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Tall Weeds and Overgrown Cover Crops Require Burndown Adjustments

Leave that 4-inch soda can in the truck -- some of the weeds and cover crop cover in the Midwest right now will require a yardstick to measure. The persistent cold, wet weather dogging much of the corn and soybean belt this spring has kept many farmers from applying their usual early spring burndow...

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Tall Weeds and Overgrown Cover Crops Require Burndown Adjustments

Leave that 4-inch soda can in the truck -- some of the weeds and cover crop cover in the Midwest right now will require a yardstick to measure. The persistent cold, wet weather dogging much of the corn and soybean belt this spring has kept many farmers from applying their usual early spring burndow...

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Central Arizona farmers seek money for switch to groundwater

Central Arizona farmers were making a last-minute plea Thursday to state lawmakers for $20 million to dig wells and build canals as they prepare to lose access to Colorado River water. With budget talks heating up between legislative leaders and aides for Gov. Doug Ducey, a wide variety of intere...

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Assessing Your Farm's Financial Management Can Help You Survive Tough Ag Economy

Good times lift both good and bad farm managers, but when profit margins grow slim, farmers with higher levels of business intelligence are more likely to succeed and grow. Agricultural economist Dave Kohl, a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and adviser to ag lenders for more than 35 years, said...

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(Audio) "Chat with the Chancellor" with UNK Chancellor, Doug Kristensen - May 18, 2019

Brandon Benitz continues his “Chat with the Chancellor” series here in the Summer 2019 semester by talking with Doug Kristensen, the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. This week, we talk about the most recent economic impact study that upped not only the University of Nebras...

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Tyson sues federal agency for $2.4M over hog inspections

Arkansas-based meat processor Tyson Foods is suing a federal agency for $2.4 million, saying it had to destroy 8,000 carcasses because a federal meat inspector lied about checking hogs at a plant in Iowa. Yolanda Thompson, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection ...

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Crops

Tall Weeds and Overgrown Cover Crops Require Burndown Adjustments

Leave that 4-inch soda can in the truck -- some of the weeds and cover crop cover in the Midwest right now will require a yardstick to measure. The persistent cold, wet weather dogging much of the corn and soybean belt this spring has kept many farmers from applying their usual early spring burndown applications. Winter annuals like marestail and butterweed grew as woolly and wild as they pleased, and now early summer annual weeds are starting to sneak in as well, said Purdue University Extension weed scientist Bill Johnson. "Ragweed, foxtail and lambsquarters are typically summer annuals that come up early and take off pretty quickly," he said. Some growers are also facing overgrown cover crops still standing weeks past their ideal termination date. Many of these fields can still be controlled by burndown applications, but keep the following recommendations from Purdue's Johnson and Ohio State Extension weed scientist Mark Loux in mind. INCREASE YOUR RATES Controlling tall weeds and dense covers requires a heavy dose of glyphosate, Johnson said. "If you're using a generic formulation with 3 pounds of acid per gallon, use at least 48 ounces or more per acre," Johnson urged. "If you're using more concentrated formulations that contain 4 pounds of acid or more per gallon, then you need to be at 32 ounces or more." DON'T SKIMP ON THE TANK MIX Yes, margins are tight and additional inputs are a tough decision, but you will need another tank mix ingredient or two to target weeds that don't respond to glyphosate as well or at all, Johnson said. Depending on the weeds you're targeting, 2,4-D, dicamba, metribuzin (Sencor) or saflufenacil (Sharpen) are common additions. Remember that on weeds much beyond four inches tall, paraquat (Gramoxone) will not be an effective option, he added. For more details on individual herbicide efficacy, see this guide: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/… Tank mix additions can be trickier for grassy cover crops, Ohio State's Loux cautioned in a university newsletter. "Mixing glyphosate with other herbicides or ATS can reduce its activity on grass covers, especially when large," he wrote in an OSU newsletter. "Herbicides that can antagonize glyphosate include 2,4-D, metribuzin, atrazine, and flumioxazin and sulfentrazone products. Sharpen has not caused a reduction in glyphosate activity on grass covers in university research." RESIDUAL CAVEATS Residual herbicides are often recommended in burndown tank mixes because they can provide additional weeks of protection. But because of their longevity on the soil, they also come with larger plant-back restrictions that can push back a planting window or lock a grower into a certain crop, Johnson noted. Read the labels carefully. In thick, waist-high cover crop stands, residual herbicides may not make it to the soil to do their job, added Loux. "Our experience with relatively small (less than 2 feet) covers is that they do not interfere with the activity of residual herbicides," he wrote. "We are somewhat unsure about the effect of taller covers on residual herbicide activity, but assume it could be reduced. This may be a situation where the residual could be omitted from the burndown and then included in an early POST treatment." Keep in mind that depending on your trait platform, there are post-emergence herbicides for corn and soybeans that can help clean up a field after planting if residuals don't work, Loux added. PLANTING GREEN IS AN OPTION FOR COVERS Given tight planting windows and wet soils, this spring might become an unexpected experiment for some farmers in "planting green" -- planting row crops amid live cover crops and terminating the cover later, Johnson noted. "Sometimes equipment works better if you plant into a living cover crop," he said. "One of the big issues guys are wrestling with now is do I terminate and wait until the cover crop has hit the ground to plant, or plant green and hope I can terminate later." Planting green is probably a better option for fields planted to corn or soybean varieties with multiple herbicide-resistant traits, which will give growers a wider variety of post-emergence herbicides to terminate with, Loux said. For more details on the rates and chemicals to use when tackling fields of overgrown winter and spring annual weeds, see this article from Purdue University: https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/… For more details on controlling overgrown cover crops, see Loux's article here: https://agcrops.osu.edu/…

Assessing Your Farm's Financial Management Can Help You Survive Tough Ag Economy

Good times lift both good and bad farm managers, but when profit margins grow slim, farmers with higher levels of business intelligence are more likely to succeed and grow. Agricultural economist Dave Kohl, a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and adviser to ag lenders for more than 35 years, said it's important for farmers and their lenders to know where they stand. Kohl has developed a 15-point financial and risk management checklist that helps measure farmers' management skills by scoring them. "It's not rocket science, but it is very insightful to see how much the manager knows about his or her business," Kohl said. Producers today generally fall into three buckets. Forty percent will grow incrementally because they have working capital, equity, proactively approach problems and have a high business IQ, or intelligence quotient. Another 40% will be able to hang on, but won't thrive because they're limited by their "low business IQ." These producers will probably need to refinance to survive this downturn. Then there's the remaining 20%. These farmers and ranchers will likely need to have a partial or total liquidation. "They have already refinanced two or three times since the 1980s. Yes, land equity is a great bridge over troubled waters. But eventually, these farm borrowers will drown in their debt service," he said. AgCarolina Farm Credit has used Kohl's Business IQ checklist at several educational seminars it hosted, as well as with individual conversations between lender and farm credit member. "At our Ag Leadership Institute for mostly young and beginning farmers, it was a way to start the conversation about management," said Skipper Jones, senior vice president for marketing and communications with AgCarolina Farm Credit. "For one couple, the wife gave the operation a lower score, and it started an in-depth discussion between her and her husband. "A lot of farmers know the numbers in their head, but to see it on paper and have a score, it makes it more real to them. Having that visual makes them think more about it." DETERMINING YOUR BUSINESS IQ There are three sections to Kohl's metric. For each of the first six categories, give yourself 3-4 points if you have the actual numbers (or goals) written down, allotting more points for higher levels of detail. Award yourself 2 points if the numbers are in your head. And give yourself 1 point if you have no idea. 1. Knows cost of production. 2. Knows cost of production by enterprise. 3. Goals -- business, family and personal. 4. Projected cash flow. 5. Sensitivity analysis (what-if scenarios for changes in prices, production, interest rates, etc.). 6. Understands financial ratios and break-evens. 7. This concerns your financial record-keeping system. You earn 3-4 points if your records are kept on an accrual basis. You get 2 points if your record-keeping system is based on your Schedule F, and you receive 1 point if you have no idea. For the next six categories, give yourself 3 to 4 points if you answer "yes," 2 points for "sometimes" and 1 point for "never or non-existent." 8. Works with advisory team and lender. 9. Marketing plan is written and executed. 10. Risk management plan is executed. 11. Modest lifestyle habits and has a family living budget. 12. Written plan for improvement is executed and strong people management. 13. Attends educational seminars/courses. 14. This involves a transition plan for your operation. Give yourself 3-4 points if you have a transition or business ownership plan. You score 2 points if you are working on a plan. You get 1 point if you have no plan or there is controversy that has not been worked through. 15. This category is all about attitude. Give yourself 3-4 points if you are proactive, meaning you anticipate potential problems and solve them quickly. You get 2 points if you are reactive and handle problems as they occur or when they get too big to ignore. If you are indifferent and most of the time you just "muddle through because things always work out in the end," give yourself 1 point. "Thirty-two or above is a good score," advised Kohl. "Forty or above is a super-good score. If you scored 20-30 points, you are in 'refinance' mode and you need to move into the 'reinvent' mode," Kohl added. Farms that score under 20 points are high risk. Kohl also suggests having multiple business partners fill out the assessment independently and then compare notes to help determine the farms financial management strengths and weaknesses. A TOOL FOR LENDERS Lenders can use this to help determine if they want to stay with a customer who is going through a tough financial situation but is a good manager and is intent on turning the operation around. Also, the lender can use it to assess weakness in the operation. "We found in the past that we can get to a point where we lend a client too much money for them to manage well. If they don't have the financial management system in place, we are not doing them a favor by simply lending them more money," said Nate Franzen, president of Agri-Business division, First Dakota National Bank. The bank, based in Yankton, South Dakota, has used a similar management score card to assess their farm and ranch clients' depth of management skills over the past year. "We're trying to put more matrix in our lending decisions," Franzen explained. Kohl suggests farm operators use it as a self-improvement tool, adding that the more you know about your operation, the better you can control its future. "The 1980s wiped out the average to below-average farm production managers," Kohl said. "This current environment will wipe out the average to below-average farm marketing and financial manager."

Trade war, heavy rains weigh on Deere & Co.

Deere cut its profit and sales expectations for the year as a trade war between the U.S. and China escalates and farmers try to recover from a planting season besieged by heavy rains. Prices of soybeans targeted by Chinese tariffs last year fell to a 10-year low this week as the countries traded jabs . "Ongoing concerns about export-market access, near-term demand for commodities such as soybeans, and a delayed planting season in much of North America are causing farmers to become much more cautious about making major purchases," Deere Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen said in a prepared statement Friday. The warning from Deere pulled the entire S&P industrial sector down on fears that the nation's largest manufacturers will see similar damage. Deere now expects to earn about $3.3 billion in 2019, down from its forecast three months ago for profits of about $3.6 billion. The company is less optimistic about revenue as well, lowering its forecast of a 7% increase, to just 5%. Company shares slumped 6% to a new low for the year. China has targeted U.S. farmers , particularly soybean farmers, in retaliation for tariffs put in place by the Trump administration. The effects of China's actions have not taken full force in the U.S. Farm Belt. Roughly 60% of U.S. soybeans are shipped to China. But China doesn't begin most of those purchases until the fall. It typically buys soybeans from South American nations such as Brazil and Argentina during spring and early summer. Yet the fight being waged across the Pacific is already hitting U.S. farms. Despite the $11 billion in relief payments that were doled out last year by the federal government, the personal income of farmers declined by $11.8 billion through the first three months of 2019, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. A similar pace of decline is expected in the coming months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. And that is hurting Deere. Deere & Co. earned $1.13 billion, or $3.52 per share, for the period ended April 28, which is 6 cents less than industry analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research. And it's less than the $1.21 billion the Moline, Illinois, company earned during the same period last year. Revenue rose to $11.34 billion from $10.72 billion. Adjusted revenue of $10.27 topped forecasts. Construction and forestry sales climbed 11% to $2.99 billion on higher shipment volumes and increased prices. It also benefited from the inclusion of Wirtgen's sales for two additional months. Equipment operations sales increased 5% to $10.27 billion, while agriculture and turf sales climbed 3% to $7.28 billion.

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Livestock

Assessing Your Farm's Financial Management Can Help You Survive Tough Ag Economy

Good times lift both good and bad farm managers, but when profit margins grow slim, farmers with higher levels of business intelligence are more likely to succeed and grow. Agricultural economist Dave Kohl, a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and adviser to ag lenders for more than 35 years, said it's important for farmers and their lenders to know where they stand. Kohl has developed a 15-point financial and risk management checklist that helps measure farmers' management skills by scoring them. "It's not rocket science, but it is very insightful to see how much the manager knows about his or her business," Kohl said. Producers today generally fall into three buckets. Forty percent will grow incrementally because they have working capital, equity, proactively approach problems and have a high business IQ, or intelligence quotient. Another 40% will be able to hang on, but won't thrive because they're limited by their "low business IQ." These producers will probably need to refinance to survive this downturn. Then there's the remaining 20%. These farmers and ranchers will likely need to have a partial or total liquidation. "They have already refinanced two or three times since the 1980s. Yes, land equity is a great bridge over troubled waters. But eventually, these farm borrowers will drown in their debt service," he said. AgCarolina Farm Credit has used Kohl's Business IQ checklist at several educational seminars it hosted, as well as with individual conversations between lender and farm credit member. "At our Ag Leadership Institute for mostly young and beginning farmers, it was a way to start the conversation about management," said Skipper Jones, senior vice president for marketing and communications with AgCarolina Farm Credit. "For one couple, the wife gave the operation a lower score, and it started an in-depth discussion between her and her husband. "A lot of farmers know the numbers in their head, but to see it on paper and have a score, it makes it more real to them. Having that visual makes them think more about it." DETERMINING YOUR BUSINESS IQ There are three sections to Kohl's metric. For each of the first six categories, give yourself 3-4 points if you have the actual numbers (or goals) written down, allotting more points for higher levels of detail. Award yourself 2 points if the numbers are in your head. And give yourself 1 point if you have no idea. 1. Knows cost of production. 2. Knows cost of production by enterprise. 3. Goals -- business, family and personal. 4. Projected cash flow. 5. Sensitivity analysis (what-if scenarios for changes in prices, production, interest rates, etc.). 6. Understands financial ratios and break-evens. 7. This concerns your financial record-keeping system. You earn 3-4 points if your records are kept on an accrual basis. You get 2 points if your record-keeping system is based on your Schedule F, and you receive 1 point if you have no idea. For the next six categories, give yourself 3 to 4 points if you answer "yes," 2 points for "sometimes" and 1 point for "never or non-existent." 8. Works with advisory team and lender. 9. Marketing plan is written and executed. 10. Risk management plan is executed. 11. Modest lifestyle habits and has a family living budget. 12. Written plan for improvement is executed and strong people management. 13. Attends educational seminars/courses. 14. This involves a transition plan for your operation. Give yourself 3-4 points if you have a transition or business ownership plan. You score 2 points if you are working on a plan. You get 1 point if you have no plan or there is controversy that has not been worked through. 15. This category is all about attitude. Give yourself 3-4 points if you are proactive, meaning you anticipate potential problems and solve them quickly. You get 2 points if you are reactive and handle problems as they occur or when they get too big to ignore. If you are indifferent and most of the time you just "muddle through because things always work out in the end," give yourself 1 point. "Thirty-two or above is a good score," advised Kohl. "Forty or above is a super-good score. If you scored 20-30 points, you are in 'refinance' mode and you need to move into the 'reinvent' mode," Kohl added. Farms that score under 20 points are high risk. Kohl also suggests having multiple business partners fill out the assessment independently and then compare notes to help determine the farms financial management strengths and weaknesses. A TOOL FOR LENDERS Lenders can use this to help determine if they want to stay with a customer who is going through a tough financial situation but is a good manager and is intent on turning the operation around. Also, the lender can use it to assess weakness in the operation. "We found in the past that we can get to a point where we lend a client too much money for them to manage well. If they don't have the financial management system in place, we are not doing them a favor by simply lending them more money," said Nate Franzen, president of Agri-Business division, First Dakota National Bank. The bank, based in Yankton, South Dakota, has used a similar management score card to assess their farm and ranch clients' depth of management skills over the past year. "We're trying to put more matrix in our lending decisions," Franzen explained. Kohl suggests farm operators use it as a self-improvement tool, adding that the more you know about your operation, the better you can control its future. "The 1980s wiped out the average to below-average farm production managers," Kohl said. "This current environment will wipe out the average to below-average farm marketing and financial manager."

Tyson sues federal agency for $2.4M over hog inspections

Arkansas-based meat processor Tyson Foods is suing a federal agency for $2.4 million, saying it had to destroy 8,000 carcasses because a federal meat inspector lied about checking hogs at a plant in Iowa. Yolanda Thompson, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service, signed certificates suggesting she had checked slaughtered hogs at the Storm Lake plant in March 2018, Tyson said. The company noted that video footage indicated Thompson never entered the plant and actually approved the inspections while sitting in her automobile. Tyson filed suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City alleging the USDA and Food Safety Inspection Service knew of Thompson's inadequate inspection practices and physical difficulties walking around the plant, the Sioux City Journal reported. "The United States should have recognized Thompson's unfitness to perform the inspections that were necessary for the protection of Tyson's property. However, the United States failed to so recognize, resulting in the destruction of approximately 8,000 hog carcasses, causing injury to Tyson," the company said in the lawsuit. Inspectors are mandated to visually examine all hogs slaughtered at the plant to decide whether they have health conditions that could make them unsuitable for human consumption. On March 26, 2018, Tyson killed roughly 4,622 hogs at the Storm Lake plant, and Thompson gave signed inspection cards to plant supervisors. The lawsuit states that plant administrators were told by Food Safety staffers the next day that Thompson had not executed the inspections. On March 30, 2018, the USDA declared that it was not feasible to determine whether the hogs that had not been checked were subject to any health conditions that would have led to disapproval of the carcasses. Tyson had no choice but to destroy about 8,000 carcasses, which included the inspected and uninspected, the lawsuit said. USDA and Tyson officials declined to comment.

NPPC Thankful U.S. Lifting North American Metal Tariffs

The Trump administration today announced plans to lift the 25% tariff on steel and the 10% duty on aluminum imports imposed last year on Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products. "We thank the administration for ending a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and president of the National Pork Producers Council. "Mexico's 20% retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork has cost our producers $12 per animal, or $1.5 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis. Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork's largest export market and allows NPPC to focus more resources on working toward ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork in North America." Last year, Canada and Mexico took over 40% of the pork that was exported from the United States. NPPC has designated USMCA ratification as a "key vote" and will closely monitor support of the agreement among members of Congress. U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada support 16,000 U.S. jobs. "We are also hopeful that the end of this dispute allows more focus on the quick completion of a trade deal with Japan," Herring added. "U.S. pork is losing market in its largest value market to international competitors that have recently implemented new trade agreements with Japan." According to Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, U.S. pork will see exports to Japan grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years if the U.S. quickly gains access on par with international competitors. Hayes reports that U.S. pork shipments to Japan will drop to $349 million if a trade deal on these terms is not quickly reached with Japan.

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Technology

Adventure Camp about the Environment Welcomes Campers for 10th Year

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

Two Midwest Ethanol Plants Approved for California Cellulosic Market

A fraction of ethanol produced at two plants in Nebraska and Iowa now will qualify as cellulosic ethanol in California's fuel market, after the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, recently approved technology pathways. Siouxland Ethanol, a 90-million-gallon corn ethanol plant in Jackson, Nebraska, and Elite Octane, a 150 mg plant in Atlantic, Iowa, both have achieved average corn kernel fiber ethanol production of 3% of total production, using Visalia, California,-based Edeniq's technology that allows producers to quantify the amount of cellulosic ethanol produced from corn fiber. According to a news release from Edeniq, the company's "Intellulose 2.0" technology achieves between 2% and 4.5% cellulosic ethanol production from the corn kernel fiber at existing corn ethanol plants. The technology measures the amount of ethanol produced from multiple different molecules in corn kernels and quantifies the individual contribution of each component. Seven other ethanol plants that used the company's technology were previously approved by the EPA for D3 Renewable Identification Number, or RIN, generation and/or by CARB for low-carbon intensity corn kernel fiber ethanol production. The emergence of a commercial cellulosic ethanol industry has been slow. A number of technical and federal policy challenges has made full commercialization difficult. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 called for 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol production by 2022 -- the industry has fallen far short. In a 2017 interview with DTN, Edeniq President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Thome, said his company's enzymatic technology has the potential to add 300 million to 600 million gallons of cellulosic production to the nation's fuel supply with no capital investment at existing ethanol plants. Thome said many enzymes used by corn-ethanol plants today also produce cellulosic ethanol using corn fiber. Problem is, most plants have no way to verify how many cellulosic gallons they produce. The Edeniq technology allows corn-ethanol producers to verify cellulosic gallons. Edeniq's system helps corn ethanol producers certify D3 renewable identification numbers, or RINs, gallons in the RFS. In addition to the money made from selling ethanol, those plants make money on the RINs.

Engler Entrepreneurship Journey: Grant Suddarth

Grant Suddarth is a York, Nebraska, native and a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. After an internship his freshmen year of college with a rural land appraiser, he recognized a problem in the industry that he didn't initially know how to solve. But he quickly made connections to develop a solution. Listen to Grant Suddarth on the Engler Journey here. Today Suddarth is the founder and CEO of Terrace Ag, an ag appraisal software that allows farm appraisers to speed up their work by consolidating data entry. Even though he knew nothing about software development, Suddarth used his connections through the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program to launch the beginning stages of his business. What's the key to this young entrepreneur's success? Suddarth says, "I think it all comes back to humility... I don't have the solution to everything. I need to go out to the appraisers. I need to go to my advisors... And the humility to do that, and knowing that you're not going to have the solution for everything." Suddarth now works for Terrace Ag full time. Each day, he strives to build his customer base across Nebraska and surrounding states to contribute to the success of his business. To learn more about Grant Suddarth, Terrace Ag and the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, visit engler.unl.edu.

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Ag Policy

Tyson sues federal agency for $2.4M over hog inspections

Arkansas-based meat processor Tyson Foods is suing a federal agency for $2.4 million, saying it had to destroy 8,000 carcasses because a federal meat inspector lied about checking hogs at a plant in Iowa. Yolanda Thompson, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service, signed certificates suggesting she had checked slaughtered hogs at the Storm Lake plant in March 2018, Tyson said. The company noted that video footage indicated Thompson never entered the plant and actually approved the inspections while sitting in her automobile. Tyson filed suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City alleging the USDA and Food Safety Inspection Service knew of Thompson's inadequate inspection practices and physical difficulties walking around the plant, the Sioux City Journal reported. "The United States should have recognized Thompson's unfitness to perform the inspections that were necessary for the protection of Tyson's property. However, the United States failed to so recognize, resulting in the destruction of approximately 8,000 hog carcasses, causing injury to Tyson," the company said in the lawsuit. Inspectors are mandated to visually examine all hogs slaughtered at the plant to decide whether they have health conditions that could make them unsuitable for human consumption. On March 26, 2018, Tyson killed roughly 4,622 hogs at the Storm Lake plant, and Thompson gave signed inspection cards to plant supervisors. The lawsuit states that plant administrators were told by Food Safety staffers the next day that Thompson had not executed the inspections. On March 30, 2018, the USDA declared that it was not feasible to determine whether the hogs that had not been checked were subject to any health conditions that would have led to disapproval of the carcasses. Tyson had no choice but to destroy about 8,000 carcasses, which included the inspected and uninspected, the lawsuit said. USDA and Tyson officials declined to comment.

*Audio* Sasse Statement on Distinction Between Chinese Cold War and North American Trade Tensions

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken trade advocate and a China hawk, issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. [audio mp3="http://media.ruralradio.co/wordpress/2019/05/5-17-19-Senator-Sasse-on-Trade.mp3"][/audio] “China is our adversary; Canada and Mexico are our friends. The President is right to increase pressure on China for their espionage, their theft of intellectual property, and their hostility toward the rule of law. The President is also right to be de-escalating tension with our North American allies. Today’s news that the Administration is dropping steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico is great for America, great for our allies, and certainly great for Nebraska’s agriculture industry.”

Zippy Duvall on Trump Immigration Reform Proposal

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall commented on President Trump's immigration proposal saying, “Farm Bureau welcomes President Trump’s focus on fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. However, nowhere is reform more critical than in the agricultural sector. Labor shortages now are being felt by farmers and ranchers across the country, in dairy, fruits and vegetables, mushroom, livestock and other sectors. We will not relent in our fight to ensure that a solution to our agricultural labor needs is included in any immigration reform package. “Farm Bureau economists issued two detailed studies of this problem over the last decade. In the more recent report, in 2014, looking at potential losses in vegetable, livestock, fruit and grain production, estimated losses range as high as $60 billion. A reformed agricultural guest worker program that is flexible and affordable for farmers, fair to workers and effective in meeting the needs of all producers is critical. We also need to provide current workers the opportunity to earn legal status. These workers are essential to our nation’s food production. “This is a difficult issue and there are no easy solutions. We applaud the Administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are tackling the problem. We look forward to working with them to advance solutions that allow us to continue growing our food within our borders.”

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