drone over the fields in June and early July and sending aerial photos and videos to the landowner," Dammann said. "It's not something we have to do. But when it comes time to negotiate rents, the owner knows you care. Extra touches go a long way." Dammann mows an owner's yard and finds other ways to go the extra mile. "One landowner in her 80s had a lot of tree limbs down in her yard after a big wind storm. We went over with our equipment and had it all cleaned up in a couple of hours. You find ways to let them know you care and you treat their land as if it were your own. They remember that when it comes time to negotiate the lease." NEGOTIATE IMPROVEMENTS If your landowner doesn't want to come down in price, there are still things you can do. Iowa State University farm management specialist Steve Johnson said drainage improvements, as well as cover crop and other conservation expenses, will be part of the lease negotiations this year. "If the landowner doesn't come down in rent, they should pick up the cost of land improvements," Johnson said. Many landowners figure their rent should be about one-third of the total crop revenue or roughly 3% of the value of the land. "But landlords should also pay to improve their land if they value soil and water conservation. Examples include investments in terraces, waterways, tile and a portion of the average $40 per acre it costs to plant and destroy a cover crop such as cereal rye," he said. TIME FOR FLEX LEASES One retired farmer at a recent seminar of Johnson's said the way to be fair to his tenant in 2019 would be to set the base rent at $175 per acre, rather than above $200 that he was getting in cash rent. Then, if the farmer's gross revenue for 2019 climbs past his August 2018 projections, the landowner would receive half the increase. Dammann also uses a few flex leases. "The problem with flex leases is you need to start with a low base rate because most flex leases don't flex lower when revenue drops lower." The key for flex leases to work in this environment is to get a base rent set at a fair price, he said. A BANKRUPT FARMER DOESN'T PAY HIS BILLS Miller said the ultimate risk of too high cash rent is the tenant could file bankruptcy. In hard-hit areas, "the landowner would be wise to get a little less in rent and get 100% of the payment up front. Protecting a lien in bankruptcy court is a huge expense." She is in an area in southern Iowa suffering from a drought this year and was a banker in Davis County, Iowa, when it went through a drought in 1983. "I'm seeing similar financial parallels," she said, adding while there's still plenty of time for things to turn around, it's also possible low prices could also stick around longer than anyone expects.

Farmers cautioned about possible unauthorized grain sampling

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is cautioning North Dakota farmers about the possibility of people impersonating state employees in order to take photos and samples of grain. Goehring says his office has had calls from farmers about people supposedly acting in an official capacity and taking photos and samples of wheat fields. He says no state government agency or North Dakota State University has authorized any such work. And he says anyone working for the state should be able to provide proper credentials and the reason for their visit. Goehring encourages farmers who encounter suspicious activity to alert the authorities.

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Livestock

Cattle Handling Tips for High Heat and Humidity

A heat stress forecast is as important to a cattle producer, as the rain forecast is to a crop producer. Checking a heat index, and adapting handling to the forecast, will help mitigate risk when working cattle during summer months. Rob Eirich, Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) coordinator, and Mariah Woolsoncroft, Nebraska Extension beef educator say it's the connection between heat and humidity that's especially important in knowing when to reduce stress on cattle this time of the year. They encourage the use of both a heat index, and an assessment of individual animals' body temperatures using a panting score, to guide management. Panting scores fall on a scale of 0 to 4, with 0 equaling normal respiration and 4 being severe open-mouthed panting, a protruding tongue, excessive salivation. Usually the neck is extended forward at a 4. (https://extension.unl.edu/…) With the Cattle Temperature Humidity Index, cattle can be in the danger area with temperatures as low as 82 degrees F, and a relative humidity of 75%. They are considered in an emergency situation with temperatures of 86 degrees F and relative humidity of 85%. (https://extension.unl.edu/…) There are several tips to minimize the impact of heat on cattle: *Always handle cattle early in the mornings, before 8 a.m. Don't move or handle cattle after 10 a.m. during the summer months. *Don't handle cattle in the evening, even though environmental temperatures are down. This is because the animal's core temperature peaks two hours after the environmental temperature peaks, and takes 4 to 6 hours to go back to normal. *Work cattle in smaller groups so animals are not standing in a holding area for more than 30 minutes. *Facilites should be shaded and good air-flow provided. *A sprinkler system may be used to help cool animals. *Work cattle slowly, using low stress handling techniques. *Try to have cattle move shorter distances during the heat. This may mean moving animals closer to loading facilities during the feeding period. *Be aware that sick or stressed animals are at more danger for heat stress and need additional shade and cooling.

Governor’s Trade Delegation Returns from Vietnam

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed back a trade delegation led by Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  Wellman and NDA staff were in Vietnam August 6th-10th to promote Nebraska agriculture and to introduce potential buyers and distributors to quality Nebraska beef. “Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Ricketts.  “My Council for International Relations released a plan recently which named Vietnam as one of several targeted countries that Nebraska should focus on to increase exports and identify new business opportunities.  Director Wellman’s visit is a great step towards expanding Nebraska’s reach in this important market.” “Quality Nebraska beef is known around the world for premium taste and value, and we want to continue to bolster the success of the state’s biggest industry by expanding opportunities in growing markets like Vietnam,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “Nebraska beef exports increased by 12 percent from 2016 to 2017 for a total value of $1.26 billion, making Nebraska the nation’s largest beef exporting state for the second year in a row.” While in Vietnam, Director Wellman met with several agribusiness leaders and hosted a forum designed to introduce potential buyers and distributors interested in beef from Nebraska.  The forum was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.  At the forum, Kritenbrink, a Nebraska native and a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Kearney, shared his memories of growing up on a farm near Ashland and emphasized the state’s leading role in agriculture. Director Wellman also met with Thai Huong, the founder and chairwoman of TH Group, to discuss opportunities for trade in animal feed, particularly soybean meal.  TH Group, a large holding company in Vietnam specializing in milk and dairy, runs the largest dairy farm in Vietnam. During the trip, Director Wellman signed Letters of Intent with three Vietnamese companies interested in selling beef from Nebraska in Vietnam.  The Bao Ngoc Company, the largest of the three, currently has a distribution network of more than 10,000 grocery stores and 500 restaurants.  The other two businesses were D&A Vietnam JSC and Duc Anh Import Export. The cost of the trip to Vietnam was covered under a Federal Emerging Markets Program grant.

Handling Facilities Cut the Stress

QUESTION: We need to rework our corral and get a new chute. Do you have any suggestions? Who makes the best chutes? ANSWER: Asking who makes the best cattle chute is sort of like asking who makes the best pickup truck. Want to start a fight? Start talking about religion, politics or pickups. A lot of this is personal preference. I prefer scissor-type headcatches, but others prefer pivoting, self-catching types. I really like chutes that squeeze straight inward rather than in a V shape. I think cattle just seem to do better with a light, equal squeeze. Chute size and weight must be matched with cattle size. Don't buy more than you need, but be sure you get enough. There is nothing more stressful than trying to work large cattle in a chute that's too small. The most common design flaw I see in corrals is the lanes are too wide. While corrals that are adjustable with crowding alleys are ideal, they are expensive. If this is not an option, alleys 28 to 30 inches wide are enough for most cattle. If you have really large cattle, your alleys may need to be a little wider, but you may have a problem with calves turning around in them. Making alleys V-shaped can help with this, but when a cow or bull goes down, it can be difficult to get them up. Alleys that gently curve take advantage of the natural tendency of cattle to circle, and solid walls also help keep cattle moving forward. A "crowding tub" with a crowding or sweep gate at least 12 feet long makes getting cattle into the chute much less stressful on man and beast.

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Technology

U.S. seed sellers push for limits on Monsanto, BASF weed killer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - America’s two biggest independent seed sellers, Beck’s Hybrids and Stine Seed, told Reuters they are pushing U.S. environmental regulators to bar farmers from spraying dicamba weed killer during upcoming summers in a potential blow to Bayer AG’s Monsanto Co. Limiting spraying of the chemical to the spring season, before crops are planted, would prevent farmers from using the herbicide on dicamba-resistant soybeans that Monsanto engineered. The seeds are sold by companies including Beck’s and Stine. Last summer, after farmers planted Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soy seeds en masse, the herbicide drifted onto nearby farms and damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres of non-resistant soybeans, or 4 percent of all U.S. plantings. Problems have not gone away. As of July 15, the University of Missouri estimated that more than a million acres of non-resistant soybeans were hurt by dicamba. Homeowners who live near farms have also complained of damage to their trees and flowers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now weighing such complaints as part of a high-stakes decision on the herbicide’s future. Bayer bought Monsanto and its portfolio of dicamba-resistant Xtend brand soy seeds for $63 billion this year in a deal that created the world’s largest seed and pesticides maker. St. Louis-based Monsanto sells dicamba herbicide, along with rivals BASF SE and DowDuPont Inc. Monsanto and BASF said farmers need dicamba to kill tough weeds and that the chemical can be used safely. DowDuPont declined to comment. Monsanto is banking on Xtend soybean seeds to dominate soy production in the United States, the world’s biggest producer. They are seen as a replacement for the company’s Roundup Ready line of seeds, engineered to tolerate the weed killer glyphosate, which has lost effectiveness as weeds develop their own tolerance to the chemical. EPA approval for dicamba to be sprayed on resistant crops expires this autumn. The agency could extend its approval, with or without new restrictions on use, or take dicamba off the market. Seed companies expect a decision in the coming weeks. Most complaints about dicamba drifting would stop if the EPA restricted its use to killing weeds in fields before crops are planted, Beck’s Hybrids told the agency in a July 27 letter seen by Reuters. “Anybody that sprays it, you have issues with the volatilization,” CEO Sonny Beck said in an interview on Wednesday, referring to the chemical vaporizing and drifting. Though his company profited from selling more than a million bags of Xtend soybean seeds this year, Beck said he worried that continued problems with the chemical could give the agriculture sector a bad reputation among consumers. Restricting use would also help prevent weeds from developing resistance to dicamba, he said. New limits would be another headache for Bayer, following its acquisition of Monsanto. Last week a California jury ruled Monsanto must pay $289 million in damages in the first U.S. lawsuit over alleged links between glyphosate and cancer. Monsanto denies glyphosate causes cancer. Earlier this month, a Brazilian judge suspended the use of products containing glyphosate. MONSANTO EXPECTS EPA NOD Monsanto has blamed U.S. field damage from dicamba largely on improper applications by farmers and says mandatory training helped this year. Inquiries to the company about dicamba problems dropped to about nine per million acres of dicamba-resistant crops planted, down from about 40 inquiries per million acres last year, said Ryan Rubischko, who heads the company’s dicamba portfolio. He said Monsanto expects the EPA to extend its approval for dicamba. In a sign the company is concerned, however, Monsanto has asked seed sellers to contact the agency to express support for the product, according to an email the company sent this week that was seen by Reuters. The email noted others had encouraged the EPA to add restrictions on dicamba or prevent sales. Monsanto likened those efforts to an “uninformed vocal minority” in the email. Rubischko confirmed the company had asked dicamba users to give positive feedback to regulators. The EPA did not respond to requests for comment. The agency has held weekly phone calls with agriculture officials in farm states this summer to assess dicamba damage. Agency officials also visited farms in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas to see damaged crops first-hand, according to tour participants. Farther north, Monsanto funded a study by University of Wisconsin researchers that showed dicamba hurt non-resistant soybeans that were covered with plastic when the chemical was sprayed on nearby Xtend soybeans after planting. Stine Seed has told the EPA in writing and conversations that dicamba should not be sprayed on top of growing soybeans to control weeds, CEO Harry Stine said in an interview on Tuesday. The herbicide has damaged fields of Stine soy seeds by drifting, he said. Stine Seed is preparing to launch products that will compete with Xtend soy and also works with Monsanto on seed technology. “I’ve been doing this for 50 years and we’ve never had anything be as damaging as this dicamba situation,” Harry Stine said. “In this case, Monsanto made an error.”

Wheat code finally cracked; wheat genome sequence will bring stronger wheat varieties to farmers

MANHATTAN — Kansas State University scientists, in collaboration with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, published today in the international journal Science a detailed description of the complete genome of bread wheat, the world's most widely-cultivated crop. This work will pave the way for the production of wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality and improved sustainability. The article is titled "Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome." The research article — authored by more than 200 scientists from 73 research institutions in 20 countries — presents the reference genome of the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring. The DNA sequenceordered along the 21 wheat chromosomes is the highest-quality genome sequence produced to date for wheat. It is the result of 13 years of collaborative international research and the support of the National Science Foundation, Kansas farmers and many others. "It is a dream come true for Kansas wheat farmers, who were the first to invest in the wheat genome sequencing project and were pivotal in rallying U.S. wheat farmers in support of the wheat genome sequencing project," said Bikram Gill, distinguished professor emeritus of plant pathology at Kansas State University who organized the first National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored workshop planning meeting on wheat genome sequencing in Washington, D.C., in 2003. A key crop for food security, wheat is the staple food of more than a third of the global human population and accounts for almost 20 percent of the total calories and protein consumed by humans worldwide, more than any other single food source. It also serves as an important source of vitamins and minerals. Kansas farmers grow an average of 340 million bushels of wheat each year, but acres planted to wheat have dropped dramatically over the past decade, from 10 million acres to fewer than 8 million. To meet future demands of a projected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050, wheat productivity needs to increase by 1.6 percent each year. With the reference genome sequence now completed, breeders have at their fingertips new tools to address global challenges. They will be able to more rapidly identify genes and regulatory elements underlying complex agronomic traits such as yield, grain quality, resistance to fungal diseases and tolerance to physical stress — and produce hardier wheat varieties. "Completion of the sequence is a landmark event that will serve as a critical foundation for future wheat improvement," said Allan Fritz, Kansas State University professor of agronomy and wheat breeder. "It is the key to allowing efficient, real-time integration of relevant genetics, making the selection process more efficient — it's a turbocharger for wheat breeding." It is expected that the availability of a high-quality reference genome sequence will boost wheat improvement over the next decades, with benefits similar to those observed with maize and rice after their reference sequences were produced. "Kansas wheat farmers have been supporting the wheat genome sequencing efforts through the Kansas Wheat Commission's wheat assessment since the establishment of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium in 2005, with a cumulative amount of nearly a quarter of a million dollars," said Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer for Kansas Wheat. "The sequence of the bread wheat genome has already had a positive effect on wheat improvement, which not only affects the science behind wheat breeding, but has a long-lasting positive outcome in regard to wheat producer productivity, profitability and, ultimately, livelihoods." Sequencing the bread wheat genome was long considered an impossible task because of its enormous size — five times larger than the human genome — and complexity — bread wheat has three sub-genomes and more than 85 percent of the genome is composed of repeated elements. "It is exciting to be a part of this landmark achievement," said Jesse Poland, associate professor at Kansas State University and director of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center and the U.S. Agency for International Development Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics. "This international effort, toward something that was once deemed impossible, will have tremendous impact on wheat in Kansas, and the world." In addition to the sequence of the 21 chromosomes, the Science article also presents the precise location of107,891 genes and of more than 4 million molecular markers, as well as sequence information between the genes and markers containing the regulatory elements influencing the expression of genes. The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium achieved this result by combining the resources it generated over the last 13 years using classic physical mapping methods and the most recent DNA sequencing technologies; the sequence data were assembled and ordered along the 21 chromosomes using highly efficient algorithms, and genes were identified with dedicated software programs. All consortium reference sequence resources are publicly available at its data repository at URGI-INRA Versailles and at other international scientific databases such as GrainGenes and Ensembl Plants

China Files WTO Complaint over U.S. Solar Tariffs

China’s latest shot in a tit-for-tat trade war is a World Trade Organization Complaint over U.S. solar tariffs. China filed a complaint with the WTO to help determine the legality of the U.S. policies, saying they not only harm China's rights but also undermine the WTO's authority, according to Reuters. China says the U.S. tariffs and the U.S. “decision to subsidize renewable energy firms” has distorted the global market. The Trump administration in January announced it was imposing “Safeguard tariffs” over four years, with a 30 percent tariff in the first year reduced gradually to 15 percent in year four. The action, however, is not expected to have an immediate impact on China’s major solar manufacturers, as their exposure to U.S. markets was reduced after earlier trade disputes. One Chinese executive told Reuters that U.S. solar tariffs were a “sideshow” and had little effect on Chinese business.

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Ag Policy

Governor’s Trade Delegation Returns from Vietnam

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed back a trade delegation led by Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  Wellman and NDA staff were in Vietnam August 6th-10th to promote Nebraska agriculture and to introduce potential buyers and distributors to quality Nebraska beef. “Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Ricketts.  “My Council for International Relations released a plan recently which named Vietnam as one of several targeted countries that Nebraska should focus on to increase exports and identify new business opportunities.  Director Wellman’s visit is a great step towards expanding Nebraska’s reach in this important market.” “Quality Nebraska beef is known around the world for premium taste and value, and we want to continue to bolster the success of the state’s biggest industry by expanding opportunities in growing markets like Vietnam,” said NDA Director Wellman.  “Nebraska beef exports increased by 12 percent from 2016 to 2017 for a total value of $1.26 billion, making Nebraska the nation’s largest beef exporting state for the second year in a row.” While in Vietnam, Director Wellman met with several agribusiness leaders and hosted a forum designed to introduce potential buyers and distributors interested in beef from Nebraska.  The forum was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.  At the forum, Kritenbrink, a Nebraska native and a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Kearney, shared his memories of growing up on a farm near Ashland and emphasized the state’s leading role in agriculture. Director Wellman also met with Thai Huong, the founder and chairwoman of TH Group, to discuss opportunities for trade in animal feed, particularly soybean meal.  TH Group, a large holding company in Vietnam specializing in milk and dairy, runs the largest dairy farm in Vietnam. During the trip, Director Wellman signed Letters of Intent with three Vietnamese companies interested in selling beef from Nebraska in Vietnam.  The Bao Ngoc Company, the largest of the three, currently has a distribution network of more than 10,000 grocery stores and 500 restaurants.  The other two businesses were D&A Vietnam JSC and Duc Anh Import Export. The cost of the trip to Vietnam was covered under a Federal Emerging Markets Program grant.

Former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell dies

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, an Iowa farmer and soldier turned politician who served 16 years in Congress, has died. He was 84. The Democrat and former state Senate president, died at a Des Moines hospital on Friday after suffering complications from a rare form of cancer, said family spokesman and former chief of staff Grant Woodard. Although he focused his political career on agriculture, securing services for veterans and their families and helping college students with financial aid, Boswell may have been best known for his plain-spoken, courtly demeanor. The civility he was known for in the state Senate initially carried over into his congressional campaigns, and he gained national attention when he and his first opponent stuck to their agreement not to launch personal attacks. Later campaigns, however, weren't quite as gentlemanly. Boswell spent two decades in the U.S. Army before beginning his political career in 1985, when he was elected to the Iowa Senate. He was also a farmer who often said one of his proudest political accomplishments was serving on the board of the Farmers Co-op Elevator in Lamoni. He helped keep that elevator going during the Midwest farm crisis of the 1980s. Born in rural Missouri on Jan. 10, 1934, Boswell eventually settled in southern Iowa's Decatur County and became a fixture in that community. His rural roots helped him in the Iowa Statehouse, where personal relationships often mean more than party affiliation. He was known for working with both Republicans and Democrats. As Senate president for four years before being elected to Congress, he insisted lawmakers of both parties adhere to the rules and traditions of the chamber. Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa said in a statement that Boswell gave him "counsel and advice" after he was first elected. "Leonard Boswell set the bar high for what it meant to be a Member of Congress," Loebsack said. When he ran for an open U.S. House seat against Republican Michael Mahaffey in 1996, both candidates stuck to their pledge to run a civil campaign even when national party leaders tried to intervene. That wasn't always the case with Boswell's campaigns, particularly in 2010 when Urbandale businessman Brad Zaun challenged him. That race featured a steady stream of negative television ads from both candidates. Boswell served eight terms in the House until he lost his re-election bid in 2012 to Republican Tom Latham. Woodard noted Boswell was born on a farm, raised on a farm and for much of his life, carved out a living from the land. "I don't think you can get much more Iowan than that," said Woodard. A centerpiece bill for Boswell in Congress was a federal law bearing the name of Joshua Omvig, an Army Reservist from Grundy Center who committed suicide in December 2005 after returning from Iraq. The measure called for Veterans Affairs to devise a comprehensive program to prevent suicide among veterans, and it has led the government to hire more counselors and create hotlines for troubled veterans. During his time in Washington, Boswell served as chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, and he helped in writing the 2007 Farm Bill. He also served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and was named a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2001. "His leadership was instrumental in writing a strong, bipartisan farm bill that honored our obligations to the men and women of agriculture," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "He brought honesty, decency and civility to everything he touched." On education, Boswell supported expansion of the Pell Grant program, and he pushed for additional spending on student loan subsidies. Before becoming a legislator, Boswell served 20 years in the U.S. Army, rising from the rank of private to lieutenant colonel. He served two one-year tours of duty as an assault helicopter pilot in Vietnam and two NATO tours of duty in Europe. He also was an instructor at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Boswell was raised in Ringgold and Decatur counties and graduated from Lamoni High School. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Graceland College in Lamoni. He met his wife, Dody, a teacher, during college and they were married for more than 50 years. They had three children and eight grandchildren. "He left this world a better place than when he found it," said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price.

NAFTA Talks Reach One-Year Mark, Close to U.S. Mexico Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation effort passed the one-year anniversary this week. A year ago Thursday, the U.S., Canada and Mexico convened for the start of the renegotiation talks. Now, the U.S. could be nearing a deal on NAFTA, at least with Mexico. Politico reports the political situation in both countries is such that each is more eager than ever to make a deal, setting up a scenario in which significant progress could be on the near horizon. Plus, the incremental progress, along with “good faith negotiations” between Mexico and the U.S. are offering signs of hope to U.S. farmers and business in the global trade arena. Mexico says the list of items to resolve is “no longer a question of chapters, it’s now a question of paragraphs and points.” Meetings were scheduled to continue through the end of this week in Washington as negotiators seek an agreement, before moving on to striking a deal with Canada.

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Markets

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Stress in Agriculture - RRN Forum
KRVN KNEB KTIC KAWL KXSP - Omaha KSID - Sidney KCSR - Chadron KNCY - Nebraska City KWBE - Beatrice/Fairbury