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Chemigation certification training scheduled for western Nebraska

Nebraska Extension will conduct chemigation certification training sessions beginning in February through early April at Scottsbluff, Sidney, Bridgeport, Alliance and Valentine, as well as other sites around Nebraska, such as Ogallala, North Platte and Ainsworth. Producers who plan to apply crop ...

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Chemigation certification training scheduled for western Nebraska

Nebraska Extension will conduct chemigation certification training sessions beginning in February through early April at Scottsbluff, Sidney, Bridgeport, Alliance and Valentine, as well as other sites around Nebraska, such as Ogallala, North Platte and Ainsworth. Producers who plan to apply crop ...

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Farmers asked to participate in UNL custom rate survey

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics is asking farmers and ranchers for help in compiling its annual report on Nebraska Farm Custom rates. Every year many farmers and ranchers inquire about prevailing rates paid for custom farm machine operations. The Nebraska F...

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Sorghum Checkoff seeks applicants for Leadership Sorghum

The Sorghum Checkoff is accepting applications for Leadership Sorghum Class IV, a program designed to develop the next generation of sorghum leaders. During the 15-month leadership program, class members will be exposed to various aspects of the sorghum industry in addition to personal developmen...

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(Audio) "Chat with the Chancellor", with Dr. Jeffrey Gold - January 20, 2018

Brandon Benitz continues his weekly “Chat with the Chancellor” segment here in the Spring 2018 semester.  This week, he was joined by a special guest, the Chancellor of both the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dr. Jeffrey Gold. We talk about how...

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Students, faculty and alumni involved in third annual Range Day

CHADRON – Chadron State College students, faculty and alumni totaled more than half the nearly 200 attendees at the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resource District’s (UNWNRD) annual Range Day on campus Tuesday, Jan. 16. Others in attendance, according to CSC Associate Professor of Applied Science...

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Crops

Chemigation certification training scheduled for western Nebraska

Nebraska Extension will conduct chemigation certification training sessions beginning in February through early April at Scottsbluff, Sidney, Bridgeport, Alliance and Valentine, as well as other sites around Nebraska, such as Ogallala, North Platte and Ainsworth. Producers who plan to apply crop nutrients and pesticides through irrigation systems during 2018, including those whose 2017 permits expired Dec. 31, are required to attend a training session and pass the test administered afterward. Attendees are asked to pre-register at the extension office whose session they plan to attend. They will receive a training manual and calibration workbook to review before the training session. On the day of the session, they are asked to bring the manual, calibration workbook, No. 2 pencil, and a calculator. There is no charge. Training and testing will take approximately two to three hours. More information and a complete schedule of training sessions throughout Nebraska is available at water.unl.edu/cropswater/chemigation. Dates, times and locations for the western-most sessions are listed below. Valentine - Jan. 22,5:30 p.m., Cherry County Fairgrounds 4-H Building. Contact 402-336-2760 Ogallala - Feb. 8, 1 p.m., Arterburn Youth Building. Contact 308-696-6783 Sidney - Feb. 28, 1 p.m., South Platte NRD, 551 Parkland Drive. Contact 308-254-4455 Bridgeport - March 8, 1 p.m., Prairie Winds Community Center. Contact 308-632-1480 North Platte - March 8, 9 a.m., West Central Research and Extension Center. Contact 308-696-6783 Ainsworth - March 13, 1:30 p.m. CDT, Lutheran Church. Contact 402-336-2760 Alliance - March 14, 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Box Butte County Extension Office. Contact 308-762-5616 Scottsbluff - March 22, 1 p.m., UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center. Contact 308-632-1480 North Platte - April 5, 1 p.m. CDT, West Central Research and Extension Center. Contact 308-696-6783 Valentine - April 10, 1 p.m. CDT, Cherry County Extension Office. Contact 402-336-2760 North Platte - May 10, 1 p.m. CDT, West Central Research and Extension Center. Contact 308-696-6783 North Platte - June 7, 1 p.m. CDT, West Central Research and Extension Center. Contact 308-696-6783

Farmers asked to participate in UNL custom rate survey

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics is asking farmers and ranchers for help in compiling its annual report on Nebraska Farm Custom rates. Every year many farmers and ranchers inquire about prevailing rates paid for custom farm machine operations. The Nebraska Farm Custom Rates reports are some of the most requested extension publications in Nebraska. Every other year the UNL Department of Agricultural Economics surveys farmers and ranchers regarding rates they charge for custom operations in their area. Anyone involved in providing some form of custom work in Nebraska is asked to provide their contact information in order to receive the 2018 survey and participate. Results for the 2018 survey will be published mid-2018. Farmers and ranchers who provide custom services for others in Nebraska are asked to complete an on-line form by Feb. 15 to be added to the survey mailing list. The survey form can be found online at the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Farm and Ranch Management website. The address is: farm.unl.edu/custom-rate-participants. Questions about the survey can be directed to Glennis McClure of UNL, at gmcclure3@unl.edu or call 402-472-0661. The custom rate survey is divided and offered in two parts.The first part is for the spring and summer operations such as tillage, planting, and haying. The second part surveys operators that provide custom machine hire typically done in the fall, including grain harvest, hauling, cutting ensilage, hauling livestock and other miscellaneous operations.

Sorghum Checkoff seeks applicants for Leadership Sorghum

The Sorghum Checkoff is accepting applications for Leadership Sorghum Class IV, a program designed to develop the next generation of sorghum leaders. During the 15-month leadership program, class members will be exposed to various aspects of the sorghum industry in addition to personal development and networking opportunities. Class members will participate in both hands-on and classroom-style learning experiences to gain an understanding of how sorghum moves through the value chain, how checkoffs and stakeholder organizations interact on behalf of the industry and what the future holds for sorghum. Eligible applicants must be farmers actively engaged in sorghum production in the United States. Fifteen growers will be accepted into the program's fourth class. Full consideration will be given to all applicants, regardless of age, gender, race or occupation. Every effort will be made to select a class, based on the applicant pool, which is representative of the entire sorghum industry, its diversity and rural community interests. More information on the class schedule and program criteria can be found at www.sorghumcheckoff.com/farmer-resources/about-leadership-sorghum.

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Livestock

Police investigate cattle thefts in southeast Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Laramie County Sheriff's Office is investigating the theft of $10,000 worth of cattle from a pasture in southeast Wyoming. Lt. Don Hollingshead says nine head were taken from the Duck Creek Grazing Association between Aug. 1 and Oct. 20 southwest of Cheyenne. Hollingshead tells KGAB-AM that the rustling incident at Duck Creek isn't an isolated incident. In the past three months, about 30 cattle have been stolen from the area. He says investigators don't know if the cattle thefts are connected to the same perpetrators but they are looking at it.

USDA Announces Proposed Rule to Modernize Swine Inspection

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced its continued effort to modernize inspection systems through science-based approaches to food safety. USDA is proposing to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), while also requiring additional pathogen sampling for all swine slaughter establishments. The proposed rule also allows innovation and flexibility to establishments that are slaughtering market hogs. Market hogs are uniform, healthy, young animals that can be slaughtered and processed in this modernized system more efficiently and effectively with enhanced process control. For market hog establishments that opt into NSIS, the proposed rule would increase the number of offline USDA inspection tasks, while continuing 100% FSIS carcass-by-carcass inspection. These offline inspection tasks place inspectors in areas of the production process where they can perform critical tasks that have direct impact on food safety. “FSIS is excited to continue modernizing inspection practices, while allowing opportunities for industry to innovate and streamline food production,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “There is no single technology or process to address the problem of foodborne illness, but when we focus our inspections on food safety-related tasks, we better protect American families.” In this proposal, USDA would also amend the regulations that apply to all establishments that slaughter swine. The new requirements would ensure that establishments implement measures to control enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. Specifically, all swine slaughter establishments would be required to implement appropriate measures to prevent contamination throughout the entire production process in their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs), or other prerequisite programs. The new requirements would ensure that both USDA and the establishment have the documentation they need to verify the effectiveness of these measures on an ongoing basis. There will be a 60-day period for comment once the rule is published in the Federal Register. To view the proposed rule and information on how to comment on the rule, visit the FSIS website at fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c17775a2-fd1f-4c11-b9d2-5992741b0e94/2016-0017.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

Aggies judge livestock at Denver

DENVER - Livestock judging students from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis won 20th High Team overall in collegiate competition at the 112th National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. “We had a solid couple of days and the team placed the highest of an Aggie team at the Denver contest in at least 10 years, perhaps longer,” said Coach Doug Smith. The team had returned to campus early over the holiday break so they could practice, taking day trips each day at livestock operations and feedlots in the region studying swine, cattle, goats and sheep, and talking dozens of sets of oral reasons. “We made some great strides in improving our reasons in the Denver contests, and marking the cards consistently,” said Smith, chair of Animal Science and Agricultural Education. “We had some team members that were just a few points away from the top ten. “It is great to see this competiveness this early in the spring season,” Smith added. “I am super proud of this team!” The students competed in the Beef Carload Division, which entails judging cattle entered by purebred ranching operations to highlight the genetics and quality of cattle produced by the owners. The team placed 15th overall in the carload judging. Aggie students attending the National Western contests were: Joe Calvo, Bassett Wyatt Duskie, Jewel, Kansas Dean Fleer, Pierce Nathan Lashley, Curtis Katharine Schudel, North Loup Braden Wilke, Columbus, assistant coach. At the Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest which attracts teams from 2-year and 4-year colleges all over the nation, the Aggies earned their highest ranking in more than a decade with 20th High Team. The Team’s rankings were: 20th High Team 13th High Team in Swine 15th High Individual was Katharine Schudel 20th High Team in Cattle 20th High Team in Sheep and Goats 21st High Team in Oral Reasons “We are looking forward to the upcoming contests this spring,” Smith added. “The Aggie sophomore and freshmen teams will be competing at the Sioux Empire Farm Show on January 27, and in February at the Iowa Beef Expo and the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic.” For more information about NCTA livestock judging, animal science or agricultural education, see ncta.unl.edu or contact Dr. Doug Smith at (308) 367-5286 or jsmith41@unl.edu

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Technology

Opportunity to Learn About On-Farm Precision Ag Research Project Coming in January

Lincoln, Neb., Dec. 21, 2017 —  Researchers and growers are collaborating on a project using GPS‐guided precision ag technology.  The goal of Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) is to revolutionize farm management by assisting growers in implementing scientific experiments on their own farms. This will enable growers to increase their profits by making data‐driven management decisions. The public will have an opportunity to learn about the on-farm research results gathered so far Jan. 10 from 12 - 3 p.m. at the Hall County Extension office, 3180 W. Hwy. 34, Grand Island, NE.  To RSVP for the complimentary noonlunch, call 402-624-8030. According to University of Nebraska Precision Ag Engineer Joe Luck and Nebraska Extension Educator Keith Glewen, growers and agronomists are being sought out to participate in the project. Growers utilizing variable rate seeding in continuous corn production and those using variable rate nitrogen fertilizer application should consider participating.  The initial meeting will provide information on yield results and Veris data and aerial imagery and economic information. DIFM field trials are highly computerized, automated, and are conducted on large-scale, on-farm “checkerboard” field plots. Specialized software “instructs” variable rate equipment to work with GPS technologies in order to implement the experiment while growers simply drive through the field.  The DIFM method generates huge amounts of pertinent field trial data on a grower’s actual fields, but with minimal nuisance to the grower. While the DIFM method limits nuisance to the grower, participating growers play an active role in research and take on certain responsibilities while involved in the project. DIFM researchers request growers attend an organizational meeting in the winter of their first year of participation to discuss their roles in the project. During the following winter at a second meeting, discussion on results of the field trials takes place. Participants are compensated for yield losses due to treatments.  Details will be provided at this session.  Those interested in participating, are asked to consider having information available about planting, fertilizer, and harvest systems available, in particular, the variable-rate controllers being used. For more information, contact Luck at 402-472-1488 or jluck2@unl.edu, or Glewen at 402-624-8030 or klglewen1@unl.edu.  Information is also available online at https://go.unl.edu/january2018difm. The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project is a four-year research project funded by USDA NIFA-AFRI Food Security Program. Participating Universities: In addition to Nebraska, other participating universities include University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Maryland, Illinois State University, and University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez.

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Ag Policy

USDA invests in e-Connectivity to restore rural prosperity

HUGO, Colo. – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing in e-connectivity which will provide virtual access to job training, educational, and health care opportunities for rural communities. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in creating rural prosperity,” Hazlett said. “Connecting rural Americans to quality education and health care services is an innovative and important tool in our efforts to facilitate economic growth, job creation and quality of life in rural America.” USDA is awarding 72 grants totaling $23.6 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. The program invests in equipment that uses broadband to help rural communities connect to educational and health care services. These vital services are part of the foundation of a high quality of life and enable communities to overcome the effects of remoteness and low population density by connecting them to the rest of the world through high-speed internet. The grants are supporting projects based in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Several recipients will use the grants to help address two of the nation’s most urgent needs: opioid abuse treatment and mental health counseling. USDA recognizes that modernizing healthcare access for such recovery resources is vital to addressing rural prosperity. In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. As Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue was selected to serve as chairman of the Task Force, which includes more than 22 federal agencies as well as local leaders, executive departments, and offices. Over the course of six months, Secretary Perdue traveled to 30 states to listen to the voice of rural America and gather recommendations from citizens, farmers, and business leaders throughout the country. He held countless meetings with partner Federal agencies, and consulted with industry experts. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

Smith Selected to Serve on Congressional Delegation to NAFTA Negotiations

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) announced today he has been selected to serve on the congressional delegation traveling to NAFTA negotiations in Montreal next week, where he will meet with negotiators, government officials, and business leaders to stress the importance of the trade agreement.   “NAFTA is vital to Nebraska agriculture, and I have been focused throughout the negotiations on making the case to do no harm to the ag economy,” Smith said.  “I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on this congressional delegation and bring Nebraska’s voice to the table in the next round of NAFTA talks.  As negotiations move forward, I will continue to lead on this crucial issue and work to strengthen the market access ag producers have achieved under NAFTA.”   Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade.

Tax law gives unexpected break to farmers who sell to co-ops

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Key senators and farm groups are trying to fix a provision in the federal tax overhaul that gave an unexpected tax break to farmers who sell their crops to cooperatives rather than regular companies. Lawmakers say they didn't intend to give a competitive advantage to co-ops. But it's not clear they can rework the legislation given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. That means many companies — from local grain companies to agribusiness giants such as Cargill and ADM — could wind up paying more for crops than co-ops. The provision from GOP Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and John Hoeven of North Dakota surfaced in the final days of the debate over the tax bill, which President Donald Trump signed last month. Thune and Hoeven wanted to replace a deduction that benefited co-ops in the old law, which was being dropped, and they wanted to make sure farmers didn't wind up with a tax increase. But the final language went further than maintaining the status quo. "I think at the end of the day what it boiled down to is the staff didn't know what they were doing. ... They rushed this thing through," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. Agricultural co-ops are typically owned by farmers, and they provide their members with help with marketing crops, purchasing supplies and various other services. They range from small and local co-ops to big, nationwide ones such as Land O' Lakes and Sunkist Growers. The new provision lets farmers deduct 20 percent of their gross sales to co-ops, but only 20 percent of their net income if they sell to other companies. The difference is big enough that farmers who sell to co-ops could entirely eliminate their tax bills. "If it stands the way it is, you're going to see a dramatic change in who farmers sell their product to," said Paul Neiffer, a partner with CliftonLarsonAllen, a national accounting firm with clients on both sides. Farmers who do sell to regular companies may be able to command higher prices to help make up for the lower tax break. Kristine Tidgren, assistant director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University, calculated that a farmer with $300,000 in income from grain sales to a regular company and $180,000 in expenses would have $86,400 in taxable income for the year. If that same producer sells to a co-op, she said, the farmer would have just $48,000 in taxable income. "It's a huge difference. ... We've tried to tell everyone to hold on and see what happens before you make any major changes to your business," she said. Hoeven's chief of staff, Ryan Bernstein, said the senators didn't intend to give a competitive advantage to co-ops and their farmer-patrons. They've been working with the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and other parties to find a quick solution, he said. Greg Ibach, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the tax code shouldn't "pick winners and losers" and the agency expects a correction. The new tax break has at least one defender, the North Dakota Farmers Union. The group's president, Mark Watne, said efforts to change it "may not be in the best interest of farmers or the viability of cooperatives." Spokespeople for Thune and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said they're supporting efforts to fix the provision. Randy Gordon, president of the National Grain and Feed Association, which represents co-ops as well as regular companies, said there's been progress in the past week. He said in a newsletter Wednesday that all sides have held several meetings and conference calls to explore alternatives. Minnesota-based Land O'Lakes, the country's third-largest agricultural co-op, and Illinois-based ADM both said they look forward to a fix. But it won't be simple. Bernstein said Hoeven and Thune are looking at attaching it to must-pass legislation, likely a big spending bill expected to come up late next month. That assumes that everyone agrees on a solution by then. Even a must-pass bill likely would require 60 votes to pass the Senate, which would require some support from Democrats. "All it's going to take is a couple Democrats in the Senate to derail the whole thing. ... I'm willing to help, but it looks like a long shot to me," Peterson said. 

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